Thursday, August 12, 2010

Texas, Thursday, August 12, 2010...

The Final 4 of our Moldova team arrived home safely late last evening!!! We had a half hour delay leaving Chicago for San Antonio but otherwise all went very smoothly with travel. We are so grateful to God for safety in travel and for the opportunity to serve in Moldova and be served by those whom God is using for His kingdom work there.

I have slept well at home and will begin to reorient to life on the home-front today. Hopefully I'll be able to post some photos soon to augment the updates I posted while in Moldova at each day's end.

I am grateful for prayers that encouraged and sustained us. That God uses people as imperfect as I is still a gift for which I am most humbled and grateful. May the seeds of His truth continue to be watered, sprouted and nurtured.

Tuesday, August 10, 2010

Moldova, Tuesday PM, August 10, 2010...

This is it. The last blog from Moldova. The time here has flown by. It has been well worth the preparation, the trip and enduring the heat! A piece of my heart stays here each time I leave as the Moldovan friends I have here are so dear. It's a privilege to join them in communicating Christ's love and redemption plan to children from an orphanage. They faithfully keep working with these children year round. It is making a difference in many lives.

It was a delight to have 2 boys serve with us this week as helpers who have come through the orphanage and were in the camp our first years here. They are now in an apartment and continuing their education. They are maturing young men who helped us alot with the children and our activities. It's great to see that children can come through childhood without the support of a loving traditional home when they have some significant adults in their lives who nurture and care for them.

Our 2 girls arrived about 11am today and we spent until 5pm with them. The amusement park was open so we went there first. The ticket price for the several rides available for teens is quite low. We gave them a set amount and they decided how they wanted to use it. They started on a ride similar to a Scrambler or Tilt-a-Whirl. We decided to join them and it was a thrill! They loved it and went back 2 more times - 1 of those with us again as well. We also all rode/drove the bumper cars with some boys who were from the orphanage also. They suggested another park with rides after that first small park so we went to that and rode a small roller coaster and swing type twirling ride.

After those rides we decided it was time for lunch - it was almost 2pm. We had pizza at their favorite spot. Afterward we stopped at an outdoor market where a wide variety of booths sold an endless array of all sorts of items. Each of the girls picked a clothing item for school. We also bought them some personal items. They were very appreciative and pleased with the day.

It was time to take them back to camp after shopping. We also saw the camp director as we returned them and thanked her for allowing them to spend some time with us.

We left with some sadness but also the satisfaction of having had some extra time with them. Their world is challenging but they have some seeds of God's truth sown in their hearts and have wise, godly CERI staff available year round to give some support. We will continue to pray for them and write letters through a translator who works for CERI. They are loved - especially by a Heavenly Father who will continue to draw them to Himself.

We'll be leaving in 5 hrs for the airport as our flight leaves Chisinau at 4:45am!!! I'm about completely packed and finished with my "wrap-up" responsibilities. Now to get a few hours sleep before the long trek home begins.

My heart is full of gratitude to God for all that He has provided for our team during this mission trip. We have been sustained, enabled and conformed a little more closely to His image through this trip. Thanks for your prayers and encouragement. Continue to pray as Robert, Mark, John and Linda travel home.

Psalm 119: 9-11

Moldova, Tuesday AM, August 9, 2010...

Just a quick note following our delicious breakfast of an omelet, fruit, yogurt and coffee. Just received word that the 6 team members who left here yesterday are safely home in TX. Yeah, God!!!

Tempertures have cooled here. Yeah, God!!!

Our girls will arrive about 11am and then we'll be off to an amusement park, lunch and shopping for school supplies. Pray for us in this precious day with girls whose parents are non-existent or unable to provide care. They are hungry for loving attention and are at great risk for getting that from a less than ideal source. Jesus is their answer along with adults who share some moments. We're loving the opportunity and hoping to maximize our time as we make memories that will remain after we depart.

Monday, August 9, 2010

Moldova, Monday, August 9, 2010...

Sharing faith and fun with friends is fantastic!!!

That's a description of our day.

Six members of our team got off this morning without making enough noise to wake me up!!! That allowed me to awaken quite well rested.

We drove to the camp about 9:15 and arrived there at 10am. Quite a few of the children came running to welcome us so we hovered and hugged there for awhile. Robert and Mark were picking up a total of 4 boys. John and I were picking up 2 girls.

