Then read Kristi's version of the story....!!!
A guest post from Kristi one of the Shorter University students - Lina's prayer warrior and angel at Pleven just 2 weeks before I arrived to pick up Lina at Pleven...
In May 2012, I was blessed with the opportunity to travel to Bulgaria to serve in an Orphanage in Pleven. This was a trip that I took with 31 of my nursing school classmates. We spent two weeks working in two different Bulgarian orphanages. While there, we were humbled and heartbroken by the faces and stories of each child in the orphanage.
Each day we would spend hours holding them, feeding them, playing games with them, and just simply showing them something that many of them lacked and that was love. Many of the children living there were both developmentally and socially behind. They lacked the interaction that so many of us take for granted day in and day out. We were able to provide them with that interaction and just in two short weeks we could see the difference that was being made in their lives.
While we were there, it was our prayer that each and every one of those precious children would be adopted into Godly homes. Homes where they would know love and also know the love of Jesus. While we spent time with many children, there is one face that I will never forget. We were each split up into rooms.
In the room that I was in there was a little girl that was a little bit bigger than all the other babies in the room. There was just something different about her. I would walk over to the crib that she was laying in, look into her beautiful brown eyes and speak to her. She would always raise her hand up towards me and of course I would pick her up, who could resist something that precious. It was obvious that she was older than the rest of the babies in the room, but developmentally she was at the stage of an infant. She could barley lift her head up.
During this two week period the most painful thing was that I never once saw her smile. This sweet child always had such a sad look on her face and it broke my heart. One day towards the end of our two weeks there, I walked into the orphanage just like every other day I made my rounds around the cribs to say hello. However, this morning there was an empty crib. The crib where the little girl usually lay was empty.
I didn’t really think much of it because sometimes the babies are gone with their Baba’s for play time. It wasn’t until the next day that the crib was still empty that I wondered where this little girl had gone. When the time came for us to leave and say our last goodbyes we all left the orphanage heartbroken. If I could have taken each and every one of them home with me I would have, but what I did leave with was faith, faith that although I was not physically able to carry them with me, I could carry them with me in my heart.
That is exactly what all 32 of us did, we left praying for them. We prayed that these children would one day be rescued, know the love of a family and one day be able to smile. I knew in my heart that God was able to do this for them, that He loved each one of them just as much as He loves me. So we all loaded up and headed to the airport with heavy hearts and little did we know that God was up to something HUGE! Our group was waiting right by the doors at the airport on the day of our departure when we saw a lady and a little girl.
We all stared and just knew there was something familiar about that little girl. We then realized it was Lina, the sweet baby that we had taken care of for two weeks! We were all in such shock! We began to talk to Stephanie and we shared our story and our experiences caring for Lina those two weeks. I was blown away by the mercy and grace of God.
Shorter University Students...
in the airport in Sofia
Lina is in the center of the photo in my arms (Stephanie)
Kristi holding Lina waiting for our flight to LONDON
Seeing Lina in that airport was an answered prayer. God delivered her from the orphanage and into a loving home, just as we had prayed. Seeing Lina helped me to leave with hope in my heart, hope knowing that God indeed did have a plan for each and every one of those babies and the proof was right before my own eyes.
Lina and Stephanie ended up being on our plane ride to London. There was a point on the flight where Lina came to sit with us to give Stephanie a little break and all I could do was just stare at her and thank God for such a miracle. Here it is a year and a half later and I am still in awe of the situation. As I look at the current pictures of Lina, I praise God for giving her such a wonderful family to be a part of. Just a year and a half ago Lina’s smile was a frown and now she has so much to smile about!
Lina at Pleven
Lina at Pleven
Here it is a year and a half later and I am still in awe of the situation. As I look at the current pictures of Lina, I praise God for giving her such a wonderful family to be a part of. Just a year and a half ago Lina’s smile was a frown and now she has so much to smile about!
written by Kristi
Lina's personality and smile now
just 1 and 1/2 years later
7 years old
Lina and her cousin Jules
they are best buddies
Lina and her best buddies at the picture people
getting their photos taken
Bevie, Lina and Jules
YES LINA IS WALKING
she still needs a hand to hold but
SHE IS WALKING!
Lina and her sisters!!!
Ellianna Lina Olyvia Avi Sasha Rachele
LINA and ELLIANNA
2 Timothy 1:9
New International Version (NIV)
9 He has saved us and called us to a holy life—not because of anything we have done but because of his own purpose and grace. This grace was given us in Christ Jesus before the beginning of time,