Archive for 2011

Self-Portrait

Wednesday, November 30, 2011

Friday morning we all woke up and shared our devotional time.  Chris McInnish did a great job leading us in our devotions that week.  We then hopped in the van and headed for Providence for what we thought could be our last day there.  We were excited to see the kids....and sad that this could be our last time with them....
   We began our day by giving them actual copies of some of the photographs we had taken of them throughout the week.  We even gave them copies of some of the pictures they had taken (remember they took like 200 of the sky and trees in one day).  They were all SO excited to have actual pictures of themselves in their hands....to KEEP.  You should have seen the pride and joy on their faces.  After we gave them the pictures, we began making picture frames.  Having something that belongs to you...that is uniquely yours....it can change your life...Our plan was to let them choose one picture to frame...well we had SOOO many extra frames (we got 300 frame kits for $12 from Oriental trading...crazy, huh?) we decided to let them make more...and that they did...check it out....Do you see the rest of Maxim's pile o' pics to the left?  They each ended up making AT LEAST 4 (some made MANY more)


   We did SOOO many crafts with the kids that day...I will tell you all about the rest of the day another time...for now...I just want to share some of my favorite shots that the kids took of themselves, the sky, or each other...I think you will love them too...don't worry I won't share all 500 total!

Isn't this postcard or magazine ready?  Maxim and Vadim really have an eye...and that Moldovan sky is GORGEOUS!

Maxim took this picture of his brother, Vadim, from the window on the third floor or the building...don't you love the perspective in this shot?  Wow...he's sooo talented!

I love love LOVE this one!  Maxim's self -shot...he actually had several of these that included his entire face...but for some reason I love this one the most! 

Maxim and Luida walked around the orphanage photographing...he posed her in the wildflowers...how precious is this?

Maxim photographing his brother Vadim:)

No...Luida is not upset with Patrick...its just a sour straw...which she LOVED!  Maxim took this picture too...he and Vadim LOVED the camera!

I just love this one...because...well...Brian looks so cute in it:)

Valentina and Vica REALLY loved Mrs. Heather's nice camera...I believe this picture was taken right before they dropped it:)  But good camera take a licking and keep on ticking!  Valentina is a serious photographer:)

My all time favorite photo.  To me this self-portrait captures her innocence and beauty...and her personality all in one.  I think this picture could be entered in contests and win...maybe its because I met this darling child and got to know her...and her life story....and the hope that she now has...I don't know...but I love this picture. 
   I am glad I blogged about this today...reminded me that back in June I decided that I would get a camera for Maxim and Vadim for Christmas!  I must go do that now...it might not make it in time...but I KNOW they will love it!

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Time and Punishment at Thanksgiving

That's right friends....I deserve punishment for the time I have spent away from you all....Its been almost TWO months since my last post.  I will do better!  I promise!  Right now...you ALL need to say a prayer for me...pray that I will have tenacity and make time to blog.   I REALLY want to share my story...I just don't do so hot with time management.  I have sooo much to tell you about life and Moldova!
      Christmas is my favorite time of the year...and I wish I could spend it with the kids in Moldova....maybe someday:)   Shout out to my mother -in - law (the GREATEST Mother in LAW ever!!!) she responded to my previous post and helped sponsor shoe boxes for Moldova!!!  You can still help out this Christmas season...its the perfect gift for someone who has everything...www.stellasvoice.org.
 OK...let me get you up to speed with things...you may need to go back and refresh yourself...I will give you the Cliff Notes of our Moldova story so far...but first let me share some other things. 
 In the last two months I have:
*  BEEN LOVING my job.  Really I have the most amazing students and parents and coworkers ever!  I am so blessed.
* Got to help PCM with their Christmas Project for Moldova.  I should have photographed our house....It was FULL of all the AMAZING donations of Christmas Gifts my friends provided.  Have I mentioned that I have the most awesome and giving friends?  We were able to sponsor 15 girls from Stella's House for Christmas...and my friends are good present buyers:)  I would like to give a little shout out to 3 special friends- Karen Vance, Savannah and Chris Bowden...They showed up and showed out...without being asked, these 3 came and helped Brian and I catalog and wrap all the gifts...it was a big job...and they brought love and laughter to it!  Also-my school nurse, Tracy Phillips wrapped 18 paper ream boxes by herself!!!!.  Who needs Santa's elves when you have friends like mine?  I mean REALLY!
*Have been praying about God's calling in our lives with some amazing friends.
*  Attended Bruce Wilkinson's "You Were Born for This" Conference...If you haven't read it...you should...life changing stuff:)
*Had a wonderful Thanksgiving Break with Brian and our chosen family (dear friends) and our extended family (who I think I would chose to by mine any way...they are pretty great)....I have sooo much to be thankful for this year!
* Felt full of love for Moldova...wanted to be there....missed the kids there....and began planning our mission trip there this summer!!!!!



OK-Cliff Notes of Moldova (Feel free to go back and read my previous posts...they are much more informative than this).  In June 2011, Brian and I went to Moldova to work with Philip Cameron Ministries.  We were blessed with the opportunity to serve at both Stella's House and Providence Orphanage.  Working with those kids was life changing and life affirming all at the same time...we know God is going to use Moldova in a big way in our life story.  The kids of Moldova are always in my dreams and in my heart.  My very last post that was on topic about our trip was about our next to last day at the orphanage.  We all began to sense that our time with the kids there would end...and none of us wanted it to...we left with heavy hearts that day.....now read the next post for more of the story:)

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Christmas is coming...what difference will you make?

Monday, October 10, 2011

My it has been tooo long sweet friends...did you think I would never post again?  I still have too much to say....and I have been journaling it....just not cyber journaling it:)  Right now...there is a precious two week old boy in the room with me...don't be shocked and think I left some important information out of my story...or forgot to tell you big news...he is the foster child of one of our church friends...I begged them to let me keep him...and MY he is precious...but I decided...I would not make another excuse for not blogging...the time has come...my heart still has soo much to tell you...OK...little man is crying...I will be right back...I'm not giving up! :)

OK...so....right now I miss Moldova so much I can't stand it.  I keep looking at pictures the girls post from Stella's House and the orphanage...and I just wish I could be there...Brian does too...I am already looking forward to our mission trip this summer.  If you are interested, let me know.  Our church has 2 trips planned for June!  I am counting down the days!  I wish I could go over for Christmas...but...I don't think I can....but I do have the extreme honor of "assisting" with getting Christmas sponsors for 15 of the girls at Stella's House...I was worried I wouldn't be able to find enough sponsors...but...the people in my life are amazing...and we got all 15 "sponsored".  My friends ROCK!!!!  Brian and I have had sooo much fun putting this together...shopping for teenage girls is so much fun.  Shopping for orphans is truly a blessing...There are opportunities for you to help too!

