Saturday, December 25, 2010

Merry Christmas!!!

Or, as we say here in Romania, Craciun Fericit!

I'll pick up on Sunday discussing the past week's events. I've heard through others that quite a few people are reading this. I'm thankful you're taking an interest, but I also want to invite you to comment so that I can keep in touch while we are here.

Find below a link to the first video made from the trip here. I hope you get a good idea of how much of an impact shoe box gifts have. Pay attention to the little girl at the end counting her pencils. Precious.

Until tomorrow, I hope you all have a wonderful Christmas celebration with family and friends.

Friday, December 24, 2010

Tears in the Orphanage

Well, it's approaching late afternoon on Christmas Eve in Romania. I just went shopping with Bobby to get things for the next few days while Lance got gifts ready. It feels good to be home.

As promised, here is a recap of Monday. Monday morning began with Izabella's interview at an old abandoned dorm. Some shots were also taken of me there, but some people came and started snooping around to see what we were doing, so we split.

After this, I was filmed some more at an alley at a dead end street as well as at a bakery purchasing bread. If you've heard me tell my story, you know how I relate how we got bread back to how communism was. After a stop to get the shoe boxes for the afternoon, we then went to the school where I taught before coming to America. It's abandoned now since they have a nice new building in another part of town, but going back there brought to mind so many fond memories. This was a very emotional shoot for me, but it's one that I enjoyed, and I hope it makes it on the video.

After this shoot, the crew was dropped off at the hotel while the rest of us went to the distribution at the orphanage. There were some issues with the initial filming of Livia at the orphanage, so it was decided that the distribution at the orphanage would not be filmed.

We got there, and after all the boxes were carried in, a local missionary told a Bible story followed by Livia's testimony. Livia herself was an orphan, and the kids were very receptive to what she was saying. There were 3 in particular; I'll talk more about them later. The kids got those boxes, and after the countdown for opening, the smiles are some that I will not soon forget. I really can't put all the thoughts I had in words. If you know me, for me to be speechless says something.

As mentioned above, I would discuss Livia and 3 girls. These girls literally would not let Livia leave, and she made sure to get contact info for them before heading out. I believe these girls found a hero in Livia, and to think that her visit could have such a positive impact on these girls is something I can't truly fathom.

Everyone headed off to Bucharest in the evening, leaving Lance and I to celebrate Christmas with my family. The days involved in all of this have made me feel honored to be able to do what I can in order to give more children the opportunity to learn about God. I will never take packing a shoe box lightly ever again.

Thursday, December 23, 2010


Sorry for the delay in updating. It's been crazy the last few days. I'll recap Sunday's activities now and will talk about Monday on Christmas Eve.

Sunday morning was spent filming Livia's interview in the park. This park in Craiova is the 2nd largest in Europe, so there were many good filming spots to be found. I stayed in the cold in the morning while Lance and Bobby went with the bus to pick up the boxes for the afternoon distribution. When they returned, we all loaded up and went to an Orthodox church near the center of downtown. Downtown is decorated nicely, and the crew got good footage of me walking around the church. They filmed while mass was going on, and it reminded me of how tradition can get in the way of a relationship with Christ.

After lunch, we were on our way to Giubega for the first distribution of the trip. Giubega is a village outside of Craiova that takes about 40 minutes to get to. The distribution was at the local school. Liviu Costea (a pastor in Craiova) helped organize the event, and it was a great time. Even though I was being filmed and instructed on things to say at certain times, I still tried to soak it all in as much as I could. The camera caught me one time in tears due to the emotions I was having.

We were told "Thank You" so many times and that no one has come to this village to give gifts before. Even though this was a scripted distribution, the impact was overwhelming yet still in line with why the ministry exists.

As I mentioned earlier, check back on Christmas Eve for details of Monday's distribution. The events of Monday afternoon will be something Lance and I will not soon forget.

Sunday, December 19, 2010

Watching Me

As I mentioned in my previous post, I spent Saturday filming my story. We started out by going to First Baptist where I received my shoe box. They set up the lights, camera, and microphone inside the church, and it instantly brought back memories of my time there as a child. Not much has changed on the inside of the church, so I was very pleased with the setting. I spent close to an hour answering questions about basically my whole life. I had to do a couple of takes for some statements because it was a little chilly inside the church, and the microphone was picking up the sound of my feet moving as I was trying to keep them warm. Pretty sensitive, huh?