We headed first of all to the botanical gardens where we had a tour of about 6 large, greenhouse type buildings filled with hundreds of different plants. We started with dessert plants and continued through tropical growth. The guide was very knowledgeable about everything and the plants were quite dramatic. I'm sure the botanical words were a challenge for our translator but she did very well. The girls had been there with a school class but they enjoyed it for the most part.

From there we drove to a newish pizza restaurant which the girls and our translator had not been to previously. We were seated at a table placed in a very private location and I silently thanked God for a space in which our conversation could flow however He desired. We ordered and as we waited for food, we had good conversation. One of our gals had shared a dream about the end of the world which she has had for the past 2 nights. She wanted to know if we could interpret it for her. (John said he wasn't Joseph - a lesson we had during the camp week) but we used the dream to share some of God's truth about the need to be ready for "the end of the world". Both John and I shared about our time of "Repentence" which is the way here of saying "becoming a Christian." One of the girls has a story about her repentence. She is the gal who started attending a Bible Study at her orphanage because they brought candy each week. As time continued, she attended because she was being drawn into a relationship with God and has repented and is known as a commited believer. The other gal said she had not repented and was still thinking about it and had never had an opportunity to repent. It was time to eat then leave by that point.

We returned to the Team House where the boys were playing some video games which Robert had brought from the states. I was able to continue the conversation about repentance with Lena alone with the translator. She is not ready for this step as she considers herself Orthodox and doesn't feel as though this step is necessary or approved of by her church. I shared with her but didn't press for a decision. I offered her the possibility of asking questions when she writes us or asking CERI staff should she want more information. We had given each child a little booklet entitled, THE WAY TO GOD and she had begun to read it. The Lord will continue to speak to her heart with His truth I pray.

The children left about 4:30 to be returned to the camp. We will connect again tomorrow for the same length of time. We plan to take the girls shopping for school supplies and perhaps some new pants. We also hope to go to an amusement park.

The temperature all day was quite moderate - didn't need a jacket but it was overcast and very comfortable.

Have had a great supper and are now waiting for Boris to arrive. He has been a van driver in the past but now has other work. We'll just catch up with him before we leave here Wed. am.

We've had a sweet day. One girl does not have a living mother nor a very involved father. The other gal has a mother who has emotional problems and is unable to care for her family. The girls long for their unavailable mothers so seem to enjoy my hugs, our hand holding and the focus of even a few hours of time. It is a specail privilege.

Let me know if you have an interest in sponsoring a Moldovan orphan. There are MANY children still needing sponsors. Check their website: or find the site for BAPTIST CHILD AND FAMILY SERVICES and look for their work in Eastern Europe.

Thanks for your prayers. We have one more full day here and then the day of travel home. It has been good to be here and these extra days are very special.

Sunday, August 8, 2010

Moldova, Sunday, August 8, 2010...

It's 10pm and the computer is working so hopefully I can get this message written before I lose internet access which has been spotty this evening.

Our Sunday has been considerably more relaxing than our previous 7 days in Moldova and that pace has been very welcome. We headed to a different church from where we attended last Sunday at about 10:30am today. The service lasted about an hour and is a small congregation focusing attention on students who like to sleep late Sunday mornings. We met several other Americans in attendance. One gal is here with the Peace Corps; another is here for several months with Stells's House Ministry.

Following church we ate lunch at McDonalds then spent some time at the art market to purchase a few items. We divided into several groups depending on how we were spending our last or our near to last day here. By 5pm we were all back at the team house for final packing for those leaving in the morning, for dinner at 6pm and a time of team debriefing and prayer. We all have many good things to say about how the week went and very few suggestions for things that need adjustment for a future trip.

The major hightlight for John and me today was the visit with Valentina and Elena. These twin gals left their grandmother's home in a distant village at 6am, waslked 15 minutes, took 2 buses and arrived at the team house at 9:20am. They had to return to the bus station at 4pm in order to catch the last bus back to their village today. They are beautiful, dear gals who have quiet, sweet and grateful qualities. We didn't have a translator for the first hour but shared some gifts with them, photos and then played UNO for about 30 minutes. One seemed to know how to play though Moldovan rules have some differences and she helped her sister. We had fun with that and my grandchildren will be happy to know that I even won one of the rounds which is almost impossible for me to do while I visit my Richmond, VA family.