As you may recall from This post ....I have vowed to not let holidays and birthdays be celebrated with a focus on myself...while my human nature makes this difficult...Brian and I have decided to give to the kids of Moldova this Christmas...we would LOVE for you to join us...there are MANY ways you can help...you can donate money to PCM for general operating costs (believe me heating the orphanage and Stella's Houses in the winter is very expensive)....and you can also assist with their Christmas Shoe Box Ministry for the Orphans of Moldova...you can find more about it by clicking -->Christmas Shoe Box.

If you are not in a position to help financially, remember....PRAYER is IMPERATIVE for the orphans of Moldova...Pray for their health, safety, and well-being...pray that God puts kind and loving people in their paths who can show them and tell them about Christ's love for them.

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The Bread of Purpose

Wednesday, August 31, 2011

Well...I'm just going to go on and tell you...they eat a LOT of bread in Moldova...and its yummy.  It smells good.  It looks good.  It tastes good...its a sensory experience.  They eat it with every meal...they just tear a piece off and snack.  We stopped at a bakery in Hincesti anytime we went in to the city.  The bakery had loaves of all shapes and sizes for people to buy.  They all served different purposes...some bread was softer...some crustier...some sweeter....every bread has a mission...When you choose the right bread for the right purpose the end result is even better...All of the bread was yummy...but it was best when it was served according to its purpose.  While the delicious Moldovan bread is worthy of a post of its own...it isn't the bread I am going to talk about today...as delicious and filling as Moldovan bread is....Today I am talking about a figurative bread....the bread of purpose. 

    Right now my deepest fear is still that "life" will get the best of me...and I will become complacent or forgetful of all the things God has put on my heart.  Luckily, my husband is a man of consistency and integrity...when I am too busy or too tired...he sits us down and prays for us...and says...."why don't we read one of our books?"  (this refers to a whole collection that has come into our possession...we are still reading The Dream Giver)  Brian keeps reminding us of the things we have seen and heard and experienced.  He keeps praying for us...even when I forget...Last week, I was deep in the muck of real life...and complacency was creeping in on me...But God pulled me out of it...Last week at an Apples of Gold Reunion event...our topic was The bread of purpose.  The bread of purpose is not a Kathryn Jones original idea (you guys know I'm so not that smart)...the whole time our speaker was presenting...every part of it made me think of Moldova.   Let me see if I can recap some of it for you...and plug in how it relates to The Joneses and Moldova.  If you want more in depth information about the Bread of Purpose and Presence, check out this website.

The bread of purpose refers to how the show bread, or bread of presence in the tabernacle of the Lords temple, relates to us as Christians and our own God-given purpose in this world.  Check out Leviticus 24:5-9 for the passage of scripture that relates to this bread...I am using the purpose quest website as a guide.  I won't hit on all the points...just the ones I want you to know.

1.  The bread of purpose is made of fine flour- Higher quality flour has endured more beating to become a finer quality.  High quality flour takes time and pain to prepare...much like our life purposes...Sometimes in order to pursue our true life's purpose, the one that God planned for us, we have to endure hardships and spend lots and lots of time on our knees.  Life purposes take time and effort to be fully cultivated.  Right now our life purpose seems very scary and strange...and we aren't quite sure what God wants us to do with it...or how he wants us to do it...He is still refining things in us...to prepare us for His purpose.  We don't know what that means...but we know that HE does...and we are just trusting.

2.  During the process of the baking the Bread of the presence, the bread was left unleavened...their was no air or impurities in it to "puff it up" or make it seem like something it is not.  God is working in our lives in a big way to reveal Himself to us...we are offering ourselves to be flour in His bakery...we are begging Him to keep us from being puffed up and think that anything we do is in our own hands...we are begging Him to make us the kind of people who only want His name to be praised...not our own...Let me tell you something...that's just hard!  I am struggling daily with this...especially in a new job...when someone compliments me...I think...Gosh, I am awesome...but I want to say to myself...Gosh HE'S awesome that He could get something smart out of a self-serving loony ole brain like mine!

3.  There were 12 loaves which represented the 12 tribes of Judah.  Isn't that cool?  There was enough bread for everyone....God has made a special purpose for every single person on earth.  No matter who they are, where they are, what they do, what they don't do...that's just cool...He has put a purpose...or a dream inside of all of us...and He wants us to follow and live that dream....we just get scared and lost sometimes.

4.  It was eaten in the holy place - I am quoting this one from the website...because I really like it
"There is a specific 'place' where you fulfill your purpose.  It may be among a group of people, in a certain country, or in a certain set of circumstances.  (It) is where you meet the Lord and where his presence is special for you.  Whatever it is for you...it is a holy place.  That is where you eat your purpose and where it nourishes you for more service".  Isn't that awesome?  It makes me think of a quote that I read in The Hole in Our Gospel.  The quote reads "The place where God calls you to is the place where your deep gladness and the world's deep hunger meet" (Frederick Buechner) Speechless.

5.  Your purpose is special  it is holy and set apart for you...No matter what it is.  God is sooo amazing that He made us all so unique and breathed in to each of us an inner longing or dream...a dream that is special to you...one that only you can fill...someone else could complete your dream....but not the way you can...when we open our hearts and lives up to His plan...He is faithful.

I know that our plan for June 2011 was to go to Moldova and love on some precious children in a hopeless country.  His purpose was to rock our world in all kinds of ways.  He is daily opening up our eyes to reveal His purpose in our life. 

Here are a few morsels from the beginning of our Bread of Purpose...just pictures of the things/people God is using in our lives...to refine us...and reveal His plan to us...
The Girls at Stella's House

Maxim...gosh I miss that kid!!!

Brian and Pasa

Mia and Maxim

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CONFESSIONS and HODGE PODGE

Monday, August 29, 2011

Oh Friends...if I were Catholic I would go to confession for this!  Forgive me, for it has been 20 days since my last BLOG and you guys NEED to hear all of this!  I NEED to tell it....Let me catch you up on life real quick like...OK?

