When we first sat down with Ioana and talked to her about remaining here for five months we discussed what the priorities would be for her. First would be physical therapy and strengthening. Second was English language learning with the goal of her being fluent by the time she goes back to Romania. Third was socialization and being integrated into situations where she could use English without aid of translation.
One of the ways that she is incorporating language integration is volunteering weekly with Jesus Pizza at the Broomfield United Methodist Church. For many years now the Broomfield UMC youth group has supported Ioana specifically through the sales of burritos in the youth room. The link above tells about that as well. Jesus Pizza is a ministry that occurs each Wednesday for the high school students at Broomfield High School, located across the street from the church. Students can get pizza, salad and soda for two dollars. Hundreds of students participate each week.
Ioana shows up at the church shortly after 11:00 on Wednesday mornings to help set up and then helps to serve the students. She is able to interact with a lot of people and is forced to use English since nobody speaks Romanian.
After the first week, I picked her up and asked her how it went. “Super!” she replied to me. We talked about the aspect of volunteering and she has never had that opportunity before. “I like volunteering and helping because I think it is pleasing to God. It feels good when I do it and I like that feeling but I think it is more important to do it for God.”
Ioana also helps out with the Summit Kids Ministry at Flatirons Community Church in Lafayette every other Saturday night. She went through leader training in order to be approved to help with caring for the kiddos there. She volunteers in the room for kids that are of the age of 11-18 months old. I find this so interesting because when she was that age she was abandoned and living in an orphanage. I asked her one day if she remembered anything from when she lived in the orphanage. “Not really. I just know that my hair was cut really short because of lice and since I couldn’t walk I would fall over on my side. I would stay there until someone came along and set me up straight.” Now, she is on the floor again with little toddlers but she is the one entertaining them and having fun with them while their parents are able to go and worship, knowing the children are safe, cared for and loved.
I love the fact that the children Global Hope has helped to take care of over the last decade plus are now giving back, serving and are a reflection of Christ’s love. They understand that in order to bring love to a hurting world that they need to be involved in ministry. Ioana relishes the opportunity to serve and it brings that beautiful smile to her face and lights up her heart. It is important for her to understand that while her primary reason for being in the United States is to receive help for her physical disability that it is also vitally important to be involved in giving back to the community where she is temporarily living.