Friday, November 30, 2007

Jen, Galina and Anastasia arrive TODAY!!

Hey everybody -

Jen wanted me to post their flight info on the blog. it is. They arrive today, November 30th, at 5:05 pm on Delta flight #4953 from Cincinnati. So, come one, come all and welcome them to the states!!

PS - I would check the flight status before heading to the airport, in case it's delayed. Also, keep in mind the roads get crazy on Friday afternoons, and it can take longer than you think to get to the airport.

I hope to see you there!

Saturday, July 28, 2007

Team 2 Is Headed Home

Well, this is it, the end of our trip. As I type this it’s 3:18 AM Moldova time on Sunday, July 29th. That means at home it’s 7:18 PM on Saturday, July 28th at home. We’re leaving at 4:00 AM to go to the airport and people are starting to stir in the house. The children in Calarasi were wonderful, we worked with an amazing woman from the church named Rodica, and I got to spend the whole week with my Petrica. He rode a bus each day from his home in Meleseni to Calarasi to help us build beds. I had a great week with him and yesterday got a letter from him that he wrote while we were doing our last camp day that just melted my heart. D’Ann, I can’t wait for you to read it.

Today we had some fun going to the zoo, McDonald’s, the arts and crafts market, and then to the Internat 2 camp outside of Chisinau. I got a chance to see some of the kids I met last summer. It was really nice to see the familiar faces. We ended our time at the camp with Bekah’s baptism. I was the one doing the baptizing (a first for me), and it was really moving for me to be a part of that. It was really a terrific opportunity for her to do that in front of all those kids. I hope that some seeds have been planted that the teams who will be at that camp in the weeks to come will see grow.

All in all, we’ve had a really great week. The team has done an outstanding job and it has been my honor to serve alongside them. Their love for Jesus has been evident to me at every turn, and they have shared it with the children in so many ways. I know with absolute certainty that the things God has done this week with us as his instruments will change the lives of at least some of these children forever, and probably the team too.

Thank you all for your prayers.

Today was our last day in Moldova and it was a very emotional day. I am going to miss every single kid that I met this week I want to bring them all home with me, even the ones that we met just today for 2 or 3 hours. I had the opportunity to meet some of the sponsor children of people from our church. When I would mention their sponsor’s names I could just see their faces light up.
Seeing the kids at our camp smiling bigger and bigger every day as they came in warmed my heart in a way that words can’t describe. I am coming home with so many great memories from the past week, including Danute with his speedo the first day at the park, teaching all the kids cinci, and Bekah’s baptism in the pool today. Leaving here in the morning is going to be so hard. I just want a few more days with the kids. I guess its better to leave wanting something more so that it will give you the desire to come back, which I definitely have. Our team has gotten so close and I am going to miss seeing and spending time with everyone. Hopefully I will get the chance to come again and get just as close to another team! I’ll see everyone tomorrow! (Unless we don’t make our connection in New York! Which some of us are hoping will happen!)

With love,
Kelsey Drennan

Friday, July 27, 2007

Hi everyone:

Well today was our last day with the children at camp.Since the construction team finished our work with the building of the beds we were able to spend all day with the kids at the camp. During the worship time we had a foot washing service. This was probably the most humbling experience I have ever had. Some people would have not wanted to even touch these children's feet but for me there was no hesitation in being able to do this for them. We had one person washing, one person drying, and one person putting lotion on there feet. I was able to dry and apply lotion. The look on there face would cause me to get choked up. I never did lose my composure though it was hard not to. Most of there feet were dirty, some with sores, and just rough but when I would think about how Jesus washed the disciples feet it was more meaning full to me. The children left camp around 1:00 today to go back home which was sad to see them leave. As I said this has been a great experience. It has really caused me to think about things I take for granted. Thanks to all my family and prayer partners for your support and prayers. My health has been very good ,no problems. Can’t wait to get back home to my wife and children and tell about my time here in Moldova.

In Christ
Steve Taylor

What a way to end camp...

For starters... what do get with the following:

- 3 Americans who had already conducted camp during one of the hottest summers in the history of Moldova.
- 12 Very excited Americans just arriving (some for the first time).
- 4 Of the most outstanding translators in all of Moldova.
- 1 Amazing church in Calarasi.
- 19 children in need of a great week.

God took all of these variables and gave us one of the most rewarding weeks of my life. This week has been one amazing thing after another. Today was nothing short of being just amazing as the ones before. Today was our last day of camp. We spent a good portion of the day in bible study (which included foot washing). At first the children were rather reluctant to attempt to participate. After some time, everyone was participating. What a sweet moment it was to explain the story of of Jesus practicing humility by washing the disciples feet. Both Debbie and Mark have done a amazing job at teaching all week, sitting in Debbie's class today while she poured her heart into this lesson was so beautiful. The children were taken back by this, while all of us were blessed and honored to take part in such a valuable lesson. Shortly after sharing lunch with the children, we said our goodbyes and that was the end of Team Two's Summer Camp. Sharing such experiences with children is rewarding nonetheless, but sharing this experience with this group particular group of kids has been and will forever be life-changing!

Until next time...
David Millsap

Thursday, July 26, 2007

Ugly American Good Samaritan

Day 4 is now in the books. It was a very rewarding day as have been all of the others. It seems as though I’ve been all over this country and others today. In truth, part of me has been to other countries today, specifically 5 t-shirts, a digital camera charger, 3 bags of balloons, a pair of hiking boots and a couple of drills for bed building (by the way, the beds are all finished- but those drills are ready for action should they be called upon.) It seems that my luggage made an extra stop in Instabul, Turkey before finally arriving at the Moldova airport earlier today. After a quick trip to the airport, and 4 days in between, my things and I were reunited. So, yippee.

As for today, we started out with our usual worship and a skit about the Good Samaritan. Our good friend, Color Wonder, tripped over her cape and had to be helped back to her special hideout- to escape her nemesis, Captain Whiteout, I’m guessing. The kids really seem to enjoy our mini-plays and have really begun to take an interest in the worship portion of our day. What began as only the leaders singing has turned into a regular choir with the kids leading the way- which is very helpful seeing as how we’re singing in Romanian.

From there we went to our class where we reviewed with the kids the importance of God’s love and God’s promises and how those come into play when we start talking about being part of God’s family. It was nice to see them understanding the concept that belief brings membership into God’s family and how there are sure to be troubles that follow, but that with Christ, those troubles will not be our undoing.

Our usual day of camp was followed by a tri p to the orphanage to present the children with their new beds. It was quite an experience to see where they live. Despite the conditions of the beds they currently sleep on, they were enormously proud to show them to us when we came in. They couldn’t wait to show us their personal space.

Our trip to the orphanage was followed by another trip to the soccer field in a nearby village. We’d been there 2 times all ready this week and had given the children our schedules, so when we arrived today there were all ready about 20 kids waiting for us. It was quite an experience to see all these small children waving at us as we drove up.

When we arrived, we saw that one of the boys had a rather severe injury on his arm and forehead. It was bloodied and dirty and in need of some attention, so I, with my complete lack of first aid knowledge went about the task, along with Debbie, of trying to patch him up as best we could. It was sort of a reemphasizing our point from earlier in the day about how anyone can help out and be a Good Samaritan. To be honest, there were a few times when I got distracted by the turkeys. Yes, there were real turkeys strolling about the playground- not to be confused with the lady with the ducks who was across the street.

We spent the next hour or so playing soccer, frisbee or just about anything else we could come up with until it was time for us to go. Leaving was bittersweet because we had to tell the kids that today was our last day to be there. Many of the same faces had been there each day, so we were able to form a small bond with them in a short amount of time.

We arrived home to find that the airport had called, so off we went to retrieve my things.

Today is my last official day to blog, but I hope to get on again before leave. In the meantime, if you’ve been reading these, you know that my wife is 7.5 weeks pregnant, and that’s very exciting for us. She emailed me today to say the doctor has put her on bed rest due to a small amount of spotting. They told her not to worry, that they think they know for sure that it’s only a fibroid side-effect, but still- we would appreciate any and all prayers in regard to the matter. So, if you read this, please make a note to self when it comes to prayer time.



p.s. just for the record, we've yet to be called anything even resembling ugly. Of course we don't speak Romanian, so in theory they could be calling us all kinds of things- but they smile when they say it, so everything's great!

The beds are finished and beautiful

Hello to all,
I’ll try to tell you some things that others haven’t. Like, I really enjoy our hour ride each morning to the church and then after church camp with the kids, we have a 30 minute trip to another village to play with whoever shows up on a soccer field (more about that later.) But, the contrast is amazing. You see busy streets with electric trolley buses full of commuters, lots of people walking, etc. but then closer to villages, you all of a sudden will drive past a farmer with an ox driven wagon. We’ve seen them hauling coal, rubbish, vegetables, corn, bricks, etc. They just go their own pace as everyone else whizes by. Every few miles you pass corn field next to a vineyard, next to a beautiful sunflower field. Such beauty because we are sort of in a valley as we drive.

This afternoon at the village soccer field, the kids were waiting for us as we rounded the corner. They they were, over 25 or so just smiling and waving. Some were there on Monday and Tuesday. It was a beautiful day with a great breeze. An older woman in the traditional dress of the older people here, head dress, house dress below the knees, and then socks and shoes actually had a mother turkey tied to a string and she was walking it to her home while its babies followed. It was the funniest thing I have ever seen. She would kick the turkey ever once in a while to change its direction and she whistled just like it to call the babies over.