In the last 20 days I:

  • Moved classrooms twice (with help from some sweet teenage friends)
  • Got offered a job at my old school and accepted it
  • Started School at my new place of employment :)  YEAH!
  • Got 12 precious new students with disabilities to work with this year!
  • Painted my living room and foyer in my house
  • Went to a Women of Faith Event with my momma and met up with Nycole (she's in some of the pics on here)
  • Saw the Stella's Voice girls at Evangel Temple and they just BLESSED my heart!!!!!  Please watch their video online!!!!!  They were in Huntsville this weekend at The Rock church...watch the video of that service here
  • Felt CONVICTED to keep blogging about Moldova!  (I was also convicted by my friends and family too- THANKS COURTNEY and MRS. CONNIE)
  • Celebrated my PRECIOUS husband's 33rd birthday...he is getting OLD:)

So now...I have retrieved my journal from the trip...and opened it up to the end of day 2...Remember I kind of finished that day?  Today's post will just be a quick hodge podge kind of story

Did I tell you that there are a LOT of horse and buggies still in use in Moldova?  Especially in the villages.  On the second day, we decided to take a little walking tour of Sarata Noa, the village where we were staying.  We took our new friend, Peter with us.    Here are a few pictures:
Vineyard in the Village

The fellas talking and discussing various crops in the village

Wagon full of hay...that was all chopped and loaded by hand

Horse and Buggy
This fella in the wagon here stopped to talk to us during our walk.  I had learned a teensy bit more Romanian than everyone else had...so I spoke to him and said "hi!" and I told him my name...I'm such a show off some times.   He continued talking to me.  I told him "Nu vorbesc Romaneste"  That means....I don't SPEAK Romanian.  He then asked if I spoke Moldovan...which happens to also be Romanian....I told him "nu"  He kept on conversing with me...so I thought...hmm...he thinks I just don't speak it....maybe I should tell him I don't understand it either...so I then told him "Nu intelleg Romaneste"  That means I don't UNDERSTAND Romanian...well bless his heart if he didn't just keep on talking to me...you know what?...I think he just needed someone to shoot the breeze with and I was a willing listener...and I wasn't going to disagree with him...because he knew good and well I couldn't speak it or understand it.  He just needed someone with ears to hear.

When we got back to the house...our delicious dinner was ready (thanks to Mia and Nycole).  That was the night we shared such good fellowship with everyone.  We visited with the girls...ate the yummy Manka (the cream of wheat like dish) played Trivial Pursuit (and my team DOMINATED)...and that was the first night I heard about regular cards...gosh I really can't wait to tell you about regular cards!!! 

This was a silly little story for you...tomorrow's blog topic will be the Bread of Purpose...because God really has a purpose for The two of us and Moldova is a part of it somehow....Come back tomorrow!
My apologies for the absence!!!!

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Hugs Hug Hugs

Tuesday, August 9, 2011

Hello again friends!  Just as I feared...life has gotten the best of me...the "real world" is taking my time and I am not listening to God calling me to share my heart with you.  I may not post every day friends...but I WILL be posting every week...so check back! 
      I want to officially wrap up Day 2 (remember this is day 2 at the orphanage). 
After leaving Cupcui...Maxim's words haunted my heart...Tomorrow?  Would I return tomorrow.  He followed us down the drive way waving goodbye to us...and smiling...because we told him we would return... My heart said that I wanted to return every day that I possibly could.
      We were a bit of a solemn group after our departure from Cupcui that day...it wasn't our last day...but we new a last day would come.  We were all quiet...no silly songs were sung that day...we were tired physically and emotionally...and spiritually.  I again pleaded with God in my head...to reveal His will for me.  Why had he burdened my heart for Moldova?  Why couldn't I get it out of my head?  Why did He bring me here?  What was His purpose in all of this?  What did I have to give to these kids?  I am No One Special...I am just an Ordinary girl.  I wish I could tell you that God immediately answered all of the questions in my heart....but He didn't answer them all...but he continues to reveal Himself to me...

He answered one of those questions back at the house that night as we shared dinner with our Scottish friends and some of the girls from Stella's House (Galina made us some yummy manka...its like a sweet cream of wheat dish...YUMMO!)
The village house is NOT a big house...so having the 8 of us who were staying there...plus the 5 who came to join us for dinner.......well...lets just say it was a TIGHT fit.  After we ate our delicious meal...Elizabeth and I sat in the front hallway with one of the girls and looked through some of the treats we had brought.  We had some makeup for the girls at Stella's House and this particular girl had some amazing eye makeup talents...Elizabeth and I just sat and visited with her....and asked her about her story. 

She, like Galina, had lived at Cupcui....Philip Cameron's presence there changed her life.
 Let me tell you her story...Its a heartbreaking story.  Pray for her as you read this...she was raised with an alcoholic father.  He beat her mother often.   Her home was void of love.  One day she witnessed her father beat her mother to death.  This poor child witnessed the murder of her mother.  After seeing the conditions in her home, the mayor of the town said that she must be put in the orphanage at Cupcui.  She lived there for a little while...and then through changes in laws and authorities...she ended up in the home of her aunt.  Her life there was not much different from her life in the orphanage.  Her aunt only wanted her to help around the house.  She was brought in to the house strictly for her potential to serve the family...not out of love.  She did not welcome her in to her home.  Her uncle's treatment was even worse.  Eventually her aunt became concerned that the Uncle would rape her.  So she sent her back to the orphanage at Cupcui.  The orphanage was a cold and sad place before PCM came in.  At  Cupcui, she cried alone in her bed every night...wondering why no one loved her.  She was still just a child. 
Then one Christmas when she was 11, a cheerful American (with a Scottish accent), came into her life...and changed it forever...Let me tell you what she told me...He came and brought Christmas gifts to the kids.  They had been performing a Christmas Play and this stranger clapped and cheered and asked them to do it again.  The kids were all so excited.  Then he stayed and visited with them...what she remembers MOST from that day....is that it was when she received her FIRST hug.  This poor girl was 11 years old and had never been hugged.  Can you imagine that?  I can't go a DAY without a hug.   That hug changed her life forever.  The Camerons have become family for her.  They took her in to Stellas House...She speaks AMAZING English AND she hopes to come to Auburn University this fall!  She is a beautiful and intelligent young girl.  Even bigger than that...they taught her about Jesus and she just LOVES HIM!!!  How amazing is that?  God can do so many things through us when we heed His call on our lives. 

Her story kind of got me thinking about the blessings of my life...and how God is going to use who I am to change this world.  A lot of times I feel like God first needs to CHANGE who I am before I can make any difference.  I am great at telling God all the things he needs to fix in me...I tell Him..God I'm not smart enough...I'm too goofy...I'm not well spoken...and get this I even tell God I am not pretty enough...I mean really...who uses THAT as an excuse?  When has God ever mentioned calling the beautiful?  I don't know.  But this girl's story made me think....You know what?  God made me a little different...He made me quirky...He made me compassionate...He made me want to hug every single person I ever meet...is it weird?  Perhaps!  But HE made me that way and HE is going to use me just the way I am.  Isn't that refreshing? You don't have to be anybody but yourself for God to use you!
You know what I made SURE to do the next day at CUPCUI?  I hugged every single one of those kids all day long! (Don't worry I had already hugged them the days before too...but I did it with renewed zeal!) I didn't worry if they thought it was weird or strange....I just did it! And you know what?  They hugged me back! 




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Tomorrow?

Tuesday, August 2, 2011

I had lunch with a precious friend of mine today...and I got to tell her the WHOLE story of Moldova.  I am so thankful that my friends continue to give me opportunities to pour my heart out about this country.  Who knows how God is going to use us?  I cannot WAIT to see how HIS plan unfolds!

