Hello everyone…this is Lannette! Sadly, our awesome Sweet Sleep journey has drawn to an end. I think that I can speak for everyone when I say that we are having so many mixed feelings this evening. It is such a bittersweet feeling knowing that we are leaving in just a few short hours. We are leaving these sweet kidos, our awesome translators, our wonderful host family, and a host of new friends. However; it is with great anticipation and happiness that we await seeing all of our precious family and friends back at home.
Jon asked us to blog tonight if we had any special stories to share. Well…I HAVE to share the story of Artur.
Artur is a resident of the orphanage at Ivancea. He is 16 years old and we ALL fell in love with him as soon as we met him. He especially took a special interest in my mom Debra. They exchanged smiles when we first arrived at the orphanage and before we all knew it, Artur was presenting my mom with freshly picked flowers from the orphanage flower beds. He had noticed my mom admiring them earlier in the day and was waiting…flowers in hand…when our van pulled into the gates of the orphanage after our lunch break. My mom sweetly returned the gesture with an extra handful of Skittles later in the day. It was then that he “officially” adopted her!
As the days passed, my mom began to anticipate saying good-bye. Luckily, she was able to steal away some moments with Artur and our translator Sergiu…moments to talk with Artur about his life…and his relationship with Jesus.
On the last day at Ivancea, Artur approached my mom and secretly slipped her a hand-written letter. He motioned for her to put the folded piece of tattered notebook paper in her pocket. She did…and as soon as she had a spare moment with a translator, she found out what he had written for her.
The translated letter said…
I received Jesus Christ in my heart. I asked him to be my shelter in my life. When I was 12 years old, my mom died and my father left me and my sister. We thought a lot about what to do and we finally understood that we need to go to the church, to God’s house. We need to pray to God and ask him how we can pass through these difficulties. Was a pleasure to meet you.
The roses never bud out more beautiful,
Like when two hearts,
Love each other.
A rose with the flower above,
I want for you to know that I am waiting for you.
I am waiting just for you,
To hug you dearly!
With love and respect,
Artur’s life is about to change again. He has experienced so many difficulties throughout his life. In 5 short days he will be finished with his exams and he will officially graduate from the orphanage school. Unfortunately, graduation from the orphanage is not always a joyful event. Artur will be put out of the orphanage this Friday and will venture out into the world of adulthood…alone. He will have no place to live and no prospect of a job because a job in Moldova requires a government issued ID and a government issued ID requires proof of residency for at least one year…and get this…THE GOVERNMENT WILL NOT ALLOW THE ORPHANS TO USE THE ORPHANAGE ADDRESS AS THEIR PROOF OF RESIDENCY. This makes the prospect of getting an “honest” job all but impossible. This is why most orphans choose a life of crime.
Oh…and one more thing…the orphanage director approached Jon as we were preparing to leave. He had noticed the special bond that my mom and Artur had developed over the week. He wanted everyone to know that Artur was a “good kid and a good student.” He also let us know that Artur is not available for adoption in the U.S. because he is too old; HOWEVER, he might be available for someone to sponsor him on a student visa.
Please pray for Artur. Pray for him as he completes his exams this week. Pray for him as begins a new chapter in his life. Please pray that he keeps his focus on God and makes choices that are pleasing to Him. Pray for my mom. She is so emotional about her experiences this week and about what will happen to Artur. Pray that God will give mom and Artur a peace that passes all understanding.
Pray for our team as we pack up our remaining suitcases and prepare for the long journey home. Pray for our safety as we travel and please pray for all of us as we transition back to our normal lives. Thanks in again for all of your thoughts and prayers throughout this journey. We appreciate your sweet support!