Ten years ago I traveled to Romania to work at a small Christian orphanage for a six month term. It was during that time that my eyes were opened to the need of abandoned and needy children in that country and where my work in the hospital began as well. I was 23 years old and had never been away from home for a long period of time, never been on an airplane nor been out of the country. It was a growing and testing period for me. It was also a time where several of my goals in life were fulfilled and my passion to care for unwanted babies sparked into an obsession! It was a wonderful time of maturing, working hard, making lifelong friends and finding out who I was and what I wanted to accomplish in this world. And because of that six month time Project Hope for the Children was eventually birthed.
A Journal Excerpt...
Things went very smoothly at the airport. I checked in. We met up with Tom, Crystle and Matt and waited together until close to boarding time. It seemed rather unreal to kiss my parents and (brothers) Paul and Cody goodbye and not see them again until a half a year had passed. I was not sad to leave, only disappointed to not be involved in their lives for six months. As I looked at their faces, I saw that they were excited and happy for me, yet missing me already. To have their support and blessing comforted me.
The entire flight (my first) was as I had expected it to be. Maybe I have watched too many movies, but flying seemed almost natural to me. We flew from Syracuse to Detroit to Amsterdam to Budapest. I was unable to sleep the whole way there.(Little did I know that I would fly this route dozens of times in the years ahead)
Upon arriving in Budapest we collected our luggage and none was missing- thank God. We were met by Pastor Alex and his daughter Rebi. Exhaustion had set in, but she and I struck up a friendship and the four-year old and I had an interesting time doing one another's hair while I practiced my scant Romanian. She made the four hour trip bearable! Alex had hired a van and driver, which was a culture shock in itself, and got us across the border without any effort on our part.
We arrived at Michelle and Daniel's apartment ( the directors of the ministry) in early evening ~ close to 24 hours after leaving NY. I said goodbye to my friends and ate a quick dinner. Soon we were headed over to New Life House so Daniel could fix the front door. I was beyond exhausted, but excited to to finally see the "Baby House". All the children were asleep except for one six-year old that acts autistic, among other things. After meeting my new co-worker, Marianna and the two American interns Caroline and Jenna, we returned to the apartment where I called my parents and finally slept.
That ended my first "two" days of my new life in Romania, but only the beginning of my journey to what the Lord had in store for me!