Day 2  Continued (Yes...I am That slow to wrap up each day!)

It was such a great day...remember we made visors, stained glass, and slap bracelets with the kids...and we learned BELT.  During our afternoon art extravaganza, we let the kids go to the "treasure box" it was full of all the random toys and treats that we had.  They each get to pick 2-3 items from the box.  They LOVED it.  Several of the boys chose kazoos and couldn't quite figure them out...and when they did...we all wished they hadn't :)  We also had hair bow time with the girls...we had collected various hair bows and barrettes and headbands...and we let all the girls pick some.  Our PRECIOUS friend Emily Roach made BEAUTIFUL handmade bows for us to share with the girls at Providence.  Look how cute the girls look with the bows...They really enjoyed them! 

                                                           

Vadim and Maxim continued to enjoy photography time...between mine and Heather's cameras we had about 50 pictures of the sky...and then an additional  150 random shots.  I love them all!  They are amazing. Vadim and Maxim (remember they are brothers) were both so serious about photography...here are just a few of the photos they took...


I actually took this one of them taking pictures:)

Maxim took this picture from the top floor of Providence...its Vadim
I think Cameras will DEFINITELY be on my Christmas Wish List for Providence:)  Don't you think? :)  I know ALL of the kids would LOVE it...you will see more pictures of the kids with cameras later.  

It was a great day at the orphanage...After all of the excitement of Day 2...we were all very tired...and hungry...as we were leaving Cupcui to head back to Sarata Noah...Maxim kept touching our arms and asking the same thing over and over...we didn't know what he was saying...Maine Veniti?  (sounded sort of like-muney vayneetz)  He would tap our arms and say Maine Veniti?  Maine Veniti?  All the kids looked at as curiously wondering...would we be back in their lives again...Would we Maine Veniti...Return tomorrow?

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MOST RANDOM POST AWARD! (I gave myself that honor)

This will probably be the MOST RANDOM post to date:)  Be patient.

Well...starting back to school has thrown off my blogging game friends!  Please don't forget about me!   My preschool special education program got moved to a new school this year (the newest school I have EVER worked in) and I have been working in my super cool classroom!  Those of you who are teachers understand how awesome it is to have a classroom that actually has cabinets, cubbies, and a bathroom in it!  AMAZING! (Feel free to pray for my classroom and me this school year).   But I digress!  BACK TO MOLDOVA!!  (Side Note-I wish I really could go back to Moldova right this second and hug those sweet girls at Stella's House AND the sweet huggable children at Providence!)

ADDITIONAL SIDE NOTE-You would not believe me if I told you all the things that have transpired in the last few weeks...God is still doing big things in our life.  He is daily teaching us...and giving us opportunities to fully rely on Him...Its just crazy.  You know what?...even when it might seem like He isn't there...He is.

I tried SO hard to upload the Belt video for you guys...you  would not believe how hilarious it is...I'm gonna have to get a friend to help me...you need to see that game in ACTION!!!  If you wanna have a game night, let me know...Belt is not the only game we learned...we also learned "Regular Cards" (which will have its very own post soon) AND Phase 10 dice! 

Followers of this blog...you know what has been missing from my last few posts???  

PICTURES!!!  Here are a few...to remind you of why I am blogging!  These precious kids...and what they mean to me and to God!

I have posted this one once before...but gosh I love this picture...you see she is COVERED with temporary tattoos and just so proud of herself!

This is the bus station at Cupcui...Vans/Buses travel through the country side crammed FULL of people taking them to various destinations.

Maxim!!!  Gosh I love this kid...he is just so amazing and outgoing...This is a self portrait he took...look how serious he is about photography(he is usually Mr. Smiles).

Maxim took this picture of me!  I can't imagine anything in the world that would make my day better than Maxim and a camera...he and his brother are completely fascinated with them! Maxim actually framed one of the pictures he took of me...isn't that sweet?

Elizabeth playing with Danu- TRANSLATION-Danu throwing dirt at Elizabeth...this was one of his favorite games...he played throw the dirt at Brian too:)

This was a HODGE PODGE kind of post.  I appreciate your patience...but if you know me...you KNOW I am random...I still have SOOO much to share!  I know my blog is full of emotional ups and downs...sometimes there are hilarious stories to share...and sometimes there are heart wrenching stories to share...Many of these children have had very difficult and horrible lives...but through God they can smile...and laugh...and be the funny kids that they are...

 Please continue to pray for the people of Moldova...and continue to pray for us as we discern what His plan is for us.

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Galina and Queen Esther

Friday, July 29, 2011

Good morning friends!  I am back!  I spent this week at an Autism training for work...and did not have my laptop with me!  Please don't think that I have finished pouring out my heart about Moldova...because quite frankly...I don't think that is going to happen anytime soon.  Moldova still consumes me...I think about it every single day.  Brian and I talk about it EVERY single day.  (Thanks for your prayers, by the way-cause it is still in our hearts).  The whole time I was at the training...I kept having sensory memories of Moldova (for those of you who don't know what that is...its not some new agey thing...it just meant I was remembering the smells, sights, sounds, etc of Moldova).  I went to sleep each night praying for the kids at Providence by name and for all the girls at Stella's House by name too.  In case you can't tell...they have just over taken my heart...and I cannot wait to see them all again!  Luckily I can "see" the kids at the orphanage often.  I can look at my own pictures...or I can look at Galina's photos from each week at camp.  She has done an amazing job with camp.  After looking at the pictures, I REALLY want to go to camp.  They are having silly days...silly skits...singing songs...loving Jesus.  I am a goof ball...and the thought of dressing like a goober to make some orphans laugh is VERY appealing to me :) Now doesn't that sound amazing?  I just think Galina is the most amazing girl.  I know I have already told you all this.  But, keep praying for her.  Let me tell you how God put her on my heart this week...

Our church has been doing a series called "Real World Transformations"  looking at characters of the Faith from the Old Testament.  We have looked at Moses, Nehemiah, David, Elijah, and Jonah to name a few. Last week our teaching pastor (remember he is the one who got up SUPER early to do communion with us before we left for Moldova) taught about Esther.  You can click on that for the link to the sermon.

Let me just go on and digress for a minute...EVERY sermon we have heard since we got back from Moldova has made our hearts burn for that country even more.  So, as soon as the pastor began speaking I thought...
                OK God...how is it going to be about Moldova this time?  I really did say that to God. 

I knew it was going to be about Esther, because the awesome intro REAL WORLD video was about Esther.  So...I kind of got comfortable in my seat.  I mean, How in the world could Esther's story remind me of Moldova, right?  I am just so dense some times!

Our Pastor started the sermon off by saying...Esther was an orphan (Esther 2: 5-7).  I wrote on my sermon outline REALLY?  Brian and I laughed...I thought to myself...well that one was much more obvious God...didn't really think it would be that obvious.  I mean...REALLY?

