Friday, March 30, 2007

Memories from Moldova

This experience was wonderful and life-changing, and I truly appreciate the opportunity that I was given to do God's work.


First Impressions:
The landscape passed slowly outside my window while I stared at the distant rolling hills and desolate cropland. As we drove over coarse roads that were lined with ascetic, barren trees, I searched my mind, in hopes of preparing myself for our week’s work. I was unsure of what to expect upon arrival at the orphanage, and my uncertainty was unsettling.

Our van soon pulled up to the orphanage, whose white, run-down buildings stood in stark contrast to the vivid, blue sky. As we piled out of the van and began unloading our supplies, a few children’s heads peaked out from behind a curtain on a first floor window, and children slowly crept out of the orphanage and stood on the outskirts of the playground to reticently observe us. Upon seeing the children, my apprehension was suddenly intertwined with excitement, as I realized the amazing opportunity I had been given to minister to these children, and this nervousness completely dissolved when dozens of children began approaching me, requesting to help us stain beds. With smiles on their faces and an intense desire to help, the children quickly began assisting us. They spoke in Romanian to one another, and I could occasionally decipher the word “American,” as the children spoke about us, casting clandestine smiles and glances our way. Although I could understand little of what was being said that day, I had no doubt that the children were enjoying themselves, perhaps for the first time in a long time. On the ensuing days, as we arrived at the orphanage, a handful of children consistently stood outside, eagerly awaiting our arrival, and the rest of the week was spent removing old beds from rooms and installing new ones. After completing the beds, we prayed over each bed, and often, the children would come by our side, inquisitively looking at us as they also folded their hands in prayer. As I prayed over the beds, a tear rolled down my cheek when I reflected on the children’s life after my departure, but I was comforted knowing that these new beds would provide the children with a renewed comfort and hope for the future.

Insights into the Lifestyle at the Orphanage:
When I first entered one of the dorms at the orphanage, I scanned my surroundings, hoping to truly understand the lifestyle of these children. The foyer was small and slightly darkened, for electricity was not utilized during the daytime. Directly ahead of me stood a concrete staircase with uneven steps and a thin, unsteady, metal railing lined each side. To my left, a broom that was no taller than two feet laid against a light-blue wall. The discovery of this small broom, purely a simple household item, instantly revealed to me part of the daily life at the orphanage, for it reminded me of an object that would have been employed many decades ago, rather than in the 21st century. Observing the broom, the steps, and the sunlit walls of the building, I felt as though I had been transported back in time, to an age where individuals made a living with very little. Throughout the entire trip, as I observed numerous situations (i.e. antiquated beds, horse drawn wagons, and old metal cookware) I couldn’t shake the feeling that I was experiencing a lifestyle that had long become extinct in the United States. The antediluvian materials that were used daily at the orphanage continually reminded me just how little these orphans had.

Experiences with the Children:
Incessantly smiling and staying by our side, many orphans assisted us for countless hours each day, yearning to help with even the smallest tasks. Whether we were assembling bed frames or putting sheets on the mattresses, there was never a dearth of young, willing hands, and the children’s excitement continually impressed me. Throughout the week, I observed a transformation in many children. No longer did their eyes reflect a dark and heartbreaking soul, but instead many of the children’s eyes sparkled with a renewed life. One child’s eyes in particular dramatically changed when she showed me a gift she had received from another member of our team. Her entire demeanor had transformed; a true smile appeared across her face for the first time that week, and her eyes sparkled in the sunlight, reflecting a revived anticipation of the future. The face of this child, along with many of the other children, will always be remembered


I relish in having the opportunity to interact with these children and touch their lives in a small way. While I will never know exactly how large of an impact I had on these children’s lives, I pray that in some small way I changed their life, for they have certainly changed mine.

God bless,

Thursday, March 08, 2007

Only one more day...

