Monday, March 28, 2011

To Be Continued...

Just left the babies for the last time.

... left them in the mighty hands of their Creator. God bless you, little ones.

Sunday, March 27, 2011

Never Alone

I wrote this yesterday morning, the day after my hardest day here. As I struggled to keep up with the team on our outing, a man walked by, pointed at me, laughed and said (in very good English) "last in line".

I could see my team up ahead - they were so close and yet so far away. I knew if I could just reach them I'd be ok, but as hard as I tried, I couldn't get to them. For a moment I gave up.

In that moment, God reminded me that the babies here are somewhat last in line. They know that help is just out of reach. If they could just reach out enough, love would come to them.

I see you little one
I know you are crying
I long for the day that you'll soar like an eagle

You're never alone
I'm right by your side
I've not forgotten the heartache that dwells deep inside you

You may not understand why some of the people come and go -
All those faces you may never see again

But they held you with My arms
and comforted you with My words
and loved you with My heart
and sang to you My song
I sent them to do those things and more

They won't always get it right but they'll do all that they can while they are with you
They came to help you along your way

Your road ahead will be hard at times
Your burden will feel like such a heavy load to carry
but My way is easy,
and My burden is light
I will trade My load for yours any day.

You can't ask on your own quite yet, but that one that's holding you has already asked on your behalf, and I've heard their cries for mercy.

That feeling you have when someone holds you and you smile and giggle and they smile and giggle back and hold you close and kiss your head? That's what love is.

Learn from the love they are showing you.
Accept their love.
Let them be Me to you.
One day, because of the love they have shown you, I will hug you and kiss you Myself.

For now, they are My hands and feet,
My arms and My voice.

Know these things...

You were not a mistake, for all your days are written in My book.

You are fearfully and wonderfully made.

I have been misrepresented by those who don't know me.

I am not distant and angry; I am the complete expression of love, and it is My desire to love you like crazy.

I offer you more than your earthly father ever could, for I am the perfect Father.

Every good gift that you receive comes from My hand, for I am your provider and I meet all your needs.

My plan for your future has always been filled with hope because I love you with an everlasting love and I rejoice over you with singing.

I will never stop doing good to you for you are My treasured possession.

I want to show you great and marvelous things.

If you seek me with all your heart, you will find me.

Delight in me, and I will give you the desires of your heart for it is I who gave you those desires.

I am able to do more for you than you could possibly imagine for I am your greatest encourager.

So tonight, little one, when it's dark and you can't see anything remember that I am there with you.

When you cry in the dark, I am there
When you're scared of the dark, I am there
When you feel lost in the dark, I am there

I will be your Comfort
your Friend
your Savior
your Healer
From now until the end of time

Don't be afraid My child...
for you are never alone.

Friday, March 25, 2011

Least of These

(I'm not sure why this posted before it was finished. Sorry if you got this twice.)

Today was the hardest all around for me so far. The emotion of where we are and what we are doing hit me while we were walking around between shifts at the hospital.

We left the hospital around 12:30 and headed around town, by the black church, then up to the gondola that would take us to top of a mountain (sort of). While the journey to get there was hard and seemed to take forever on foot, the view was spectacular.

We did have an interesting conversation with a doctor today. She was completely amazed that people would come to Romania from America for only a week. She said that Romanians don't have any sense of volunteerism. I'll add a "yet" to that sentence for her. We have already met some people here who think what we are doing at the hospital is a great thing, and there are a couple of volunteers from the area.

The hospital was hard today. I spent a little extra time with the babies this afternoon while a few of the girls went to feed the newborns. One of the things I love to do is to bless someone secretly, so they don't know who or where the blessing came from. This is true with the babies. I knew this going in but I didn't know how much it would affect me. Each baby I hold or feed or change or play with will not remember me when I leave, but they are forever in my heart. Next week, some new strangers will come to hold and feed and change and play with them. I wonder what goes on in the minds of these little ones. As I tried to comfort a baby today with an IV in and his arm with a splint-type thing on it that was tied to the bed while he had a fever and I couldn't pick him up, my heart broke yet again for him. The IV was basically for dehydration, with no medicine in it really. He was so unhappy and just wanted out of that bed. All I could do was pray and cry.

"When he finally arrives, blazing in beauty and all his angels with him, the Son of Man will take his place on his glorious throne. Then all the nations will be arranged before him and he will sort the people out, much as a shepherd sorts out sheep and goats, putting sheep to his right and goats to his left.

"Then the King will say to those on his right, 'Enter, you who are blessed by my Father! Take what's coming to you in this kingdom. It's been ready for you since the world's foundation. And here's why:

I was hungry and you fed me,
I was thirsty and you gave me a drink,
I was homeless and you gave me a room,
I was shivering and you gave me clothes,
I was sick and you stopped to visit,
I was in prison and you came to me.'

"Then those 'sheep' are going to say, 'Master, what are you talking about? When did we ever see you hungry and feed you, thirsty and give you a drink? And when did we ever see you sick or in prison and come to you?' Then the King will say, 'I'm telling the solemn truth: Whenever you did one of these things to someone overlooked or ignored, that was me—you did it to me.'

Romania update

We've had a couple of pretty amazing days. I think today is Friday, but I've really lost all sense of time here. What seems like hours is only moments and what goes by so fast has been hours.

We started working on the baby closet - it's really coming along. Bins are getting full, with lots of extra to go to the homeless shelters.

Firm Foundations does so much more than hold babies: diapers, teen programs, mom's programs, family sponsors, clothes, shoes, homeless shelters, and I'm sure I missed many other things. Every day we are learning more and more about sacrifice.

