I've been in Romania for a little over 4 weeks now and it's been an incredible journey. I'm interning with an organization out of Plano, TX called Livada Orphan Care with 11 other college students from various parts of the US. The ministry for the organization is broken down into 3 groups: The baby hospital in Ludus, Ogra Gypsy Village and a vocational camp for orphaned children in Targu Mures.
Overview of What Ashley is Doing
Eight of the interns, including myself, are currently working as counselors and leaders at the camps during the week. Each week, an American team (Church groups, families, other Christian small groups) arrives and helps co-lead the camps with us. Most of the kids at camp are orphans living in state group homes around Mures County, and range between the ages of 4-20. The structure of camp revolves around craft, recreation, memory verse, and team time stations.
The main goal of camp is to evangelize the Gospel and bring the kids to know God, as well as smothering them with mass amounts of kisses and hugs.
About 3 years ago, I came to Romania with my high school as an American team for a week and bonded with a group of girls (Simona, Roxana, and Ana) from the state homes in Zau and Sarmas. This past week, we had 49 kids from Sarmas and Zau, and my heart was overjoyed when I saw my group of girls from 3 years ago arrive off of the buses.
The most encouraging thing for me was to see these young girls mature and accept God as their Savior. It can be extremely challenging trying to minister to young kids, along with the language barrier, but none of that seems to matter after you see the fruit of your efforts. Friday mornings, we pray over the kids in small groups. After I prayed over Simona, she looked up to me and a translator and said "I want to lead others to Christ." in Romanian. At the age of 10, Simona wants to step up as a leader for God and expand His Kingdom. So regardless of the long days and stressful moments, moments like Simona's are what truly matter at the end of the day.