From my Mom

Well, we are now in Romania with Melissa.  We mostly came here to check up on our daughter and make sure all was okay for her.  Already John has fixed the toilet and I’m fixing the hem of the kitchen curtains and there is mending to do.  I not really sure what else I expected.  I don’t think it was the change of roles, Melissa is teaching us all kinds of things….Don’t talk to strangers, especially the ones that sit on the park bench all day, how to flush the toilet, to take off your shoes when you go inside, how to do laundry. We are having trouble with saying “thank you” but I think it is a language thing.  And today, Melissa really told her father that  “he was going to be late for school and she was leaving in ten minutes, with or without him.”  My, how times have changed.
The trip across country took much longer than I could ever have imagined.  But the country is so beautiful!  The vast stretches of land with no advertisements on what I should eat, drink, where to sleep or where to buy the cheapest gas.  Just wide open spaces.  We crossed two majestic mountain ranges.  Drove through a great deal of farm land, ready for planting.   It is perfect.  There are lots of small villages along the way and the folks seem to get along just fine.  You see the ruins of the communist era here. It is by far the saddest part of the trip.  There is so much going to ruin because of poor building and abandonment by the former government.
We finally made it to Melissa’s apartment in Suceava.  It is really a sweet little three room place. Perfect for one person full time and just fine for three people for two weeks.  Although Melissa  had John get a guitar for summer camp and now  Melissa wants to learn to play.  Well at least “Kum By Ya”.  This apartment just got a lot smaller
Melissa has taken us into the village twice now.  We went to school with her.  The children all seem to gravitate to her.  All are calling “Hello” and are quite curious about the two people she has brought with her.  Melissa could her them whispering “parents” in Romanian.  So the word was out.  These kids are so beautiful and I really mean that. They have the most wonderful faces. All are ready with a smile and their faces light up with each smile.  I took pictures of each child.  Some don’t have pictures at home and Melissa will give them all their own pictures  after I have them printed.  But every child sat perfect for the pictures and wanted to see for themself how they look.  We got to play Bingo and watch Melissa in action.  John became the caller and I will confess I helped the kids find the right words and numbers.  I only regret not being able to understand everything they had to say and to talk to them so they could understand me. I promise to work harder at learning Romanian before I come over again.
The second grade teacher came up to meet us and tell us how special Melissa is and how much the children love her and what a great opportunity it is for them to learn from someone who speaks English as their native tongue. 
Melissa is very comfortable here and if I had any doubts (which I didn’t…okay maybe a few) there is no doubt now.  My daughter is doing what she was called to do and is so very much at peace. God truly blessed her.  It puts my heart at peace to know that.
We were able to visit with one of the families so far.  What wonderful people, they welcomed us into their home and treated us to cake and a drink.  I was most eager to meet their son, Bogdan, as I have a special place in my heart for that young man.  He was not there.  He is tending sheep for another farmer, who lives 8 kilometers away and Bogdan will stay there for 3 months.  He is earning money so the family can buy a horse.  Something he wants very much.  I almost cried when I heard this, I was afraid I would not get to meet him.  But his mother, Olga, said Bogdan would be at Sunday School because his father would go over Saturday and take his place.  Instead, we will take Vasile, (the father) to trade places with Bogdan and then take Bogdan and his sister, Diana out for the afternoon. 
Olga (the mother) has promised to teach me how to make wonderful rolls stuffed with homemade cheese next week.  Wish me luck!  She served them to us and I only hope I can do half as well. As we left her home today, we were given more cheese roles, a liter of milk and some of her wonderful homemade cheese. What a gracious and beautiful lady. The life I see here is so different from the one we lead back home.  This family has worked very hard for the life they have and they are very proud of what they have done.  They are also willing to share it with us.  While we have so much and they so little, I never once saw poor people in that house. There are many lessons to learn from these kind and wonderful people.   I am grateful Melissa has such good people as friends.
Their beautiful daughter, Diana, is doing very well in school, in fact she has the best grades in the whole 5th grade.  She works very hard so she can go on the high school.  Her parents want that very much for her.  Many children in the village and in her extended family drop out at the age of 12 and some even earlier.  Many work with the family on the farms and find few ways to leave the village.  But not Diana, She is working hard and (if Melissa has any say) will probably go on to University as well, so she can help her parents and brother.
We’ve only just begun (no Carpenter songs please)  this “adventure” with Melissa in Romania.  Already I feel very humbled by what I have learned from them and about myself.  I look forward to where this adventure takes us and what else God has in store.
Annie in Romania   


5 Responses

  1. This is beautifully written, Annie! I’m confident that Melissa is right where God wants her to be, but it was wonderful to hear someone else (who cares more deeply for her than probably anyone else in this world) say the same.

    It sounds like you guys are going to have a lot of fun!

  2. Annie,
    Though we have never met, I appreciated your comments. Welcome to the Romania “trap”. You go expecting to give them something and come away receiving far more than you can ever give. Romania captures all of our hearts, as it has captured Melissa’s. Everytime I visit Romania, I end up leaving more pieces of my heart. Pretty soon all of it will be there. I am sure you will never quite be the same and that is probably a good thing. Romania does change us for the better. We look forward to visiting Mel in July. Blessings to you and may God continue to bless!

  3. How exciting to hear about Romania from your perspective, Annie! I loved every bit of it! (Good luck with the cheese rolls, I might have to invite myself over sometime! ;0)
    It sounds kind of silly to say thank you for visiting Melissa and serving her as you have since you’re her mom, but please know that her COTC church body is very grateful for the love and care you are giving her in our absence.Thank you, thank you, thank you!
    Please continue to have a wonderful and safe time, and give her lots of love and kisses on our behalf by proxy!

  4. I loved reading this, Annie…you’re quite the writer! Thank you for the reminder that the simple life is so beautiful.

    Have a fabulous time and soak it all in…we’d love to see some of your pictures when you return and settle in. We pray for Melissa daily here in our household and include you and John now, too.

    I’m with Michelle on the subject of the cheese rolls…YUM!

  5. hi annie and john, i am soooo happy you both are able to make the trip there. sounded like quite a journey along the way. thank you for sharing your experiences there. surely as parents, your hearts and minds will be able to recall all that you have seen and done! it must be of some comfort to know you physically see melissa in the midst of her daily comings and goings. i know the children and families love her as she radiates love and the love for Christ she has. she is indeed special in every way!!!!!!! enjoy the time you all have together…..

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