Monday, December 28, 2009

Our first Christmas pageant

The girls are sure getting big!

Lighting The Christ Candle. The "Angel" Sarah closed in prayer.

I hope you can see in this small picture that our pageant included sheep (to the left of the manger) as well as donkeys (on the right against the wall). Also the Orthodox church lent Bogdan the 3 shirts that the Magi were wearing. I thought that was cool.

Our choir on the left with Bogdan's mother. She did a great job preparing the kids.

Taking a few hours with the girls

Elizabeth went out at night to get a picture of ol' Frosty - she knew he would be gone soon. And the answer to your question - no I do not know how to rotate a picture before posting!

The row of kids behind my car, I tried to hold the camera over my shoulder while I drove, but finally had to stop to get the picture.

Elizabeth, Sarah and some friends

In the midst of all the work Elizabeth and Sarah had wanted me to pull them and a few friends behind the car on their sleds. The work will still be there but I wasn't sure the snow would - a warm up with a lot of rain was forecast. They had a great time!

Mocrea Christmas

Sarah helping to distribute gifts to those who couldn't come to the party. There were 165 patients at the hospital and we had a gift bag for every one!

We visited all the rooms where patients couldn't come and sang Christmas Carols. They all enjoyed seeing Santa too!

We had two separate programs with gifts and carols for the ones able to come to the cafeteria. It was a real joy to our hearts!

Christmas food distribution

Vio standing guard over the remaining food bags - we delivered them other places on the way home.

It was such a blessing to have the funds to do this. For this next year I will be praying for the Food Bank to open again!

This is Tina and her mother. Tina is due to give birth to her fourth child any time now. She has no idea of the ages of her other children but she gets them to Sunday School every week and loves church herself.

Those bags were really heavy - about 40 pounds each, without the meat. That was separate.

Yup, that's me with a glove in my mouth - checking my list.

Christmas 2009

Lena with her gift from Widow's Mite. She is standing in front of her wood, which was the biggest blessing for her.

We delivered lap blankets to the old folks home in Comlosul Mare. 10% of everything that comes in for Widow's Mite goes to Pastor Timis to help with the elderly in the judet of Timis.

Eva, from Widow's Mite program at Christmas. She loved her new hat!

Pastor Hada at Maranatha. We were able to attend their lovely Christmas program and deliver gifts. The children sang beautifully.

We were also able to do a distribution at another orphanage in Fantanele and our school in Sanicolaul Mic.

Christmas day at our house

Vio and I made a tremendous amount of food for Christmas dinner. I wanted to be able to invite anyone that I heard would be alone. I could have invited the 7th Calvary with all the food we had! I have not cooked since!

Saturday, December 19, 2009

There is so much I want to write about: the Mocrea Christmas party went so well! Today we did a large food distribution in Vinga and had the dress rehearsal for our Christmas program tomorrow - what a hoot that was! The important thing is that many children are involved! We have a few more gifts to distribute to the Widow's on Monday.

I managed to fall on the ice today, which was not the best thing for my knee. Tonight Elizabeth said she never wanted to get old. Why not, I asked - most of us do you know. She said because she doesn't want her legs to hurt like mine do. I explained that I played baseball well past the time I should have known better and was well warned by doctors about how my knees might be when I got older. Well now I am older...besides I told Elizabeth I could have them replaced. She asked why I didn't and then said probably I didn't have the money. She said she would save her allocation from the State to buy me new knees. Gosh I was touched and just smiled at her and then after a pause she added - as soon as I buy my MP3 player of course. I roared with laughter.

I do have pictures to share and I will get to it soon! I have 2 more days of ministry work for Christmas and then I am done. Praise The Lord for all His provision and sending people alongside to help at this time of year.

Irene, Wayne, Walter and myself had a lovely dinner tonight and a time of fellowship and prayer. We all have been so busy but needed this time this evening! We can get so busy with what we think is God's work that we leave no time for Him. After all, He is the reason for the season.

Monday, December 14, 2009

Deep in to December!

There are so many things and pictures I want to share with you...but I am on the run! We have a large Sunday School presentation this Sunday with dress rehearsal on Saturday, following close on the heels of the Christmas food distribution in Vinga.

