Brasov was a blur
We took the 6 hour trek from Dragonesti to Brasov over what felt like large and rolly pillows of landscape. I remember the sun beginning to set as we just dipped up and down over these Transylvanian hills. Our bus couldn't help but take pull over every time the guard rail granted permission on this very tight mountain road. I remember the nausea I felt at one of the photo stops, not from the relentlessly windy roads, but rather the fact that I had left my camera battery on the charger back in Dragonesti. Besides the distraction of disappointment, this helped me just enjoy some great tunes and the girl beside me.
Never have I experienced quite the same type of landscape. You saw these beautiful homes with incredibly green plots of grass directly behind them. The lawns sprawled up the hill until they were swallowed by the trees which stretched up until farmland then took their place. It was nearly polar opposite of where we had just come from.
When the bus stops and you are at the point of arrival, it always feels chaotic. I remember our massive group together in what felt like a swarming formation that just took over. We headed to our hostel, the Centrum House Hostel. I highly recommend it. Little did I know, I'd hardly be using it it to sleep in but rather to place my belongings inside.
Like always, we tried to adjust and get our bearings as fast as possible. Where is the hostel? Wow this looks pretty. I like the cobblestone streets! Did that guy just get pulled out of that bar and get punched in the face? Yes, yes he did. This hostel has a lot of stairs. I call that bed. Alright lets find a place to grab some food. Shoot its already kind of late.
Brasov immediately brought me back to former mountain towns I have spent time in. It felt like rain was somewhere in the atmosphere, and suprisingly this town was extremely dead! We were looking for a bar that felt alive and fun, and were by all means trying to avoid the rest of our huge american crowd that we came with (as usual). We meandered through the cobblestone streets finding one western style cafe/bar that was delicious but unfortunately closed after only a little while. Tipografia. (The next morning we would enjoy a fantastic lunch here before heading to Dracula's Castle.)
After this, we honestly couldn't find any other place. We then resorted to the pub that was located directly beside the hostel. It felt like your grungy bar from your hometown that you find people in 10 years down the road who you went to high school with. It got rowdy.
There was literally nothing else to do late at night in this quaint gem of a town. I remember drinking a lot. I remember one of our last shots was what we called the "Gasoline shot" because it was the cheapest, and most potent, and it tasted absolutely horrible. I then remember my friend Kirsti ordering one of those drinks that had a suggestive name, gosh it was just a messy night.
You see, we were merely missionaries on a day off. We had quite a few drinks, yes, but it was in a controlled environment. We were only going to be in this town for 1 night and then move on to the rest of the world. I understand that is controversial, but I mean we weren't about to light something on fire.
This is when things took a turn.
Kathryn went to the bathroom by herself. She then came back with a guy-- whom she met IN the bathroom! Well that is what she said anyway. There was a joint sink area outside of the 2 doors which were men's and women's. But still she comes back saying "Hey guys meet my German friend who I met in the bathroom!" Though my relationship with this German didn't exactly start out on the right foot, I was curious to hear about his story.
We ask German guy questions about himself. He asks us what we are doing in Romania. It doesn't take long for him to start talking about how he doesn't believe in a God.
So there we were. A bunch of kids with pure hearts, but in a foolish state of being. Shoot, this was our day off... we just can't catch a break can we?
It was almost like I sensed God laughing at our situation. I don't feel like God was up there glaring at us saying, wow you all really effed up. Instead I felt him smiling and saying "well now you guys really need to depend on me in this conversation don't you".
And do not get drunk with wine, for that is debauchery, but be filled with the Spirit
A few of us started praying and asking for soberness as we took turns talking to our new friend. We sensed a calming peace. I can tell you from my experience that I went down like 4 levels of "feeling it". As we talked to him, we discovered more and more hurt that this guy has dealt with in his life. He was a bitter man who had tried to believe in God before, but just couldn't arrive. Our group began receiving prophetic words that were specifically encouraging to his life and his current situation. I remember him considering himself essentially a slave to success. We asked him if we could pray for him, in the midst of the Gasoline Shots and Whisky on the rocks. It was incredible thing that the guy was open to receiving prayer from us. After our pray, he conceded by saying "My friends, I have decided not to believe in God for many years. But on this night, I will once again attempt to believe in his realness, you have been a blessing to me."
We were all blown away and completely humbled. We were just silly kids traveling the world trying to love people. We wanted people to see the love inside of us was from something greater than us. I used to have a huge problem with people drinking alcohol. Depending on how it affects certain people, I absolutely still can have a problem with it. But, this isn't about why we were okay with drinking, it is simply to say that God can use whoever he wants to love someone, even amidst the folly of my friends and I on a rainy night in Brasov, Romania.