This morning, we had a wonderful gathering of worship, teaching, and prayer before heading back out (in the rain, I might add) to Rehab. Going into this morning, I was a bit unsure of how everything would unfold and where my place might be. When we were with these kids on Monday, we took them to the park and McDonalds, so I knew exactly what was expected of me. Today, however, we were going to stay at the center and sing, play games, face paint, etc., and I wasn't totally sure where I could best be used in that scenario.
Fortunately, God had a plan, and He knew exactly what He was doing. As soon as we arrived, one of the older girls dragged me into one of the bedrooms to see Stefi, the little one I spent the day with on Monday. I can't even tell you how wonderful it was to see her run up to me and hear her say my name. As I scooped her up into my arms and kissed the life out of her sweet little face, she proceeded to babble on about the other children in her room--most of whom were curled up in crib-like beds not moving. This, folks, is my heart when it comes to Rehab or children with disabilities--the ones that need nothing more than a simple touch, a tickle, a caring hand, and a soft voice to tell them that Jesus loves them. There isn't much greater joy than watching a little one who hardly moves and has a dead pan look on his face completely light up and start to giggle at the simplicity of human touch.
I knew at that moment that face painting would not be a part of my day today. Instead, I held back and just loved on some of the little ones that Brandon and Jamie have been working with. It was incredible to see what some of these kids could do with a little therapy and a lot of love--going from completely curled up in the fetal position for who knows how long to actually sitting up in a matter of days. There is much work to still be done, but I pray that the physical therapist there now has a few more skills, equipment, and tricks up her sleeve in order to better serve these little ones.
My absolute favorite moment was when I was hanging out with Marios (Little Rabbit) and holding his arms, helping him clap, tickling his face, etc., and Justin started to play Mighty to Save on the guitar. I sang the song aloud not just to share music with the children, but to share my heart and my prayer and my hope with them. I know that I can do so little in the time that I'm here, yet my God is MIGHTY TO SAVE. He loves these kiddos more than I could ever imagine, and I know that he is with them; He is mighty to save. He alone is what they need. And, I couldn't help but think as I was kissing Little Rabbit's cheeks that I'll be able to see him again in Heaven one day. What utter joy that will be! I hated to leave. Seriously hated it.
After Rehab, Bogdan and Nelu took us by the land that CTL was able to purchase recently for their new ministry center. Although it is just an overgrown mass at the moment, I couldn't help but stare out over the land, praise God for all He has done in Romania over the last 20 years, and imagine with hopeful expectancy what God will do within this ministry over the next 20 years. If you'd like to be part of making this hopeful expectancy come to fruition, visit www.childrentolove.org and "give" toward the Romanian ministry center (and everything you give will be MATCHED!).
This afternoon was spent laughing, playing, singing, and teaching the kids from the counseling center more about what it means to build their houses on the rock of Christ. I skipped out for a short bit to spend some quality time with Delia. I am so grateful for the relationships I have been able to develop here. I am blessed to call some of the most amazingly Godly people on this planet my friends. Speaking of which, I also got to see Eliza (former staff member and current good friend of mine) this afternoon. It warmed my heart to sit in one of my favorite places with one of my favorite people and catch up on life. One afternoon is never enough!
This evening consisted of my favorite food--mici--and worship night. Like I've said before, I absolutely love worshipping in English and Romanian, and it's even better to share that with the kids. A few of our team members shared their testimonies and completely touched the hearts of the kids and the staff, as evidenced by the fact that the kids did not want to leave when the evening was finished. It's always tough to say goodbye to them, but I'm fairly confident that I'll be able to see them again, Lord willing.
I can hardly believe that this week is already more than halfway over. My heart is already starting to break at the thought of saying goodbye, but I just can't let myself go there yet. For now, I'll say thank you for your prayers. Please keep praying for us, the staff, and these precious kids!
Isus te iubeste!