Thursday, March 13 – Cighid
Today was a very special day. We went to an orphanage for abandoned children, a facility that is now home for many mentally challenged adult persons. Some are also physically challenged. This was a challenge for me as Elizabeth and I have ministered before at the Lynchburg training center. What was then and I felt would be particularly hard for me is when these folks attempt to communicate with me and I cannot understand them. Some just make chattering sounds, some just look and make various noises or touch a lot. Why it is hard for me is because I know that they know what they are communicating the best way they can and I cannot bear to patronize them by pretending to understand when I do not. When I told Pastor Cosmin the other day about how this grieves me, he told me something that helped to prepare me. He said they understand a touch, a smile, or a hug. So, today I went armed with all of the above (in addition to my trusty guitar of course) and I found the experience to be a grand one.
One man grabbed me by the arm and pulled me over to where they had a great big circled fabric in multiple bright colors with several balls in the middle. We were all gathered around the outside edge and just flapping the material. I wondered at first what the object of the game. There did not seem to be any particular goal in regards to the movement of the balls – and I quickly realized the only objective was to just have fun.
Lewis asked me to get the guitar out and sing some songs. It had already been requested that I teach the chorus to the song Hallelujah, written by friend Joel Christopher. It was a hit. I must have performed the whole song at least three times and cannot count the number of times the chorus was repeated while interjecting other songs between the performances of that song. At one point I did the chorus I had written entitled I know that I know that I know and by their response, you would think I had played an all-time favorite Romanian folk dance tune!
One particular young man gravitated to me and just held my hand and wanted my constant focus to be on him. Any time I looked in another direction he would tap on my hand to get my attention. I was told he cannot talk but every now and then he would make a chattering noise. When I finally began to make similar chattering noises back to him he would just laugh and we both enjoyed time laughing, chattering and smiling together.
Now, some information about this place. Under Communist control between 1987 and 1990, many children died due to the harsh and cruel conditions. Children of various ages were locked behind a gate at a mansion that had been seized by the communist. They gave each child a piece of bread, some gruel and water each day and that was it. In a “survival of the fittest” environment older children took scarce food from the younger and more than 100 children died! Many were only three -five years of age and the oldest was 18. many were naked or near-naked, emaciated, and many had starved to death as well as died from other diseases. We visited a mass grave for them today. Later, after the fall of communism, a cemetery was set up with a memorial with all of their names and ages when they died. The bodies of these children were thrown into a mass grave and not neatly laid to rest as the crosses are arranged in the cemetery. We placed a single rose on each cross erected in their honor knowing that their bodies were massed together and not neatly placed under each cross.
I realized today just how much I have taken for granted in my lifetime. As Pastor Dustin Rogers said – we had no say in when or where we were born and but for His grace – I could be laying in that mass grave. It is a reminder that Communism is a cruel system and, also, that abortion in America, and anywhere it takes place, is just as heinous a crime as what took place in Cighid.
Please GOOGLE Cighid and see for yourself how bad it was in the past – THEN – please pray for both the staff who work there now to provide care and for these dear ones for whom Christ died.