at the borders

On Sunday night, we tearfully left the TNU students, professors, and the Tallalei family behind. We boarded a bus back to Sighisoara that would journey us through the windy arms of the Carpathians. At the border, we were made to get out of our bus and stand in line to go through passport control. Every time I stand in a line like this, I think about Auschwitz and I thank God for my life.

When the girls were little, we passed through so many borders. Inevitably, they would ask where we were when we found ourselves in that stretch between two countries. ‘No man’s land’ was always our answer. On Sunday night, our bus pulled up to a public toilet in ‘no man’s land’. I have never seen something filthier in all of my life and I have seen a lot of filthy before.

It makes me ask whether I have a no man’s land in my heart somewhere, you know? Someplace that never gets touched, never gets scrubbed, never gets aired out. Because I think that Jesus can see those places and he must long to just strip away the death there.

After that ‘experience beyond words’, we came to border number two, where we lumbered off the bus again, this time with all of our belongings. After standing in line, the officer went through all of our baggage looking for illegal substances.

You see, someone has created a system to try and crack down on the smuggling. People, alcohol, drugs, weapons, cigarettes, all of it is trafficked across this border on a daily basis. They even questioned us about Josh, who is under age and not traveling with his parents. He could easily be a trafficked kid.

The system was made for the right purpose, but it ends up as an impotent activity that mostly just aggravates the average person. Traffickers are shrewd business men and women. They run Fortune 500 businesses that don’t get included in the Fortune 500 list. They are not the ones sitting on an overnight bus in no man’s land.

It makes me ask what systems I have in place that are ineffective for catching the crap that gets by my borders, you know?

We spent a catch up day in Sighisoara with Roberta. Had an afternoon in the village with two families that we love. Nelu killed the family goat and we ate grilled meat in the yard with the sun shining and the kids playing and nature bursting. We picked berries from trees and popped them in our mouths – no poisons, no chemicals, just God’s gracious gifts to his people.

It is early morning now and the bells in Sighisoara are ringing. The kids are waking up and we leave for a 13 hour drive to Poland. If we have internet, we will post again.

Today’s blog are really just thoughts – those glimpses that come on the run so you do not get to fully process them. They have not been gussied up to twirl in front of the mirror. Maybe they are orphans that are just hoping someone picks them. But, that too, is a day in the life of a missionary. Sometimes, the music we hear is disjointed strains trying to sing itself into a ballad.

Tomorrow, we visit Auschwitz. I am not ready. Is anyone ever ready to face Auschwitz?

No man’s land. It is where all the filthy lives when the heart never gets cleaned, when Jesus can’t touch it. Nobody dances there. God help us.

God forgive us.

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