The first seven weeks of our marriage were wonderful. We traveled all over the place for Sam to preach and share the work in Romania on the weekends, visiting and meeting countless brothers and sisters in Christ everywhere we went. During the week we lived at my parent’s house, spending time with my family, having various studies, visiting friends, and managing to stay very busy.
Now we have begun a new chapter in our lives together. Last week, beginning our journey on Monday, we have moved to Romania. Sam has lived and worked here for ten months before our marriage, and I have now joined him. I am excited to see what God’s will for us is as we live and work here together, always trying to serve and glorify God in everything.
We said goodbye to most of the family Monday afternoon, and then Daddy and Leah went with us to the airport in Atlanta, about five hours away. I expected it to be hard to leave my family, but I found it even harder than I anticipated. Before we left Daddy prayed with us all in the kitchen and many of us could not stop the tears. It was a bittersweet goodbye, because I was so excited to take this next step with Sam, but I was also sad to be leaving my family. When we said goodbye to Daddy and Leah in the airport Sam prayed again, and again there were tears. Leah and I hugged and cried for a while, then we dried our tears and said goodbye—just for a little while, just until December.
In the Atlanta airport, about to leave for London
The flight to London was long, but it was much better than I expected. Our flight left at 10:15 pm, and as soon as we got on the plane I was exhausted. I was able to sleep for a little while, and then I woke up and read for about an hour or so. The rest of the flight was spend sleeping and waking up several times, so I never felt like I was really able to sleep, but it was better than nothing and I did feel somewhat rested the next morning. Adapting to time change has been interesting, but it has not been as difficult as I anticipated.
Our layover in London was almost nine hours, so we filled out departure cards at passport control and purchased tickets for the Underground to go see the city! It was quite expensive to check bags at the airport, so we walked all around London carrying all four of our carry on bags! We each had a backpack, and Sam carried both of our carry on suitcases. We did not have much time in the city, but it was a great experience to get to see downtown London, hear all the British accents, and see many interesting sights. We walked through a small garden, through Chinatown, and across the Thames River. We even saw Big Ben from a distance
When we returned to the airport we were exhausted, but we still had a three-hour flight ahead of us to Bucharest, Romania. However, the flight went well and before I knew it we were landing in Romania.
Even now it has not completely sunk in that I am here in Romania. I have had a feeling I might end up here for a while. It began when Sam and I started dating and I knew he would be moving here. I knew I would be coming here when we got engaged, and then when we got married. Now I am actually here and I still can’t completely believe it! Right before we got off the plane I began to get pretty nervous. I did not know what I was doing, I did not know the language, and I was just a bit overwhelmed. I was nervous to go through passport control, but everything went smoothly and we were able to get our bags and leave the airport.
Our great friend Vali met us at the airport and drove us to a hotel to stay for the night. Sam met Vali a few months ago through a mutual friend from the States and he has been such a blessing. Sam contacted him before we arrived and he took care of us in every way, from picking us up at the airport after midnight local time, to getting us a nice hotel room for two nights, taking us on a tour around Bucharest, and helping us get to the train station. We are so thankful for all Vali’s help!
My first night in Romania, as we rode from the airport to the hotel, I was very overwhelmed. Everyone was speaking a different language and everything looked different. I was also sleep deprived and still sad about leaving my family; so many different emotions were combined to create my feelings.
That night Sam read Psalm 23 before we went to sleep. Even though everything is new here and a bit frightening, God is our shepherd and we can trust in Him, and hopefully we will learn to trust in Him more and more as we face hardships during this new part of our journey.
I’m not sure how late it was when we finally got to bed Tuesday night/Wednesday morning, but due to exhaustion and jetlag we slept until 12:30 pm the next morning! Not long after we woke up we walked to a nearby piata and bought some fruits and vegetables for breakfast. Sam also went to a store and bought bread, peanut butter, oats, and coffee! We spent a few hours in the hotel; Sam studied and did computer work and I studied and worked on my online college classes. We walked about a mile and a half to Bible study that night where Sam used to attend when his family lived in Bucharest in 1999-2001. The whole study was led in Romanian and I could not understand it, but I was able to pick up a few words here and there that I recognized. Sam had a bilingual Bible (Romanian on one side and English on the other), so I just tried to read the passage in English and think about it. When one led a prayer in Romanian, I simply prayed to myself since I could not understand what he was saying. Most of the members could speak English fairly well, so I was able to meet them all after the study. It was encouraging to meet brothers and sisters in Christ with common goals and interests even when I was far away from home in a different country.
Vali picked us up after Bible study and took us on a drive through Bucharest, showing us all the historic and notable sights and buildings. Although I was quite tired earlier in the day, getting to sleep was still somewhat difficult as I was still adjusting to the time change. However, when I woke up the next morning at 5:00 to get ready to get on the train I felt well rested and somewhat on schedule.
With Vali at the House of Parliaments
The House of Parliaments
We had about a six-hour train ride from Bucharest to Severin, and although I was a little nervous about it, it all went very smoothly and all was well! It was so wonderful to see Mom and Dad (Peters) when we arrived at their apartment in Severin. We visited and caught up together for a while, and later that day Sam took me on my first run in Romania. We are currently living with Mom and Dad in their apartment for the time being and we are so thankful for their hospitality and allowing us to share their home!
On the train to Severin
Getting settled and getting used to living in a completely new place with a new culture and a new language has been and will be a process, but so far everything is going well and I am so thankful to have this opportunity! Updates on life here in Romania will be coming soon!
~ Julie Peters