This is the first Hope4kids’ mission trip for the King family. They’ve heard Tom speak at their church in Benicia, California over the years and knew they wanted to go someday but in February when their kids, Dan and Missy heard Tom speak and said they wanted to go they decided now was the time.
Debbie is a physical therapist and loved working with Dawn in Romania. She was so impressed with one of the group homes housing nine special needs kids with a 1:1 caregiver. Each caregiver acts as a mother to these abandoned, forgotten children. She contrasted this home to the hospital where children are left with no hope but with Dawn training staff people to touch and physically work with these children there is hope for the future. She dreams of returning to help Dawn train therapists so the care can be ongoing. She saw the desire for the care givers to learn and to use their new skills.
In Russia the culture was a delight and Debbie found the Russian people to be wonderful. She thought seeing the world’s top performers at the ballet was a real highlight and loved the night we climbed to the top of St Isaac’s Cathedral.
Debbie was also impressed with the quality of care at Orphanage # 2 in St Petersburg. She saw the director of 25 years full of empathy for the children and the dedication of the care givers. She says to make a real impact in this field those caring for them have to have real love which is a gift from God. “God has gifted me in this way and through this experience is confirming that what I do is what He wants me to do.”
Dave, upon seeing the living conditions in the gypsy village-the dirt floors, no roofs, wondering where the children slept when it rains-really took it to heart and is happy to see these issues are at the core of Hope4Kids missions. He loved playing with the kids and laughing and putting more into their Joy Banks. Being a kid at heart Dave felt he connected on their level and for brief moments kids could forget about their living conditions and just have fun. He constantly reminded them “Issu te iubesti” (Jesus loves you).
Dave was moved in the Orthodox service by a ceremony inducting a young man into the monastery. They cut off a few locks of his hair and the man stood solemnly at the altar while they waved incense around him, placed a robe on his back and sprinkled him with holy water. Not having been a part of this type of worship or ceremony in the past David silently prayed for the young monk and thought how different your life will be from mine. You are being dedicated in a way I could never imagine.
Dave’s cultural highlights were tasting new foods such as cow stomach soup in Romania, cold sour cherry soup in Budapest, and borsch-cold beet soup in Russia. He loves adventure and celebrating our differences.
He enjoyed the wonderful people of Romania and enjoyed seeing ballet in Russia at a world class level.
He’s read Europe Through the Back Door and thinks that Tom’s level of leadership leads people through the back back door! Tom has taken us places and shown us things few people get the opportunity to experience. Standing at the gravesides of the great geniuses of the world and Tom’s introducing us to political legends such as Sasha were incredible experiences.
Dave was honored to share this trip with his wife and two children. His daughter is missing her first week of school because of this mission but Dave feels the experiences she’s gaining far outweigh what she has missed in the classroom.
He would encourage others to get involved and go with Hope4kids or at least support a Romanian child for a measly $20 a month. People need to know that even that little amount can mean so much in the life of a child in changing their community as well as their personal life.
Dave and Debbie are a fabulous couple and the love they have for one another and their kids is inspirational. We hope to see much more of them in the future.