Today was a blessing. After bible school we went in the vans with the children to the orphange. We called them all into the room to see the beds which our team had made. We had one made up with lion sheets, a beautiful blue blanket, soft pillowand a tiger beanie baby on it. Jen asked for a volunteer to try out the bed, so Andrei climbed in and just loved it. Especially the soft pillow. He laid very still while JEN Told the kids how these beds were replacing their old ones and that when they came to school in the fall, every child would have one. She shared with them beautifully about God’s love for them and told them that when they were sick or sad or lonely to remember when they climbed into the covers, that someone in AMERICA had told them that GOD loved them so much. I pray that in those times they will pull out their Bibles and read God’s word to strentghen them.
We then went into their room and saw their bathrooms and beds where they have been sleeping. Some of the mattresses sagged to the floor. ELENA insisted that I sit in one with her. We immediately sank to the floor with my rather large body. We sank fast to say the least and laughed and laughed as it was hard for me to get up! Guess what I found on a desk in their room! They have been playing dot to dot on their own at night.
As we left them to head to the next village, they tried to climb back into the van. Tomorrow when we leave them for the final time it will be so hard. Today at lunch we noticed we were missing Zena. She was on the playground alone crying. She had told Bekah that she wanted someone to take her home with them.
Time for bed. Love to you all. God is so good.
Debbie D.
Hi everyone from Moldova:

As most of you know one of my fears was getting detained at the airport once we arrived in New York, Budapest, or Moldova. Nope no problems there it was at the Nashville Airport. I walked through the gate and set off the buzzer. So they pull me off to the side where they use the hand wand. Everything was fine until I had to take off my shoes ,the buzzer kept going off on my left foot. They ask me to take off my sock and there was a number 12 inspector sticker in my sock. After getting dressed we were on our way. Our first day everyone went to the camp where all the children were. We started throwing Frisbees and soccer balls around with the kids. I started throwing a ball with one little girl who’s name is Nastea who is 7 years old. Very cute. Reminded me of my daughter Jenna. I ask if I could bring her home but she turned me down. David Shelly and I headed over to the orphanage to start building the beds. We had 60 beds to put together and also had to stain. After we got things started we had some of the children from the orphanage come over and ask if they could help. This made things go a lot faster and we were able to finish the stain all on Monday. Tuesday we started to put the beds together . We also had some help from some of the kids the are sponsored by some of our team members. We were able to get all the beds together, all the mattresses covered. We had to carry all the beds up stairs to the second floor because the dorms are being worked on. Today we painted what playground equipment there is. They have no swings but they do have a frame for swings, They have a basketball goal with no goal. So we are going to buy swings and maybe some other things on Thursday. I’m doing well, the food is kind of ok but I’m a picky eater so I have to eat what ever there is. Having a great time. Its exciting, sad, some times you want to cry and at times you laugh your head off. I would encourage you to pray and ask God if this is something he would have you do. It has been a blessing to come here and work and see what its like in another country. Keep praying and I’ll be home Sunday.

PS Nastea accepted Jesus today at camp.

Wednesday, July 25, 2007

The fine art of staying out of the way

We’ve reached the end of the 3rd day of MoldovaFest 2007, and things are moving along as well as I had hoped they would. The only real downer is that part of my luggage has still yet to make it here. Last we heard, it was still in the states. Aside from my camera battery being dead with no way to recharge it, there’s no major disruption being caused, but it would certainly help to put my mind at ease if I could be through with that whole ordeal. On the bright side, there’s a good chance that my luggage is getting to see parts of America that I’ve never been to myself.

The first few days of camp have been great. We have morning worship, followed by lessons with our various age groups. I have kids in grades 1-7, which makes for a pretty diverse group. I never would have guessed that sharing the gospel and witnessing to people could be as tricky as it is when you have a language barrier to contend with. Granted, we have wonderful translators, but I get tripped up and lose my place in thinking about how to best describe things in a way that can be easily translated and understood. Belief and salvation is a much simpler process than I feel like I’ve made it sound. I’m trying so hard to stay away from a works-related message because I know how easy it is to get wrapped up in the idea of “If I just do the right things then God will have me.” That so sucks the joy and awe out of the entire gospel message that salvation is a gift and that grace is not only amazing, but also the easiest/greatest way to truly experience the love of Jesus. My hope is that discover that- or that it will be revealed to them despite my inability to get a point across.

It’s unimaginable to me to think that there are people, much less children, who honestly don’t know that they have a Creator, and in this case a father for the fatherless, who desires to have a relationship with them more than they could ever imagine. These children are all so sweet and loving, it hurts my heart to think of them feeling unloved, hopeless and abandoned for lack of having been told the truth.

I’ve been looking for that one child that sticks out who I am forming a relationship with, but so far it seems to be most of them. Some have warmed up to me more than others, and some are a little more shy, but all of them seem to be having a good time with us. I like to think about what must be going on in their heads when we have play time. Children faced with problems that most adults would crumble under and with no homes to speak of are getting a chance to act like kids and just enjoy themselves. Even the oldest ones in the group (17 and 18 year olds) are running around playing parachute games and working puzzles or hitting us in the head with beach balls. I have to admit to having thrown a few beach balls at some heads as well. They all deserved it.

After camp today, we went to the house of two of the students to drop off some food for their mother. We didn’t go inside, but we didn’t have to in order to see just what kind of condition these boys and their mother are living in. I was surprised to see that she accepted the gifts- many Moldovans are too proud to do so. The ironic thing is that one of the boys is a nonstop smiler. That’s all he does all day- he probably knows something I don’t- maybe several things. The sad part is that the others all had to go back to an orphanage where there would be no family waiting.

After that drop off, we were taken to a nursing home with 25 residents. We dropped off more supplies of food, etc. and were taken around to see the residents and their living conditions. The director was very polite and extremely glad to see us, as were the residents. I’m sad to say that the elderly in this country are sleeping on the same broken down, sagging beds as the orphans are. There was a smell that permeated much of the building that most of us would sell our houses to get away from. It’s obvious that the director tries very hard to make things as best she can given what she has to work with, but we were told that the higher-ups in the country were of a different mentality and were difficult to work with- imagine that.

All in all, it was an eye-opening day-many times I would have preferred to keep my eyes closed to avoid seeing the things we saw, but that helps no one- not even myself.

I hope everyone at home is doing well. Just for the record, the baby has a heartbeat of 133 bpm. Not bad for 7 weeks old.

More tomorrow…



So I have been in Moldova for two months now and it has only rained two days until today. I had no idea I would be so excited to see rain. I must say it didn't rain for long but it was long enough to get that wet gravel smell. You know the smell, right? It was awesome. I personally said a prayer of thankfulness for the farmers. I know they were thrilled to see rain.
Today the team told me it was Bekah day. I had a very busy day. This morning I had the devotional, at camp I led evening worship by sharing my testimony, then tonight was my turn to blog. I am so shocked today when I shared my testimony. I thought that they wouldn't realy listen. I thought I would just share it and then move on to the next part of worship. I was so amazed at how much they listened. Just looking out into the crowed of 2o kids, I felt God telling me to keep talking to them. I talked and talked. They listened and listened. I watched their faces and knew some of them wanted to accept Christ into their heart. They looked at me as if saying, "Hey, I want to say this prayer!" I told them they could come and talk to me and I would be more than happy to help them make any descision they feel they should make. Still now of them really moved or came to me. I know that this is God's calling for me this week. I need to make sure I do not leave this week with any descisions not made. Please pray for me about this!!
I am completely exhausted. My bed is calling my name. Oh, I learned a new Romanian word. It's somnusor, which means sweet dreams!

Tuesday, July 24, 2007

When God moved at 6:25 AM...

Wow… Where to begin? Camp is going really well. Monday afternoon this amazing peace came over me, all that could be heard and seen was this intense communication between us and the children. No one was up roaming, no one was standing off alone. EVERYONE was engaged, it was at this very moment that a “connection” was made with the children and the team that continues to exist even now. Language barriers went away and trust was our foundation. I am struggling for the right words, but it was so peaceful. Now, I know that people are praying for our team, but let me tell you at 6:25 AM (your time on Monday) I am convinced that someone or several were on their knees. I had this feeling of covering from my head to my toes. It was an amazing site to see God at work in the lives of everyone in that room at that very moment. Later while ministering in the park (soccer field) at a nearby village, I told Debbie Drennan about this moment and she said just moments later she experienced that same kind of peace. So... whoever it was or how many, rest assured that your prayers are being felt and seen as Gods plan for this trip unfolds before our very eyes. In addition, our team is receiving some amazing notes from prayer partners. Each note very different from the other, but perfect words of encouragement at just the right time. Once again, God is working in our life through each and every experience while in Moldova. However, 6:25 AM will forever stand out in my mind and heart when I physically saw God at work half way around the world, while many of you were just waking to begin your week. What an amazing God we serve! Thanks to all for your prayers! Until next time…

In His Service,

Dot to Dot in any language

I have been waiting anxiously to write on the blog for fear that I would forget something. As we flew over Moldova, I was impressed by the absolute contrast of beauty of the flat farmland and hills but cities that look like concrete, even from the air. Once we landed in Budapest, it was amazing to sense the new smells and different looks of the people, until of course we rounded the corner and found team one waiting for us. It was wonderful to spend a few moments with them and to catch the excitement from their week as we would just be beginning ours. The flight to Moldova was a bit bumpier than I expected and I have flown a lot, but I tried to stay focussed on the scenery down below.

So Monday finally came. We got to the church and found a room full of children waiting for us and some with a couple parents which was a nice surprise. The church is very nice, more like a house with a small room in front and a larger room where they have worship. It also has two bathrooms which is wonderful to keep the children’s hands clean. There is a concrete playground outside where we hung a parachute as shelter from the hot, hot, hot sun. I must pause here to tell you that I absolutely love the pastor, Dorel. He is about 28yrs.old. He plays the guitar and has a beautiful rich singing voice, so having him to lead praise and worship songs is a real blessing. He immediately puts the kids at ease. He has such a love for children and is so patient and kind. I know that God will do great work through him in Calarasi.