Yesterday we were able to return to Mocrea. They were in quarantine due to the Swine Flu. I was glad to be back. Some of the patients didn't understand and thought we had abandoned them. We go back on Friday for the big Christmas party there.

In A few minutes we go to the judet of Timis to take gifts for the widows in 2 villages as well as visit an old folks home in one of the villages and the AIDS hospital.

Irene and Wayne have been wonderful. They leave Dec. 22 but Peter stays on.

I will post some pictures soon!

Monday, November 30, 2009


I was writing a friend an e-mail and telling her about my visit yesterday to Vilma, one of the ladies in the Widow's Mite program. I realized I needed to post this here also.

I hadn't seen Vilma, one of the widows, for 2 months. I left the food bags hanging on the fence those times. This month I decided I was not going to leave the food but keep going back until I caught the daughter home. I was concerned that Vilma had either died or was being left alone most of the time. The neighbor had said Vilma was still alive but I was concerned because the daughter is mentally unstable. On my fifth trip back the daughter came out - it took a while but we determined that Vilma had been moved to her son's place. I got the address and went. The son and daughter-in-law live very poorly themselves but the room was clean where Vilma was staying and did not smell. We had taken bed-linens and pads for under Vilma and given them to the daughter but she wasn't changing the the bed. It was a relief to know Vilma was in a clean bed. She declined terribly since I last saw her, she is almost deaf and blind now. She recognized my voice and started to cry. Her daughter-in-law had wanted her to go and stay at the old place to try and catch when I came with the food so I would know where she is. Vilma's daughter brought the food to Vilma the last two months at least. I told the daughter-in-law that I was glad Vilma was there and she said they had to move her because the daughter was abusing her. That broke my heart. I told Vilma, who knows the Lord, that we will pray that the Lord takes her home soon.

Happy Thanksgiving!

OK - so I am a couple of days late! I meant to get this posted last week - honest!

The missionaries plus many Romanian guests gathered for a Thanksgiving feast. The girls had the next day off from school (part of the teacher's strike and they are still off) so it worked out nicely. Of course I have no pictures to post of this event but we had a good time. There are fewer and fewer Americans here but the kids in Network's Mission school as well as the volunteers from all over Europe quickly got the hang of our holiday! Some Romanian churches seem to be starting similar celebrations of thanksgiving.

The Orphan Sponsor Updates are completed! Yeah! If you sponsor a child and do not have e-mail, the letters are in the mail. If you do have e-mail you should have received your letter and picture.

The Vinga youth group continues to grow. This next Friday night we have movie night and they are all to invite friends. I am still praying for youth pastors for this group.

We are now heading in to our very busy Christmas schedule. Irene and Wayne arrive this week and will stay 3 weeks. Peter is here until January and is a big help. I need to get our tree up this week. I have almost all of my shopping done but I need to get everything wrapped.

Tuesday, November 17, 2009

Apple Way

Networks (Lee), Nigel, Walter and myself had another meeting about Apple Way. We think we have a plan. With all those families and the entire squatters camp scheduled for demolition in the spring we are unable to make any big investments in building materials.

We will continue covering leaking roofs with nylon. We have identified what we feel are the biggest needs: shelter to keep rain and snow out; heating; food; and medicine for the winter. Once it gets really cold many many of those children will become sick. We have settled on providing the staple of flour. Lee wrote up a rough budget and we feel it is doable. We will see if the City Hall is determining which of the families have identification papers for the judet of Arad - that will help to get placement elsewhere. Lee is going to talk to the forest master and see if he will let us come in with two helpers from the camp to remove downed trees and limbs etc. If the answer is no then we will buy some wood but the truth of the matter is they will go in and take what they need and we'll just not question where the wood comes from.

We are all spending time in that area just talking to people and building relationships, this allows us to assess the needs ourselves. Nigel and Walter are so faithful about being there often and spending many hours there. Today Walter and Ionut were cutting up wood for several families (did I want to know where a couple of them got the telephone poles? Ah, no I didn't). I found a few older ladies that may qualify for the Widow's Mite program so I'll go back especially to visit them.

