I got up at 4 this morning to see the lunar eclipse and while I sat outside drinking my coffee I decided to catch up on facebook. Kat had posted this earlier in the day and as I read her post I felt a sadness overtake me. When I was younger I remember some of the orphanage stories that I heard my parents tell and always felt fortunate not to live in one. Yet, here it is 2014 and this is what they found when visiting the state orphanage in Moldova. "It has been a week since our last entry friends. I apologize. It has been soo busy here. We have another group from the UK here. They are just lovely. We have had youth group, church, English class, Romanian class, and a visit to an orphanage. It has been a quite a tiring week:) But, we know who sustains us. The weather here in Moldova is still very fall like. It is crisp and breezy most days and chilly at night. Our apartment is very chilly at night. Apparently it is not common practice to turn heat on inside until November. So, we purchased a tiny space heater:) It cuts the chill a little bit. We have also added a blanket to our bed. As I sit here trying to reflect on the last week to share with you...my brain is a blur. So many moments occurred this week that took my breath, brought a smile, or broke my heart. I think this Monday stands out the most for me, though. We took our guests to Straseni (sounds like Strah shane) orphanage. This complex once "cared for" over 300 children. Now, there are over 100 there. Many of our girls and guys came from this orphanage. Some of the most precious people in my life grew up here and Monday was my first time to visit. I had heard about it-but seeing it first hand was so different.
Many of you have heard me speak about Liuba in the past. She is the girl with me on my cover photo on my facebook page. She is my dear. I adore this girl. Anyway, Liuba and two other precious Stella's House girls accompanied us on our visit to Straseni. All three of these girls had grown up there. We entered through the gates and I was overwhelmed with how much this place reminded me of something out of a scary novel. There was no life there, just concrete buildings surrounded by trees that seemed to mourn the fact that they were there. Everything seemed concrete and gray...but then we stepped off the bus and were swarmed by this humming buzzing packs of kids who wanted to see the Strainii (foreigners). The group of about 40 kids that surrounded us consisted of children mostly 9-13. They were timid and yet curious all at the same time. They were longing for interactions with others but not quite sure how to approach us. Brian instantly made friends with a little chap named Vasille. His choclatey brown eyes lit up when Brian started using his Romanian skills to speak with him. Several kids came up and as we asked them (in Romanian) "what is your name?" They got creative:) Would you believe that Michael Jackson, Spiderman, Superman, IronMan, Cristiano Ronaldo, and Messi (futbol players) all live at Straseni? After spending some time just visiting and talking with the kids outside, we stepped into the halls of the Straseni Orphanage School. My sweet, strong Liuba lead us on a tour. It was the saddest school I have ever been in and I was struggling to reconcile how that energetic group from outside was the same group that filled these cold classrooms. We walked from room to room and spoke to the children. The teachers rarely smiled at us or the students. When we walked into one of the classrooms, an 'afternoon" teacher walked through us and one of our girls visibily shrunk in size as this woman passed by. The girl's eyes went cloudy. She whispered to one of us that this teacher used to beat her regularly. Guys, it is probablly good that I was not made privvy to that until after we left that woman's room-I was ready to take of my jewelry and take it to the mats with that woman. I was filled with a righteous anger guys." I don't know about you all....but it fills me with righteous anger, indignation, and disgust.
To Joey, With Love....WINNER!
11 months ago