Hey everyone! I’m back from Europe!
In the air…
I want to start by saying that the mission trip was a huge success!! The only problem was when our bus broke down in the city. However, it was a large city and we were able to find a hotel with the exact amount of beds we needed! Besides the fact that we arrived at the OM Moldova building a day later than planned, everything went on schedule. At least it wasn’t the plane that broke down!
We attended a couple church services Sunday and I have to say, I was going crazy not being able to understand what the preacher was saying. I also got to share my testimony with the 2 lone Christians in a village. It seemed like my story really encouraged them.
The village church meeting where I got to share my testimony.
The youth camp went very well and it was a lot of fun getting to lead it and spend time with the kids. We played soccer and volleyball and many other games as well. One of the many activities we had was an adventure course in the woods. We would go in the woods climbing up trees and walking on rope and completing the various obstacles in our way. The final obstacle was an extremely muddy and slippery slope. One member of our team had to climb up, hold onto the rope, and help the rest of the team up. We got it after about 15 minutes of slipping and sliding :). We then slid down into another (very) muddy spot into a mud pit. Guys had to get out by crawling (using no arms or hands!) through the mud for about 20 to 25 feet. Girls could use their hands however. By the end, I was completely covered in mud! I think the kids had a blast and that they will definitely want to come back next year.
The main camp area.
The first two days of the camp I decided to go with the village team instead and help some needy families in nearby villages. Going with them was really eye-opening, and even though I knew they would be poor, I couldn’t believe how poor they actually were. For example, a first grader we visited had some sort of disease that slowly ate away his bones. I gave him several of my CLIF Bars and he was very thankful. His little brother has symptoms of the same disease, but the parents can’t afford another wheelchair. I was not very prepared for seeing the level of need there. I don’t even know how to adequately describe their situation besides, they live in seemingly hopeless poverty.
A teenager fighting to keep the ball from being stolen.
Our soccer and volleyball field.
I was also really able to connect with God while I was there. It was nice getting to feel His presence in the worship and to know that I was helping kids get to know Him better. I feel like we impacted the Moldovans through worship, drama, activities, and teachings. The drama especially was very moving and really encompassed our camp theme of “Who’s Your Hero?” Our whole team really took it as a personal challenge to advance the kingdom of God while we were there. I think we were able to encourage and lift up a lot of the kids. Most of the kids were returning from the previous year, but there were also many gypsie and unsaved kids there. Several even got saved and were prayed for! Gypsies kids are kind of like outcasts in society. The gypsie adults take most of the money families make and scare them into giving more. I feel like we helped the kids feel especially welcome in a country where they normally aren’t.
One of the most AMAZING drinks ever created: beer without alcohol!! I don’t remember the exact name of it, but it was GOOD!
Some food I had in Kiev. Good stuff, good stuff…
The food there was some of the best food I have ever had!! And if you’ve known me for awhile now, you will know that I LOVE food. And it was no exception in Europe. The only bad experience I had was when I ordered a “pancake” thinking it would be something like a American pancake with maple syrup. Nah, it was a rolled up piece of pancakey bread, with creamy cheesey stuff, and raisins inside. Ugh, worst stuff I’ve ever had…
Yes, they actually let you get on the tanks, even though it’s an outdoor museum!!
The Motherland Monument.
St. Peter’s Basilica.
Thank you family for all of the prayer and support you all have given me. It was very encouraging to hear how excited you guys were for me. And I especially want to thank you for the donations and all the money you sent in. If it wasn’t for that, I wouldn’t have been able to go.
In the Kiev airport waiting for the ride back home. At 5 in the morning…
Even though I love America, I cannot wait to go back to Moldova in a year or two and reconnect with some friends I made there! Totally wish I could’ve stayed longer 🙂 Now, I will be doing a second post featuring the landscape of Moldova, but I didn’t feel like it fit in with the general summary of the trip. It will feature the animals I’ve seen, the landscape, and just anything that fits under the topic of “naturey.”
Keep calm and track on!