Conntecting the Dots

July 5

On the Danube River, across from Serbia

On the Danube River, across from Serbia

Camp seems to be going better than anyone could have anticipated. A big thank-you to everyone who’s praying – we can tell we have prayer backing.

The weather is so hot that the glue holding my sandals together has melted! It’s a good thing I brought two pairs along. One will head for the trash tonight.

Yesterday – July 4 – about 15 staff and campers climbed into an open boat – like a giant rowboat with a little engine – and headed across the Danube River to explore an island. The boat belongs to the owner of the hotel where we’re staying, so he ferried us 15 minutes to our destination and then turned around to fetch the rest of our group. Before he could do that, however, a major thunderstorm rolled in. Lightning flashed, thunder cracked, a wind blew in, and the heavens opened and absolutely poured. Thankfully there was a stone structure that offered us shelter. There were windows but no glass, so it was hard to find a place to huddle from the elements. The floor was made of dirt, and horses had obviously visited recently. Add to that the element of sighting several poisonous snakes, and this was quite an adventure!

The storm blew over in about 15 minutes. It took another half hour, perhaps, before our boat could return to pick up. Apparently the police from Serbia had warned the owner and several local fishermen to stay off the water because of the danger of lightning.

Today, for crafts, we beaded bracelets. The girls loved this, beading into the wee hours of the morning. Three gave me bracelets they’d made. One of them had little alphabet block beads with the message “GRCEA END ALINA” (Grace and Alina). This gal is 22 – she was in a coma a couple of years ago and nearly died. To top it off, she suffered a stroke. As a result, she walks with difficulty. She has the most incredible eyes and high cheekbones – a beautiful girl on the outside, but on the inside, too. I wish I could post a picture of her, but I can’t do so without her permission.

The highlight of my day was having a heart-to-heart with one of our campers. When he was 14 years old, he learned that he’d contracted HIV when he was four months old. His mother had taken him to a clinic for treatment, but that’s where he received a shot with a contaminated needle. He’s not convinced yet that God exists, but he’s asking questions and looking for answers. My heart broke for him. He allowed me to pray for him when our conversation ended. If you would pray for him, too, it could make a difference between life and death for him. Also, pray specifically that he’ll find a job. He told me that in order to work at a grocery store, he will have to undergo mandatory blood testing, and he will test positive for HIV. No one will then hire him.

I have a hard time wrapping my mind around the cloud that these kids carry – being treated like lepers in their own society, knowing the disease could flare into full-blown AIDS at any time, reading about the latest updates for treatment but knowing they’ll never receive it, and so forth. We take so much for granted in North America. Too much.

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