As many of you know, I just recently returned from a mission trip to Moldova. One of my awesome teammates, Michelle Carlson, is guest-posting about some next steps today.
I have some deep respect for Michelle. In the time I’ve spent with her, I found myself captivated more and more by her passion, determination and heart for the broken. I got to help her train the girls at the Restoration Home in self-defense (which is an absolutely new concept to them). She’s an unsung hero.
Please read her story here and how it birthed the plans of “Next Step” that are coming our way… Here’s Michelle!
Growing up I had a fascination with bubbles. I absolutely loved them. One could say I was borderline obsessed. They seemed so carefree and light, buoyant in the breeze and captured by the sun’s radiance. Over time I enveloped my own bubble though…one that was not so light or carefree.
It is easy for each of us to live life in such a hurry that we miss the realities falling around us. We can grow angry with the store clerk that moves too slowly or scream at the guy that cuts us off in traffic. We rarely think about the person behind the action. Our thoughts focus mostly on ourselves, our families, our needs and our lives. That’s the bubble I was stuck in, until recently.
Two years ago I knew God wanted something more from me. I just had a feeling that I was supposed to have another child. Keep in mind my children were 10 and 12 years old at the time. My husband agreed that was God’s calling and BOOM, I was pregnant in no time. An excruciating first trimester, with reports of a fast growing and extremely healthy baby, was followed by even more excruciating news. At my 16 week check up there was no heart beat. There was no more healthy baby or dreams of hugs and kisses. I didn’t even get a parting gift from the doctor. What I did receive was massive amounts of confusion, which I washed away with wine and vodka.
I didn’t sleep for days after that. To say I was angry would be an understatement. I felt lost. I felt like all purpose had been sucked out of my life and God had just dropped me here to wallow until my death. Drama, party of one anybody? Pity followed soon after and I became a piñata of emotion. God was ever patient with me though and after I had wallowed in my tears, He reached down. I felt as though He lovingly cupped my chin in His hand, wiped the yuck from my face and gently said, “If you’re done being a baby, we can move forward together.” He speaks to us all in different ways people!
I realized that yes, He did call me to do more; however, I hadn’t truly waited on Him to guide me. I did what I always have and just took off in the direction which seemed best. Through a series of most fortunate events, I found myself smack in the middle of Chisinau, Moldova with a group of hard-to-forget girlfriends. It took God taking me out of my bubble completely for me to truly listen. I never would have thought of myself as a missionary, but when God says “GO!” it’s best not to question the process.
During my stay in Chisinau, I was able to develop a friendship and partnership with Beginning of Life ministries. The staff here works tirelessly to rebuild broken lives of sexual abuse and trafficking victims, as well as bring awareness to the community. Together, we are building a house. Well, we’re building a gym really. Beginning of Life had a dream to have a wellness center that would aide in rehabilitation and restoration. It will also be a safe place for the youth to socialize and it will open many new jobs. But, why should I tell you? Here are the reasons straight from Vladimir, my sweet friend in charge:
- Prevention: Within the first 2 years the center is open, hundreds of girls will be trained in self defense. This will, for the first time, enable them to defend themselves from the abusers.
- Rehabilitation: Sports and fitness provide a very positive impact on people’s lives. Many of the girls suffer from heart problems, and the fitness center will offer a unique opportunity for recreation.
- Social Skills Development: This fitness center will serve as a safe place for the youth to spend time together, grow relationships and chat about future endeavors. It will be a place where they can dream and discuss making their dreams a reality.
- Reintegration: The wellness and fitness center will provide a brand new set of skills and jobs for the girls who have graduated the rehabilitation program. This will help to provide them with stability and a larger sense of self worth.
- Encouragement for staff: The staff of Beginning of Life works tirelessly to provide encouragement and safety to these girls along with education and awareness to an entire community. The fitness and wellness center will be a place for the staff to take care of themselves, just as we are instructed. It will provide stress relief, healthier and more energetic staff, team building and an opportunity to strengthen their shoulders for the load they choose to carry daily.
The pain that once ran deep through my veins has been restored to passion. A passion bent on making change and creating a difference. How can you participate in such a passion?
- Pray for the people of Chisinau and all those involved in this project.
- Spread the word! Share the site, share the story, encourage others to learn about what really is going on.
- Give a gift. Hope chest has an easy-access donation page set up for this project. You can choose your donation and it’s 100% tax deductible! It’s a win/win for all. You will have played a HUGE part in the transformation of an entire nation,
- Consider visiting I hope to have a team visit while I am staying in Chisinau. This team will be able to see what Beginning of Life does on a daily basis and be able to touch the lives of many. You’ll immerse yourself in the culture and even get to enjoy some seriously awesome food. Get your hands dirty for change and I promise YOU will be the one reaping the most benefit.
The link for the donation page is HERE.