Hey heyy to everyone back home! Today was very emotional for most of the team and even for the children. It was our last full day at the orphanage, and we kicked off our morning with a birthday party. It was so awesome to shower all the kids that we’ve grown to know and love with princess crowns and baseball caps, soap, toothbrushes, candy and more.
As much as I would love to detail the events of today, I have something bigger on my heart that I shared with the team tonight and I would like to share with you. Before we left for the trip I spent a couple weeks testing my faith. For all of you who don’t know me, I spend a lot of time (willingly) by myself. Whether it is in the car or just at the house, I like to enjoy time on my own thinking about life and praying to God. Recently, I have enjoyed running. I run down to where the bridge is on Moran Road (more commonly known as the road that the rope swing for the Harpeth River’s on). This long and winding road is where I see God. I run until I make it to the bridge, then I stop to walk around, take in His creation, and pray. What I’ve been praying for, for these past couple weeks is for me to learn that Jesus is really all I need in life.
Our faith in God is really a day-by-day choice. What I think makes it so hard to have faith is the fact that we are holding on to something that we can’t physically latch on to. God, yes He is everywhere, but you can’t see Him, you can’t touch him physically, you can’t look Him in the eyes and talk to Him and hear Him answer directly back. Because of this, I have really wrestled with feeling that Jesus is all I need. I knew in my heart that it is the truth, but I have really wrestled in believing that He is all I need in life. So in little ways to test myself, I have done things whenever I feel alone not to look for earthly comfort (such as texting people for no purpose or watching T.V. because I have nothing better to do), but instead pray to God to show me how He is all I need.
The devotion for this morning was the “always trusts, always hopes” portion of 1 Corinthians 13:4-8a. It was so fitting because I have trusted that the Lord is all I need and I’ve been hoping in some fashion or another He would prove it to me. And let me say, He did just that. To quote Lauren, “God is never afraid to blow our minds with the power that He has.”
My biggest fear about coming on this trip is that our week in Moldova wouldn’t be enough time to leave an impact on these kids. I had a sense of hopelessness whenever I thought about what the kid’s lives would look like after we left, because in all honesty they are set up for failure. But all throughout the day today I never felt sad. At first I felt bad because I wasn’t crying and other people were, but as the day went on I realized why I felt so content with life and the timing of our leaving. I felt comfortable, like this was supposed to happen. To me, I feel like everything is gonna be ok for these kids. With what little time we had, we showed them God’s love. We gave them Jesus, and that is all they need. If all a kid in an orphanage has to his name is the love of Jesus and is completely fine and destined for an awesome life because of it, then I know that that is all I need too.
The director of the orphanage told some of our leaders today that they talked to the kids about this past week and what it has meant to them. One of the kids shared that because of the joy they have seen in the Americans and the happiness that comes with knowing Jesus, they don’t have to live like their parents. (A brief incite to what Moldovan life is like: no one here smiles at people passing bye. It’s very unlike their culture to ask “How are you?” The only person you express your feelings to is your closest friend). They can live a life shining in the light of the Lord. Our mission was accomplished and my prayers were answered.
God is good and has truly blessed me through this experience and for that I am thankful.
Beth “Elizabeta” Browner
How do I even put into words all the different emotions and feelings from this week? Right now, I am feeling overwhelmed. Today was a unique day where we did not have our usual schedule of building beds and arts and crafts. Today we threw a birthday party for the children at the orphanage. Even though we do not speak the same language, the look of joy on their faces will always translate. I was overwhelmed with emotions today. The love that my team has for these precious children mixed with the sadness of saying goodbye was truly exhausting. Even as I type, I am trying to process this week.
For me, this week has been unexpected. I was surprised how quickly I fell in love with the children at the orphanage. I did not think that in one week, I could be so attached. I was amazed at how building beds could bring so much hope to the children. It was such a great picture to paint for the kids about how building beds and Jesus’ love go hand in hand. My favorite saying to tell the kids when we were in their rooms and praying was to tell them when they got in bed and had the covers wrapped around them, it was like a big hug from Jesus.
Saying goodbye to the kids today was difficult, but I have hope for them now that we are gone. This morning Cody said something to the whole camp that was so precious I have to share it with y’all. He said that he was excited when he got to Heaven that he would not have to have a translator to talk to them. I loved leaving that with them and it made it a little easier to say goodbye.
It is getting really late here in Moldova, so I need to wrap this blog up, but I look forward to many conversations and many pictures from this trip. I know when I leave Moldova, I will be leaving my heart here as well. I am forever thankful for this experience.