Tuesday, June 20, 2017

Final Flights to TX and Home...Day 9

The trip has come to Moldova has come to an end.  All went smoothly with the long flight from Paris to Houston, TX.  I watched one movie: THE KING'S SPEECH and really enjoyed it.

Most of the time I read a book I've had on my shelf for quite some time.  It is BOLD AS A LAMB by Ken Anderson.  It is the true story of Pastor Samuel Lamb and the underground church of China.  I am incredibly challenged by the life of this man who was imprisoned more than once because of his commitment to the Lord - one time for 20 years of hard labor.  The only Bible he had during his imprisonments was the scripture he had memorized.  He had memorized most of the New Testament plus Psalms and other portions of the Old Testament.  I cannot say I have any where near that much scripture memorized.

We arrived in Houston on Sunday and were able to get to the hotel where our car was parked and found everything just fine with that.  Joanna was with Sarah and me.  She was booked for a flight from Houston to Orlando, FL early Monday morning.  We booked a room at a hotel near Hobby airport and drove across Houston to check in for the night.

We contacted my niece, Kristelle and her family who live in Houston.  They came to meet us at a restaurant for supper.  (I am sorry my camera takes out of focus photos inside.)

We had a great visit though we were close to falling asleep after traveling so far that day.

Saturday, June 17, 2017

Saturday Return Travel...Day 8

We had the morning to prepare for departure from Chisinau, Moldova so were ready by noon for departure to the airport.  Getting checked in and through security check went smoothly.  We had a little Moldovan money left so got some food at the airport.  Our 1 hour flight had some significant turbulence which Joanna thought was lots of fun - others in our group had a different opinion but we landed safely.  Friends of CERI picked us up and dropped us off in light rain at our hotel.

With the wise and capable planning of our team leader, Dearing Garner, a great rate was found for a night at the International Hotel in Bucharest, Romania.  We Worden gals have a comfortable room
and enjoyed supper in the lounge on the 21st floor.  Our room is on the 17th floor. The sunhas come out so we can look out over the city and see clearly.

We'll be getting up at 3:45 to prepare for the airport.  We will fly to Paris and then on to Houston.
Lovely lobby...
So thankful to be traveling with these dear gals - Granddaughter Joanna & daughter Sarah

Friday, June 16, 2017

Orhei Vechi Monastery, Ethnic Restaurant, Saying Good-bye, Shopping...Day 7

Our last full day in Moldova has been very special.  Instead of spending our day with a service project and sharing our time with many children, we had this day to concentrate exclusively on the child we are sponsoring/mentoring and have gotten to know at a deeper level this week.  We left the team house about 9AM and drove on roads winding through rich farmland for an hour in order to reach Orhei Vechie Monastery.  This 13th Century cave monastery is very fascinating and affords a spectacular view of the surrounding hills and valleys.  I had been there previously but some in our group had not.
Destination in the far distance...
One photo of roses in a garden outside the welcome center where tickets are purchased.
First stop was an area of early homes which we toured with a guide.

Thursday, June 15, 2017

Criuleni, Food Distribution...Day 7

Bright sunshine, cool morning and lush fields along the way, made the trip to Criuleni a lovely hour long drive to start our day.  Our girls were not able to join us as they had a program at their school in Hincesti which they were expected to attend.  That was disappointing but we will have most of tomorrow with them on our last full day in Moldova.

Dearing spent the day with Catea to work on plans for the December boot mission.  They had appointments with officials regarding names of children who would qualify to receive a free pair of boots.  They made good progress on that process.

With Dearing away, Jeff Pittman was our substitute leader.  He is a competent, thoughtful leader and all went well for this last full day of connecting with children living in community centers in 4 different locations in Moldova.  Today we were at the Criuleni Center for special needs children.  It was a very impressive place with cheerful rooms and staff.  The children seemed to really enjoy the games, singing, Bible Stories and loving attention we shared with them.

We were joined for our time today by a man who will complete his 2nd year of work with the Peace Corps in August.  He and his wife have lived in Criuleni during this assignment.  He and the city have partnered on projects for this center including a room with equipment to use for physical therapy.  
Jeff starts us off with schedule plans.

