29 May, 2013
I will tell you about the Easter here and about what we are looking forward to in the summer. Easter in Romania fell on May 5, which is the date for all the Eastern Orthodox countries. If you read my blog, you saw some details of how I celebrated American Easter in April. For the Romanian Holy week, I was able to go to five different churches, some with the kids and some single with friends. This was a very special time to grasp the meaning of Easter in the hearts of Romanians. Throughout Holy week, we also had three kids in the hospital, so we went periodically to visit them. Some of the foods of the Easter season we enjoyed were cozonac (a kind of fruitcake bread, very popular), Pasca (a bread pastry with cheese filling), salata beof again, and miel (lamb).
The kids entered the hospital the day after Palm Sunday, 4/29, with strep throat and fever from the change of the weather. Ana, 7th grade, stayed 1 ½ weeks and the boys Nico, 1st grade and Costi, 5th grade, stayed 2 ½ weeks because their analyzation said they still had germs in their throats. They entered to keep the germs from spreading throughout the orphanage. We visited them and took food, occupations, and friendship to help them pass the time. It was sad they spent Easter in the hospital, but I hoped it was a good bonding time and they celebrated Easter in a special way.
Wednesday in Holy week, I was able to go the Betel Evangelical church. All the Christians from the city gathered together for one service each night. The young people from all the churches put together the singing here at Betel, and I recognized 4 out of 5 songs they sang as we have them in our language. It was a very special time of worship and good start to the Holy week with message. I also felt resolvation of some particular problems I was having during the service and I praise the Lord for that.
Thursday evening was at the Baptist church with the Lord’s supper. There was also beautiful singing with some classical pieces. During the service, we had a time of prayer that was uplifting in the body of believers. I like their prayer times here- it is open for anyone who feels led to lift their voice to the Lord and it is a beautiful expressing of our faith. Parishoners prayed for our faith to remain strong, the Lord to give us strength in all we do, and for us to think about the mighty jertfa(sacrifice) we were celebrating. We also took the Lord’s supper together (Cina Domnului) with a wafer-type cracker. The message was on Luke 22 and Tata Mihai from the orphanage preached. Before this church, I had been to visit the kids in the hospital, who were on their 4th day. They were bored and I was finding out that the boys liked to make trouble, so I resolved to come more often and bring activities, I only brought one coloring book. We had a good chance to talk about their fears of the hospital and how now they had acclimated, also about their treatments, and how their conversations with the doctors went. They had had some other visitors during the week, including a woman from the library who befriended Ana and gave them some books, and their mother was able to visit, and also some other people attached to the orphanage.
Friday I didn’t go to the church, I decided instead to take Vlad, 15, and Cristian, 13, to visit their younger brother in another orphanage. Catalin, 11, has health problems and must live elsewhere. We had a good time of visiting, and the boys all got to play together, we gave stickers to the kids, and fruit and juice to Catalin. After we finished our visit, I took the boys to visit the kids at the hospital too, which was good because Ana, Costi and Nico hadn’t seen their collegues from Casa Ray in awhile. They had a chance to play, we took pictures and I taught Ana a card game she could play with the boys.
Saturday, I went to church with a collegue from the orphanage, Alina, who is the social worker here. I had been one time before with her when I was able to meet with her family. I have been glad to continue getting to know her throughtout this year; she has some meaningful insights and a special faith. Afterwards, I was able again to go the the kids in the hospital, and I took watercolors and a children’s picture Bible. At the end of our visit, I read a little about the Easter story and we talked about it.
On Sunday, the kids had a program similar to the one they did for Christmas. Their program included 8 songs and poems relating to the Easter story. The morning church was at Golgota Evangelical and the message was powerfully given on the joy the women at the tomb had and enthusiasm to tell stories of the resurrection. It encourages us to keep enthusiasm in our faith. Then, after we came home for an Easter dinner of lamb and mameliga, we went back out in the evening to a country church an hour away. The kids did their program again, and the kids from the country church also had a program prepared with a number of songs, which they did joyfully. In our time of mingling after the service, I told the young lady who directed the kids that they did a good job in presenting with joy in the Lord. It was nice to converse a little with this church.
As school wraps up here, we are looking forward to our plans for the summer. In a few weeks come the American team! and with it anticipation of making new friendships and strengthening old ones. Our theme for VBS when the American team comes in the end of June will be “Basics of Christianity.” It will be beneficial to the kids as we review and describe the fundamentals of the faith to them. We will look forward to thoughtful Bible studies, crafts, games, and rewarding fellowship together. The kids really anticipate this time of the year, because school has ended for the summer and they have time for activities and walks outside. They are excited to see their friends and mentors who come back to visit them. Pray for this upcoming time, that it will be quality with the children and there will be opportunities for God to work in open hearts. I will be a translator.
I come home soon! I have learned many lessons in my months of living here and pray God will continue to use me. I feel strongly that it is important to help orphans who have needs that get overlooked. I hope God will continue to grow this in me and look forward to the work he gives me.
The kids can be focused as the school year wraps up and that they finish their assignments strong. Pray they will be ready to enter the next school grade.
Strength and wisdom for the staff here at the orphanage. For God to continue to work his grace in solving problems after I go home. That a spirit of communication and understanding is present so they can all figure out what the kids need. Rest for the staff when they go home.
The fruitful spiritual time we had during the Easter together. Pray these lessons are not soon forgotten, but that the Lord reveals himself to each of the kids each and every day. Pray they can sing more and spontaneously!
Our microbus that takes the kids to church now has a part. It was out of commission for awhile, and is quite old, but is now up and running and we are able to take more kids to church on Sundays.
For the friendships I was able to make. I ask the Lord blesses each and every family.
“The righteous man may have many troubles, but the Lord delivers him from them all.” Ps 34:19