I’ve been thinking about setting off on a mission, again.
My heart is stirring to take the kids with me this time on an adventure of a lifetime – serving the lost.
But where to? There’s the dump, where the children live in Latin America. There’s the children in India or Africa. And then there’s my favorite mission field of all in Brasov, Romania.
At the orphanage there, I saw an old man. He stood outside in the courtyard mainly, watching while we built the swing set. It was a two am dream. Let’s build swing sets for the orphans who don’t even know what one is. So we did.
The playgrounds were bare. We’d been traveling in romania for days, holding babies, playing with older toddlers who slept in the same cramped cribs, and my heart was raw.
When we built the swing sets some kids screamed and panicked, scared of the big wooden monstrosity.
The orphanages had no mirrors. They took them down to prevent the kids from seeing themselves. In the bathrooms there were no mirrors. In The wash room area you could see holes in the concrete wall where they’d been removed. This struck like an arrow in my heart.
A child who is given up by his parents doesn’t know himself anyways.
The indignity of the shaved heads, identical clothing and mirror less world served to strip their identity further.
They all had been given the same hair cut. You couldn’t tell the girls from the boys. Elena stood out though. Large, wise eyes. Wise beyond her little years. Each day if she saw us building or painting, she came in to help. I named our organization Elena’s wish.
And then there was Michael. He pulled my hair roughly and wouldn’t let go in a hug. Giving a hate hug.
I understood that kind of affection because it was the only kind I had ever given a mate.
I changed, inside. My heart started defrosting and I
wept every time I had to leave.
Abandonment is a city
That year changed my heart. We went back again and again. We considered property in the country there. And w met Anca, a young girl we grew to love who came to America to stay with us. She had helped us on our trips to Brasov, by guiding us through the town and culture.
Orphans in orphanages have unique traits. Too long to go into here. But I was built with a heart for kids like that.
Why couldn’t we take them home?
We discussed this each night and decided that we would. We formulated a plan to adopt Elena, and then the twin boys too.
The old man with the sunny smile drove us around each day. Cornell was a ray of sunshine. He chatted gleefully and animatedly with his hands in romanian and we pretended to understand. We grew to love him.
We flew to romania time and again to see him and his family. Words cannot describe how we grew to love him.
The day his wife called, distraught, she said he had fallen. Cornell had a brain tumor. I searched airfare and it was six thousand dollars to fly back. I said: will you ever regret this expense? The answer was no.
I met Cornell in a concrete block hospital without windows. When he saw us his eyes widened, and his
face lit up. The next few days transformed his ending as we shaved him, prayed for him, eased his fears, and stashed cash under his pillow to give him the security he needed to feel for his family. We talked by his bedside for hours. He sailed into heaven peacefully.
I want to show my kids the world and how God can lead to somewhere distant, that becomes a part of your heart. They’ve worked with homeless people for ten years.
Where’s my heart leading me this time? I don’t know. I’m in search of that place.
The one that needs us. Where we can serve and deliver truth and change lives in an instant.