Thursday, August 7, 2008

Romania, Part 3: Camp Vetca

My Romania


Our team and the Livada staff/interns, got to Vetca several hours before the kids. We were assigned a was one of the farthest from the bathroom......they definitely didn't take into account that several on our team were over 40! ha! (our last prayers at night were that we wouldn't have to get up during the night!)....and after we set up our sleeping bags, etc. we helped set up the tents for the kids.

At around 3 pm, the kids arrived!!!

What fun to see them get off the bus with huge smiles and so excited to be at camp. If you looked at this camp from american eyes, you would have maybe been put zip line, outside showers, one bathroom, no hot water, no indoors or A/C, no swimming pool, no snack bar or bookstore.....but these kids got off the bus looking as if they had just won the lottery!!

When we met with Livada before coming, we were told that all they wanted us to do was build relationships with these kids. So, we started slowly that afternoon...... playing basket ball with them, soccer, volleyball, chase (the little ones loved this)....whatever they wanted. Pretty humorous to see this 48 year old mom take on some 14+ year old boys in a game of basketball!!! I held my own pretty well, if I do say so myself! :)

We had organized games through out the week and the teams competed against each other for points. Points were won by winning games, saying the blessing before a meal, lining up in a straight line, yelling the loudest for your team, showing good was any teams game to win!!!! One of our challenges was memorizing a scripture Romanian....and coming up with a creative way to present it. Here is ours:

We also got points for each team member saying our verses. One of my fondest memories is of Simona, the oldest at the camp. She was soon to be 18 and sometimes felt too old for the games. She is on the brink of moving out of the group home and into a mentor home and is making that transition from teenager to young woman. It was hard to get her to participate at times, but she spent one afternoon drilling me (and I mean drilling) on one of the verses until I was able to say it!! She will never know how much it meant to me to be able to accomplish that nor will she understand the joy I got seeing the excitement in her face when I said it correctly! One of those moments when she built into me........priceless!

I have said before that this week was hard on me. I struggled to connect with the kids. I would feel that I was making in roads one minute only to be snubbed by the same child the next. It was a roller coaster.....the language barrier did not help! But as the week went on, I saw that maybe God had another path for my time there. I found myself connecting with the educators more and more. Each group home has several "moms" and educators that take care of the kids. These are the people who love on them year around. I was so blessed to see that almost all of them gave up a week of vacation to come with the kids to camp!! As we got to know each other, friendships developed, stories were told and hearts desires were shared and prayed for. These are friendships I will cherish for the rest of my life!!

Well, in the end, my team did not win the Olympics....we came in 2nd!!! (hard to swallow for someone as competitive as myself), but what a week we had. The last night we had a huge party,

but before that we had a time to pray for each of the kids on our team. This was a very precious time for me!!!! As we finished praying for those on my team, Marian (16) asked if he could pray for us!! Amazing! Then little Fenel (8) asked to pray for Jake. Jake was one of the interns there for the summer and Fenel had completely attached himself to him!! Fenel prayed the sweetest prayer for Jake, through a translator. We all had tears in our eyes at the end and I think there is one college boy (Jake) who will never be the same!!!!

Our week began with high energy and ended with high energy........we were exhausted, dirty and smelly! It is a good thing you can not smell this picture!! I told someone, "it is a really bad thing when you can smell yourself!" I don't think a hot shower ever felt so wonderful!!!

There are so many more things that I could share with you about my trip, but many are personal ones that I will treasure in my heart. It was an experience I will never forget and hope to experience again.........very soon!

I would encourage each of you to pray and see if God is calling you out somewhere in the world. Maybe he has a trip for orphan to touch and love, a building to build, a missionary to encourage......

If He does.....jump on don't want to miss this kind of blessing!!!



Mark W said...

You know that you are preaching my sermon! I am having a hard time writing this through the tears. Sounds like you had a totally awesome time, and how could one not when they are doing what God directed them to do.

Elaine said...

Sounds incredible. I'm glad you got to have this once-in-a-lifetime experience!

Chel - An Abiding Branch said...

Hi, Sara
I came by after my 2nd Cup of Coffee (lol). Thank you for sharing that even the struggle to connect with the kids. I have felt the same way and after praying for God to lift that "fear" or whatever the thing was He did it! I found so much that my fear of connecting was keeping from me.
Anyway, I have only been on one foreign mission trip (Brazil) and I know exactly how you feel in most ways. WOW!! It has been a year since I was there but I left a part of my heart there!