Since we don't have internet access at the Stepenencos, five of us are at an internet cafe in Chisinau. There is much to catch you up on. While the team went to the graduation ceremony at the oprhanage yesterday, Peter (driver/translator) and I took Mihai and Vasile home. Peter stopped on the way and bought us all cokes and chocolate croissants. The Ruracs loved it. We sang songs (lots of ra-cha-cha), drew pictures, hugged, laughed...you name it. The highlight of the trip was when we rolled into Obreja Noua (the name of their village), they saw their "father" coming down the road on his bike. They both yelled out, "Tata!" which means "father" in Romanian. They were so excited to see him and told him they had missed them. He seemed genuinely happy to see them as well. I had loaded up the van with some goodies for the family - underwear and socks for the boys, a Romanian bible, chocolates, and other staples (macaroni, rice, beans, and oil)...so, we had to drive to their house. The narrow dirt road was really hard to navigate with the van (remember...we had WALKED up to their house before), so it was a little scary. I made Peter stop at one point so I could pick some flowers for my journal. We finally got to the house and jumped out. I gave them their food and walked Mihai and Vasile to the door. They ran in to put their stuff down, and I stayed outside with Tata George. He gave me a big kiss on the cheek and thanked me for the food. I told him that I was praying for him and his family and to take care of these precious boys. He asked me if they had been good to which I replied, "Of course! They are such good boys." He told me he agreed and said they always help around the house.
I just can't tell you what a gift God gave me this week. I originally signed up for this trip because we were going to Drochia, where Mihai was. Then I found out Mihai was taken by a family. I had mixed emotions. I was glad he was in a family but wondered if this family was a "good" family and would love him. I was also selfishly sad I wouldn't get to see him. So I decided that God had other plans for this week. I hoped to see them, but didn't think much about it. I was going to be content either way. But it turns out I got to spend a whole week with them, and give SO many hugs and kisses. Mihai told me he loved me for the first time (he had always just said it in return to me). He also got to build beds with John Hataway, which was SO fun to watch.
As we pulled away from their house, I was not sad. Nor was Mihai...and I was ok with that. They stood at the gate and waved at us as we made our way down the dirt path. I feel such peace about where he is, and I didn't expect that this trip. I thank God for this precious gift.
What a wonderful week we have had! We had a GREAT team. The weather was perfect. There weren't too many kinks in our plans, which is rare for Moldova. We had tons of quality time with kids - even moreso than when we had camp! We laughed...A LOT. We built 240 beds!!! We got to hug on so many precious children and tell them God loves them. And best of all, we got to leave them with a physical reminder of that - a new bed.
God is up to some cool stuff here in Moldova. I am just so glad He has chosen me to be a part of it. You can be a part of it, too, you know. Come to Moldova. Support Sweet Sleep. Pray for the children. I assure you...it will change your life.
Thank you for your prayers...much love to you!