THE NEW DEFINITION OF FAMILY
From Sarah, one of Betsie's teammates in Romania:
"But he replied to the man who told him, "Who is my mother and who are my brothers?". And stretching out his hand toward his disciples, he said, "Here are my mother and my brothers! For whoever does the will of my Father in heaven is my brother and sister and mother,"
Family has always played a huge role in my life. That really goes without saying when people find out I am the oldest of four and graduated high school having been home schooled my entire life. But my family has never been strictly the people that share my DNA. I've given the title of brother and sister to many of my closest friends and call a lot of their parents mom and dad.
I knew going into this trip that I'd be going a month away from my family. I wouldn't be able to jump on my moms bed at midnight just to talk, play zombie video games with my brother, or make a random trip to Chipotle with my dad for a whole 31 days. While having only email to communicate with them has been different, I oddly have not been homesick yet. I credit this to the fact that I serve a Creator who shares my belief that your family isn't limited to blood relatives.
I could write to you for hours on how God has given me a family in this team. The way we have bonded and grown together and the way we relate to each other is exactly like the way siblings would. I will confidently tell you that we were all hand picked by God to be on this team together. There is no way that out of billions of people on Earth, the nine of us ended up here by chance. God knew what he was doing when he sent us on this trip.
But He didn't stop with the team. During our time here in Romania, we have been staying with two families. Though they had never met us before, they welcomed us into their homes with open arms. From the moment we arrived we were made to feel like a member of the family. They've made us like their children and we've all taken up the role. Anyone who knows me knows I am the least domestic person on the planet, yet I was given the job of cooking when we made gogosi, and I learned to peel potatoes while helping make dinner for the family.
I'm one of those people who is touched by the little things. Grand gestures get you no where with me, but something small and meaningful will mean the world. This is no exception without these families.
Last week, we were all on our way home from church in the two cars the families drive. We were leading the way home to have dinner when Abi, the father in the house where I'm staying, pulled over the car and got out without saying anything to us. Confused, we sat there as the other car went on past us and our team mates gave us equally confused looks as they went by. A few minutes later, Abi returns holding five colored [items] wrapped in his hand. He got back into the car, turned to us in the backseat, and hands each of us one of the ice creams, letting us pick between chocolate and vanilla. With a smile, he told us that he had wanted to get ice cream for "his girls". I've never enjoyed ice cream as much as I did in that moment, and it wasn't because of the quality of the ice cream itself. It was the meaning behind it.
Our families are never defined by our blood relatives. Through Christ we have brothers and sisters and fathers and mothers everywhere from our homes to others cities and even other countries all the way across the ocean. This trip has truly taught me the real meaning of the body of Christ working together through both the families here and the amazing team I am so blessed to be a part of.