Trip February 2018

I’m here to tell you about how another trip went, another adventure to the land where God has given us “work” to do in His vineyard. This time, it’s myself (Giacomo) and Luca. We leave from Bergamo and get to Iași at about 13:15, where Nicu and Vasile are waiting for us to take us to the Chedes Agape farm in Rebricea. Before arriving, there’s no hiding our concern about the weather, because up to the week before the area had been gripped by the cold, with temperatures as low as -18°C. However, as soon as we land, we realise that the weather’s almost better there than in Milan!! All thanks to God, who welcomed our prayers, blessing this trip.

We arrive at the farm with a feeling of anticipation, because as well as Mihaela and Crina, this time Luiza, Lorena, Denis, Ionela and Patricia are also there! We go in, greet Mihaela with a hug and immediately afterwards are literally bowled over by the enthusiasm of the “copii” (children in Romanian). Our joy is overflowing; these children are a real blessing and the warmth of their hugs really moves us.

We immediately start to play and chat with them. We ask how it’s going at school and find out that there is indeed a bit of a problem as a result of their poor attendance when they were living in Pădureni. But we’re confident: the children learn quickly and with a bit of discipline will make up for lost time for sure! We get to dinner time in the blink of an eye between all the games and cuddles. Mihaela has prepared an amazing meal: Supa de Galuste and roast chicken, obviously all coming from the farm. The children sing a song to thank God for the food, how lovely! After dinner we do a short Bible study all together, and then it’s off to bed because we have a lot of things to do the next day!

The following morning, Luca, Crina and I leave for Iași to buy everything needed to prepare the food packages to be distributed in Pădureni as well as the pizzas to be given to the children at “happy hour”. We also have the job of going to a builders merchant with Nicu to collect the materials needed to put up a plasterboard wall in the children’s bedroom  (the social workers have told us that the 4 children can’t stay in the one room). The day absolutely flies by.

The next day, the farm quickly fills up for “happy hour” thanks to Nicu, who’s responsible for picking up the children from the nearby villages. Luca and Mihaela begin a study on the Biblical character Jonah. After the study, we spend some time praying together and playing… until that long-awaited moment arrives: pizza! I can’t describe the chaos in that room during the games, but the noise of these children playing happily is a wonderful noise, and seeing their smiling faces warms our hearts. Once finished playing, Nicu starts taking all the children back to their homes, and is forced to make more trips because the van is no longer with us after an honorable service of more than 400,000km. A new van definitely has to be found. The children have left and Luca and I just need to put everything in order and clean the room. A bit of elbow grease and off we go!!

Soon it’s dinner time again, and then we go back to studying the Word with Luiza, Lorena, Denis, Ionela and Patricia. I admit to being surprised from day one by their interest in God, how amazing!!!

We’re early birds the following day: Luca, Mihaela, Nicu and I are heading to the small evangelical church in Negrești, where Vasile and Mia are waiting for us for Sunday worship. Afterwards, we head towards Pădureni. You can’t imagine the state of the road we were on: God alone allowed us to get there, given the amount of mud we find on the way. We arrive at the village church where many children are waiting and who welcome us with big smiles. We begin by singing some songs of praise, and Luca, with Mihaela by his side as translator, preaches the Word. At the end, we hand out some sweets to all of the children and move outside, where our car is full of food packages to be distributed. It’s sad to think that until recently Luiza, Lorena, Denis, Ionela and Patricia also lived here in absolute poverty. Now it’s only their brother Luigi who’s still living with his parents (we continue to pray for him, and that God will help him like He helped his siblings).

We get back to Rebricea and decide to give our kids a nice surprise: we want to take them to the shopping centre for dinner. They’re super excited: they’ve never seen one! We opt to have dinner at a fast food type of place: some people are eating pizza, some fried chicken, some vegetables etc. We go to the kids’ area and I’ll let you imagine the happiness of Luiza, Lorena, Denis, Ionela and Patricia on seeing all of the games! We get there close to 10pm and soon it’s already time to go home, so tired but at the same time so happy.

It’s the last day and we spend the morning putting up the wall in the children’s bedroom… the last part of this trip. And it’s time to say goodbye… and I won’t lie, I almost shed a tear: it’s easy to get attached to these kids, they’re a blessing from God and we’ll work hard to ensure a better future for them. And we pray that God will save them for eternity.

Giacomo [Translation by Renée Schalks]