SOOOOOO much to say so little time! First and foremost, thank you to the many many people who contributed to the camp kits for my homeless children! The overwhelming support from my GoFundMe, Royal Russel School, Captain’s Wheel church and all my local friends who donated made this year’s fundraiser so successful!
I had to raise a lot more money this year than I did last year because of the timing of my camp. A lot of my expat contacts in Bucharest are moving/ have moved the last few weeks so I had less local support than I have had in previous years.
Thankfully, a lot of locals still donated financially and of course, my GoFundMe was a huge success. I am so thankful to have had the funds to be able to go and shop for the children this year. Although it is EXHAUSTING shopping for around 30 children, the look on their faces when they receive their camp kits is well worth it. They each got brand new clothes and toiletries and shoes to wear this week at camp and it was all bought through donation money so- THANK YOU!
SO, here are some of the photos from yesterday, Sunday. Delivering camp kits to all of the children who are coming to camp with the team from RHCC that safely arrived Saturday at midnight!
As per usual, I will be having the team blog for the next week. Sorry for the delay in updates, to say this day/week/month has been busy is an understatement! KATIE is blogging tonight so scroll down for her entry!
Please pray for a safe, fun, and blessed week at camp with these children. Also, for good weather! We are here til Saturday and its going to be a longgggggggg week! Thanks for all the support as always, and enjoy the rest of the blogs from the team this week!
Til next time,
GUEST BLOGGER NUMBERO 1!
This is Katie Mendoza blogging, and I am so ecstatic to share with you my journey in Romania so far!
The reason I’m even here in Romania in the first place is because I, along with 9 other team members, are here for a mission trip. We came to Romania in hopes of helping the children of poverty and introducing them to the love of Jesus Christ through lessons, music, and non-stop hugs and high-fives. These children need all the help they can get, and we are here to make sure that by the end of the week, they are able to go back home from camp knowing that there is someone that loves them for who they truly are, no matter what.
Walking into this station, I had no idea what to expect. I had never been on a mission trip, nor had I ever even traveled out of the country. Waiting at the airport for our flight from Los Angeles to depart, I had crazy butterflies in my stomach and I had non-stop thoughts rushing through my mind. Am I going to be able to do this with a happy attitude? What if I’m not nice enough to the kids? Will they think I’m too strict? Too American? But little did I know that all my thoughts would be proven wrong the second I left the Bucharest airport.
From the get-go, I felt perfectly safe and I knew everything would work out just fine. Camilla greeted us with excitement and kindness, and the little church we stayed in for the first two nights, thanks to Mike and Donna, felt just like home. We had home cooked meals, a variety of breakfast foods, and even air conditioning! We all are so grateful and thankful to have had such a warm and welcoming place to stay – Mike and Donna truly are the best!
After arriving Saturday night, the next day we delivered backpacks full of necessities to the kids that were going to attend camp. Inside each backpack, a child received shirts, shorts, socks, underwear, shoes, sandals, a tracksuit, a hat, and a few hygiene products. In order to deliver these backpacks, we had to go into the neighborhoods that these kids lived in, and let me tell you, I was certainly surprised. I knew that it wouldn’t be the best looking, but I had no idea that it would be as bad as it was. The children and their families lived in shacks, built by themselves, and they were surrounded by several piles of trash and waste. Some kids lived in buildings, but still, their homes looked dirty and run down. Stray dogs and cats scurried around and across the streets, and I couldn’t help but think about how fortunate I truly am. I thought to myself about how often I complain about being tired or hungry, or how many times I get into arguments with my mom about silly things (which obviously didn’t seem so silly in the moment). I realized how grateful I ought to be for the life that has been given to me, and I knew the my goal for this week was to give these kids what I’ve been given my entire life – a warm bed, food, clean showers, and most importantly, love.
The next day, the team and I woke up early to load the van and pick up the children to head to camp on a bus. During the bus ride there, I had so much fun with the kids. I’m not even kidding – they made me laugh so hard and they loved being silly. The three hours felt like 10 minutes, and I’m so thankful to have gotten that opportunity to bond with the kids. When we finally arrived at camp, we all brought our bags to our rooms and waited for lunch to start. For lunch we had amazing soup, chicken, and mashed potatoes. It was probably the best meal I’ve had in a long time. Then, after lunch was free time, and the kids either played sports or stayed in the Sala to play games and make bracelets. It was so much fun watching the kids laugh and have a good time with each other – they truly were enjoying themselves. Next after free time was the message and music, and I had so much fun running around and dancing with the kids. Every time I looked around the room, kids had huge smiles on their faces and they were dancing/singing their hearts out. The team and I even got the chance to perform silly skits for the kids called “Bogaloos” – it’s basically us just screaming and doing stupid stuff to make ourselves look dumb – who doesn’t love that?
At the end of the night, we ate dinner, took showers, and put the kids to sleep. Reflecting back on my day, I thought of all the children I met and all the hugs I received. I realized how much these kids need someone to depend on, and I knew that no matter how tired I was or how much I wanted things to be quiet, I needed to look past that and know that it’s really about the kids, not me. I am here to serve God by giving these kids week they will always remember. These children have such big hearts, and I am here to give back to them.
I hope that tomorrow, the kids are just as excited as they were today, and I hope that the team and I are able to work through the baggy eyes and tired bodies to make sure we do our jobs. God has so much in store for us, and I can’t wait to see what he has planned for us ahead.