In April, I returned to the Bread of Life Orphanage after 2.5 years away. I had several motivations for my return and one of them was to see the tree that changed everything. In 2014, a healthy boy, Andrei, fell from that tree, permanently injuring his spinal cord. In his struggle to recover and adapt to life as a paraplegic, my family and I became involved and offered to take him into our home in Minnesota. We fell in love with Andrei immediately. I thought if I saw the tree which he fell from, I would have a measure of closure for the grief I have felt over his loss and pain. As I stood there gazing at the tree, I felt a whisper “this is a tree of life, not a tree of sorrow” and I saw that God was truly working this tragedy for the greatest good for the greatest number of people. When tragedy struck, Andrei had a choice to embrace life or wallow in sorrow and he chose life. Today, at the age of 14, Andrei is thriving in a family, following Christ, and leading people to Him.
Another motivation for my return was to meet all of Andrei’s friends and bring them hope and love from our home. Andrei was never able to say goodbye to his “brothers and sisters” he had lived with in the Orphanage for five years of his life. Most of his friends have now graduated from the Orphanage and are enrolled in the Youth Transition Program in the capital city of Bucharest. I could relate with these kids on a deeper level because I was raising one of them at home. They have all come from unfortunate and devastating family backgrounds. They are all learning what unconditional love is and they are all becoming adults with the odds stacked against them because of the trauma they suffered in their past. My message to them over and over during my visit was: “Your past does not define you, you can choose your own path. God has set before all of us the option of life and death, so choose life!” Just like Andrei has overcome trauma and tragedy in his life, the opportunity is there for all his brothers and sisters at Bread of Life to choose life.
More and more children are approaching adulthood at Bread of Life. There is a great opportunity for us to bring hope to these young adults. They need love,guidance,resources,attention,andhope. This all comes at a cost and a great sacrifice. We can’t save everyone, but one child at a time, we can be everything to that child. Please continue to pray and provide any resources you can to change the disastrous trajectory of children’s lives. Together, let’s help them choose life.