“I want you to build into Sorina.” This was Kory’s only formal request of me for my short stay in Craiova.
It was just over a month ago when I was in Vienna for Innovista’s Leading for Life conference. Kory, who works for the same mission organisation as me, brought Sorina and Catalin, the staff he works with in Romania. We hit it off right away and I began to look forward to seeing them again in their home town.
The first few days in Romania were spent in the mountains celebrating Canadian Thanksgiving with the EMCC World Partners Romania team, our Director and a friend. Since I’m all on my lonesome in Ireland and the only other EMCC WP missionary in Europe, they invited me as well. It was a really good time to just catch up with people and begin to experience the country. As with all good adventures, we had some unexpected detours on our way back to Craiova which meant a lunch stop in beautiful Brasov with Kory, Erin and their girls. On our way again, Kory outlined what he hoped I would do over the following days.
Their team is busy running Heroes programme in quite a few schools and are developing relationships with youth al over the city. As trust is built, teens have been sharing some pretty heavy burdens during the discussion times. That is where I come in: how to build relationships with teen girls in crisis.
The following morning I entered familiar territory. I walked down the road with Sorina and Erin to a cafe. The purpose was to listen, to share, to build up and to tear down. We barely left the building when Sorina began to give me a glimpse of her huge heart for these girls. Story after story came out about teens she felt burdened for and her uncertainty of how to develop life-giving relationships so they can sustain positive growth in their lives. After our coffees were ordered we continued our conversation. It was time for me to share. Examples were easy to come by that illustrated principles I find most helpful and necessary. As the stories began to weave together it was time to build up. Sorina is a quick thinker and a brilliant problem solver. She quickly identifies something that didn’t have the desired effect and is determined to do it differently next time. She is unafraid to try something new for the sake of teen girls and boys she is working with. It was then time to tear down. Tear down the insecurities. Tear down the barriers to creativity. Tear down the blinders to her seeing and using her own strengths.
Over the following days we went on walks, shared our stories, went to Zumba, cooked lunch together, worked in the office, made it through a team workshop and attended the Heroes programme. Time was of the essence if I wanted to use it well. By the end of the week Sorina walked with confidence and was beaming from ear to ear. She is pretty incredible and I can’t wait to see how she becomes a world changer over the coming years.
Building up is about learning to really see someone and then drawing all their goodness to the surface.