The hardest part of any trip is saying goodbye to the people you are leaving behind. Although I was ready to come home and sleep in my own bed again, I will miss my Romanian family. I am thankful that we will be able to stay in touch by phone and Skype, but it was an extra blessing to sit at the same table and fellowship face to face with Adi, Lavi, Corina, and many others. And, of course, I will miss the children and their bright smiles.
Me and "Felicity"
God uses each trip to Romania to remind me that He is still working in the lives of the staff and children of our ministries. I already know this truth, but seeing it firsthand makes it all the more real. Sometimes He works quietly, and sometimes miraculously, but He is always at work. Our part is to PRAY!
God has heard and answered so many of our prayers over the years! Prayer is powerful, so please continue to lift up the children, staff, and ministry of Hope House and Living Hope Center in the coming months. We know God will continue to bless and answer those prayers.
It was a pleasure to share my experiences with you in the last few weeks, and I hope you enjoyed catching a glimpse of the Romania I love so much. God bless you all, and thank you for joining me on my trip to Romania. La revedere!
On Sunday afternoon, we had the privilege to attend the wedding of the pastor of Balesti church, a church started by Adi Dreana (director of Living Hope Center) in 2001. After years of service and discipleship, Adi was excited to pass on the pastoral responsibilities to a young man, Florin. Filled with a love for Christ and a gentle spirit, Florin is doing a wonderful job of leading the Balesti church and serving part-time at LHC. Thankfully, Florin will now have a beautiful partner and wife, Miriam, to stand by his side as he continues to serve the Lord.
Florin and Miriam
It was a beautiful ceremony! Florin and Miriam exchanged vows amid a celebration of music, poems, and heartfelt admonition from friends and spiritual mentors. It was easy to join in their celebration when we saw the quiet joy that radiated from their faces. Pray for Florin and Miriam as they start their journey together, that God would use them in mighty ways to encourage and strengthen the Balesti church and the work at Living Hope Center.
Adi Dreana and others pray and ask God's blessing on this new marriage.
After a ten hour train ride, my mom and I arrived at the Living Hope Center in Targu Jiu (south-central Romania). This week, LHC and their partners from Samariteanul kindergarten took almost 100 children on a trip to the Promised Land during VBS. They started in Bethlehem with the birth of Christ, traveled to Capernaum where Christ raised a little girl from the dead, and ended their journey at Calvary and Christ’s resurrection. Through the use of a time machine, amazing artwork, and costumes, the life of Christ came alive!
The children decorate crosses during craft time.
Artwork drawn by hand to illustrate the death and resurrection of Christ.
The children learned that Christ is their best Friend, He is very powerful and they can trust Him, and that He died for their sins and they need to believe in Him for salvation. This powerful gospel message was not only heard by the children, but the parents who came to observe. In spite of the intense heat, the children enjoyed every single moment. Whether it was singing songs, doing crafts, or playing games, they did everything with enthusiasm.
Playing a game of trust while blindfolded.
Dozens of children singing about God's love!
Pray that God will continue to shine His light here in Targu Jiu through the Living Hope Center and Samariteanul, as they reach new children this summer and in the coming school year. May each child and parent understand their need for Christ and believe in Him!
One of my favorite hymns is “Take My Life and Let It Be”. The second verse says, “Take my hands and let them move at the impulse of Thy love.” During this trip, I have seen this verse lived out in a very practical way.
The value of touch and skin-to-skin contact with babies cannot be overrated. When a child has been abandoned, abused, or neglected, purposeful touch can bring life-changing healing to both body and spirit. My mother recently received her license in massage therapy with special training in therapeutic infant massage. Before this trip began, we prayed that she would have an opportunity to not only massage the children, but train a few people who could continue to massage the children after she left.
Janet Feavel teaching infant massage to new parents.
God definitely answered our prayers! Several children in placement or adoptive families are suffering from developmental delays because their birth mother drank alcohol during pregnancy. My mom was able to train the new parents in the beneficial massage, as well as train Corina, who can share this technique with other families.
Healing hands of love!
The doors also opened for us to spend time at the local Children’s Hospital where In Brate, a wonderful foundation, works with the abandoned babies. The staff of In Brate work daily to bring love and touch to the babies left alone in the hospital. Mom was able to massage many of these children, and show some of the staff the techniques. One little boy became entranced by the feel of having his head massaged, then he promptly fell into a deep sleep. We praise God for strong hands that can reach out to children with God’s love and healing in such a practical, but amazing way!
Let me introduce you to the six children currently staying at Hope House orphanage, a transitional home for babies and young children waiting for adoptive families.
"Nina" learns to walk with a little help.
"Lucy" and "Felicity" (sisters) enjoy playing outside.
"Luke" takes an afternoon nap.
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"Marcus" loves to laugh!
Swinging brings a smile to "Natalie's" face.
“Nina” loves to practice walking, “Lucy” is just a sweetheart, “Felicity” will repeat anything you say to her about five times, “Luke” loves to be held, “Marcus” is full of fun and mischief, and “Natalie” is a gentle soul. Each one of these children has been rescued from abandonment or abusive situations, and found love and care with the Hope House staff. However, we continue to pray that Christian, adoptive families will be found for each of these children. This week, several families who are considering adoption have come to visit. Pray that God would guide Corina, the staff, and these families as they seek the best for each of these precious children.