A Light in the Darkness

I visited Bucharest, Romania in December 2012. For this native Texan, the term “winter” in Romania proved to be very different than what I was used to back home. The city was blanketed in pure white snow which enhanced the experience and added to the charm of the Romanian burg. We arrived and made the short drive from the airport to the flat belonging to the Duta family which we would call home for our stay there. Later that night several children from one of the partner orphanages came over to the Dutas’ warm and welcoming home. It was obvious from the moment they stepped inside the door that they were thrilled to be there. It was also clear that the Dutas have had a profound impact on their lives.

After a hearty home-cooked meal, we held a service via Skype with a church back in Texas. It was a unique opportunity for these children to experience another culture and for the church back home to see the faces of a few of the children they helped support through His Little Ones. The air was thick with laughter as the night rounded out with games and jokes shared between us all. It was a beautiful thing to see how much the children there clearly loved Nick and Viorica Duta and saw them as parental figures.

I was amazed to see how these seemingly small gestures impacted the children so much.

The balance of our visit found us spending time at three different orphanages. We visited a baby orphanage and were able to love-on and hold the babies while the Dutas spent time with the staff determining the needs of this orphanage. As we visited the children at the other orphanges, we brought along Christmas gifts, birthday presents, and birthday cakes to share. At two of the orphanages, we even sang Christmas songs and dressed up like Santa to pass out the Christmas presents. I was amazed to see how these seemingly small gestures impacted the children so much.

It was difficult seeing babies rocking endlessly in a sort of strange dance that manifested their starvation for love and affection.

It was very emotional for me as I visited these orphanages and observed what, at times, seemed like overwhelming need. It was difficult seeing babies who had been abandoned filling a room lined with yellow cribs, crying, whimpering, even rocking endlessly in a sort of strange dance that manifested their starvation for love and affection. It was heartbreaking seeing so many angry teenage boys who did not have a loving father-figure to guide and shape them, no one to model what responsibility and leadership looks like. It was a stark reminder of just how fortunate I was to have been raised in a home with two loving parents.

In spite of the challenges, seeing the children’s love for the Dutas helped me realize that His Little Ones truly is a light shining in the darkness. The orphanages swing wide the doors for them when they arrive, and the children’s faces light up when they see their smiles and run to give them a warm embrace. The needs are great, but with the help of the Dutas, His Little Ones is achieving its goal of providing for the emotional, physical and spiritual needs of the children in these orphanages.

– Robert Stephens