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Thursday, July 12 – At 8:30 a.m., most of us gathered at our bus near the church where we had sung the night before. Since we had stayed with Romanian host families, we came from various places, some walking, and some driving. We bid farewell to our hosts and to Ken Tucker, and then bid a final farewell to Elena.

Since we had to pick up a few of the guys elsewhere, we rolled off without a roll call. Those of us who were on the bus immediately began to compare notes on our experiences with our Romanian hosts; the cultural differences and language barriers had contributed to some interesting situations for some of us.

We picked up our missing guys a few miles down the road and headed for our morning destination – the Salina Turda salt mines. We spent several hours here; there is a labyrinth of tunnels with walls of solid black salt, and an echo chamber where we yelled Jotham’s name and listened as the tunnels bounced it back to us repeatedly. The main attraction here, however, was a hall so huge that it contained a Ferris wheel and an amphitheater, as well as mini golf and other activities. An adjacent chamber had an underground lake where some of us rented rowboats for short rides.

Since some of us had abundant energy, we also spent some time in the underground play area experimenting with hopscotch variations before racing the very long, steep stairways to the upper level and exit.

From the salt mines, we headed toward Sighisoara, our destination for our evening program. We stopped at a restaurant for lunch shortly after leaving the salt mine; after filling up on a huge bowl of soup, we proceeded to devour the main course of chicken and potatoes, finishing up with some pastries for dessert. Stretching our stomachs has become a normal occurrence for us here.

We arrived in Sighisoara slightly behind schedule and had to walk about five minutes to reach the Bethel Pentecostal Church, where we were to give our program. Since we were pressed for time, we decided to forgo changing into our uniforms, so we had the novel experience of presenting a concert while wearing casual travel clothes. Despite our casual attire, we were able to stay focused well and our program was very well-received by the church. We were fed a huge meal after the service, and then we split up once again to stay with host families for the night.

Tim Kauffman