I think most everyone is leaving in Dec. and Jan. but the houses should be fixed by then and we will be down to the distribution of the flour, medicine and wood by then. Peter will be here until February so that will help.

I am glad we have a plan! If you just look on the surface that place can be overwhelming! We look with western eyes and think "how can people live like that?" but they do and many have survived many years living in those conditions - do babies die? Yes. Do people die much earlier than other groups? Yes. Do all those beautiful children eat everyday? No. Can I fix it? No. Can I do something? Yes.

Sunday, November 1, 2009

Orphan Sponsors

Just a quick note to you who have sponsored orphans - the updates on all the kids starts this week. Am I late again? well sure but I won't bother with a list of excuses, just know your update and picture will be on the way shortly.

If you know anyone that would like to sponsor a child or an elderly person please contact me. I am sure it has escaped no ones attention that there is a financial crisis all over the world but for those who were right on the edge, it is desperate.

Back to Apple Way

We are back in Apple Way. Walter, myself and a team from Networks are back working in Apple Way trying to get some of the squatter shacks somewhat ready for winter. We covered a couple of roofs in heavy nylon last week and are returning today. This entire squatter area is scheduled for demolition in the spring - what will happen to all these families is still very much up in the air. The State has no plans to relocate them and most are not from this judet.

Vinga Youth

Here is most of the teen group from the Vinga church. I have had the opportunity to be a youth pastor - never thought I was called to that but heck it seems I am doing several things here I was not called to do! It boils down to doing the best I can with what God puts before me.

While we were at camp this summer I felt it would be an awesome thing to take these kids outside of Romania on a missions trip. I talked to a fellow missionary from Eastern Germany and we may be able to work something out. I told the kids they would have to earn some of the money. The plans are for this group, plus others I hope, to attend summer camp again this next summer. I think a charity in the UK, Reaching Romania, will be helping to fund that.

Friday we are having our meeting in town over pizza. I am praying for a youth leader - I don't want to lose these kids. Vinga has so many children, between the teens and the children we would have more than 65 kids if they all came any one Sunday to church.

Tuesday, October 20, 2009

Please agree with me in prayer

I returned from Leysin Switzerland Saturday morning. It was an awesome 3 days - it is called a Time of Refreshing - and so it was! Nothing restores and refreshes like the presence of the Lord!

My daughter Kathleen is due to be released tomorrow from prison in California. She will probably be transferred to another detention center to resolve some other charges but should be given time served and then released. She requested to be released to our pastor in Ohio but it is doubtful that will be allowed HOWEVER God can move heaven and earth in her favor - if it is His will. I know friends worry about how hard it is on me every time Kathleen falls - but one of these times she won't - God promised me. Maybe this time will be the time. I stood for her in prayer from Malachi chapter 3:8-12 (I am a tither and a giver so the promise is mine) for 7 years. She came to Romania and was clean for 7 years, she has begun her 7th year in the mire again - BUT I declare in the heavenlies that THIS 7th year is the year of Jubilee! Please agree with me in prayer on this!

Monday, October 12, 2009

I am still alive ...honest!

Just a quick note - I apologize that I have not been faithful in keeping up the blog. I am leaving in about an hour to travel to Switzerland. A ministry in the States sponsors a Time Of Refreshing for missionaries. It is 3 days of Praise and Worship, good talks, great food. pampering and rest. YIPEE YAHOO! I am looking forward to seeing and sharing with others serving in Europe.

I am in search of wood for the Widow's Mite program. The man who usually supplies some of the wood said there is a problem this year with getting A permit for forest cutting. I was hoping that we would have also found a source in the judet of Timis by now - but we haven't. The temperature is due to be zero and below in the coming nights this week. No one was totally out of wood yet so I have a little time. The funds are here - I just have to find the wood!

The Christmas shoe-box gifts will be on the way here by around the third week of October. Reaching Romania has taken on the huge task of supplying gifts for 400 children. We also have 140 patients at Mocrea State mental hospital and 34 Widow's in the Widows Mite program. Irene and Wayne Phillips of Reaching Romania come to help distribute the gifts and usually Peter Grover is here also to help. Distribution is a huge job!

We continue to visit in Apple Way, this is a squatters settlement. Claudia's "house" was insulated for the winter by Walter. Walter has been developing relationships there with visits and bike repairing.

