If you follow me on Instagram or Twitter, you might have noticed I was recently in Transylvania, Romania. I’m excited to share all our adventures with you, so here is what you can expect over the next week regarding our trip:

Part 1: Crossroads {Concerts}
Part 2: Tag, You’re It {Mission Activities}
Part 3: There, wolf. There, castle. {Sightseeing}

CROSSROADS {Romanian Choir Tour}Located in the center of Romania lies the region of Transylvania known for its scenic beauty of Carpathian landscape and its rich history. It also claims the fame of being home to vampires thanks to Bram Stoker’s Dracula. This quiet region of the world is where my church took 130+ choir and orchestra.

This was my second international choir tour. My first trip was to Tarnów, Poland in 2004. I wasn’t exactly sure what was waiting for us on the other side of the world, but I packed my bags and with an expectant heart I boarded our flight. My prayer for the week was the chorus from Bryan & Katie Torwalt’s song “Holy Spirit”:

Holy Spirit You are welcome here
Come flood this place and fill the atmosphere
Your glory God is what our hearts long for
To be overcome by Your presence Lord

The chorus just kept playing over and over in my head while we were singing, while the gospel was being presented, while we were touring, while we were playing and doing crafts with children. It was my anthem for the week, and I know God answered the prayer.

It is not easy to travel with 130+ people, especially when taking 130+ people to Europe. Our group was thus divided into two flight groups. My flight group flew out of Atlanta on a 5:00 pm flight to Munich, then had a 6 hour layover in the Munich airport, then flew  from Munich to Sibiu, Romania (1.75 hours), finally ending our trip with a 1 hour drive from Sibiu to Alba Iulia. All in all, it took us around 20 hours to get from Atlanta to Alba Iulia. And let me tell you, after grabbing some food in the dining room, I was so very happy to see a bed!

View of Alba Iulia | Southern Exhilaration

Saturday evening, dressed in our vermilion red, cobalt blue, and chrome yellow (the colors of the Romanian flag) we headed to the Fortress’ center to have our first concert. Not knowing what to expect, I was absolutely blown away by the number of people who came to listen to our concert and stayed until the very end!  We were blessed to have the endorsement of the local government, and we easily had over 1,000 people stay and listen to us sing and the Gospel presentation. We even made the local news!

Our Sunday was a jam-packed day. We all arose early on Sunday morning, we boarded our buses and drove an hour west to the city of Deva. There we joined in worship with Deva Trinity Baptist Church (Biserica Creştină Baptistă Sfânta Treime). Check out this video for our complete concert there. The most moving part was when we all joined in our native languages in singing Amazing Grace. Let me tell you, the presence of God was tangible and the water works began.

After an amazing time in Deva getting to meet those who came to hear us, we headed to this adorable little restaurant for a delicious lunch. We then loaded back on the buses to head back to Alba Iulia to give everyone time to freshen up before our 30 minute trek south to Sebeș. Our concert that night was in a 700 year old Cathedral, Sebes Evangelical Lutheran Church (Biserica Evanghelică). The original church was built between 1240 and 1270, and it claims to have the largest altar of all churches in Transylvania. It was absolutely stunning, and it definitely was built for a choir and orchestra! The sound was goosebump-raising. There is nothing like performing in a building designed for music!

Photo taken by Austin Smith.
Photo taken by Austin Smith.

Monday evening, after a full day on our different ministry sites, was our private concert for members of Harmony Baptist Church and their guests. Seated around 30+ round tables, we broke bread and found creative ways to work around the language barrier. After a delicious dinner, we took to the stage with another fabulous concert where the message was favorably received. We gained a standing ovation and encore request. It was a true blessing to worship our Savior in different languages.

Fast forward to Wednesday evening, our final concert of the trip. This concert was in an old theater just off the fortress. We saw many familiar faces in the audience and enjoyed getting to say hello to those who stayed after the encore.

Five glorious concerts, and there is no question that God showed up in a mighty and tangible way each and every time. Stay tuned for more about our time in Romania.