Saturday, August 29, 2015

A Quick Visit to Voluntari and Other Things

So, not much in the way of excitement has been going on around here lately. For me it's mostly lessons and homework. The Periș kids were at the beach last week. One roommate went to visit some friends about two and half hours away and my other roommate works every day from about 2:00 in the afternoon until well past midnight (this means she sleeps until about 11:00 every morning and I'm lucky if I see her at all). My friend Talitha was at camp all week so I was pretty much alone. I got some housecleaning completed and some napping done but nothing of great importance. Oh, and a lot of homework finished as well.

By Thursday my roommate was back so we went to the team house to help make school kits to give to the orphanages. The kids don't start school for a few more weeks but we needed to get it done before some of the staff takes vacation. Several of them are taking international trips that will be several weeks long so we want to be ready to hit the ground running when they return.

After making the school kits we went over to the orphanage at Voluntari to hang out with the kids. It was a really nice day so we stayed outside with them.

Sometimes I let the kids play games or take pictures on my phone. I wish I could show you how dirty my case was after they had handled it on Thursday. But then I wouldn't have such fabulous pictures as this one of Alexandra shaking her butt:
Occasionally she does slow down long enough to take a decent picture. However, she has no "off" button for her sass.

Other than getting to see the kids, the week as been fairly low key. I say fairly because there are some personal things going on right now that I'm dealing with. All I can really say is that the devil is alive and kicking. It's hard when every day you feel the fatigue of the spiritual battle going on around you. It's hard to do my part daily to take every thought and action captive and turn it over to God. Physically I have been really tired this week and my body has been really sore. Emotionally I have struggled with anxiety and feelings of helplessness. I see the beautiful sunset and know the park is just across the street but I have had a hard time finding the energy or motivation to get out and enjoy it. I've felt kind of lonely. Not homesick but just lonely in that way you get when you feel like a total outsider (gee, I wonder why...).

Some of this is just a passing phase. I know that. I can sense that it is coming to an end as the kids return from their vacations and as we look ahead to the new school year. I'm excited about the possibilities that lie in front of me. Yet, there is the real tug of other things, the things that try and drag you away from the true mission, that try and take your eyes off God. It's for those things that I would appreciate prayers.

Meanwhile, I will continue to keep my eyes on the prize...

Wednesday, August 19, 2015

Some Random Things

1. I started language lessons on the 17th of August. My teacher (more fondly know as "Doamna") explained that in the beginning there is a lot to learn and remember. She assures me it will get easier as we go along. Right now I feel like my brain is so full that it might start leaking out my ears. This is only after 2 lessons.

2. Praise the Lord, we have a cold front moving through!
Last week was in the 90's and it was almost unbearable. My friend, Talitha, and I were devising a plan to make homemade air conditioning units. Thankfully we got a natural respite from the heat. I would be happy if it stayed this way until March.

3. We went to see the kiddos at Voluntari yesterday for the first time in several weeks. I missed their little faces! We made super hero "puffs", played some games, and colored pictures. The kids are extremely restless and getting bored. They leave for their last vacation (at the sea) next week before school starts. The kids from Periș are also going to the sea next week. School should (hypothetically) start around mid-September so summer is winding down for everyone.
Making our "puffs."

Playing games. I had no idea what the point of this game was but Darius sure did and made sure that I played it correctly. I'm pretty sure he won.
Alex and I.
Coloring time.
4. Currently there is a funeral taking place next door. Like, next-door-to-my-apartment, next door.
I'm not sure what the social protocol is for taking pictures of this type of thing but I did anyways. And yes, that is a casket lid propped against the wall.
Apparently this is how it's done in Romania. Next door is an open casket with a deceased person inside. And the front door is just open so people can come and go and pay their respects (and, apparently, leave flowers and money (according to custom)). This will continue for several days and then, I'm guessing, they will take the deceased person out. Down eight flights of stairs, nonetheless. We shall see. To say this is a cultural experience is an understatement.

That's all I can think of for right now. I'm going to enjoy the breeze that's wafting through my apartment and rest my brain for a bit.

Monday, August 10, 2015

After ___ Days, They Rested

Well, summer camps for 2015 are over. The last game has been played, the last song has been sung, the last dramatic meltdown has occurred. And now we rest.

To be honest the last week of camp was truly a trying time. All of our month-long summer team members had left. The schedule had to be totally revamped. Our original plan to go to Rosiori to have the camp was scrapped and, instead, we put the kids on a train and brought them to us. This meant that we had to entertain the kids all day long. I was tired just thinking about it. And, to top it off, because these kids live so far away, I'm not very close with many of them.

My enthusiasm was kind of low. Just being honest.

But God will work around me and my crap-tastic attitude. The "God Echo" (or Sacred Echo as Margaret Feinberg calls it) this week was, "Are you content where you're at?" Not, "Are you happy?" Not, "Do you enjoy this?" But, "Am I enough for you? Is what I have given you enough? Where are you fixing your eyes? On earthly things or on me?"

Ugh, lessons with God. You can't lie because He already knows the answer. And you need to learn it but sometimes it's not all that fun.

So, the first day of camp was rough, the second day was worse. It was a day where you just want to throw up your hands, throw in the towel, and send everyone home. My boss, Jen, had a little heart to heart with the kids and the third day was amazing. Then, of course,  just as things were getting good, the kids were behaving, and I was starting to bond with them, they went home. Naturally.

After camp we spent some time with the kids at Periș and Voluntari which was nice because we hadn't seen them in awhile. Then my paperwork for my health insurance in the States got lost, my phone data stopped working, and I spent 3 hours trying to set up the internet at our house (which had been out for almost 2 weeks).

One day I told my roommate, Corny, that I think God just wants me to be present in the moment. To focus on what I have and what He is doing around me. To stop looking around and start looking up. I really want my eyes to be opened. I want to be content where I'm at, no matter the circumstances. No matter how the kids act. No matter if the internet is working or not. No matter if my paperwork gets lost. No matter if it's a million degrees out and we have no air conditioning. No matter if I want to sing Blessed Be the Name of the Lord one. more. time. or not. Because this isn't about me. It's totally 110% about God.

Pray for me. This may take awhile to grasp.

Making team bandanas on the first day of camp.
Soccer in the park (by the flying saucer).
A game of aquatic basketball.
More basketball.
Team building activities.
Skits around the campfire.
Making s'mores.