The church in Vinga is growing! Bogdan and I are doing the teen group on Thursday evening and Liga, Bogdan's girlfriend, and Dalia, Bogdan's mom, are doing the Sunday School. I am praying for a youth pastor and musician for the church.

I am not going to edit this so I hope it makes sense - I just wanted to let you know I am still here!

Wednesday, September 23, 2009

I did not fall off the end of the earth...

I apologize for not posting anything during our holiday, nor since returning home.

The girls and I had a wonderful time visiting in the States. It is such a joy to be able to spend time with friends! The girls spent innumerable hours in pools, visited King's Island in Ohio as well as the Aquarium and Zoo there. They went canoeing and camping with my pastor. They had their first visit to a cinema, went to Chuck E. Cheese as well as as Build a Bear! They were being spoiled rotten and they knew it!

Usually when I am in the States for 4-5 weeks by the 3rd week my heart is on it's way back to Romania. This year was different. By the start of week 4 I was not near ready to return to the fray. I wondered if the last year or so had taken a bigger toll on me that I realized? I spent time meditating on the fact that my days in Romania could be drawing to a close...but then the spark hit and I know at least for this season there is more the Lord would have me do here in Romania. A few people mentioned that perhaps it would be better for the girls if we were to live in the States - there are so many more advantages. Yes, that is true in one way, but then I thought about the girls running free in the village, coming home when they hear the cows leaving the fields or when the village church bell tolls, my being able to discipline the way I think should and not looking over my shoulder to be accused of child abuse, the girls can pray in school and there are choices on which religious instruction to take or the parents can opt out. Elizabeth would like a year of study in the States in the future but we have time.

I have closed the food bank building. I could not continue to pay the rent and buy all the food. A missionary friend still has a lead to large quantities of donated foods in the future and I need to meet with Daniel regarding a building for us. I definitely learned a lot these last 6 months about food distribution! I need a large building in a non residential area where people can come - I can not deliver any longer as the list is over 200 families. As many of you know, riots in nice neighborhoods are a no-no. This project remains my passion and I look forward to seeing what God will do!

Widow's Mite is still expanding, and Praise God we have the funds for the winter wood for all of them!!!!

We are starting up the youth group in Vinga this evening - please pray for us! I have met with a very nice young man that has a heart to become a youth pastor - YIPPEE YAHOO! Keep praying for music for the Vinga services.

Thank you for all your prayer and financial support!

Tuesday, July 28, 2009

We're off...!

I think I have covered all the bases before we leave to the States. Irene and Wayne are on their way here and we will pass in the airport. The girls are very excited and I am definitely looking forward to a rest. I don't travel as well as I used to but I still love it.

Saturday, July 25, 2009

Getting ready to leave

Suddenly last week I realized I was almost out of time - the girls and I leave the morning of the 29th for the States. There was so much work not done. I am trying to have everything ready for Irene and Wayne when they come, they will take care of the ministry with Peter's help while I am away.

Also I need to take some sort of write up about how the projects are going and maybe a few pictures.

I almost have everything done as of this evening. We are not packed but at least most of the clothes that we will be taking are clean and ready to be packed.

I am looking forward to seeing friends and generally not doing much! The girls are looking forward to seeing our friends, swimming a lot and eating beef! Hey, that sounds good to me too. Unfortunately I will need to shop for some clothes when I arrive - I have gotten s-o-o-o-o-o FAT since quitting smoking.

Also please include my daughter Kathleen in your prayers. I know what God has promised me and I await the promise.

Friday, July 17, 2009

Vinga kids at camp

13 of the youth from Vinga went to summer camp last week. We integrated with two other groups. Integrate is a good word here because I brought "The Gypsies". Some of the volunteers and staff were apprehensive, as were the other campers. There were some of the usual under the breath slurs when we arrived but it was OK. The first night my kids misbehaved and did not respect the authority of the adult assigned to their tent or wagon. This camp has big Indian Tee-pees and old western style covered wagons as bunk areas for the kids. The staff have rooms that are like a western storefront. Pretty cool actually. Matthew, Lorraine, Adi and Tabita did a wonderful job in administration and keeping all the kids fed etc. A team from Alabama came and did the programs - they were awesome! A group from Scotland also volunteered.