Many people told me how great it was that I would sacrifice to come here. This isn't a sacrifice, this is a blessing. I'm not sure how people do it without the hope of Jesus. Each time I learn a baby's story, my heart breaks a little more. I'm not exactly sure how it's still beating with it being in so many pieces, other than I know God has plans for each one of them. It would be easy to get stuck in the "why, God, why?" mindset, but I'd miss out on what God is doing here.

The staff and long term volunteers have pretty much given up everything they know to be here, and not all of them know Jesus. My prayer is that as they change the lives of these little ones, that they find their lives changed for eternity.

The hospital is better than I thought it would be, but it's still not what we're used to back home. The babies are in whatever pjs are around, many stained or with holes. They get 4 diapers a day, and are changed on a schedule.

Yesterday I held a baby for a long time, then the nurse came in to give him a breathing treatment. Because of the language barrier, there was a lot of pointing and talking and before I knew it, I had this breathing mask, which was quite obviously made for an adult, my hands and arms all placed in specific places, and one very, very unhappy little boy in my arms. He fought and fought and I just kept telling him it was good for him and singing softlyl to him and praying that God would heal his sickness (I'm not sure what it is) and give him peace. He did eventually relax and go to sleep.

We don't know the names of many of the babies or why they are there or if they will stay indefinitely or if someone is coming for them, though the FF staff do know some of their stories. Many babies aren't sick but are just left there. Regardless of the reason, they need to be touched, kissed, played with, talked to, but most of all, loved.

For I desire mercy and not sacrifice, and the
knowledge of God more than
burnt offerings.
Hosea 6:6

Tuesday, March 22, 2011

Oh, Those Babies!

I apologize for any typos. When I spell check, it knows I'm in Romania and it thinks every word on the page is spelled wrong.

End of Day one.

We finally got to see the babies this afternoon!

We met the ladies who started Firm Foundations as well as most of the staff - who are all amazing, of course. Stopped to eat at a German bakery then went on to the hospital. We are getting plenty of exercise while we're here!

Monday there were only a few babies there. Today, there were about 14 (I think). Some of them were sick. Others were not. I got to play with one named Roxie (is that spelled right?). She was spunky, strong, and loved to throw every toy I gave her on the floor. Fun times. Most of the group was on a different floor and after a while Vivian and I met up with the others. They were all in a big room with lots of babies, and Vivian and I went to a different room with one of the supervisors and 3 more babies. The baby I held was so sweet, and when I looked into his eyes I could see compassion coming from him. He was very upset when the other babies cried. He has a big beautiful bald head, so I called him Harry. I'm not sure what his actual name is, but it seemed to suit him. I'm told he's a twin, but the other one wasn't there.

Time went too quickly and I didn't want to leave. But we got to see the place where we will be setting up the baby closet in the hospital. It's bigger than we imagined (still just a closet size). Tomorrow we'll buy supplies and start organizing. They have a lot of donated items already, and there really isn't any way to find what is needed when it's needed.

Can't wait to go back in the morning, and in the afternoon we get to meet the teenage girls they minister to, shine some light into their lives and Ali will be trimming and styling their hair. They will also be making pretzels, which seem to be very popular here. Should be lots of fun.

Leaving crying little ones, knowing that no one is coming to hold them can really break you. The only thing that let's me walk out the doors is knowing they are in God's loving, strong, and comforting care and He loves them best.

We're Here!

We arrived in Bucharest last night around 7:20 and took a long, and at time scary, drive to Brosov to be greeted with great big smiles and even bigger hugs from Alisha, who is not only our host at Better Than a Hostel (where we are staying), but is also a missionary from the Freedom Center back in Michigan. Got a great workout walking down all those stairs with the luggage, thinking THIS must be why they limit the weight to 50 lbs.

We didn't get to see much of Romania because it was so dark (they don't "Spring Forward" here until this weekend). Today we'll go out to town for food, then on to meet the babies and I think see where we will set up the Baby Closet.

Not much to report on yet, but I know there will be lots to say as the days go on. I know God has prepared the way for us to be here today. Let's get this day started and see what he has planned.

Monday, March 21, 2011

Bonjour, Paris! Au revoir Paris!

We made it to Paris - an uneventful flight. However, I've lost my camera so there will not be many photos posted from me. God is faithful, and I trust he will take care of the situation. We did have an adventure in the airport trying to get it back though. So thankful for traveling with grace-filled people.

We're about to board our flight to Bucharest but I wanted to let you know we're safe so far. More updates will follow.

Au revoir!

Sunday, March 20, 2011

Michigan today, Romania tomorrow!

Today is the day. I'll be boarding a plane that will take me to Paris, then another plane that will take me to Bucharest. From there, I will travel to Brasov where I will spend the next week(ish) working with Firm Foundations at Children's Hospital in Brasov.

People keep asking me if I'm nervous. I can honestly say there isn't shed of nervousness in me right now. Why?
  • I'm traveling with an amazing group of people.
  • I get to go love on babies and the people who serve them every day.
  • I get to be Jesus to every person I come in contact with, in Romania and all along the way (though this is true every day).
  • I know God planned every detail and He's got it all figured out.
  • We're taking the Baby Closet international!
  • I'm traveling with an amazing group of people! I know, I know... I already said that, but it's so true.
We leave late tonight, and arrive tomorrow evening at our final destination. The journey to where God is taking us is long, but as with every charge from him, the journey is part of the adventure. I can't wait to see what he has in store for us!