Archive for June 2011


Tuesday, June 28, 2011

Now that you have had a tiny glimpse in to village life...I will tell you a story from our first day at Providence Home for Orphans in Cupcui.  Providence Home was a previously state run orphanage that PCM is now running.  (Remember they turned it around and made it livable).  When we first arrived there, many of the children were still completing their morning routines (eating with their "families", cleaning, etc.) 

Quick Detour for information-Providence is set up in family units.  (apartments with 2-3 bedrooms, a bathroom suite, and a living room/kitchen area).  There are house parents assigned to each group of children.  There is a main living room and then bedrooms off of the living room/kitchen area.  The children are assigned to "families".  PCM does everything to encourage family like dynamics.  They eat their meals together, they fave family time, and family responsibilities.  Its pretty awesome!

The change that has occurred at Providence is amazing.  The pictures of the orphanage BEFORE PCM took control are terrible.  The children were still using outhouses.  The showers that were inside the orphanage were unsanitary and often times did not work.  The paint was peeling down the walls and mold was everywhere.  In the bedrooms, the children had mattresses and only a sheet to cover themselves throughout the year (even in the VERY COLD winter).  After our tour of the new, improved, and healthy living quarters at Providence, Our team sat and starred at the before pictures for a long time.  Three of the girls we had met from Stella's House lived at Cupcui BEFORE PCM renovated made it very real for us.
Its seems so easy for people to look at pictures of bad living conditions when it has no personal correlation ...but when you know someone who lives in or has lived in immediately becomes real for you. 

I feel that now is the time to share some more than ever sweet friends I wish I was a more eloquent writer and could truly convey the stories the way they were shared with me...

I would like to share several success stories that came from Cupcui.  I want to begin with Galina.  I facebooked her yesterday and asked her if it would be alright if I shared her story with you my friends.  She said of course!  So I want you to know...that I am sharing this with her blessing.
Galina is an AMAZING young woman.  You won't meet a more beautiful, more godly, more amazing girl.  To know her past, and see her present...its JUST INCREDIBLE.  That girl has a servants heart like no one.   She also has tons of spunk! I spent a week with her and feel so much love and respect for her.  I want to share her story with you...
Galina gave us our tour of Providence on the first day...she showed us the room that was hers while she lived there.  Here is a picture of Galina in her old room (granted it is MUCH nicer now).  Galina looks lovely in this picture...but the picture does not come close to conveying the true beauty that she has inside and out. 

As we walked through the village of Cupcui, I asked Galina about her life...When she was four years old, her parents divorced and put her in the orphanage.  I continued asking her about her situation and learned that she had 4 other siblings.  Her siblings were NOT put in the ophanage.  Just Galina...left alone at 4.  She was the middle of 5 children...and they had to get rid of one extra mouth to feed.  Galina was taken to the orphanage at Cupcui at 4.  Can you imagine?  Looking at your five children and deciding that one had to go...and then choosing which one it would be.  I don't have children myself...but I know if I had brought 5 children in to this world that I would do everything I could to protect ALL of them...not just some of them. 

So that is how Galina's life started...feeling that she was the one who was the least important, the least loved...Cupcui orphanage was NOT the wonderful place it is now...and Galina struggled to stay warm and to stay safe during her time there.  She met Krissy and Philip Cameron when she was much older.  They were some of the first people in her life to ever show her that they cared that she existed...that her life mattered to them.  They took the time to learn her name, to learn her story, to love her.  I can't imagine what would have happened to Galina if Philip and Krissy hadn't visited Cupcui.  Their love (through God) changed her life.  They taught her about God's love for her...they showed her that she is important to Him...that HE loves her so much that He gave His life for her.  Galina is now on FIRE for God.  ( I digress...but Galina just amazes me.)  That's not all of Galina's story...the school at the orphanage was a place of torture for Galina...she struggled with academics and was constantly ridiculed by the teachers.  We would call it verbal abuse...and it would NOT be acceptable in our schools...but it was just another day in the life of an orphan for Galina.  Galina's academics did not improve and the unkind treatment continued.  When Philip and Krissy learned of Galina's academic troubles, they questioned her vision.  Krissy and Philip arranged to have Galina's eyes checked.  At the doctors appointment, they found that Galina had large tumors bearing down on her ocular nerves that were causing some pretty severe visual impairments...and were potentially dangerous.  The Camerons arranged for Galina to have surgery in the U.S. to remove the tumors.  Galina's eyes and vision are beautiful now...When Galina turned 16 and "aged out" of the orphanage she moved in to Stella's House and completed high school.
Krissy and Philip Cameron have done many other amazing things like this (because of their love for God and for His Children...they are able to do these things because of donations to their ministry.)

