What does happiness look like to you? To me, it is the look of children’s faces every time they see me. When I walk into the room and they see me, a smile just happens to creep onto their faces.
Three weeks ago, I embarked on a journey overseas to Romania. Since I have been to Romania before, I had an idea of the area and the children, but I did not know what to expect of this six-week journey. What I did expect was that God was going to move through me in ways that I did not know he could.
When I arrived in Bucharest, the club was not in session so that meant a lot of paperwork for me during the whole week. Since I am not a person that can sit still for long periods of time, I was not sure how it was going to be. Thankfully, that week passed by considerably quick and during the following week, I had the chance to work with the kids at the summer club.
During my initial time with the children, I had many different emotions: joy, because I was able to see the happiness that the kids had when they saw me; stress, because I knew that I had to plan out the week with my teammates; nervousness, because I did not know what to expect. By the end of the week, there was a feeling of relief, knowing that my teammates and I had a clear idea of what to expect to be doing for the rest of the time while we are here.
Every day I have the opportunity to walk into a building full of children who just love on you every second of the day. These kids are children of God, and they show it through the amount of smiles and hugs that they give out. Being able to see the smiles every time that they see me makes my heart bigger. Being able to work with these kids has shown me that even though you may not have much, it does not meant that you have to be unhappy. The children have nothing, and it is the most beautiful place that I have ever been. They show up every day with energy, ready to love on whoever they see that day. There has not been one day that I have not been greeted with a hug or a smile.
These kids know how to make your day better if you are having a bad day or just show you the love of God. A hug to the children means more than a thousand words to me. Through the language barrier, I can see God working through them to work through everyone that they meet every day.
Happiness is one of the many emotions that I have experienced when I am able to see these kids daily and receive their love, even though they have nothing.
Phillip Hedrick is a student at Liberty University who is serving in Romania as a Summer Venturer. He is also a member of Bonsack Baptist Church in Roanoke, Virginia.