The parents that were there were of the children from the village. Since the orphange is not open for the summer, some of the children evidently get to live at home with their parent. I saw one of the moms kiss her boy goodbye as she sternly warned him to behave. He was quite intense to say the least, rocketing a football across the small playyard with no regard of who or what might be in his way! He kept shouting something in Russian like get ready, fire. He said this over and over and over.

Most children evidently go to something like foster homes for the summer. Since the orphange we are working with is for special needs kids, some live so far away that Pastor Dorel and Jen had made arrangements for them to stay at the orphange for the week so that they could be at church each day for camp. They were brought each day by vans. One of the things I immediately noticed was that the children, especially the girls, were so shy. There are a couple of kids who seem to have mild cerebral palsy and then a couple who are awkward in both fine and gross motor skills, but some of them look like normal kids. They have very dirty hands and feet. Most have dark hair and either beautiful green or brown eyes. They just stood around watching while only one or two were willing to throw the Frisbee, etc. I’m sure they were wondering what they had been brought to the church for. But after Bekah and the worship team did the opening skit, they seemed to relax and begin to smile, like it was okay to smile and make eye contact. They are the most well behaved group, always thankful for anything we give them whether it be water, lunch, oranges, crafts, and their Bibles. Today, we taught them how to look up their Bible passages since most have never had a Bible before.

I was in the Bible study group with kids 6th grade and older. Our oldest is Petru who said he is 18. He is one that seems to have cerebral palsy. During Bible study, I asked how can we show to others that we love God. He immediately said to encourage eachother, and that is what I would like to rename him because he has been just that for me. After Bible study, we went back outside to play, but noticed that Petru stayed at a desk inside writing something on a notepad. I decided to go back and sit with him because I didn’t want him to be alone. Not having a translater with me because they were all outside, I just pulled out a piece of paper and began a dot to dot game. I began to show him how to play and he loved it. There now was no language barrier, just two people enjoying eachother’s company. We soon had another couple kids come to watch who got too hot outside. Before I knew it, we were creating more and more dot to dot games so they could play with eachother. Today, I felt a tug at my shoulder and looked down as he thrust a pen into my hand to play on a paper that he had created, somewhat awkwardly, but good just the same and I felt so blessed by my new friend.

We went to the orphange yesterday to see it and see what our wonderful team was doing there in the blistering heat. I saw two of the girls from my Bible study group across the courtyard, so I ran up the hill to say hello, not knowing how they would react. . They ran into my arms kissing me. How much different a few hours makes in a child’s life when you simply share the love of Jesus with them. That love knows no language barriers; it is open and free to all.
And then today in Bible study on God promises to always be with us from Joshua 1:9, I asked for them to share a time when they were afraid, and Aloina said when I am beaten. I cannot write anymore tonight because it is too fresh and emotional to explain all that we are seeing and experiencing.
Just know that your prayers are sustaining us as we are forced to face the fact that these faces are beautiful and precious in His sight but so unloved by others. Your prayer letters have been amazing and so important to help us. These are truly beautiful children inside and out and I am so thankful to be here.

Love to all,

SICK of being SICK

Hello all! It is now about 5:20pm here in Moldova. I woke up at about 4:00pm. Today I got up to eat breakfast and my head hurt, my throat was throbbing, and my muscles were so sore I could barely move. I got up to eat breakfast to see if I would feel any better, but it seemed hopeless. I knew that I had to stay home today. I went back to bed and fell automatically asleep. I took medicine when it was time, but didn’t fully get out of bed until around 5:00pm. My throat still hurts, I’m a bit congested, and I may still have a fever, but I feel a little bit better after having some extra rest.

Well, yesterday was AMAZING. It was our first day at the church with the kids. As Kelsey already mentioned, she and I played the parts of the two puppets. This was a blast whether we were good or not. I must add in that Bekah is probably the best COLOR WONDER I have ever seen. I had a wonderful time getting to know the kids from the orphanage. Kelsey also already mentioned Andrei. He was a sweetie. We obviously couldn’t communicate very well in English or Romanian, so we figured, let’s talk Spanish! Yes, the two of us spoke a little Spanish yesterday. I’m not sure how in the world he knows Spanish, but I had fun speaking with him. Mrs. Drennan ran the Bible Study for the older kids yesterday, and did a fantastic job. I really think some of them were really hearing the Word for the first time. Marilyn said something last night that stuck with me. She said that when you have nothing, you are more willing to accept than when you have everything. We ask the kids yesterday who had a Bible at home, and not one child raised there hand. This was another reassurance from God that I am where I’m supposed to be.

After we left the church yesterday, we went in to the village and to a soccer field. We just started playing with soccer balls and frisbees, and soon enough, we had some kids come play with us. I have to say that it probably made my entire day when a little boy named Danut came and joined us. He was wearing only his underwear, which we first took for a Speedo. We gave them all nametags and he put his on his waist. He was just precious. We chased him around the field and he just giggled. He told us he was five years old.

After the village yesterday, we went to the orphanage to help a little bit with the beds. It really was amazing to be able to help create a bed for a little child to have a “sweet sleep” in.

We came home after the orphange to a wonderful meal of chicken and potatoes. It is starting to become funny that every meal is some sort of chicken and some sort of potatoes. But I am not complaining, the woman who is cooking for us, Lillia, treats us like royalty. She has also taken care of me today.

This trip is only just beginning and my life is changing every minute I spend in Moldova. Just the way that life is lived here and the way the government is run is entirely different from the U.S. Even little things like not being able to drink the water and flush the toilet paper. Things are just very different here. I’m not going to lie, I do miss some of the comforts of home, like air conditioning, but I wouldn’t trade this trip for anything. Keep praying for us and please pray for me to feel better, but most of all pray for the children. Thanks to everyone!

<3 meghann searcy

Monday, July 23, 2007

When I asked God to help me lose weight I had no idea that he would send me to Moldova and "turn up the heat" and make me sweat it all off, because I will tell you right now that it is stinkin' hot here! and when I say stinkin' I literally mean stinkin'. That is part of the reason that this blog will be very short, because I haven't gotten the chance to take a shower yet and I feel gross. Today was very eventful and exciting! The kids here didn't know how to "give us five" so Melissa, Meghann, and I took it upon ourselves to teach them how to give us chinch. Chinch means five in Romanian for those of you who don't know. Most of the boys got into it right away, but it took the girls a little longer. I don't know how I am going to be able to leave without wanting to take one home! they are all so prescious and thankful for everything. Today I was assigned to the part of Bud, the grumpy cowboy puppet, in our skit. The children seemed to enjoy the skit very much with Bekah as Color Wonder, our super hero for the week, and Meghann as GiGi, the friendly puppet. I was very surprised to find that a few of the kids knew some English and one even started to speak some Spanish. Meghann and I taught a boy named Andrei how to say Nashville, Tennessee, and yall. Well it looks like my time is coming to an end because I desperately need a shower! Bye!


Today was our first day at the camp in Calarasi. I have no idea if I spelled that right so just sound it out. I was a bit nervous Sunday night because I felt a little bit unprepared. After getting there and seeing the copii (children) faces I said to myself, "I got this." They were so young and well behaved. I was immediately impressed. I found myself being more excited then nervous. After feeling this rush of energy going through me I knew this was a God thing. I knew God had wanted me to in this small little church working with these handicapped copii! I led worship and I was so proud of myself. After singing a couple of songs, it was time for the skit. This was my big moment to let the kids see how thrilled I was to be there. I AM COLOR WONDER! I am the superhero who flies in everyday to kind of lead the worship. I ran out with my cape and mask on and was so energized to get the kids attention. They were like...laughing rocks? That is the only way I can put it. Before you think I am crazy let me tell you why I say laughing rocks. They were so still and quiet. They would not move because they did not want to miss one part of the skit. Then they would laugh and laugh at me. However, I don't know if they were laughing at the jokes or laughing at how completely ridiculous I looked. As long as I got their attention, I didn't care. There were only about 20 copii's there today. I think there will be more tomorrow because they will tell the other kids about the wonderful...COLOR WONDER!!! We ended up only having two bible study groups. I liked this a lot because there were so many people to help teach. At four o'clock we left to go to a village. Everyday we will go to this village and work with the copii's there. We will have bible study and recreation. Today we didn't get to have our mini camp. We just visited with the kids. Also today is my little boy, Eugen's birthday!!!! He is eleven and still adorable. I guess that is about it. I can not wait to see what other crazy things God has planned for us this week. I wake up and ask God, "What are you going to do with me today God?"

Sunday, July 22, 2007

Team Two Is In Moldova

Well, you’ve probably already figured out from from Meghann and Mark’s posts that team two is here. Or, maybe you haven’t read those yet. Either way, we’re here. I have the distinct pleasure of leading this group, although to be honest, I don’t think they need much from me. For those who don’t know, this team is comprised of (in no particular order) Mark McAlister (my brother), David Millsap, David and Melissa Shelley, Steve Taylor, Debbie and Kelsey Drennan, Meghann Searcy, Marilyn Wilson, Bekah Beasley, Jen Gash and myself. We also have one member, Jessica Beasley, who unfortunately couldn’t make the trip with us. We'll be building beds and leading a day camp in the town of Calarasi, which is about an hour north of Chisinau. We haven't even started our first day yet, and I can tell this group is going to be great. My plan as leader is to get out of their way and let them do their thing.