Galina served as one of our interpreters during our trip.  She currently lives at Stella's House but is currently working like crazy to serve the kids at Cupcui.  She is actually doing "camp" with the kids for 4 weeks of the summer.  She has planned and organized and made wonderful things happen for the kids at the orphanage that used to be her home.  When Galina left Cupcui when she was 16, she promised she would never return...and now God is using her in this place that once held so many bad memories for her....He is using her there to make good memories for others.

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Sooo MUCH to say

Sunday, June 26, 2011

Well friends, I just got finished speaking with a group at our church about Moldova.  I only had about 5 minutes to speak (because there were MANY people sharing their stories).  Ok...those of you who have been reading this blog know....I couldn't even finish day one in ONE BLOG.  Covering the whole trip in 5 minutes?  I can't do ANYTHING in 5 minutes.  I did my best.  I told them the important parts.  Moldova's children need our help and our prayers.  The circumstances there are horrible.  PCM is doing its best to shine light in a dark part of our world...We were lucky enough to spend a week there...showing love. I stepped away from the podium thinking to myself (insecurities rearing their head) "I do not speak like an adult"  "There's no way any one even heard what I had to say."  But you know what...Brian was standing there smiling giving me a thumbs up...and my sweet precious friend, Courtney sent me a little text that said GOOD JOB! :).  God puts these special people in my life to remind me that He made me...and He is gonna use me just the way I am...He has a plan.  (even if I can't speak like I have 3 degrees (which I do)). 

With that...I will begin day 2....go on and prepare yourself...I have a lot to say...this one could span several posts as well:)

I woke up to the sound of our special turkey friend (remember him?) gobbling.  Its true.  We did not wake up to the rooster crowing (although he was there)...NOPE it was our new friend the white turkey!  We woke up with smiles on our faces...because we were going to the orphanage for the first time...and because waking up to a turkey is just funny!  Brian and I made breakfast for the crew that morning...he scrambled some farm fresh eggs...and I made toast (the bread in Moldova is soooo good and they eat it with every meal!). Breakfast was yummy.  We followed it up with a devotional led by Chris.  A glorious start to the morning! 
We drove the 20 minutes down the VERY BUMPY road to Cupcui.  Its hard to convey village life in words...the roads are made of dirt and they are very bumpy...the dirt roads create a thick layer of dust on everything...the homes vary greatly...some have tin roofs...some have thatch roofs. Very few homes have running water.  The villagers walk back and forth to the wells all day...some people do have electricity and satellites...but even they often have "outdoor" kitchens.  The main mode of transportation in the villages is horse and carriage...most people have simple gardens to supply their food needs.   Summers in Moldova are very warm...However, winters are extremely cold and many people have a separate room in their homes just for winter living.  The homes are simple and small. 

Main road into Cupcui

Typical House in Cupcui (and Moldovan villages)

The villages seem like an entirely different planet outside of the capital city of Chisinau...and Chisinau isn't that modern to begin with.  Moldova is full of contrasts.  There is extreme beauty in countryside and in the faces of the precious children...and there is extreme ugliness in the treatment of the children...and the lack of hope.   There are people in Moldova with hope...and there are many beautiful people in Moldova who care for the precious children.  While I do want you to understand the darkness there...I want you to remember the light as well.

The thing that I want you to remember today is...Moldova is poor...many of the children in the numerous orphanages across the tiny country of Moldova have living family...They simply cannot afford to care for them....or do not want to care for them.   I also want you to remember that Moldova is extremely cold in the winter.  In the homes and orphanages without decent heating and insulation, many children die.  PCM is trying to fight that.  They are trying to repair heating systems in some orphanages... and this year they had a winter coat drive to try to save the lives of children in and out of orphanages. 

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Quick Prayer

We have been back from Moldova less than a week....and I can feel it creeping in on me...normalcy...normality...routine...the status quo...whatever it is you call it....that feeling that tells you that the way you live your life day in and day out is all there is...that waking up in the morning, going to work, cleaning house or shopping....that is all there is....that your life consists of you and your routine.  I don't even know how to convey this to you...Friends...stop and pray for us (meaning me and Brian).  Don't let routine cover up our passion for Moldova and the people there.  Pray that we don't forget the heartbreaking things we heard and saw.  Its easy to forget when we are sitting in our snugly home, shopping at Target, eating dinner at a restaurant.  I don't want to forget!  I want my heart to hurt all day every day for the people of Moldova.  Pray for it friends. 