The girls went to church with us, to lunch, shopping and then we found a bench in a nearby park where we visited more seriously. The park is around an Orthodox Cathedral that is quite historic and many limos drove in/out with brides and grooms for photos. One of the limos was a bright pink hummer!

We learned more about these girls and the family from which they come. They are attending a technical high school for the cooking trade. They will return to Chisinau by Sept. 1 for the beginning of the school year.

Time to say Good-bye came too quickly but we treasure the hours we had and feel very privileged and grateful to share in their lives.

Will let another team member have the computer. Tomorrow and Tuesday we'll spend the days with our other gals we sponsor.

Pray for Peggy, Kristin, Allison, Lonnie, Lesley and April as they fly home tomorrow. We know that Caitlin has arrived safely and assume that Lee has as well.

Moldova moments remain blessed and precious. Thanks for your prayers.

Saturday, August 7, 2010

Moldova, Saturday, August 7, 2010...

What a day!!!

Didn't hear 2 of our team members head to the airport at 6am but they got off just fine. Missed them in our adventures today but pray that they are traveling well on their return to the states.

Breakfast at 8am. Our sick gal was back on her feet and raring to go today so that was great. She shared an awesome devo with our team following breakfast. God has been close to her this week and she has shared his love with the kids and the team in very tangible and encouraging ways.

Several of our guys had made the needed purchases for our work project in a village today so we loaded ourselves, the supplies and lunch items and headed off about 9:30 am. We arrived at the home of 4 children ages 11-17 who live alone as their parents died about 4 years ago. They have an aunt and uncle who live next door but they are quite uninvolved in these children's lives.

CERI became aware of these children through a TV broadcast about them. A social worker in their community contacted CERI to see if some support could be given these children. There are some fairly recent changes in the strategy of CERI as they work with Moldovan children in need. Rather than work solely with children in orphanages, there are plans to add involvement in communities in order to bolster support of families and communities so that they will care for children in need in their area. Having our team work with this family is one of the ways this strategy is being implemented.

We did not tackle all the needs of this home and its yard but we made a big dent in what was needed and what will be very significant for them. We worked exclusively outside today. The children are able to care for things inside and that area is quite nice though I didn't get a "tour" of the home.

We again had a very hot day. We have decided not to even compute the farenheit temp when we hear the celcius temp as that makes us feel cooler. Today was probably 45 degrees celcius. It was hot and we worked in mostly direct sunlight. There were 20 of us. We were joined by our translators and several children who have aged out of the orphanage and are in transitional care. Everybody worked very hard from 10:30 am until 4:45pm with a 45 minute break for lunch at 1pm. We had purchased bread, meat, cheese, chips, cookies, drinks yesterday to take for a picnic lunch and we stopped roadside to buy a couple watermelon which were delicious.

We had 3 crews. Lonnie Rollins headed the paint crew which was the largest. They tackled the front, metal stave fence which was about 50 feet wide (my guess). At least 10 people painted diligently all that time and finished the job!!! It reguired some scrapping and brushing before painting. A huge job which was in full sunlight. I got in on part of that action before the day was over.

A second crew used 2 electric saws and cut donated pallettes and other wood into lengths to burn for winter heat. The pile which filled about 25% of the firewood enclosure was about 90% full by day's end!!! Another huge job tackled. Lots more wood is still there for future work crews.

The third team worked on yard clean-up. That included creating a compost enclosure, clearing debris, weeding, etc. etc. Lots was done but lots more could be done. The children have quite a large garden which includes a number of rows of corn. The corn is ready to pick so they cooked some ears and gave that to us for our lunch. I think it is field corn rather than sweet corn but most of us ate some of it with our sandwiches.

The children are beautiful - 3 girls and the youngest a boy. He helped us during the day as best he could. He has 2 cute rabbits and I got to hold the white one at one point. Very sweet children. We did not see the oldest as she has a summer job working in a fruit canning factory.

We were all soaked with perspiration, dirt, some paint and were quite fatigued by day's end. We had decided we'd tackle manageable amounts of the project and complete those rather than do part of many things. So with diligence and perseverence, we worked alongside our Moldovan brothers and sisters to serve the Lord and this sweet family and had some fun in the process. We have some "clowns" in our midst who keep us grinning. One is named Lonnie Rollins!!! I knew him before this trip but I didn't actually have any idea how cleverly wordy he is. He's a hoot!!! He's been a great servant to the team and the ministry this week and his wit is keeping us entertained.