Before I tell you about the sermon..let me just go on and tell you...throughout the WHOLE sermon I thought of Galina... from beginning to end.  Every STEP!  He also used the sermon to continue to burn our hearts for Moldova. 

OK...I am not going to do the story or the sermon justice...but here is my summary of it.  The outline part was very applicable to our current experience... It was all about Seeing your Moment and Seizing your moment.  Click on the Esther link above to watch it...it was GOOD STUFF...anyway... Esther's story and Galina's stories are so similar.  Esther, an orphan, was raised by her older cousin Mordecai.  When the king had to choose a new queen, he chose Esther (Esther 2:17).  Important side note-During those times, addressing the kind in his inner court without an invitation was punishable by death.  Esther got word, that her people, the Jews were being mistreated and killed throughout the kingdom.  While Esther initially did not want to risk her life, liberty, etc....she knew that she must be the one to address the king on behalf of her people.  Mordecai reminded her that perhaps (she) had come in to royal dignity for such a time as this (Esther 4:14).  Esther found favor with the king...and was given an opportunity to save her people.  She risked her life to address the king in his inner court and save her people.  This was an OVER SIMPLIFIED version of Esther's story.

I don't know if you see the Galina in this....but I do.  Galina, while initially hesitant to return to Cupcui, the orphanage where she lived during her childhood, she knew that God had put her in a place to "save her people".  To offer hope, love, and joy to the her people....the children in the orphanage at Cupcui.  God found favor with her...and has been preparing her for her whole life...for "such a time as this."  Isn't that amazing?  I e-mailed Galina this week and told her how much she reminded me of Esther.  That she was doing amazing things for her people.  Keep praying for her friends.  She is doing BIG things for His kingdom...and for her people.

If you haven't read the Book of Esther before.  You should.  You may also want to consider watching the Movie a Night with the King (its on Netflix instant).

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Belt-Its really a game

Saturday, July 23, 2011

OK...friends...I am going to tell you about a very fun game that we played while at the orphanage...its wild and crazy and beyond our understanding of fun in the U.S.  But I just have to tell you about it!  On our 2nd day at the orphanage (remember this was when we met our new Scottish friends), we were outside playing with the kids...and we asked one of the girls from Stella's House to teach us a Moldovan game.  We had discussed learning a Moldovan game and playing it with the kids...and then teaching them an "American" game.  Well...the young lady began telling us about a game called Belt.  (CAUTION-This game, like many games in Moldova, requires physical contact...this one just includes physical contact with a belt...the Americans did NOT make up this game...it is a REAL game that the kids in orphanages in Moldova enjoy playing...so don't be scared or offended by it).  I have a video for you to watch!  I have tried to post it several times...I will keep trying...my computer and the blogger website just did not want that video to post...I will try again!  Wow...I digress in a big way.  Back to the story of Belt!
OK...so we are all standing around as the game is explained to us...our mouths are agape...because it all sounds quite ludicrous.  When she is finished explaining it, I ask..."Did you just make that up?"  That's how crazy it sounded to all of us!  So here is the break down of the rules of Belt.  You stand in a circle that is two people deep.  So essentially there is an outer circle and then an inner circle that stands right in front of the outer circle.  One person has a belt (YES-a belt that you wear) and they run around the outer circle and chase the person who is "it".  Guess how they tag the person who is it?  They get them with the belt!  (Originally I wrote whip...but I thought that might scare you all away).  When you get "tagged"/spanked with the belt the person throws the belt down and then the tagged person starts chasing them...at any time they can jump in front of someone in the inner circle and the person on the outer circle has to start running!  It is crazy.  Kids everywhere in Moldova play this game...luckily our friends reminded the kids to be gentle with the Americans:)  What you will not see on the video is me starting the game off with a spanking...and it just happened to be from the oldest boy at Cupcui...and he let me have it....Andrian LOVED all things athletic...he gave every physical activity his all...even jumping rope...so of COURSE he would give a game of belt his all...as crazy as it all sounds...this game was so fun...you can hear me laughing hysterically all through the video...Its REALLY long..but watch it...its funny.  The sweet voice you hear is my husband...he video taped it all.  We are hoping to have a BELT game day soon...who wants to join us? :)
After we played Belt...we taught them kick ball...it was kind of a dud after Belt...and to think we were worried that teaching them dodge ball would be too violent!  Hahaha!

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I'm back

Hi friends...don't give up on me just yet!  I took a week off from blogging because I was at a Professional Development Conference for teachers:)  AND I will be at another one this week...but I am taking a laptop because I just have to much to say:)  I am still on this journey to share about our trip to Moldova...and we are still very much on a journey to understand God's plan for us.  Let me just jump right back in to my story...we were on Day 2 at the orphanage (with a few detours). 

Everywhere in Moldova there are lovely crosses...Russian orthodox crosses.  You cannot drive down the road in any village without finding a few... Here's one near Cupcui...
While many in Moldova are raised Orthodox...few know a personal relationship with Jesus.  They are familiar with routines and customs...but not with just talking with and being with your maker....and understanding His love.  I feel that is where the hopelessness in the country stems from.  
While we could not share our faith openly with the kids...we could show them His love in us...His Joy in us.  I know that we made an impact on these kids while we were there...but do you know who is making an even bigger difference?  The girls and boys from Simon's House and Stella's House.  Right now as we speak, these PRECIOUS teenagers are conducting camps for kids at Cupcui.  They are planning activities that are meaningful for all the kids...they are showing the kids Gods love in even more meaningful ways!  They are spending their summer helping other orphans come to know Him.  These kids are going to understand what the crosses on the side of the road stand for...a savior who loves them...no matter what.  Can you imagine HOW big that must be for an orphan?  Its Big for me.

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VBS and Moldova

Friday, July 15, 2011

OK friends...many of you may have never even heard of Moldova...but now I hope you will ALWAYS think about that country and her people...Just in case you didn't already know...Moldova is a tiny country (the size of the state of Maryland...situated in eastern Europe between Romania and Ukraine (which I call THE Ukraine for some reason...I can't stop myself).  Some 20 posts in to this blog...and I FINALLY tell you where the country is...I'm just that awesome at delivery:)    Here is a map for those of you who haven't already Googled it.

God is just so amazing...if you go back and read my first few posts you will learn more about Moldova...and Philip Cameron Ministries.   Ok...I am off to a rocky start with this post....bear with me friends.  I just want you to know...3 years ago...I had never heard of the country...now...I promise, every time I turn around God is bringing this country in to my sight...in some way...on TV, on Facebook, at Church...etc.  We have been back from Moldova for almost a month now...and our hearts continue to burn for the people there...we want to share His love and His good news with them.  Everyday we think about and pray about Moldova...

Guess what God did this time?  He is so cool.  He brought Moldova to us! 

