Romania: Day 4 (It has begun)

First day of VBS! Wheewwww! I didn't have the best day (we're all allowed one lousy day, and I'm going to count this as mine). I didn't get much sleep because I was up till 1:30 brainstorming this cool idea for Sunday (more on that later), I woke up late and didn't get a shower before we left, my headband (which I found out I DIDN'T have to wear) kept squeezing my head, it rained all day long so I had to juggle two cameras and a video camera as well as an UMBRELLA, and to top it all off, I fell not once, not twice, but THREE times today. Yes, I know, if you know me, you're laughing so hard your stomach hurts right now. Thankfully this time I did NOT break any bones. I'm all in one piece and my equipment that I was holding all three times did not break either. God is good. And I am humbled...if I admit that, Lord, can you please stop putting slippery rugs and wet stairs under my feet for the rest of the trip?
Here's the team, dutifully cutting out pieces for kids crafts last night.

The Romanian sunset was's the view from the rooftop.
This morning began bright and early. We headed to Oserhei first (I know I'm probably spelling it different every can't look back to see how I spelled it the first time, which is the correct way). A few members of the team kept the kids entertained outside while others prepared everything insides. We pulled out puppets, bubbles, magic tricks, sidewalk chalk, jump ropes, and of course just some good old fashion TLC. The kids soaked it all up, especially the TLC!
Kids came on their own from all up and down the street. Small children came with older children, all seemed very comfortable being completely on their own. I loved looking at the outfits. Most of them didn't match, but were kSO endearing. Sweaters were tucked into sweat pants. Scarves came wrapped around heads and tucked into collars. During the lesson time, kids came and went freely, most of the time to go outside and squat anywhere in the yard that seemed to suit them.
Right next to the church is a field where horses roam freely. And stray dogs are everywhere. I felt sorry for this horse, but he seemed pretty used to it.

I simply can't stop taking pictures of the beautiful children. They are stunning and precious.
This is the group we had this morning. There would have been more, but we found out that there was another VBS being held in another village and to draw people in they were giving away lots of stuff. The gypsies are very materialistic people so this appealed to them. Most of the older kids were gone before we got there. We're not discouraged by this. We had a good size group and the Finks told us it was the quietest, most well behaved VBS they'd had. The kids really listened as we covered the story of creation and told them about God's love.

Crowd control was definitely different than VBS at home! The gypsy kids have no idea how to form a straight line, even after being told several times. It is a foreign concept to them. I have pictures to prove that it was accomplished, but it was very hard work! EVERY TIME. lol. Here Pastor Pete and Rich made a "human door" to keep the kids on the porch for snack time. It worked for a little while until little ones started to "leak" out underneath the railings. :)
James and Cody taught the kids how to be tough.
And then they were challenged to an arm wrestling match.

Kari illustrates how to play one of the games.
I am impressed with how much the kids seem to love life. I don't know about their home lives, but when they're playing together, they really cut loose and enjoy themselves! Their smiles are so bright, and they laugh. Loudly.
Kari and Sarah cheer their team on in the bean bag relay race.
James ran the games. He was almost as amusing as the kids. He gets a little crazy with the whistle and his newly acquired gypsy vocabulary. ;)
One of the little girls in this camp is blind. It looks as if one of her eyes was lost in an accident, and I don't think she can see out of the one that remains. Here's a picture of Eileen helping her with the bean bag race. I loved the smile on the girl's face. She's such a sweetheart.
The frisbeen relay went over really well too. The kids all did well taking turns. However, it turned into a bit of a contest to see who could make the craziest toss and make the guys run to catch it.
Cody, trying to catch one of the wild tosses...and the kids laughing at him in the background.

I love this free smile. I caught so many of them during game time!
This kid tossed with style. I love how the whole group gathered around to watch and how the kid way over to the left is leaning in to see just how cool it was.
Two of our schnazzy, stellar leaders, with a very straight LINE of children next to them! PROOF that it is possible!

Pastor Tim wears a new hat for every day of VBS...stay tuned for tomorrow's surprise.
Sam better not get too dirty during game time...he might just get left behind one of these days.

Rich sat in the back for awhile with our little blind girl (I need to find out her name). They played a game where he would tap on her hand and count the number of times and she would have to tap back the same number. It was so awesome to see her enjoy this interactive learning experience and the one on one attention.
Precious faces look at us from every direction. My heart just breaks for them. They need to know how much Jesus loves them.
The older Oserhei boys have challenged our guys to a soccer game on Saturday. We're pretty sure our guys are going to get schooled. :) One of the boys, Leivu (sp?) was there and asked the girls to race him. Kari and Sarah both came really close to beating him (I have video footage instead of still shots, so if you want to see how that went, you'll have to get with me later). We think he has a slight crush on Sarah, but I told her she should never marry a man named's a sure recipe for disaster. lol
After VBS we ate lunch and hung out with the kids for awhile. The boys played in the street...
but we girls decided to ask one of the girls if we could visit her home. We were told this was safe and that they would be honored to have us. The inside of their homes are decorated with tapestries on the walls and bright colors, but they are very dark. This home had two rooms. They offered us drinks, very graciously...I could not have felt more gratitude for their hospitality. They have so little, but they love to give.

This is the woman's home. She has six children. She was able to communicate to us that she has five girls and one boy.
Lena outside the house.
We moved over to VBS at Cheriu, which was a completely different experience. There aren't as many pictures because the church is small and by that time it was pouring rain outside.
James worked his magic with the ladies outside the church. This resulted in one girl declaring that he was a witch. He had to give up his trade secret. Then she decided she wanted to learn English so she could marry him.

The happy couple.
Lena got some quality time with one of the sleeping children. Lucky girl!
It was pouring rain at this point, but we all stood outside for an attempted game of duck-duck-goose. These children have not been exposed to as much structure as the Oserhei children, so any games were challenging.
The grown ups helped the small kids with the running...

And ran as fast as they could from the ones who needed no help at all!
This is how small the room was...we were shoulder to shoulder! It was so hot and smelly. The kids were a little wound up after games and wouldn't calm down for crafts, so after being told several to be quiet and listen, we finally had to pack up our things early and leave to show them we were serious. We stepped outside as they were given a stern talking-to, and they walked out between our team members, they apologized. Hopefully tomorrow we'll have better behaviour.

A beautiful face from across the street...

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