We all were anxious to hit the showers as we got home so supper waited until we'd all had our turn!!! With long sleeved shirts and sunscreen, we're all in great shape except for some sore muscles.

Tomorrow will be another big day. The twins we help sponsor will be arriving at the team house at 10am so that they can attend church with us. We'll be going to a "new" church which is attended by a number of young people. The service is at 11am. We'll eat after that, shop at the outdoor market and figure out how to enjoy the rest of the day after that.

Tomorrow is the last day for another 6 of our team who will leave on Monday morning. Can't believe how fast the week has gone! Our first night was one week ago today. Amazing!!!

As you may imagine, sleep is beckoning. Thanks for your continued prayers and encouragement. We have been protected and are very grateful. Wish you could be here to experience the blessing of hearing God praised in Romanian. These are beautiful people and they have welcomed us warmly - no pun intended!

Friday, August 6, 2010

Moldova, Friday, August 6, 2010...

We are just back at the team house following our La Taifas Restaurant meal to show our gratitude to our support crew. Our meal was traditional Moldovan food - pre-ordered and served family style. The appetizers were platters of fresh veggies and plates of "pies". These triangular creations are stuffed with meat, cheese or vegetables. A lady makes them in the corner of the room where we were served.

We've had a dozen Moldovans who've shared themselves and the gifts God has given them with us. They have been a great crew and I hope they will be with us if God gives us the health and means to return.

We arrived at the camp around 10 this morning and we could immediately feel the excitement and energy and sadness of it being the last day. Gazebo Time went long which was fine. Our translators had devised a cute skit to open the morning. We had singing, recitation of memorized verses by children, choral reading of the day's scripture and a Adam Raccoon story called "Forever Falls". This story was a parable of God's instuction not to eat from the tree of Good and evil in the Garden of Eden but of course Adam chose to disobey. To be rescued King Aren sacrificed his life but came back to life. The stories keep their attention well and are great at communicating God's truth.

Our small groups included the Bible lesson and then the time of giving each child a t-shirt which they were able to paint with markers. Much to our surprise, most children did not want to make any marks on their shirts. They chose to leave them white. The day was again very warm but we managed to get most everyone into these long sleeved shirts for a camp wide photo!

We started a second Gazebo Time about 12:30pm when we had more singing, a powerful skit by our translators is which they depicted the "race" to heaven which requires keeping focus on the goal and resisting the pull of evil; the final presentation of memory verses in which 4 children said most of the verses we covered this week. We were prepared with 3 prizes but quickly created a fourth to recognize the achievement of each child, a last Adam Raccoon story entitled "Race to Victory Mountain". We also showed the DVD we'd created of photos from last year. At 1:30 we dismissed to small groups for the last time with the children to give a small bag of gifts and many last hugs. We departed about 2:15pm with mixed emotions - some sadness and lots of memories of the "warm" week we've had. We're all grateful for the experience.

One teammate was not able to join us this morning due to a "bug" that hit her during the night and continued into the morning. She stayed in bed all day but was able to join us this evening at the restaurant.

Before dinner, 3 of our guys visited the site of our work project for tomorrow. That will be to work in a village at the home of 4 siblings who live alone following the death of both parents. Will be mostly work outside the home to cut up wood, paint a fence and clear debris. They purchased the needed items to tackle this so we should be ready to go after breakfast which will be at 8am.

Two team members are headed back to the states tomorrow and will depart at 6am from the house - 8am from Moldova.

I was able to meet with my group of teachers today and we discussed the memory verses the children have been learning. I also had some things to give them - bandaids, pens, art supplies we didn't use or didn't use up, the prisms we'd used in a lesson, misc. items and most importantly about a dozen books I'd ordered from the Romanian Bible Society which has Christian books in Romanian. I wasn't sure they would be interested but they each claimed a book and the director said they would share the books and put them in the library - not sure exactly what then means but I'm delighted.

Others are waiting for the computer so I'll sign off. We have certainly been feeling your prayers and need them to continue. Tomorrow will be a day of work outdooors and it's probably going to be very hot again. We have water!!!