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 I don't know if any of the readers of this blog will be people who do not know me...I think my 15 followers (yeah!) are all friends and family.  I am so thankful for makes my heart smile.  Most of you know my sweet husband, if you don't you should...because he's awesome...He's also a pretty quiet groups of people...NOT at home.  That boy talks non stop at home:)  I love to hear him talk...I love his voice...I love what he says...I love how he smiles (but I digress...can you tell I like the guy?)  Anyhow...he is a man of few words kind of person sometimes...but when he speaks...I think it is important to listen...because its gonna be something he has really thought about and considered....But remember...I am generally the EMOTION of the two of us...I told a friend yesterday that I had enough emotion to share.  I am just an emotional person.  Now...don't go thinking that I cry all the time...because I don't (well...I do...but the hurt of others hurts me).  The point is...Brian talks a lot (at home)...but I talk about FEELINGS.
From the beginning, Brian wanted to be a part of our trip to Moldova.  (I think his original reason was to protect me...because he is DEFINITELY a PROTECTOR by nature...he would go to battle for me...not gonna lie it annoys me sometimes ;)  My favorite book as a kid was "I Can Do It Myself"  Mostly his need to protect makes me feel loved and secure).  Anyway, as we learned more about the country and the ministry,  his motives changed completely (he still wanted to protect me...but his bigger motivation was to help protect Moldova's children).  He prayed with me for months about every step of this trip.  He prayed with me about our future and the role Moldova will play in it...he prayed and prayed (even when I didn't). 

Sometimes I don't know what goes on in that head of his...but Moldova has changed him...and I just thought I loved that boy before...but something about seeing your man on fire for God's cause.  He has just become ten times MORE amazing to me.  Do you know what this quiet man of mine did?  (ok-background info...he was one of the LAST of our friends to join facebook and he only posts on there once or twice every 4-6 months.  no lie.  its social networking...and he's not in to that...meanwhile his wife the social butterfly can't get enough of it).  I needed you to know that...because it makes what he did a BIG deal. Yesterday, he posted his very first note EVER on facebook!  Do you know what it was about-Moldova.  If you are his friend on facebook, please check it out.  One of my friends commented that it was the most she had ever heard Brian say.  God is going to use this passion of ours for His glory.  I don't know how...but He is.  Do you know what else God has done for us as a couple...(here's where the feelings come in).  We have wept together for the children of Moldova.  This may creep some of you out...but not me.  The day that Brian went back to work...we both felt so weird.  Life just seemed out of sorts.  All we could both think about all day were the kids at Stella's House and Providence.  ALL DAY long...not a second passed without us thinking about them.  When Brian got home from work...I was so glad to see him.  We were both so tired...and worn out from our thoughts.  I gave Brian a welcome home hug...and he whispered in my ear..."I wish we were there"...then we both began crying...I'm crying now as I write it....we cried and cried.  God changed Brian's plans for the trip and he is changing our hearts.  I'm not trying to write a James Patterson or Nicholas Sparks novel here (those can make you cry).  I just want you to know...God is amazing!  He is getting my quiet and reserved fella to share...and he is making him a little emotional too!  Now He hasn't turned Brian in to a crying emotional extrovert...oh no...that would not be Brian...and that's OK.  God is using who we are to change things and to change us. ( to quote our team mate, Chris McInnish's catch phrase.....)  Does that make sense?

This post was a detour from our actual mission trip story...but I wanted to share with you how God is working in us...he took my "man of few words" husband and turned him in to someone who writes NOTES on facebook.  (Granted he had to ask me how to do it) 
Stay tuned...the Moldova Mission Trip story will continue...thanks for listening today!
This is my sweet honey...He is showing Vica how to take a self-portrait!

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Can't June 15th Last a little longer????

Saturday, June 25, 2011

I'm telling you...June 15th was a long day...and filled with amazing things...

I'm sure after reading my last post you are wondering...why did she decide to name her blog Zambeste? (as you may recall Zambeste means "smile" in Romanian.)  Smile may initially seem like a horrible title for a blog about the perils children face in Moldova.   I realize that the topic is very heavy....and that there are many heartbreaking moments...but these kids have been offered something amazing....HOPE.  If you could see the beautiful smiles on their faces DESPITE the horrible circumstances of their would know why I chose SMILE.  If you saw the smile that these children put on my would know why I chose smile...if you saw the joy through the would know...Zambeste just fits.    Their smiles come from their hope...Hope in Him.  All because Philip Cameron saw a need...and didn't just say "Something must be done!"  He DID something!  (And is still doing something...and he needs our CHECK OUT THEIR PAGES Philip Cameron Ministries and Stella's House!!!!!)  There is still sooooo much that needs to be done in Moldova.  We haven't even scratched the surface!

But I digress...I am FINALLY going to wrap up June 15th for you...I know that you are all sad to see it go...because 6 out of 8 posts are about that day. 

