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.|
|Center staff started us off with an overview of their work followed by a center tour.|
|Some team and some CERI beneficiaries we are with this week.|
|This is Alissa Bunning at her usual loving, kind, sweet best|
|Ready for games...|
|Groups had half of their time indoors and the other half outdoors.|
|The Center was also hosting a Kindergarten day camp - mostly on the outdoor playground area.|
|I did not meet the residents of this mansion...|
|Our singing and story time was outside...|
|Center staff wanted to enjoy the music and Bible story...|
|Bible story begins with Flannel board improvised...|
|Morning visit wraps up in the fitness center...|
|Hand-written "best wishes" on paper airplanes.|
|Throw then pick one up. Enjoy the Best Wishes on the plane you got.|
|Group photo before bag of treats as our time at the center is over.|
|Lunch time break...|
|Off to City Hall to get names and addresses of 10 needy families. Two social workers join us as we distribute bags of food supplies and have a short visit, song and prayer with each family. We divided into 2 groups.|
|Garden with large area planted with potatoes - not a weed in site!|
|This family has 3 foster daughters. Grandson there for a visit.|
|Gary Bunning leads singing...|
|2nd home for our visit...|
|Paper work requires signatures to document the gift...|
|Kindergartners graduation dress...|
|Welcome gratitude bowl of Bucaria candy...|
|Ulizana lead singing for the large group today to take Alex's place. Wonderful conversation on the drive back to learn much about her life story which included life in an orphanage herself.|
She did not know exactly what that meant as she had never been told that God loved her. She put that sentence into her mind and repeated it to herself over and over again. She thought,"I don't know what your life has been like but God loves you and he is your true father."
With that sentence in her grip, she began to talk to God - about everything. She sustained strength and comfort from those conversations which took her through the life she had as a young child. She now volunteers with an organization that helps orphans. She has another year of university before she completes her Business Administration major. Her energy and capacity to love children drew her to the children at this center. She was "mobbed" by lots of arms as she set down her guitar and stopped singing. Children knew she loved and cared about them because of how she engaged with them as she sang and lead music. What a fun person she was - inspiring and delightful to be around. She also had courage and wisdom to share with the needy families as she encouraged them to trust God with everything in their lives. She believes in prayer as she has experienced its power many times."...if God loves me. I will love Him."
Another great day draws to a close. And of course a day of seeing roses, cherries and flowers everywhere.
I hope to remember the sentence that changed the life of a little girl who now serves the Lord with joy and winsome character qualities through music and conversation.
"I don't know what your life has been like but God loves you and He is your true father."