Rejoicing because of our faithful heavenly Father's provision.

Thursday, August 5, 2010

Moldova, Thursday, August 5, 2010...

Our day started with a significant drop in the temperature which was such a welcome experience. We didn't need jackets but we certainly enjoyed the moderate temperature and humidity. But somehow by late afternoon, the sun was back with its intense heat. But we didn't let that detract from our time at camp.

I have been meeting with the oldest girls in camp along with Lesley from our team. But today I gathered the adult teachers who are working at the camp this month. Two of the 6 women were here last year and have been here during several other of my times here. They had mentioned that they hoped there would be time for me to meet with them as a class. I was able to share recent family photos and update them on my life and hear things about them. Ms. Galina who has been the camp director for many years, is now retired so there's new leadership. These adults work hard to provide care to the children. Most are seasoned teachers at the orphanage and a couple of them are university students in education. I'm hoping to have another opportunity to meet with them tomorrow.

Today's theme was "unshackled" as we were talking about the 10 Commandments. I had sketched a drama I thought the kids could act out and had brought some props with me. We didn't have adequate time to work with kids to do this so I asked the translators if they would tackle this. They readily agreed and I have been blown away by this talented, energetic, godly group who definitely have leadership skills. The drama was in 2 parts. This morning the scenes all related to people breaking some of the 10 Commandments - worshiping a Budha figure, coveting, stealing, murder... Police wearing badges capturing the criminals, hand-cuffs etc. Tonight was a trial scene. The actors had rehearsed after lunch and did an amazing job developing the drama. They had even borrowed my camera, staged crime scene evidence of the criminal, downloaded them onto our computer and projected them on the screen during the "trial". Just before the judge sentenced the murderer to life in prison, someone jumped up to take his place, quoted verses about Christ taking our punishment for us and was handcuffed with the criminals handcuffs after he was "unshackled". The kids loved the lively action and the translators loved the limelight and the "power" of a few props. Lots of fun and I think we'll all remember the 10 Commandments after this day.

And Adam Raccoon stories have been holding the children's attention during most of our sessions.

I was able to spend some quality time today with the 2 girls who are at camp that we sponsor. One of the gals seems quite "low" so hopefully there'll be time to continue showing her "parental" care she doesn't have. Her mother is deceased, her parents weren't married when she was born and a father has only recently surfaced. We will have some additional time with these gals Monday and Tuesday. That will be so precious and important.

Everyone in this team house now is busily preparing for our last day at the camp. We have selected the long-sleeved T-shirts we'll be giving the children tomorrow and have packed little gift bags with some candy and a variety of small items. The t-shirts have been printed with a design created using the symbols we chose to signify each day's lesson. Following our lesson in the morning, we will all have our small groups paint the design using permanent markers we have with us.

We'll be at camp until 2pm tomorrow when we'll return to the team house for lunch. Following that, some will go to the house where we'll do a work project on Sat. They'll access the needs and purchase the supplies so that we'll be able to maximize our time on Sat. The rest of the team will have a short shopping adventure before we host our support team for dinner at a traditional Moldovan restaurant.

Two team members will leave Sat. am. Six others will leave Mon. am and 4 will leave Wed. am. How can the end be so quickly arriving?

Your prayers are bolstering our strength and are sweet encouragement. Our hearts are joyful.

Wednesday, August 4, 2010

Moldova, Wednesday, August 4, 2010...

It's after 11pm here and just now my turn at the computer and it's back up after a significant delay. Sleep will wait...

Lots of interaction for the team with children and all seem to be loving their moments here. The intense heat was back today but subsided slightly this evening when a front blew through. We were just starting in the Gazebo for our final event of the day when wind and rain threatened to end our session. I feared for our equipment as I placed something in front of the DVD projecter. I was about to stop the meeting and pack up our things but was mentally reminded of Jesus' command during a storm at sea. He said "Peace Be Still" and it was so. I prayed that the rain and wind would stop so that we could proceed. Within a few minutes the loud rain on the tin roof was silent and the wind subsided. We carried on with all that was planned without further problems. Thank you, God, and thank you around the world for covering us in prayer.

We are getting closer to the children and learning some of their stories. What we hear is often very disturbing and sad. No wonder as I sit down nearly anywhere I soon have someone close on each side snuggling as close as possible and looking up into my eyes with a big grin and the hope that they'll be accepted and safe for a few minutes at least.

