Wednesday, December 4, 2013
We arrived there and were heartily greeted. There were only a minimal amount of children. We did our candy cane story, gave out some candy, danced in the street and played some games. It was muddy and dirty but our hearts were filled. We decided we would come back later when their were more children and promised to do so. We visited another church for about two hours before heading back to the village. When we returned the children ran and gathered around us. The chief of the village came and helped organize the distribution of our boxes, coats and shoes. I need to add that Tony ( a member of our team) brought along boxes of sunglasses and crocs to be handed out. They proved to be a blessing. Distribution was organized chaos as some wanted more than what we could offer but the chief kept things in control. On a negative note we think we saw some of the things that we provided being resold on the street as soon as we gave them out. That is the way of life here and I can only imagine that there was a greater need for the money rather than the coat or shoes. God is in control and we can't let disappointment get in the way of His plans.
Speaking of plans, Danny (the pastor), also has this village on his heart. He lives nearby and is active in this community to bring the gypsies to Christ. Sadly many years ago the Word was brought here but no one followed through. Danny has vowed to change that and is working hard here. Other local churches will not welcome the gypsies into their places of worship. It is part of Danny's plan to build a church here in the village. It will cost 20-25 thousand USD but it can be done. Danny's wife would also like to see an after-school care for the children as part of this plan. I know this can be done with help and prayer and we are excited to be a part of this and watch it unfold.
Monday, December 2, 2013
We left on Friday morning (11/29) and traveled for close to 26-28 hours. We went from Baltimore to New York to Paris to Budapest and then drove over into Romania. This was perhaps the part I dreaded most. Just being idle for that long period of time is really not my thing. I did not really sleep during that period but overall I survived.
So we are now in Romania. We have had food beyond belief. I will be coming home heavier then when I left. Our hosts make sure we have plenty and we have to eat what is given. I officially had Hungarian Goulash and some other neat stuff. We worshiped on Sunday in two churches. The first was just a little church with few members. Those that attend are shunned by neighbors because they are going to a Christian church and not an Orthodox one. Still they remain strong. The second church was larger and I shared my testimony. It was a blessing. We worked in the warehouse unpacking the large boxes and going through the Christmas boxes. We needed to make sure that there were no inappropriate items and each box had at least the minimum that should be in each. I did find my own box which is cool. Hopefully I can hand deliver it to someone. <><
Thursday, November 28, 2013
On this Thanksgiving 2014 I have much to be thankful for. Family that is loving and supportive. Friends that have financially and prayerfully supported me. I have my health and many blessings. No matter what I know that I am being watched over and guided by my God. All I ask now is that as we journey to Romania keep us in prayer. Pray that His will be done. I know we are embarking on an adventure of a lifetime. To be able to hand a child a Christmas shoebox (packed with love) and to be able to share the true meaning of Christmas with others and within the team will be amazing. This is both my Thanksgiving and Christmas. <><
Monday, November 25, 2013
However I must say that in August I rolled the dice and came up pretty big. My wife, daughter and I decided one afternoon to attend the Belair Bar-B-Que bash. Lots of vendors and of course good food. This was not my idea to go but my daughters. One of the vendors there was having a raffle for Raven's season tickets. Big spender that I am I bought three tickets for $5.00. This is their big fund raiser and had been running since April. I did not even give a second thought about winning. So that night my daughter headed back down to college. She had just left and I was getting ready for bed when the phone rang. My heart dropped as I thought she had just had an accident. No~instead it was the Raven's Roost informing me I had won the season tickets. I mean really now??? So pretty cool. I have a set of season tickets to watch the Baltimore Ravens this year. But it gets even better! I entered to win a dinner cruise on a boat called the Raven. This was hosted by the Sunpapers and we won a night out with a bunch of others. It was a great night out in the harbor and their was an fundraiser auction held on board. One of the fundraisers for the night was a 50-50 drawing. I bought an arms length of tickets for $20.00 but of course did not win the money. Instead I won a Ravens winter jacket valued at about $100.00.
I must admit at this point I am a little embarrassed. I post things on Facebook and here I had won the dinner cruise and now I won a jacket. People just look at me and shake their heads. I did have someone even want to rub my head for good luck. LOL! In the great scheme of things maybe I am luckier than others but for right now I will just enjoy my season at the stadium. Next year it will be someone else turn.
Monday, November 4, 2013
Well enough of that! It is time to get back to some basics and this journal will be part of that. I am making a conscious effort to post at least once or twice a week. In addition I am planning on spending some more time in my devotional reading in order to grow my Christian walk. I encourage you to hold me accountable. Karen and I attended an Experiencing God seminar several weekends ago and I found some great material to delve into there. Maybe down the road I can share some of that.
I am going to close this out today with a Romania update. I will be writing from there at the end of this month. I am part of a team of ten from Fork Christian Church. We are partnering with with Remember The Children (see prior post) in order to bring Christmas shoe boxes and hope to the children in Oradea. I actually was able to have my entire trip funded through sponsorships. I feel truly blessed as I had two very special donations come my way. One was from a couple at my church who also sponsor children through Compassion. They know my heart. The other was from someone who I only casually know through Facebook and had met on a Disney cruise. She went to my Go Fund Me page and made a substantial gift. I was blown away my her generosity but then that is how God works. I am thankful for all of my other sponsors who helped me out and made this trip possible. Our church also held a fundraiser at Texas Roadhouse which helped the entire team out. In fact Fork came through in several ways. We have probably close to 250 shoe boxes that are on their way over to Romania already. Along with those boxes are some winter coats that we bought for the children. During our summer Vacation Bible School the children at Fork raised over $900 in mission money that we put toward buying those coats. What a blessing!
