Monday, July 25, 2016

Camp Eli - Day 1

Mondays are Mondays, no matter where you travel. We loaded up all our gear and took off on the 2-hour drive to Ojasca, the small town where the camp property lies.
The row of vehicles and laundry greet us with an amazing view.
The kids are already loving on their new campers. We put them on the bus and van with the camp kids. I marvel at the way they soak up the language and quickly build trust and laughter. It is a great gift from God to witness.

The main building houses the adult sleeping quarters, gymnasium, kitchen, and covered porch. 
Once at camp, we off-load all our gear and begin to assess the area. The view is beautiful - breathtaking. There are lots of resources here - volleyball, an indoor basketball court that doubles as a skating rink, 3 trampolines, 2 tetherballs, a concrete fenced-in tennis/basketball court, a large porch, 2 eating areas, indoor plumbing, outdoor latrines, and of course - food!
Brianna Ziemer schools the competition about tetherball.

Mackenzie is on the fast-track to speaking Romanian.
We had a really hard time limiting the trampolines to one person at a time. Eventually, they figured it out and began self-regulating. Some of the things they can do - this old body would snap like a twig! I really wanted to try, though.
Absolutely beautiful view. The river is visible if you look closely.
Things I learned on the first day: A smile means the same thing in any language. Some of these kids don't have open areas to play in. Day 1 isn't about running camp - it's about organization and getting all the wiggles out! The best way to learn to swim is to jump in and do it. Same with love and languages!

Molly braids Gabriela's hair.
 Camp means, for some of the kids, being properly dressed and coiffed. There would be a never-ending line of girls braiding other girl's hair while braiding another... The cabins are really nice, although not heated or cooled. Four beds to a cabin, but usually 6 or 7 were sharing the space.

Body English is very important in Foosball.
The boys have no such qualms. "Is my body mostly covered? Partly? The important parts? That's enough!" And off they run.

Scott swears he does not come to camp to hurt children. Alex laughs along!
 This porch swing was the site for many messy treats, giggling, hugs, time out, and counselling.

What do you mean they're all gone?
Everything here is wash and wear, one way or another. We rounded out the day with evening singing, skits, testimonies, and prayers. The kids not so quietly made their way to their cabins where they talked half-way through the night. Typical, right? They told us full exhaustion would take hold with night-long sleep by Wednesday. Spoiler alert...nope.

Thanks for taking the time to read and visit!

Monday, July 11, 2016

Ziemer's Church

After all our travels, we reached Bucharest and met our host, Gerald Ziemer, and Ben. We loaded up all our gear and drove to Fundulea. Romania is a gorgeous country, similar to the US but entirely different. We drove past fields of sunflower, wheat, and corn. We arrived at the Ziemer's house.

Such a beautiful place, so calm and welcoming. 

This was the amazing view that greeted me the first day. Later, we would see sheep and cows being tending through the field beyond the fence. Just amazing.

This is the church - right next door. Convenient, huh? Almost every yard is fenced off - don't think of this as a sign of a dangerous town. Plenty of neighbors have yard birds, dogs, a little garden - fences just keep things neater.

We enjoyed a day of celebration on Sunday. The day started with a lovely church service, where we were embraced, kissed, taught new words, and enjoyed lovely music. Our trip leader, Scott, preached a beautiful message that was well received. After, we were treated to a feast. Nothing fancy, just good down-home potluck with grilled meats. Yum-O!

That evening, we shared stories and learned more about our hosts and another missionary who was living there. The Ziemer's are an amazing family. They've been in Romania for 20 or so years - all four children born and raised. I could tell the local community absolutely adores them.

Off to dreamland, and heading to the camp in the morning! I'll tell you more about that tomorrow.

Meanwhile - if you haven't received my missions newsletter, please share your email address and I get it out to you. It has the prayer needs for our Malawian trip coming up in a few days. As always - I appreciate your interest and your support.

In Christ,

Tuesday, July 5, 2016

Romania - First Impressions

I'm back state-side now. I've been dealing with a respiratory bug I picked up on the way home. Long plane rides almost always guarantee a hitchhiker! Thinking back over the trip to Camp Eli - it seems in some ways like a memory of long ago, but we left 7 members of our team there to do a second camp. Seeing their posts reminds me that this trip *just* happened.

We left Dallas for London on Friday afternoon and arrived without any issues. Our pass through London's security gave us a few surprises. If you have a 100 ml tube of cream, you're fine. If it is 100.1 ml, well... no. Interestingly, that is 3.38 ounces (100 ml). It went through US airport security without a second glance.

As you filter through the wrongly signed queues, you're given a chance to open your carry-on and make certain your liquids and gels are in a 1 quart zip-close baggie. They even provide the baggies. Take that opportunity. Trust me... They expect little clear quart baggies of your supplies be placed in a separate bin to go through the security x-ray.

Regulation comes in layers
We made our way to our terminal which required a bus ride. They apparently have built new terminals, but didn't connect them to anything yet. We checked the board for gate info. Yup, there's the flight. It's at gate.... "to be determined 20 minutes prior to boarding". So, all these no-gate-specified people are clustered around Starbucks and the recharging stations (only half of them actually worked), readying themselves for a controlled stampede to a gate. They are absolutely twitchy. One eye pointed at the gate assignment board, one pointed at their not-yet-charged phones.

Gordon Ramsay's Restaurant
Observations - always take a youngster or three on the trip with you. They can figure out any technology issues you have plus they are endlessly entertaining when they learn their money doesn't work any more. Pro-tip: Bring a credit card.

Oh yes - I have been rude to you, my guest. I neglected to share our group with you. I beg your forgiveness. Here's our team of 14 from Mobberly Baptist Church in East Texas.

Front row (L to R): Elliott, Mackenzie, Sam, Caitlin, Molly, Kyra (me).
Back row (L to R): Patrick, Noah, Sydney, Gary, Bryce, Briana, Noel, Scott.
(Because these are minors, I'm not sharing surnames. Sorry. Not gonna.)

We left from home Friday morning. Mid-afternoon we boarded our flight for a 9 hour session of who's-your-closest-neighbor. I'm happy to say my row got up exactly twice during that flight. I hope you read sarcasm.... We switched planes in London and flew another 3 hours to Bucharest.

We were met there by our host and another driver. Romania would have a near-record-setting heat wave while we were there. The average high for June is 68*F. It was 95*F while we were there. The heat actually got a headline in the newspaper. Every day from the very beginning revolved around water sports. Kids, water balloons, water hose - yep, some things never change.

Here we are, strangers in a strange land. We didn't realized the impact we would have on our new friends, but even more, we didn't have a clue about the impact they would have on us.

Stay tuned - I'm finally getting all my photos processed. I should be able to post a little more regularly so you can see camp life day by day.

Ta for now,

Welcome to the Bunny Nest! I host rescued animals in a small in-home setting. Currently, I host 3 bunnies and 2 kitties. These animals will be socialized and housed for the entirety of their lives in my home. They inspire my crafts, and I use any proceeds to pay for their needs. Thanks for visiting!