November 2009 UpdateThis has been such an amazing year. Not only has the Lord taken me from one city and placed me in another, but he has completely transformed me in the process. As I look back on 2009 during this season of Thanksgiving, I cannot help but be thankful that I serve God who is Everlasting, Sovereign, Omniscient, Omnipresent, the Beginning and End, and the One True God, to which all other kings and rulers are subject. Most importantly, I’m thankful for a God that called me out as a little girl and changed my heart of stone. He is a God that continually changes hearts. He not only changed me, but He is working in the lives of the Romanian youth I will be joining in early February. I’d like to share a few of their stories so that you can see how God is using your prayers and finances to change their lives. These stories are told from Andy & Tresha McKnight, with whom I will be working in Romania.
Florin is an orphan boy of gypsy decent, dark-skinned with big, brown eyes. His story is that of hundreds of orphans in Romania. Though we are not exactly sure, Florin most likely was one of those little ones the world saw on TV when communism fell. Living in pitiful conditions, tied to a cot, dirty, and malnourished, Florin beat the odds to survive when so many died. He has a gentle spirit now, and with it a very child like personality. Somewhere Florin stopped developing mentally, maybe to protect himself from the pain, maybe as a result of all the suffering, no one can tell for sure. His presence at camp always brings such joy, and God has put His hand on Florin in a very special way. Florin has the ability to radiate joy in such a powerful way that anyone who spends time with him will see Jesus, if they look close enough. Florin's tears at the end of each camp will never be forgotten. He just loves to be loved, to feel a part of a family. It is always hard to leave Florin back in the slums after camp. He now lives in a run down apartment building, with no windows or doors, drug addicts lying on the stairs, in a neighborhood where fights and stabbings are daily occurrences. Through it all, Florin keeps going and his joy is abundant. God is faithful.
We hadn't seen Gabi for many years, and almost 8 years had past without a single word about the little girl we met in the hospital. She had come to the hospital for tests and was diagnosed with HIV/AIDS, contracted from a blood transfusion as a baby. Gabi was frightened in her new surroundings, but we were able to comfort her some as we played games, sang songs and loved those little ones for Jesus. Gabi’s heart softened and she drew close to us over those days in the hospital. Then one day, she left the hospital and it was eight years before we saw her again while collecting kids for our first camp. Hardly recognizable as the little girl we knew, she had grown up and a hard life could be seen on her face. During our time with her, she began to soften once again and share the things she had been through. She had be abused by those who should have protected her, raped and sold as a prostitute, she had to have an abortion, and so on. But God is faithful. He knew Gabi would be back with us. God still was waiting for Gabi to reach out to Him and she did. He began to heal her heart of all the scars of the past, and though this is a slow process, she is making steps in the right direction. She is reading the Bible and coming to the Day Center for encouragement and help. Gabi is free of prostitution now and her life is getting better.
These are but a few of the hundreds of children the Joshua Project serves and it is for so many more that the Lord calls all of us to play a part. In this final hour, I pray that we as a church are not caught standing idle. To God be the Glory.