Mission team journal
March 13, 2012
Hi Family and Friends,
I've been in Moldova for just over a week now and it's been amazing! I am part of a Servant Team with 3 other girls. We live in an apartment together in the capital city Chisinau (pronounced KEESH-in-now). This first week has been mostly for spending time and building community with the Servant Team, settling in, getting oriented in the city, visiting the boarding school, and meeting the Word Made Flesh staff.
While I'm here I'll be working at a boarding school which has kids from grades 1 to 9. The children live in dorms during the week, but many go home on weekends if they have family or relatives to stay with. For those who have nowhere to go (because they are orphans, or their parents work outside the country) they stay at school for the weekend. Word Made Flesh runs their programs at the school every afternoon of the week for children in grades 3-6. They previously only had 2 classrooms to use, but have recently been offered an entire floor of one of the buildings, which is really exciting. This has allowed them to have separate classrooms for each grade. I will be helping in one of these classes with the same group of kids for the whole I am here. I will find out which class I'm helping in tomorrow.
This past week was spring break so many of the kids left the school and stayed elsewhere for the week. The ones who dont have anywhere/anyone to go home to stayed at the school. They still ran the program in the afternoons, but it was free play time with some art activities. There were about 10-15 kids who came each day. The biggest challenge has been the language barrier. I have a few questions that I've mastered: "what is your name?", "how old are you?", as well as a few phrases and words that I have learned. Playing UNO with the kids has helped me master the numbers 0-10 and the colours :). The kids are so sweet and so patient. They often help teach us words or correct our pronunciation. We also use a lot of hand gestures and pointing to communicate.
A beautiful moment this week: The art activity on Thursday afternoon was painting with watercolours. The Servant Team girls and I were sitting around a table with about 8 Moldovan kids. After a few minutes of trying to communicate with them and exhausting all the Romanian phrases/questions we know, it was completely silent for a good 15 minutes and everyone was doing their own thing, working intently on their own picture. It was a really special moment of just BEING together. Even though we couldn't verbally communicate, it was really special just being present with each other. It's hard to put it into words. This was probably one of the highlights of my week.
I don't have too much time left, so I'll just write a few bullet points to answer some questions some of you have asked:
-Although Moldova is the poorest country in Europe the poverty is not very noticeable just walking down the street. In the city people are very fashionable and take a lot of pride in their appearance. I haven't outside the city yet, so I'm not sure how it differs from the villages.
-It has snowed a few times since I've been here, but most of the snow has melted already. Temperatures have been around 5 degrees celcius.
-Pray for the kids at the boarding school, and pray that God will use me to serve and bless them.
-Pray for my language classes - that I will be able to remember and retain what I'm learning. I will have Romanian lessons 3 times a week starting tomorrow.
-Pray for community among the Servant Team, that we will be able to love and support each other well as we live and serve together.
That's all for now. Thanks so much for your prayer and support.