HAPPY NEW YEAR! Or La Multi Ani, as we say here in Romania!!
I hope everyone had a great Christmas and a happy New Year! I have been busy the last month. Really busy. That is my excuse for my lack of blogging. I will make up for it with amazing pictures and videos that I took throughout December. December was a crazy month! I honestly don’t know where it went, it went so quickly! I am hoping these next few months start to slow down because it is already 2013 and I have officially been here for over 7 months now! I don’t want to start thinking about leaving so I will try my best to slowwwwww dowwwwwn these next few months. Impossible. In Romania, the time flies. It is crazy!
I have so many pictures and videos that I will have to split up my blog posts. This first one is about us going Christmas caroling, and bringing food and toys to the homeless kids. Such an AMAZING (and freezing) night! We had planned to go caroling and food delivering (is that a thing… ?) on the Sunday before Christmas. The 23rd. So on Friday the 21st we got together at church with a few other helpers from another church, and started to prepare bags of toys for the children and food.
It took hours and hours of hard working girls to prepare this traditional Romania meal. I dont know how many “sarmales” they made but it was close to a 1000. They are like cabbage rolls with chicken or pork inside. Here are some pictures of some of the girls helping prepare the food.
And here are the people who are helping packing the bags to give out to the children. Gloves, teddy bears, Deodorant, pens, chocolate, biscuits, and other fun things were put into each bag!!
We all got home really late that Friday night…. the next day was our childrens Christmas program (more details in the next blog post) and then Sunday we had church. Sunday afternoon we put on 15 layers of clothing (okay maybe I just did) and got ready to go out and sing and deliver food and toys! Here are the boxes of FOOD and bags of BREAD we brought for the homeless people of Bucharest!
I think we had 5 boxes of food and 3 big bags of bread. So much food! And I was in the car where we stored the food, so I was hungry from the get go!
Our first stop was right around the corner from our church. Apparently a lot of homeless people live there but only one man was there at the time. We sang 3 songs for him as he cried, sang with us and thanked God. We prayed for him and moved on to our next location. Being in Romania has made me toughen up. I dont cry half as much as I used to. But I couldn’t help but literally break down. I dont know whether it was because I have never done something like this, or because I wanted to never stop doing this, or because I realized again, how blessed I am, but it wasnt easy getting in the car and leaving. This guy was amazing. I will never, ever, forget him.
Location number two!
We drove (in a 5 car caravan!) across Bucharest to our second stop. We came to an old abandoned building and walked inside and upstairs in the common area. Families and children started coming out of their rooms to sing with us. Unfortunately, their living conditions didnt shock me as much as they should have. I dont really think twice about families sharing one room, not having running water, or not having a warm place to live. Its not normal, but like I said, Romania has changed me a bit, I cant be as emotional as I was, it doesnt mean I dont care, it just means the shock factor has worn off a bit and I am used to seeing things like this. After we sang songs to the families, they came down to collect food and the children came to see Santa and get their gift bags!!
Location Number 3!!
Next we headed close to the main train station in Bucharest called “Gara de Nord” here, we would be serving people who live underground in the sewers. Last years pictures showed them coming out of the actual sewer circular things in the middle of the street (is there a word for those?) but this year the police tried to stop them from living there so they bolted them down. It didnt stop these guy- they tunnels through the snow and underground to reach these warmed sewer underground places. Mike worked with these homeless men prior to working with EGM so he knew some of them. THIS was an amazing experience, words cannot describe, so I will shut up and let the pictures speak for themselves.
(I just realized I have soooo many pictures that I will make a video showing them all. They are all amazing and I know I am posting a lot of them but there are so many more that are amazing. Claudia couldnt come so the official photographer was moiiii)
It is easy to say at this point we were really tired, and reaaaaaaaally cold. But we went downstairs for our final caroling session and I can say for certain, each of us were changed after this. We went downstairs and squeezed into this one room. There was a family of 4 and a lady laying on a bed. She was in an orphanage until she was 18, then kicked out. She had a couple of children and at age 24/25 she was diagnosed with a brain tumor. She didnt know her name, where she was and had no family. The family who was taking care of her, didnt know her, didnt get anything for taking care of her, they just did it. We sang songs and the girl with the brain tumor requested we sing ” Our God is an Awesome God” I cant even write that without tearing up. Mike and Florin sat with her and prayed for her. Another experience that as life changing, moving and something I will never forget.
After over 5 hours of caroling. We all headed back to church where Claudia(Florins wife) and Dana (Mikes wife) had prepared us food and dinner.
Here are some pictures of me to prove I was there 🙂
Tomorrow I will be posting about the childrens Christmas program that was done in December. A play, Santa coming to deliver gifts and a choir. Check back for pictures and stories from then!