We made it!! After approximately 26 hours, three countries, three plane rides (including a diversion to Kentucky- fearful we were headed to Frankfurt, KY instead of Germany) and a three hour van ride through the countryside of Moldova (incredible pot holes that I was sure were going to swallow our van whole), we arrived at the IMB house in Falesti at 10:30PM Saturday evening (where did Friday go?). After a wonderful dinner of chicken and rice and a dessert of chocolate banana cake, we all crashed in all the glory that was our travel funk in hopes of recalling where we were when we woke up. We spent most of the morning organizing all of our supplies. Apparently we are the first Moldova team to make it to Moldova with all of our luggage (sans one suitcase that was accidently left at the airport-opps- no worries everyone has underware for the week) and by-pass any questions from customs!! Rock on! We made gifts for our translators and the teachers at the orphanage and organized all of the supplies into their various categories (musica, recreation and arts and crafts) and then all piled into the vans to meet our translators for pizza. We had a great time getting to know our translators and enjoyed what would prove to be the last time during the next few hours of the day that we could communicate fully. Ohh to be able to speak Romanian- I would have so much to say! We were then off to the orphanage camp to meet the kids and their teachers. We steppped off of the van and the kids at the camp looked at us curiously and many of them slowly came up to us. Many of the people in our group knew some of the kids from previous trips or from being a sponser and the kids just ran into their arms so excited to see them. I approached a few of the kids and tried out my first few crude words of Romanian. “Boona Zewah (sp?)” I said and the kids’ eyes lit up and I asked their names. As they got more comfortable with us many of them would just come up and grab your hand or just give you a hug. I was overwhelmed by the affection. These children didn’t know my name or who I was but they were so glad to see me! I berated myself for not learning more Romanian words and longed to tell the kids everything. That we loved them, that we would be here all week and that we had so many great things planned for them. After a few minutes of introductions, we headed into the cafeteria to have cake and fellowship with the camp teachers. We met Ana and through the help of Daniel, our translator, learned that she was the nurse for the kids and that she was very glad that we were there. We asked her lots of questions (always the curious Americans) about her children and where she lived. We also asked about the kids and what they need and if she had any advice for us for this week. She said to be patient with the children and reminded us that by being here we encourage the children and that she was very thankful for that. Thank you Ana for reminding us of our purpose here. We enjoyed cake with Ana and chatted some more before going out to meet the kids that would be in our Bible study groups all week. As Emily read off the names of the kids that would be in our group they ran over to me and Bekah and we asked all of their names. They seemed so excited to learn our names and just talk with us. Alena, our group translator, helped us explain that we had lots of things planned for them and that we were very glad to meet them. We read a few Bible story books with our group and they had a great time teaching me the Romanian names of the animals pictured in the books. They were very tough teachers and made me say the words over and over again until I got it right. We must have read those books 5 times a piece and they would look at me funny when I just couldn’t remember the name for the turtle (actually two words and pretty hard to pronounce with a Southern accent). I will practice, I told them. We did the Hokey Pokey and turned ourselves around and just got to know the kids. They were so happy to be around us, it was amazing. I was sad to say goodbye but we made sure they understood that we would be back tomorrow with lots of games and fun stuff for them to do. I got back on the bus and thought of a million games or books that I wish I had brought, but more importantly I tried to repeat the names of the children I had met in my head. Each little one made by God for a purpose. I had seen lots of pictures of the children on the Sweet Sleep website and in pictures of people who had travelled to Moldova in the past, but until you meet these precious children you can’t imagine how it feels to look into their eyes and to tell them your name and to give them a hug or hold their hand. I can’t wait until tomorrow when we bring in full force all that we have planned for them- the games, the crafts, the Bible stories, the Bibles of their very own. We have planned so many things to show these kids that they are loved. Not only by us but by their heavenly father who made them. “Pray also for me that whenever I open my mouth words may be given me that I may fearlessly make known the mystery of the gospel.” The mystery to these kids is that they are loved. Although the world may not be the most kind place for them and they may not have mothers and fathers here on earth to love them, they have a most holy God that calls them His own. So that is our first 24 hours in Moldova and I have to say: price of one bottle of water in the Frankfurt airport- $8; price of small bottle of hand lotion in the Frankfurt airport due to my inability to exchange Euros to dollars in my head- $60; cost of smelling the food on the Air Moldova flight- loss of appetite for a good 4 hours; van ride throught the Moldova countryside- loss of approximatley 2 inches in height and one or two vertebre in my spine; cold shower in the morning with only driplets of water- loss of feeling in most of my body and residual shampoo in my hair all day; meeting the children of the orphanage camp in Falesti- PRICELESS! Look for more to come for our group!! God bless!!!!