The kids had a wonderful week. The gospel was presented to them in ways they had never heard. Many people learned that they are just kids, culturally different perhaps, raised differently maybe, but kids all the same. There were 9 kids that made a decision to become Christian, and 8 if them were my kids - how great is that!

We knew that when they returned to Vinga it would not be easy - they would be made fun of etc. I was afraid they would think that this was just a summer camp experience and not a life changing I invited the whole team to church on Sunday in Vinga! There were 23 of them. They bought our kids a ping pong table too. The church was told how special our kids are etc.

Baptisms Elizabeth and Sarah

Sarah about to be baptized

Elizabeth immersed

Mori, Elizabeth and Sarah immediately following the baptisms.

Mori came to me several weeks ago and said she was ready to be baptized. I told her I would schedule it in a few weeks, which would give me time to talk to her and be sure she understood what baptism was and what baptism was not.

I had talked to my pastor when he was in Romania in March about Sarah being baptized. She has wanted to be baptized for a while now. I asked him to talk to her. Elizabeth didn't say much. When Sarah heard I was scheduling a baptism she wanted to be baptized right then. I said that it might be easier on her if she was baptized in the States by Pastor Rich for three reasons: first woman don't pastor here and they sure don't baptize; children under 16 are not baptized; and I was the grandmother. Sarah listened to all this and her response was something like "does the bible say what age I have to be? Does the bible say you can't do it? So, what's your point?" OK Sarah... Elizabeth was just listening and remarked that it was too bad she couldn't be baptized. I went through all the things that I feel should be in place before a person is baptized...she had no trouble with any of that, she knows what she believes and in Whom she believes. What is the problem Elizabeth? I didn't want to push her, the girls are still very young. Elizabeth said that so often she knows what she should and should not do but she goes ahead and does the wrong thing anyway so she wasn't yet good enough to be baptized. Boy did I have good news for her!

It was a very special day.

Sunday, July 5, 2009

Quick Update!

Walter and Ionci poured cement for Claudia's floor in their new shack. It isn't very pretty but they stay dry. We took beds and a small gas stove as well as other household goods. They are so happy with everything.

Elizabeth is doing a great job being in charge of crafts at Mocrea. Last week they dipped their hands in pain and then decorated the hand-prints. I have to say that was not a craft I would have tried but everything washes! Thanks to the new craft supplies we have a lot to choose from now.

My youth leader in Vinga quit and the kids had been promised a picnic and play day. I didn't want to disappoint them so I took 16 teens up to Taut for the day. They had a great time (and I survived!)

We have added 6 new widow's to the Widow's Mite program within the last few weeks and I have inquiries about adding more. There are so many but I am going to keep adding them and believing for the funds! The definition of faith: the substance of things hoped for, the evidence of things not seen = works for me!

I am taking the kids from Vinga to a summer camp tomorrow - pray for me!

Thursday, June 11, 2009

Elizabeth's banquet

Yesterday was Elizabeth's 4th grade banquet. Here in Romania the children have the same teacher grade 1 through 4. Not too many years ago many children left school after the 4th grade if their families needed help with farming or raising animals. Several moms were teary and they asked me if it wasn't a very emotional occasion for me. It is a milestone for sure and I am saddened when I think of how much the girls parents have missed.

The picture is of Elizabeth's teacher and preschool teacher who also came to the banquet. The preschool teacher continued to call Elizabeth for her birthday even when she went on to school.

Monday, June 8, 2009

This last week...

We have been working to rebuild Claudia a new shack in Apple Way. These are her neighbors.

Here is Claudia and her 3 little boys. Claudia is now 21.

This is Ionci and Ramos, Claudia's husband, we are making progress on this shack. We have 2 walls done and the roof. I need to buy more wood. Walter is going this week and take some tools and a wheelbarrow so Ramos can prepare the ground to pour cement. There were 5 boards left to put on a side wall and I told Ramos that if he didn't get them up I was not going to come with more material or workers. We'll see how that goes.....