Our young support crew continues to amaze me. Most of our translators are 17, 18, 19 or 20. Today they had lunch and then spent nearly an hour rehearsing for the evening session. They really care about how they sound and what they sing as they lead the music in our large group sessions twice a day. They are also doing the leading of the parts of the sessions as well. I tell them what I have in mind and they carry it out. It is wonderful!!! Tomorrow they will be presenting a 2 part drama focusing on the 10 Commandments which will be our lesson material. I planned a drama for the children to do but because we aren't connecting with them for that type of preparation, the translators are going to take it on.

Today we took the shoes and clothing we had to the camp for distribution around 4:30 pm. We had hoped/prayed that there would be at least one item for each child from the orphanage. Guess what!!! Every child was fitted with shoes or clothing except a set of twins that are larger than the rest of the children. We will purchase items they need before we leave. It was heart warming to see the children in their new shoes and socks at the gazebo this evening - they were all smiles. Nearly a dozen pair of good school shoes and some clothing items were able to be left with the camp director.

It was several young men tonight who had learned their memory verse by heart and jumped up to say it in front of the whole group tonight. It was a delight to see a pair of new sneakers proudly being worn by one particular boy as he was the first to say his verse. The sheet of stickers we gave him was a small reward for his diligence.

Forgot to mention yesterday that our amazing cook prepared a traditional Moldova meal for us last evening. She made Mama Liga -- cooked corn meal and rolled into a ball and served with sour cream, stuffed cabbage leaves, chicken in some type of sauce and fresh tomatoes and cucumbers. Can't remember the right names of these recipes but it was all good and everything has been. And dessert every night!!!

I'm not quite the last person up tonight. Lonnie R. is still faithfully printing photos with the printer Stan and Norma loaned us. Lonnie is a huge support help in MANY ways and we are very grateful that he decided to join us this year.

Thanks for your prayers. It's encouraging to know that many are praying around the world.

We are not being affected by the fires in Russia but we have learned of a missionary family who may be coming here as they are being very bothered by dense smoke where they live. We have heat and haze but can breath well.

Thursday will be here soon! Another day to serve and share Jesus' truth and love.

Tuesday, August 3, 2010

Moldova, Tuesday, August 3, 2010...

Today has been a fun, happy day. The temperature may have been as hot as yesterday but the humidity was slightly lower and a light breeze made the heat more bearable. Our opening in the gazebo got the day off to a good start. It is a delightful experience to listen to the children singing their hearts out in praise songs which must also bring pleasure to our heavenly Father. Can't say enough good things about our translator/singers as they rise to lead with broad smiles, overflowing energy and a competent readiness that gets everybody clapping and singing. Some of our team seem to be picking up the words and tunes to join in. What will heaven be like when we all understand all languages!!!

We had the Adam Raccoon power point stories translated ahead of time so those are read in Romanian and are enjoyable for the kids. We are stressing the memory verses for our lessons this year more than we have in the past and the children seem to be having fun with the learning. The translators suggested we put together some gift bags to "bribe" the kids to memorize the verses. Our team was able to pull together a variety of items which should be fun for some children to receive - along with some candy. Leaving God's word in their hearts is our goal.

Without the activity periods, the kids got into the pool and we were able to spend time with those who were awaiting their turn or weren't going in anyway. We wore our team shirts today and got our picture taken on the steps of the gazebo. It's good to have that done before our last day. We are hoping to get copies developed in order to give every child a copy for their photo album by the end of the week.

A couple of us shopped for lunch supplies before returning to the camp after lunch.

I was able to talk with the Camp Director and make some decisions for the next few days. We will take the 47 pair of sneakers and the few kid clothes we have to the camp tomorrow afternoon. We are hoping to be able to supply the 60 children from the orphanage with at least one item. Each pair of shoes will include a pair of new socks. Thanks, Trinity Baptist Church, for the abundance of socks you donoted for our trip. There are more campers than those 60 but the others are from the flooded areas of the country or are children whose parents have paid for them to have a camp experience this summer. The flood children have needs but they aren't orphans and there have been donations of needed items in the villages where they live. Those children are being gradually picked up by their parents.

Everyday is very full and busy but we're having a great time - working well together and enjoying the opportunity we're having.

