Thursday, February 18, 2016

It's a God thing

In the blink of an eye, our 10 days in Romania is over. We're back in America & I for one am still stuck on Romania time (as I lay here in bed writing this at 6AM.) I woke up about two hours ago and my emotions were all over the place. I'm crying because our trip is over yet I'm laughing and smiling as I'm looking through our pictures and videos already reminiscing over all the memories we just created. I found myself on my knees, thanking God for the tremendous blessing He just poured upon myself and our team. I also prayed and prayed for Him to put Romania in my path again as soon as He possibly can!!
This was my second trip to Romania within 8 months. I knew way back in June, after we returned from our first trip, that Romania would always have a special place in my heart and that wouldn't be the last time I saw all those beautiful kids that I fell in love with. My biggest fear going into the trip this year was that the children wouldn't remember me. I'm a sensitive person so I knew it would rip my heart in pieces if this would happen. Let me just say, it did my heart good to hear them call  my name when they walked through the door or ran towards me with open arms. Some of those kids I only came in contact with once on the last trip, yet they still remembered. Our church has stressed to make sure how important it is to keep these relationships & continuing to build on them but I didn't realize exactly how important it was until this trip. They NEED us. They need us to love them, hug them, listen to them, hold them & just to be that reminder that God loves them and they have a purpose in this world.
Our team had such a great bond, we felt like one big family and I think the kids and staff recognized that. On our last day spent with kids, children from Apt 7 & the families program would be spending time with us. During our "girl time" on this day, some of the girls shared their own personal testimonies. It was a powerful, Spirit filled day that I'll never forget. Before our tears and goodbyes, each of us on the team received hand written letters (some even written in English), friendship bracelets & gifts (I had to find room to pack a huge teddy bear :).) The selflessness of these kids just goes to show what an incredible job CTL does & how invested they are in their lives.

It really is hard to explain the love and deep connections you make with these children, It's a God thing. <3

With Love & Blessings,

Friday, February 12, 2016

Friday, February 12, 2016

Last fall when the 10 of us started on this mission journey to  plan a return trip to Bucharest, Romania with Children to Love, February 4-14, 2016, seemed like a long way off.  Brandon Snyder did a wonderful job of planning and organizing all the logistical preparation for this undertaking.

Everything gradually fell into place and finally the big day arrived.  We were on our way to Romania.  Three of our team had been there in July 2015 but the remaining 7 were filled with excitement of the unknown.

This blog has kept our church family and loved ones updated on the day to day activities; each day seemed more and more exciting.  The children were beautiful and eager to give and receive love.

Each day seemed to build upon the previous day, the team sharing the songs, lessons, crafts and dancing.  They loved it, we loved it.  Our God is so good!

But, today was different.  The lessons, games, sharing and activities were all wonderful but . . . today we had to say goodbye.  Our hearts were breaking as we hugged, kissed, exchanged Facebook contacts, promised to stay in contact and then kissed and hugged some more.

The #1 question they asked was, "Will you come back?"  With tears in our eyes, we told them we would love to.

CTL is all about building relationships.  And after seeing their reactions, that's exactly what happened.

Tomorrow, Daniel, a CTL staff member will be taking us sightseeing.  Then early Sunday morning we will board our plane to Istanbul and then on to Washington Dulles.

Thanks to all of you for the prayers and words of encouragement.  What a blessing you all are to us and to the children and to CTL.  We are all the hands, feet, and heart of Jesus.

Thanks for making this happen.

