Fresh out of the ark

Me?” She said in Romanian.  “Da!” I said, and she hugged me with all the love that has ever existed in the world.  The joy in her eyes did not fade for the rest of the day. Elena looks like she is twelve, but I learned today that she is sixteen.  Because the orphanage we are working in is an auxiliary house for children with mental handicaps or disabilities, her stunted growth clearly marks some physical deficiency.  She’s so bright, though.  She quickly caught on that I couldn’t understand Romanian, and now when someone comes up to me and speaks Romanian (these kids forget very easily), she directs them to a translator.  When she’s around me (which is often), I don’t have to do any of the work.  I just shrug and smile, and she’ll catch my eye and smile bashfully.  She also learned how to say thank you in English, and she’s quickly learning how to count to ten.  In the pecking order of the orphanage, though, she’s weak.  When another little girl who grew attached to me was jealous, she tried to lock Elena in a kitchen; if I hadn’t been around, I’m sure she would have succeeded.  This incident scared me about leaving tomorrow, when Elena won’t have me around to protect her from those who bully and persecute her. I wanted to share about Elena, not only to increase the love and prayers sent to her from abroad, but also to demonstrate God’s ability to change the heart of a stubborn, kid-phobic brat like me.  I never would’ve guessed that I would grow this attached to a Moldovan orphan, but now I can’t imagine how I am going to leave Elena tomorrow.  Even though I know she is God’s to protect, I don’t want to say good-bye.  The only comfort I have at this point is best represented by an image we saw on our way back to our house yesterday.  The sun was shining, and it started to rain.  When we drove by the incinerating dump next to the orphanage, there was a flawless rainbow crowning the horizon.  It was a needed reminder of the reality we face:  a spoiled, despicable world and God’s perfect promises reigning beautifully above it.  God is in control, he protects those he loves (including precious Elena), and as I am learning here, he whispers his love for every inch of the world into unexpected hearts. Please pray that we may trust in these promises as we say good-bye to the children tomorrow.  I know that if I don’t see my beautiful Elena again on earth, she will one day run into my open arms, with our language barriers melted away and eternal smiles and hugs as we share the presence of the Lord who brought us together. “I will sing to the Lord all my life; I will sing praise to my God as long as I live.  May my meditation be pleasing to him, as I rejoice in the Lord.  Praise the Lord!”  Psalm 104 Posted by: Tessa Tompkins ]]>