We made it!!! Through the week at camp, that is. We must have had God and adrenaline pumping energy into our weary bodies but we all had a good morning at camp. The temperature here now is so pleasant - actually was cool this evening. I took some clothes and supplies to my class of teachers and they were able to enjoy those items. We have only the boxes we brought with us on the plane but that included enough socks for everyone in camp, some clothing for the translators and teachers and a few items for children.
We have not had our usual "treats" for classtime at camp as our granola bars etc. are in the boxes that we never got. We have all noticed that no child has ever asked nor complained about that. No child has ever asked for clothing or shoes as they've done in the past. And this evening as our day and time with them ended, there was no sadness that we did not have a significant bag of goodies for them. We did have a handful of candy and Goldfish crackers in a little bag and that was about it. Our personal attention has supplied what they needed the most.
So about the boxes!!! We learned today that the last 6 boxes arrived this afternoon at the airport. Allison and Connie headed there as the rest of us had lunch. But they learned quite quickly at customs that the task of having the boxes clear customs would take much longer than an hr. or 2. With a broker it still takes 1-2 days. Therefore our boxes will not be cleared until the first of next week at the earliest. I am disappointed that we will not be here to assist with the task of sorting and distributing things as it will be a large task for an already very busy CERI staff. We have learned that Procargo of Houston will refund in full the amount our church has been charged for this shipment. They are assuming full responsibility for failing to "do their homework" before and during the shipping of our cargo. For that we are grateful.
There isn't time this evening, since it's nearly midnight, to develop my thoughts about what God has been teaching us/me about what we/I thought were needed supplies. Obviously developing disciples isn't dependent on "supplies". It's much more about developing relationships which is a commitment of time and presence - not presents. I have been realizing that what I have in my head and heart of God's word so that I can share out of the abundance of those truths, is what is useful when "stuff" isn't available. I need to do better in that area so that I'm even more equipped when Plan A turns into Plan B, C, D or ...
As we concluded this evening in the gazebo, I asked the children to find their teachers and join them for some final moments. I began to collect my things when I looked around to see that the 5 or 6 teachers who have faithfully come to my group, were surrounding me saying that I had told everyone to find their teacher so that's what they were doing! They had many expressions of gratitude to share but Svetlana shared the most. She thanked me for sharing so much with them, for teaching them things they didn't know and reminding them of things they had forgotten. God is so good!!! I had shared with them each day the same passages of scripture and the stories which were being shared with the children - Abraham, Noah, Joseph, Moses and David. These teachers have an Orthodox experience but weren't familiar with much of what we talked about. I am so grateful for what God accomplishes through a translator and His word.
Two young women have become very special in addition to the teachers. Viorica is 13, Lena is 15. They are both very lovely, smart, precious girls who hungered for physical closeness with someone who probably was a mother or grandmother figure. It was my privilege and delight to provide some moments of healthy touch and affirmation. I will certainly miss them.
The week has flown by and so many memories are embedded in our hearts! We have been so empowered and sustained by One so much greater than we are. Just to have the privilege of serving Him is pure joy. My heart is overflowing with gratitude.
Tomorrow will be a day to have some diversion. Some team members who sponsor children will be spending time with their children. John and I will meet again with Elena and Valentina for a couple hours late afternoon. We will spend some time midday seeing some of Moldova we haven't yet seen and in the evening we will enjoy traditional Moldovan food at a restaurant where we will express our deep appreciation to our translators - they have been stellar!!!
Sunday we will visit 1st Baptist - a Russian speaking church - the mother church in Moldova. And shop a little at the art market before packing to travel back to the states on Monday.
We continue to be sustained and encouraged by your prayers and encouragement. Thanks so much.