Yes it's true... We only have one more day with the kids. We all knew it would fly by, but that was just too fast. Let's see... What can I say for today? Well, we aren't going to get all 200 beds finished before we leave. That is a bummer, but they are going to get the remainder placed in the orphanage as soon as they are completed in a day or so. I know that today was a little more mentally draining for me, as I am sure it was the same for the rest of the team. The time to leave is drawing near, and both us and the kids know it. I can't stress enough how remarkable these boys and girls are. I also can't stress enough the conditions these boys and girls live in. Before I came here, I knew it was bad, but I didn't realize that my mind couldn't comprehend what it is really like until I saw it right in front of my face. To tell you the truth, I can't really even talk about it right now. Don't get mad, but nothing I say could even come close to explaining it. Just remember to keep these kids in your prayers. Pray that they grow in faith. Pray that they find hope in what seems hopeless. Also, pray that I can deal with what I now know when this unbelievable experience is over. I gaurantee that I won't look at mine or your "problems" the same anymore. So, don't expect cheap pity from me any time soon. If I had to say anything to anybody who is reading this right now, it would be for you to hit your knees and thank the Almighty God for the blessings He has given to you that you don't even know you have. I know all of that sounds harsh, but that is just the honest truth. I want to thank all of you that are praying for us as we are on this mission. We can definitely feel God's hand in everything we do here. For those of you that are friends of mine, I will see you soon.

God's grace to you,

Day 4 (Final Post)

Well today we first went to the bed makers shop again to ensure that the 40 beds were ready to take to the orphanage. There were also to be 60 platforms but (his staple gun broke so we were shorted on the platforms) Well that wasnt it he also didnt have the screws like he was to have so we went to a market to get them since it was international womans day most stores were closed. We found a shop that sold thems but they didnt have them in the numbers we needed some 300+ well then we had to improvise and find dif. screws that would work. after we had them we went to the orphanage. we bult all the beds we had then had to hurry to the lunch we bought for the kids and teachers yesterday. 30 chickens soda exc. well we served them and after the meal we gave the girls a flower and everyone a bible. The small kids got a book called 101 bible stories. Wonce that was done we did a little touch up on some of the projects that were hurried then back to the house. we had lunch then sat around and talked and slept. ( I talked the girls stayed up to (4am and got up a 7). after that we all went out to eat at Andies pizza. I had peperonie but it came with corn, pepers too. others had mayo and feta and other dif. things. well that leads me up to now. Im at a internet cafe typing. well It looks like i wont be able to blog tom after the orphanage sice we will be going strait to kishno the capital city to stay with a couple who lets american misonaries stay with them. If I do blog i will be suprised. our flight then leaves at 6am on sat. 10pm your time. well I cant wait to see everyone when i get back.

PS. I heard form a translator who translates all the sponsered kids letters. She said that Natalia has gone to live with her parents or step parents Natalia is expected to return to still get letters and see her friends since where she will be staying is not far from falesti. This is the translator that I will be giving the items to she also said she would take a pic of her with the items and sent it to ms. jacklin. The translater says she hopes that she wont have to come back for her sake. The orphanage is in poor shape.

Wednesday, March 07, 2007

Viva Moldova!!!