Bonnie Troutman, Brandon Snyder and Luke Jacobs

Puddle of Tears

I have been looking forward to this trip ever since it became a possibility. For everything that our team meetings have prepared me for had no way prepared me for how great this trip has grown to become. Every day is different, every day is special and everyday my heart breaks a little bit more.
Over the past few days I have met the most amazing staff here at CTL and the sweetest kids. The hardest part about every day is getting to know and then love these kids and then having to leave them after only a couple of hours. You grow attached, you love them, and then you say goodbye. I cannot begin to count the amount of times I have cried on this trip, and it's not even over yet! 
Today we spent time with the girls from the Home of Hope and the children from the Tei Center. It was so great to see their cute faces again. The best part is when they recognize you and come running in for a hug. We started the day playing games, which involved a bunch of 4 to 7 year olds running, crawling, and hopping around the room.. The right way to start the day. We then had a lesson on the 10 Commandments and then a craft where the kids had to trace their hands on a piece of paper and then glue the commandments on each finger, decorating it with anything they wanted whether that was with glitter glue or funky stickers. Then to the part that I think the kids enjoyed the most, dancing (Zumba with Jessie!). As all the little kids and adults stood up to start dancing to the first song this little boy about four or five years old came up to me and held my hand. I had known by meeting these group of kids the previous day that this little boy has some form of Autism and was surprised that he came up to me. So I grabbed both his hands and started to dance. He didn’t really move unless I moved with him through the movements. After the first song was over he turned around with a big smile on his face, he was so happy. I could see the pure joy on his face. He then put his arms and legs around me giving me the biggest hug ever. I picked him up and started dancing with him in my arms. I started to think while holding this precious gift of God in my arms and wondered why he was given this life. This life where he lives in a home where there is no running water, electricity, and just the basic needs in life. The Tei Center is mostly a daycare center for kids that come from low income families. I cannot begin to fathom the life that these kids have. The hardships and trials that they are going to go through. I want to help them, I want to give them all my love and dance with them in my arms forever.
But for now all I can do is hold him. This little boy named Ionut (you-noot). I sat down on the couch with him in my arms. He hugs me tighter and I hug him tighter. I tried so hard not to cry but the tears came out anyway. Everyone continued to dance to the last song as I held Ionut. Eventually a worker from the Tei center saw that I was crying and told Ionut to let go and sit down. I then went upstairs to calm myself down so the kids wouldn’t see me crying. I had to remind myself that I am not the only one who loves these kids. The CTL staff loves and takes care of them all the time and God loves them. I hope that when these children grow up they will continue to learn about God and know that He will always love them.
I have grown attached to Romania and all of these people and children. I never want to let them go. My heart has been ripped in half in the best way and I will remember these moments forever.


1 John 4:16
 And so we know and rely on the love God has for us. God is love. Whoever lives in love, lives in God, and God in them.

Wednesday, February 10, 2016

Hello from Romania

It's hard to believe we are more than half way through our time here in Romania.  It has been absolutely amazing here.  It's awesome to see how kids are drawn to a particular adult.
Before we left the USA for Romania we were each given a picture of a child from Apt 7.  I knew that we would see kids from apt 7 but wasn't sure if I would get to meet my girl Maria. 
The first day we were here, children from Pinocchio orphanage came to visit.  I was sitting on the couch attempting to play a game with the kids when another group of kids came through the door.    One girl made a b-line right to me and told the little boy next to me to move and she sat next to me to help me play.  Something looked familiar about this girl so I went up to get the picture I was given.  I looked at the picture and showed it to someone else on the team to see if they thought it was the same girl.  She looked a little different, older and with darker hair.
But it couldn't be my girl Maria, she was from apt 7 and all these kids were from Pinocchio.  So I took the picture down stairs with me and asked her name.  She said Maria.  I showed her the picture and the look on her face was priceless.  She kept asking me how I got the picture.  She stayed by my side the entire day.  She is a very affectionate girl.  Always holding my hand, giving me kisses on the cheek, telling me she loved me.  She spoke decent English so we were able to communicate fairly well.
At the end of the day she took the picture and wrote something on the back in Romanian.  When I asked her what it said she said "I love you and I wish I could be with you always".  It broke my heat that this young girl has so much love to give and nobody to give it to.
Maria was back again today and once again she was right beside me and full of affection.
Every time we meet a group of children, something is drawing the children and adults together in some unspoken way.  We all know that it's God speaking to us and drawing us together.  God knows who belongs together and he knows who will have the biggest impact on all our hearts.  Sometimes it's easy to be drawn to the cute little kid with the dimples and curly hair, but God has other plans and instead points you to the shy little girl in the corner.
We thought we were coming here to share our love and teach the children about Christ, but they have certainly taught us a few lessons.  It is heartbreaking when you leave one of the orphanages or the kids leave the CTL facility and you know it's the last time you are going to see them.  But we know God is watching over them and the people here at CTL will continue to bless them with their love, and Gods words. God is definitely at work here and I can't wait to see what tomorrow brings.

God Bless

Tuesday, February 9, 2016

A day that will be remembered for a lifetime...

