Until recently children with mental or physical disabilities were hidden away at home. They were considered shameful, a result of sin. Of late individuals have started building centers where these children can come and get therapy and their moms can get education about caring for them. Our team is the first one that has been let in to serve the moms who are waiting for their children at a center. We were told that many of the mothers suffer from depression because being a mother of a child with disabilities in this country is very difficult. Today the moms knew we were coming and greeted us warmly at the door. They loved the cross-stitch project that we brought for them to do. (They do a lot of stitchery already, but it’s very different). At one point a woman turned to Susan and tried to tell her something, but she didn’t speak English, and couldn’t make herself understood. The woman took Susan’s hand and started crying. Linda, our interpreter came over and the woman asked why we were here. Susan said "Our scriptures tell us to serve others, so I came", and the woman gave this whole speech about how we should all be serving each other and there are too many barriers in the world. She was so articulate and open, and it was an emotional moment. (See photo taken after her speech).This is the value of a short term team. Linda and V. couldn’t come into this center as individuals, but now they have an inroad to come back and continue to serve these dear women.
Anton is shadowing Phil (the associate pastor of the International church), and came back with great stories. He met Marcus, Ben, Pam S. (who serves at the cultural center and also served with Zef and Altin in Albania), and many others. When we reconnected later in the day, it was like when the kids come home from school and they tell you all this cool stuff. Then he asked for more money. At least he didn’t want us to do his laundry. Are you kidding me? (Joke for those who know him).