Please keep myself and the entire team in prayer this month as we begin our final preparations toward departure on November 29th. Keep in prayer also all of families that will be staying behind to take care of things there. Without their support either we would not be going. Take Care!
Tuesday, July 9, 2013
Anyway what about the "gofundme" link? I have been invited to be part of a team that will be going to Romania this November 29th-December 7th with my church. A group of eleven of us will be partnering with Remember the Children to deliver Christmas shoeboxes for the poor and needy. This is a trip that is right up my alley. My calling to speak for the "least of these" as well as my love for children makes this the ideal mission trip. Originally my wife and I were planning on taking some time to go to Disney this season to see the decorations for the holiday. When this trip presented itself she knew it was something I had to do and she fully supported me. We can always do the Disney thing but how often (especially during the Christmas season) could I have the opportunity to hand a child a present, tell the Christmas story and bring hope? It will bring the meaning of Christmas a lot closer to my heart this year.
Part of a mission trip is seeking both prayer and financial support. We are expected to raise a good portion of the $2100 that it will take for the trip. Asking for help is something I do not like to do. PERIOD. It is not part of my make-up. I do not mind asking for prayer and I hope that many will join us in praying for my team, the mission, the journey and the message we will bring to those children. In faith I paid my deposit and I have sent out over fifty letters to friends, co-workers and employers asking them to partner with me. I decided to try an online fundraising page to reach out to others that I may not closely know but may be willing to help in someway. Social media has changed the way we do things so I have set up this page. Some people cannot go on trips and wish to support others with a gift. If you feel led then please go to the site and donate whatever you are led to. I assure you that all of the funding will go directly to this trip. If by God's grace I exceed this goal or even the amount needed for the trip the remainder will go to help any of my teammates that may fall short of their goal. All of us have decided that any extras beyond that will be given to Remember the Children for their work in Romania.
In conclusion I seek both your prayer and financial support. However you are led I thank you for any partnership. You can count on me blogging about my trip and the experience! Blessings.
Monday, June 24, 2013
1) The descent into Honduras is the only flight that I have ever been on that no matter what everyone claps upon landing. Dropping down over the mountain onto a short runway is a miracle in itself. Google it!
2) Breakfast in Honduras with beans and plantains is to die for. Well worth the return trip.
3) The Marriott Hotel in Tegucigalpa is beyond compare. The staff and service are second to none.
4) Project 259 (Jeyelly/Sofia's project) is filled with truly special people. Warm, welcoming and full of love for the children. What they did for Jeyelly's Quinceanera was amazing and will always be a special memory.
5) Project 204 (Linda's project) runs a close second. The pastor has prayed for us twice and they always are welcoming. Our next sponsored child is going to have to come from this project when Linda graduates out.
6) Jorge may be our first Leadership Development student. I am not discounting Linda or Kellyn getting in but Jorge has so much leadership potential.
7) Meeting Kellyn was a blessing. She is our correspondant child and we don't really know her since we have only been writing for less than a year. She welcomed us with open arms and we had a blast with her.
8) Jeyelly's Quinceanera was beyond my expectations. Very traditional and she looked beautiful. She is quiet and reserved but beamed with joy on her day. Sofia made sure we were looked out for we look forward to hosting her Quinceanera in 3 years. This family needs our prayers as the father is more or less out of the picture and the mom is struggling. She does seem more positive than two years ago but needs encouraging to stay true to God and to go to church.
9) Amazingly I think our sponsorship of Linda has impacted her mom (Reina) even more so. When we met her in 2007 she was withdrawn and seemed older/frailer. Now she seems more outgoing, younger and is in fact very active in the church.
10) Last but not least~our sponsorship of Linda is drawing to a close. Two years ago I was worried about her focus and heart. This trip resolved all of my concerns. Looking at her "My Plan for Tomorrow" she has strong dreams and goals. She wants to enter the Leadership Development Program and be a pediatrician. She has matured and grown through our sponsorship. Having met her four times our relationship has grown and grown through the years yet she always amazes me. She welcomed us with t-shirts that she had made for us. She sang and played the guitar for us. Finally that last look as she said goodbye was filled with as much love as the first time we met her and she broke into tears. We have been more than blessed by our sponsorship of her.
So we hope to return in 2016 ( 3 years from now) to host Sofia's party. This is the longest we will have been away but we will see what God has in store. Changes are coming. Linda will no longer be in Compassion's child sponsorship program. This may have been the last time we actually get to see her though I know we both plan on staying in touch. I pray that when we return we will connect someway. Hopefully she will be in the Leadership Program. Kellyn will have graduated out also. We will continue to be write to her until then and keep her in our prayers. Jeyelly will just be graduating out in 2016 but if we are hosting Sofia's party we should get to see her too. It is amazing to think how much the face of our sponsorships will be changing. It will be a whole new adventure (maybe we will have some new children to meet). Someone commented about the cost of these trips and our sponsorships. Yes-we have invested a lot of time and money into this endeavor. However I know the blessings we have received have far outweighed the cost for us. Each letter and trip has proven this. Then I look at the other side of the equation at the difference I have seen in each of our children. To seem them grow with hope and to see the smiles on their faces then I know the cost can never truly matter. We have blessed each other far beyond any material costs. It has been way more than worth it!!!!