They were such a precious group of five and six year olds, and we had a wonderful time helping each of them, and even teaching them new games like Duck, Duck, Goose and Hot Potato. As a word of advice to anyone teaching a new game in another language, be sure to know the words for duck and goose before you begin! We left the preschoolers and headed out for an overnight stay into the Carpathian Mountains.
The drive up into the mountains was a scenic one, and when the mountains first showed up on the horizon, I think we collectively lost our minds. The beauty of Romania, even in the dead of winter, is a sight to behold. The snow-capped peaks rose high above the rows and rows of empty fields, and their sheer size was impossible to take in. We were on our way to the Peleși Palace in the heart of those mountains, and you could feel the anticipation building.
After a series of small mountain villages and hairpin turns, we finally arrived at the main entrance to the palace. When Peleși finally presented itself around the last turn, I can honestly tell you I have never seen anything like it. The Palace was the home of Karoli (Carl) I, first king of Romania. It took something like a staggering 40 years to complete, and the intricacy of craftsmanship both inside and outside was breathtaking.
Almost every room was decorated by his wife, Queen Elisabeth, and she based many rooms on a specific cultural theme. There was a Turkish smoking room, an Italian ballroom, French sitting room, and many more. There were alabaster carvings and enormous wood inlays everywhere, among the numerous gifts presented to the king. We saw a small fraction of his vast collection of weapons from all over the world, witnessed one of the largest collections of stained glass, and stood in awe of the main Hall of Honor, where guests would be greeted. Peleși was one of the first to have running water, electricity, a central vacuum system, and an electric elevator. He also designed a giant stained glass ceiling in the main hall to include an electric motor, which would open the ceiling at the press of a button to refresh the air in the castle.
When I tell you that words and pictures are not enough, it is an understatement. It is truly a masterpiece of architecture, art and craftsmanship. I think you should come to Romania, work with Rick and Jan, and then have them take you to see it for yourself!
I may be joking (a little), but there is an enormous need here in Romania for help, for teachers, for people willing to give up a month or two, a year or two (or more), and definitely for much prayer. Please pray that our last few days of ministry here are effective, and that it continues to have an impact after we leave. We so appreciate all the support you’ve shown, and plan to continue blogging and reflecting after we return to the States. Thank you all again, and we can’t wait to see what God has in store!