This summer Grace took eight people, including Gwen, to Bucharest, Romania to witness and participate in firsthand the work done by Heart 2 Heart International, an organization that ministers to orphans, and a ministry that Grace supports. Their lives were forever changed.

Sometimes God allows us to have “mountaintop moments” – snapshots in our life that are sublime, perfect in holiness. I was blessed to experience one of these moments this summer during a mission trip to Romania to minister to orphans.

When I first met Alex, I was confused. He kept introducing himself by strange names: Carnitas (meat) and Pisica (cat). The ministry staff kept telling him, “No, your name is Alex.” They later told me they believe he may suffer from dissociative identity disorder or multiple personalities. Alex is a rangy 13-year-old who loves practical jokes and Frisbee. During my visits to the orphanage, we became friends with one another, communicating mostly through hugs and smiles.

Our team got to attend the orphanage’s graduation ceremony which was held outside on the glass-littered basketball court in the late morning heat. Alex received his diploma for his grade level. I took lots of pictures and tried to communicate how proud I was of him. After the ceremony, a small group of students who had been taking music lessons performed for a recital. Alex was going to play the flute. The kids changed into their recital clothes and came back out onto the court, very proud in their black slacks, white collared shirts, bow-ties, and …flip-flops. This is Romania.

Alex was very nervous, pacing around and agitated. He spied me sitting on a bench and came and snuggled in beside me. He had his flute out and kept nervously fingering the keys, silently practicing before his turn. As we watched each group perform, he made sure I was videoing them with my phone, taking it away from me and zooming in or adjusting the view, then handing it back. Occasionally he would just turn and give me a hug then go back to his silent rehearsal.

When it was finally his turn, I sat and listened, and that’s when the moment struck. Here I was, sweating under the vicious summer sun, a place I never dreamed I’d see, on a hot, cracked, glass and weed infested basketball court in a run-down orphanage, watching this precious young man in bow tie and flip-flops struggling to play his flute with his classmates and their various instruments. I’d like to say the music was angelic, but sadly, it was exactly what one might expect from young teens that only get to practice 20 minutes a week. But it was perfect. It was a holy moment. I was exactly where God wanted me to be.

Saying goodbye to Alex when it was time to come home was one of the most difficult things I’ve ever had to do in my life. What will become of him? Will I ever see him again? I know that God was at work in his life before I showed up, and I know He will continue to work in his life without me there. I think of him every day and pray that God will give him a good life, and his own mountaintop moments.

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