One day we went to a mental hospital that the charity assists with things like laundry detergent and sanitizers. We called ahead to find out how many people were there so we could take something to each person. It was decided to take chocolate biscuits to everyone plus a large bottle of hand cleanser for each room. They sleep three to a room.
This is the lady who is our contact at the home. She is a semi-retired dentist who serves the hospital. Her son-in-law is a pastor in the area.
Actually, before I go on, I want to tell you the story of our getting to go here, because it was such a God-thing. We were chatting around the dinner table about the places we had gone four years ago. This hospital was brought up. Pastor S said that since the dentist had retired, we had no real means of getting in there. We were disappointed because this place and a school for developmentally challenged kids were two places we wanted to go. The school was still on summer break and now no access to the hospital! Anyway, Pastor S is working on his doctorate and had a paper due, so we decided to walk into town center with his wife to give him some quiet to get some work done. We were a block from their house when we met...the dentist and her daughter the preacher's wife! S's wife mentioned that we were just talking about them. By the next morning, the dentist had arranged a visit for us. Isn't God good?!
The girls took the soap and the chocolates into the rooms where people were in bed.
I was really proud of the girls. Some of the people at this hospital were really quite disturbed. Not dangerous disturbed, but talking to voices and very low ability challenged. I've worked in that kind of setting and many of these people were lower functioning than I've been with. The girls could have easily been afraid. But instead they just jumped right in passing things out. They allowed themselves to be hugged and have pictures taken and with an amazing attitude. We didn't push them to do anything---more just wanted them to be exposed to what helping the hurting could be like. And help we did. I must admit that my first thoughts were, "chocolates and soap don't mean much" but I was amazed at how much they meant. You can see from the pictures, the rooms are sparse. Everything is common. They have nothing of their own. They cradled those bottles of soap as if we had given them gold bars. Roommates bickered over who got to hold the bottle. It was soap. And they argued over who got it. It made me want to go back and get more for everyone. We really have no idea how blessed we are!
We spent the majority of a day at the House of Hope Children's home, the first one that this ministry founded. It houses ten kids and is a home for life. Some of the kids have been there 7+ years and are now older teens with jobs. They can stay until they are able to support themselves. While we were there, there was one extra child who is the sibling of a girl there. The hope is to bring him into the home as well. We spent the day playing football, making conversation in broken English and hand gestures, singing praises, sharing some of our pictures of the last time we were there, playing computer games, etc. We had a lovely time. The kids were genuine and loving and really took to the girls.
Finally, German was able to attend a Pator's Conference with Pastor S and see first hand some of the work that is going on in Romania. The speaker at the conference was from Atlanta, so he could even understand the message!
I'll do another post of some of the people we met, but these three areas are some of the more formal work that is happening. We have learned since we returned that they are starting a new work along the lines of crisis pregnancy counseling to take in young girls who have been thrown out of their homes and giving them practical help as they look to what decisions to make. There is a pilot program being developed to use a couple of flats that have become available. There is some great hands on and realistic ministry opportunities. I am thankful for the chance to see some of it first hand.