After the girls shared their "Human Video" and their stories, we all felt numb.  How do you go on with life like everything is OK after you hear stories like that?  We sat still for a while...and processed....and prayed.   All the while, the girls were hugging each other and caring for each other like family.  Then, they all began smiling again.  I don't know how...well...that's not true...I do know how...with Gods help...they can smile...with Gods help...they are never too broken.  These girls just blow me away.  They are amazing....just stinking amazing.  You should see if their tour is coming to your local NEED to see how God can heal ALL wounds...wounds that we cant even imagine. 
After hugging the girls and seeing their smiles again...we sat down to a delicious first meal in Moldova.  It consisted of Bread (we had yummy bread EVERY SINGLE meal), fried pork loin, potatoes, and a lovely Moldovan Summer Salad (cucumbers, tomatoes, onions, and oil).  It was DELISH!
After dinner, we sat around and played PHASE 10 Dice with the girls.  This was a very quick and easy way for us to learn our basic numbers in Romanian.  They love this game.  (We actually played it EVERY SINGLE time we were at Stella's House...its super team mate Heather has already purchased one for her home).  About 8 of us sat around and played until the sun began to go down (finally-it stays bright there until at least 9 o clock).  Mia, our lovely and wonderful host, told us that it was time to go.  We didn't want to leave the girls...but we knew we would be back to see them...and we knew that leaving them meant that we would be spending time at the we left...but it was a little bittersweet...even though it wasn't farewell...We piled into the Chevrolet mini van (whose nick name I will not share with you because I have been sworn to secrecy).    Look how tired we all look...this is like hour 36 of being awake for we all are in the back of the van on that first night....we were becoming what I like to call LEDIRIOUS  (its that point where you are soo sleepy you are beyond Delirious...and you couldn't even say Delirious right because you are so you know what I mean...just ask my friend Courtney.)

How do I know we were LEDIRIOUS?  EVERYTHING was funny!  As I said before, the roads in Moldova are pretty bad...Most of the ride to our village was dirt road (with huge ruts) or paved road (with horrible ruts).  Every time I turned around Heather and Elizabeth were bumping up and down...and the poor little van was making so much noise because of the hard was just hilarious.  We all began laughing uncontrollably.  Just thinking about the squeaking door and the bouncy friends in the back seat is making me cackle out loud right now!  It gets better though....
Mia (remember she is our PRECIOUS GUIDE/Missionary for PCM) asked if we wanted to stop at the bakery in Hincesti for Placenta...We all burst out laughing. It was funny.  I'm sorry.  Placenta (spelled the same but pronounced PLUCHENTAH) is a Moldovan pastry.  Mia had to talk us all in to trying it because we weren't sure she was telling us the truth.  Placenta (remember its CH sound not C, OK?) is delicious as it turns out.  We tried Potato Placenta, Cabbage Placenta, Cheese Placenta (ooooh man it was goood), and Sweet Placenta.  We passed it around on while bouncing up and down on the way to Sarata.
When we arrived at the village house, we were immediately greeted by what would become our special turkey friend (he will get his own story later....for now here's his picture...TRUST me it does not do him justice)

We unloaded our 12 thousand suitcases and headed inside.  We were so thankful to be at our final destination....we all began showering....(remember we had been up since 4:00 the previous day).  We then all began to go to bed...Brian and I magically ended up with a room to ourselves.  (The McInnishes and The Mullins were in one dorm style room and we were in the other.)  The thought was each couple would get 2 nights in the room to themselves...but no one ever asked us to move we didn't.  We housed all the extra luggage:) 
I climbed in to the top bunk that night with every intention of journaling our day....and I was so tired...I just bulleted the highlights.  My prayers that night in Moldova seemed more fervent...I felt like I was pleading with God...I begged Him to find me a worthy instrument of His love...I begged Him that just this one time in my life that I could be "good enough" in every way to serve the kids.  I begged Him that He would answer my questions about the future while we were there...I begged Him to to fill my heart and calm my spirit and just consume me ( I had never prayed that before)...I begged Him to let me hear His voice in a mighty way. (You definitely need to keep reading the blog to see just how he did it...its gonna blow your BLEW my mind!)
I kissed my sweet husband good night...and thanked him for answering Gods call in our lives...and for standing beside me as we started this journey...I feel asleep to the sound of our fan...whirring through the thick Moldovan air....


JUNE 15th- The Real Deal-What Brought us Here...

Friday, June 24, 2011

Hi friends!  I must admit I am so excited to see that I have 7 followers.  While I hope people continue to view this blog for its general awesomeness (cough)...I feel that today's post (as well as my 2nd and 3rd posts) really gets at the heart of the matter....The kids...They are why we traveled across the world to a tiny little country.  I am not going to use the girls names in today's blog...just because I have posted their pictures on this site.  The reality of the situation is ugly and I am not sure that I am capable of conveying the pain...but I know that God has put a fire in my heart to tell people about I am praying that He will use my words.

