Monday, October 29, 2007
Monday, October 22, 2007
I was just checking out my friend's blog at Missions Down Under and discovered that they are expecting a little miracle. Kris and Jason have prayed for a baby for so many years, and we all have prayed with them. So, just wanted to say miracles happen, prayers are answered, and our lives are blessed beyong anything we can comprehend.
Posted by April at 6:43 AM
Friday, October 19, 2007
So, here they are, the photos I took while visiting Romania and Moldova. The first set are from Moldova. Our first day in the country we visited a little village. Each village or town always has a crucifix of some sort set up as you enter, and so I took a picture of the one tha welcomed us to this little corner of the world. The food is the meal we were served while we visited.
You will also find a photo here of me with Leila, a new friend I met through Leona Bergstrom in Seattle. Leila works for Dorcas International and her husband is a missionary pastor who helps start churches in villages. Our meeting with her was by far one of the best. She was so sweet and humble, but really knew what she was talking about. It is so aparent she has a heart for the poor.
Chisinau is the capitol city of Moldova. It's streets are graced with trees that frame old buildings and beautiful architecture. I took some photos of buildings that caught my eye, both exteriors and interiors.
The city also boasts beautiful iron work and so I took a few photos of a fence that was near a bus stop where we were waiting to meet someone. The men in the photo are David Chronic and John Koon.
At one of the orphanges we visited I discovered an old Baldwin upright, so I took a picture of it in honor of my dad. For those of you who don't know, my dad and grandpa sold Baldwin pianos and organs for many years. This exact piano was one I was really familiar with as my dad sold many of them to Redlands Christian School where I attended.
Unfortunately, and I really don't know what I was thinking, I didn't take any pictures of Galati. I'm shaking my head at myself right now...But, I did get to see a bit of Bucharest before I left and so you'll find them here.
The enormous building is the People's Palace and was built under the communist dictator Chauciscu (I know I spelled that incorrectly, but hopefully you know who I'm talking about). It is one of the largest buildings in the world, second only to the Pentagon (!...you can imagine what I think about that). The road leading up to it is flanked with trees and fountains on all sides. Besides the trees are more enormous white buildings that look sort of Greek and seem to be mostly used as apartments and retail. When the dictator wanted to build this whole square, he plowed down old living spaces and I guess left 10's of thousands of people homeless in order to do it. It also cost kajillions of dollars to build, was never fully used, and left the country even more destitute. Still, he called it the "people's palace" like any good communist would. It truly is a beautiful setting and yet is shadowed by a sort of sadness that points to a time when the individual was forgotten in favor of the collective good...or at least what one man said was the collective good.
Bucharest had a huge French influence at one time, and so the last place I visited was modeled after the Arch de Triumphe in Paris. (I think maybe I spelled that incorrectly also...sorry).
And there you have it, my trip in a few photos.
I was able to squeeze out a poem during the trip...something that has grown almost as foreign to me as Romania itself. You'll find it below the collage.
Thanks to so many of you who remembered me in your prayers and for your kind thoughts and words via the blog, facebook, or email. I look forward to talking with you soon.
I Can't Do Anything with this Dark
It's a quarter to 4 a.m.
And I can't do anything with this dark,
sleep, read, pray.
I can see only as far as the bus headlights illuminate,
along a bumpy Moldovan road,
On my way to Chisinau for clarification
or further vision.
My fellow travelers sleep
and I am asleep-awake in the twilight
world of jetlag.
This road leads past the lives of the living poor
whose barren vineyards are eery shadows-
appartitions who trail us, me, mile after mile
in this dark,
and I can't do anything
A fog settles in and not even headlights
are enought to cut through what I cannot see,
along a bumpy Moldovan road
on my way to Chisinau.
The fog breaks
The bumps increase,
We turn a corner
and I find I still can't do anything with this dark.
We pass a man walking in the night
and I wonder where he is going all alone,
so late, so early, without a light.
Perhaps he knows what to do with the dark,
and that is nothing more than go straight.
"Go straight," I hear him say as we speed by,
Our lights catching his eyes reflection,
illuminating. "Go straight," he whispers.
I catch a gleam of his life, and
breathe deeply the beauty of this,
a night when I could do nothing.
Posted by April at 2:46 AM
Tuesday, October 16, 2007
It's my last day in Galati and the time has gone so quickly. I knew it would, but I'm still surprised it did. It's been a total of 2 weeks, and in some ways it feels short, but in others long. When I'm back in Houston I'll post some pictures I've taken, but there aren't many so you'll have to rely on my words.
