Day 9.5 - Saturday, Aug. 1st

Going to skip the morning(for now) and go right into the most challenging experience of my life. Yesterday we left for the Romani settlements to assess the location of the 2 outreach events. I wasn't sure what to expect and in my mind this next week should be easier than the first...

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As we left the city and into a smaller town we learned that Romani settlements usually plant itself just on the outskirt of a town/city.

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As we entered into the settlement I knew right away this is going to be the toughest challenge I have ever face. Physically, mentally, spiritually.

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We got off infront of a building under construction. The local pastor told us they are building a bigger place of worship, because...

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Their current church (in a shack) was too small... understatement of the year. I was standing in the back of this small room with a wide angle lense. This place sits 50 people. Its probably one of the nicest place in the whole settlement. I was in shock by then and I completely blanked out to the hundreds of flies around me... I only knew because some of my team members were slapping my back to get rid of them... If you look closely the roof is at my height.

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The local pastor took us around and show us a well/hole where they get the clay/mud to make the bricks for the new church.

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As we walk our way around the area a few children followed us around. One of the boy waved around a broken toy cellphone. And as he walk infront of this house he pretend to take a picture with his phone. I turned around and saw what he was "taking" a picture of...

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This picture haunts me...

I have seen news, I have seen pictures and heard story... but nothing compared to being put into this place which forces me to confront my comfort level with this reality around me. At that moment I can't reconcile what I was seeing... I was traumatized and in shock...

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We left this settlement and headed to another where the outreach event will take place. They had a small field and a church.

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Inside the small church there were many pictures on the wall... of previous camps hosted by other european countries... There was also a picture with a S.Korean pastor. It seem he has been here for many years. I can not imagine the love he has for these people...

... Finalizing plans for the 2 days...

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The picture below summed up my experience that day. Everything was blurry and distanced. Not that the camera can't focus... but I can't focus. . In my mind I was asking... how can I serve 250 of these children when I can't even hold 1 child's hand. I was very disappointed at myself. And throughout that night my mind wrestle to reconcile why I am here. They are the same as us in the eyes of God. We are all just as dirty. We are all just as loved. If Jesus can eat with sinners and touch the sick, why can't I?  I knew I have 2 days to make it up. And I pray that God will help me move pass my weaknesses and do the work of Him who sent me.

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