The fine art of staying out of the way

We’ve reached the end of the 3rd day of MoldovaFest 2007, and things are moving along as well as I had hoped they would. The only real downer is that part of my luggage has still yet to make it here. Last we heard, it was still in the states. Aside from my camera battery being dead with no way to recharge it, there’s no major disruption being caused, but it would certainly help to put my mind at ease if I could be through with that whole ordeal. On the bright side, there’s a good chance that my luggage is getting to see parts of America that I’ve never been to myself.

The first few days of camp have been great. We have morning worship, followed by lessons with our various age groups. I have kids in grades 1-7, which makes for a pretty diverse group. I never would have guessed that sharing the gospel and witnessing to people could be as tricky as it is when you have a language barrier to contend with. Granted, we have wonderful translators, but I get tripped up and lose my place in thinking about how to best describe things in a way that can be easily translated and understood. Belief and salvation is a much simpler process than I feel like I’ve made it sound. I’m trying so hard to stay away from a works-related message because I know how easy it is to get wrapped up in the idea of “If I just do the right things then God will have me.” That so sucks the joy and awe out of the entire gospel message that salvation is a gift and that grace is not only amazing, but also the easiest/greatest way to truly experience the love of Jesus. My hope is that discover that- or that it will be revealed to them despite my inability to get a point across.

It’s unimaginable to me to think that there are people, much less children, who honestly don’t know that they have a Creator, and in this case a father for the fatherless, who desires to have a relationship with them more than they could ever imagine. These children are all so sweet and loving, it hurts my heart to think of them feeling unloved, hopeless and abandoned for lack of having been told the truth.

I’ve been looking for that one child that sticks out who I am forming a relationship with, but so far it seems to be most of them. Some have warmed up to me more than others, and some are a little more shy, but all of them seem to be having a good time with us. I like to think about what must be going on in their heads when we have play time. Children faced with problems that most adults would crumble under and with no homes to speak of are getting a chance to act like kids and just enjoy themselves. Even the oldest ones in the group (17 and 18 year olds) are running around playing parachute games and working puzzles or hitting us in the head with beach balls. I have to admit to having thrown a few beach balls at some heads as well. They all deserved it.

After camp today, we went to the house of two of the students to drop off some food for their mother. We didn’t go inside, but we didn’t have to in order to see just what kind of condition these boys and their mother are living in. I was surprised to see that she accepted the gifts- many Moldovans are too proud to do so. The ironic thing is that one of the boys is a nonstop smiler. That’s all he does all day- he probably knows something I don’t- maybe several things. The sad part is that the others all had to go back to an orphanage where there would be no family waiting.

After that drop off, we were taken to a nursing home with 25 residents. We dropped off more supplies of food, etc. and were taken around to see the residents and their living conditions. The director was very polite and extremely glad to see us, as were the residents. I’m sad to say that the elderly in this country are sleeping on the same broken down, sagging beds as the orphans are. There was a smell that permeated much of the building that most of us would sell our houses to get away from. It’s obvious that the director tries very hard to make things as best she can given what she has to work with, but we were told that the higher-ups in the country were of a different mentality and were difficult to work with- imagine that.

All in all, it was an eye-opening day-many times I would have preferred to keep my eyes closed to avoid seeing the things we saw, but that helps no one- not even myself.

I hope everyone at home is doing well. Just for the record, the baby has a heartbeat of 133 bpm. Not bad for 7 weeks old.

More tomorrow…


One Comment on “The fine art of staying out of the way”

  1. Faith and Jason

    we have enjoyed reading your blog, hopefully your luggage will arive with some nice postcards of all the wonderful places it has been. You are in our prayers, we are so proud of you! May God keep you and your team safe while ya’ll are there.

    God Bless!
    Faith and Jason

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