Sitting down to write this, I don’t even know where to begin. Today has been one of the most amazing and fulfilling days of my life!

The day started out a way that seemed eventful at the time (but not now that the day is over!). We went to the Art Market in downtown Chisinau to do a little shopping! That was fun and exciting. I got lots of fun little gifts 🙂 . I was trying to decide about whether or not to buy a small painting (for about 250 or 300 lei, which is about $25 or $30). There wasn’t one that I really liked, so I decided to hold off and maybe get one on Saturday if I really wanted one. After we left, we went to a Monastery in Orhei Vechi which was SO PRETTY! It is up on this beautiful mountain surrounded by such beautiful landscapes.

I took lots of pictures, which was fun! As we were walking up, there was an artist painting a beautiful painting, and we took some pictures of him.

On the way back down, he had moved to a new spot and was starting a new painting. I was still up on the hill taking pictures, but I saw a bunch of them stop and talk to the painter. When I got down to them, they were talking to him about buying the picture he had just painted. Lauree ended up buying the picture after an intense fight broke out over it (ha!). He was selling them for only 300 lei! So we asked if he had more, and he said yes, so he took us down to where they were! I totally thought we were going to some gallery or shop of some sort, but nooooo….he took us to his house! We walked down into the village that was below the monastery. Crazy! But so cool. Once we got there, his brother and some friends took their pictures out as well. Turns out, they all bring their pictures to the Art Market! The brothers were actually some of Jon’s favorite pictures. Again, crazy! I saw this picture by one of the friends that I fell in love with, but it was bigger than the one Lauree got, so I figured it would be a lot more. He said 350 lei, which was way better than I thought, and then he took $30, so really I got it for $32 (thanks to Stewy for the math! J). SO, basically I got the picture that I loved and it is a ONE OF A KIND! Sweeet! It is an oil painting on burlap. So amazing.

After those fun adventures, we headed back to the Ivancea orphanage for the last time L. It was time for the PARTY! We got there and had to go crazy fast to set everything up. I loved the way everything was so colorful- something that is very void in that place! When we opened the doors, the kids went C.R.A.Z.Y!!!!!!! They all ran in so fast (because they knew that everything we planned was rockin), and SO HAPPY! We had plates out for all of them with fun treats, and goodie bags, and little noise maker things (ya know, the ones that you blow into and the paper pops out. At the moment, no one can think of the name). Anyways, they loved all of it and everything was fun and exciting. After a little bit of time went by, Jon got up there and explained why we were throwing a birthday party for them (because most of them don’t know when their birthday is, or don’t ever celebrate it). We were able to tie it all in to the plan of salvation by saying that everyone has two birthdays- one when you are born, and one when you accept Jesus into your heart!!

The majority of the kids were very attentive, and were focused on learning how to use their Bible (which Arlene so amazingly showed them how to do!). The night before, Stewy and I had the brilliant idea of writing a note to each child with 5 Bible verses on it. WOW. That took forever- I mean, 230 notes is a lot!!! Needless to day, that night we didn’t finish. So, the next morning we got up and had everyone else help J. Thanks guys! Y’all are awesome! In the pictures of them with their Bibles, if you see any paper in the form of a circle, that is what that is.

After we said thank you for everything and told them how much we love them and care about them, the director wanted to say a few things. He was SO SWEET!!! The whole week he has been so amazing and so supportive. He told us that the most important thing was to believe in God, so he was all about us giving them Bibles and telling them about Jesus (we also gave Bibles to all the teachers)! Thank you, Lord, for his support!

A couple of the kids wanted to get up there and say something, and this is about when I almost lost it (among the many other times). They were so thankful and appreciative. It was just so amazing to see their faces. When you looked into their eyes at the beginning of the week, the difference from then to now is unreal. The joy that flowed through some of them is ONLY explained by Jesus! One older boy (picture below) got up there and said that now, because of us, he knows Jesus, and he cannot wait to see us in Heaven! He said that he would wait forever….holy smokes, I think I’m gonna start crying…Ok, I think I’m alright. Then another little boy (we call him the boy with the jacket) got up there and said that he was so thankful because now he had a birthday! …I almost started crying again…

After the party, the director wanted to offer us snacks and drinks to say thank-you. It was quite interesting because we didn’t want to be rude or anything, but we weren’t sure what we could and couldn’t eat without it making us sick (because we aren’t used to their water). I, on the other hand, had never even thought about that. Oops! Haha, well I am still here, so its all good. During this fu n time, one of the nurses came up to Stuart and told him that she couldn’t believe that Americans would go over and help them when they (Americans) have it so hard right now with the economy. WhAt?! That’s craziness- even when most of us are at our lowest point, we still have so much more than them. Their average income for a month is $100. THAT’S CRAZY! I don’t even know how that happens!

Then as we left, the director got a bunch of kids to come outside and take a picture with us. I was so sad, I didn’t want to say goodbye! This one girl, Carolyne (who knows some English), grabbed me and physically made me stand next to her. I thought it was hilarious. Then another girl stood to my left, but this little boy made her move. Ha! So funny. They crack me up. She wanted my address, so I gave it to her. Hopefully she writes! She said she would. Then as I was -trying to- leave, the biggest tearjerker of ALL happened. This little boy Ion (said “John” in English) -who had followed me around throughout the week- ran up to me and grabbed me. Mind you, I was totally walking away and almost to the car. Thankfully, Dorin (one of our translators) was standing right there (well, either that or Ioan grabbed him-ha! Side note- that happened a lot during the week. The kids learned who the translators were, and they would sometimes grab my arm and drag me to a translator. HA! I am telling you- funny stuff!). Anyways, Dorin started translating what he said. He told me thank you, and that he hoped that I was safe. He wished me health and happiness, and I don’t remember what else. I wish I was paying remembering better, but so much was happening! I will ask Dorin if he remembers. Anyways, after Ion was done talking he grabbed me in one of the biggest hugs I have ever had from such a small little boy! Haha. Dorin said “He says he loves you!” OH MY GOODNESS! I almost lost it again…This picture is of Ion and me-

These children were absolutely unbelievable, and I just cannot believe that I wont be seeing them for a while (I am already planning on coming back J), or maybe never again (at least until Heaven!).

To God be the glory!!