Tag Archives: Moldova

Modern Day Slavery

14 Jun

Blog post by Cathleen Brown, Team Iraq 2012

“And, sir, when we think of eternity, and of the future consequences of all human conduct, what is there in this life that should make any man contradict the dictates of his conscience, the principles of justice, the laws of religion, and of God?” 

William Wilberforce stated these words while fighting for freedom for slaves in 1781, in England in front of the British Parliament.   He believed it was the job of ordinary men, not just political leaders to stop the injustice of slavery.  In 1863, Abraham Lincoln signed the Emancipation Proclamation, freeing anyone held as a slave.  The end drew near for the African slave trade due to persuasive words, incessant ambition, and continual conviction from God by these God fearing men.  Little did they know, the slave trade would still continue more than 200 years after Wilberforce and 150 years after Lincoln.  It would occur again, and not openly accepted, but just as heinous as before;  hidden, with less acceptance in culture, yet driven by money hungry pedophiles and ordinary men.  These men are not dissimilar to the men of the past.  It is human sex trafficking, the second-largest organized crime in the world.

It is estimated that 1.2 million children are trafficked each year in internationally and between 50 and 60 percent of the children are under the age of 16 (UNICEF).  Human trafficking of orphans internationally and domestically is driven by pornography and greed.  Winfrey defines child sex trafficking:

Sex Trafficking is the recruitment, harboring, transportation, provision, or obtaining of a person for the purpose of a commercial sex act in which a commercial sex act is induced by force, fraud, or coercion, or in which the person forced to perform such an act is under the age of 18 years.

Orphans are vulnerable to trafficking as they are emotionally, mentally and physically not able to defend themselves, they have no one to stand up for them them and due to poverty, are often sold by family members so others may have food and shelter.  In order to prevent the trafficking of orphans, there must be a place for the children to go that is an alternative to the deplorable option of trafficking life where they are loved and cared for.  The communities need education, prevention, strict justice for the traffickers, and rehabilitation for the children taken out of the sex trade. Continue reading

Home and Happily Heartbroken

22 Jul

Blog post by Holly N, recent Journey 117 team member (Moldova).

Looking back on my experience [this summer in Moldova] I now am, and pray that I will continue to be, heartbroken. God truly broke my heart for what breaks his.

Once I had signed up to go on this trip with World Orphans and serving abroad became a real tangible thing, God started changing my heart. He began to make me uncomfortable. My eyes were being opened to how materialistic we as Americans are. I began getting very uncomfortable with how comfortable we are with our materialism.  Unfortunately, God was beginning this work in me to make me uncomfortable to the point of action, but I, the gross sinner that I am, just got angry. By His grace, He made me aware of my anger issue and reminded me constantly to turn my eyes on Him. So I began praying about my anger that God would turn it to compassion.

While on the mission field I experienced many things that began to break my heart. The kids just wanted to be loved. They wanted hugs and attention. As was mentioned in a previous blog, the kids did not even understand our language but they wanted our attention and affection. These children were just like our children at home, but they had no one to hug them each day or tell them they are loved and valued. Leaving them broke my heart even more so knowing the situation I was leaving them in and the life they will be facing. It’s unfair and unjust. There is so much corruption that you feel like anything you try to do will be futile. But then I’m reminded and comforted by the fact that God hates injustice. My God who is so big transcends language barriers and corrupt hearts. He brings healing and restoration when there appears to be no hope in sight. The kids I left behind are praying to the same God I do. Continue reading

Love Transcends Language Barriers in Moldova

20 Jul

Blog post by Penny S, Journey 117 team member serving in Moldova.

Our team represented the hands and feet of Christ on this trip. We showed Christ’s love with our actions quite literally because of the language barrier. We did not have enough translators so much of our communication with the orphans was what we did: laugh, smile, hug, high-five, share. The orphans arrived at camp on that Sunday with faces showing no emotion. The translators said many did not want to be there. These same orphans were smiling and laughing and dancing with us by Friday. They departed camp with crocodile tears not wanting to leave. Our team brought youth and energy to the camp which was crucial to the relationships with the orphans. And I believe the Moldovan counselors/translators were energized and encouraged by our presence. God used our positive, happy attitudes to cross the language barrier to bring the love of Christ to the hearts and lives of the orphans in Moldova. I left with a sense of feeling like we completely planted seeds in many hearts that I am confident God will water and grow long after our departure.

