Saturday, June 17, 2006

Final Moldovan Blog '06

Today was the perfect last day of my very first and so far favorite Moldovan adventure. We woke up to eat our sugar based breakfast and departed in our beloved van driven by BORIS ,the best driver in Chisinau, to visit the transition houses and the boarding school. We also went to the Orhei monastery/Canyon which was one of the most beautiful and breathtaking sights abroad I have encountered. It was a ten min. hike up to this place where monks still live,sleep, and pray and there was a cross at the top and cows and horses and a river and rocks and sunshine and green for as far as you can see. I liked it a lot. McDonald's for lunch. Again. Then we went to the market and local mall to shop around and it was great because my mom got to bring along Antonina, her sponsored child, and let her pick out some things she needed plus a few extra fun things :) Alex, our cute Moldovan interpreter came with. We also took a walk through this forest-park-amazingness in the middle of the city which was right next to this cathedral/church where we could hear the choir and there were old ladies feeding pigeons. It was very Moldovan and very good. The best part of the day though was everyone dining together at the Irish pub giving final speeches,goodbyes, and thank-yous. it was great. Basically Jesus is so faithful to continue to exceed one's expectations for life and its many moments and experiences and no amount of words can even begin to express my gratitude for his provision and wisdom and protection for the success of this time here. I felt His presence so close each and everyday-in the cabins in small group delivering His story and truth, worship with the kids, in all the hugs, all the smiles and even to the very last moments with the orphans Friday where he even blessed us with a rainbow over camp. GOD IS LOVE. I LOVE MOLDVOVA. goodnite. goodbye till next year...

Don't you cry.......

Don't you cry, that was a familar saying yesterday as we left the camp for the final time.
My two boys that I connected with, both named Sergiu , watched a beautiful rainbow as we said our final "see you later"....not goodbye. Strange how quickly we went from "You lie" (on Monday) to "I'll never forget you" (on Friday). It appeared God was reaffirming his promise to us with the rainbow as we parted.

If there were ever a doubt I was called for this trip it vanished Friday afternoon with the goodbyes. Sergiu T. told me "Before you came, we fight alot. You brought me peace, and this was the greatest week of my life". How can you NOT cry at those words???

It was tough working with the older guys , the ones a year ot two away from being forced into the real world on their owns. One of my guys has no sponsor, at least for the moment ;-)

It'll be a few days before I can really write my take on this trip.
The laughs, tears, music, dancing, memories, and more will forever be with us. I will NOT miss the "WC at all.....for all you Americans that is the water closet, A.K.A. the restroom. You don't want to know the details of the unique experience those can bring LOL

Tonight we parted with the translators after a day of sightseeing and shopping. More hugs and tears. Video and digital cameras are a gift from God :-)
ALl our translators are like family now, some I work with last year, many I'll see next trip. Did I say next trip???

See everyone in a few days.


Leavin' on a prop plane...

Wow. What can I say? It's so hard to believe that this week has flown by and we are heading out tomorrow. I'm ready to get home to hug my family but I'm not ready to leave the wonderful friends I have made this week and the beautiful kids I have grown to care for and love.

Yesterday we had our "goodbyes" with the kids, and it was so tough. One of the older girls I have been with for the past several days couldn't stop hugging me. I told her that she and I were sisters, and her eyes widened as she grabbed me and just started crying. It really broke my heart. She has no one and I've felt called to be her "big sis" and help mentor her. She's 14 and at that age where it would be great to have someone to talk to about life, so I'm excited to be that for her. I bought her an English/Romanian dictionary today at the market because she wanted to start learning English. I'm really excited for her. I also had a young boy named Veirgel who kept showering me with gifts before I left. He gave me a picture of him with a note on the back that read "Veirgel loves you. Jesus is with you. I am always with you." He was one of those boys at the beginning of the week who would help out where needed but kept his distance love-wise from you, but as he and Sanda were walking me to the bus, he grabbed me and sobbed. Those moments break your heart, but God showed his presence, love and comfort through a double rainbow in the sky. It was such an awesome moment.