The big news for me today is that Petrica, the boy that D’Ann and I sponsor, was at the airport to meet me when I got here. Petrica is not living in Chisinau at the moment, and I really didn’t know if I would even see him on this trip. I owe a big “thank you” to some good friends who went to his village and retrieved him for me today. There is much more to the story, but it’s late and I’m tired. I’ll try to have more to say about that later. For now I’ll just thank God for bringing us back together.

Stay tuned people. It’s going to be a great week.



It would be really easy to sit here and play the fake humility card and tell you all about how getting out of your comfort zone can really stretch you and force you to depend on God and how, “It’s not me, it’s God,” could be uttered with little or no sincerity, and you could get away with it. I think we’re probably all guilty of having been overly proud of ourselves at some point for being extra nice to the big sinner next door, giving 5 bucks to the guy on the street, or name your favorite pharisitical example. The thing about Moldova, though, is that this place thrusts humility upon you and forces you to depend on God from the moment you arrive, or in my case, starting 2 weeks ago as prep time went into overdrive. Today I came to this conclusion, either the apostle Paul was a hoss, or he really meant it when he said in Phillipians that it’s Christ who gives him the strength to do whatever must be done.

In the short time we’ve been here, I’ve felt humbled, excited, exhausted, honored, ill-equipped for the job, and in some moments, flat out scared- can the teacher hack it, I guess are my thoughts on the experience so far. It’s fitting the scriptures my mom as well as my wife wrote to me for today- verses about Christ carrying our burdens and giving strength to the weak. Before today I likely would have thought, “What great truth and encouragement for these kids and for the world-weary souls out there!” Only now I realize that the kids and I are one in the same when it comes to needing strength and comfort that only Jesus can offer.

Today I am a weary soul- and that’s ok. I know now that this trip was not just of my choosing-or if it was when I first decided to get on board, God decided that He had plans for me in this whether I knew it or not. I look forward to being broken this week- to experiencing His hand and His leading and His provision. I’m also excited about getting a glimpse of God’s handiwork on the homefront as well -tomorrow my wife will be sending me a sonogram picture of our new baby- not even a gummy bear yet, but I can’t wait to see Psalm 139 in action.

A quick word about the trip over: a lot of people don’t know this but DELTA is actually an acronym for “Doesn’t Ever Leave The Airport.” My first flight was cancelled, and I was rerouted through Cincinatti some time later. Fortunately, my luggage didn’t have that same experience- or perhaps it did, I’ve yet to see it since I checked it in at 5:30 Saturday morning in Dallas. I’ve considered getting a t-shirt with my own take on Kentucky’s famous tourist saying- “Gettin’ Luggage in Kentucky,” but who knows, maybe it’ll show up tomorrow- good thing I packed all my clothes in my carry on. Our NY layover nearly turned into a sleepover as well. D.E.L.T.A- Doesn’t Ever Leave… well you get the idea. Anyway, it was a good trip, but tiring. I was really excited to be back in Budapest again. I spent 6 weeks there the summer of 1993 and loved it. It was a shame that we were only able to fly over and point and then sit in the airport. Still, it felt good to relive that experience in my mind.

Lastly, I finally met Petrica, the boy my brother and his wife sponsor. He was at the airport when we arrived. I'll leave it to Stuart to share details on that, but it was a big thrill for me to get to meet him as well. He seems to be a very sweet boy, and I look forward to getting to know him as well.

I guess that’s it. I’ll have more later.



Wow. Where do I even begin? The trip has only just begun, and I can honestly say that my life has been changed forever.

Let’s start with the trip over here. We arrived at the Nashville airport at about 8:30 am and our flight left at 11:35 am. It was hard for me to say good-bye to my family, but I knew that God had called me on this trip for a reason. The flight from Nashville to JFK, New York was good. It was a small plane, but I fell asleep before take-off and didn’t wake up until landing. That’s when things got a little harder.

We were supposed to have about 2 hours in the JFK airport. We ate lunch and moved to our gate. Well, our first gate. Something was wrong with the plane so they informed us we would leave about 1 ½ later than expected. It wasn’t good news, but we were ok. Well, to make a very long story short, we were in the airport about 6 ½ hours. It wasn’t my ideal place to be, but we have a wonderful team who can definitely entertain themselves. For instance, Kelsey, Melissa, and I taught Mrs. Drennan some card games and had a blast playing for a while. So, whether we were playing cards, drinking Starbucks, or just sleeping on the floor, we made it through. God took an unfortunate circumstance and turned it in to a chance for our team to bond and spend time relaxing together.

Well, once we boarded the flight to Budapest, things calmed down a bit. It was a pretty steady flight to Hungary and we all slept a bunch. It was very interesting in Budapest for us to get the chance to feel like the foreigners. Even little things like reading the instructions at the BOTTOM of the signs instead of the top. This was a wake-up call to me. Although, I would have to say that the most memorable thing about the Budapest airport was that there was absolutely air conditioning. Either that or the joke that Melissa and I kept saying: I’m Hungary for Turkey!! Haha.

After Budapest we boarded a very small plane to take us to Moldova. I was placed in a seat by myself with other team members scattered around. As you can probably guess, I fell asleep during takeoff. I was woken up by a flight attendant and asked if I wanted a “treat.” I was tired, so I said no. I found out a few minutes later that that “treat” was my lunch. So I asked for my lunch and they brought it back to me. It was really a frightening time for me. I was on a plane not talking to anybody. I didn’t even understand a word the people around me were saying. I had no idea what I was eating. So I finished my lunch and turned to look out at the clouds. For the remainder of the flight I really spent some time with God and just prayed about the trip. I guess reality had finally set in. I was about 15 minutes away from Moldova.

Once we arrived in Moldova, things went fairly smooth. All of the luggage arrived except for Mark’s two suitcases. Looking back at all the changes we had made, we were very happy that what got here did. We met several translators and got settled into our rooms. I keep finding things that make me realize how much I have at home. I feel like I want to give everything to these kids, and I have only met one: Patricka. He is the child that Stuart sponsors. I sat by him at dinner and when I gave him something to draw on afterwards, he wrote: SO THEY CAN SLEEP. He was copying off the t-shirts we were wearing. This did it for me. I know that I’m here to serve the Lord.

After dinner we went out and played basketball and soccer. Melissa and I won against Steve and Mr. Shelley. Then Patricka showed me how soccer is supposed to be played. I must admit that I played many years and I was never as good as he was. He really is an amazing little boy.

Thanks to everyone who is praying for us and keep checking for more posts from everyone!

<3 meghann searcy
hello! i am Galina,i am from moldova.i want say you how i do last week.i be i go to Morculesti with Jen Gash,we stay with children and we make beds.i make meny friends. we tell children about how much God loves them.i like singing in day come Stuart,David etc. And we go to aeroport to get them.this weekwe go to Calarasi and make beds,and more camp with children.I like learning to translate for Jen.we eat now.BYE

Friday, July 20, 2007

Taking care of the home front

My eyes fill up with tears with each new blog that I read from my team members. I was supposed to go with the team to Moldova, but just a week before leaving I had to back out because of medical reasons. It was one of the hardest decisions of my life, something that I will always have to live with because I love going to Moldova, I love meeting children that I have not yet met, and I love sharing God's love and my love with each child that I meet. My decision was something that I had been struggling with for a couple of months. I knew it was going to be a strong possibilty that I wouldn't be able to go for my fourth trip. It was hard, really hard, and it still is...

I know I am still part of the team but it doesn't make it any easier to hear the stories and not to have experienced it with them. It's by far not an easy thing to deal with. My sister has been in Moldova since the beginning of June and I was so excited to see her and watch her be baptized in the coming week, but that won't happen...

After my decision to not go, I was approached with the greatest opportunity. I was asked to be the "prayer warrior" for both teams one and two. I accepted the task and was excited about it but, when I sat at home it was hard for me to say, "Jessica, you may be sick and not with the team physically but you have to chance to pray for them, the children, the church, the translators, the bus drivers, and everyone else involved continuously." I cried about it one night because I felt like I couldn't do something that was asked of me, something that I wanted to do, but something that was hard for me to do because I was so angry that I was and am sick and that kept me from going. I couldn't sleep, so I checked my e-mail. Debbie from team two had sent me a message asking me to translate "God is good all the time, and all the time, God is good," into Romanian. It hit me like a ton of bricks that I was still part of both teams and that God was working through me as well. Ever since then I have been praying, and praying hard, for teams one and two.

It amazing how God reveals Himself in the little things. Just when I thought that I couldn't do something that in my heart I wanted to, but my thoughts wouldn't let me, He told me it would be okay and that praying and talking to Him was something I could do for myself, for the teams, the children, and for Him.

I went back to the doctor today and it was the same news I always get. It's frustrating and hard to hear that your doctors don't know what is wrong and knowing that they can't help you at the moment. But, I know God is in control and that He had a plan for me by saying, "Jess, it's not your time to go back to Moldova, not right now." Little did I know how great His plan was for me. I'm still heartbroken about not being in Moldova, but I'm at peace with it, because I was given the chance to pray about anything and everything you can imagine for teams one and two. No one has been given the opportunity to be a "prayer warrior" for the Sweet Sleep teams until me, that alone was scary enough. So, Emily, Jen, Bekah, Jane, Natalie, Aileen, Casi, Amy, Stephanie, Rusty, Darlene, Jeff, Lesia, Kim, and Marilyn, I'm praying for you and I have been since you left America. I know everyone is excited to see you when you get home.


Survivor Moldova!

(Assume an Austrailian accent please)...