    This mission trip up through yesterday, has been so wonderful.. meeting the children from separate orphanages and trying to get to know a little about each one. Some are immediately drawn to us, and others take a little longer to interact depending on personalities and of course past issues. Yesterday morning we had a group come here to CTL and it was around 20 children or so. I was drawn to a autistic boy named Adi, He continued to wonder around the room, all the other children were playing with the team , so I attempted to go over to him and see if I could find something for us to do together that may kept somewhat of his attention. Sara and I found memory cards and tried to play a game with him , and he loved it . He was so excited to find the matching cards, It made me smile watching his reactions. We had balloons blown up and decided to tap one back and forth with him.. He stayed with this for a hour at least. We said our goodbyes, and in the afternoon we ventured out to the Chitila orphanage which were troubled teenage girls and a few younger girls in that group. We did Zumba and testimonies, sang songs and each girl got a polaroid picture taken with whoever they wanted to,so they could keep it and have a memory of our time spent with them. Originally I thought they would want to be in this picture with one of their friends, this was not the case, they bombarded all of us with excitement and it became the highlight of these girls.. running around and picking the team member that they wanted with them in their picture. Talk about feeling the love!!! It was a amazing time.
      Today is the day that will be remembered to me for a lifetime. A day that a cried so many times that my eyes hurt. A day that god gave to me for my own healing. Yes, I thought I was there to establish relationships, talk about Jesus, and love on them.. was I mistaken!! God knows exactly what he is doing at all times. I know we always say that , but he has blessed
me with this day and I sit here and still play it over in my head. I don't want to forget a single second.
       We went this morning to a orphanage and I walked in and saw my new friend Adi... Not knowing if he would come to me , I was pleasantly surprised when he did.. I got a high five!! I ended up getting him to sit with me for quite a long period of time we looked pictures on my phone and played with uno cards, He knew my name was Cathy.. My heart was so full, he hugged me numerous times and I even got a few kisses on the cheek. On and off he laid his head on my shoulder, this in itself is amazing, autism as you know can be not easy for them to touch or get close too.  When it was time to go , we realized we wont be seeing this group again. I tried to hold it together, but it walked to the door and began to cry.. I made a connection with this child, and now had to say goodbye. This was incredibly difficult , and I thought our next group in the afternoon would keep my mind off Adi . When I later was told no one ever usually tries to go to him, they mostly try to spend time with the others, and he doesn't ever connect like he did with me, I was torn between happiness and sadness.
          The second group meet us at CTL and we quickly realized we saw this group before also. I spent a good amount of time with a few of the teen girls doing their hair, they LOVED it. Soon it was time to eat, sing songs and a few of us share out testimonies. A few of us decided to share our testimonies and how god has worked in our lives. I decided to give story, and how I was raised in a Christian home with loving parents, until my mom passed away when I was 17. I unexpectedly lost it , I started to cry and I could no longer speak, overcome with sadness, reliving he pain. Finally I feel one of the teen girls sitting next to me grab my hand ,and held it in both hers. She whispers, "it will be ok",( in broken English).. I continue my story with crying moments between words ,and share how my father decided to spend his nights trying to fill my moms shoes, leaving my sister and I alone and feeling abandoned. I concluded that I was thankful for my foundation of knowing Jesus, and HE is what carried me through the many dark days I had ahead of me ahead of me. For ultimately God is my true father, and all I'll ever need to fill that void. I then look at the girls sitting around the room wiping tears from some of their faces , smiling at me , staring at me , being so sympathetic.. I  had countless hugs and kisses from these young ladies. The girl that took my hand pulled me aside to tell me that I was a amazing woman and beautiful inside and out and hugged me so genuinely. I am in awe over this!! I was here to witness to them, and what I received was a gift from god . A healing of a heart that has been covered over for so long.. for God showed me HIS love through a orphaned child, the unwanted, someone who lives with knowing there is no parent there to care for them. I will forever remember this day.  BLESSINGS FROM ROMANIA ,   Cathy Schadel

DISCLAIMER: DISCLAIMER 4 hours of sleep makes me realize I was seeing double, rocking in my seat, and trying to see the screen at 2am. Please forgive me the misspells and double talk but enjoy enjoy the message. love

