Greetings! This blog post is coming to you live from outside my comfort zone.
I’m what you would call a “Moldova Newbie” – This is my first time to Moldova, and I jumped in with both feet. Last week, I was with the first time in Chisinau (at the Internat 2 camp) and now (on my wedding anniversary no less!) my wife and I are both sitting here in the Balti team house finishing our debriefing.
I want to be brutally honest with you all: Before I got here, I was feeling completely out of my comfort zone already. The orphanage in Costesi (one of the orphanages we’re travelling to this week), has been labeled as an orphanage for children with special needs. I’ve never really been around kids with special needs, and having a language barrier made me even more nervous. I didn’t know what to expect, especially coming out of a fantastic week at the first camp.
And then we got here, and my whole paradigm was shifted. God moved me, plain and simple, to a point where I am now comfortable being outside of my comfort zone.
Sounds weird, doesn’t it.
A little background: There are about 25 kids at the Costesi orphanage (an orphange that has never had interaction with American missionaries). Most of the kids there have either a physical or mental illness, with a few of them having more severe symptoms. But they’re just like any other kids – they play, they run, they dance, and they crave the attention and love that all kids do.
God tells us that “Whatever you do to the least of these, you do to me”. That verse has been tumbling in my head over and over this week, because that’s how I saw the kids at Internat 2. The kids here are what I consider the “least OF THE LEAST of these” – these are kids who have nowhere else to turn, and they’ve opened a new place in my heart for a group of some of the most wonderful kids I’ve ever met.
I could give you specific examples. I could tell you about Nikolai, who has been abandoned not once, but twice, speaks better english that I do at times, and loves to play soccer. I could tell you about Vlada, Dana, Nastia, and Gabriella; four sisters who are all surviving orphanage life together. I could even tell you about Costica, who (despite his disability) could light up a room with his smile and personality.
The fact is, God has shown me that being outside of my comfort zone is the only way we grow. If you don’t stretch, you become stagnant.
So, once again, hello from outside of my comfort zone. But don’t worry or be anxious for me. I’m starting to really like it here.