Growth

 

Day by day Romania begins to feel more like home. Each day I understand more Romanian, and grow in my relationships with the kids and families. Each day I am thankful for friendships that are growing in ways I didn’t expect. Each day becomes warmer and lighter. Even in the days when I just want to be home and holding my new baby niece or seeing old friends, I am thankful that I am being rooted in this place among this community.

We as a staff had the opportunity to retreat to the mountains this past week. It was a beautiful time of fellowship, laughter, adventure, and rest. I can’t believe I get to work and live life among these incredible people. The idea of community can easily become an ideal, but community is people. People with weaknesses and gifts and histories.  These histories were shared, and while some have been a part of Word Made Flesh for 20 years and some, like me, for 6 months, we are committed to this ministry that we are called to.

One prayer we said together every morning had the line ‘Christ on my left, Christ on my right.’ As I come back from this retreat, I am shown Christ in the willingness of volunteers from abroad and locally to give time to be a part of our community, in the gentleness of the staff, in the older kids helping the younger kids learn how to rollerblade or with homework. Christ in the small things, Christ in the every day. I am thankful for this season of flourishing and growth. Thank you all for supporting me in this journey!

Jimmy.jpeg

Prayer Requests

  • Prayer for staff and their families as they are transitioning out of our community
  • Prayer in the hiring process of new staff
  • Prayer for staff members taking on extra responsibilities
  • For a team from George Fox, interns, and visitors from Sierra Leone that are joining us this summer
  • We are getting ready for a full summer of fun and learning for the kids
  • Endurance, patience, joy, and peace for the staff, myself and the children.

Contact/ Donate

Snail Mail:

Mikayla Greenwell

O.P. 6 C.P 256

Galati, 800.760

Romania

 

Email:

Mikayla.greenwell@wordmadeflesh.com

 

Donate: purecharity.com/Mikayla-greenwell-romania

Winter.

It has been quite the start to a new year here in Romania. Honestly, it has been a really challenging month. For the first 3 weeks of the month, I was really sick with a flu/cold/sinus/ear infection. There were a lot of days that I couldn’t leave the house. I felt a strange sense of helplessness to get better, not knowing what medicine was available here or even how to find my way to a doctor. This physical feeling of being stuck led to missing the people and places I love back in the States even more. It’s hard for me to admit that I need help and that I am not okay.

I have been thinking a lot about the story of the man that was lowered down through the roof to see Jesus in Mark 2. When I picture myself in the story, I usually find myself relating to the friends lowering the man down to Jesus. I’m learning that there will be times when I am the one lying on the mat, needing Jesus. I’m thankful to be surrounded by the Word Made Flesh community who have been willing to reach out on my behalf, including talking me to the doctor, praying with me, and giving me support.

I’m thankful for how much I’ve learned while being here and how the staff and kids have welcomed me into their lives. I’m learning about the aquaponics system here and helping plant, harvest, and care for it. I’m learning Romanian from gracious teachers, one of them being an 8-year-old who came up to me and said that he was going to teach me Romanian, and that I was going to teach him English. I’ve been invited to help plan our community retreat and other community events. I’m learning the stories of the families, kids, and staff. I’m learning from being a part of a national protest here that when people come together to speak against injustice, things can change. I’m learning that when we are weak, God is strong, and empowers us through community.
This community includes everyone that has prayed for me and supported me, encouraged me and been present with me.  I want to say thank you. If I have learned anything from this experience, it is that God doesn’t want any of us walking this journey alone. Thanks for walking with me in your own way!

Blessings,                                                                                                                                                 Mikayla

The Prayer of Ignatius for Surrender   
Take O Lord and receive All my liberty, my memory, my understanding 
And my entire will 
All that I have and possess 
You have given all to me To You O Lord I surrender it and I return it 
All is yours Dispose of it all according to Your will 
Give me Your love and Your grace. 
With these I will be rich enough, and will desire nothing more

Prayer Requests

  • Health (physically and emotionally) for the staff and myself
  • Continued encouragement in learning the language and establishing relationships here
  • That the new children that have started attending here at the center would feel welcomed and supported
  • Endurance, patience, joy, and peace for the staff, myself and the children.