The first couple days in Romania were spent resting and adjusting to the time change. I met Word Made Flesh people and saw the drop-in center, but mostly hung out with Audra and Ron and their boys. Quick note: I interned in Omaha 15 years ago with Ty Schenzel, and Audra was one of my junior high girls! Such a small world, but also an amazing thing to see God weave our stories together again.
I left for Moldova with David Chronic, John Koon, Josh and Robin Fowler, and the Word Made Flesh Servant Team on Sunday. Late. Our bus left at like midnight. So, we didn't arrive in Chisinau until 6am and didn't get to where we were staying until 7.30. It was amazing to see Chisinau come to life in the early morning hours. It's really a pretty city, reminding me a lot of Budapest, only smaller.
David, John, and myself slept for a couple hours and then left for a village where we met with a school principal, a teacher, and some students. In Moldova it seems that most of the poverty is in the villages and not in the city. In fact, I can count on one hand how many people I saw begging in the city and I didn't come across one street kid. We learned that the authorities pick up street kids pretty quickly and put them in orphanages.
In the village we also met very briefly with the mayor. We talked about the needs of the village and what kind of help they would like to receive. It was interesting... and the drive to the village was gorgeous. Moldova is a hilly country with a zillion vineyards and so much potential for farming. However, resources are so limited that it can be difficult to make a living. Ideas of self-sustainability would be interesting in this context.
We were treated to a dinner in the home of a Moldovan woman who made everything we saw on the table right down to the flour in the cake...just not the chocolate in the cocoa. It was amazing...however, since I'd been sick and traveling I just didn't have much of an appetite and my stomach had probably shrunk...I was forcing myself to eat! But it was all very good and I'll have pictures of the feast later.
Other than that, the rest of our week was spent in Chisinau meeting with a bunch of groups who either work with orphans or victims of human trafficking. We learned so much and are of the mind that we'd like to find what God is doing and where we can join Him in that work. It may be awhile...and with that I am fine. I'm really wanting to take any move into Moldova very slowly, with certainty that we are where we should be.
Back in Galati I was able to go to church and hang out at Casa Vale, which is the drop in center. It's been really great.
I wish I had more to say. In many ways I think I'm still in this place of transition and the reality of everything that is happening is so big that I find words difficult to come by. I keep trying to imagine life away and apart from those I love, what it will be like to stay away from them for such long periods of time, not hearing their voices, feeling their hugs. Knowing that as time passes, the ache of my leaving will lessen for them and my memory will soften. I don't say this out of self-pity, it is reality. And it hurts, this thought of not being remembered, of loss of memory. It's sort of sucking me dry...breaking my heart. And I bring it to Jesus, I give it to Him, because it is all I have. I do it for Love.
Posted by April at 6:57 AM
Wednesday, October 10, 2007
I know I haven't been in touch and I'm sorry about that...and this is going to be quick as I'm tired...but wanted to say hi and that I'm doing well. Currently I'm in Chisinau and it is a beautiful city...exploring many opportunities and we'll see what happens. Friday night we head back to Galati, Romania...where I'll hope to catch you up on more of my happenings.
For now, I had to say that before I learned how to say, 'hello' or 'how are you' in romanian, I learned to say beer and wine.
Yep...things are going well. :)
Posted by April at 1:47 PM
Wednesday, October 03, 2007
Here's what I know of my schedule for my trip to Romania and Moldova:
Oct. 4: Leave for Romania
Oct. 8: Leave for Moldova
Oct. 14: Return to Romania
Oct. 18: Return to the states
So, it's not a ton of information, but hopefully it's a bit of an idea of where I'll be. I'll try and give some updates via the blog about what I'm learning and doing.
As many of you know, I had the flu yesterday and I'm still feeling not so great. Would appreciate your prayers as I still don't feel much like eating and I have some packing to do.
Right now I'm in Houston staying with my sister Jamie and her family. Yesterday was Jamie's birthday. We had plans to spend the day together, shopping and going to lunch. Instead I was hugging the toilet.She was so sweet and took such great care of me. Even today she's out running errands for me. I think it just speaks to what a great woman and friend and sister she is...giving up celebrating her birthday to take care of me. I'm so thankful...Happy Birthday Jamie...
Posted by April at 10:37 AM
Monday, October 01, 2007
I had to buy a couple suitcases before I left Portland, so E and I took Ava with us. To keep her occupied I gave her an old tube of lipgloss...here are the results.
My favorite moment was when she saw herself in a mirror and said: oh mommy, it's not so pretty...
Posted by April at 11:46 AM