We arrived home safely yesterday evening. Today I have been recovering from a week of hard work and jet lag. I wanted to take a moment and give you a final update on the last couple of days in Moldova.
The most notable day was the afternoon we spent at the disabled boys orphanage. We again fitted about 200 pairs of shoes, but the atmosphere was vastly different here than at any other orphanage in the past. From the moment we stepped off the bus boys were at our sides wanting to shake our hands and have their pictures taken by Americans. I am not sure why, but that was the one thing we were known for at that orphanage, pictures and cameras. This orphanage holds a special place in my heart because I am majoring in Special Education, and these will be the kids I will be working with in the near future. One little boy captured my heart. He had Down Syndrome and while Nicky was fitting him with a hat I walked over to get his socks and he took my hand and walked with me back to the benches where we were fitting the kids with boots. After he had his boots on he jumped in them to test them out. Before leaving, he gave me a hug so I just picked him up and sat him in my lap. Then he put his arm around my shoulder, and my heart was captured forever! He didn’t speak at all, but he would laugh if I tickled him. I didn’t really know what to do or say so I just whistled and he began to giggle. He tried to do it, but only a ‘hum’ came out. We kept going back and forth, whistling and humming. We had our picture taken a couple of times and I look forward to getting a copy of the picture to remember just how precious his smile is.
This orphanage by far,had the greatest need for new boots. Most of the kids stay inside during the winter so they only wear house shoes/slippers, but the slippers were worn out. The insole was thread bare on many of the shoes I saw and the kids were walking on the rubber sole. Most of the socks the kids were wearing had holes in them and were also thread bare so it was a joy to give them something they so desperately needed and the kids were so grateful and excited to have new shoes.
We also visited an adult facility, which is very similar to a nursing home in the U.S. It housed about 300 people who could not be cared for by their families for a variety of reasons. Many of the people living there told our translators they hadn’t had any visitors in years. They said many people were sacred to touch them. All of it was heartbreaking. I can’t imagine the loneliness that they experience on a daily basis even though they are around other people. What we were doing was so simple. We would walk in their room, tell them hello, hand them shoes and socks, pat them on the shoulder or hand and tell them Jesus Loves Them and give them slippers and socks. Some would ask questions about us and want to chat for a minute. I am so curious about the history of the people in there. I can’t imagine the stories they hold and the history they have lived through begin from that part of the world.
That evening we went to an appreciation dinner for all of the teams that had been working that week. It was held at Bethel Baptist Church, which is the church one of the van drivers attends and we were feed a traditional Moldovan meal. It was delicious! At the end of the dinner, we were able to express our appreciation and gratitude to our translators and drivers who made our work there possible. After dinner, we returned to the team house for one last night together. Several of us decided to play one last game of Phase 10 and it ended up lasting until 3:00 a.m., which was good for some of us because we would be leaving shortly for the airport. The four of us from the Texas Panhandle, wrote last minute thank you letters, loaded our stuff and headed to the airport for our long journey home. In total our travel home lasted 24 hours, but it was great to get back to Lubbock and be home.
I greatly miss the people I traveled and worked with. God really pulled us together and gave us unity that only he could provide. The 20 that stayed one more night should have arrived home by now, weather permitting. I know there will be other opportunities to return and serve the kids of Moldova and share God’s love with them again, and I hope to be able to go back. For more information about CERI (Children’s Emergency Relief International) Look at their website, www.cerikids.org
It has been a joy to share this experience with you and I appreciate you time in reading this! Please continue to pray for the work that God is doing in Moldova.
To read all of Cori’s posts from Moldova, visit http://texasbaptists.wordpress.com/on-mission-in-moldova/