Tonight, we said our goodbyes to the translators. This was such a difficult moment too because these wonderful individuals have become great, great friends to me...friends that will never be forgotten. So needless to say, there was a lot of crying the past two days, but I wouldn't trade it for anything. This was my first mission trip and first time outside of the States, and I can honestly say that I wouldn't have chosen any other trip. I witnessed God's presence throughout the whole week in the kids, the team members and myself. It has allowed me to grow stronger in my walk and I'm so excited to get back home to show pictures and share stories. Beware those of you who will see those! I have hundreds!! :)

-- Jaclyn

Friday, June 16, 2006

A Moldovan Bonfire...

As you scratch your head with that one, allow me to paint a picture. A 13 FOOT TEPEE engulfed by flames with Ms. Gallina pouring a liter of gas on it. Wait till you see the pictures and not to mention that Jen has the whole thing on video, it was a sight. As if that was not enough, just imagine trying to roast hotdogs on a fire that hot. Overall, it was a great night and the kids loved it.

This has been such an amazing week. I knew that we would connect with the children, but I had no idea of connecting with them on this level. Shannon, Jaclyn and myself have been working with the 1st and 2nd grade children. I was not prepared for just how deep the conversations were going to go but God was and the Spirit moved as we were able to tell them of Gods love for each of them. This trip has forever changed my life.

Thanks to everyone for your prayers and support. Can't wait to see you and tell you more stories. Maybe we can gather at Tripps for a Moldovan bonfire and share stories (ha).

No Creative Title Comes to Me Right Now

Since I'm not sure how much of Thursday and Friday will be covered by everybody blogging tonight, I'll just say that words cannot do justice to either day. For those of you who have been around for a last day of camp departure, you know how emotional this day can be. You form quick friendships with the children - many that will hopefully last a long time - and pray that you were able to plant some seeds for future groups, volunteers and CERI staff here to harvest.

I sincerely believe that there were some lives changed here this week. I could tell a difference in several kids in the group led by Laura M., Marilyn and I (5-7th graders) by the end of the week. I know other team members felt the same about their group. While they still face intense peer pressure from the older boys in terms of how they treat the younger kids and the girls in general, there were several who appeared to respond to our message of respect and seeing value in their lives through the eyes of Christ. My hope is that we reach the younger boys soon enough to reverse the cycle. For those of you reading, I have several names of boys who would be great candidates for sponsorship or could at least use the encouragement and prayer to lead a changed life. I got to know them this week. It's amazing how much they responded to hugs and attention.

As I said before, last day of camp is hard to capture in words. You're sad at leaving the kids but fired up about how you saw God move in the lives of the kids during the week. It's a shame that there isn't a team coming in right after us as I'm confident another week or two of attention would really make a difference.

Thursday should probably be left in the capable hands and fingers of my fellow bloggers - David I hope you're covering the Salem witch trials angle - but I will add a few thoughts. We had a great day with the kids and it culminated with the big bonfire we had been planning for some time. We had two huge bags of sausages (they don't call them hot dogs over here kids), lots of soda, chips and biscuits (jumbo size Lorna Doone's). I spent about an hour with Alisa, the older girl we sponsor, in helping her decide which school she should attend in the fall and working out her living arrangements for the summer and fall so I missed the building of the fire pit/Salem witch trial recreation.

Those of the team fortunate enough to witness the building of this bonfire (we have video by the way) used such words as burning teepee, open pit from hell, etc. Suffice it to say that with a center post measuring more than 12 feet tall, small trees leaned up against it and a litre of gasoline, the coals were so hot once it settled that you couldn't get any closer than 10 feet away before you started to roast. I think I still have part of my "sunburn" left and have some hair missing on one knuckle to show for it. The Boy Scouts we were not, but we worked it out with our Moldovan friends and got all the kids fed. Top it off with Ruslan (one of the older boys we've worked with for a couple years) singing a Turkish disco song or two, Ms. Gallina doing the polka and you have one heck of a night. You will have to see the video to believe it all.

Hello and lots of love to all my family and friends back in the States. Looking forward to seeing you in a few days. I love and miss you all.

