Today was a much clearer picture of life in Moldova and the overall mission of Beginning of Life Ministry (BoL).
Yesterday Jenni shared about what the school visits were like. My experience was similar minus the singing part. Kids were extremely gracious, curious and well mannered. My group spoke to 4 classes at the 11th and 12 grade levels. When I asked them if they could go anywhere in the world, where would they go? The most common answers were, New York City or Las Vegas.
This morning we spent a couple hours at the psychological art center which is another ministry of BoL. This facility is designed to use art as a form of therapy and teach skills that can transfer into income. They craft a bunch of cool things that can be purchased in their little store. Their customers up to this point have been special orders from larger countries and short term mission teams that visit. Now they are in the process of opening a little retail store front in their building which should give them much more exposure.
They have an extremely talented artist teach painting as an art form not only for therapy but as a way to create things people will want to buy. The other gals teach the girls, often times single moms, life skills that include sewing and crafting. The items range from bags crafted from used denim jeans to dolls and stuffed animals created from socks. Every single item is made by the girls and the sale proceeds go back to them to help cover living expenses. It’s a great reason to purchase stuff. Here are a couple paintings that weren’t for sale that one of our team members purchased anyway.
From the art center we went out in small teams to visit single moms who have been or still a part of one of these ministries. These visits include bringing a toy or two for the children and bag of groceries to help the family. A typical single mom has difficulty even earning a couple hundred dollars in a month. Most tiny apartments will use up all their income in just the rent. On top of the rent they have expenses like heat, electricity and so on. Their utility costs are very similar to ours in the States yet their opportunity to earn income is so much more limited. From our perspective it seems impossible to survive. Here is a story of one of the families we visited
As Jenni also shared in her post today, my favorite part of the day was celebrating Valentina’s 18th birthday. It makes me want to focus on reminding people of how special they are in God’s eyes no matter what trauma or mistakes they’ve experienced. Everyone was so intentional in showing her love and you could tell she soaked it up. She is finally in a place in life to begin to receive love and believe that it is real. This may sound very simple to many of us but it has taken her over a year of intense recovery to begin to believe that she has value and that there is geniune love with no strings attached. She is finally understanding the heart of God. This is all happening because of the heart and intentional actions of the BoL staff.
Looking at life back home, I want to take a little piece of what I have seen in action here and begin to duplicate it in El Paso. I want to live more on purpose each day to influence a society in my back yard that can have a ripple effect for generations. I am so thankful for each of these BoL team members and what they have taught us all and for the inspiration they have offered me in this short visit.