Casi, Natalie, and Aileen here, and Survivor Moldova is coming to a close. It's been a thrilling week full of dangerous missions and heavy competition. Our participants have sustained extreme conditions to see who can become the ultimate (drum roll please) Survivor!
First we begin with Aileen who jumped back from a nasty cold caught from a previous trip to Spain only to encounter the most persistant mosquito the world has ever beheld. Aileen, unaware of the mosquito's carnage, was taken aback when her fellow participants alerted her to the fact that her face was swelling quite rapidly. Not 24 hours later, she was nearly blinded when wood chips and lead paint flew into her eyes while tying to open a door. Last but not least, she encountered a almost lethal spider bite which was promptly attended to by Nurse Amy. Thankfully, she lives to tell the tale.
Jane has been a strong contender for the title since the beginning. Undergoing the most disgusting of occurances, her shower buddy dropped both her towel and clothes into the bacteria-ridden shower floor, not once but twice. This was followed by a dead bird that fell out of the sky onto her leg just today. If she doesn't die from the Avian Flu, it will be a miracle.
Rusty has been fighting for first place by being drilled by aiport officials at both Budapest and Chisnau regarding his and Stephanie's passports, allowing children to drill into his leg while putting beds together, being stung by a wasp on his ankle, and undergoing bug torture from sleeping on the floor every night. Thankfully, the engineer in him came up with the perfect 3 step survival method "grab, squish, flick." This fool-proof method allows you to view your aftermath the next morning (specifically, a 4 inch centipede found this morning).
The extreme heat was too much for Stephanie,but she battled backwith 7 bottles of Sprite!
Amy Helms took the cake when she was wacked in the TEETH with a bed being carried by a child. The force thus caused her head to be thrushed into the wall behind her. She walked away without a scratch.
Dehydration and heat have been constant battle, as well as the untamed Moldovian outbackOutbackherding 80+
Lesia was still in the race until she was temporarily detained by the Budapest airport for carrying allegedly illegal materials into the country. To her relief, the gentleman holding the AK-47 assured her there was no need to worry. Natalie also experienced difficulty as she was the only participant on the team to find her survivor supplies had gone MIA from the Budapest airport. Thankfully, the reconnasaince team was able to recover all items.

All in all, it has been an exhilerating week. Please stay tuned to find out who will win the title of Survivor Moldova!!!

Home Sweet Home... or close at least

Ahhh... deep breath. Camp is over. Our last day at camp started with a bang... or maybe just loud singing. We were awoken by the Bethany church youth singing "ra-cha-cha-chi" "boom-boom-boom" at the top of their lungs at 5:00am this morning as a "treat" for us. Ra-cha-cha-chi is the only Moldovan song we know, so they kids sing it at us wherever we go. The "rachis" and the "booms" are supposed to be Noah building his ark. Apparently "caroling" is a big thing in Moldova, so they told us that they would sing until we came outside to have coffee with them. Several of us were very unhappy campers, but those who took one for the team were greatly rewarded. The sunrise was breathtaking, or maybe I was just holding my breath over the stench of the toliets, but either way, it was the only moment of peace we got all day. We were so grateful for the alone time with the Beathny team to encourage one another. They took such great care oа the kids this week, even the really really difficult ones.

By noon today, after packing and cleaning and prying crying children off of us, I was so exhausted I could barely stand. We were so amaingly blessed this week by a handful of awesome translators. One of the best, Dema Fry, invited us all to his family' house today for a traditional Moldovan dinner, which we were in desperate need of, after a week of PBJ. It was better than Thanksgiving! We were so happy to see ice that I think a few people actually cried! Homemade Galoush (sp?) which is like a cabbage roll with rice and meat inside, with sour cream which was to DIE for! Cold watermelon, vegtables, soup, bread, homemade juices... it was a FEAST! Needless to say, that food was sent straight from heaven (or Dema's Mama) but we are acutely aware of our wealth in America and how blessed we are to eat. Slova Domn nu loy... no idea how to spell it but it means Praise the Lord!

Answers to prayer:

1. I managed to make it all the way through leading a life-skills sex-ed class without blushing and the girls actually listened! They asked great questions and I pray that they continue to honor God with their bodies and minds!

2. One of my stand-off-ish older boys who had been very sullen all week long, came and sat beside me during worship last night and slowly but surely sidled up to me during the service. By the end, his head was on my shoulder and he was enraptured with the Passion movie being shown. It's amazing to see joy restored in his eyes and softness in his spirit.

3. God is continuing to protect us! Wasps, spiders, skethchy water, falling objects, and scary driving are just the begining!

Keep praying for our next few days... new orphanage tommorow... then Chisnau again then home! God with you, Many blessings, Amy

Thursday, July 19, 2007


so suprise, suprise jane doesn't remember her password, but bekah was kind enough to let me use hers instead.
So this has been a completely different week than last year. The kids were not a friendly (for lack of a better word) right away as the chidren in falesti. But as the week has progressed they have definitely become attached. I really struggled with this because last year Cristina was attached to my arm from the very beginning. I didn't understand why this camp was SO different from last year. The girls in my Bible study were not responsive, and didn't answer any of the questions, I maybe knew two kids names, and was really upset that I hadn't made any life long friends yet. After praying, I was still in the dark and had no answers.
Who would of know that God works in mysterious ways.....haha.
There is this girl named Anastasia who is from the orphange in Chisnau who came on the trip with us. She is good friends with Jen and speaks a little english. She has been staying with us all week, but i haven't really had the chance to talk to her. Yesterday Jen asked her to come to the gym with me during free time and help translate, and from there Anastasia and i became friends. We started talking and i love her to death. She is the sweetest girl. She is 17 actually coming to the US in Aug. on a student Visa to live with her sponspors and go to school :)
I got to thinking... why not ask Anastasia to come to our Bible study today?? So i approached her and she was SOO excited to come. I talked on prayer and how important it is to talk to God. I had all the girls go off and pray by themselves and offered to pray with any of the if they would like to. I saw Anastasia and walked over to her, I asked her what she was praying about and she said she was not baptized. I tried to explain about baptism and how you need to ask for Jesus' forgivness in order to do this, and baptism is a sign that you have accepted Jesus into your heart. She didn't quite understand the english word forgivness so we we back to the group and decided to grab a translator. Suprisingly, there were 6 girls there who were all waiting to talk one on one with me. Anastasia said it would be alright if i talked to them first then came back to her. I spoke with two girls who told me about what a hard life they have had, i cannot even begin to imagine going through some of the things the girls were explaining to me.
A little later I grabbed Olesia (the translator) and Anastasia and we headed to the room to talk. Anastasia explained that in past camps she has prayed to God, then gone and done the complete opposite of what she was praying about. She said that this week she has realized that that is not what she needed to do and then and there she accepted Christ into her heart and asked for His forgiveness for what she had done. I was so amazed. Emily came in and talked with us for a little while also.
Anastasia told everyone about her new family in God and everyone was SOO happy for her. Later, I walked outside to see Anastasia outside with Jen, Casie, and the two girls I had talked to earlier. And what would you know, Anastasia was talking to them about her decision today and then and there prayed with both girls to accept Christ into there hearts as well.
It's so crazy that all week i was frustrated about not getting to know the children, when what God wanted me to do was right under my nose.
Thank you for everyone's support and prayers. I can't wait to come back and share with everyone how amazing the Lord is and how sometimes what he wants you to do is right there, you just have to step back and let Him take you where He wants you to go.

Chicken and Potatoes

Well, I can not believe this week is already almost over. I must admit at the beginning it was hard. Staying at the orphanage has been a bit hard. I never realized how important the comforts of home are. I miss my bed, always knowing the shower works, and food. I never want to eat chicken and potatoes again. Every night we have chicken and potatoes but cooked with different spices. Which at least we have some different tastes. This week started out kind of rocky. I was not really bonding with any specific child. This was hard for me because this summer I have gotten so used to having a child around my neck at all times. I have been more on the organizing part of the time. I prayed about this all week. I still continued to struggle with it until today. Today I finally really started to have kids come and love on me. Today I was so happy to finally bond with some little girls. I taught a life skills class today. The topics were dating, marriage, and sex. I was a little bit nervous about these subjects. I wanted to make sure that we covered everything that God wanted us to say. We prayed before going to the auditorium to start the class. After starting the class I knew God was going to make this evening amazing. We started out just talking to the boys and girls about dating. We had them make a list of all the characteristics they look for in a husband or wife. This help them to see that they shouldn't just date someone because they like them back but because they matched the traits they were looking for in their future spouse. Then we led into questions about why we date, and the bounderies we should make before we start dating. The teens were quiet but they listened. I was impressed about that. Then the girls went off into another room and began our discussion about sex. I wasn't going to lead this session but I was sitting in on it. The girls were very quiet and did not want to ask questions. I could tell they were embarrassed but at the same time wanted to listen. After the sex talk a young girl came up to Jane and I and started to ask us question. She was wondering about what to do because she was in a relationship where the guy was drinking. She wanted our input on her relationship. Then after all of this two girls went up to Jen and accepted Christ. I was so thrilled to hear this! Now that the week is almost over and my time here is almost up, I do not want to leave. I feel I am just now starting to bond with the kids. I have seen God worked through EVERY single person on this team. It has been kind of awesome to step back and watch God's love shine through everyone on this team. I will see you soon in AMERICA! I can't believe I am going home soon!

Day 7

Hello! I can't believe we only have one more day left of camp. This trip has been so amazing. Some of the team members and I were joking about how we should go on "Survivor" after this because of how much we've experienced this week! It's awesome though because I know that God is teaching me so much. At this point, I'm grateful for the peanut butter and honey sandwiches I've eaten every day and the bottles that we use to fill with water for our showers. I know the kids don't have bottles to fill or clothes to change out of when they get too hot.