To raise funds for their organization PCM brings some of the girls from Stella's House to the states for the summer for a tour of churches and organizations.  The tour generates funding to help save more girls.  This tour also helps raise awareness of the dire situations in Moldova...and it reminds people that Slavery still exists...and girls are bought and sold in to Sex Slavery EVERY day in Moldova (and around the world).   Don't ever forget that. 

After our tour of the village, several of the girls shared what they called their "Human Video."   It's amazing to see the joy on the girls faces as they share through dance and music what God has done for them...The song that they shared with us was was about brokenness.  No words could convey...These girls are broken....but in Him they are whole. 
After the "Human Video" several girls wanted to share their stories...
I can't begin to convey their stories to you.  All I can tell you is that my heart aches to think of these beautiful young women being victims to such ugliness...such evil.  Some times the pain was too intense for the girls to continue telling their I don't even know the severity of the events that occurred in their lives.  They find peace and hope in knowing that their past is NOT their future.  What the girls were able to share was painful even for the listener to endure.  As a Christain...even just as a never want to hear that any human being has been abused...mistreated...marginalized...oppressed...especially not by their parents.  Many of these beautiful girls came from families with severe alcoholism and abuse.  They were beat themselves repeatedly and were made witnesses to the beatings of their siblings and mothers.  After repeated abuse, the families often simply took them to the orphanage...Many of the girls were just abandoned with no reason.  Dropped off at an orphanage for someone else to care for them.  The abuse didn't stop once they reached the orphanages...neglect and mistreatment continued...Then, when they turn 16...they "age out" of the system...The completely horribly ironic thing is that Moldova has chosen its "National Children's Day" in June as the day that all orphans who have turned 16 must leave.  They must leave the orphanages...They are given a little money and sent on their way...the perfect prey for Sex Trafficking predators...They are promised a job...unknowingly they accept. 

There is hope for these girls...Philip Cameron is building more homes to help rescue more girls. 

My daily prayer is that God will break my heart EVERY day for Moldova... I don't want to grow accustomed to my comfortable way of life and my daily routine.  I don't want to become so numb with "normal life" that I forget what is going on...its so easy to do...Pray for me friends...While the pain in my heart for this country is sometimes is nothing compared to what these children encounter every day.  Pray that my heart continues to ache every day and that I can NEVER EVER be the same.  Pray that God will continue to use this ache to spur me to action.
If you have been blessed to experience their stories in are FOREVER changed....Just thinking about what these beautiful girls have been through breaks my heart and tears have been clouding my vision as I write.
To help you understand, here's a video created by Stella's Voice to tell the stories of just a few of the girls...please remember there are many more girls and many more stories..
I will most likely place this video in MANY posts to come...its also on my facebook page....please watch it...

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Yep...on this blog its STILL June 15th...

Thursday, June 23, 2011

What?  It was a banner day.  June 15th was our very first day in Moldova.  During our tour of Ialoveni (do you remember how to pronounce it?) we saw a few stores, the school some of the girls go to and other local sites (mostly just residential stuff).  Moldova is a country full of agriculture...even in the more suburban area of Ialoveni fruit trees abound.  The girls enjoyed picking cherries, vishynus, blackberry like things, crab apples, and other fruit for us to try...being the good southerners that we are we tried it ALL.  Marchika enjoyed getting us to try apples that weren't quite ripe.  THEY WERE CRAZY SOUR.  She laughed and laughed....she pulled the prank on all of us...and we let her....her laughter was beautiful...and we wanted to hear it!  Marchika did not speak much English on her first day...but guess what....that girl knows about Justin Beiber!  Well, being the singing prodigy that I am (ahem) I had to sing it with her.  It was so fun!  No, I do NOT know all the words...but she does:)  I love that these girls love music...because as you will come to find...I ALWAYS have a song in my heart (more about this later).  Here are some photos from our tour of IALOVENI.

Kathryn, Marchika, and Heather in front of the school
The well...the girls get their drinking water from here.
Alabama Girls and Stella's House Girls...We are soo cool!
Apartment Building in Ialoveni

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June 15th Continued-It was a long day:)

