Someone once said that you could not go home again. Nevertheless, I feel as if I just returned home from our home away from home. Over the past two weeks, my dad and I ministered in Bucharest, Romania and Warsaw, Poland. Having traveled to Bucharest three years ago, it was a wonderful homecoming as we greeted our precious brothers and sisters in Christ. The dear friends we met in both of these countries have become family to me. This is why I am convinced, no matter where life may take you, you may be able to return home.

Home is not simply a building comprised of four walls. Rather, it is a place where you feel completely comfortable, compassionately cared for, and so very loved. This summer, I found myself at home, more than 5,600 miles from my hometown. As we were invited into the homes of such loving friends in Eastern Europe, it became clear to me that God had orchestrated this opportunity to share the Gospel and to encourage these kindhearted people. I am humbled that God would choose my dad and me for this incredible journey.


Our gratefulness to God began before we even left home. Due to pandemic restrictions and civil unrest in Eastern Europe, our original travel plans were cancelled. After much prayer, we were led to find some other way to reach Bucharest and Warsaw. Romania had opened to U.S. citizens. Poland was still closed; however, we booked the travel arrangements in faith that Poland would open. Revelation 3:7-8 says when we obey His command, God will open doors that no one can close. One week before our departure, God opened the door to Poland.


Our entire trip was filled with memories that will remain in our hearts forever. We will always cherish the sweet fellowship with dear friends. One pastor invited us to their home more than once for a delightful meal with his family. On one occasion, they even invited one of my close friends from the church to join us for dinner in their home. What a wonderful gesture, one for which I am very grateful.

Many of the church members shared delicious meals with us. We enjoyed scrumptious food, not only Romanian and Polish cuisine, but also delectable dishes from Myanmar, India, Lebanon, Italy, Thailand, and Moldova. The meals were some of the best we have ever encountered. The combination of spices and fresh ingredients truly made my taste buds sing. Yet, the number one ingredient was love.


Sitting in the apartment of one of the families in Romania, we listened and watched as one of their children played worship songs on the keyboard as some of their siblings sang along. Afterward, we all sang together, giving all of the glory and honor to the Lord. Our praise transitioned to prayer as we all bowed our heads. Everyone, including these precious boys and girls, prayed aloud to Jesus Christ. As I prayed over this family, I could not hold back the tears. My heart was literally overflowing with joy as I sat there, feeling the presence of God in the room. As Jesus said, “‘For where two or three gather together as my followers, I am there among them’” (Matt. 18:20 NLT).


Throughout our time in these two countries, God opened the door for us to encourage others. Simultaneously, we were encouraged ourselves. The people God placed in our path took First Thessalonians 5:11 (NIV) to heart: “Therefore encourage one another and build each other up.” They continually encouraged us through their friendship and their prayers. How special it was when one of the pastors, his wife, my dad, and I all shared in praying for one another aloud!


Words could never express the magnitude of the love shown to us by our friends in Eastern Europe. The term unconditional love does not suffice. They shined forth the love of Jesus Christ to us in so many ways. In addition to their love, they gave us a priceless gift: their time. Even after each church service, these caring friends desired not to hurry home, but to fellowship with us, giving us the opportunity to know them better. Setting aside entire days to join us in ministry, I never once heard someone say, “I’m too busy.” They knew God had arranged a divine appointment for us to fellowship together and to proclaim the Gospel in their city.


Several times, some of these devoted Christians joined us for evangelism in local parks and market squares. I will never forget the people we met along the way, such as the woman in the park in Bucharest who told me she felt like an orphan, having lost both of her parents. The fact that God would provide me the opportunity to share the love of Jesus Christ with her, as she stood there in tears, was truly humbling. Then there was the woman and her daughter in Warsaw whose family had made bird whistles by hand for multiple generations, as well as the man and woman who we witnessed to on two separate occasions. My dad and I sang on city streets, handed out Gospel tracts, and told people why we had traveled so far. We came to share the Gospel, just as Mark 16:15 tells us to do. God ordered our steps all along the way.


While I have memories that will last forever, my greatest desire is that someone will water the seeds we have sown. As the apostle Paul said, “I planted the seed, Apollos watered it, but God has been making it grow. So neither the one who plants nor the one who waters is anything, but only God, who makes things grow” (1 Cor. 3:6-7 NIV). My dad and I planted seeds and watered others. Now, we pray God will speak to the hearts and lives of the men, women, and children with whom we were blessed to share the Gospel.


The number one reason we travel is not to see the sights, but to set our sights on Jesus Christ. He is the truth, the life, and the only way to salvation (John 14:6). May we all make the most of every opportunity we have to tell someone about Jesus before His soon return! Like our treasured friends in Bucharest and Warsaw, we pray that every soul we encountered on this journey will one day be our friend in Heaven, our eternal home (Luke 16:9).