Wednesday, April 01, 2009


In the midst of about a billion things going on today and me feeling like I'm in Jesse Spano mode, I'm taking a brief pause to write.

In case I haven't updated everyone, I'm leaving tomorrow on my third adventure to Oradea, Romania. I'm taking a group of 10 students + 2 friends+ me (13 of us total) to a place that has somehow become near and dear to my heart over the past 3-4 years. We leave campus in approximately 19 hours and fly out of Chicago in 25.5 hours. About 9 hours later, we'll land in Zurich, Switzerland, and then several hours later fly out toward Budapest, Hungary, ride in a van for 3 hours and arrive at our final destination: Caminul Felix in Oradea, Romania.

While the place where we stay, Caminul Felix, is a ministry organization itself, we'll be working primarily with Rachel Ross--a friend and alum of Lincoln Christian College as well. Rachel followed the burden God put on her heart for abandoned children in Romania and went there years ago to work with abandoned babies in the hospitals. Since then, she began building relationships and sharing Jesus with gypsy families in the village of Tinca. Out of that grew a ministry she began called Forget Me Not Ministries, and God has been working by providing support and opportunities for this ministry to grow. You can read more about what she's doing at

Why Romania? Why gypsies?

* Romania has a population of 22,303,052 in an area that is roughly the size of Oregon
* The average income = $100/month
* Poverty is widespread, and umemployment has risen while living standards have fallen.
* There are 5,000 children abandoned every year.
* 31.8% of the babies left at hospitals have no identity papers, so are considered "invisible."
* There are currently 29,000 children currently in institutions.
* 15% of Romania's population is Roma (Gypsies), who are greatly discriminated against.
* 80% of the abandoned children in institutions and hospitals are Roma (Gypsies).
* 1.4 to 2.5 million of the population consists of Roma (Gypsies).

These statistics are just one thing, but when you come face-to-face with the reality that these people (gypsies) are not even considered human by the rest of culture, the statistics come to life. And when you meet some of the children who have beautiful smiles on their faces, despite the fact that they were locked in a cellar or left under a bridge or were not held for the first year of their lives, the statistics don't even mean much anymore. Each little smile and each precious life becomes more important than any number.

The kids have stolen little pieces of my heart every time I have been (this will be my third trip), and I'm sure I'll return in 10 days with a little more of it there.

But somehow, each time a little piece of my heart is stolen by them, my heart becomes more whole.

These words of Bethany Dillon's song "Beggar's Heart" have been resounding in my heart:
Hands reaching through barred windows
Falling asleep on the sidewalk
You say You draw near to the low
Now I'm here, I know I'm not low enough
Because all the things I know
Suddenly seem so small
When You build, it feels like You tear me apart
When you heal, it always leaves a scar
And even when You fill, You leave me with a beggar's heart
I pray that each of us will return with a beggar's heart. I'm excited to see what God is going to do in the next 2 weeks. Please feel free to follow our blog at Each of us will hopefully be posting on there throughout the trip.
Thanks for your prayers!

1 comment:

Emily said...

Praying for you and those you'll be reaching!