Tuesday, November 2, 2010

Gypsy Village

Gypsy Village

I have to say it was one of the things I was most looking forward to on this trip, visiting a Gypsy village. We started our day spending some time with Estera and finding out how we could help her. This woman, I can't tell you how amazing I think she is. Just one week of her life wore us out, and it was a slow week. She has stamina like you wouldn't believe, and such dedication to her calling. She and her husband Vio often split up to go to villages, but they only have one car, so one of them will hitchhike to a village to do a Bible club. She goes to the Gypsy village every Tuesday night, alone, and walks. And let me tell you from experience, it is dark on the way home. I mean, can't see your hand in front of your face dark. I don't know how she does it but by the grace of God. She is forever in my daily prayers for the work that she does there.

So we started off by helping her with crafts. She sees over 600 kids a week in different schools and villages. For 250 of them, she has a craft. Some places she either can't or isn't allowed to do crafts. So Shawn, Amanda and I sat down with her lesson book and planned out the next 13 weeks of crafts for her. We then had the boys come and cut, count and sort hundreds of beads, cotton balls, paper bags, paper plates and pom pom balls! It took the better part of the day to get it all done, and we sorted her cabinets and got her all set up for the next few months. I wish I could go back and do it for her every few months to lighten her load, but one thing I am hoping for is a chance to go back next year and plan out the entire year for her. I hope it helps her have more time to spend with her amazing family. She gets up in the mornings around 4:30am just to read her Bible and pray while the house is quiet and then goes back to bed for a bit. See? Complete dedication! I could go on and on about her, she's my new hero.

A little while into the counting, Scott, Kevin and I took a mental health break and went for a walk down the main road. A photographers dream, this place. I took pictures of cows, haystacks, blades of grass, apple trees, everything there is so lush and beautiful. Then it was time to hit the crafts again before church.

Finally, we got ready and headed up the road to the Gypsy village. The kids were amazing. Some of the girls are married at 12, and have babies! They were so beautiful, and so friendly. Just walking up the road we were surrounded by a throng of kids, wanting me to take their picture, and then wanting me to show them on the screen. If they didn't like it, they would make me take it again. It was hard to just keep walking, but the others didn't want to leave me behind and so I kept headed to the church, and they kept following me. I just could not take enough pictures. The kids were gorgeous!

The church is experiencing massive growth too! They recently doubled in size, they had around 20 people regularly, and Gigi (Estera's neighbor) walks to the village every night to preach the Gospel to them. They now have 43 people and had to add on to the church building! I had a bag of candy in my hands so I was like a pied piper and the kids followed me everywhere I went.

So when it was time for the kids church to start, Estera sang some songs with them, and did her Bible lesson, and asked me to teach them the "Who's the King of the Jungle" song, which they loved, and then we played games with them. We played hand slapping games, balloon bouncing games, and we gave out more Silly Bands, and we gave out the candy as they left to walk home. It was all over too soon for me.

These kids were a lot like the kids at home, much more free than some of the kids we saw in the villages. They were outgoing, not too shy, jumped around and laughed a lot. It was like being at Celebration Kids, without the English! Then we walked home in the dark and went back to our crafting and packing up to head back to Bucharest. It was a nice, relaxing day, and the Gypsies were just so much fun. A great way to end the week in Campulung.

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