Matt is here for two weeks helping me. He was here last year with Barb's team from Roberts. He has been a tremendous help to me and the girls love him! We had bagged food for another distribution and he loaded my truck - he is game for any adventure!

Sunday, May 24, 2009

Kids Klub

Friday evening Marius (the Vinga youth leader) Peter and myself took 17 of the kids from Vinga to the Kids Klub in my school located in Sanicolaul Mic. They really seemed to enjoy it. The children in Vinga are especially on my heart. The ones that go to school do not usually stay much past the 4th grade and they have a limited future. We are taking them to a summer camp out near Lipova in July. Reaching Romania, a charity in the UK, has a program to provide school clothes for many of these kids as well as the needed school supplies. Sometimes this is all the encouragement they need to go back to school - new clothes! Reaching Romania has also provided me with funds to help with the camp costs.

I hope to get to their youth meeting in Vinga on Wednesday. I want to talk to them about some service projects, liking cleaning out the weeds in the cemetery. Also as I watched them Friday night an idea hatched in my brain about a missions trip for these kids. This would be HUGE undertaking (just now I got a mental picture - a shudder going through some people that know me well). The enormity of a project doesn't slow me down much - I just need to know it is God for me to do.

Widow's Mite

The photograph below is of the 34 bags of food in my bathroom ready to be delivered to 6 villages in the judet of Timis. It takes an entire day with travel time to visit the 17 ladies. The photograph on the right is me with Mina Pandel. It was during a long conversation with Mina several years ago that I came to understand how it is that so many children desert their aged parents. She explained that the State took care of the children when you wanted them to, it was their responsibility and when you got old it was the State's responsibility to provide for you, not the children's. Of course under Communism there was no God. When I first discussed this with Mina she couldn't comprehend why I thought her children ought to be helping her. The house she has lived in all of these years is now in the name/s of her children. Mina is now relegated to a shed like area that is attached to the back of the house. There are big padlocks on the other doors - the rest of the house can now produce income for the children. Also Mina was not allowed to use the garden this year for the same reason. She said she is grateful for a tiny plot near the pig sty that they allow her to use. As she is getting older and unable to work as much things are getting more difficult for her and she longs for a relationship with her children.

I also went to visit Eva Stoll. Eva is a tiny 83 year old German woman. She requested a bible in German a year or so ago and Vlad was able to find her one but she can no longer read it. A few years ago she fell and hurt her left arm and has not been able to use it much since and then Friday she fell again. Eva can no longer use her right arm now either. A doctor came to visit her and said it was not broken but he also said she has problems with her heart and lungs. A neighbor rushed over when he saw a strange vehicle to see if Eva was alright. It seems some boys beat and robbed an old woman in that area recently. I am grateful that the neighbor is watching over her.

After visiting Eva we went right next door to deliver food to Smilia and Aurelia. Smilia is 89 and Aurelia is her 60-something profoundly retarded daughter. They were both in bed when we came. Smilia has never recovered from a bout with the flu and now Aurelia has also been bed-ridden for two weeks. A daughter-in-law comes about once a day and leaves food on a near-by table and gets a bucket of water. The daughter in law puts the daughter in her chair just long enough for her to eat and drink a little but Aurelia can no longer stay sitting up. Smlia said she thinks they are at the end of their days. I reminded her that we were agreeing in prayer for the Lord to take Aurelia first and then her right after. Smilia is asking the Lord in His mercy to take them now. I was profoundly sad, not because I think they may both die but because there is so little I can do to ease their lives now.

Sunday, May 17, 2009

Claudia's House in Apply Way

On the journey from the lumberyard Aaron had to ride on top of the lumber to keep it in the truck.

We unloaded the new lumber at the building site Friday and a group of men were supposed to come Saturday and work. This is a typical "construction". Claudia just wants it done so she can sleep under one roof with her children. When Walter and Aaron checked on the site yesterday while delivering potatoes only one or two boards had been added. Walter and I will check on the progress this week or next and if it isn't getting done we'll find a few volunteers and get it done. By the way, the tailgate of my didn't really survive the load of lumber - it was way too long and too heavy on the tailgate - oh well....

