Thursday, October 23, 2008

Open Hearts in Exile

From time to time - more frequently than we would choose for ourselves - we are called upon to be in a place or bear a burden or do a service that we don't want to be or bear or do. But there it is. It happens. And it has been said, and will be said again, that in those times when we feel we have no power of choice, we do have the ability to choose our attitude.

Such is the case with some of my team-mates, whom I had the privilege of visiting this week in Romania. They have chosen an attitude of gratitude and a willingness to serve the Lord in whatever way He opens up for them. These friends are living outside of Moldova because they are waiting for visas to come into the country. They have set up house in a small village near the border of Moldova. Henry and Ingrid hope to come and work with us but they have not yet been able to receive an official invitation into the country, which is required for them to obtain a visa. They are sharing a place with our team-mate Dana, who is teaching them Romanian as they wait. Dana's residency permit expired and so she had to leave the country for 3 months so that she can come back in for 3 months. However she is also waiting for news of the possibility to study in the UK or the US.

So there they are... nothing to do but teach/learn Romanian. ? But not really! The village children have discovered that Dana and her friends love children and so they come calling in the morning and all throughout the day. "DANA!! DANA!! Can we play in the yard? Do you have candies for us?" They are received kindly even though at times they need some instructions regarding boundaries... more than once. Later in the afternoon Dana bakes cookies for them - something that is not part of their normal experience. Watching her expressing such care for these children reminded me of how much I have to be thankful for. I had never really thought of how much love is expressed in the simple acts, like baking something for someone. When I was a child my mother baked every Friday afternoon so that we always had some kind of cookies or cakes around. I didn't realize until now how much that spoke of her love for us. (Thanks, Mom!)

I was encouraged by the way my friends are speaking into the lives of these children, who come from very poor homes. Some of them don't even go to school as they are not encouraged at home to do so. But they are learning about the love of God through the caring and nurturing they are receiving from these foreigners in their midst. With open hearts Dana and Henry and Ingrid are receiving this time as an opportunity given by God to care for the poor and to let the little children know that they have a loving Heavenly Father. In the evening I watched the joy of these young boys as Henry played a game of pickup soccer with them. Is he the first adult to ever do so? My friends are not expecting to be in this place for long but I am guessing that however long or short their time is, these little boys will never forget the kindness and the care that they were shown by some people who for a time sojourned among them and told them about a friend named Jesus.
Please pray for these children and for their village, and for my three friends. Pray that they will receive their documents in due time.
I just want to let you all know that I won't be blogging for a bit over a week, at least. I leave tomorrow to go to Montenegro to teach at a conference there. I won't have internet access! I'll post photos later so keep watching!

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