We drove 3 hours to Constanta, remote and serene, she sits with its feet in the Black Sea. We met Tim and Caroline who serve with YWAM and are pioneering aquaponics systems here in Romania. They have established a permanent presence with some children at what is referred to as a foster unit, which is a much healthier alternative to the children's "hospitals" which are the same as orphanages, only under a more ambiguous title, one less stained by social outrage.
We had the privilege of going out to the boys home with them, under the auspices of planting some tomatoes and basil. Whether by clever mechanism or innocent process we left with far more than dirt on our hands. We left with full and happy hearts, as though we had more family upon leaving than what we came with.
When we arrived, the boys greeted us with hugs and enthusiastic cries for us to "come here". No hesitation or reserve, just friendship and joy. The boys followed us around the gardens, singing with us, telling jokes, teaching us Romanian, comparing dirty hands, proudly showing off puppies and giant yellow buckets of spiders, finding ultimate hilarity in my startled shrieks.
We watched the little boys follow Tim around, as he patiently teaches them. On his face the face there is a certain settled-ness. I recognize that this must be look of sureness of purpose, the look someone wears when there is nowhere else they could imagine going or being. I see in this what Aaron and I have been looking for.
Caroline plants, too, followed by a flock of boys who chatter with her and light up when their tricks earn a laugh from her. She listens carefully to them, at once a mother and a sister. Everyone here is beautiful to me, I see Jesus in this. They invited us to share their meal and by the time we got in the car to go, Aaron was "brother".
I thought to myself as we pulled away that we were departing, but that I would never really leave.