After that, the kids who were playing Bobby (my younger brother) and I entered the church to be filmed. We went into the pastor's office (the one who baptized me in that same church) and filmed a distribution. In a pretty neat twist, my Mom and Bobby were the two who were involved in the passing of the shoe boxes to little Sorina and little Bobby. I say little Sorina with a wink because the girl playing me is actually quite big, but I was somewhat big for my age back then.

The next filming involved little Sorina and little Bobby opening their shoe boxes. My husband Lance thinks this was probably the most special part of what will be shot. My mom has kept the scarf and hat I got all these years, and when the girl opened her box, she was filmed finding those exact same items. We had a pair of white gloves in there also that we brought with us; we're not sure where they went. Little Sorina was filmed putting on that same hat and scarf, and I was thrilled that the items looked good on her, Little Bobby did a fabulous job of going through his box, and everyone involved with the shoot was very pleased with how the two kids did.

The rest of the day involved filming me walking down the street to the church, the actors walking down the street to the church, me walking from the gate to the front door, the actors walking from the gate to the front door, the actors leaving the front door heading toward the gate with their gifts (little Sorina was wearing hat and scarf), and the actors walking away from the church with their gifts. It was quite cold outside during all this, but everyone survived, and hopefully some good footage was obtained.

The afternoon was spent filming another part of Izabella's story in an apartment in town. They had done the first part of it Friday afternoon. All in all, Saturday was a full day for everyone.

As I write this, we have already done the distribution on Sunday and will be doing a distribution at an orphanage on Monday. I'll discuss in more detail each of these days later on. Right now, I'm signing off to write a short blog entry for Samaritan's Purse/OCC about Sunday's distribution. I'm not sure where it will wind up, but if you go looking, you might find it!

Friday, December 17, 2010

Greetings from Romania

Dear followers,

As most of you know, I have been making plans to travel to Romania with Samaritan's Purse to reconstruct my shoe box story. Lance and I (along with Livia (another recipient) and OCC crew) arrived to Romania on Wednesday evening.  However, a lot of bags (including all four of our bags as well as very important bags containing equipment) did not arrive.  After numerous calls and misunderstandings, we are still missing one bag of video equipment.  Can you say that's Satan getting in the way?

The good news is that we have found great locations for all the shooting episodes, as well as the right kids to reconstruct our stories.  It is amazing to see how details fall into place leading to good footage.  The kids are excited to be actors, and the people helping us are very cooperative, for the most part.

The good and bad news altogether is that there is snow!  This is good for my story but not for another girl's story.  It is so pretty though, just like I remember winter growing up.  I am looking forward to Christmas!

Speaking of Christmas, we get to spend it with my family, which is so valuable to me.  It's been six years since I've been home for Christmas.

Tomorrow at 10 a.m. we should start filming my story.  Pray that it goes well.  I've attached a picture below with my new friends:  little Sorina and little Bobby (my brother) who got shoe boxes.  Their actual names are Elisa and Emi, and they are excited to be a part.

I'm sorry I couldn't post anything sooner, but hopefully in the next couple of days I can say more.

As we say in Romania, noapte buna (good night)!

Saturday, December 11, 2010

Narnia and OCC

So, I got back from Chicago a couple of days ago, where I had the privilege to speak at a preview of "Narnia: The Voyage of The Dawn Treader". I spoke about OCC and The Greatest Journey Bible lessons to about 240 people that came out on a cold night. The audience was great, the lights dim, and the atmosphere intimate. I find it different every time I speak, because my story takes different turns according to the vibe of the crowd. I love that aspect of sharing for OCC.

But back to Narnia. Aside from the 3D touch to it, the movie captures many faith allusions, such as Aslan being ever present, whether in Narnia, WWII, or Aslan's country. Another honorable mention is Eustace's revelation, similar to Saul's. I definitely recommend the movie; you'll want to live in Narnia afterwards. One good thing about this third adaptation is that it is much milder in terms of violence and graphic representations of monsters, death, etc. Any child will be less scared by all these water creatures and more enthralled by their superpowers. C.S. Lewis was so inspired to put these biblical concepts in child's play. Thumbs up!

Feel free to comment if you've seen the movie, and stay tuned for my next post all the way from Romania next week!