There Are Not Enough Words

Hello again to all. We've reached the end of our time at the camp. I purposefully picked Friday to blog when we were signing up for time slots so that I would have a chance to reflect on the entire week and sum up my thoughts. Bad idea. How do you put into a few words the experience of a lifetime. I've heard that it takes time upon returning home to figure out how to talk about your experiences here in Moldova. I don't think those people were kidding. It's all so overwhelming and difficult to express. The children are absolutely wonderful and I know that I am forever changed having been with them this week. I may go back to my job and my family, but I know that my life can never be the same. We've shared many laughs and tears, both with the children and as a team, and there is now a bond between us all that no one else can ever fully understand. It was difficult today to say goodbye, but somehow I got through it. Of course it was made much easier knowing that I'll get to spend tomorrow afternoon with Petrica because some of the sponsored children are being allowed to come into the city with us. But I guess that really only delays the heartache that I know will come when I really do have to say goodbye to him. He doesn't know about it yet, and I wish I could be there to see his face when they tell him. I did have to say goodbye to the rest of my boys today. We hugged again and again, and all tried (but failed) not to cry. I told them that I love them and that I will not forget them. I don't know what the future holds for me and these boys, but even if I never see them again I know I'll have them with me always. Thanks to all who have supported me and made this trip possible for me. It has truly been one of the greatest experiences of my life.

Stuart (Little)

Wednesday, June 14, 2006

Better Wednesday than I Expected

Hello again from Moldova. First a thank you to my family, friends and prayer partners for supporting me in prayer while I have been here. It's been amazing to see what my prayer partners have been praying specifically for me realized during the day at camp. Yet another one of those God things that keep popping up.

Normally, Wedneday is a tough day for me. The body is adjusting to the time zone but my mind is telling me I only have a few days left and my body will need to readjust again. My patience is a little thin right about now, but of course those of you praying for me knew that already and lifted it up for me. Today was a fabulous Wednesday.

Two things happened today at camp. First, Alisa and Anisia, the two girls we sponsor, showed up at camp. Ms. Gallina drove them herself to the camp. We were able to take them with us to lunch and enjoy some time together. Alisa just finished exams for the 9th grade and has great plans for a professional school in the fall. She has now officially graduated from the school/orphanage. I continue to pray that she will have a chance to realize those dreams this fall and that we will be able to help her. She went home after lunch but I will get to see her tomorrow and possibly Saturday night. Anisia is staying at the camp the rest of the week because I am there. She wanted to stay and see me. We had a great time this afternoon.

The second thing to happen today was that Marilyn, Jen and I led a boy to Christ this evening. After our worship time at 6pm, we break off into our little groups to talk about the day and a few life skills that we want to go over. Tonight, our discussion quickly came around to what a relationship with Jesus is. David had shared tonight what his relationship with Christ was and what it meant to him. That kickstarted the conversation. A few kids (Radu and Igor along with the two twins that Brian McKay and his family sponsor) shared that they had already accepted Jesus as their Savior. Iuan, or John as he calls himself, said that he had thought about a relationship with Jesus but hadn't decided yet. One discussion led to another and soon he was asking to pray to invite Jesus into his heart! What an awesome experience. We were also able to speak with the kids (5th-7th graders) about respect, role models, and their being part of a very special family together. Out of that discussion, Radu and John have decided to begin reading the Bible together. They're starting tonight/tomorrow morning with Matthew. The other kids were talking about another group reading as well. We'll pray that takes hold.

Another God thing I'll mention. This boy is sponsored by Bill and Creely Wilson. I credit Creely with singlehandedly getting me involved in missions nearly six years ago when she stopped me in the hall at 409 Franklin and asked me to pray for missionaries with birthdays in January that year. That one request led me down a path to today.

I'm not in the habit of ranking days by past experience - I've had far too many great ones to count with my family alone - but this one has to be pretty far up there.

Whatchu gonna do when they come for you...