Just so everyone knows... This is my first blog ever. Going into this trip, I had no idea what to expect. It is my first mission trip, and my first time overseas. Well, let's start typing and see what happens.
As far as the team goes... They are awesome! I was very nervous going to a far off land with a bunch of strangers. Completely unaware that those strangers would be as close as family in only 3 days. We have had a blast hanging out with each other and talking. My face hurts from laughing. I have definitely made 10 new lifelong friends.
The mission house we are staying in is nothing like I had in mind either. It is very nice with up to date utilities... If you know what I mean. The drivers and translators are great people that share in a lot of the laughing with us. The cook is AMAZING!!! I thought I would come to Moldova, eat "Nabs" and beef jerky and lose about 10 pounds, but that is not the case at all. There is not one breakfast or dinner she has prepared that hasn't been scarfed down by all of us.
Now to the kids. We have spent three days at the orphanage, building their new beds and falling in love with them. When we pull up, they are nothing but smiles. We were supposed to have 6 teenage boys helping us with the work. Instead, we have 50 or so small kids working like little ants. I don't know that I have ever had a feeling like the one I have when I watch the children lay on their new beds, seeing how proud they are of it. Then bowing their heads to pray with us next to the bed. I almost lost it when we said Amen, and one little girl was smiling and crying at the same time. I just ask all of you reading this to pray for these kids. That they have sweet sleep and sweet dreams in the new beds, and that God pours His love out on them. They are wonderful kids, and have very little opportunity after they leave that place. I am truly blessed to meet them and spend this time with them. I wish I could bring every one of them back with me.
So far, we have put in 108 beds. The guy making the bed frames is running behind on the others, so pray that he can get as many done as he can. I am not sure that he will get all 200 made before we leave, and I don't want to leave without getting all the kids a new bed to sleep in.
I want to thank everyone for their prayers and support. We can definitely feel God working within this team. Keep on praying and I will post my 2nd blog as soon as I can.

God bless,

Tuesday, March 06, 2007

Day 2 is in the books

One of the coolest things I've ever experienced is our team praying over these new beds. Today after we had finished one the rooms, each team member sat on a bed with one or two of the orphans and we prayed together. My prayer partner was named Doina - a little girl about 5 or 6 years old.
The feeling of God's presence in that room was intense, and knowing that all the children could hear through our interpreter that we were praying for them brought a tremendous reassurance in our work and our purpose here. I'm confident that the children who prayed with us today will remember that event for a long time.

Im the one receiving the gift

Hey everyone...Ok, I have no idea why these children as soooooo happy. But, if we could bottle it...Anyway, the point being the mood is amazing. Little background; we want to include the children to give them "a sense of ownership". We dont even have to ask for help. For example; we have to put washers on each screw. I caught a room of 7 kids maybe 4 or 5 yr olds watching us...I grabbed 30-40 screws and a handfulof washers and laid them in the floor in front of them. Ok, I got 7 blank looks....I lifted one screw up, slide a washer over the end....YOU WOULD'VE THOUGHT I'D THROWN CANDY AT THEM...They leaped into the floor and in minutes gleefully delivered handful after little handful...With a smile that could easily grace the cover of any magazine.

As we finish the day, we enter each room, kneel beside the beds...its rare for only the child claiming that bed to join in...More the norm for 3-5 kids climbing up on each bed or kneeling next to them to clasp hands and thank God (via the interpreter of course)

Me? Ok, 2 days in, the "dogs are barking", the lower back reminding me Im not 20 anymore....And I havent needed an alarm to get me up and running down the stairs yet.

From filming the kids showing off for either the camera or someone that is actually giving them attention...more likely the later. To the 3 yr olds asking me to twirl them (again and again....and again)....My face, my heart and my soul smiles!

Im truly blessed to have been a part of this experience..not only for me...But for those little faces. And as the older kids explain to the smaller ones who, what and why we were there....Why the Amur-E-Kans came....Father, be blessed! Lord be praised and thank you!



Well the day started with bed building staining and bed extraction from the rooms in which we are building the beds. The bed building went fast but the stain still took time to dry so that slowed us way down but we still managed to crank out 53 beds bringing our total to 68 beds. Our bed maker still has not delivered the remaining 100 beds so on our way back to the house we stoped at his shop and tried to speed things up. He said that he would have 20 ready for us on our way to the orphanage and 40 by the end of the day still short of our 200 by 40 beds. He thinks he will have the rest on friday. YAY looks like a late night on sat. Well food is still incredible. I cant wait to share my Pics. with everyone. Well talk to you all tom.

