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.