Today's lesson was Abraham and Isaac - the theme was trust. Tomorrow will be Juseph with emphasis on leadership.

Time to finish my prep for tomorrow and then get some rest. I'm grateful to be here and thankful for your prayers.

Monday, August 2, 2010

Moldova, Monday, August 2, 2010...

We've come to the end of our first full day at camp and we have broad smiles, full tummies, a strong sense of God's care, a rather large dent in our energy and continued faith the we're where God wants us to be.

We have a manageable number of children coming to our groups and we feel that God supplied the wisdom and strength we needed to comminicate some of His word from Gen. 1 today. Since we were talking about creation, we had put together a power point of things our team members had "created". That was warmly received and made an impression on the group. Thanks, Sarah, for the competent power point support.

Our day started in the Gazebo with singing. We're thrilled with the talented Moldovan interpreters we have who also form a great worship leading team. There are a guitar and key board player along with several strong singers. They are prepared, competent and have sweet, godly spirits. I had been somewhat disappointed when I learned the names of our support crew as many of the folks I've come to know were not able to be with us this year. But God knew best and we're delighted with those who are serving with us this year. We have a techie in the ranks and he is helping us with a DVD projector, power point programs etc. Our equipment worked during our morning gazebo program but failed for the 2nd planned time for a DVD showing of their photos from last year. During the afternoon, the issue was resolved and it was back up for our evening event. The kids love to see photos of themselves from past years so we were happy to have it this evening. Thanks, again, Erik for that support.

There is no doubt that the evil one is also attempting to thwart our efforts. Today's heat was stifling and the teachers decided the children had to get out of the sun by noon today. Our planned activities were scheduled to last until 1:30 PM but it was decided that we would suspend our plans after two activity periods so that the kids could get into the pool. We have been asked to finish our activities at noon each day so that the children can swim. We'll do half of our scheduled program and then stay around for time to hang-out before going to lunch if there are kids not swimming. Our afternoon time will be open time for relationship building before our closing Gazebo time for the day.

We came home at the end of the day knowing that we'd all come through the first day with few scars. The kids are more polite than in past years, are participating eagerly and as usual are endearing themselves to us. John and I both teared up in the Gazebo tonight as the packed area was filled with joyful voices singing exuberantly of Jesus' love. I leaned over to him and said, "This is what makes all the work worth it!"

Two of the girls John and I sponsor are present this week. It is so special to have this extended quality time with them. One of them was picked up by her father this afternoon but will be back at camp tomorrow. That allowed us to have a lengthy, sweet conversation with the other gal. Viorica became a Christian several years ago because a group from a church came to the orphanage to do Bible Studies with the children and pick them up for church each Sunday. She started going to the classes because they gave out candy but she stayed to learn about Jesus. In time she learned about His free gift of salvation, she repented and became a Christian. She has a heart for God and it's a pleasure to love and encourage her.

Continued thanks for your prayer support. We are feeling its sustaining effects.

Now to get ready for tomorrow and grab some zzzzzzzzzzzz's.

Sunday, August 1, 2010

Moldova, Sunday, August 1, 2010

Wish I had the time and energy to write a long note about our day but I'm pretty tired and need to rest before our big day tomorrow.

Jesus Saviour Baptist Church was packed and very uplifting. The 2 hr service flew by with all the singing, choir songs, special times of prayer from the congregation, greetings from guests, sermons and communion. We were warmly received in more ways than one.

Lunch was at a newly opened pizza place and was tasty. Then we divided for projects - 4 people plus Connie, the CERI Director, shopped for grocery lunch items while the others changed money and strolled the outdoor market.

Supply boxes were opened and we located all things needed for our first trip to the camp to meet the children and divide into groups. That experience had mixed reviews - things went smoothly for some and for others the number of kids in a group was overwhelming. But we shared ourselves and began to show God's love. We came back to the team house for another delicious meal and a time of team strategizing about how to handle what God has blessed us with. We will shift kids between groups and attempt to level the numbers somewhat. But we definitely are feeling attacked by the evil one with feelings of intimidation and inadequacy. We're confident God will equip us for what he has called us to but it's a hill to climb we have before us.

No rain in the forcast for which we're thankful.

Trying to organize for tomorrow so will sign off and continue with that.

The people you are praying for are these:

We are very grateful for your prayers and the knowledge that God will be with us all day every day.