...Make sure you have your passport with you at all times!!! This is Jaclyn writing on this account because I seem to have forgotten my password and I can't go without telling you about my run in with the law yesterday afternoon! Yesterday after lunch, I rode in the translator bus with our seven translators and two American fellas who are in Moldova doing mission work. We are a few miles away from our turn to camp when we get pulled over by the Moldovian police. The two other Americans know Romanian so I was the only one who had no clue what was going on. Words were exchanged, and I finally asked Steven, one of the translators, what was happening. At that exact moment I asked, the Moldovian police had asked the American drivers for their passports and proof that they were allowed to be in the country. My passport, of course, was in the other van that had already arrived at camp!! I immediately thought I was going to be arrested since I didn't have my passport with me! The police never saw me in the back but he did ask Jayme, the American driver, and a translator to go with him in the police building to take care of the situation. They had to take off the license plate in the front of the car and leave it with him. So mom, dad, no need to start saving up bail money :) But I can now leave here saying I had an exciting adventure with the Moldovian police!

The experience here has been amazing. I am working with the younger kids and they are so smart. The first day we were here, we asked them what we can pray for. Their answer, "you". That's exactly what the people here are like. They give up their seat for you, their food, offer a hand, make things for you...even if they don't have much themselves. It's so amazing. There are a few girls who have become my leeches throughout the week. They are so beautiful. The orphanage director told the team yesterday about the situation of the camp, and it literally broke my heart and I had to leave the room in tears. These kids are amazing. They carry your backpacks and just want to be loved. That's what we're here for. It's hard to believe what they go through.

We have the worlds greatest translators. They continue to amaze me everyday with their knowledge and zest for life. They all have visions and goals that are just so great. I am so blessed to have met these individuals and am really going to miss them a whole lot. I can say that I have made friends during this trip that will continue after this week is finished.

So with that, it's hard to believe this is Wednesday evening (in Moldova). Two more days with the kids and our time here, physically, is complete. It will break my heart, but I have so many pictures and memories to take with me that will last a lifetime.


Wish I Were An Octopus!

That's how many arms it would take to try and hug all of the kids here at camp. They are all amazing! They have so much to offer and no one to offer it to. We are really enjoying our time with them. We have played until we drop and then sit content just to be close. We have given the children their Bibles and cards and they are so proud and honored to have one of their own. The small groups are going well getting to know them on a more personal level and I know the week will just get better and better. Nina showed up today and seeing her and her sisters was definitely a Kodak moment.

On a lighter note, we took ice cream to all of the kids today! We were a little worried about getting the goods at first as Jen rejected the advances of the dirty old man guarding the cream, but Connie pulled through and got them to sell out the store for the kids.

We also held a luncheon for Ms. Galina and the teachers. IT WAS GREAT! I really think they appreciate all that we as a team do for the kids and have been more of a participant with us this year. They have really wanted to help us and get involved. They truly seem to love and care about the kids and I have seen a lot of improvement since last summer. They are learning English, Spanish and French from language teachers and the kids are really picking it up. (Much more so that I am Romanian, sorry Ben!) Ms. Galina sat down and talked with us individually about our specific kids that we sponsor and I am truly amazed at how much she knows each one of HER KIDS. She has run out of tears of her own, but still strives to protect each and every one of those precious children. I am in awe of her dedication!

Pat, you would like to know that we ate Pizza in your honor next to Pizza Pat's. I hope SACK is going well for you! Igor, Dina, Ruslan and Nina have asked about you and Ted and Marilyn. I have showed them pictures, but they still want you all to come! Maybe next time!

I can hardly believe that the week is flying by as fast as it is, but we still covet your prayers as we talk to the children. It has been truly amazing to work together as a team. I am honored to be a part of a group of people that care so deeply. I am also honored by all of the prayers being lifted by our family and friends! MULTUMESC! and see you Sunday!

Keeping it Real

Wow, what to many thoughts and emotions , how do you sum it up?
Things finally began to make sense today. We realized early this week that working with the older kids would take a much different approach than what we had originally planned.
After the moring praise and worship time we went to our small groups that are designed to last 20 minutes. That 20 minutes turned into almost 2 1/2 hours !! Matthew and I had a conversation with Ruslan, Sasha, and Igor that turned very deep very quickly.

It really hit me at this time just what these guys were dealing with. They made it very plain that Americans didn't understand what they were dealiong with. Igor was very honest and we did our best to explain to him how to help him and how he could help himself.

There is no way I could ever fully understand all the discrimination these kids are facing. It's unfair, yet it's reality. Somehow there has to be more than can be done. The state keeps threatening to close the orpanage and camp in order to be accepted into the EU , and it would be devastating for the kids if this happens. Where would they go?

