Wednesday, June 3, 2009


Gata is one of the first Romanian words that I learned. It is also one of my favorite. It means finished or done. Gata is what one of the little girls here will tell me when she is dizzy from me spinning her around and she wants me to stop. But gata is also what I would say to her as I grab her hands when she comes running back wanting me to spin her around again..."Gata? - Are you ready?"

I am ready and I am finished. These seem like two opposite meanings for the same word, but as I thought about it I realized that it makes sense and helps me as I think about my time here coming to an end.

In just a few days I will be flying back to America.
And it feels like the end has come too fast. I will miss this place and these people and the sense of being a part of something that is bigger than myself. It is hard to think next week I won't have a small child reach up and take my hand and I won't fumble through my Romanian asking the kids what they did at school that day. Yet I am coming to realize that these things have to end, and I need to embrace this ending, if I am going to welcome what God has next for me. And I know what He has next for me is in America. I am standing in this threshold of what has past and what is to come and it is scary, but I am ready to see what lies beyond it.


Friday, May 22, 2009

The Home Stretch.

So. In 2 weeks and 2 days I will be leaving Galati.

Does this 4 months seem to have gone by really quickly for anyone else?

It is funny to think back to my first experience with the city. We came in on a train and immediatly got on a city bus to go to our host parents homes. I refused to take off my huge backpack that held half of my posessions and I took in the city through the windows of the bus. I remember having the thought then that everything that was so foreign to me then would be like old hat to me by the time I leave.
Robin took me into my host mom's house and I'm fairly positive I had tears in my eyes the entire time. She would lean over occasionally and tell me what they were talking about. I know cell phones entered the conversation at one point. Robin left and Doamna Scarlott pulled out the couch for me to sleep on and I was alone.

I am still sleeping on that same couch, and still haven't quite found the comfortable spot on it, but I do feel comfortable in my room. My host mom comes in and out at times to go onto the balcony, which doesn't have a door, so she uses the window. (Picture this: My little 60 year old host mom standing in the large window calling out "Buna Seara" to me while I am laying in bed. It was hilarious.) I can probably take the bus from my house to the Center with my eyes closed and tell you most everything you would see at every stop. For example, at the second stop there is a little restaurant where you just walk up and order your food and leave, it is called the Golden Chicken. It ALWAYS has a line...9 in the morning or 11 at night it doesn't matter, there are always people there.

There is still a lot to do before I go. We are having a Princess Day tomorrow with most of the older girls at the center. Just a day for them where they can feel special and honored. It will conclude with a dance party that I am in charge of. (My love for dancing was learned early on.) We will also will be riding the ferry across the Danube and going to Chinese with Simona, our language teacher. Anca and I will finish making my dress (thats right people, I'm learning how to sew!) I will make strawberry jam with Robin and stain some wood for a fence at the center.

So much to do! So little time! I can't believe it.

What is everyone else up to in the next weeks?

Sunday, April 19, 2009

Spring Time in Galati.

In honor of Annie on my team, who makes no less than 5 lists a day, I have put together a little list snapshot of ways you can tell it is spring time in Galati.

- The sun actually shines
- It is 65 degrees outside, but most people are still bundled up.
- The trees are in bloom so there are lots of white pedals everywhere (It is sort of like Chattanooga, only with out the smell)
- Icecream is now sold at all the corner stores
- The bottoms of trees and the curbs get a fresh coat of white paint

What signs of spring am I missing in the states?

Friday, April 17, 2009


Hristos a inviat din morti
Cu moartea pe moartea calcand
Si celor din morminte
Viata duruindu- le

Christ has risen from the dead
Stepping with death on death
And giving to those from the graves
Giving them life.

It is Easter here this weekend and I wouldn't want to be anywhere else to celebrate.

Tonight I am going to a Good Friday service at an Eastern Orthodox church. I will crawl under a table to signify my dying with Christ. Tomorrow I will go to a midnight service to usher in Easter. I will sing the above song as the priest lights candles through out the crowd. Then Sunday afternoon we will have a celebration here at the center. Singing. Food. and Games.

Paste Fericit!
Happy Easter!

Thursday, April 9, 2009

Reflection on Moldova

I can hardly believe the city I left a week ago has become the site of a revolution. It is a little surreal to think I was there snapping pictures of the Presidential Palace and the House of Parliament just a few weeks ago. It is scary and exciting (as change usually is) to think about what these protests will mean for this little country.

I was surprised to learn before our trip that Moldova has a communist leader. And I was quite unsure of what that meant once I got there, as I didn't see anyone standing in line waiting for their share of bread or oil. After talking with someone who has lived there her whole life about what communism was like under the USSR, I was able to ask why people would still want to live under that. She said the older generation longs for that security, the illusion that everything is okay and working as it should. It was explained to me later that this is why so many people send their children to orphanages; they believe that it is the state's responsibility to take in and care for their children. That the state will provide for their children what they as parents could not.

