Friday, November 27, 2009
The night before we were not really worried about the water getting into the camp, but whether or not the bridge would hold up in the high waters.
The next morning when I came out of the room, Scott was standing in the kitchen. He greeted me with "the bridge held up, but the road on the other side of the bridge is washed out." The levee had broken farther up the property which caused the water to divert around the bridge. Well say Praise God to that, we had 48 hours for the water to subside before we had to catch a plane.
Vio walked over the bridge to the other side to discover the water was only ankle deep where the road was! The road was not washed out, but just below the road was a crevice I could have stepped in and it would have come up to my chest. God completed diverted the waters and protected the bridge, the road and the camp. Later that morning, the gypsies came and blocked up the hole.
Thursday, November 26, 2009
On Tuesday morning (still raining) I woke up feeling terrible. I had not slept well the night before and I had a full-on sore throat and splitting headache. That morning we were supposed to go to another school, but since several of us were sick Pastor Mel, Diane, Matt and Estera went and just took the one car. When they arrived they discovered their was a new principal who did not know Estera was coming into the schools. She observed Estera and afterwards told her if she was going to do a program for one class she needed to do it for all of the classrooms in the school.
Those of us who stayed home - Karen, Merissa, Christina and I took apart Estera's supply closet and organized everything for her. We labeled all of the shelves and was able to take an inventory of what she had, so we know what to take to her next time.
Tuesday evening, we could hear the river that was running about 100 yards below the camp house begin to rise. We had dinner and were sitting around just listening to the rain. Vio kept walking down to the river to see how close it was getting to the bridge. You could feel the anxious energy, but really did not know what to do about it. Because of the heavy rains no one had cell service and I had not had service at all since we had arrived in the mountains. Scott mentioned he wished someone had internet access so we could check the radar. Not a minute later I received a text from Ben, my phone all of a sudden had service. I checked my phone and I had 3 bars, 4 if I stood on the porch. I called Ben and according to the radar Romania was covered by purple (heavy rains), but by morning it should clear out. Pastor Mel had Ben call the church and send word out to pray that the bridge Vio had built would up with the rising water. Ben also put posts on my facebook page asking all to pray.
We decided to stick it out at camp and then the electricity went out. We sat around the table by candlelight and talked and had yummy popcorn (did you know most popcorn in USA comes from Romania?). Vio said it could be hours, days or weeks before the electricity came back on, but by the time we all went to bed the electricity came back on.
Tuesday, November 24, 2009
On Monday night, Estera took us up the road to the gypsy village. We had to walk and it was - you guessed it cold and raining. The sun was setting and by the time we got into the church it was almost dark. This picture of the boy is the best pic to show the conditions the gypsies live in. Dirt roads, little electricity; horse-drawn carriages were the main means of transportation.
The one-room church was less than six months old and they built it for Vio and Estera. Most gypsies are uneducated, illiterate, & job-less. However, they are a community and they take care of each other. Many steal to survive, but they all respect Vio and Estera and take care of her property. They know she has angels watching over it.
The members of the church were the kindest, gentlest souls. Most in attendance were children, but that does not say much b/c many were married. One family consisted of a grandmother in her 30's, teen parent and her young child - and this was not uncommon. Estera did a short Bible study and Pastor Mel taught his hello song. When we left it was completely dark and raining. Was thankful some had flashlights, but I still have no idea what I stepped in as we made the trek on the dirt road back to camp.
Monday, November 23, 2009
Monday morning was a very cold, wet day. By this day, Chris and Larry had both been sick, I began feeling a scratch in the back of my throat and up my dosage of Emergen-C and Zycam.
We had a pretty good drive to a local town to visit a public school. When we arrived there were very few children at school. Estera said most of the children do not have rain boots, so when it rains they are unable to walk to school. When you entered the school there was a foyer with children's school work displayed as well as bulletin boards with samples of leaves, nuts, and other fall memorablia. To the immediate right was the principal's office and an empty classroom. To the left was another classroom for children 1- 5th. Towards the back of the foyer was another classroom for the kindergarten students, what we would consider pre-k and kinder.
As we were waiting to begin our projects, a man in a leather jacket walks in and begins to speak Romanian to the principal. Estera is translating that he is the mayor of the town. At first we were a little worried that a bunch of Americans were in the school talking about Jesus, but he soon invited us to join him at the city hall when we were finished with the school.
The children were so adorable. Estera taught them about Noah and the ark b/c we were making the rainbows and cloud windsocks again. Then, we taught them the first verse of our thanksgiving song and Mel taught them his "Hello" song. We were also able to pass out the Book of Hope (in Romanian) to the students. When it was time to leave Diane discovered the outhouse that the children and teachers used.
After we made the craft, we loaded up and Danni "drove" us to city hall. We were all speculating about what the mayor could possibly want. When we arrived he got in the car and took us to a much newer, larger school. His wife was a teacher in this school. He offered us apples (which were amazing) and a warm drink served with peppercorns to help with congestion. We soon found out we were the first American visitors to his town. It was a very beautiful town and the school was really nice, but true to the spirit of Estera she wanted to keep working with the students in the smaller school with less resources.
Thursday, November 19, 2009
On Sunday morning, we got to sleep in a little. We had breakfast for the teens and then they packed to head back home. That afternoon, Pastor Mel did a marriage workshop at the church in town. Before leaving for Romania, Scott explained that the church was very conservative and the girls would have to cover their heads for service and the men sit on one side of the sanctuary and women on the other.