This week at VBS...(our theme was the Big Apple)  That was apparently "THE" VBS for the summer. 
Every year at VBS, we have a mission.  My friend Jennifer was in charge of the mission this year.  Do you know what she chose?  MOLDOVA!!! Seriously!  All 850 kids at VBS this week learned a little bit about Moldova each day...and they brought in Pajamas, socks, and underwear for the kids there.  The girls from our mission team (me, Elizabeth, and Heather) got on stage and shared with the kids at VBS about the kids in Moldova (actually-Heather shared with them....Elizabeth and I smiled and clapped).  She did a great job!  ANYWAY...We gathered PJS and such for the kids at Providence.  It was awesome.  Jennifer said we got over 721 items.  (each pack of socks=1 item, each pack of underwear=1 item, etc).  Isnt that amazing?  But it gets better...today...at the finale rally...Some of the girls from Stella's House who are here for a summer tour came and performed for the kids!  Elizabeth, Heather and I were beside ourselves with excitement.  We've been back less than a month and we already got to see our friends Stella and Marnika...and meet some other girls too!  God is just going to keep on bringing Moldova to the forefront of my mind and my heart.  Friends...He means business :)  Keep praying for us! 

P.S.-Here is a VERY fashionable way that you can support the AMAZING work of Philip Cameron Ministries -Stella's Voice shirts...and yes...I already have the yellow one...and I am buying the gray one:)  Click on the Stella's Voice link above...to shop:)

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I Heart Moldova (and our new Scottish friends too)

Tuesday, July 12, 2011

Friends...life is just getting weirder and weirder I tell ya!  Brian and I are really feeling God's call on our life...and it is just weird and exciting.  We are praying with friends for Gods direction in our lives.  So keep praying for us and for our families:) 

The other night I was unable to sleep...which is VERY rare for me.  I mean sleeping is one thing that I am REALLY good at.  I can sleep on the floor...I can sleep in a chair...I can sleep ANYWHERE.  But for some reason Saturday night...sleep alluded me.  You know what I did?.. I read about Moldova.  I read research papers about orphans and orphanages in Moldova.  I read brief political histories of Moldova.  I read a UNICEF report about Moldova.  I read about mission organizations in Moldova...In future posts, I will share with you what I learned.  Right now...I just want you to know this...Moldova consumes me... I think about it every second of the day.  It consumes Brian too.  He dreams about the people and places we saw while in Moldova (which is weird...because we have lived in our house for 5 years and we both still dream about our first house).  Usually new things do not enter our dream worlds...but Moldova has entered in to every part of our waking and sleeping hours.  I am thankful that God continues to fill us.  I <3 Moldova!

God meant for us to go on this mission trip....He planned it from the very beginning.  He was with us every step of the way ( He continues to be with us).   But I digress...

On day 2 at the Orphanage, we met Peter and Mark from Scotland.  Yes, we all totally loved them because they were awesome AND because they have precious Scottish Accents!  Although they claimed that I had the strongest southern accent of the group...I still think they are wrong about that!  These 2 guys are really important parts of the story.  For many reasons....one reason....we all felt instant kinships with them.   Our little group of 6 felt like a family when we added Mia, Nycole from Atlanta, Peter and Mark from Scotland, and Dasa, Irina, and Galina.
Peter and Mark are both very cool fellas!  They are part of New Hope Trust in Scotland.  New Hope Trust was actually started by Philip Cameron's father, Simon, to support the orphans in Romania and Moldova.  New Hope Trust plays a VITAL part in the every day financing for both the orphanage and Stella's Houses and Simon's House.  Mark has been around from the very beginning...he has seen the growth of all the projects in Moldova...and it is amazing to hear his stories (not just because we all loved his accent....the stories are AMAZING).    The kids LOVED them both.  We all agreed that Peter is like the grandfather that everyone would love to have.  He is so comfortable with himself and accepting...he just oozes warmth and love.  He is very easy to talk to.  Every night after he would leave we would all talk about how precious he is.  I took it upon myself to be the first to hug him...but in my defense I told him I was about to:)  (Friends...I can't help it...I just gotta hug folks!). 

Peter making play doh animals with Valerica!
Peter did crafts with us on our second day.  He loved making things with play doh just as much as the kids did.   The kids loved these guys.  They loved time with all of us...A mission trip to an orphanage does not require any special skill set.  You don't need to know advanced Discrete Mathematics or what a quadrilateral is or Piaget's Theories of Child Development or why we say the Holy Catholic Church in the Apostle's Creed...you really just need to be filled with love for children...and a desire to show them that you love them...and that God loves them EVEN MORE!  While I have other stories to share with you about Peter...and Mark (Mark has kind of turned our world up side down...so keep reading...He is an amazing man of God and I can't wait to tell you about him too!).  I wanted you to know that...they came to Moldova to LOVE children...and to share the stories of these children with people in their hometowns and churches...like we are trying to do.

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Back On Track (for now anyway)

As promised, today's post will be free of rants and soapboxes!  This post will focus on our second day at the orphanage.  I know you are all excited about that!  Thanks for continuing to come back and visit my blog (even when I get a bit preachy or pushy).  I am processing things :)  I have 19 followers now!  Who will make it 20? :)  I digress...

OK.  On our second morning in Sarata (remember this is the name of the village where we stayed).  Brian and I got up early and my sweet husband....(who had also made breakfast for everyone the morning before) made blueberry pancakes from muffin mix...they were yummy!  My husband is just tooo wonderful!  His love language is acts of service...because that is how he shows love!  We finished up breakfast and Chris led our devotions.  He did a fantastic job, as always!  Once we were all ready, we loaded up for the bumpy ride to Cupcui:) 
That morning we had assembled an example of what the picture frames(a craft we would be making later in the week) would look like.  We wanted the kids to know why we were taking their pictures.  We used Vica's picture in the flowers as our example picture...in case you don't remember it....here it is.  Look how precious she is.

We showed the kids the picture frames and had Galina translate for us.  We told the kids that we would be taking their picture...and to make sure they smiled (ZAMBESTE!!!).  We wanted them to know that the picture was for the picture frame that they would make and keep.  This news stirred up quite a bit of excitement.  Vica carried her example frame around almost all day...she showed it to EVERYONE she came in contact with.  Many of these children simply do not have pictures of themselves.  The kids were SOOO funny as Heather was taking their pictures.  I will have to post them all later!  It was precious.  Catea immediately went and changed clothes and fixed her hair.  They were all so excited!  They all did a few serious poses...and then a few big smiles.  This was my first real introduction to the word Zambeste.  After we took the pictures, they were all ready to make the frames and we had to explain to them that we would print the pictures off that night and make the frames tomorrow.  Tomorrow or Mane-sounds like mewneh (sorta...the ew sound is kind of from your nose).  After we had finished taking pictures, we began our first craft for the day...personalized visors!  They REALLY enjoyed making these.  They were so proud to have something with their names on it!  Something that was personalized...They all worked on the visors for quite some time...here are a few pics.
    I think we all enjoyed making the visors! 
We are soo  cool!

