How many pairs of shoes do you have?

I am always humbled when I visit an orphanage and village and stare down at the kids’ feet. I then look down at my own feet~it’s a dark contrast. I feel like every time God slaps me in the face..back to THEIR reality.
Many of the kids were wearing sandals with dirty socks that had holes in them. This is what they would wear through the winter. Not warm boots like what I was wearing. Thankfully Little Samaritan’s Face of a Child project included new sneakers for every child! The joy on their faces is almost indescribable.
We were at the the orphanage in a small village, Socii Noi. You couldn’t help but notice one of the kids standing in the back row. It is very rare to see tall people in Moldova..but we did this day. This young boy was at least 6’4″..GIANT! And just so happy! He was more happy than most of the kids…and it dawned on me why. Today was the day he was going to receive shoes that fit him. As I glanced down, I saw the same sandals with the same dirty socks..only this time I noticed his heel hanging way off the end of the sandal. His feet were too big for him to be able to find shoes that fit at the orphanage. Can you imagine going through life with shoes that don’t fit? It is something I can’t even fathom.

But today he received brand new sneakers..and the smile on his face showed that it was worth the wait.
Here he came out a little blurry..but you can still see the joy.

The Girls of Moldova

It’s very easy to be drawn to the younger kids when visiting the various orphanages and villages. They are just beautiful and when you look into their eyes you can still see the innocence that any child should have. They love toys, they love candy, they love attention.

But as I scan the crowd of children that are waiting for our team at each place we visit, I can’t help but stare at the older girls, who are usually in the very back row. I am desperately burdened for them because their future is grim. You see, Moldova is one of the top countries who sell young girls into the human trafficking ring.

For those girls who live in the orphanages, the government stops funding for them at age 16. This means that they will then be released either back to their village and back to their families (if they have any) or they will end up on the streets. Even if they do have families, I have come to find out that many of them don’t want the children back, because they cannot afford to take care of them. Heartbreaking.Frustrating.

These girls have dreams~some of the girls I talked to dream of being a cook, a tailor, a teacher. They are ordinary girls with ordinary dreams. So they will do anything to pursue these dreams~try to find a job anywhere..they look “abroad” to another country so they can save up money to go back to school. However, this is when Evil preys upon these young girls naivete. They become tricked into thinking that these adults ~men AND women~ are there to help them “find their dreams”. And before they know it, they are locked into a living hell and are held prisoner. Innocence is soon taken away. They are threatened that if they do not comply their families will be killed and they will then be killed.
I know that I cannot save all these girls..there are millions that are thrown into this disturbing lifestyle. But God calls me to pray. And how can I pray?
1. For their souls. ONLY Jesus can give their lives hope. I am comforted by Revelation 21:4, which promises that there will soon be no more pain and suffering.
2. For more transitional houses to be built. These homes give young girls the chance to learn a trade, receive education, and be spiritually changed.
Click here and learn how one ministry is changing lives, one girl at a time, and is offering the hope of Jesus.
May God continue to keep me humble and burdened.

Do I know what it is to sacrifice?

No…I sure don’t. This is one of the many lessons I was taught while in Moldova this year. Sacrificing and giving are two totally different words with two totally different meanings. According to Webster’s dictionary the definition of “sacrifice” is a “destruction or surrender of something for the sake of something else.” I saw this definition lived out in two Moldovian women who worked with our team. They shared with me over dinner their love for the children in the villages/orphanages and how sometimes they give up their grocery money for the week in order to provide special meals for orphans. I was brought to tears when they told me this..they are living the life of sacrifice.
After this conversation I started reflecting on my own life…what have I sacrificed? I came to the conclusion that I haven’t really sacrificed anything..yes, I have given my time, money, resources to various friends/organizations..but it has always been within my comfort zone or within my budget…
But God wants us to sacrifice..and I know for sure that He will provide opportunities for each of us to do that. I had been reminded continuously while in Moldova of the widow who gave all the money she had to God…an amount that would be pennies to us today. She gave it sacrificially because she loved the Lord and knew His promises.
God is calling us to be weak..quite the contrast from the messages in the secular media. Christ promises in 2 Corinthians 12:9 “My grace is sufficient for you, for my power is made perfect in weakness.”

Transitioning back to home…

…It is so hard~this time being harder than years past. I am not sure why, I but know that the Lord has opened my eyes to things that I hadn’t noticed before and caused me to feel things that I needed to feel. And I welcome this growth..I NEED this growth. This is my 4th time to Moldova and before leaving I had prayed that God would not allow me to view this as a routine trip for me, but a time where He makes me uncomfortable and stretches me.

The past two years I have been making a more conscious effort to get to know a couple of the children and/or adults on an individual basis. It is always amazing who God brings across our path. I met Adriana for the first time this year. She is a twelve year old girl who has been living in the orphanage in Tocuz since she was in the first grade. It was heartbreaking to hear of some of the more personal things she revealed as we continued our conversation. But I am thankful that God brought her to me. Adriana loves God..she told me she wants me to pray that God would help her to pray more. I love the honesty of children! We prayed together right before I left the orphanage..and my prayer for her is that she know Jesus..not to just know OF him, but to KNOW Him.

It has been very sad for Adam and I to leave Moldova this year…we just love the children and families. But with every return home, I feel that God continues to show us what He needs us to do to in the mean prepare, to grow, and learn more about Him.

We come home to a place where we know we are surrounded by people who are hurting and both of us have been challenged to be prayerful for the needs of those around us…not only to be prayerful, but to take action. We have been blessed with so much..more than what we deserve!!