I talked one on one later with Ruslan and he understands why I keep returning here. He was surprised I would remember him from last summer. How could anyone spend time with these kids and forget them?????? I'm still processing what all has happened this week.

On a lighter note....I [articipated in my very first Moldovan track meet tonight. I had challenged Sasha and Sergiu to a 11o meter dash (the length of the soccer field). Sasha backed out, maybe I should have LOL I think I might have lost a step, a 14 year old kid outrun me by 10 meters. I'm not used to not being the fastest :-( Ironically it earned me more respect...of course I heard "I've never seen a man as old as you run before". I was like OLD????? I guess 40 IS old to a 14 year old ;-)

Oh, I forgot to mention that we had to run the lenght of the field BOTH ways. Hey, I'm still alive HA This week has been full of so many different forms of connection. I FINALLY remembered it is all about connecting and building relationships. Even so, I am still trying to handle the roller coaster of feelings and emotions.

I'll write more later when it all begins to make sense.


Tuesday, June 13, 2006

Settling In

Hello to all my friends and family in America. I miss you all. As I sit at this keyboard my mind is a blur of thoughts and emotions, and I'm not quite sure how to sort it all out and put it into words. This is my first trip overseas, so pretty much everything I have seen and experienced over the last few days has been completely new to me. It's very interesting to experience a different culture, but it also leaves you feeling very confused and unsure of yourself most of the time. I don't know what to say, or even have the words to say it, and I don't want to insult someone without even knowing it. All of this makes me feel more than a little lost. However, my own personal feelings of uncertainty and confusion are far less important than the reason that I'm here in the first place. I'm here for the children, not for me. This is a mission trip, not a vacation. The children have really amazed me these first couple of days. In many ways they're just like American children. The love to laugh and play. They tease each other and make jokes. But most of all, like any children, the want to be loved. They want to know that someone cares about them. I kept hearing before I got here that it would not be me who would choose who I interact with. I was told that the children would choose me. That is absolutely true. Without me really doing anything, I have become a part of a small group of boys, all of them around 12 or 13 years old. I have spent most of my time with Augustin, Ion (ee-wan), Nicu (nee-koo), and Petrica. They are all good boys, but each unique in his own way. Augustin is a bit shy and quiet. Ion is very outgoing and rarely stops talking even though I don't understand much of what he's saying. Nicu is sort of the follower of the group, and Petrica just seems happy to be sitting next to me. Petrica is the boy that D'Ann and I sponsor so I'm trying to get to know him, but it's not easy with the language barrier. The translators can only be in so many places at once. But, in spite of our inability to speak much of the same laguage, we manage to communicate more than I might have imagined. It's very early in the week, so I feel like I'm just scratching the surface with these boys right now. But I know that God has brought me to these boys for a reason, and I look forward to discovering what that reason is in the time I have left with them. Pray for me this week. Pray that I will know what it is that God wants me to say and do with these boys. If nothing else, I know that He wants me to love them. And if that's all, then mission accomplished.

moldova my heart

hello hello! just want to write a quick message about the time i've spent here so far. i have enjoyed so much my time with all the people God brought together here; children, translators and team. i've had some amazing conversations in small group being with the older kids, girls especially...they have a lot of questions for me about america and my life. they seem very curious about how to make a living and getting an education. being with the younger children has been great too. their love language of touch is so strong..and it has been great being with them taking thousands of pictures on the digital camera. today was extra special because my mom's little girl, antonina was said not to be able to attend camp until july and then today when we arrived back from lunch they said she was here! so i got to video my mom meeting her for the first time which was such a sweet moment. i will never forget the memories i am making here and i cannot pray enough for whats goin on and for these children. i feel so heavy at the end of the day just thinking through the realities most of them face especially with the older children as they will be in the world soon trying to make a life. i have so many thoughts but i'm trying to journal to get it all down. pray. pray. to anyone reading this, coach perry claire zack dad i miss yall!

