Sunday, August 19, 2012

Stella's Voice: Making a Difference

Posted by Lisa Laree to Beer Lahai Roi

Once a year, Philip Cameron brings a busload of kids to our church.  These are kids who didn't grow up with Saturday morning cartoons, or McDonald's Happy Meals, or  electronic toys, or even Crayola crayons and Pink Pearl erasers.  These are kids who have come from horrific conditions and have survived and are now in safe houses where they are learning that they are important, that they are loved, and that they have a purpose.

These are the kids of Stella's Voice.

We have been connected with the Moldova ministry really from the beginning, sharing in the task of renovating the orphanage at Cupcui so that there were indoor toilets, hot water, and roofs that didn't leak.  When the first group of girls moved into the first Stella's House, so they could go to high school instead of being shipped off to nowhere, Philip brought one girl over to the States.  Her name was Constantia.  (Here is her story )  During that first summer, Constantia surprised Philip by requesting to be baptized. This is a very unusual thing, because for someone in Moldova to be baptized they are considered to have rejected the orthodox faith of the region.  It is often cause for estrangement from family and friends.  But she had made up her mind, and when Philip came to us that summer she came with him and was baptized at our church.

I can't describe to you the impact it made on me to see this young lady so determined to follow her faith, making a statement with something that we in America almost take for granted.  The smile on her face as she came up out of the water was absolutely dazzling.

I came home that day and sat down to my sewing blog to do my weekly post about what I'd worn in choir.  Now, there's nothing wrong with that, since most of my sewing is related to what I need for choir and this is my chance to show how these wardrobe pieces are working together.  But that day it felt so...superficial.

That was the day the idea for what became Beer Lahai Roi  was born.  It was a while before I settled on a name and actually started it, but that was the day I decided it needed to happen.

Constantia was with the group today; she'd spent the summer in Moldova, working in the orphanage (which has been completely rebuilt as part of the Stella's Voice ministry), but she was able to join the group for the tail end of the tour.  She is in her early 20's now and incredibly beautiful.  Since she was baptized, a number of other of the kids from Moldova have been baptized at our church, all at their request.  It is profoundly moving.  The kids all approach it somberly; they relate what God has done for them, and they come out of the water smiling.

It is hard for them to repeat the things they have gone through.  But they do.  They take deep breaths and fight back the tears and they tell their stories - neglect and abuse as a way of life.  Hopeless despair.  For some, attempted suicide.  But now, life is different.  They have met people who care.  They have heard of a God who loves them.  They are getting educations, they are helping others, and they have started a church.

And, God willing, they are going to change their nation. 

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