This morning we learned a bit more about Jonah and spent some time in worship and prayer. After that we took the long trek to Tei Day Center--one of my favorite places. The kids that come to Tei are from extremely poor families and are taken care of during the day time hours. They are bathed, clothed, and fed three meals. Although it's amazing that they are still with their families, their living conditions are often indescribable. Tei provides these children with a safe places to grow, and the CTL staff helps them learn about the love of Jesus. How else will we break this vicious cycle?
We rode the metro and the tram and our legs to Tei. Upon arrival, we met with the director and chatted a bit. Every time I go she gives me a huge hug and tells me that she remembers me. So sweet! When we were finally able to go outside to see the kids, I was beyond excited. I remember many of them by name, and it completely warms my heart to see how they've grown over the last couple of years. When we sat down for songs and story time, I literally had three little ones on my lap. That certainly does a body good. We played, laughed, spun around, took pictures (which I'd love to show you in person), and loved on each other. You know, we go into these places to show these children the love of God, but I must say, I always come out of Tei feeling so incredibly loved and blessed. These children have nothing, but the joy on their faces simply radiates. I know God is doing a mighty work through CTL in this place.
After a long journey back and a delicious lunch, some children from the counseling center came to spend time at the office (CTL provides counseling and assistance to poor families at risk of giving their children up into the orphanage system). Again, I knew most of these children from last year, so it was a complete joy to see them again. We played Dutch Blitz and some team building games. We sang and did the same gospel activity that I wrote about from yesterday. We had so much fun!
The little ones from the counseling center went home after our activities, but the older ones stayed for worship night--one of my favorite things in the history of ever! Eliza (a former staff member and current good friend) came to join us for dinner and worship night. My heart was so delighted to see her and sit down and spend some good quality time with her. Gianni BBQed for dinner, and I got to eat my favorite Romanian food--Mici!!! Today sure does have lots of favorites, huh? Well, it's not over yet! During dinner, someone came up behind me and covered my eyes with her hands. It was Denisa, another former staff member and current good friend. What a special treat. We were able to eat together and FaceTime Bailey to chat for a few minutes.
After dinner we all gathered inside for a time of worship in English and Romanian (check out he video I posted if you'd like to hear a few seconds of what it sounded like). Each of us Americans shared a bit, and the theme of the evening seemed to be about choices. All of life is a choice, will you make good choices or bad choices? Like I often talk about with my students, you have to decide who you are and what you stand for or you'll fall for everything. If you haven't decided yet what you don't want to do, it'll be much more difficult to say no when the time comes. These kids are a such a crossroads and their lives could easily swing in either direction. It is our prayer that they will continue coming to CTL, continue learning about God and the Word, and truly make their faith their own. Without that, what do they have in this life? Without that, what do ANY of us have in this life?
It was no easy to say goodbye at the end of worship night--it never is, but it was especially difficult knowing that my time here is so short and that two of my precious friends are no longer on staff (so I won't see them everyday this week).
But, what better way to cheer up than with ice cream, right? Of course! So, a few of us took a little long walk to the market to pick up a few things and some ice cream bars. We have been SO BLESSED with the beautiful weather this week, and our evening walk was no exception. It was wonderful!
Tomorrow we'll get to spend more time with the little girls from the Home of Hope--eeeeek!--and look at some possible places for a future ministry center. Be praying!
Here are a few additional things to pray about:
* the VAN (see my FB or my blog post from yesterday)
* sleep and health and strength
* that God would continue to lead in the coming days and we'd be obedient
* that lives will be changed
Blessings to you all! Te iubesc!