Look Into Their Eyes

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   You walk into the village overwhelmed by the poverty and the living conditions. One room homes with a single bed that sleeps five. A fire pit for cooking and a child’s swimming pool to do laundry in. Food graciously placed out as an offering but with flies swarming around. You wonder are you really making a difference in this place? Can anyone make a difference?

    I just returned from ten days in Romania meeting with several of the partners that we are working with. Our goal is to bring faith, hope and love to the children of Romania. All of our strategic partners work at spreading the gospel message through afterschool programs, vacation bible schools and discipleship programs. Monthly in the villages of Santandrei food bags are given out as a gesture of love. Simply the message is that we care. We are not asking anything in return except for chance to be there and to pour into their lives. By showing them the love that Christ first showed to us we begin to offer them hope in something better.

    Allow me to share a visit with you. As a group we pulled into one of the poorer villages. The children are the first to come out to see what we are doing or perhaps bringing. They readily great us with hugs and hand holding. The parents stand off to one side just watching us. We gather the children around and begin to sing some simple songs. Our partner here, Danny, has visited many times so they are familiar with the songs and readily join in. They enjoy the movements and laugh at some of our clumsy attempts to dance. Next we tell a Bible Story and share a memory verse. The children are anxious to repeat the verse and receive a treat. Next we have them do a simple craft to reinforce the story and then end with some games. If you look past the poverty you could be in any neighborhood in the United States. These are children just looking to be loved and embraced. If you look into their eyes you can see that. All they really want to know is that someone cares for them. Simply by spending some time with them you begin to build a level of trust and hope. You begin to be an agent of change in their lives. This is what our partners are doing in Romania and why we are coming along side of them.

     We recently opened a new sponsorship program in these villages. The picture above is Vanesa and she was our first sponsored child there. I had the privilege of presenting her a letter from her sponsor Melissa. All of the children gathered around as Danny read her the letter in Romanian. Slowly a smile crept onto her face and her eyes began to light up. She felt valued and you could see it in her eyes. A connection had been made and change was beginning. This is what our ministry is and it is making a difference in Romania.

Written by: Chuck Guth, Director of Child Sponsorship

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408 Days

Katrina's Blog

The love affair first began in the summer of 2013. What I expected to be a quick three week trip left an impact on my life that is unforgettable. This trip lead to me spending the last three summers  navigating down bumpy roads into dusty villages all in hopes of coming face to face with sweet, innocent, and caring eyes once more. Every summer until now. Is has been 408 days since my feet were covered in Romanian dirt. 408 days since my eyes have seen the rows of sunflowers lining the cities. 408 days since I’ve tasted Momma’s cooking and 408 days since I felt tiny hands gripping to my palm. It has been 408 days. Four Hundred and Eight. That may not seem like a long time to you, but it feels like an eternity to me. You see, before the trip is over, before I leave any village, the kiddos are always asking when I am coming back. They cling to your neck, and hold you tightly. They desperately plead for one more round of duck duck goose, one more song, one more chance to feel like a kid. Every time, I want to promise them the world. I want to promise them, that I will see them soon, that there will always be another round of duck duck goose, that there are many more songs we can sing. But I can’t. I can’t promise them another game of duck duck goose, or another sing-a-long to Father Abraham, because regardless of how great my intentions may be, life happens. Life happens, our plans get disrupted and then come June a beautiful young girl is waiting to chase you in circles and ends up disappointed. Disappointed because you too told her you were coming back.

At the end of last summer I had every hope that I would be back running, chasing, laughing, and singing come June. I had every hope that I would hold their sweet hands, and let them make a mess out of my hair as they practiced braiding. I had every hope that I would be next to them once more.  

I am beyond grateful I that I didn’t commit to seeing them this summer. Now don’t get me wrong, I have made my fair share of mistakes while partaking in international ministry, but the wise advice from our dear friend Andy Baker is a nugget of truth I will always carry. He told me to never promise the next time you will see them. He told me broken promises are detrimental when it comes to our long term ministry efforts with Remember the Children.

I didn’t commit to seeing them, but I committed to them in a different way. As I journeyed back home from my second trip, I wanted to do more. I wanted to commit to them every day. I knew there were a few ways I could go about doing this. I could up and move to Romania, (which I heavily considered) or I could financially support those who were already there. I contacted Andy and asked what I could do. We were on the phone when he mentioned that House of Hope had officially adopted a very special young girl (whose name is withheld for security) and asked if I would partner with Mihai and Dana financially. He told me for $35 a month she would live in an environment that provided 3 hearty meals on the table, and Gospel driven truth in her heart daily. She would have the opportunity to learn about Jesus, and sleep in a warm bed every night.

Y’all for $35 a month I could keep this sweet toddler far far away from an orphanage and in the arms of love, kindness and grace. For $35 a month I could commit to this little girl, even when I am 6,295 miles away. For $35 a month I could put back the new shirt from Target, and let her pick up a backpack full of school supplies. For $35 a month her life will have a trajectory that looks different from the estimated 100,000+ orphans currently living in Romania. For just over $1 a day I get to make a difference in her life.

We can’t always make the 30+ hour trek to and from Romania, but if we are willing there are other ways to support these kids. If we are willing to step away from our comforts, the impact we can have is unmatched. Remember the Children will always need individuals to volunteer their time to physically be the hands and feet of Jesus, but they also need people who are willing to open their wallet, and make the choice to contribute to the work that is being done daily. I know I will be back there one day where I will chase these sweet kids in circles, and become the next best jungle gym. We will dance and sing, and color with chalk. But until then, I can find peace knowing that because of my financial contribution, a sweet toddler will sleep easy tonight.

If you are interested in learning more about child sponsorships, or other ways that you can partner with Remember the Children check out http://www.remember-the-children.org/sponsor-a-child/ and see what opportunity and child is waiting for you!

Xo,

Katrina Spencer
RtC Team Member
2013, 2014, 2015

Check out more of Katrina’s writing by visiting her BLOG!