Contact/ Donate

Snail Mail:

Mikayla Greenwell

O.P. 6 C.P 256

Galati, 800.760

Romania

 

Email:

Mikayla.greenwell@wordmadeflesh.com

 

Donate: purecharity.com/Mikayla-greenwell-romania

 

A Romanian Christmas ft. Lord of the Rings Wisdom

 

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 Caroling to different businesses in Galati img_6454  img_6700  fullsizerender-1

 

Usually once a year, I gather fellow fans or, God forbid, people that have never experienced the cinematic joy of watching the Lord of the Rings trilogy. While feeling the usual inspiration one feels after finishing this story, I was struck by the theme of light and darkness, and how I am seeing this theme more contrasted than ever in this new context I find myself in.

I see so much light here. The laughter of the kids, the conversations with friends old and new, seeing the families we work with come together, the staff coming around one another and the kids they serve with love and commitment, experiencing the local church engaging those on the margins, the kids protecting and including one another, Christmas lights illuminating the neighborhoods, the families seeing and knowing that God working in their lives. It’s a season of remembering, and there is a lot of good to remember.

But a shadow grows in my mind as I see a crying child in a hospital alone because the family doesn’t have money to pay to be with her during the night, as the days get colder and I know there are so many trying to stay warm, as I hear about parents that have to leave their families because there is no work here, as I see the tiny room that 15 children have to stay in because there is no other place for them, as I hear stories of the ongoing abuse that women and children have to suffer at the hands of those that say they love them.

Sometimes it feels like the darkness is closing in, but I am reminded by this time of advent, as we prepare to celebrate the birth of Christ, that we are expectantly waiting. We wait with anticipation and we wait actively rather than passively. That there is light, and there is hope, and there is love that we are working towards, and that it is already here.

I can’t talk about Lord of the Rings and not end with the words from my favorite scene. When the darkness seems too thick and too powerful, Sam, in friendship and love tells Frodo this: “I know… It’s all wrong. By rights we shouldn’t even be here… But we are… It’s like in the great stories, Mr. Frodo. The ones that really mattered. Full of darkness and danger they were, and sometimes you didn’t want to know the ending, because how could the end be happy? How could the world go back to the way it was when so much bad had happened. But in the end, it’s only a passing thing, this shadow. Even darkness must pass. A new day will come and when the sun shines it’ll shine out the clearer. Those were the stories that stayed with you, that meant something, even if you were too small to understand why. But I think, Mr. Frodo, I do understand… I know now. Folk in those stories had lots of chances of turning back only they didn’t. They kept going, because they were holding onto something… That there’s some good in this world, Mr. Frodo… And it’s worth fighting for.’

I pray that the light in your life shines out the clearer this Christmas.As we celebrate this Christmas season with the children and their families, please pray  that they would continue to find hope, joy, and renewal in the season to come.
Merry Christmas to you and your families!
Love,
Mikayla

Contact/ Donate

Snail Mail:
Mikayla Greenwell
O.P. 6 C.P 256
Galati, 800.760
Romania

Email:
Mikayla.greenwell@
wordmadeflesh.com

Donate: purecharity.com/Mikayla-greenwell-romania

Beginning the Journey

Buna ziua! I can’t believe it has been just a week since I stepped off the plane (where I had an exit row to myself, I might add) in Bucharest and made the drive back to Galati! So much has happened in 7 days! One of the highlights has been walking into the Word Made Flesh Community center and seeing the kids, some that I met as for back as 4 years ago and some new faces, and seeing the staff that have become dear friends. The picture you see to your left is Elena, one of the girls I met 4 years ago who just turned 12 and is doing well and is always full of joy!

After a few rich months with friends and family, I know I will miss home, especially with it being so close to Thanksgiving. But after stepping foot in this place that has come to mean so much to me, I know that I can make a home here too. We are going to have a Thanksgiving with the staff here, which I’m really excited about! I asked one of the staff members where I could get a good turkey for everyone, and he jokingly (I think) said that there was one across the fence in the neighbors yard we could probably use. It will be and adventure of a Thanksgiving to say the least.

Speaking of a home, Harper and I have an apartment! We found one within the first few days, and I love it! It’s about a 25 minute walk to the community center and it is located near the central market where we will be able to get fresh ingredients for dinner each night. It has 2 bedrooms, a great kitchen, and a long balcony that will be amazing in the warmer months (it’s freezing here right now!). It will be easy to have people over and have teams and guests stay with us when they come.