The kids have been so so incredible. The little girls follow me around constantly, always climbing on me or kissing me on the cheek! It doesn't even bother me at this point when they hug me with their sweaty little bodies because they are so sweet. Today, we got the kids to write letters for all of you and our other sponsors to read telling about their favorite parts of camp or thanking people. Several little girls ended up actually writing personal letters to me also. One of our translators, Kate, translated them for me right there. I started crying at the end of one letter because the girl, Oxana, told me how much she loved me, how she thought I was beautiful, how she would never forget me, how she hoped I would always be healthy, and how she would wait for me to come back. I think tomorrow will be hard for me.

Last night, I went to one of younger girls rooms to talk about their new beds and tell them how they represented how much we love them and God loves them. They were so excited and happy to make up their new beds. We all held hands and some of them prayed out loud. I'm not exactly sure what they were saying, but I know it was coming from their hearts. They all climbed into bed and I went around and hugged each one, telling them I loved them. All of us have really bonded with these sweet and loving children.

Well, it's almost time for worship! Thank you so much for all of your prayers and encouragement!


Kim Cox here...Photo, Photo, Photo

God is everywhere. Even in the most remote parts of the world, if you open your eyes you can see God at work around you. In fact, maybe it is easier to see God at work around us here in Moldova because we are not distracted by all that normally consumes us. I see God at work in the lives of the team members, but especially in the lives of the children. You can see the joy enter their eyes as we open our hearts and allow God's love to pour through. Maybe I can see it more, because I can see a change in the faces as I photograph the children each day. The early part of the week, the faces were withdrawn...hard to get a smile and now, they cannot stop smiling when I point the camera at them. In fact, today all I heard as I walked around was..."photo, photo". And that will be my memory of Moldova..."photo, photo, photo"....and recall the beutiful faces of God at work.

God is so good

Things are still going really well. Since my first post, it's gotten a lot hotter, but the team is really rolling with the punches. As every other trip, there is always a change in plans, things that don't go exactly how you envisioned...but in the end, it all comes out in the wash. And in the meantime, you got to love on a child or encourage a translator. And that's what we're here for anyway. I can't say enough about how wonderful this team is - so flexible and such great attitudes. Jen and I had a really long, tough yet amazing conversation with a translator yesterday. I would even venture to say that I was on this trip for that very conversation. Being a team leader, sometimes you don't get as much 1x1 time with kids. But yesterday, in that room, I became very aware of God's presence and how He was working in the life of this translator. I knew God had orchestrated this talk, and I was so glad for that. He is so good.

God has really been moving today. I visited the older girls and boys bible studies, and both groups were captivated. Again, God is good. Both groups went way over their time, because they were asking so many questions. I know of one girl - Nastea (that Rick and Maree sponsor - who accepted Christ this morning. What a joy to see that happen in front of your face. There's just something different about today. I can't explain it. I guess you all are praying. Keep it up! We are all healthy which is a HUGE praise.

This afternoon, some of us are going to take a few kids and go into the village to pass out food and invite the villagers to come to a worship service tonight. There are some kids at camp who are not from this orphanage, but we invited them from the village. We have invited their parents to come as well. We're going to serve cookies, and the pastor of the Marculesti baptist church is going to speak. You can be praying for that. can I forget?! The beds are finished, and the children all got to sleep on them last night. It was so fun to see them making their new beds. The bed-builders have bought brightly colored paint to paint a swing set at the orphanage. They'll have to do it in the dark, thought, because it's SOOO hot. We also bought swings, because the swingset had none. I'm really excited about this.

Last night, after the Moldovan worship service, we brought all the kids outside, where Bekah, Jane and Natalie did an awesome presentation. They used whipped cream to demonstrate sin and had some kids come up and spray it all over them. They talked about how it looks and tastes good, but it's really not good for you. Then they had other kids dump water all over them to respresent how Jesus washes our sin away and makes us clean. It was really cool, and the kids loved it. Then we served them all ice cream in honor of Lesia's birthday. Good times, good times.

Thanks to all of the prayer partners. Your letters each morning make an incredible difference in our day. Know that we are being encouraged by your words throughout the day.

So much to write, so little time, and so little A/C in the internet cafe. Oh wait, there's no A/C anywhere. Oh well!

Much love to all!!


110 Degrees

Yes it is 110 degrees outside today. Who knew it would be hotter in Moldova than at home? The kids don't even seem to notice, it doesn't slow them down a bit. I've never sweated this much in my life! I can't begin to sum up what this week has been like... just to give you an acurate picture, I took a shower with a water bottle last night. And you know what? I liked it. I loved it. Nothing could have been better. I was just grateful to have a bottle and grateful to have water to waste on washing. I was grateful for clothes that had been worn all week to put on afterwards. Grateful that I had soap. The simple ways here are better than all the A/C, hot showers, and TV I could ever need. I am so aware of every bite of food I take, because someone else isn't getting that. I'll remember.

Thank God for His protection this week. Thank you for your prayers. They work more than you know. I got hit in the teeth with a bed yesterday while moving and I still have all my teeth... another thing to be grateful for.... you should have seen the whiplash... in retrospect it was hilarious!! WApow!

My favorite moments have been the little ones. No amount of planning or prepping compares to playing London Bridge, tossing a frisbee or painting a little girls nails. And who doesn't love dirty, sweaty, lung-crushing hugs? I for one, need about ten a day to really get through.

The Moldovan church youth that we are working with here have been amazing with the kids... skits, songs, contests, leading worship and praying. What a blessing to see such devoted brothers and sisters in the Lord. They've made a difference in these kids lives and we are praying that their involvement continues after we leave.

More to come! Many blessings! Amy

Wednesday, July 18, 2007

Hello Everybody

It's us Stef and I. We had a long flight and we found out we can't sleep on a plane! So, when we got here in Moldova we were dog tired. Just like the other posts, it's HOT!!! Today it got up to 110. No A/C and not really missing it??!!?? Don't understand that one. I (Rusty) can't stand the smell of the food. Too many onions. I've (Rusty) been eating protein bars and drinking warm water. Stef has been eating protein drinks and drinking warm water. Do you see a trend, warm water, warm water, warm water... There are about 70 kids here, we planned for 130. I guess that should have told us something about planning and scheduling. Those were thrown out the window when we arrived. Everyday there is a different scehdule. One schedule was to eat supper with the kids. That changed before we made it to the cafeteria. On the other hand the children are very sweet and want to be hugged. They run toward you so hard to hug you have to stand firm. They're enjoying us being here and it will be very hard to leave them behind. We made the 130 beds in 2 days. When it was time empty out the old beds and move the new ones in, the kids went crazy. It was like a feeding frenzy. Eight and nine year olds were carrying beds up 3 flights of stairs. Tonight they get to sleep in their new beds. Goal Accomplished!!!

We miss everyone so much and can't wait to get home to see you all!!

Hugs and Kisses from Moldova,
Love You All,

Stef and Rusty

July 18 from Lesia Goddard & Jeff Bausman

Hi Everybody,
Lesia and Jeff here blogging on Emilys name, because we could not get our pass word to work..surprised! It Wednesday and the trip has been exhausting but exilerating!! When ever we think we can't go any longer a child (Copii) gives us a hug!! It is 103 breaking records, GREAT!! Rusty made us some ice by filling a baggie with water and putting in our refrigerator with duct tape that hold the door shut. We knew an engineer would come in handy!! We are working with a local church which has been great and challenging due to the language barrier. We are very glad they are here, it appears they are bonding with the kids and hopefully will help them when we are gone.
Breakfast everyday is frozen yogart and cereal. Lunch is ham and cheese, cheese and ham, peanut butter, ham and cheese, peanut butter and jelly, and HAM and CHEESE!!!! Dima said not to forget the honey and ham and cheese. Dinner is Potatoes and Chicken, Chicken and Potatoes, ETC., ETC., ETC. YuMMMMMMMMMMMMMMMM.
Now to the most important part, the kids (copiii). They are so incredible. Every morning we get together for a skit based on a bible story, then small groups, then crafts, recreation, and organized chaos!! Then we rest. Eat about 6pm, worship, put the kids to bed and hang out with them. It took a couple of days for them to warm up. They have never seen Americans before, but last night I got a hug and a kiss from every child that I tucked in. It was very special.
Jeff spent an evening with a translator from the local church and a group of boys. They wanted to know if we had airplanes and fish in America. They wanted to know what America looked like. I told them about mountains, water falls, deserts. They did not understand desert or sand. They have not seen it. The children love any time that we spend with them, even when its 100 sitting a worship service. Fortunately we all smell GREAT!!!
Now Darlene Wier is here!! Hey, good thing that Emily is sharing her blogging space. The time is is truly life changing. These kids are beautiful and very loving. The conditions are beyond bad and it's so frustrating for me not to be able to communicate. I want so badly to tell them all about Jesus but you have to trust that the Holy Spirit will speak for us. The children attempt to speak words in English and you can't help but want to sqeeze them, because you understand that they want to communicate with you just as bad. We are taking so many pictures so that we can share with you all that there is to see here. The country side is beautiful...but the conditions are very poor. Every morning there is this busy activity on the streets and you see the horse drawn carts carrying family members or sometimes hay for the animals. What a sight. It will be hard to leave these children, as well as our translators, we have come to love them all. Well I will stop for now, our drivers are waiting for us. What an experience, so awesome!

Monday, July 16, 2007

Howdy ya''s Emily!