Monday, March 05, 2007

Building Beds with Amazing Kids!

i never appreciated laying horizontally in a bed so much until last night!! it was a long journey and exciting to finally make it to our destination! so today was wonderfully tiring. we built 15 beds and stained about 80. it was fun to chat with the translators and kids, but i must admit the whole talking through the translator thing is kinda strange. i met a few kids that latched on to me a little girl named Elena and a few others. it really is amazing how by simply building beds can truly change lives. they haven't had new beds in i think the head lady said in 20 years. thats ridiculous and 15 kids get new beds tonight just because Jesus is moving so much here right now. its a blessing to be able to be here and experience this. let everyone know (hi family and tyler) that God is on the move and this experience is going to be quite an amazing one. your prayers daily are being put to such good use. love to all. blessings from Moldova.

Sallie Heard

First Day At The Orphanage

WOW!!! The kids here are amazing. When we first got there there we were just standing in the middle of a parking area talking about how things were going to work and we saw 2 adoribale kids staring out of a window just watching us. they were so cute. We later found out that the kids in that room were sick with feavers and some of them were itchy so they were confined to that room. well wonce we got the supplys out and started staining there was a wave of kids that came out to help, they had so much fun. we stained almost a 100 beds in like 2 hours. However it was so cold and there were to many clowds that the sun didnt dry the beds so we moved the foam matresses out of a room and brought in everything we had stained which was also all that we had since the rest of the beds are coming on wed. The beds should dry in there. After all that we had some lunch and now we were off to buld 15 beds that were already stained on Sat. by Miller and some of the kids. Now if we thought the kids were excited to help they really started to wont to help. we had kids drilling putting washers on the screws and hellping make the beds with new sheas and confetors. Well once that was done we prayed over each bed we bult and headed back on the GREAT ROADS LOL (NOT) I think i almost hit my head on the roof of the van a cupple of times. We are staying in the mission house but the email is broken there so we have to go to a internet cafe to blog. But back to the mission house it is GREAT hot watter, american showers and toilets. Not to mention good food i think i might gain weight. well until next time. Thanks for your prayers.

PS Natalia a girl on of my sponsors has a child she is sponsoring at this orphanage but she is with some family since it is one of there birthdays and it is her spring break. but some of the kids at the orphange know her.

Sunday, March 04, 2007

In Moldova

I received another text message from Jen, and the team has made it to Moldova safely. They should be on their way to the team house in Balti now. The house has internet, so they should be able to blog once they arrive.

Friday, March 02, 2007

Last night in my comfort zone

Last night on American soil. Last night in my comfy bed. Last night in my comfort zone.
Tormorrow a new journey begins. Tomorrow begins a new way of viewing the world outside my selfish comfort zone. I pray on my last night in my comfort zone, I leave my foolish pride behind. I pray I am guided, I am lead, I am used to reach someone.

My prayer is for God to grant me or work His wisdom through me...So that after I've left Moldova and those children lay their heads down in a clean, comfy bed, they think of and thank God...We will be long gone, the beds remain. Lets pray the beds remind them they have a Father that does love them! ...I want, need no glory. I want somehow to reach those kids and give them something they have little of...and much more valuable than a bed. I want to leave them hope.

I cant wait to sweat in Moldova!

Thursday, March 01, 2007

Thursday in Balti

Well, my bags finally made it last night. We picked them up at the airport and then headed to Balti - we got the team house around 9PM. There's still snow everywhere, but it seems to be melting, at least off the streets.

This afternoon, we're headed to the orphanage in Falesti. The frames are due to arrive around 2pm and the mattresses are coming on a big truck from Chisinau later tonight. I suspect we'll be in Falesti pretty late unloading mattresses.

I hope everyone on the team is getting ready for the trip. Remember to bring a pair of slippers or shoes to wear just in the team house. When we come in, we take off our "outside" shoes and put on our "inside" shoes. You can walk around in just your socks, but I wouldn't recommend it - it's kinda cold.

Prayer request: Please pray that all the material deliveries work out, and that the orphanage director is accomodating.

Hope everyone's doing well.