My latest endeavor was a trip to Romania for missions work. Why Romania? Mathew 25:40 “The King will reply, ‘Truly I tell you, whatever you did for one of the least of these brothers and sisters of mine, you did for me.’ The Romani and gypsy communities in Romania are among some of the most impoverished and discriminated people in the world. For the last two summers I have had the opportunity to reach out to some very special kids that live in a the poorest section of a city called Târnăveni.
Besides actually being with the kids, my absolute favorite part of the trip would have to be the bus rides once we were in the mountainous parts of Romania. It may just be because I am from southern Louisiana where there aren’t even hills, but I am so drawn to mountains. I get so excited. Riding along the countryside always creates the deepest sense of awe and appreciation for creation. Romania and its people are among the most beautiful things that I have ever encountered. The bus rides through the mountains seemed so familiar as this was my second summer taking this trip. Even though it had been a whole year since I traveled those roads, I could still remember certain points along the way and even gas stations we had stopped at the year before. Reconnecting with my friends from Connecticut that I met last summer was so much fun, and working with all of the kids in their youth group was also really cool. I couldn’t have asked for a better group of people to travel with.
Day 1 of camp and VBS (vacation Bible school) was awesome. We had the same basic schedule everyday with Bible stories, art, music, and games rotating throughout the first half of the day. Then all of the afternoon activities varied each day. This first days’ activities included colorful parachutes and a huge 9 foot wide beach ball. All of which were thoroughly enjoyed by the kids.
Day 2 we had a water games which consisted of hundreds of water balloons and slip n slides. Snack that day was of course watermelon! (Some of the best watermelon I’ve ever tasted to be honest.)
Day 3 was the hike and bonfire. We hiked for a total of an hour and the spot we ended up stopping at had such an incredible view of the Carpathian Mountains. After the hike all of the older guys and myself gathered tons of wood for the bonfire later that night. We even had supplies for the kids to make s’mores, which most of them had never had before!
Day 4 Everyone was excited to show off at the talent show! Kids were told to sign up and practice for this night, and there was indeed some true talent that walked onto the stage. These kids love to sing and dance. They also learned some songs in English throughout week which was so amazing to hear.
The kids looked like they were having tons of fun each and every day. At the end of every day, we as a team had a “debriefing” meeting where we discussed improvement methods for the next day and things like that. It was honestly hard work. We woke up around 7:00 am and, as a chaperone, I didn’t stop working until about 12:00 am. Every single moment we dedicated to those kids, which is of course how it was supposed to be. Every one of the ACF staff member are so passionate about what they are doing with these kids which is such a huge inspiration. The teachers and translators love these kids so much. It is so relieving to see that the kids are exposed to that kind of care. Most of the kids don’t get treatment like this at home. The most important message we wanted the kids to get out of the week was that God is love, and that they can feel His love and presence whether they are at the Point of Hope center or not.
I was happy to be the teams’ designated photographer for this trip. At the end of the week as I walked around capturing the faces covered in tears and all of the hugs that our team was sharing with the Romanian children – I began to sob. If you happen to know me well, you would probably know that I am not a super emotional person. It takes a lot for me to start crying. These moments were some of the most powerfully emotional moments that I have ever experienced. The girl that I sponsor came up to hug me I couldn’t control it. I sobbed- not because I knew this girl very well or just because I would miss her, but because I realized that it was all worth it. Seeing the connections the rest of our team had made in just a few days with these precious kids, is what struck me so hard.
I wasn’t sure if taking this trip was “smart” for me. I just finished my first year of college and I only have a small part time job. Financially it really didn’t make sense for me to go. Something drove me to try though. I felt like God would provide someway if He was in fact leading me to go back this summer. I was blessed by so many people who are close to me and even some people who I hardly know. If you were one of those people- I cannot thank you enough for your donations. You were a big contributor to all of the smiles, laughs, and hugs that those kids received that week. You also helped spread the message of the love of Christ to these children which was the most important aspect of this trip.
This trip was very different for me this year since I was a chaperone helping lead a team of teenagers. I wasn’t able to interact with the kids as much as the rest of our team. But seeing this group of young people run the camp and form real bonds with these kids made me just as content. The money, time, and effort has been so completely worth it. This land and its people are now so close to my heart and I want to continue to support the efforts of Another Child Foundation for the rest of my life.
– Liz Courville
To donate or sponsor a child through Another Child Foundation check out their website: http://www.anotherchild.org/
My GoFundMe: https://www.gofundme.com/elizabethcourville