Well, it has been a week since we got home from Riga. I'm still in awe of what went on during our time there and I seem to miss it more this year than previous ones. Part of that reason, I believe, is because I was introduced to a little boy this year who will forever be a part of my life. Nikita is a 13 year old orphan who at first seemed very shy. It took a lot of patience to get him to talk; and the fact that he only spoke Latvian and very little English made it even more difficult. But something about Nikita was drawing me to him, so I would harass our translator to come be the middle man for us. Over the next several days, I learned Nikita was born with HIV. His brother and sister sometimes live with his parents and sometimes live at the children's home with Nikita. He has to take 11 pills a day in order to survive and he doesn't take this lightly. He is aware that his medicine costs 2,000 lats every 2 months, the equivalent to about $4,000. But what really drew me to Nikita was his appreciation for the life he's been given. Despite being diagnosed with one of the most depressing diseases, Nikita is thankful that he has one of the "milder" forms of the virus. He hopes to live a long life and one day come visit us in America, which could not make me happier. Our team does a pretty good job at keeping in touch with many of the kids we meet, and every now and then we meet one that we know we need to love on for as long as possible. Nikita is that child for me. Please pray for him; I truly believe that our God is capable of completely healing him from HIV. But I also believe that there is a plan in all of this that I cannot understand. If Nikita can continue to trust and hope in God, he is going to go on to do amazing things.
Well, we are back at Petr's house after a week of camp. Like I expected, no internet so I was unable to blog but the easiest thing to say is this was by far one of the best trips I have been on. Quite honestly, there are too many stories/memories to share in one blog but God definitely moved in some huge ways. This year, there were several kids we had never met and several kids we were excited to see that did not make it, which made us sad at first, but of course God knew what He was doing. Everyone that was there (including us) was there for a reason and it was so exciting to see that. Each one of us connected in ways we would have never expected with the kids. Over the next few days, I plan on sharing some of their stories with you.
As far as our team goes, I could not be more proud. Although we were small in number, we were strong in unity. All week we worked together to make sure God was glorified above all. Each of our girls did an amazing job of showing what a godly young woman should look like. And as for David and BJ, they pulled their weight plus some to make sure all of those boys felt important and loved. I feel so blessed to have been a part of such an amazing team.
Tomorrow we will head to Petr's church again where hopefully we will meet up with several of the campers. After the service we will all walk over to McDonald's to enjoy lunch together. I always love this Sunday- it gives us another chance to love on the kids in an environment outside of camp. Thank you all so much for your prayers and support. There was no doubt this trip was covered in prayer from the moment our first flight took off until now, so thank you! We look forward to seeing you in a few days!