Wednesday, June 14, 2017

Center for Disabilities, Shopping Excursion...Day 6

Another day with quite a bit of variety.
  1. Drive to Chisinau Center for Children With Disabilities.
  2. Finding a group of Clowns from Italy already at the Center and engaging with the children.
  3. Part of team painting fence murals.
  4. Minister of Public Communication and Administrative Assistant from the United States Embassy at the Center to observe, interview and learn about CERI/Moldova.
  5. Activities with disabled children and Italian group.
  6. Outdoor Market shopping excursion with sponsored children to select and purchase $50.00 worth of items.
  7. Visit with gal we formerly sponsored and meeting her 9 month old baby girl.
Olga is so patient and caring with small boys of Center.

Tuesday, June 13, 2017

Worship, Bowling, Hincesti Shelter, Manuc Bey Manor...Day 5

Today started with our team sharing our worship time at Jesus Savior Baptist Church.  There are about 40 of us with the team, translators and the CERI sponsored children that are spending the week together. Each day we have a worship time with Gary Bunning sharing Bible teaching.   We had a sweet time of singing, message and prayer time again today.

Alex is a great song leader.
Yesterday, Monday, was quite a long, busy day - especially for the young CERI children we have traveling with us.  Dearing feared we were taxing them physically and not providing enough "fun" so he adjusted the schedule for today and added in a trip to Malldova Bowling Lanes.  The experience was a first for most of these children.  They were cautious and reluctant at first but with the competent, caring, loving coaching of Joanna Worden, fears turned into a highlight of the week for our team.  Pictures will help tell that story below.

 We arrived at the Mall, got our shoes and signed in as a team.  We were 3 Worden gals, a translator and 3 children.  When our scoreboard came up populated with all our names, we were ready to begin bowling.
First up was Marcela - about 8 years old attempting something brand new.
With arms crossed and tears flowing, Marcela is NOT going to bowl!!! 
Building confidence with coach Joanna...

Monday, June 12, 2017

Glinjeni Shelter, Moldova Countryside, Food to Families...Day 4

I intended to close my blog with these beautiful floral/fruit photos but they loaded at the beginning so I'm choosing to leave them here.  I am enjoying these beautiful areas of gorgeous color and design in Moldova and hope you are too.  This white rose is on a bush along the side of the team house.  The cherry tree is across from the house and the large rose bushes are a couple houses away.

Saturday, June 10, 2017

Travel From Houston to Paris to Bucharest...Day 2

We left Houston about 4:00pm on Friday, June 9, 2017 with the 3 Worden girls seated together.  Ahead of us stretched 9-10 hours in the air.  We were comfortable with a screen in front of each of us and plenty of things we brought with us to occupy our time.  Supper was served not long after take-off and that added to our comfort.  I watched a movie, read a World magazine, read my Bible and started writing what would become my first blog post for the trip.  It was not difficult to enjoy the travel time.  Though the plane got dark and was quiet, I did not do much sleeping and neither did my travel buddies.  
First stop for Emelia was this pastry shop.
About 8:00am Paris time, we arrived there - that was 2am for the TX gals and 3am for the VA girl.  As we arrived, we were soon meeting and connecting with more members of our team.  Our gathering time provided opportunity for introductions and afforded Dearing Garner a place to share plans for the week and to answer questions. 
  When all together, we will be a team of 13.  Meeting in Paris we were a group of 11.  We had a couple hours in Paris and then it was off for a 3 hour flight to Bucharest, Romania.
View of Paris...

Travel Preparation in Houston... Day 1

Day 1  Moldova Service Mission Trip June 9-18, 2017

Daughter Sarah and I drove from Kerrville, TX on June 8th to Houston, TX.  We were timed to arrive there around supper time and fortunately were able to rendezvous at a Sweet Tomatoes for supper with my niece, Kristelle Groves Castiglione.  Her children were away at camp and husband still at work so we had a delightful conversation over supper.  

Sarah and I headed from that stop to our hotel for the night near IAH – Bush Inter-Continental  Airport.  That hotel provides parking during travel with a shuttle to the airport when needed.  

Friday morning we arrived at the airport about 9:30 to meet Granddaughter Joanna arriving from Richmond, VA.  She was due at 10:24 but had a departure delay so arrived at 11:06 instead.  That allowed Sarah and me to weigh our bags and do some shifting of items in order to be within the appropriate limits for checked and carry-on bags.  We were very grateful for the time and space to take on that task.  When Joanna arrived, we were able to do the same with her bags plus add some overage we had with our items.