This Is My Family

Today I'm posting over at A Deeper Family. Sometimes you have to leave your home to see your family. My husband held me in his arms and kissed me deeply before he sent me off to a country thousands of miles away from our home to write about a God he doesn’t worship in a place where God can be hard to see. He is my family. After admitting that I was terrified that I was the wrong person to make the trip to Moldova, my Facebook wall filled with images of fiery unicorns and inappropriate prayers from people that I know primarily through online interactions. They are my family. Head on over and give the rest of it a read! … [Read more...]

Where I Am

You Are Here

It's been hard to get back to blogging. I have ideas that I want to write about. There have been some stories that have grabbed my attention and I'd like to share about them. Lots of words brewing. But it's hard to get them out. After my experience last week, it's difficult to know how to get back into writing. I have lots of memories of Moldova. I eat a little cutie clementine and it reminds me of sitting in the youth center, digging through one of Idelette's bags of fresh fruit and pulling out the same. I pull on my black boots and think about Makeda wrapped head to toe in her winter garb. Yesterday we sang Revelation Song in church and it took me to a third floor room, with Jenni leading the same song the previous week with the Moldavian team singing in Russian with us. And … [Read more...]

We Are Different

#TeamMoldova

Our team climbed onto the bus again. People jumping in and out of conversations, off-color jokes eliciting raucous laughter, hugs and “I love you’s” being freely exchanged. Ten American & Canadian women and we. are. loud. I know that about me, but I somehow managed to go on a trip with an entire team of loud women. Moldova is a quiet country. When we were talking to some young women on Thursday night at the youth club, they said that in their country, they are often concerned about what other people might think about them, so they tend to be very quiet and reserved. Today when Vladimir invited his congregation to “create chaos to praise God,” the congregation of about 150 Moldavians turned to one another and in whispers, spoke to one another. It was the most low-key chaos I have … [Read more...]

Stuff I’ve Been Reading: Moldova Edition

Photo by Jenni Clayville

I know it's a little early for a Stuff I've Been Reading post, but tomorrow I'm pretty sure I'm going to want to hang out with my teammates, having a little Purcari wine and eating some Prestigiu wafers and crying, so this will be my last post from here in Moldova. Today I'm linking up my favorite posts from my team members. I am so thankful to have had the opportunity to get to know these women. They are incredible, strong, courageous women with amazing stories and I'm honored to call them my friends. Nicole Wick was the team leader who invited me to join this team. I am so happy to have finally met her in person. I love the story that she shared about her experience with one of the girls. I had the privilege of being with her during this moment and it was a holy one. The first … [Read more...]

Beginning

Beginning

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Girl Leads Totally Normal Life

20130123_101201

Last night, we came back to the hotel and went to the restaurant where some of us ate ice cream and drank a little Moldavian wine. We shared some of our own stories. We talked about good blogging practices. I said that I didn't feel like I had any stories to share yesterday. Of course, I'm brimming with stories, but some feel like they need to sit and be worked through in my mind before I'm ready to share them. I need time to process. I want to do the stories of the men and women that I'm meeting here justice. They deserve AT LEAST my very best writing. I sat and listened to two gentlemen speak yesterday about their work in prevention and how they find that people are less likely to support preventative measures because it's hard to measure success of people who never fall in the … [Read more...]

My Gift

Crochet

When I woke up this morning, I put on black and grey to reflect my dark mood. Yesterday was one of the hardest days I've ever experienced. I'll be honest, I was ready to be done. Not really, but mostly. I certainly didn’t want to go back to Beginning of Life. Yes, they are doing amazing things there. I had already had the opportunity to see women like Alla and Natalia interacting with the girls there. I saw how invested men like Sergei and Benjamin were in working with prevention of trafficking in the schools here in Chisinau. I had met two of the most beautiful little baby girls you’d ever want to snuggle with and their amazing, courageous mothers. I had seen these positive examples, but they were competing against some really horrific things. It was difficult for me to see past … [Read more...]

An Ember of Hope

Bible

I’m annoyed right now because I can’t internet on my phone and my computer at the same time. I want to send pictures from my phone to my computer, but the cable doesn’t work right so I have to email them to myself. But first I have to log out of the connection on my computer (which I only just FINALLY got to work), wait a minute, log into my phone (and pray that the connection works again), email the pics, then log off of my phone, wait AGAIN, and then retrieve them on my computer so I can use them on my Very Important Blog. I suck so hard, I can’t even stand to think about it. +++++++ We walked up a muddy road. We were in one of the villages outside of Chisinau, away from the noise and busyness of the city. Helen and I were with Sergei and Olga, two of the staff members at … [Read more...]

Holding Back the Ocean

Moldova landing

I've been awake for all but about two of the past thirty hours. Pittsburgh to Charlotte to Munich and finally to Chisinau. That last little stretch of flight afforded me those two hours of sleep, due to an extremely unhappy young traveler on our long flight to Germany. So as we were listening to Vladimir tell us about girls sold into slavery to cover the cost of a bottle of vodka and girls who are primed from 11 to become prostitutes by the very people who are supposed to be giving aid to these orphans and young women who come to Beginning of Life and ask, “Where was God when I was raped?” I knew that I couldn’t lose it. Because if I started crying, I wouldn’t be able to stop. I'm going to cry. There are stories here that deserve oceans of tears. Ugly, hateful, shit-covered, … [Read more...]

New Memories

my girls 2

The next time I write here, it will not be here. I won't be sitting on my couch or on my bed (yes, I often write in my bed - I know). I'll be far, far away from these comforts. I know this isn't special. I know that people travel overseas all the time. I know that people do a hell of a lot more to fight human trafficking and sex slavery than this little eight day trip. I know that people see worse things and endure worse conditions than I'm about to see and endure. And I know that there are people who are probably better suited for this trip. People who have a better knowledge about human trafficking. People who know what it's like to endure sexual abuse. People who are seasoned world travelers and know how to get from point America to point Moldova without being unclear exactly what … [Read more...]