Monday, June 12, 2006

Hello Friends & Family in the US.
Today was our first day at the camp! I was really excited to meet all our kids! We had a safe journey as you have heard. OMG the funniest thing happened in the BUdapest airport! My mom and I were walkin through all the gift shops and when we came back we saw this girl in this stroller and my gosh she must of been 5 years old ,and said to me as we were passing by aren't you a little big for a stroller!" she also said she should be pushing her mother. Today when i met Dina and we left my Mom said she wanted to tell me she loved me! aww how sweet! jk. the funny thing was that when i sat on the ground she told me to squat because they think they might bhecome sterile! And i did squat, even though it hurt. The country is really pretty here! Oh ya , Mimi Doina and Nina aren't here,but they are trying to get them to come to camp so hopefully they will be here! well i'll talk to yall later!

What happened to your nose?

Good afternoon to everyone in the States. Had to check my watch to make sure what time it was there. Just now adjusting to the time here. First day of camp. Where to start? There were so many great things as well as a couple interesting ones.

We had a great time of worship this morning - Connie warmed up the crowd with a lot of great praise and worship songs and Jamey jumped in with a couple American ones to lighten the mood. Noah (from the Bible not our team) was a big hit today but I think the animal noses were the real winner. The kids were hilarious walking around in those things and making the right (sometimes) noises. I think the kid with the pig nose had the best time.

Recreation was great but I'm afraid I'll always have a reminder of this day's recreation events. While playing soccer (sorry football) I attempted to head a ball and missed. Unfortunately for me it hit the bridge of my nose. Lesson learned the hard way today. One should never head a soccer ball with glasses on - especially if you're going to miss the darn thing with your forehead. A few dabs of antibiotic ointment and a butterfly bandage or two and I've got a nice looking hockey wound. My wife has a thing for hockey so maybe I'm okay. Becky darling, I took a high stick today. Hope you don't mind me looking like I just took a 5-minute major for the team. Just to be safe, you better have Doctor Mark queued up to fix me. Not going to chance stitches here. I think it looks worse than it feels but that's probably a bad thing. Brian, if you're listening my brother, we're even now. I bang your head and somebody else gets me. Hope you're still dripping.

Just as we were getting back from lunch today - The Yellow Box for you fellow Moldvans I know you're jealous. Only the best meat and three on the planet - a big busload of Russians showed up at the camp. There were sent by the government I believe to stop by the camps to entertain the kids. They had a lot of games and music for the kids. We ate our flexy cookies and joined in with what they were doing. Our esteemed Scott Harris - fresh from Poland or was it Germany - showed up just in time to catch me doing the Moldovan macarena. Not sure what it was called but I ended up with the nickname the Dancing Bear. I don't think that was a complement. At least I didn't get the Dancing Squirrel. Roger has the honor there.

I'm sure I'm leaving something out about the camp but it was hard to get it all down. Lots going on but there always is on the first day. We didn't have to change the schedule more than 5 times but hey it's Moldova.

In case my technology issues aren't worked out on my phone tonight, lots of love to my family - Becky, Gretchen, Van & Connor - and to my prayer partners. Thanks for supporting all of us in your prayers and turning me over to the children here in Moldova for safekeeping this week. I miss all of you and love you very much. Noapte buna.


Our first day in Moldova!!

Hey friends, family, and prayer partners,

It's has been an amazing first day. At 9:00 after a great breakfast from our hosts, we headed off to camp. All think we were all excited, and those of us who had never been, alittle nervous, but as we drove up to the camp and got off the bus , the kids starting greeting us. Some of the first kids to greet us were those looking for their sponsors that they had met on previous trips, that exchange brought tears to my eyes. Seeing Stuart meet Petrica face to face was so touching. The children here are amazing and so loving. I need more hands and arms, because they all want to hug you and hold your hand all the time. Bryan, if your reading this, I met your girls. As soon as I introduced myself and told them that I was your friend and worked with you, well let's just say that was all we needed to break the ice and we bonded instantly; their my buddies too now - I know you are wishing you could be here with them too. Now, I understand your affection for them; they are really great girls. I was disappointed to find out that my Antonina will not be at summer camp until July, but there are so many kids here to love. They follow you around, want to carry your backpack, hold your hand, cuddle, and want to take picture with your camera. Our translators are great and so fun and part of the experience is just getting to hang out with them too. Rachael led our intro to the lesson before we split out into our small groups. She did a great job and she always amazes me as her mom; I am so blessed to be sharing this experience with her. I really enjoyed our hang time with the kids. As all those who have come before me had shared, there are always some kids the just gravitate to certain individuals of the team. I have several special friends now....Alina, Natasha, Nastea to name a few...I wish I had more hands and arms!! I can't wait until tommorrow; it's hard saying goodbye to the kids when you leave. I can't imagine how Friday is going to be when I can't say I will be back tomorrow. Our afternoon small group and cabin time was cut out by an unexpected visit from a youth team from the goverment, but we still got to hang with the kids and even participate in some of the programs they had for the kids - that's an interesting story for later.
Hey, all you EMIers, you'll be delighted to know that the kids call Stuart, "Stuart Little" :)

