Ramona is Tom and my sister-and Robert’s sister-in-law! After years of financially supporting Hope4Kids this is her first mission trip. She has always longed to go to Russia and when she heard Tom speak again if February her heart was filled with a desire to go. She talked to Tom about it and he told her, “Now is your time.” She sent letters out to family and friends to raise support for her trip. She received so many beautiful, supportive letters and checks!! Every time the mail arrived she’d cry to think she had so much support.
One of her highlights was meeting Emilia, a beautiful gypsy girl she wants to sponsor. She met her and there was an immediate connection between the two of them. Ramona the interpreter helped her talk with Emilia.
At times Ramona is touched so much by the needs she has seen she wishes she could help them all but knows realistically she can help one or two. That’s one or two that have been rescued!
Ramona is impressed by the team and meeting other Christians who love to serve. She is amazed that 18 people who are from all over the country with different backgrounds and different age groups can come together and become so close in their pursuits to make a difference.
She’s wondering now that she has seen and experienced this poverty what God would have her do next. She says, “We are used to our nice little world and don’t see the needs. It’s overwhelming!”
She’s thankful to those who have supported her and are praying for this team. She senses God’s presence and protection.
Oh yeah. And it’s fun to be sharing all this with her family, Tom, Rachel and Robert. . .
We’re happy that she has finally come with us and hope she comes again and next time maybe she could bring her sweet husband, Don.
Missy is a 16-yr-old junior from California. She is Dan K’s sister. She loves being here with her family and seeing the kids.
The other day we were visiting a poor Romanian family in the country. The surroundings were pretty pathetic. The kids were sitting in the dirt. The littlest girl was sitting on a blanket with a sharp knife cutting her own apple. She had broken her leg. Her face and cast were covered with dirt. We looked around the yard and saw chickens and the back room of their home housed a cow! Missy’s dad, Dave, pulled her aside and asked, “Missy, did you ever wonder why that isn’t me and you living her instead of that little girl and her family? Why were we born in America? In such loving comfort?”
Missy agreed and said this is her first glimpse of what it’s like to be poor and thinks about how easy we have it-how we have everything and these kids have nothing. It was difficult for her to experience it.
One of her highlights was a little gypsy girl named Cristine. She had such amazing eyes with glints of gold specks. One day while they were playing another child hit Cristine. When Missy went to comfort her Cristine turned away so Missy couldn’t see her cry. Missy knelt down and put her arms around her and said “you are so beautiful. You are special. You’ve made an impact on my life.” Cristine clung to her and cried harder making Missy cry too. I wonder if anyone has ever showed Cristine so much love.
When we visited the second village where the pastor was teaching the children about keeping clean and how to conduct themselves in society Missy was so impressed with how well the children behaved. She knows the pastor and the church are giving the kids hope and the chance to have a better life. She was encouraged by what she saw.
She’s pumped to go to Russia tomorrow and says it’s been an incredible trip so far as she and her family left the states a week early to go to Venice and Rome before meeting us in Budapest. She loves the team and feels like she’s known everyone forever and thinks everyone has gotten along fabulously!
We love to have teenagers travel with us! Missy is one who brings such a refreshing flavor to the team. We’re so glad she’s here. Her humor is incredible and as you can see in most of her pictures she is making faces. Only someone that cute can get by with it.
Dan is studying to be a mechanical engineer at California Poly techic State University. This is his first trip with Hope4kids. He’s with his parents and sister. Tom has been to their church a number of times and last time he spoke Dan and his sister, Missy told their parents they wanted to go to Eastern Europe so they did!
Dan has done other missions in Mexico to an orphanage and village outreach. Last summer he did a summer project with Campus Crusade for Christ. For ten weeks he worked at a surf shop in New Port Beach, CA. His group did beach and street evangelism and part of building relationships within the community was his job at the surf shop.
Dan’s highlights here are the kids. Marius, a five-yr-old gypsy boy seized Dan’s heart. They would play together and Marius would imitate Dan. If Dan would sit on the ground and breathe heavily so would Marius. If other kids would try to play rough with Dan Marius would protectively stop them. When Dan left Marius kept grabbing and kissing his hand.
He also made friends with a guy his age-nineteen (at least for a few more days). They talked through an interpreter and Dan was encouraging him and telling him he’d be praying for him. When Dan asked questions about his friend’s personal life he found out he was married and had TWO kids! He’d been married since he was fifteen! The two of them joked about who was stronger and Robert got in on the act with them. One day the three of them were carrying bags of cement up a hill and making macho sounds like they thought they were some kind of cave men. It was pretty cute.
Dan says this is his first time to actually view poverty up close. It’s a lot different when you are in it than when you are looking at pictures. The hardship is so much more personal. Yet he sees joy and contentment among people who have nothing.
Dan’s having a great time on this trip and everyone enjoys his presence but he does miss his girlfriend, Brenna.
His verse is Psalm 82:3 “Defend the cause of the weak and the fatherless. Maintain the rights of the poor and oppressed.”