Now...I don't want you to leave my last post feeling like Moldovans are completely void of life, love, and dreams...because that is not true....There are many Moldovans so full of love and hope that they could explode joy all over you:)  The girls at Stella's House are a perfect example of Moldovans who are full of life, love and hope...and it all comes from one thing....Knowledge of, Belief in, and a RELATIONSHIP WITH Christ.  (That may be the first time in my 20 years as a Christian that I have just laid it out there!  Yay God!  You still have a work to do in me) That's just it.  If we want to change the future for Moldova and her children...we have to change RELATIONSHIPS.  The root cause of the the hopelessness...(which causes high rates of alcoholism, high rates of child abandonment, sex trafficking, etc) is that they don't know THE HOPE.    (And cue step down from soap box).
Its still my fact...I have posted 3 times since I got up at 4:00....I am trying to play it cool folks...I don't want to overwhelm you with all that is going on in my heart and head right now....and I am trying very hard to stick to a schedule of events, when all I really want to do is sit down and tell you all the amazing  and heart breaking things that I encountered while in Moldova....but I must stay strong:)  I don't know all of the details of what God is doing in this household right now (meaning the casa de Jones).  But Brian and I are BOTH changed in a big way...(I will call that my teaser trailer...hopefully that will make you want to keep on reading future blogs!!!!!).
But I digress (thanks again Sophia Patrillo)...By the way...if you don't know who Sophia Patrillo is, you have missed out...she is just one of the zany characters on the classic TV show Golden Girls who often tells flash back stories to Sicily...and then forgets the point to her story....I can sooo relate to her!

Upon arriving in Chisinau, we headed straight to Stella's House. ( Stella's House is PCM's call to end sex trafficking in Moldova.  You can read more about it in my 3rd post....down below...)
I have to admit...I was sooo nervous.  I was thinking..."Are they gonna like me?  How will we talk with them?  What will I say? I don't know how to relate to teenage girls!"  Ah yes....the old insecurities come back when you least expect it....and they reared their ugly heads many times on this trip. 

Well...I was worried for NOTHING!  We walked into a house full of giggling, smiling, loving, funny, amazing teenage girls!  They EXUDE joy!  True joy!  Stella (not the namesake of the house) served as our Moldovan host.  She is 18 and speaks at least 4 different languages (Romanian, Russian, English, and French).  She is amazing!  We hung out with the girls for a little while and then they took us on a tour of their town Ialoveni (pronounced YALLOWVEEN) :)  Don't you love my pronunciation guides?  I know I do:)  Ialoveni is like a suburb of Chisinau.  It is surrounded by rolling hills and vineyards.  Beautiful.  Here are pictures of Stella's Houses 1 and 2 and the Future Stella's Houses 3 and 4.  With the completion of Stella's Houses 3 and 4...even more girls can be rescued!!!

Stella's House 3 and 4- WORK IN PROGRESS!!!
Stella's House 2-About 18 girls live here

Stella's House 1- Houses about 18 girls

PCM has done an AMAZING job creating a family atmosphere at the Stella's Houses.   We met several precious girls here and they agreed to take us on a tour of the village.  Marchika bonded with us immediately and loved on my team members from the get go.  Here is my favorite picture from the ENTIRE melted my heart....
As we were walking through Ialoveni, Marchika reached for Elizabeth's hand to hold.  She just met her...and knew that she loved her.  She spent the first 15 years of her life without being shown love...and yet she is open to it.  God is amazing. 

(June 15th is NOT finished...more to come!!! STAYED TUNED!!!!)

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June 15th....and what not I know the last post was more travel details...but those are important details...God worked it all it out.  Even if we had missed the was part of his plan ...I need you to know that.  In the past, I have never been confident putting my beliefs in to words...and sending it out in to a world full of unbelievers...I felt like I could SHOW His love...but I could never TELL of His love...but I have to be confident in that...He is my confidence.  I hope to grow in this...pray for me.  Doers of the word are important....but conveying His Love in words is important too.
That being said...I will resume my entry. 

  We arrived in Chisinau sans one piece of baggage.  Somehow...the one piece of baggage went to Frankfurt (which we did not).  But, it was not an important piece of time sensitive material or anything.  We were greeted at the airport by our new friend and guide, Mia.  She also brought along Nycole from Atlanta and Pavel (one of the house parent's at Simon's House-Pavel is like Paul in Romanian...but it sounds like PahVel).  We loaded up the vans with our luggage and headed through Chisinau the self-proclaimed "City of Bad Roads".  The roads are horrible...seriously...and the roads in Chisinau are the best in the country.  Just an example of the lack of reliable infrastructure in the country.  Chisinau (sounds like Kishy NOW) is the capital of Moldova.  There are multi level buildings everywhere...that at first glance look nice...but upon closer inspection are in disrepair...The pictures don't do it justice.  The bottom building is the right side of a pair of buildings called the "Gates of Chisinau" you can see pictures of them here. 
In pictures the gates seem nice and clean...but in reality...they are not.  I can't think of an inhabited building in the states that compares to this.  It looks like it should be condemned.  The living conditions even in the urban center of Moldova are sub par.  Mia, our guide, told us that Moldova was once called by Time or Newsweek the Number one MOST DEPRESSING Place on the PLANET.  The second you look around at the people you can see it lurking the every the hollow eyes..its there....Hopelessness.  They have no identify as a country (became a country in 91...former USSR), no place to work (no real industry of note other than agriculture), no faith, no quality of life...and the list goes on...and it manifests itself in the way the country treats its children...ABANDONED.  They don't value life...