Because we couldn't really openly share our faith with the kids...we used crafts to do it.  We had cross stickers to use on the visors.  So we would just occasionally ask (through Galina).  Do you know what this is?  Do you know what it means?  Very vague questions.  But they would talk with us...and share what they knew about the cross and Jesus with us.  They already knew a lot about Him.  Thanks to relationships with the Girls at Stella's!  In your prayers today, pray that these sweet kids continue to grow in their knowledge of and relationship with Jesus.  Also, just say a prayer of thanksgiving that God is using Galina (go back and read her story if you haven't) in a big way to minister to these kids during summer camp! 

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The Simple Things (another rant)

Monday, July 11, 2011

Friends, God continues to stir our hearts.  I can tell you all are praying for us...because Moldova is constantly in our hearts and on our minds...God is doing big things.  BIG THINGS I tell ya!

 Keep praying for us...for clarity...conviction...and courage.

Boys and Crafts:)
Let me tell you more about Cupcui...
If I am repeating myself, I apologize...but this is what I am thinking about right now.
While we were at Providence House in Cupcui, our main goal was to love on some children...to show them that people came from a land far away to just hold them and love them.  While some of us  could spend all day just hugging, we realized that hugging wouldn't fill up the time for many children...they would want something to keep them occupied...so we planned a little VBS/camp/craft time. I have mentioned in previous posts some of the activities we did.  We made visors, picture frames (more on that later), sun catchers, bracelets, salvation bracelets, we played with play doh, puzzles, bubbles, etc. Just some simple things that would last about 5 minutes with kids in the U.S.  These kids played with play-doh and puzzles for a LONG time.  They enjoyed it...they would race to see who could complete the puzzles fastest, they made 100 different doh shapes.  They laughed the whole time. You know what stands out to me?  These precious kids enjoyed every minute of it.  From age 2-15, male or female, they were captivated by every activity we offered....never once was their a complaint or sardonic attitude.  It was lovely.  Our children (and people) in America (please remember this is an over-hasty generalization) are so over stimulated and desensitized in life that we are constantly looking for the next "big thing".  We need the newest, best, biggest, loudest toy to get our fix....otherwise...we are just bored.  Kids today miss out on the excitement and joy of the simpler things in life. 

Now, I know that I am risking sounding like an 80 year old curmudgeon in saying this...but I think if you scratch the surface of your heart and brain...you KNOW that its true.  We are so spoiled here.  I am not pointing fingers...notice I said WE.  I counted myself in it too.   It was so refreshing to see smiles on the faces of 12-15 year old boys as they were painting tiny plastic wind catchers.  It was beautiful to see the smiles of pride on their faces when they showed us the finished products. 

I love that these kids have an appreciation for the simple things.  When you have nothing....the small things really make an impact.    I want you to remember.  These kids have such precious pure hearts.  I wish you all could meet them.  I would LOVE to give them EVERY THING IN the world...all the biggest best and loudest toys...but you know what...BIG toys do NOT equal BIG Love.  Its a lesson I'm learning)  Anyways....I am going to be doing a toy/Christmas Gift drive this fall...so while you are out shopping...think of the kids at Providence....if you are led, buy a game or puzzle or other fun toy to send their way (it need not be the biggest, best, technological toy in the world...they will feel the love no matter what you choose).

I know that my few readers are probably tired of my little rants about consumerism and such...but it has just hit me like a ton of bricks...we have TOO much.  It just makes me sad to see our excesses...when there are so many people in the world without.  Truthfully...I don't know how to find balance between what I have SEEN first hand, what I know, and how I act.  Its tough friends.  Everything about our culture enforces the idea of more stuff=more success.  How do we find balance?  I am seeking God's help in this.  I am praying.  I am studying scripture.  I know that not everyone feels convicted like I do about this...so perhaps this is just my battle.  But I am sharing it with you....its just one of the MANY things that Moldova is changing and stirring in me.
P.S.- My next post will NOT be about excesses...so PLEASE COME BACK TO VISIT.  It was be about Day 2 at the orphanage!!!!

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Arms for Holding

Saturday, July 9, 2011

Dear friends...thank you again for bearing with me as I process everything that we experienced in Moldova...sometimes...it is important for me to take a little detour and think about the road that led us here.  Now I will continue on with our Mission trip story...
On the bottom floor of the orphanage at Cupcui, you will find the office, the cafeteria (that always smells DIVINE!), and 5 small apartments.  PCM is using these 5 small apartments to make a BIG difference in the lives of young mothers...with varying stories...PCM is offering them a Hand Up...Here is one of their stories (no names will be used).  While my menial writing skills can never truly convey all the torment and pain this poor girl experienced...The story is graphic...

One mother, was a victim of sex trafficking.
 At the age of 18, she was sold by her boyfriend into sex slavery in Turkey.  She was kidnapped by her trafficker and taken to a desolate Turkish hotel full of other young women who had been taken as hostages to an industry that is vile and ever growing... 
They were all held...against their wills.
 When this young girl begged her enslaver for release, he beat her and told her that he paid $3500 for her and unless she could pay him back, she belonged to him.  Penniless, she begged for mercy and cried to her captor that she was a virgin.  Instead of a poor, beaten, and broken young girl, the captor saw a business opportunity.  He sold her virginity, her childhood, her innocence to the highest bidder. 

After the loss of her innocence, she cried everyday in her room with the other young girls.  She was used by vile men 5-15 times a day.  She never was allowed out of the hotel...and had no way of leaving that horrible place.  She made friends with some of the employees of that dreadful hotel...and one day...someone saw a way to help.  One of the young men came to her as he was taking out the trash and said...if you leave with me RIGHT NOW...I can help you.  That young man saved her life...he smuggled her from the hotel and helped her find her way back to Moldova...Once she was in Moldova, she found out she was pregnant...and with all that was in her past...she found herself with no where to go...THANKFULLY...she heard about PCM and Providence Orphanage and went there to find help.   PCM and all the amazing people at the orphanage took her in.  In March she had her baby (who is well loved by ALL the people at Providence). 

While she has a safe place to live, that darkness continues to lurk in the shadows of her mind.  How can you escape painful memories of sexual slavery?  Prayer...Pray for this sweet girl...she needs it EVERYDAY!!!  Pray for physical, emotional and spiritual healing...She constantly struggles with self-worth...The evil in the world would like to see this poor woman defeated!  But, I will have none of that!  Every day while we were at Providence, I hugged that precious girl and said to her "Te Iubesc!" - I love you! and "Dumnezeu Te Iubeste!"  God Loves you! 
  My team mate Heather, was particularly moved by the stories of these young mothers.  She ministered to them every day.  She doted on them and loved on them.  Everyday I would catch Heather sneaking away and just holding and hugging on one of the mothers and telling them "Te Iubesc!" over and over...and she would wrap them in her arms like a mother (Heather is too young to be a mother to these girls)...

