About a month ago, I traveled to Tulcea, Romania - a little country town far east by the Black Sea where the hills are plenty with sunflower fields, sheep & their shepherds, farmers & their markets. I can still see the quaint buildings with pops of color, the way the laundry was hung outside over the railings, and the how grapevines dressed the rooftops. This was a trip that has made a large mark in my life. For I traveled to Tulcea to meet orphans, children whose family life looks a little bit differently than my own.
God has been and is continually calling me to MOVE beyond myself.
With Romania, He called me take steps of faith, of discomfort, of fear, and even steps of failure so that I could travel far and get to know these wonderful children. I cannot help but to proclaim that it was a privilege to do so.
That I know them by name,
that I still remember their appearance
that I was able to see them for all that they are, beautiful and full of wonder.
He let me love on them.
He enabled relationships to blossom,
for walls to come down.
He allowed me to hear their stories and
even take their picture.
It may have been a bold thing for me to fly that way, but I think it was a BOLD thing for them to speak and even share their lives to strangers, foreigners.
So thank you little ones! You are so brave and so beautiful!
God called me to go, so that His work may be seen, may be shared, may be participated in, and may be remembered.
He is a God not just of America, but of the world, of the Nations. This is the God we serve who is beckoning for us to know deeper - the God with the biggest heart for those that are forgotten, that are pushed to the side, that are treated as if they have no worth. This is THE God - THE GOD who came, who stooped to our level, looked into our eyes and was present. He spoke into our hearts so that we may have hope, to know love, to know HIM. And it wasn't just all words, He gave us HIMSELF.
Because of Him, His doing, His being, I desired to do the same just in Romania.
In Romania, international adoption is NOT an option, it's closed. This means that care for these orphans primarily comes locally. The orphan's needs in Romania are deeper than the basics of food, water, and clothing. These needs run heart and soul deep.
These children have witnessed darkness in corners of their life - or maybe in all of it.
Whether it was within their family,
or even by the ones that cared for them at times,
but at one point and time they all witnessed part of the same darkness.
These children need to know that they are extremely valued. That their worth, their identity, their future, is NOT based on their circumstances, their trials, nor suffering.
They need to hear, to see hope.
I smile because while it all may seem grim, God is working. While there is darkness, light is present and is breaking through.
He is working through the hands, the feet, the hearts, and voices of NOROC to care for the these sweet orphans in Tulcea.
This organization is being a vessel of hope, of care, and love in the orphans lives! They do this through various creative programs such as:
Big Hearted Grannies,
Because it's all about being a constant presence.
These children are so used to transition, people walking in and out, constant change, constant movement, constant words of hopelessness. Thanks be to God, for He is using NOROC to communicate HIS constant presence.
His presence is a presence that never leaves, never forsakes, never forgets, never abandons.
Being an orphan means your family and community looks a bit differently than what we might have. NOROC is stepping into the spaces in their lives that need to be filled, filled fully with love & care.
Because that's just it.
These children need love, just like any other child.
Love that never leaves. Love that binds itself to them. Love that is in the thick, the busy, the mess, and the darkness.
God is using many through NOROC to do just that.
To the servants of NOROC: to Petru, Anca, Liz, Iona, and many more - know your work is not hidden from His eyes. He sees the sacrifices. He sees your striving, He sees your heart for these children and He is with you!
May you continually abound in His love, His strength so that you can keep running. keep loving. keep healing. keep serving!