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Let the Trip Blogging Begin!!!! (AKA as June 13th-15th)

Sunday, June 12th was missions Sunday at my church.  It was the PERFECT Sunday before our trip.  Our amazing teaching pastor commissioned every person in the congregation to go forth in missions.  Our amazing praise and worship band, The Freedom Sound, sang all of my favorite songs (especially Hillsong's "Go").  It was just a high adrenaline service for me.  I was on Holy Spirit overload (initially I wrote Holy Spirit speed...but I thought that might offend some of you...but I think that is a more accurate description...all my energy and excitement was PURE HOLY SPIRIT)....I was ready to go change the world.  I am naturally a bit giddy as it is...I was so excited about this trip to Moldova I couldn't even speak in complete sentences.  (Just ask my  friend, Courtney.)  Brian and I went home to our lovely 3 bedroom 2 bath home (with indoor plumbing AND electricity) unaware of what God was about to do in our lives.  Funny thing is ...Brian and I had been putting a time line on God (yes we were silly enough to do that).  We had been praying and talking with God and needed some answers for some decisions in our lives and we told HIM that we would know something after this trip...hahaha!  We were soo silly!  You will hear about that later!  Anyway, we said our prayers together ( for the mission trip, for the team , for the country, and for the people) and tried to sleep.  We were like two kids the night before Disney know what I am talking about.  We were filled with do the Lords serve the least of these!!!  (SIDE NOTE-I follow a blog called the LEAST OF THESE...check it out...we have been truly praying that God would break our hearts for what breaks His...and he has in a BIG way...keep reading to find out more).
   We rolled out of bed, after very little sleep, and got ourselves ready and went to our team meeting place.  Our precious teaching pastor, met us there to have communion with us.  He got up at 4 in the morning to have communion with 6 people on their way to about servant leadership.  We had grape juice out of an olive garden cup and bread from panera.
Communion was the perfect way to start this trip off for HIS purpose.  After communion and our prayer time, the 6 of us with our 12 pieces of checked baggage and 8 pieces of carry on luggage piled into our friends Sienna was riding low.  Brian and I snuggled with the luggage all the way to Atlanta! 
We arrived at the Atlanta airport at 9:15.  Thank Goodness!  We unloaded the aforementioned baggage and got in line.  Once we made it to the front of the line, our ticket agent began arguing with another ticket agent about checking us in....we were nervous.  Then our ticket agent took all of our passports and promised she would be back...our flight had been cancelled.  Funny thing is...we all knew it was in God's hands and that He wanted us all to go to not one of us worried...we simply texted our prayer warriors and told them to pray...and pray they did.  We were originally flying United to Newark...and all of our extra baggage was gonna cost us over $300.  Our new, not cancelled, flight was with Delta...and they allow 2 we didn't have to pay for our extra luggage (which was full of supplies and treats for the orphanage)!  God is sooo good...really... all the time! The rest of the travel was free from excitement until we got to Munich.  Our flght to Chisinau was one of the only flights for Moldova from Munich for the day...and our flight into Munich was about an hour and a half late...we had approximately 30 minutes to unload the airplane, find the lufthansa counter, get our boarding passes, and  get back on the flight to Moldova.  God worked it all out...we managed to run fast enough  to be at the head of the line of about 200 people and our Lufthansa representatives asked them to hold the plane for us....we were FINALLY really on our way to MOLDOVA....

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Facebook Post from the week before our Mission Trip to Moldova