My Romanian friend Mircea has been so helpful with figuring out all of these details like talking to our landlady, figuring out utilities, how to get a working phone, and things like this that become so difficult when you cant communicate fully. The highly independent achiever in myself struggles with this sometimes, but it has taught me to ask for help and to see how God provides through community. This has made me much more empathetic to the difficulty many face when moving to a new place without speaking the language and having no community to surround them and help them.

I have begun my work at the center since last Friday and am already so excited about what is ahead. My day includes chapel with the staff, communicating with future teams, volunteers, interns, researching how to best do community development and discipleship with teams, playing and eating lunch with the children, and learning Romanian. This past week we have had our British friends Frank and John here to help expand the aquaponics system here at the center. They have taught me that if you haven’t tried sugar and milk with your tea, you are missing out!

These days have been full and I’m so thankful to be here, and so thankful for all of you who have shown me love and support these past few months. You are all in my prayers as well and I will talk to you soon! Please feel free to email me at any time, or send me a letter if that’s more your style (I love letters!)

Much love to all of you!

Mikayla

Praise/ Prayer

  • Flights went well and I arrived safely
  • I have found an apartment and have most logistics worked out for staying here
  • I have been so encouraged by seeing friends here and spending time with the kids
  • Pray that the children and their families would have the resources necessary for a cold winter ahead
  • Pray that the children continue to thrive physically, spiritually, emotionally, and socially.
  • Pray that I would be able to learn Romanian quickly in order to more fully communicate and create relationships here
  • Pray for continued peace and encouragement as I put roots down in this new place and begin feeling the distance from home
  • Pray for health among the staff
  • Pray for financial and prayer partners

Contact/ Donate

Snail Mail:

Mikayla Greenwell

O.P. 6 C.P 256

Galati, 800.760

Romania

 

Email:

Mikayla.greenwell@

wordmadeflesh.com

 

Donate: purecharity.com/Mikayla-greenwell-romania

Romania: My Way Forward

Dear friends and family,

You have been such a support for me over the last few years—thank you! Now, I want to tell you about the next steps I am taking. As many of you know, I have journeyed to Romania with Word Made Flesh a number of times during the last 4 years. This work has changed my life. I have now accepted a long-term staff position with Word Made Flesh in Romania so that I am able to continue moving forward in living among and working among families and children that I have come to know and care about deeply. Please consider being a part of this journey through prayer and support!

What Brought Me Here

Education: In my first year of university, I made the decision to double major in social work and biblical studies. My passion and dream was to work with children and empower families. In this time, I saw God’s heart for people experiencing poverty. I learned a lot about how God called His people in the Old and New Testament to care for the poor. I began to feel that same call now to work with families and children, and to show them the love God has for them, and to affirm the dignity they have as human beings who are created in the very image of God.

Internships and Experiences: Throughout internships and experiences I have had, it has become increasingly clear that I am called to walk alongside children and families who are unseen and forgotten and help them be seen, loved, and to experience holistic healing, including physical, relational, and spiritual healing. I learned so much of what brokenness looks like by working in the foster care system in Portland. I also saw the beauty of restored relationships when groups of college students volunteered their time to play and get to know foster children to let foster parents have time to breathe and take a break.

I long for the church to love and restore relationships with those on the margins of society. I continually find myself working in roles that connect people to those living at the edge of society and people experiencing isolation. When we enter into relationships and friendships with those largely excluded from society, it is a sign of the kingdom of God here on earth. This is work I deeply believe in and want to be a part of.

Word Made Flesh

Word Made Flesh is a missional organization that seeks to model healthy community among those that have often lacked the actuality of and training for healthy community and relationships. Word Made Flesh seeks to place itself among the forgotten places in society throughout the world in order to develop community and empower people towards a dignifying future.

Specifically in Romania, Word Made Flesh has created a day center for children who are vulnerable to neglect, trafficking, dropping out of school, or living on the streets to come and receive a hot healthy meal, to help with school work, provide counseling services, and a chance to play and just be a child. Word Made Flesh Romania also focuses on helping parents strengthen and restore relationships with their children and also helps with basic needs.

