Our morning began as usual for our Romania team with a bountiful breakfast at the hotel. I am amazed with the fruit and fresh tomatoes, cucumbers and cheese. We fill ourselves to the point of satisfied fullness.
Soon we are on the road to visit some villages where many of the children in one of our Kidstown homes have come from. We drive through fields of dried up sun flowers and abandoned factories from the communist era. As we turn off the main road towards a small village the laughter in the van quiets as we approach a compound of five small homes within a broken-down fenced area.
We get out of the van as a number children run out and are curious with our presence. We step over the mud as best as possible to avoid our shoes getting covered in mud. The group is quiet as they are not sure if these are homes or small barns for animals. We are proudly invited in to their homes. We greet the families that we meet and tell the how beautiful their children are and we observe the dirt floors and indescribable filth. It is a cold fall day out with no flies or bugs outside, but inside the walls and bedding as well as the one small loaf of bread are covered with flies. They obviously breed inside the home.
We shake our heads at each other in disbelief. How can anyone live like this? But this is a home. We walk into 3 or 4 others just the same. We are trying not to track mud into the home and we realize that the barefoot children and the family do not seem to care as it seem that the floors are just dried mud.
We are not in Africa where we might expect this experience. We are in Eastern Europe only 15 kilometers from the city of Timisoara which has become after the fall of communism, a typical metro European city with trendy fashion and malls with, yes, a Starbucks.
We leave to go buy some food for this family, come back, and hand them maybe months’ worth of food in two bags per family.
As we head back to the city our plan is to stop and have lunch at Casa Otniel, a Kidstown sponsored orphanage. We drive in the gate of a large colorful home and are again greeted by children. This time the feeling is different. We see hope and not despair, we find yards to play in with flowers and fruit trees. The children proudly take us upstairs to show us their rooms and want to pose for pictures of their home. The children serve us an amazing lunch and tell us of their plans for their futures. They want to be teachers or do social work with those that are in need. The children sing to us and as the time there ends we play in the yard with these happy normal-seeming children.
Then as we leave we comment that these children were living in the conditions we experienced that morning. These children were rescued. They have a future.
Thanks for your interest, prayers, and support of these kids and this ministry.