This is my post word for word
" I wish that I could be a more eloquent writer and that I could truly convey the overflowing emotions I feel when writing this...
Hello Friends!
I just can't believe that Brian and I are leaving for Moldova in 3 days! God has been doing a mighty work in our lives in preparation for this trip. This trip is God's plan and desire for our hearts can't even imagine...Let me just tell you a quick little story.
Four years ago, when I was working at the Chapter One Office, I heard this man on Faith Radio talking about this country I had never heard of.....MOLDOVA. He told of the perils that young men and women face in Moldova. It broke my heart to hear about young orphan girls aging out of the system at 16 and being scooped up by horrible predatorial people. I went to work that day and talked about Moldova around morning coffee with my coworkers...and after that I could never forget the name of that country...God has continued to burden my heart for the children there. I won't give you any history or political lessons on Moldova because you can read that for yourself if you so desire....I'd rather you know about the children there. Simply stated...Moldova is a poor country and there are MANY orphans there. Many of the children in the orphanages have families who are alive who either don't want them or would rather not "waste" money on their care. Can you imagine? Knowing that your family is out there but would rather see you raised by strangers? It breaks God's heart. Over the last few years...God has continued to break our hearts for what breaks His...MOLDOVA (in particular). Brian and I have spent lots of time in prayer for the children and people of Moldova. Philip Cameron Ministries (the man I heard on Faith Radio as it turns out) has formed a relationship with our church. We have been blessed to hear the girls from Stella's House share their stories on many occassions. In the spring, the government of Moldova gave the chrisitan organization Phillip Cameron Ministires (PCM) a previoiusly state run orphanage (that was in EXTREME disrepair). Anyway, PCM has completely renovated the building (made it livable) and there are now between 30 and 40 children there. We are going to be spending the majority of our time just LOVING on them and showing them that we love them and that our amazing CREATOR does too. The orphanage is Providence Orphanage in Cupcui, Moldvoa. We will also be spending time with the girls from Stella's House. This is PCMs attempt to prevent these girls from being sold into sex slavery. They give them a home, help them learn english and help them establish and learn a trade (finish high school, college, and/or university). All the while...teaching them about and showing them God's love (YOU HAVE TO COME BACK AND READ MY BLOG WHEN I GET TO WORSHIPING AT STELLA'S HOUSE...INTENSE!!!!) I'm telling you I LOVE this mission organization and they are based in Montgomery, ALABAMA.

Ok, I realize that my story has gotten a little too long...and some of you are checking out mentally right I will recap with bullet points (Thank You Brian Jones)

  • Moldova is a small country in Eastern Europe
  • Poverty is Rampant
  • Child abandonment is rampant
  • It is the sex trafficking capital of Europe.
  • There are children and young women there who need to see and know God's love is real (THIS is the MAIN purpose of our trip)

La revedere (that's Romanian for Goodbye),

Brian and Kathryn"

The rest of the facebook post just included ways for our friends and family to follow our team while we were in Moldova. My mission team member, Chris, did a great job blogging while we were can check it out at

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Its My Birthday...I'd Rather be in Moldova

That's Maxim...Isn't he precious?

Right now it is 4:00 a.m. on June 23rd...It is my 31st birthday....Its amazing how my view of birthdays has changed just since last year...Last year I was such a baby on my was my 30th birthday and on the actual day I wanted loads of attention and was quite bratty when it didn't pan out the way I thought it should (paparazzi and friends pouring attention on me, etc)....Funny thing is 4 days after my actual birthdate I was having a HUGE party...but I was grumpy about one stinkin' day...I have even continued to whine about it....Ridiculous! I am so ashamed of my behavior on that particular day. (My actual party was many people came to show they love me....and also helped me raise money for Philip Cameron Ministries)...Anyway...its my second post and already I digress (thank you Sophia Patrillo!). Here's the lesson-I NEVER want to spend another birthday thinking about myself...its ridiculous really! I prayed for that last night..(my words exactly...with quite a bit of timidity...cause you never know how God is going to answer prayers " Dear me to NEVER think about myself on my me remember the children who don't get a chance to celebrate their birthdays because they don't know when it is, or no one remembers, or no one cares enough to celebrate)..and you know what God did? He woke me at up 3:30 on my birthday with my heart burning to tell you about Moldova...I have been fighting this blogging thing tooth and nail....but God KEEPS putting it on my blog I MUST!!!

My next post will be the letter I sent to friends and family on Facebook the week before we left for Moldova....

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Wednesday, June 22, 2011

Zambeste is my favorite Romanian phrase...I love the way it sounds (in English you might write it....Zumbieshtay). Zambeste means "smile" in Romanian. I have titled my blog that...because I asked the kids at the orphanage in Moldova how to say smile about a thousand the word makes me think of those precious children in Providence Orphanage!
I am not a gifted writer at all....but I am gifted with love...and I was gifted with the opportunity to live out James 1:27 and Isaiah 1:17 (to name a few) last week in the tiny country of Moldova...and I want to tell you about every single experience I had. Please take the time to read this blog...I will make a post for each day...I will try my best to keep it short...but those of you who know me know that I tend to be loquacious! So...don't hold your breath...I will TRY to keep it short....but God gave me a heart full of love for the country and a mouth full of things to tell you!!!
I want you to read my blog so that you can know the circumstances in a country that you may not know exists....I want you to read my blog so that you can learn about children who desperately need your prayers and support. My next blog will serve as background information about the country of Moldova...please visit this blog again. I will post pictures with each post:)
A few things to remember about me...I love Jesus...I am no English major, I love using ellipses unnecessarily...and I love parenthetical information:) So...know that up front....and just read what God has put on my heart.

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