My first trip to Romania no doubt made me fall in love with this country. It was not until my second trip that I actually developed a passion for my second home. I decided to return to Romania the summer of 2000 to serve as an intern at an orphan camp. Writing this blog brings back so many memories. Camp Lapusna as it was called was a good three hour bus ride from civilization. This old camp at the top of some mountain was originally a youth summer camp during communism. We were so happy to get one warm shower a week. Usually we walked to the river where we would jump in the water, get out, apply soap, and jump back in to remove the soap. The water was so cold it would take your breath away.
Every experience I’ve had working with orphans, regardless of the country, has been a wonderful experience. However, the two experiences that stand out the most involved living with the children 24/7. The first was this particular experience in Camp Lapusna. The other was in Latvia. Sure you may build relationships with kids teaching VBS half a day or even a full day, but the true relationships come from sharing meals with the kids, tucking them in bed at night, and spending all your free time with them.
Oh the memories of Camp Lapusna. How could I forget the Water Nazi, stepping on a viper, or living off peanut butter and crackers! I still remember riding a bus from the Budapest airport to camp. It took close to 15 hours on a long and winding road. I remember sneaking into my room so not to wake my roommates. Even better, I remember waking (with jet lag) to all 15 of my roommates staring at me as they tried to figure out who I was!
But the memory than stands out the most was something that revolved around a key hole. You see, each morning the staff and interns would meet for prayer before everyone else was up. During this time we would pray for the children individually by name. Our meeting room was connected to one of the sleeping quarters for the children. And unbeknownst to us the children would take turns looking through the key hole of the door and watch us pray. Little did we know the impact this simple act of faith would have on a room full of children.
Don’t you agree with me that every child, or every person for that matter, deserves to be prayed for by name? I hope you will join me in praying for them. Aspire to new heights.