Well, this is actually Lauree, not Dan. I’m so excited I get to share my day with you, especially this first day at Ivancea. We first had to get up way too early after having going to bed way too late! We started our day with a fantastic breakfast and wonderful devotion led by Dan. His devotion had such an impact on me today-one of those smack you in the forehead impacts. Basically the short version for me: if the first minute is for God, the whole day will be. If the first minute is not spent with God, neither will the remainder of the day.
We loaded up in 2 vans and headed to the orphanage. It’s very cloudy and overcast. It seemed as though my anxiety level was increasing with every mile we drove. I wasn’t sure what my day would truly be like and whether or not the children would take to me or not. The minute we drove up 3 girls leaned out the window and started waving and smiling. Everything was unloaded, we had 80 beds to make at this orphanage. Friends from a Church here came to help so we had lots of hands! As we were working on the beds 3 boys popped into the gym to check out the action. They were ones who would be getting new beds. As I looked at them, they pointed to the beds and started grinning and chattering. One little boy even started jumping up and down grinning from ear to ear. It quite simply took my breath away and I felt the tears try to spring up. The joy in their faces at getting something brand new and just for them caused such an overwhelming sensation inside me. I just wanted to run over there and wrap my arms around them and tell them how much God loved them and how happy we were to be there with them.
I got to go upstairs to take the beds and help set up the bedding. One boy’s room held 11 beds and the girl’s room (which was right across the hall) held 8 beds-wow! To witness their joy, their happiness while putting their beds together is a memory I will forever hold close in my heart. They were so eager to help. They loved trying to talk to us and probably (most assuredly!ha.) laughing at us but in a fun way. They copy everything we do which is absolutely completely adorable. I kept throwing my arm up and saying, “awesome.” And it was so cute because they would copy me. And I tend to shout, “woohoo” when something is exciting, so when the beds were being made I started doing that and so did they and then they would laugh and giggle. Some of the girls brought me little stitched flowers and pinned on my shirt. Some could speak some english words and we tried to learn each others names. The children, both boys and girls, are meticulous in making up their beds. When we first had the bedding, the boy who was so excited grabbed my arm to help him make up his bed first. He was also the boy who was jumping up and down in the gym earlier. He has stolen my heart and it is going to hurt to leave him. I feel myself starting to cry as I type this. He’s so beautiful, as they all are actually. They each made up their beds with care and precision. They kept telling us thank you. If they only knew, it was me who should be saying thank you to them because I have been so blessed in one day by being in their presence. I can’t explain it but I feel my “center” shifting, changing, growing in this one day. Craft time was a hit, mass chaos. They usually do things in small groups and to all be in one room was a “special event” according to one of the workers. They were all eager to participate in the crafts. We prepared ourselves for some of them not wanting to but boy were we pleasantly surprised.
Once finished, all of the children went to the auditorium for story-time/devotion which was led
by Arlene(who by the way did a fantastic job!!). At the end she asked the children questions about who Jesus was and what he did for us. Several children raised their hands and answered the questions-correctly! When one child said Jesus died so our sins would be forgiven, that whole crying sensation began to take over again!
They told us good bye and one boy wrote a note for us and came back to the gym and said we were his friends and thank you for making his bed and that we would be his friends forever. Today has been a very emotional day for me. I am drained both physically and emotionally, but I feel so good, so invigorated. Thank you God for calling me to this mission! I can’t wait to see what tomorrow brings.
Please keep us in your prayers! See you tomorrow! Lauree