National Day 2015
During a community outreach event the team was passing out bread and tea and dancing in the streets. There were two girls that approached me and began dancing with me. We spent the afternoon laughing, dancing, and taking pictures. After we returned from our trip we had a final debrief at Fork. We were told that some of the kids we had met were now available for sponsorship. As I flipped through the pictures I searched for a familiar face, and there she was. With those beautiful bright eyes. But something was different about those eyes since I had seen them last. They were sad and as I looked closer I noticed a black eye. Without a shadow of a doubt I knew I needed to sponsor her.
Fast forward to National Day 2016
I was filled with excitement to see my girl again. As we sat and talked with David he updated us on Madelina. He communicated that she was no longer consistently participating in the church or after school program. He had said he had seen her at the bar and had heard she was going to school in Oradea due to court order. Needless to say, it seemed she had a lot going on. I prayed I would get to see her and at least give her a hug. With 600 hotdogs, rolls, a bag full of cabbage, and some condiments we set off to the gypsy village with David, Geta and their team. As we walked closer children began to run toward us. All of sudden I saw her. I recognized those eyes. I touched her arm as she walked by. As she turned my eyes lit up and I exclaimed “hi!!”. She looked back and smiled. She grabbed my hand and we continued to walk to where we were setting up the hot dog feast. She asked if I remembered her and her friend Andria. I told her I did. Following the feast she came running back up to me hand in hand with Andria. Pointing to her and to me as if she was saying see her remember her? Again I said I did. Before it was time to leave I had Timotoi, a man from David’s church help me to invite them to the church on Sunday, as they were having a church service and we would be there. The girls nodded in agreement.
Well the day for the service came and I walked into the church anticipating seeing her face. There were children sitting in chairs on the stage. I scanned the room for those gorgeous bright eyes. But they were not there. She will come I told myself, they said they would, they will be here. But a little shadow of doubt sunk in as I remembered what David had disclosed. Maybe she went to the bar instead, maybe she wasn’t even in town, maybe she forgot as it had been a few days. So the team got settled into their seats and the service began. The worship team opened with some songs and the children sang along. Then Geta, Davids wife looked at me from the stage as she sang and motioned toward the back of the church. I turned around and there she was! There was my girl and she was looking for me, as I could see David pointing me out to her. She swiftly walked past everyone and down the aisle to where I was sitting. She practically fell into my lap as we hugged. “She came!” Said one of my team mates. And I was so overwhelmed with joy, tears poured down my face. She looked up at me confused and I did my best to smile and try to explain I was just so happy she came. She continued to hold me and rub my back to console me. Through the entire concert she held my hand or had her arm around me. We smiled back at each other and though there may have been a language barrier, there was no denying the bond we felt in that moment. Andria walked in a bit later. She smiled and waved from her seat.
The concert ended and the church enjoyed a pizza party. Following the party, we hugged and rejoiced. I had the opportunity to give them both a small present. Included in that was a personalized letter full of encouragement, love, and compassion for them. As David translated the letters the girls eyes met mine. They smiled and I could tell these words spoke to their hearts.
It is hard to put into words the emotions we were all feeling in that moment. What I do know is the Spirit was present and we will forever be bonded.
Written by Megan Flynn