When we arrived for the marriage workshop, Vio told everyone they should sit with their spouses, many of them did not feel comfortable doing so, but some broke tradition and did sit together. It was cool seeing freedom. We were so surprised to see so many young teens, as young as 12 in the workshop. We later discovered these young people were gypsies who were married and already parents.
After the workshop we walked downstairs to the main sanctuary for service. One of our sweet team members missed the meeting about sitting on opposite sides of the sanctuary. He followed Karen in and sat down right behind us. All of the girls were giggling as he slinked to "his" side of the church. It was a very traditional service, worship was without accompanying music. Pastor Mel preached on God being our Heavenly Father and how parents can emulate His example for us loving our children. There was an older gentlemen sitting across from us, who was smiling the entire service, I felt as I was looking Jesus straight in the face, it was pure joy in his face.
After service, we were invited to the pastor's home for an amazing Romanian feast.
**this is an Orthodox church next door to the church we attended.
Wednesday, November 18, 2009
If you ask Bella what she wants to be when she grows up, undoubtedly she will tell you Chuck E. Cheese. We only saw it fitting that she should celebrate with her friends at her fave place. We had a great time, pizza, more cupcakes, friends and lots of fun. You can register online for great coupons too. It was an amazing time with friends and Daddy even got to come celebrate during his lunch hour.
Tuesday, November 17, 2009
Last year I was introduced to the A21 campaign. It is an organization that is trying to rid the world of human trafficking. The statistics are staggering when you hear of children as young as 4 are being violated or the average age of victims is age 16 or 99% percent of the victims in the sex trade are not rescued.
It breaks my heart, but then it kind of faded from my mind as the days went passed and life moved on.
Then, again this September Chris Caine reminded me of the horror and the realization that I HAVE A 4 YEAR OLD and I cannot even go there. But, nothing woke me up to the reality as being Romania.
As we were leaving Bucharest for the mountains, Scott showed us the forest areas along the highway lined with chain-linked fences to prevent the girls from taking their clients into the wooded area. Then, there were the faces in the orphanages, the teenagers who within the next 2-4 yrs who would be forced to leave the orphanage with no formal education, money or home.
Next was the drive back from the home where we hosted the Bible clubs. All of the children walked to and from the Bible clubs. It was a dirt road with humble homes, few cars and yet we met an Audi, brand new driven by two young men. I asked Vio if they were drug dealers and he said no, they were looking for "new meat". These are the faces that I wake up to every night and just pray. Right now it is all I can do, but I know there was a reason for me to witness this. I just pray the men were unsuccessful that day, I pray they will always be unsuccessful. It breaks my heart. This is the reason I made the trip to Romania, for that moment.
There is a new link on my blog to the A21 campaign, please do not ignore it. It's not my daughter and it is probably not your daughter thankfully, but they are daughters of the king, please pray for them and more importantly be impacted by it.
Monday, November 16, 2009
Since Landry's birthday in August, Bella has been talking about having an Ariel Mermaid Birthday. She wore herself out before the party even started and crashed on PopPop's chair while we were setting up.
We celebrated with family on PopPop and Gigi's backporch with cupcakes and ice cream. We blew bubbles so we could be under the sea and she received lots of dress-up clothes, enough for all three girls to be a princess.
Every day of the week, sometimes up to three times a day, Estera and Vio put on Bible clubs in villages around the Campulung area. In our preparations for travel we knew we would be assisting her with these clubs. She also asked for us to be prepared with a song about giving thanks. We also each brought an extra suitcase filled with school supplies, crafts and toys. Estera asked me if I would come up with a craft the night before, so I knew what supplies we had brought and decided to make a rainbow streamer out of paper plates and ribbon. We would sing our song about the things God created and then tie ribbons to the plate.
When we arrived at the home, there were about 40 children sitting in the bedroom waiting on us. They were on the bed, the dresser, and the floor. Vio sang several Romanian Bible songs with them and then he collected an offering. The children were being taught to give unto the Lord. At the end of the year they would send all of the money to missionaries in Turkey.
Vio turned the floor over to us and I got to teach the children my Thanksgiving song. Then, we all sang together, someone had the idea of getting them to sing faster and faster each time we sang. They loved this. Afterwards, the children wanted to teach us a song about Jesus. Then, they wanted us to sing it faster and faster. It was quite funny, but we were not as quick of learners as they were. Then, we helped the children tie their ribbons onto their plates to make rainbows. It was one of the highlights of my trip.
**dog picture - It is polite when you enter a home to remove your shoes. So, there is a line of 80 shoes lined up outside the door, this sweet little dog was in heaven!
Wednesday, November 11, 2009
Day #6 started with the arrival of the teenagers who help Vio and Estera at their summer camps. We had a lock-in for them and 2 days of workshops, lots of food and fellowship. Team members shared their testimonies with the youth. Pastor Mel did several relationship workshops and Scott and Karen had a question/answer time with the kids where they could ask any question about the Bible. That morning we took the leftover food from our feast to an older couple who lived behind the camp. They were the cutest little couple, he was 96 and she was 75.
One of the young couples at the camp had recently gotten engaged. They asked me if I would take their wedding pics. I took "engagement" photos for them and told them if I was in Romania when they got married I would be happy to take their wedding pics.
***Day #6 was too impactful of a day to try and blog all in one sitting, one b/c it impacted me and I hope to impact you with some things I saw. It may take several sittings to share all that happened in one 24 hour period.