We visited an orphanage in Straseni during our stay - over 400 children live in what can only be described as an institution. Someone on the team said they only thought places like this existed in the movies. The lady we spoke to has about 20 children in her care, some of whom were in the room with us. She talked about then and their lives with out much sensitivity or regard to their presence. I don't want to be down on orphanages or the people who work there. I only spent a few hours there and can not imagine what it would be like being there day in and day out. I want to believe (even if it is naive) that they do their best to deal with the needs of the kids. But it didn't take much for us to see these kids are longing for attention. Someone who will look at them and hold their hand. All of us had thoughts of there must be another way. With over 12,000 orphans in Moldova, surely people can't continue to believe the state has all the answers.

The elections in Moldova were held just 3 days after we left. I got the impression that there seemed to be little doubt that the communists would remain in power. Most of the people of working age live abroad in order to make money, which explains why there are so many orphans, and they can not vote. This leaves children, who also cannot vote, and the older generation who long for the (false) security that communism provides.
In some ways I am thankful for these protests. It shows the people are ready for a change. I think it shows the citizens are ready to take on some responsibility for the direction their country is going and not just be lead by the state. It gives me hope that things can be different there.

I have thought a lot about politics since arriving here 2 months ago. National and international politics, the politics of Jesus, how politics plays a part in almost all of my interactions. I am still confused by most of it, but I am coming to see politics is about accepting the power you have to change what you see going on around you. I am thankful for these Moldovans who are willing to stand up for what they believe, who want change and are willing to risk something for it.

Here are a couple articles about what has been going on in Moldova the past few days:

Friday, March 20, 2009

Eu ma duc la Moldova! (I am going to Moldova!)

The time has come for us to pack up and move this party to Moldova. I can hardly believe it is time for this already. We are spending the night at the center Sunday and will leave the center on Monday morning at an early 5:20 to make it down to the train station to catch our train at 6:00. We will travel about 4 hours by train to reach Iasi, Romania. There we will have a few hours to walk around and see a different part of Romania. We will take a maxi-taxi (think large van) over to Chisinau, Moldova. We plan on arriving there around 6:00 in the evening, but that all depends on how long it takes us at customs. I've been told this can be a long process.
I learned that if we were making this "trek" in America it would be about a 3 hour car ride. So the fact it will be over 12 hours is slightly depressing to me.

In Chisnau we will be working with an organization called the Bethany Center. They have built homes in an old Pioneer Camp (I've been told Pioneer Camps is wher children went to learn about communism back in the days of the USSR). The Bethany Center owns 10 homes on this camp and have made a community for themselves and are working to become self-stustaining. Each home contains a set of parents and up to 10 kids; some of these kids are their biological childern, some are foster kids and orphans. Unlike regular orphanages in Moldova these kids are not kicked out when they turn 16. Once these kids are accepted into the homes they are quite literally part of the family.
We will be staying with these families for the 11 days we will be in Moldova. During our time there we will be working on a school they are building on the property. In the evenings we will be doing an English club for the kids that are interested. We're excited to do this, but also feeling a little underqualified. We're hoping everything will work out; I'm sure we are making it a more stressful than it needs to be. Some days we will also be going into the city to give out meals to the homeless. We will also be visiting the Grace House (a transitional living home for girls) on Friday. Saturday we will be playing with the kids of the families; big group games and such. Then on Sunday will be going to visit an orphanage in Straseni (a near by village) on Sunday afternoon.
Word Made Flesh will be setting up shop in Moldova in January. We are the first Servant Team to take a trip like this to acutally serve in Moldova. At first I thought this trip was going to help the staff going to Moldova figure out a little bit what serving there would look like, but this trip is acutally for us so we can see something else and be considering/praying about joining them there in Moldova.
I am anxious and excited to make this trip and join in what God is already doing there. Thank you, as always, for your prayers during my time here. I don't anticipate having internet during my time in Moldova, but I will give an update when I get back!

Sunday, March 8, 2009

A Lesson.

Upon coming home from church today I did a little bit of my Romanian homework and then took a nap. I woke up about 3:30 and realized I had slept through lunch. Knowing I was coming down to the internet cafe in about an hour I knew I had to eat something before dinner. So I go into the kitchen and get some bread, take it into my room and eat it with some peanut butter I brought from the states.

Not 5 minutes after I have finished this my host mom comes in wanting to know if I am hungry. I tell her that I am fine, but she insits, motioning that I slept through lunch and that she wants to feed me. I give in, but I tell her that I will eat just a little bit.

I follow her into the kitchen and she shows me some soup and pasta with red sauce. I choose the soup, its the lighter of the 2 options and she fills my bowl (a little too full) and I begin to eat. She is still moving around the kitchen, which is pretty normal. She holds up the pasta and says "Vreau?" I nod my head, indicating that I like pasta. I continue eating, and notice that she is putting some pasta on a plate. I think she is just getting my plate ready for dinner. Then, to my dismay, I remember "vreau" means WANT not like. So in addtion to my peanutbutter and soup I am also served half a plate of spaghetti and a small piece of chicken. Goodness. I definitely won't make that mistake again..