|Fun at the park in Bucuresti!|
|We got in trouble for doing this...but of course I was the only one who knew! The guards of the park scolded us...didn't we know these are only for children? They must not know Scott too well :)|
|Bouncing on the trampling in the park. The boys loved it...so did their Tati. The man who ran this loved talking to us. This reminds me of the street boys I used to work with in Romania...especially Marian; he loved jumping on these tramps!|
Our trip to Romania can only be described using the 3 G's: Gorgeous, Great, and Goodness. We began our trip on June 3rd and returned home on June 26th. It was a trip I will treasure always and hope that our boys will remember in their hearts even if they cannot recall actually being there as they grow older.
|Meeting Mariana and Alina's beautiful children!|
|Samuel with Berki from Peris orphanage|
We started off in Bucuresti where we were able to stay in Heart to Heart's team house. This place is used as a hub for all H2H's activities. Teams come there and stay, kids from the orphanages come for camps, swimming, and end of the year Bible study parties, and it is also used for "mommy and me" activities. I was glad to see one of my best friends Jen, even if it was hit and miss. She and Jenny live and do much of the work that goes into hosting teams. It was great to have her finally meet all my boys and the boys loved these two gals. During the next couple of days I was able to see Alina and Mariana, two young women from Rosiori de Vede who attended a Bible study out of my apartment at the time. It was great to meet their new little ones; Alina has a little girl named Ruthie and Mariana has a little boy named Emanuel. Our boys enjoyed playing with them.
The wedding was great for many reasons, but mostly because I was able to see so many people that I haven't seen in a long time. Mama Jana, my good friend Lenuta's mother, is just one of the many. She was like a mother to me while I lived in Rosiori and she has been like a mother to so many others. She is a woman with a heart that is so very giving and loving. I am so thankful to have seen her and for her to have met my boys.
|Stefani with Samuel and I at Peris orphanage|
One day we went about 2 hours to a city called Craiova to meet up with some friends whom I met the very first summer I went to Romania. We have been friends since then and it is awesome to see how God has continued to work and bless their lives. Valentin and Ovidiu are two young men that grew up in the Diosti orphanage, which is a tiny village in Romania. They now have families of their own and are involved in their local church. Valetin is married to a lovely lady, Lavinia, and they are expecting their first child in August. Ovidiu is also married and he and his wife will be having a baby in December. Amazingly enough we were able to meet up with them and Rodica another friend who has a beautiful little girl, Brianna, She is 3 years old just like Brennan. The park was surrounded by trees with a little stream going through it. The kids had ice cream, played at the play ground, and saw the animals that are kept there in a type of free zoo. Great...what an awesome gift from God to have seen all these people again!
Goodness: Yes, I know that goodness is actually a noun and not an adjective, but as I continue to write about our trip, the word or words, "God's goodness" keep coming to mind. We experienced God's goodness in so many ways. All of the gorgeous scenery and the greatness of seeing old friends and meeting new are in an of themselves God's goodness! Yet, God continued to shower down His goodness in more than just these areas.
|Mariana and I in Rosiorii de Vede before Florenta's wedding|
The generosity of orphans has always been something of wonder to me. Every time I have ever worked with children from the orphanage I have seen many acts of generosity where I would have expected something else. This time was no different. At the Peris orphanage, the children were really excited to see our children. The first time we went we only took Samuel and Brennan because Juwan was sick and stayed with Carrie. Brennan in no time noticed a small teeter totter and wanted to play on it. A little boy Gabi was very kind and played on that teeter totter with him the whole time, which was about an hour. Now this may seem like nothing but you have to realize that Brennan could not make the other boy teeter up, instead Gabi had to push Brennan up and down using his own strength. I kept asking Gabi if he was getting tired or if he wanted to stop, but he would say with a big smile, "no, he was o.k.!" Now it happened on that day, that the children of Peris orphanage received their "bursa," which is like an allowance from the state (it's not very much). Most kids buy sweets or a snack with this "allowance." There was one boy, I wish I could remember his name, who wanted to buy Samuel something with his allowance. I finally persuaded him not to because I knew that he didn't have very much. Yet, before we left that day Samuel had ended up with some candy, gum, and both of them a little snack of Romanian bread; all of which had been given to them by the "kids" at Peris orphanage. One little boy, Marian, had been playing with Samuel the whole time. At one point before we left he waded out into the deep, uncut grass to find a ball that had been kicked out there accidentally. He did this so that he and Samuel could play ball. Then another little boy gave Samuel a notebook. He had previously been showing me his drawings he had so wonderfully made; he chose to give this as a gift to Samuel. Through all of these somewhat simple acts of kindness God revealed His goodness to me and my children.
|Cornelia and I|
|Raluca and Mariana|
|Cornelia and Mama Jana|
My prayer is that this trip will be with us long after we have forgotten all the details, but that the people and our experiences there will be forever imprinted on our hearts.
|Lenuta Maid of Honor|
|Mariana and Estera at wedding|
|At the park in Rosiorii de Vede with Alexandru|
|When Scott and I met Roxana she was just a little girl who Scott could toss up in the air; now she has grown into a beautiful young lady!|
|Mariana played with Juwan and he really liked her; it was so sweet!|
|Mirela, Scott and I call her our daughter.|
|Beautiful girls...how they have grown since we last saw them!|
|Carnival day with the children from Rosiorii de Vede orphanage.|
|Samuel getting his face painted.|
|Samuel with Brianna at the park in Craiova.|
|Rodica with her sweet girl Brianna.|
|Ice cream face!|
|Big boys and little boys playing at the park!|
|Valentin and his lovely wife who was pregnant and due in August.|
|Ovidiu and I at the park; his wife was expecting. Their baby is due in December.|
|Sanda our sweet Sanda and the boys making Papanasi!|
|At Sanda and Mariana's apartment in Rosiorii de Vede.|
|Look at those beautiful smiles!|
|Samuel with his buddy Sandel.|
|Me with my "girls" from Rosiorii de Vede.|
|On the plane ride home.|