To Kevin and Zack - I love you and miss you. Rachael sends her love too.

It 8:45 here and we're leaving the internet cafe now to go to our house and eat. Love to you all and keep praying for us!! God Bless, Laura

Sunday, June 11, 2006

We Have Arrived!

It's so hard to believe that we are finally here. We spent the day getting settled. However, best part of the trip so far was landing in Moldova. You think Southwest Airlines throws you down the runway... well then you've never flown Air Moldova. Flying has never bothered me, I just despise one simple aspect of it... LANDING! Well several people took great pleasure in watching the look on my face as we made our way down the runway. Actually, it wasn't making our way down the runway it was more like a rock skipping across water.
We are blessed to have an awesome team and we can not wait to meet the kids tomorrow at camp. God has brought each of us together at this time and place in our lives for this very reason and I can't wait to see how our time here unfolds. Until next time...


Yes...we are ALL finally here. That in and of itself is a miracle when we found out that our team leader had not been ticketed to Moldova, and that the flight from JFK to Budapest was overbooked by 15 passengers, with Jen, Roger & Marilyn not having seats. BUT AS ALWAYS, we got to see God work his miracles. That is what I love about coming on Mission trips. There are always obstacles in our lives, but when we are at home in our comfortable surroundings, we don't always see God working in and through them. When you are in a foreign land with little control, you get to see God at the steering wheel. HOW AWESOME IS HE!

Yes... we are really glad to be here. Elizabeth experienced her first Moldova Mystery Meal on Moldova Air and has done just fine. Our host, Anatole, could not be more kind and we appear to have lucked up in having his mother and sister come share their culinary talents. I can tell we will not go hungry!

It has been wonderful to see the very beautiful and expectant, Olga, as well as Dorel, Boris, Sergio, Connie, Jamie, Matthew and Tim. It is so good to see all of their smiling faces and to work with such wonderful people. Tim, we can tell, has become quite adept in his marathon ability to squat when conversing. We are in training before visiting with the kids in the AM. Oh, the kids...that's what it is all about. We can't wait to see those precious smiling faces. I hope that Nina, Doina, Dina, Ruslan & Igor are there, but I know that we are going to fall in love with ALL of those precious little faces in the morning as we make many more new friends!

Friday, June 09, 2006

It's Almost Time

The time of our departure is getting closer, only 8 1/2 hours until we meet at the airport.
This may be a good time to begin packing :-)
I just wanted to let each of you know that this is an awesome team. I feel blessed to not only serve along side them, but to be leading a group of such talented and eager individuals.
Hopefully we will be able to get a post or two from the journey to Moldova, if not we will be sure to have an update after we land on Sunday.

As a group we thank you for your prayers and support. We would ask that you remember us as we travel and also as we serve during the week. The forecast is for a chance of rain each day, we don't plan to let that get in our way. As one team member suggested, maybe we'll build the world's biggest slip and slide ;-)


Monday, June 05, 2006

Camp 2006 Begins This Weekend

Bright and early Saturday, June 10th twelve excited, brave, young adventurers will depart for Moldova . We will be the first team to participate in the orphanage camps this summer. Please check back each day to follow our progress and adventures.....yes I said adventure . This is Moldova and you never know who will show up at camp :-)

Our first day of camp will actually be Monday, so we may not have any updates until Sunday or Monday.