Monday, February 8, 2016

Pinocchio, Teens, and Jesus Talk

 Teenagers, my favorite age group! (Well, sometime with my own 3 teenagers I understand why animals eat their young, but they are still alive...) It was my pleasure to be their teacher and mentor along with several amazing leaders. Our mission was to talk about our purpose in life and how God uses our pasts to minister to others in our future. I shared my own story of being poor and sometimes not having food and heat in our home. Of the time I was asleep and I woke up to a rat scratching my back and using my face as a race track as he ran to get away from my wrath! I know you all just died... But imagine the impact my childhood story could have on a child living in low income conditions and we take the time, effort, and money(thank you all) to come see them. We talked about how God could use our current circumstances to grow our faith and later use our lives to serve him. To share God's amazing grace and how he could use any one of us for great things!
  I then shared about my business and how we run a supportive friendly environment based on God's love. When we have a godly support system we can lift each other up and help our friends who are down. I told them that one of these women was in the room and has now become my best friend. I asked the teens if they could pick our that person. A girl by the name of Daniella points to Sara and says "Sahrah(insert Romanian accent) because of the way she looked at you while you were teaching.". How cool was it that Sara loves me THAT much a teenager saw her love for me.;)
 That then led us into sharing how God's love for us and His faithfulness is when we follow His will. The MOST exciting thing was learning these teenagers had never heard about Jesus and they were so receptive to His word! How AMAZING is that?!
 Later we spent the afternoon in a troubled girls home. We spent quite a bit of time dancing, laughing, and testimony sharing. The look of lightness and excitement in their eyes was truly a blessing. When they receive love, attention and kindness they truly blossom.
 In closing, 700 teenage boys now are my Facebook friends saying "ooh lala Jeshie". I can't wait till they read this;)    Lots of Love from Romania! Jessie


Sunday, February 7, 2016

From the eyes of a child

Blessings from Romania my dear church family and friends.  

"For I know the plans I have for you declares the Lord, Plans to prosper you and not to harm you plans to give you hope and a future. Jeremiah 29:11

This is the message that I hope to share with the children here in Romania.  These children need to know that GOD loves them and values them.  The kids struggle everyday for the love and attention that we take for granted and don't always appreciate.  Most of us have family to love us, share our day with, parents to help with homework, to take us to piano, dance, football, soccer, practices, take us to church  and teach us about Jesus, see that we have clean clothes and food to keep us nourished.  The kids here in Romania don't get these daily hugs and kisses from their parents.  I guess this explains why 20 girls ranging from the ages of 12-14, greeted members of our team, who they rememberd from last June, with huge smiles and hugs.  You could visibily see the pure joy that was exchanged between them.  AND to my delight were so eager to connect with us who are here for the first time. While the guys left with a group of boys to enjoy an afternoon of getting shownup by 10 year old boys in soccer, the ladies stayed back for an afternoon of bonding with some amazing young girls. Our time together started out with praise songs that we sang in both English and Romanian.  The girls sang so beautifully and you could feel the room feeled with love for Jesus.  I was in total awe!  Jessie and Sara did a short session with the girls showing off their Zumba skills.  The girls absolutely loved it and quickly picked up on the steps and joined right in.  Some of the girls were eager to show off their dance skills and talents with us.  One girl in particular, Carmen, showed us her ballet skills.  She was absolutely amazing!  Two other girls demonstrated their love of "street dancing".  There was not one girl that did not participate or who was not enjoying herself.  The room was filled with such energy, and excitement.  The team of us, shared our testimonies with the girls.  After I shared my testimony, a young girl by the name of Georgianna came up to me and shared with me that her baby brother died when he was 1.  She was asking me questions about Joe.  She gave me a huge hug and the look in her eyes, I will never forget.  They were eyes filled with love and total understanding of heartbreak. This young girl came over to comfort me.  I am here on this mission trip to comfort these broken children and here this child was comforting me.  How amazing is that?   She noticed my necklace and asked me what the charms meant.  I explained the initial "J" stood for Joe, the word "blessed" represented the tattoo he had on his arm, and the cross was a symbol of his Faith in God.  She told me her sister had a cross necklace but she did not.  A dear friend of mine from work, gave me a beautiful poem about the cross with a small cross attached to the poem for me to share with the members of the team.  Right away I knew I was to give Georgianna my cross.  She was so thrilled.  I was so thankful that GOD provided this cross for me to share with her.  A little later she came back up to me, and in a gentle voice, asked if I would take her home with me.  I was shocked!  I didn't know what to say because I didn't want to disappoint her. My heart just melted.   I started to tear up and I told her if I could I would like to but I didn't think I could.  She grabbed hold of my hand and told me it was okay.  We sat together holding hands comforting one another.  Here again she was comforting me. When the afternoon ended and she left, I was regretting that I didn't share more of Gods word with her.   I look forward to seeing her later in the week so I can tell her that God loves her and share Jeremiah 29:11 with her.  

This was day 2 and God has already touched me and opened my heart to something special that I know will be apart of me for the rest of my life.

Blessing from Romania,