First, we are going to a new orphanage where we’ve never been and where no other team will go this summer. It’s an orphanage for the mentally handicapped in a town called Marulesti. Now, “mentally handicapped” can mean a lot of things in Moldova. For example, if someone has Dyslexia, they’re considered mentally retarded. We don’t really know what to expect when we get there…but God does!
Second, we have been invited to stay AT the orphanage for the first time ever. We will literally have the opportunity to walk a mile in their shoes. This is an experience that I think will challenge us as a team and as individuals, but I think it will challenge us in a very positive way. Honestly, it’s one of the things I’m most excited about for this trip! We don’t really know what to expect when we get there…but God does!
This trip has two main parts to it. Most of the team will be running a VBS-like camp for the kids at the orphanage. In fact, the kids at this orphanage will have already gone “home” for the summer (I say that in quotes, because many don’t have a place to go and, therefore, live with another family in the village. That family gets paid $1/day for keeping the child), so we are having to literally bus them back to the orphanage, where they will be allowed to stay for the whole week. This is a great thing, because many if not most of them will be coming from places where they’ve had little food and no shower for the summer. We’ll be able to provide three meals and a snack/day, a good shower, and not to mention lots and lots of LOVE. We don’t really know what to expect when we get there…but God does!
The other part of the team will be working with some of the older orphans to build all 130 new Sweet Sleep beds for the orphanage. What an awesome privilege it will be to put comfy sheets and pillows on their new, clean beds with 7-inch foam mattresses…and then to tuck them in and pray with them. We will be able to leave a tangible evidence of God’s love – a place where they can literally feel God’s arms around them.
Finally, we are going to be working with two local, Baptist churches and a Moldovan missionary couple to help build relationships between them and the Marculesti orphanage. The hope is to engage them in ministry with us and light a fire in their hearts to continue pouring into the children long after we leave. It is our goal for continued discipleship to take place. We have no idea how this partnership is going to look or how the church will help us the week we’re there. We don’t really know what to expect when we get there…but God does!
So yes, there are a lot of floating pieces to this trip. But we’ve prayed and asked God to direct our steps. We’ve planned as best as we know how. We don’t really know what to expect when we get there…but God does! And that’s really all that matters.