Thoughts from me in pictures…

Well, I knew I had to blog about Petrica’s visit – I cried probably more than stuart. Not only was it amazing – I miss my sweet Moldovan that is at home in Nashville awaiting my return and my amazing wife who I know is praying for me – even as I write this. It is so freeing knowing that your family supports your work – even if it takes me away from them 8 days at a time… I can rest here knowing that they love and pray for me and also that the difference God is making in my life and the difference God is making through my willingness to serve Him here are worth the cost of stepping forward to follow his call on my life.
I wanted to share with you some special moments from my last couple of days. I’ll probably cry as I post them, but you don’t have to – they were special to me and I hope you feel like you were here with me in Moldova today…
This is Jacob. He lives in Ivancea and is one of the older boys at the orphanage we served. He has heart problems, but you wouldn’t know it – he runs around listening to music and having fun like any other healthy teenage boy. His bed was one of the first I built on this trip and he was so thankful. He flicked my ears through the entire group photo time and then wanted a picture together. Notice that this cool kid is wearing his plastic cross necklace he had just received in his goodie bag at the birthday party… Cool kid, but not too cool to show that he had an encounter with God this week through our visits…
This, as many of you know, is Martin. He has been waiting for his Sweet Sleep bed for 3 long years. He was the first out the door to greet us upon arrival at Casa de Copii in Orhei this morning. He hugged me so hard he squished me, but it didn’t matter. We greeted each other as friends who hadn’t seen each other in a very long year’s time…

This is Eugen. He is one the translators that’s been translating for me since 2005 on my first visit to Moldova. He’s grown taller – I’ve grown rounder, but its good to see friends when you fly half-way around the world and serve together. He is always a mouthpiece for our teams… Some day I know he will be a preacher and I will hear him be a mouthpiece directly for God, not through Americans. 🙂 He’s coming to Belmont in the fall to go to college and our roles will reverse – he’ll get to hang out with us in our homeland… 🙂
Many of you know me, and know that I should never be handed power tools. But there were SO many beds to build today I was forced to grab a drill. I usually grab the old-timey metal turny thing that screws the beds together, but desperate times – I had to grab the drill and start building some beds! It was so fun! Don’t worry – nobody and no beds were harmed in the making of this blog. 🙂
I remember this sweet boy from last year’s visit to Orhei. He has grown a bit and was so happy to see me. Last year, I was so terrified because of my lack of experience with children with special needs, that I just made up beds the whole time and hid when we went to hang out with kids. The last day, I had some amazing experiences that opened my eyes and hearts to children with special needs. Today, our first day here, I ran to see the kids – touching them, hugging them, holding them – walking with them holding their hands through the halls of this institution. I found this friend and Jill and I played catch with him. He kept throwing it to Jill but Jill would throw it to me and he would make the face he is making here – so shocked that the game had changed! Then I would throw it to him, and he would toss it back to Jill. Eventually, his teachers convinced him to throw it to me – but the smile stayed as we played. I could have stayed here all day.

Pardon the ugly back of my head and look past me to this sweet smiling boy. This is Lilian. As soon as I found the assistant director of the orphanage, I asked where I could find Lilian. She said – in Clasa 17. I waited as we walked through another room to get to this one and found my friend Lilian. Sam – I ran right to him and told him Buna – from Sam in America. He grinned, as only he can, and said “boooooona” softly. The assistant director says Lilian is the best in his group and is responding well to his therapies and they think he will walk by the end of the year! This sweet 6 year old boy has places to go and things to see and I know is ready to get out of that stroller and walk. I can’t wait to come back and walk with him through the halls of Casa de Copii showing him all the places he hasn’t seen in his 6 years within the 4 walls of Room 17…
Lilian is quite the artist. I always tell the children I meet how amazing they are and point out their talents, gifts and abilities. I love to see their faces light up as I tell them they are smart, beautiful, and created by God. Lilian wanted to show me his art and grabbed his little “magna doodle.” He looked at me and said slowly and softly in Romanian, ‘Isn’t this beautiful?” I teared up and said – “Da. Foaaarte Fromos!” (Yes. Verrrrry Beautiful!” He beamed; I beamed; he’s sleeping in his new Sweet Sleep bed tonight.
This is one of the recipients of one of the beds I built today. He was so happy! He patted his bed – motioning for me to sit beside him. He patted the bed again – feeling how soft his bed was. He sniffed his linens and kissed his pillow. I hugged him tightly and he told me “thank you”and gave me two thumbs up. I joined him in this affirmation… 
These beds change lives. I’ve seen it. And I have to think that even in a rough economy – friends in American can’t help but look at these boys and know that what we are doing is life-changing and of God. I truly believe God will bless our efforts and continue to provide the resources to keep brining beds to “the least of these” – who to me are absolutely “the greatest of these!” The gleeful sounds coming from these rooms were probably heard throughout Orhei – even though these children live in an institution set out in the woods years ago so that no one would know they existed. I think today, they must have heard about this place we love called Casa de Copii. And I know God heard them as they screamed and clapped and hears me know as I pray for these boys.
I said earlier that I’d go to bed before midnight here. It’s 11:55. I’ve got 5 minutes to fall to sleep in my bed. My heart and mind are full of thoughts of those 300 boys, those who received beds last March, last September and today, curled up in their Sweet Sleep beds – wrapped in the arms of their Father.

3 Comments on “Thoughts from me in pictures…”

  1. hannahelaine

    waaaaaaaa!! you found sasha!!!! he was my little buddy that was wearing chuck taylors like me last year. oh i love him so much, and lillian too! unbelievable, i’m so mad that i am not there right now 🙁 🙁 🙁 🙁 🙁 🙁 🙁 🙁

    i makes me so happy to see the job complete there, you don’t even know….

  2. Jen Gash

    This blog makes me extremely happy. 🙂 I loved getting to see the sweet faces of the children who’ve touched you and the team today.

    I read all the blogs first to get to take everything in and then again to enjoy all the experiences that went along with the stories. And, yes…..I got a little teary. 🙂

    I hope you boys and girls are sawing logs…but not too hard! 🙂


  3. swey

    Lilian!!!!!! It was so good to see him grinning from ear to ear as always…. and to hear that he will be able to walk is incredible! God is incredible!

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