This is Lauree-not Stuart-sorry! I forgot to register on sweetsleep!-ugh
Day 2 at Ivancea. Mission trips are not trips filled with a great deal of rest, no matter how hard you try. Our day ends around 6:00 and we head back to the mission house. We have a wonderful dinner prepared for us when we walk through the door and they are even trying to work my vegetarianism into the meals-what a blessing that they consider this. Tonight we had spaghetti and Lilia(the BEST cook ever!) prepared me a separate bowl of sauce without meat-how sweet is that?
I'd first like to tell you something that happened to me today, not of a spiritual nature but I must share it because sometimes I am such a dork! Like today, when I forgot that I am 40 and not 16! They love playing some form of volleyball where you get in a circle and hit the ball back and forth (much like the hacky sack games they play in China). So we girls had a little lag time waiting on more rooms to be cleaned out so we started playing, then some of the translators joined in. Then the older boys came and stood in the doorway and watched-I can only imagine what they were thinking of the women playing this game in a not so talented way. The ball came my way and I went to hit it and I was short-I thought one more step and I can get it-however, I had to much momentum from running, overshot the ball, lost my balance, fell - HARD on my knee and hand and twisted around into a pile of pillows-I thought I was dead. I was so embarrassed, so I tried to laugh it off-which I am sure it was extremely funny! So I finished my game in excruciating pain and as soon as it was over, Jill, Arlene and Lannette came over to laugh about my gymnastics routine-and I almost burst into tears-I told them I was really hurt but there was NO way I was going to let anyone know-they felt bad but I did think it was funny, it WAS! I'm not a teenager. My knee is torn, swollen and - ouch! My wrist finally quit hurting-talk about feeling stupid! Okay, enough about my stunts.
We were able to finish all of the beds today. We are fast!! Okay, so we may have had a lot of help. The volunteers, the church members, the kids....wow, the kids. They are simply amazing. My heart is overwhelmed by them. The pure joy and delight at seeing us, at helping us, at talking with us. I kept thinking to myself, we consider beds a basic necessity-they are nothing exciting, it's not what we wish for, and I can bet most of us don't care for our beds the way these children do. They love their beds, they jump up and down. The boys went into the girls rooms both days and just start helping put their beds together. They all work together. There is a harmony about it that will take your breath away. You don't have to ask them, they line up to find out how they can help, they are so proud when you boast about them. Their eyes light up. It made my heart happy-simple as that. I have done much crying today and I can't even imagine tomorrow, but it will not happen in front of the kiddos-hopefully! :) They were so appreciative of what we were doing and continually told us, "thank you!"
Their expectations are so low and I see God working through this mission. They were so very excited to see us today after yesterday. So many of them started yelling and waving out of their windows, it is so beautiful and heart-warming. They have the sweetest spirits for living the life they do. I noticed today that the children were in the same clothes as yesterday and the odors were a little different but at day 2 you notice it but it makes no difference. You just want to love on these kids, hug them, touch them, tell them they are beautiful, tell them Jesus loves them, Jesus made them unique, Jesus has a very special plan for each of them. They can dream, they can hope, Jesus will always be with them, He will hear there prayers, Jeremiah 29:11.
They wanted so much to please us. They tried speaking English saying, "hello", "You are my friend", "I want a picture with you." etc. They wave, they smile, they giggle when you show them attention. The boys are absolutely adorable-they are the ones who giggle so joyously when they speak to you and you speak back-they all love it. They crave attention, they yearn for it, they need it. They deserve it! My heart feels overjoyed and yet I ache for the reality of leaving them tomorrow. Does that make sense. I have a Mom-crush on some as I mentioned, but there are 2 that won't leave my heart. They stood out today. Stella, who sat by me on a new bed and wrapped her arms around me and laid her head on my shoulder. How often do they get this outside of their friendships? We took pictures together I'll be able to post later. Then there is Andrei (Andy). I am in love. He haunts me at night and during the day and today I HAD to talk to the Director and his teacher, just to find out about his story (and yes to sort of find out if I needed to find an adoption agency to send an application!) Breathe Jeff! He is the sweetest, most beautiful boy-He is close to my son's age. (for those that don't know me, I LOVE adoption and this is where God has led us in creating our family-we have one adopted son from Ukraine and one daughter adopted from China). We want a third.
Anyway, his story is not so bad and he sees his mother on breaks-doesn't know his dad. I am glad that he has a family, but the selfish part of my heart cries. No, I don't think he would be better with us, but I can't help feeling a tiny bit heartbroken-totally selfish reasons and I'm praying on this!! I must close for now so others can use the computer too. This trip is changing the group-it is wonderful. Thank you God for this group, this mission, Sweet Sleep, and the kids!