They’ve captured our hearts!
We have fallen in love! The 8 children at Ana’s House are charming, engaging, and incredibly happy to share their home and their lives with us. We will not leave this place the same people as when we came. We already hate the thought of saying goodbye.
This house is filled with love and laughter. Rodi and Roni have dedicated their lives to making a home for children who have no other; they’ve had 27 children over the years. The children adoringly call them “Tata” and “Mama”, and they in turn claim each child as their own. They pray together, work in the garden, and play games. There is a feeling of belonging and togetherness here. God has to be smiling at the joy and healing that permeates this home! Roni and Rodi are joined by Doyna, who is a full time social worker, teacher, friend and supporter. Her story of faith and hope which helped her survive hardship in the Communist era is awe-inspiring. Ana’s House is better because of Doyna’s influence.
We attended 2 church services yesterday, a 2+ hour Baptist morning service that contained 2 separate sermons, 3 gorgeous anthems by a 40 voice choir, 3 separate times of “popcorn prayer” where the prayers were long and obviously heartfelt, and 7 or 8 congregational hymns. We smiled when we recognized the tune (Come Thou Fount of Every Blessing was one) but of course, everything was sung and spoken in Romanian. The pastor and his wife invited us home for pizza and Coke and conversation after the service. He helped to found Global Hope. We learned a lot about Gypsies from his perspective, and toured a Gypsy neighborhood.
In the evening we attended the small Methodist church the Ana’s House family has been attending. They are well-connected there and the children have friends. The service was mercifully shorter, as air conditioning is fairly non-existent in the 100 degree heat. I’m thankful that Pastor Joy does not foresee 2 hour services in our future, and UMCMV does have air!
After an all-night rain, we are thankful for cooler temps today. This morning we had time to wander through downtown Arad. This city has spectacular architecture, but has fallen on hard times and is in somewhat sad repair. Gypsies are evident everywhere with colorful clothing and headscarves, often selling trinckets.
We are so incredibly grateful for our time here and all we’re learning. Dear Friends, our hearts are so full! We thank you for making this possible!
And now I must close, as we’re loading up to help with a VBS program for Gypsy kids in a neighboring village this afternoon.
Stay tuned for the report on VBS and more adventures tomorrow! We thank you for your continued prayers for discernment, grace, health, safe travel, the ministry of Ana’s House, and no bee stings! (more on that subject in Wednesday’s blog…)
With a full heart,
A video of everyone singing happy birthday in Romanian to one of our teammates: IMG_6410