Hey everyone! It’s Lannette again! I absolutely HAVE to share my day today!!!!! Because today was our last day to visit the orphanage at Ivancea, several of us anticipated that today would be a very emotional time for us. WE DIDN’T WANT TO SAY GOODBYE TO THESE CHILDREN!!!!! Many of the boys were playing outside the orphanage when we arrived. They greeted us with great excitement when they saw our vans arrive…boy oh boy…words can’t express how that TOTALLY melted every one’s heart!!!!! What fun to see these faces and know what we secretly had in store for these sweet children!
We began our time at the orphanage with a HUGE BIRTHDAY PARTY!!!!! We decorated the entire cafeteria with balloons, “party ware,” pastries, cookies, and GOODIE BAGS!!!!!!! The best part was that the children had NO IDEA what we had planned for them…it was a total surprise! We entered the orphanage through the back entrance of the cafeteria so that the kids wouldn’t figure out what we were up to. We feverishly began decorating and preparing for this HUGE EVENT!!!!! Dan and Dorin were in charge of controlling the crowd outside the cafeteria…check out this funny pic!!!!
When we finally opened the doors, it was a sight to behold!!!! The children rushed in to discover what we had been up to! The smiles on their faces were so special! We had been told that there were NO birthday parties at Ivancea. They basically make the child a card and hang it in the hallway at the orphanage. Well…they got a party today…complete with a special gift…The Holy Bible…in Romanian!!!!! Check out these pictures…too sweet!!!
At the end of the party, the director had many of the children stand up in front of everyone to speak to us! Each child stood before us and told us how thankful they were and how grateful they were for all of the things that had happened this week We all got emotional when one small boy explained that he now had a birthday to celebrate because of the party today…I’ve learned that many of these children don’t even know their own birth date!! The icing on the cake was when one boy stood up and explained that he now had “God in his heart” because of his experiences this week!!!!! Well…I really couldn’t control my emotions at that point…it was one of the most special moments I’ve EVER EXPERIENCED! As the birthday party came to an end, the director invited us to a reception in our honor!!!! He was soooooo very thankful to our team and praised our efforts over and over again. It was sooo nice to work with an orphanage director who seemed to really love the kids and appreciated the help he received!!!! He offered us some traditional Moldovan food and drink. We were honored but a little scared to try some of the “mystery foods.” We were polite and made an effort to eat…but we are keeping our fingers crossed that we don’t get sick!!!! 🙂 He also asked for a picture of our group in front of the orphanage. Many of the kids came out to be a part of the picture. It was our last chance to say goodbye to our new friends…what a bittersweet moment!!!!
Today was a spectacular day!!!!! I’ve never experienced anything like this…EVER!!!! I told Jon that I am “HOOKED!” I feel in my heart that this is NOT my last visit here!!! I find myself thinking about when I will be able to return…and who will come with me????? Friends…family…people I don’t even know…think about being a part of a Sweet Sleep mission journey…YOU WILL NOT BE DISAPPOINTED!!!!!! God Bless…and Somn Dulce…Sweet Dreams!!!! Lannette Burlingame:) ]]>