You know what?...during our week in Moldova...Heather was neither His Hands nor His Feet....She was His arms....for holding.

Heather and Chris loving on one of the babies

Heather with one of the moms (not from the story)

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Granny and Missions

Me, My Granny and My Momma at my Granny's nursing home in 2010.
My story of Moldova continues...but I would like to take a quick detour to remember my Granny, Wilma Sasser.  Today would have been her 82nd birthday.   My Granny and my pepaw (yes that is what I called my grandfather) are important to this Moldova missions story for many reasons...My Granny passed away this April after a valiant battle with Alzheimers.  Alzheimers took her memory of her family and friends...but not of her HOLY Father!  She could sing every word to her favorite hymns up until the very end....and she knew she loved Jesus.  I had the PRIVILEGE of assisting the pastors in delivering her Eulogy.  My grandparents were two of the MOST amazing people I ever knew.  Most of who I am today I owe to them in some way or another.  My grandparents were Godly people who always put serving others at the top of their priority list (whether it was driving a sick friend to the hospital, taking someone a meal, or just stopping by to say hello).  They loved God and they loved people and His love and joy SHONE through them.  They were just amazing...and I need you to know the two important connections that they have to Moldova.  One...my Pepaw and Granny made sure that I knew who Jesus was from an early age...and they made sure that I had a close relationship with Him.  (They did this by reading the bible with me, teaching my sunday school class, taking me to every VBS in town, and just being amazing examples).  Had they not taught me (and my mother...she is important to my walk too) about Him, who knows what my life would be?  My grandparents were Southern Baptists...and they always participated in the Annie Armstrong and Lottie Moon mission offerings.  They would put their plastic rice bowls out and model saving additional money for missions for me...we would talk about missionaries in far off lands around the dinner table.  My granny and pepaw had the biggest hearts for missions of any one I know.  They saved for missions...and they lived out missions in their lives.  In fact, when I was 13 they took me on my VERY FIRST mission trip.  We went to Western Kentucky to help build a church with Carpenters for Christ.  But you know what else my granny did?  She made sure that I had a chance to go serve in inner city Louisville.  Because she knew that I saw a need for relationship building...not just church building.  That woman KNEW my heart.  She knew I needed to connect with people who needed to know the Love of the Father.  That mission trip lit a fire for missions in my heart....In high school and college I volunteered and worked regularly for another mission organization, Appalachia Service Project...My Grandparents introduced me to serving others and serving Him in missions...it was all part of the Dream Givers plan (if you haven't already...consider reading Bruce Wilkinson's The Dream Giver)...I am looking forward to how His plan for my life continues to unfold.  I know that my Granny regularly talked with the Dream Giver Himself on my behalf.  On the flight over to Moldova...I had the strangest feeling of warmth come over me...and I looked over at Brian and I said..."you know what B?  Granny and Pepaw would be so proud of me following His call to serve for a short-term mission trip in Moldova."
  
He continues to call.  How will I answer?

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Thursday, July 7, 2011

After a long and hot first day at the orphanage...we drove back to our little village house in Sarata.  (Its about 10 minutes from Cupcui).  We were all so tired...and stinky...and just full to the brim with love and we were thankful that God picked us to be His hands and His feet this time.  Thankfully, we had indoor plumbing at the village house...and we lined up to take showers and help with dinner.  Chris helped Mia and Nycole make some yummy spaghetti (that's right)...and we paired it with a delicious Moldovan salad.  (This time it was shredded cabbage, mayonnaise, and these snack-type croutons that are sour cream and greenery flavored).  It was yummy.  I bought some of the croutons to bring back and make my own salad.  We all sat around and just contemplated the last two days...they had been amazing and exhausting...and there was still more to come!  While we ate, Mia showed us some videos she had made from the coat drive (many of you may remember me hounding you for your coats this year to send to Moldova:) ).  She showed us several videos...but the coat drive video ....it made me feel broken hearted...it made me feel filled with righteous anger....it made me feel full of love for the faces that were starring blankly back at me.  I won't stop saying it...I am so thankful for Philip Cameron Ministries...I am so glad that they continue to answer the call to practice TRUE RELIGION (according to James 1:27) every day in Moldova...I know that I want to keep on being a part of it.  Whats so amazing is that the kids from Stella's House and Simon's House were the ones to help deliver the coats to orphans throughout Moldova...it was orphans...MINISTERING to orphans.  If that doesn't make you in awe of our God....and break your heart for that Nation..I don't know what will.  In case you didn't know, I am a special education teacher.  One thing I noticed in the video...the kids with disabilities are housed in separate orphanages based on their disability.  There is an orphanage for deaf children, an orphanage for blind children, they are basically categorized in to orphanages.  And...Philip Cameron Ministries did NOT forget the least of these.  They ministered to them as well. I will post a link to the video...when I can find it:) 
Please keep praying from Philip Cameron Ministries (PCM) there is a LOT to do in Moldova.  Pray that God will reveal what our part is:) 

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Day 1

I have so many things to share with you...so many anecdotal stories...but I am trying very hard to stay on topic....those of you who know me...know this is VERY difficult...I am like the little dog in UP...I will be talking to you and all of a sudden.....SQUIRREL!!!  Out of left field some thought over takes my brain...so bear with me in love friends.  I want to tell you every experience we had in the country...at the orphanage...at night at the mission house...at Stella's House.
As you can tell, our first day at Providence was amazing.  We spent so much time loving on children.  It was wonderful.  The whole time we were in Moldova we learned more and more about the orphan situation.  It just breaks my heart that there is an orphanage in almost every village.  While the orphanages can be less than wonderful, the situations at home for many of these children are horrible...Some parents will drop their kids off at the orphanage so that they can go on vacation...One of the sets of siblings at Providence lived on bread and sugar for the six months prior to Providence. Once the kids start eating healthy meals 3 times a day...they start to fatten up (which is still trim).  To look at entry day pictures of the kids and to see them now...the change is obvious...you can see the roundness in their cheeks, the shine in their eyes, the pride in their steps...their lives have been changed by coming to a Christian-run orphanage.  Oh the eternal impact Providence is making!  But, there are still needs...always check out Stella's voice website to see how you can help!

Here are a few more pictures from our first day at Providence...


Heather and Chris with Baby Marianna...
Hey from Moldova!  You get it...HAY???

Kathryn, Baby Mariana, and Valerica


Liuda...and DANU...Isn't he the cutest thing?  Hes soo spoiled too!
Checking out one of the wells in the village.
I now have 19 followers!!! Yeah!  Keep checking back...there is still soooo much to tell!  (Especially all the cool things God is doing!)

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