Sunday, December 5, 2010


Tonight, Lance and I had the privilege of going to the BarlowGirl concert in Concord, NC. I hadn't really heard of them before this year, but then again, I don't keep up well with music, unlike my husband. I then learned of their involvement with Operation Christmas Child this year. They were able to go to Belize earlier this year in order to distribute shoe boxes to needy children, since 95% of the country is living under poor conditions, leaving the other 5% to the nice resorts we all picture. You can see their OCC experience in this short video:

So, here we were tonight at the BarlowGirl concert, and I did not know what to expect in terms of music/worship. The first band, Reilly, did a good job, and actually helped BarlowGirl with part of their concert. The girls were so real, down to earth, and very chatty on stage, almost making the audience part of their family. They mainly performed Christmas songs and their main hits, of which the latest is "Hallelujah (Light Has Come)". You can watch the newly filmed video for this song here:

The highlight of the night though was the girls' passion for the Word of God. Taking advantage of the young audience that adores their jamming style, the girls, especially Alyssa and Lauren, pretty much preached the Word with no shame, a lot of confidence in the Holy Spirit, and heartfelt encouragement. It was very inspiring to hear Lauren, a 25-year old Chicago powerhouse. She said that "the world should never be the same because you lived in it...dream the dreams God has for you...find your purpose in this world, and have your heart broken by the same things Christ's heart breaks over." Hands were raised up in the air, and youth were not the only ones praising God in the midst of jamming. Then came Alyssa, the middle sister, who spoke with much conviction, begging people to allow Christ to make things new again this Christmas. Alyssa prayed for healing and for breakthroughs, no matter the circumstance. Three girls, whose calling is to spread the Gospel with a band, spoke to hundreds of hearts tonight, as angels only do, or maybe messengers of hope. They impressed upon my heart that music is not made only of notes and instruments, but of hearts that vibrate at the Father's calling.

This evening has me more than ready to fly to Chicago on Tuesday to share my story before a special preview of the third Narnia movie.

Nice to meet you, BarlowGirl!

Friday, December 3, 2010

The Greatest Journey

As I'm following the worldwide activity of Samaritan's Purse, I cannot ignore the main push this year: The Greatest Journey, a discipleship program for the children who receive OCC shoe boxes. Having received one myself, I know how crucial that moment is, as it opens a child's heart to ask Jesus in his/her heart. Moreover, that is also the perfect time for following up with the children, and teaching them what the Word of God says. That is what the Greatest Journey wants to accomplish- lead the shoe box recipient to an understanding of Jesus Christ. Accomplish the Great Comission!

Yes, many of you pack the box as a reflection of your heart's kindness, and as a reflection of God's love. However, it takes a local teacher or mentor to develop the seed planted in the child's life in order to understand who God is. The shoe box will impact that young heart so much more when used to grow the seed of love and kindness. The discipleship program has 12 lessons, and it presents Creation and Salvation to the children. It is amazing to hear children say : "I know Jesus can make things good again...He's my best friend."

This morning, my husband showed me this new video that is to air on TV soon. It is a 28 minute special with Franklin Graham, a partnership between Samaritan's Purse and Billy Graham Evangelistic Association- a plea to pray for and help distribute The Greatest Journey materials around the world.
I encourage you to watch it, and you will be blessed by the many extra blessings it comes with: BarlowGirl, Matthew West, and most inspiring- Vladimir's story from Haiti.
Just follow this link:

How has the Lord blessed you in this Operation Christmas Child season?

Thursday, December 2, 2010

This is an attempt to keep all my friends posted on my 2010 travels related to Operation Christmas Child!

I am Sorina, born and raised in Romania, a girl who, once upon a time, received a shoe box. It was a wonderful gift that brought a smile on my face, in a world where Santa didn't bring much and God was not known. That shoe box had a scarf, hat, and gloves that I so badly needed. The shoe box is linked to the church where I received it, the church where I got baptized. Many years later, I learned that Operation Christmas Child had sent the box to me. Nowadays, I speak on behalf of OCC, telling people to pack a shoe box for a child in need, because each shoebox is a Gospel opportunity.

So, now we embark on logging the travels: past, present, and future.

First stop on my log- Chicago. Stay tuned next week for news and impressions of Narnia 3 and the Windy City.