What a trying and eventful last few months! Natural disasters and the plight of those affected have been at the forefront of our minds. It hurts us to see children suffer, no matter what the crisis; and yet despite their age, they seem the most resilient. However, they need our help. Having personally experienced the aftermath of Hurricane Harvey in my hometown of Kingwood, outside of Houston, Texas, reminded me of a cold night during our 2012 CERI Winter Boot Mission on the other side of the world.
Volunteers had loaded hundreds of pairs of shoes and socks on the northbound truck, and headed out that afternoon. By the time we finished distributing shoes at our first two stops, it was already dark, and the next orphanage was calling to ask when we would arrive. The roads had turned icy, and there was a deep snow. It was brutally cold! Fearful that his orphanage, the Razalai Auxiliary School, would be passed over, Director Ion Vulpe started to plead with us to come even though it was late and the weather was deteriorating quickly.
I thought of this night as our mayor pleaded with Houstonians after the hurricane to be patient and assured that responders were on the way. It would be a difficult journey, but knowing help would reach us soon gave us hope. In our suburb of Kingwood, numerous families had to be rescued from the rising water. Some of our faithful CERI volunteers and donors were helped to safety by first responders!
Like the first responders that came to our rescue in the wake of Hurricane Harvey, CERI, too, was a first responder when we saw kids with frostbite in Moldova in 1999. Once we knew the problem existed, we had a calling, a “mission,” to return year after year. It is why we kept driving to Razalai Singerei on that frozen December night to deliver new winter boots and socks. It was after midnight when we finally arrived, but, oh! There was such excitement when the CERI truck and van pulled into the Razalai Auxiliary School grounds! Over the ensuing years, the kids gradually moved on as the government shut down orphanages one by one in favor of alternative care, placing children in family homes, foster care, or shelters housing smaller numbers of children.
But…we found them! 9,043 of them, to be exact! In partnership with The Ministry of Social Protection, CERI staff in Moldova met this past summer with every lead social worker throughout the entire nation to identify the most needy children in preparation for two weeks of shoe distribution this winter. And I need your help, too! I need you to be a child’s first responder! When we finally arrived at the orphanage in 2012, everyone was exhausted and cold yet fulfilled and blessed! I invite you to be part of this wonderful experience yourself.
We will travel again to Moldova, December 1 through 17, 2017, to spread the Lord’s message of love through service for His precious children. 10,400 pairs of warm boots are on the way to Moldova now. Your prayers and gifts help make this nationwide winter boot distribution possible. The cost per pair of boots, including shipping, storage, and delivery is just $25. Please consider giving a donation today! You can give online at https://cerikids.org/donate-ceri and use the designation “Shoes for children in Moldova” or your check will be appreciatively received at CERI, 1506 Bexar Crossing, San Antonio, TX 78232.
Thank you for listening with your heart, and for heeding the Lord’s call to help a child in need.
Dearing L. Garner
Executive Director, Emeritus