I have mentioned before that my heart for abandoned children in Eastern Europe began when I went on a trip to Romania 11 years ago. Here are the details of how God ordained that trip...stay with me here this is a relevant post I assure you!
At 18 I was attending a local college on a 4 year full ride scholarship and like many other 18 year olds, I wasn't at all sure what I really wanted to major in. One of the requirements of my scholarship was that I earn a certain number of community service hours, which I chose to earn volunteering at the crisis pregnancy center. I volunteered one day per week and chose to major in Accounting while I worked part time at Gymboree. I spent what little money I earned on clothes for my nephew and niece and the rest on gas, car insurance, and books. (Oh the life of a college student, eh?) One Friday afternoon in January I learned from the director of the Pregnancy Center that she and a small group of women were going on a mission trip to Romania. "Oh, that's so great! I've always had a heart for Romania and would love to go one day." They were going to be volunteering at a hospital in Bucharest caring for the abandoned children. Bathing, feeding, rocking, and mostly being the hands and feet of Jesus to these children who otherwise would never be held or looked at or removed from their cribs. Along with the news of this trip was an opportunity for one more person to go, but they had to let the leader know by Monday if they were going to go the 15 of March.
I had not wanted to do something so much in my entire life until that point. I prayed and felt strongly that this was what God was calling me to, but I had maybe $200.00 and I needed more than a thousand by the following week for the first commitment payment.
"Oh Lord! How is this possible?"
With God all things ARE possible and somehow I had the $ for that payment when it was due, but not the money for the rest of the trip. I moved forward though, confident that when the money was needed it would be there and truly by God alone it was. I don't really know where it all came from. A hundred dollars here and twenty dollars there, but some how God provided everything and then some. I had a tub full of donations for the hospital and money leftover when March 15th came around.
That trip was absolutely amazing. I had been to Mexico on a mission trip, but nothing could have prepared me for the trip God was sending me on. The first day at the hospital opened my eyes and heart to children and a love for them that I didn't know was possible. I returned to the US and quit my job at Gymboree (mostly because I became a horrible sales person, always thinking about how much the children in Romania needed simple things like food and warmth and fresh air) and I got a job at a pediatrician's office.
So for 11 years now I have been asking God what He had me doing in Romania all those years ago and what I was supposed to be doing long term for the orphan ministry. (and begging my husband monthly to move to Romania - where adoptions are not legal) About 3 years ago we moved to North Dakota and I joined a community Bible study where I grew in the Lord and gleaned so much wisdom from the beautiful women who met there. One morning a lady from the study spoke about the trip she was taking to Central America to minister and how excited she was about it. I told some of the women how my heart was so drawn to orphan ministry in Eastern Europe and I cried telling them that I didn't understand why God had given me such a great burden for these children, when there was nothing I could do! I was heart broken and confused....but, one of these women told me that it was very possible that God still had a reason for that burden and that I might see doors open down the road.
2 years later I stumbled upon a child's file (Lance) and God began opening that door. We WERE called to orphan ministry in Eastern Europe by adopting ONE little boy who had been orphaned at birth. Fast forward another few months and the door opened a little wider when we realized that God also was calling us to another little boy (Elliott AKA Drake on Reece's Rainbow). As of June 8th I returned after meeting those precious little boys of MINE for the first time. I am absolutely in love with them and I ache to have them HOME with their Daddy and Mama forever.
I asked at Lance's orphanage if it would be possible for a ministry team to come volunteer some time and the director said it might at some point be a possibility. I came home thinking that this was a step in the right direction and once the boys were home I would start pursuing that possibility. HAHAHA God has other plans - remember this is NOT Melissa's time frame. A few days after I got home I learned that many of the staff in the orphanages in Eastern Europe take August and part of September off for vacation. This means that the children are not taken outside, or downstairs, or even down the hall for one of the only months during the year that the weather would permit it. So I asked the director of Elliott's orphanage the same question: "Would it be possible to send a mission team to help in the orphanage during the holiday time to love on and care for the children?" I went to bed after sending the e-mail thinking I would hear back in a week and probably the answer would be something along the lines of "Some time that MAY be possible." Instead...I got an e-mail in the morning saying "The director agrees...please send the number of ladies that will be traveling, the dates, and the program." SWING WIDE THOSE DOORS!!!!!!!!
(Some of the country my little boys are living in)
God has a calling and a purpose for His people! He is using that seed planted in Romania to grow into an amazing opportunity to show love to other children in Eastern Europe, who otherwise may never know love.
(Some pictures of MY Lance)
FRIENDS, READERS, PASSERSBY!!!! Please pray for this ministry as it begins, pray for the directors' hearts of this country to continue to open and trust this ministry, pray for women who are willing and able to step out of their comfort zones and in faith to reach out to these children, pray for God to provide the funds for those who He has called to this ministry.
FINALLY, as I write there are still a few spots open for this year's trip. If you are interested in going, please e-mail me at: email@example.com