2 tons of potatoes

I got a good buy on potatoes in bulk. I actually ended up buying more than 2 tons. An awesome team here from St. Paul's in Steamboat Springs CO helped me bag and deliver them. After the bagging I got concerned that the potatoes were small and low quality. The old saying came to mind "you get what you pay for" and I indeed got a really good price. Of course the few bags I checked out had a better quality potato! I do not like to give things that are second best - especially not in clothes and food. I really dislike the attitude that because these people are so poor they should appreciate anything they might be given in spite of the condition - we should give our best. I spoke with many and told them that I knew the potatoes were of poor quality. I didn't get any pictures of the team helping me. Thank you all from Steamboat Springs!

Monday, May 11, 2009

More food to Apple Way

We provided over 200 boxes of food in that really poor neighborhood. We are scheduled to distribute potatoes on Saturday but I am not quite sure how to do it. The simplest way would be to gather 200 plastic shopping bags - I could put 10 lbs. or more in each bag - but bags cost and I hate to waste the money that could go for food! I will have to give this some more thought.

Peter and I went and bought some building materials to help rebuild the shack for Claudia and her family that had burned down. I wish I had taken a picture of what they had done so far. Several boards were nailed to start some walls but they were all different lengths. I asked Claudia if they had a saw - no. We bought a saw as well as a hammer and nails along with the wood and tar paper. I have been surrounded by poverty for a long time and am somewhat used to it - but I never want to get hardened to it. Claudia and I were chatting after Peter left and she looked pained. I asked what the problem was and she looked embarrassed but I persisted. She had one of her 3 children in her arms (I do not think she is out of her teens) and she hung her head a moment before muttering "we are hungry". The family of 5 have been allowed to sleep at an Aunt shack since they were burned out but they are given no food. Claudia's husband had been sick for 3 days and not been able to seek day work. Claudia said the worse part was when the oldest one cried because he was hungry and she said she cuffed him. She felt so terrible thinking she is a bad mother. I took them to the store. As I drove off I cried.

Hat day at Mocrea

Last week we made hats at Mocrea, it was a hit! I just wanted to share some of their artwork with you. I just received a large supply of new craft items and am contemplating what we will do this week. What fun!

Just catching up

We went to deliver Widow's Mite food to a village a couple of hours away from us. Irene and Peter were able to go but also Sarah wanted to come. Both the girls enjoy coming with me on many of the projects. This lady is Pachita and I am not sure what she had said to Sarah but Sarah hugged her and told her "remember Jesus loves you every day". Irene then took a picture of them. It was one of those precious moments.

Sunday, April 26, 2009

Aren't they gorgeous?

Here are the girls at Easter. Sarah and Elizabeth seem to be growing up over night! They are a joy to my heart.

Food Bank to the neighborhoods

Since I temporarily suspended having riots and blocking streets in the area of the Food Bank, I took the food out to poor neighborhoods. Here are a few of the pictures that Irene took.

The first photo shows Tibi and the van he and two friend brought to help. These people are rromi and were a tremendous help in preventing a neighborhood riot. If I did have a riot I do not imagine I would be able to get the Jandarme to come out there to help me!

The second is of one of the dirt roads in the area we visited. From the photos you can not see much of these shacks and the living conditions. To reach this "neighborhood" you have to leave a main road and wind through a maze of dirt paths and go through mounds of trash and garbage. All these houses are due to be bulldozed in the future - the land belongs to a university and all these people are squatters. A foundation here is working with the mayor to get a land grant so they will have a place to go. I have started searching for heavy canvas tents. This same foundation also has a day center and we need to meet so I perhaps can supply them with food boxes to distribute from their center.

The next is the site of a shack that had burned down just the night before. We are looking at helping with some materials to rebuild. The family that was burned out was a family that we had worked with many years ago.

The last photo is the crowd beginning to form around my truck - I am in the middle somewhere.

On Monday, with the help of those awesome high school volunteers, we will begin to assemble cartons and pack them for another distribution food for around 200 families.

I need to visit some other neighborhoods and assess the need. It is much more labor intensive and time consuming for me to have to do the distributions away from the Food Bank but the important thing is that we are getting the food out to hungry families.

I have previewed and edited this entry about 3 times but when it publishes it is totally different - I give up! I hope you can make sense of it.