Wednesday, September 13, 2006

Knock! Knock!

It occurs to me that I should write something here, at the very least to let people know I'm still alive.

I'm alive.

Now that we've crossed that bridge, I'll confess to having little to offer. My work, which I don't blog about, has been extremely frustrating and dominating too much of "life." Amy is encouraging me to let it go, in whatever way I deem best...she's even suggesting quitting which really isn't reasonable, but it is oh so tempting.

We've been doing a lot of positive things. I started work on a Habitat House last weekend...

I'll let you come up with your own caption.

I might suggest that prayers would be well placed for the young family who will eventually live in a house I helped build.

We've started working out at a gym...instead of simply having a gym membership and staying home. Our goal is to build Amy's strength up so she won't be exhausted when we get to Moldova.

Speaking of which, to those of you who have donated to our Moldova mission - thank you.

One contributor had some very pointed, and very pertinent questions about this adventure. I asked her permission to mention some of her thoughts/concerns on the blog since I thought they were substantive and that other folks might have similar feelings.

Since I'm just rambling on about everything, this seems like a good time to follow up and address those thoughts.

Her primary concern was that the mission trip, being ten or eleven days long, wouldn't really accomplish much and, in fact, might be detrimental to the very kids we plan try to help. She didn't say it this way, but it's actually the way I said it when I first heard about such trips, "Are we just paying for someone to go to Moldova, play with orphaned kids, and then abandon them again?"

Again those are my words...hers were much nicer.

Some years back, I played a small part in a multi-church "missions committee" where it seemed like a lot of fun and travel being paid for under the guise of "doing God's work." Although those folks did do some wonderful work, especially in raising awareness upon their return, I was uncomfortable with some of it and eventually let my participation lapse. So I understand that particular uneasy feeling.

Another concern was whether money might be better spent giving directly to the kids/orphanages. This is also a great question and rather than reword things, this is (with some small editing) how I attempted to answer both:

This is an ongoing project. CERI sends missionaries/funds/clothes, etc. year round. They also send a variety of people to work with these kids. We've sent teenagers, a woman in a wheelchair, a nurse, a lawyer, people from all walks of life...and will continue to do so. We will be working while there, helping with everything from cleaning, to building beds, whatever needs to be done. But make no mistake our chief goal is to show these kids they are loved and not forgotten by other people...and by God. The kids don't get to see anything of the outside world, I believe it's important for them to meet people - good people - ask them questions about life and hopefully we can encourage them to pursue their dreams.

There is a CERI organization "on the ground" in Moldova full time. These blessed people have the means, the time, and the talents to work with the kids, teaching them very simple (in our world) skills, like sewing. If a girl can become a seamstress by the time she is 16 and the state "cuts her loose," she can work in Moldova and earn enough to support herself and perhaps even other family members. Otherwise most of these girls end up as prostitutes.

Those full time missionaries work toward the goal of teaching skills with both the boys and the girls...but it's hard work. The full time teams also need "reinforcement" both with manual labor, and emotionally. I hope that we can provide both. Honestly, I'm not sure what to expect in total except the one thing I've been warned repeatedly about: heartbreak.

We too will be tasked with coming back and "spreading the word." This is a life changing trip on multiple levels. We hope to change some young lives, change some hearts back home, and change ourselves to be better at spreading the word about this country and its children.

Our time will indeed be short, but I believe it's important work.

As to whether a contribution directly to the children would be better...I can't quantify such things. If you search your heart and feel a need to give to CERI, give to CERI in whatever way you think is best, it certainly doesn't have to be for this mission trip. CERI is a great organization and can use money, and use it well...not only in Moldova, but worldwide.

Do be assured that Amy and I are still going - with God's help - and we have no plans to "take a jaunt" through Europe along the way. It'll be 25 hours of travel one-way, and I'm not sure you'll be able to convince me to travel any further even by luxury limo after that.

We will go to Moldova, stay in Moldova, work in Moldova and then come home from Moldova.

That's what we feel called to do.

Please know that this trip will be mostly work...and all pray.