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,