Wednesday began at the office with kids from the families (minus a few who were taking their school exams). It was quite fun to see them again, play games, reconnect, and love on them. I'm really going to miss the few I've gotten close to over the last few years.
We had an early lunch so that we could make the long journey over to Chitila by 1:30. The program was a bit different because of all the chaos and upheaval going on at Chitila. (You can ask my mom about it if you see her or anyone else connected to CTL about the situation. Otherwise, I'll fill you in in person when I see you.)
I was overjoyed when I walked up to the gate at Chitila and saw Flori there waiting for us. She grabbed me and kissed me through the bars of the gate as we waited for the security guard to unlock it. It was so great to see so many of the girls and be able to love on them again.
We began our time together with some singing, which is always quite calming. Then we did the M&M activity where depending on the color of candy you get, you have to answer a different question (i.e. What do you worry about? What do you like? What are you afraid of?). The girls were pretty open and honest, and it was good to hear their hearts and their fears. I shared my story next. At that point it was storming outside, and when I neared the end of my testimony, and the storm I'm currently facing, the rain poured outside harder than I've ever seen it pour. It was a great opportunity to discuss how we can remain faithful to God and trust in His unfailing love even in the midst of our storms. A few of the girls, including my beloved Flori, had tears cascading down their faces as I shared. As much as my heart was broken for them, I was grateful that God used even a bit of my story to touch their hearts.
Following that, we made rainbows with characteristics the girls desire to be one day written on the colored strips, such as respectful, loving, polite, etc. At this point, I was able to sit down with Flori and Florina and hear more about Flori's struggles and her heart. Remember my post from last week about Chitila being harder every time I go? That truth still remains. My heart ripped into pieces as I heard her talk, and I know I haven't even heard it all yet.
Bailey also shared her story while we were there, and we could tell the girls were interested and could relate.
We relaxed a bit and painted their nails after that. A couple of the team members sat and sang to a few of the girls at this point, and you could see the Spirit physically calming them down. Music truly is a gift from God.
I was quite sad as our afternoon wrapped up, thinking I may not have the opportunity to see these girls again. I gave many hugs and kisses as I left, praying that God would continue to protect his precious daughters. He knows each one. He made each one. He loves each one far more than I ever could.
After Chitila, the interns grabbed dinner together and headed back to the apartment to hang out for the evening. We put our phones in the middle of the coffee table and enjoyed a few hours of good conversation--everything from elementary school stories to deep theological topics. It was great. Evenings like this should definitely happen more often. God did create us to be in community, after all.
But alas, because of this, the blog post didn't exist until today. My apologies. I hope it gave you some ideas of how to be praying. I can hardly believe I'll be gone in less than a week. Please also pray for the transition home. Thanks so much!