To see pictures of the 2011 Moldova orphan outreach camp, check out the Journey 117 Facebook group.  Be sure to LIKE us!

Team Moldova Update – Part 3

16 Jul

Wow!  What an incredible past two weeks this team has had!  God is so amazing!  In spite of the language barrier, God used us to be His hands and feet to the orphans at orphan camp, and we were able to communicate through our actions how much we loved and cared about them, and the children responded!  The camp was an overwhelming success, and the kids enjoyed the games, seminars, and activities with enthusiasm, as did we!  We were able to see God work on their hearts in a very tangible way.  Every team member got the chance to share their testimony with the kids through an interpreter, and not only did many of them respond to the invitation to accept Christ on the last day of camp, we also shared many stories of kids who, at the beginning of the camp, were stand-offish or unresponsive, and by the last day were totally engaged:  smiling, waving, and hugging us goodbye!  It was a very humbling and powerful experience.  Imagine having a child sob in your arms because you are leaving them and hearing through an interpreter that meeting you has been the best thing that has ever happened to them.  Even though we didn’t speak the same language or share the same culture, God had formed a bond of His love between the two of us that words could not express.  One of children told me in sign language that I shouldn’t cry because we would see each other in heaven!  The morning the orphans left the camp, there were a lot of hugs and a few tears, but God’s presence was much in evidence as pictures were taken and goodbyes were said.  My favorite memory of that day is the children on the buses pressing their hands to the window as our team members pressed theirs to the window from the outside, one last connection before the final wave goodbye, many of the children forming hearts or crosses with their fingers.  It made me realize that perhaps in His wisdom, God knew that not speaking the language would be the best thing that could have happened.  That it would remove our human flaws from the equation and allow our actions to communicate love in a manner we could not possibly have imagined.

Please pray that this will only be the beginning, not the end of our journey towards seeking God’s plan for our lives as we continue to strive to be His hands and feet.

Team Moldova Update – Part 2

15 Jul

Well, it’s day 3 of camp and the team is doing a fantastic job!  We’ve been told we’re the most enthusiastic American team ever to come work at the camp. 🙂  This morning I was greeted with a smile, wave, and big hug from one of the orphans as soon as I walked out my door.  DAY TOTALLY MADE!    We have really enjoyed getting to know some of the kids and learning names and random Romanian phrases. We are long on days and short on sleep, but have become a fun sensation especially during the morning energizer! Continue reading

Team Moldova Update – Part 1

14 Jul

Team Moldova prepares for departure at training camp in Chicago

Team Moldova has safely arrived and we wanted to thank you for your prayers.  We had a small scare at the airport when we thought they were going to charge us for the craft supplies and donations for the orphans, but God blessed and the ticket agent was able to manipulate the system and get all of our bags checked without the extra charges!  Does Jesus rock or what? 🙂  And all the luggage arrived safely.

We just completed our introductory day at orphan camp and are super excited that we get to hang out with the kids and share the love of Christ with them this week.  Please keep us in prayer as we go into this week. Things can be a little chaotic with 200 teenagers running around the premises!  The team’s spirits are up, but please pray that we have good weather this week! It has been raining an unusual amount this week and many of the activities are outdoors and we know many of the children do not have adequate clothing.  Also, we have a few team members that have developed a case of the sniffles due to the cold weather and lack of adequate rest due to jet lag.  Please pray that the Lord guards our health, and that of the orphans, that no one gets sick, and that the kids have an amazing time at camp.  The team has been really good about going with the flow and not allowing our American mindset to creep in and get in the way of building relationships, but pray that as the week progresses that spirit of flexibility and that patience endures.  We are human, after all!  Thank you in advance for praying for us and praying us through this week we are so grateful for all of your prayers!  Internet access may be sporadic, but I will send these updates out whenever possible.  Know that your loved ones are safe and well, and excited about being used by God in this way.

HIV in Moldova

29 May

Blog post by Heather E., Team Moldova 2011

Human immunodeficiency virus (HIV) is a condition in humans in which progressive failure of the immune system allows life-threatening opportunistic infections and cancers to thrive. Within bodily fluids, HIV is present as both free virus particles and virus within infected immune cells.  The four major routes of transmission are unsafe sex, contaminated needles, breast milk, and transmission from an infected mother to her baby at birth.    Continue reading