Wednesday, December 28, 2011

Romania: My moment, part 1

Some people can look back on their lives and pinpoint one moment—an event, a glance, a sentence uttered—that altered the course of their future. I’ve always envied people who have them, because moments like that don’t come to everyone. And when they do, they give life new purpose and meaning.

I had my moment.

But, before I tell you about it, I need to take you back to where the story really begins. Because, when I reflect on my life, I can see now that the moment which set it all in motion happened when I was ten …

Sundays were reserved for family in my home. Occasionally after Sunday dinner, we’d sit together and watch ABC’s 20/20 (yes, I was a dork even back then—I loved that show. I don’t care what anyone says: Barbara Walters is a saint!).

In this particular episode, Barbara traveled to Romania, where although their communist regime had toppled, it left thousands of orphans in its wake. I was instantly transported from the comforts of my home to a world my ten-year-old mind could scarcely comprehend: a miserable, hopeless existence for the children who lived it. As I watched the story of these orphans unfold, I vowed to someday help them. I also begged my mom and dad to adopt some of them, which didn’t work (instead, I got Pete, my now-17-year-old “little” brother, so I can’t really complain). Clearly, I’ve worked on my persuasive skills since then. But anyway … Since my parents didn’t share my passion for the orphans (or, now that I’m an adult and have a better grasp on finances, I understand how expensive adoption would’ve been for them), I decided that as soon as I was old enough, I’d adopt.

I’ve never forgotten that episode. The images of those children have haunted me for many years. You see, that day, something was planted deep within me. And because I believe that was my “moment,” what happened didn’t fade over the years; the desire to help children continued to grow and weave itself into my life. While I didn’t have the means or opportunities to go to Romania over the years, other children in need always captured my heart. Rather than attend college immediately after high school, I volunteered at an elementary school for inner-city, fatherless children, involved myself in the Big Brothers Big Sisters program, and moved to Hawaii where I spent a few months tutoring impoverished kids (and, let’s be honest—working on my tan in between).

However, even through all the work I did with other children, Romania kept tugging on my heart. I believed then, and I believe now, that God placed a desire to help those children in my heart, and that’s why I never “outgrew” it.

Last year, I found out that my mom’s best friend’s brother (I’ll give you a second to catch up …) has a mission organization called Mission Outfitters. And guess where they go every year at Christmas? Romania. As soon as I heard about this, I reached out to Tom, and asked him how I could get involved. He invited me to join them for their next trip. Due to finances and vacation time, I wasn’t able to go in 2010, but made plans to join them for their 2011 trip.

So, several weeks ago and after years of praying and waiting, I embarked on the journey that will forever change my life.

Stay tuned for more in the next day or two.

1 comment:

Pastry Girl said...

looking forward to hearing more! :)