Oh, how I've missed Moldovan internet and Russian keyboards (not really). I have literally been waiting for 30 minutes for this page to load. So, I'll get to the point. We're doing so well. This team is rocking my socks off. Seriosuly, this was the smoothest first day I've ever had in Moldova. We have some rock stars on our team. Actually, I think God is faithful and has completely prepared the way for us. It's amazing to me how small the body of Christ is, and how God brings us all together. For example, on the flight to JFK, I sat behind a huy who is a French teacher in FL, and his brother does mission work in Moldova. It was awesome. Our t-shirts were also a hit. Everyone kept stopping us and asking us what was the "sleep team"? We got a lot of opportunities to tell them why we were coming and what we would be doing here. Plus, we looked really good. =)

The orphanage is great. The experience is better than I expected. Cold showers - yes, no doors in the bathroom - yes. But really...everything we need, and the orphanage staff has been more than accomodating.

A few random thoughts, and then I should go...
  • Rick and Maree - Nastea is with us. What an amazing girl. We're having so much fun with her.
  • Lovells - Galina is here, too. She is amazing and understands EVERY word we say. A translator in training. Jen has been having a lot of really great conversations with her - a lot of great one on one time. I thought you would be happy to know that.
  • We're sitting here in the internet cafe, and the guy working the desk asked Dan, the translator, if I've ever worked in Falesti. He's from the orphanage there. He's the older brother of the Roditza (sp?) siblings - the one with the dark skin and really blue eyes. He recognized me from pictures. I said, "Yes! I know their sponsor, Colleen!!" What a small little Moldovan world.
  • It's great to be back here. I feel so at home in this country and with these people.
  • We're sweaty...really sweaty. (but drinking lots of water, mom!)
  • The bed-builders completed about half of the beds today. We hired a guy to spray paint the stain, so it goes MUCH quicker. They'll probably finish early, so we plan on painting the swing set (which has no swings) and buying swings for it. We thought it would be a neat jesture. We're going to paint them bright yellow and red.
  • Ok, I should probably go. I'm sure the team is wondering where I am.
  • To my family, friends and everyone praying. I love you, and thank you SO much for praying! We can definitely feel your prayers. What a blessing it is to be here and serve this team and these people

Grace and peace,

Emily <><

  • Ame - Andrei is with us. He says hello to you, he is working hard and having a lot of fun.

Happy Birthday Kim!

Today is Kim Cox's birthday!!! Dan bought a cake so we could celebrate, along with fabulous Moldovan candles that resembled fireworks more than our traditional, small, easy-to-blow-out candles. We won't reveal her age, but you should definitely check back for the pictures later since we can't upload them now.

As Aileen wrote, we went from Chisinau to Balts to meet our translators. A two hour trip ended up taking us about 3 1/2 hours- we're guessing because our first driver didn't know how to shift into third gear, so we were only going 30 mph or less the entire time. We all looked behind us to make sure we didn't drop the transmission. My family will definitely appreciate the "Little Miss Sunshine" reference, sine we all laughed hysterically at that part of the movie. Watching Rusty and Andrei push and run to jump in was one of the funniest parts of the trip so far. I pulled my Moldovan-English Dictionary out during this trip to communicate with our driver. Luckily, we made it to Balts, but the Red Van had the best experience of driving on Moldovan roads and "interstates" than any other transport vehicle.

Today was the first day of camp and everything went very smoothly. Emily told us it was the easiest first day of camp in Moldova that she had ever experienced. All of our hard work and planning did pay off, but there is still a lot to do. The kids are amazing and so well-behaved. God definitely blessed us with children who are ready to learn and have fun. We are working with a local church called "Bethany" from Balts. They are very helpful in communicating with the children and are adding so much to the camp. The translators are so patient with us and we have gotten to know them very well, after only meeting them yesterday. We couldn't have asked for kinder, friendlier people to work with and interpret everything for the children and teachers.

About the bathrooms, since I'm sure you're all wondering... The toilets are new, but we bought our own toilet seats. The bathroom smells like, "Ca-Ca," according to Emily and you can guess what that means in Romanian. Originally, there were doors to the indivual stalls, but we don't know what happened to them... now there are shower curtains for privacy. We took very, very, very cold showers this morning. But, at least we have showers, right? The shower area doesn't smell much better, but as long as you have a "shower buddy," (thanks Nat), then you're better off- they hold your stuff while you're showering. We experienced Jen's dolphin noises, which seriously did sound like a dolphin when she gets under the freezing water.

To my family and friends reading this... I love you and miss you soooo much!!!

Good Times and Great Oldies

Man, this has been quite a trip. I'll do the best I can with the short amount of time I'm given to blog. We are at a little internet cafe in Marculesti, which really should be shut down for false advertising. The internet is slow that it's taken us about 20 minutes just to access our blogs.

I knew it was going to be a trip with great memories before we even boarded the plane in Nashville. It was about 5am, and our group is sitting around about to go through security when Amy and I realize that we have the same sports watch. Being girls, this of course gives us something interesting to talk about. Casi then asked, "What brand is it?" to which Amy replies, "It's a WR 50M.""Amy," I say, "I think that means Water Reisistant, 50 Meters." And that my friends, is why I love Amy Helms so very much.

In New York, we had about a 5 hour layover, so most of us decided to take a short "tour" of the city, which basically included going to Madison Square Garden and looking for a pizza joint. On the way back, I had my first experience with the NYPD, which was exciting. You always get to see them in action on tv, but in person, it's sweet. In order to get the attention of the NYPD, all you really need to do is have a crazy guy walk through the train station yelling, "Why are all of you peoploe in my county?" It only takes about 3 of those statements to cause 5 NYPD officers to swarm around the individual. If he decides to protest, they will promptly pull out their black gloves and start putting them on. At this point, they quietly took him away. It was awesome!

We got to the orphanage last night after about 3 days of traveling. It is nicer than I thought, although the bathrooms and showers are something to behold. They have no doors, no privacy of any kind. We brought shower curtains to put up, so the whole team didn't have to watch us use the restroom. The most important thing is to have a shower and bathroom buddy. Your buddy goes with you when you decide to take a shower. Casi is mine, and it's worked out quite well so far. Your buddy holds your towel and clothes while you scream bloody murder because the water is so cold. Once you take the fastest shower you've ever taken, you and your buddy switch, and you do the same for them. Casi, you're a great shower buddy.

We are sleeping in the Infirmary of the orphanage in old beds. I am praying like crazy that we don't get lice. Mom and I brought Nix just in case. I slept better than I thought, which was nice. We all took Pepto Bismol before dinner last night to coat our stomachs, just in case we couldn't handle whatever the cooks fixed. So far, so good.

Amy and I had Musica today. We had planned on teaching the kids fun dances like the Hokey Pokey and line dances, etc. However, we found out the church we are working with frowns upon such things, and we hd to come up with activities from the top of our head. We played some great oldies and did the limbo, duck-duck-goose, Screaming Ninjas, Rain Storm, and other such kid games. Some games went over well, but the girls just couldn't get the Screaming Ninjas game. We found out it's because the orphans don't like to sream. Just goes to prove the point that Americans are loud!

Alright, I gotta go. My time is up. Bye!

"Consider it pure joy!"

After several long days of traveling, we are all every excited about starting camp today. The trip has been an interesting adventure so far. Yesterday, we left Chisinau and set out on what we thought would be a two hour van ride to Belts. However, most of the team ended up in a van with a driver who didn't know how to drive the van! The trip ended up being about four hours, with some of the team members having to get out of the van and go to the bathroom in the woods! When we tried to get the van going again, it wouldn't start, so Rusty, our man of the trip, actually had to get out and push the van to get it rolling! For those of you who have seen the film "Little Miss Sunshine," we definitly had a similar moment! Our verse yesterday was James 1:2-6. Throughout the ride, everyone would laugh and say "Remember, consider it pure joy!" I think that will be the theme this week!


P.S. I miss you and love you Mommy! :)

Monday, July 09, 2007

In less than a week (5 days to be exact), Team 1 will be heading out for Moldova. My roommate Emily is leading the trip, and we've been sitting at the kitchen table tonight making lists of all the things left to be done. I've got 2 skits to finish up, costumes to make, final preparations for my assigned Bible Study devotionals, a meeting with my fellow Worship team members to plan the night speakers and skits, and packing. Yikes! Is it weird that what I'm most excited about are the unexpected twists and turns we're going to experience all along the way? They have a way of keeping one humble and on their knees, and I think more than any amount of planning, that's the most important thing we can do.

I'm also looking forward to the fact that my mom is joining us on this trip. For those who don't know her, she's an incredible woman of faith, strength, and tenderness. I can't wait to see how the Lord is going to break us both, and how amazing is it going to be to get to experience that brokeness together? I pray that Mom and I can be an incredible witness to those kids whose only experience of a parental relationship has brought deep hurt and pain. I want to be able to show them that that relationship can be one that encourages, uplifts, and respects the other, not tears down or abuses.

A personal prayer request. Pray for our skits that we, the worship team, have prepared. Pray that they would connect with the kids, that they would draw them in. I'm nervous. We've come up with an emcee-type character that will start off the morning group time. It's a Superhero whose crazily dressed and can hopefully keep their attention. I think I've been nominated to be it. I have no problem being a goof, because that's a big part of who I am, but being a goof and making children who don't speak my language want to watch is a little intimidating. Pray!!

I'll be chatting at you soon!