My Journey

I first began my journey with this community and I continued to think about what it means to love those at the margins through long-term relationships when I participated in a 3-week trip to Romania and Moldova my first year of university.

I was invited back to do my social work internship in Romania for 5 months in my third year of university. During this time, I participated in the intentional community and also worked with the children and families to connect them with local resources through social work and ministry.

I had the opportunity of leading the same trip I had participated in 4 years prior after I graduated university. I was able to show a group of my classmates the place that had stolen my heart and share with them the amazing work that Word Made Flesh was doing.

Where I am going:

I have now been invited back on staff in Romania for 3 years. I will be inviting visitors to come experience what changed my life so deeply by coordinating short-term teams (internships, summer teams, semester-long study abroad programs) and also developing their social work program. The Romania site seeks to move further in community development by bringing the families in the area together to advocate for what they need. I will also be a part of the community care team, which seeks to connect families and staff members to local churches and to disciple children and families as they continue to know God in deeper and tangible ways.

I cannot do this work alone. You have been an extremely important part in getting me to where I am today, and I ask that you continue to partner with me in the next part of my journey through prayer and support.

I plan to move to Romania in November, and before I can begin this journey, Word Made Flesh values solidarity with the populations they work with and simplicity, so the salary I am raising is very close to the average salary in Galati, Romania. I need to raise $5,000 before leaving for Romania, which covers 4 months of expenses, airfare, and visa costs.

Primarily, I am also in need of long-term monthly supporters during my time for my work in Romania.

If you are able to partner with me in this way and make a one time or monthly donation, there are a few ways you can do this:

  • By check: Checks can be made payable to Word Made Flesh and sent to P.O. Box 70, Wilmore, KY 40390. Please include a note designating the donation to “First name Last name support” or fill out and send attached form with a check
  • By credit card: Donate monthly or give a one time gift online at purecharity.com/mikayla-greenwell-romania
  • If you would like to learn more about what I’m doing, please email me at mgreenwell@wordmadeflesh.com . I’d love to grab coffee or lunch to tell you more!

Blessings,

Mikayla

Moving from achieving to being

I sit with a boy at lunch as I try to ask in my very minimal understanding of the Romanian language how his day was, if he likes the soup, and how old he is. He looks up and smiles, responds to the questions, and we carry on a conversation with the few words we know in one another’s language. I push a girl on the swing and she sings “Let It Go” from Frozen at the top of her lungs. She tells me to sing along, and I join in with her as other children near us begin to sing with us as well.

I sit among members of the Word Made Flesh Romania staff as one staff member makes a covenant to serve in the WMF community, and the community in turn makes a covenant with him to pray for, serve, and support him. I am struck by the strength of the community and the mutuality with one another that they work for.

One of the funniest phrases I have come across in my short time here translated into English is ‘I am cabbage.’ It is an expression used in a joking way to say that you are not good at something. This phrase has been a source of laughter many times since I have been here, but more than that, I have found myself embracing this idea that in my new Romanian context, I am cabbage at a lot of things.

But this doesn’t have to be a bad thing. I strive to achieve. I have always been a goal-oriented person that works towards a purpose in the future. My mind is always in what is next and what needs to be done. But being here in Romania, and being with the kids at the community center has shown me the gift of just being. I have been given the gift of entering into the community here, even though I have a limited understanding of the culture, language, and history of the children and staff I am with each day.

One definition of compassion that I have read is suffering with. It is not a distant sympathy that looks down from a position of power, but moving towards solidarity with others in the context of community. Interacting with the children at the community center each day has given me the ability to experience the gift of being with. It is not about checking things off of a list that makes a day productive, but instead, choosing to be present and coming from a place of cabbageness/ humility in order to create relationships and allowing others to lead.In an article by David Chronic, he says that “The kingdom of the Triune God confers a reciprocal loving relationship, not hierarchical power. The kingdom of the Trinity offers liberation, not domination. The kingdom of the Father, Son and Spirit is where justice and peace kiss (Ps. 85:10) and where all things are renewed (Rev. 21:5).” This gives me a clear picture of the position and framework I am to enter into serving with, and I know that I have seen a glimpse of the kingdom in this Word Made Flesh community.