The days here simultaneously seem to go on forever and end in an instant. When I stop to think about how to chronicle my day, I am sometimes at a loss; yet, the week has flown by quicker than I'd like. It always does...
This morning we had kids from the #6 Social Apartments come to the office. They come from rough backgrounds and their living conditions are far from ideal. I remembered many of them from last year, so it was great to reconnect with them. We played basketball when they got here--boys against girls. Brian nicknamed it Jungle Ball because it was truly every man for himself. I'm pretty sure I got fouled more times than are allowed in an entire season. But, nonetheless, it was great fun!
We followed that up by separating the older kids and the younger ones (ages 2-8). Anna told a great story to the little ones using a felt board, and she truly held their attention the entire time. Then we got to color a picture depicting the main event of the story. And, guess what? I colored too! I know....shocker! I pretty much loved every minute of it.
While I was coloring, I got a huge surprise--Lili (a former CTL staff member) came through the door (see the picture on my social media). I've known Lili for quite a long time, and I love her dearly. It was such a blessed surprise to get to see her for a few minutes.
Then, as the groups gathered back together, we prepared to consume another fantastic meal by Nela. She truly is an unbelievable cook! The kids had to leave a bit early to go to school, so we ate and said our goodbyes.
We decided that we wanted to buy ice cream for the kids coming in the afternoon, so Nelu and Florina took us to the market to buy ice cream and a few other things--always an adventure in Romania!
Bogdan then took us (in the rain, I might add) to look at another piece of land he had found. It seemed pretty much awesome to me, but the Romanians know best. Please keep praying for God's will and favor with this land.
The kids were all there when we returned, anxiously awaiting their treat. It was such a joy to see their faces light up when I handed each of them a $0.30 ice cream bar. Incredible....
We got to spend a bit of time with them, but we also had to take care of some business, so we were in and out during their time. The rest of my team went with Bogdan to buy a couch for the Home of Hope, so I spent a little bit of time with the kids as they had a discussion about helping others. At one point, three little dears that I fell in love with two years ago, came up and gave me a card they had made me that said "I love you" all over it! Are you kidding me? Melt my heart!
Gianni then took me over to Home of Hope to stay with Georgi as she took her nap (Gianni had to pick up the other girls and Ionana had to run an errand--I'm not exactly sure of the details, but I was more than happy to go!). Peeking into Georgi's room and seeing her sleep so peacefully completely melted my heart and ripped it apart at the same time (this happens often here!).
The peacefulness didn't last too long, however. Unfortunately the little dear woke up while I was still there and began crying for Ioana (the Mama or Educator on duty). I sat down next to her and tried in my very limited Romanian to tell her that Ioana would be back soon, but she cried all the more. Talk about a broken heart... Although these little ones have amazing women (and men) caring for them, they don't have their mothers there when they wake up crying from a nap or in the middle of the night. I felt angry and sad and useless all at the same time. Yet, I also felt hopeful....for although this little girl didn't have her own mother to console her, she is being raised in an amazing apartment with loving people who truly love The Lord and are teaching her about His truth and love. Her situation is a million times better than it was in the orphanage or foster care, and I praise God for that. I can't wait to see what He will do with these little daughters of his in the next five or ten years!
After I got back from Home of Hope (btw, Georgi was fine as soon as Ioana came home), the team had a short meeting about the property with a few of the Romanian staff. Quite a bit of discussion ensued and some details still need to be figured out, so please continue to be in prayer over that.
Dinner consisted of traditional Romanian sarmale (sp?). Although I'm not a huge fan of cabbage, these cabbage rolls were delicious!!! I've certainly been spoiled with amazing food here!
Since it was so nice outside, and we were so antsy to enjoy it, four of us decided to hop on the metro and head back to Old Town for dessert (Yes, Bogdan, since I know you're reading this, we made it there and back home safely and without any problems! You don't have to worry!). We enjoyed the sights through a bit of rain and ended up back at the same restaurant we went to last night. We shared a few desserts and enjoyed every bite. There's nothing quite like this place at night. I can't wait to share some pictures from my real camera when I get back home!
Now we're back home and ready to hit the hay. Tomorrow is our last day and I can hardly believe it. I'm really looking forward to seeing the little girls again as well as DeAnn's team that is arriving in the afternoon, but I'm NOT looking forward to waking up super early Saturday morning, that crazy long flight, or the fact that I have to LEAVE! :(
Thanks again for all your prayers. It's not over yet, so please keep praying for the following:
* the VAN
* possible locations for a new ministry center
* the BCHS team as they're in the air now
* sleep, strength, health
* our saying goodbye and transitioning back home
* good seats on our flight back home
* that we would make the most of every MINUTE we have left
Thank you thank you thank you. Isus te iubeste (Jesus loves you) and Noapte Buna (goodnight).