My time here is almost over

This trip has really flown by this summer. I can not believe I only have three weeks left. It feel like the just the other day I was getting off the plane to my new home for two months. I must admit I am so excited to see the teams from Sweet Sleep. I can not wait to tell them all the stories and wonderful times I have had. These past couple of weeks I have really gotten to see what it feels like to be a true Moldovan. I have taken many buses and mass transit. I have eaten at all the nice little restaurants. I have seen God's love surrounding all the Moldovans day in and day out. I have grown so close to the children at internat II. I know every smile of every child. I know each child laugh. It has been amazing. Before coming here I didn't know what God had planned for me. All I know is he wanted me to come to Moldova all summer. Now that I am actually living it I know why he wanted me here. God's plan for me is different everyday. Some days it's making a child smile that I haven't seen smile all day, some days it is having a talk with an older girl about what she is planning on doing when she graduates, and some days it is just telling a child that I love them but more importantly God loves them. Everyday is different and I wake up saying to myself, "What does God have planned for me today?" The Rolling Hills team left early this morning. This team was amazing. It was so much fun to see how much the kids loved this team. Last weekend I had been kind of sick so Monday wasn't much fun for me. Tuesday I woke up feeling a lot better and decided to go to camp. I found out that the one of the teams from Rolling Hills was going to Cahul. I had always wanted to go there so I asked around and got to go. Not knowing that it was an overnight thing I hopped in the van and was on my way to Cahul. I had no extra clothes and no toothbrush. The children there where so different than at Internat II. The kids at Internat II are so used to Americans so they are very open and loving. In Cahul they were distant and quiet. No child would just come and talk to you. This was a huge struggle for me. I did have a blast there with Connie and Steve David and the rest of the team, but with the kids it was hard. I have been praying for this team all week. I know it was a struggle for them. I returned to camp on Thursday happy to see all the kids again. My little sponsor boy, Eugen, had gone home to his mothers for the week. He returned on Friday. I was so thrilled that he came back because I didn't know when he would. Please pray for me this week. I have a lot to do to get ready for the sweet sleep teams. I also just need rest. Can't wait to see you all and I will be praying for you all week! God will truly bless these two teams!!!

Friday, June 29, 2007


Well, it is about three weeks until Team 2 will depart for Moldova. I will admit, I am very nervous about the trip. This will be my first mission trip as well as my first time out of the country. It will also be very hard for me to be away from my family for so long. Last night at our meeting, Stuart had us go around and tell a fear each of had about the trip. Whether a person is afraid of flying, losing luggage, or even getting arrested, it was comforting to know that I was not the only one with fears. It was comforting to know I had a strong team to help me.

To introduce myself to the readers, my name is Meghann Searcy and I will be a sophomore at Brentwood High School. I was saved when I was young, and I have always wanted to be part of a mission trip. As I said, this will be my first. My friend had been on a trip to Moldova before, and I heard amazing things about how it was incredibly life-changing for her. I began to look into it more and went to a meeting about it. My family and I prayed for a long time, and then one day it all became clear to me. I had a vision in my head about me sitting next to a little child in Moldova and leading them to Christ. This was a moment I will never forget. This was the moment I knew I was going to Moldova.

So, in all of the preparations for the trip, I have had nervous feelings, but I am comforted by knowing that I have people here to help me. I have a wonderful team and most of all I have God on my side and I am so excited to see what He has in store for me.


But God does!

Front: Emily Borders, Casi Bryant, Marilyn Wilson, Jane Thompson
Back: Amy Helms, Rusty & Stephanie Fish, Lesia Goddard, Natalie Wier, Aileen Wark
Not pictured: Jennifer Bausman, Bekah & Jessica Beasley, Kim Cox, Jen Gash, Darlene Wier

Two weeks from today, 15 women and 1 man (I know - pray for him!) will be headed to Moldova, the poorest country in Europe, to share Hope and Love to some of God's precious children. For the past few months, we have been planning away in hopes of making this a memorable week for the kids. This particular trip is unique in so many ways.

First, we are going to a new orphanage where we've never been and where no other team will go this summer. It's an orphanage for the mentally handicapped in a town called Marulesti. Now, "mentally handicapped" can mean a lot of things in Moldova. For example, if someone has Dyslexia, they're considered mentally retarded. We don't really know what to expect when we get there...but God does!

Second, we have been invited to stay AT the orphanage for the first time ever. We will literally have the opportunity to walk a mile in their shoes. This is an experience that I think will challenge us as a team and as individuals, but I think it will challenge us in a very positive way. Honestly, it's one of the things I'm most excited about for this trip! We don't really know what to expect when we get there...but God does!

This trip has two main parts to it. Most of the team will be running a VBS-like camp for the kids at the orphanage. In fact, the kids at this orphanage will have already gone "home" for the summer (I say that in quotes, because many don't have a place to go and, therefore, live with another family in the village. That family gets paid $1/day for keeping the child), so we are having to literally bus them back to the orphanage, where they will be allowed to stay for the whole week. This is a great thing, because many if not most of them will be coming from places where they've had little food and no shower for the summer. We'll be able to provide three meals and a snack/day, a good shower, and not to mention lots and lots of LOVE. We don't really know what to expect when we get there...but God does!

The other part of the team will be working with some of the older orphans to build all 130 new Sweet Sleep beds for the orphanage. What an awesome privilege it will be to put comfy sheets and pillows on their new, clean beds with 7-inch foam mattresses...and then to tuck them in and pray with them. We will be able to leave a tangible evidence of God's love - a place where they can literally feel God's arms around them.

Finally, we are going to be working with two local, Baptist churches and a Moldovan missionary couple to help build relationships between them and the Marculesti orphanage. The hope is to engage them in ministry with us and light a fire in their hearts to continue pouring into the children long after we leave. It is our goal for continued discipleship to take place. We have no idea how this partnership is going to look or how the church will help us the week we're there. We don't really know what to expect when we get there...but God does!

So yes, there are a lot of floating pieces to this trip. But we've prayed and asked God to direct our steps. We've planned as best as we know how. We don't really know what to expect when we get there...but God does! And that's really all that matters.

Thursday, June 21, 2007

3 weeks and counting!

With only three weeks to go, I really cannot explain how excited and overjoyed I am to be a part of this experience! Though I leave for Spain on Monday for a trip with my friend's family, honestly I'm way more excited about coming home and getting ready to go. Everything has been a little crazy for me lately since I'm trying to get ready for two major trips at the same time! However, even though I feel a little anxious, I know God is totally in control and I'm doing exactly what I'm supposed to be doing. Worry and trying to do things on my own is something I struggle with, and I know this is God's way of teaching me how to just give all my worries and stress to him. This particularly applies in the area of my passport, which has still not arrived! But it's all good, I know it's taken care of and it's coming. The team has also been awesome in supporting me and helping me organize everything in such a short amount of time. I can't wait to come back and head to Moldova! Bekah, we are praying for you girl and can't wait to see you!

Tuesday, June 19, 2007


I send you greetings from Moldova! It is 8:30 am here so that means it is 12:30 am in America. How weird is that? Today is rainy and cold,which is a bit different than last week. Last week was so hot and sunny. So I must admit I was quite happy when it started to rain. Well, the North Carolina and the other two from Texas left yesterday morning. I have been a little bit lonely. When the team got up yesterday morning, Mark, the family that I am staying with son, was very sick. He was vomiting everywhere. He could not stop. Later on that morning Victor and Valentina took him the the hospital. I have been very worried about him. Mark and I have grown to be very close so I was sad when I had no one to entertain me yesterday. Last night Victor and I went to visit him in the hospital. I could not believe how run down the hospital was. Being there reminded me of some kind of horror film. Even the nurses seemed a bit scary. Mark is having a rough way to go with all the shots and IVs they are giving him. Please pray for him! Tonight a team from San Antonio are coming in town. They are going a camp for a week. Starting tomorrow morning I will go to the orphanage with them. I am excited because I already miss all of the kids. Well, I guess that about says it all for what is going on for me right now. I will put up another blog soon to let everyone know how the camp is going.

Saturday, June 16, 2007


This week has been wonderful. I have seen God plant his seeds everywhere this week. I flew over with a team from North Carolina and one more team member from Texas. I really don't even know where to start because so much happened this week. First off, my luggage was lost until Sunday night. I had to wear the same clothes from Thursday morning to Sunday night. I hugged my luggage when I went to pick it up. People were looking at me funny. I wish the only knew how happy I was to see them. Our first day to get to see the kids was on Saturday night. We gave them a huge pizza party. I can't describe the feeling I got to see my little boy, Eugen. I decided not to tell him I was coming to Moldova for the whole summer because I thought it would be amazing to surprise him. He ran up to me and immediately began to cry. He was so quiet. I think it was because he was so shocked. He asked, "Why are you here, I thought you weren't coming this summer?" I told him I wanted it to be a surprise and I was going to be there for two months this summer. He just could not stop hugging me. I also got to see some kids that I met in January so of course it was fun to see them. Sunday we went to church and a translator, Anna, got married right in the middle of the service. It is really common to do that in Moldova. Then while the rest of the team went back to the house, Connie took me to Anna's wedding reception. WOW that was an adventure. I just kind of sat there because I was so in shock of how they celebrated the weddings. I also got to try a lot of new food. Some I did like and some I didn't. This week I taught a 10-12 year old girl's bible study. My girls were awesome. I had so much fun with them. They listened to me! I was pretty shocked that they wanted to know what I had to say. Just picture me with 13 girls hanging off of me everyday. On Tuesday night Mary and I got to lead the evening worship. The theme for the day was forgiveness. We got 6 bottles of whipped cream; 3 for me and 3 for her. We told the kids that the whipped creme represented sin. You know it's bad for you but you want it anyways. We then had two buckets of water with two volunteers. Then we got 3 volunteers each to get one bottle each and spray the ENTIRE can of whipped cream all over us. Then we had the other two boys to dump the whole bucket of water on us to represent that when we accept Christ He washes all our sins away. THE KIDS LOVED IT! I have only been here for one week and I have grown so close to the kids. I love every single one of them! I will have to write another blog to tell about the rest later.