For a second think back to being 7 years old again. You are probably remembering happy times with your family, perhaps that trip to Disney or to the beach, or playing outside with your friends until you hear your mother calling out, “Supper time, come in and wash up!” What if those sweet memories were replaced with times of despair and hopelessness. Instead of trips to the beach and Disney your trips were to different foster homes or orphanages. Is your heart in your stomach yet? Sadly these are the realities of those who have been abandoned or whose parents have passed away, leaving them orphans. There are an estimated 153,000,000 orphans worldwide, of which 120,000 are in the United States alone, while there are another 400,000 children that live without permanent families. Thankfully the Lord is gracious and good and He is the father to the Fatherless. He has placed on my heart a love for orphans and specifically for the orphans of Romania.
Psalm 68:4-6 says, “Sing to God, sing praises to his name; lift up a song to him who rides through the deserts; his name is the Lord; exult before him! Father of the fatherless and protector of widows is God in his holy habitation. God settles the solitary in a home; he leads out the prisoners to prosperity, but the rebellious dwell in a parched land.” How great is our God that He cares so deeply for us, especially those who are in need. He doesn’t stop there though, He commands and expects us to care deeply for others as He has cared deeply for us. James 1:27 says, “Religion that is pure and undefiled before God, the Father, is this: to visit orphans and widows in their affliction, and to keep oneself unstained from the world.” Some feel this calling more strongly than others, but we are all called to visit and care for them.
My Heart For Romania
I am going to start from the beginning on my love for Romania. When I was in high school my youth group went to a conference called YOWAW, Youth Of the World Awareness Weekend. At the conference we had main meetings but throughout the day we were able to attend seminars of our choosing and I can not remember what led me to attend this woman’s seminar but I did and it turned out she was speaking on her time working with the orphans in Romania. Right there in that room I felt a gentle tug on my heart as if God was whispering to me, “Are you paying attention?” So, I went home from that conference and that tug was quietly persistent and then I found out a local church went to Romania through a group called Livada Orphan Care. The word Livada in Romanian means orchard and its mission is to bear fruit that will last by loving and investing in these children. According to http://www.livada.org
their mission statement says, ” Livada Orphan Care is committed to helping these wounded kids find their place in this world, through a blend of Christian social work, humanitarian aid and ministry. Our holistic approach begins by nurturing orphans in the cradle and ends with them becoming interdependent, contributing members of society.” Through a church in my home town (Curtis Baptist) I was able to go to Romania twice, both times for two week, and work with the summer VBS program and camp. To this day I often look back on my time in Romania and hope, pray, and long for the day that I might receive the opportunity to return. My heart rejoices whenever I talk and think about my time there and the thought of one day going back. I had originally wanted to go for a summer internship, but life gets busy and now I am married with a child and the calling of a wife and mother so I must patiently wait on His timing if it is indeed His will to allow me to return, oh how I pray it’s His will!
This beautiful lady pictured directly above is a sweet friend of mine, Mary Mickelsen. She went with me and the group from Curtis Baptist quite a while ago and she went on to do a summer internship with Livada Orphan Care in 2012. She has felt called and decided to return as a STINT (Short Term International Team) with Livada and will be working with the Roma people in the Ogra Gypsy Village. The Lord has really burned her heart for these people and is so ready to work with people who are so eager to learn about God and love others. She will also be discipling a group of 4-5 teenage girls/young ladies who are in Livada’s group homes. She will be growing friendships with them and praying with them while helping them delve deeper in God’s word and grow in Christ. She will be hosting Bible studies and just spending her time loving on them and praying with and for them. She has currently raised $3,000 and needs $34,000. I know she would appreciate your prayers as she continues to raise money to go and prayers that when she does go that God would richly bless her time there not just for her sake but for the Roma people and the young ladies she will be working with in the group homes. I know she could use your support through prayer, but might I ask that you prayerfully consider supporting her financially as well? It doesn’t have to be a significant amount and you could even set up a monthly recurring payment if you like. Some ways to do this would be to go to http://livada.org
and select the giving/donations tab. Simply fill out the amount you would like to send, whether it is one time or recurring and then under fund designation select “missionary support” and her name, Mary Mickelsen. You can also send them by mail to:
Livada Orphan Care
2001 W. Plano Parkway
Plano, TX 75075
And place Mary Mickelsen’ s name in the memo line.
Mary and I want to thank you for your support and sacrifice whether it be financially or in time spent in prayer for her and for Romania and it’s people, specifically the orphans.