Sometimes you have to go backwards to go forwards

Trip Start Dec 09, 2010
Trip End Dec 22, 2010

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Where I stayed
House of Joshua

Flag of Bulgaria  , Sofia Region,
Thursday, December 16, 2010

With van number one still refusing to play ball thanks to a frozen fuel line we had no choice but to load everyone including the young residents from House of Joshua into van number two for our much anticipated trip up the mountain to Lipnitsa Orphanage/School.

The snow was falling quite hard again as we arrived at Lipnitsa but we were soon inside and for Pete, Valya, Mimi and Rich it was good to see, Danni, Helena, Petko, Krassa, Maglenna and co again. Chrissy and Beccy were experiencing Lipnitsa for the first time - and what a time they chose for their first visit! The kids were so excited to see us and after a cup of tea with Mr Petkov (the school's director) it was time for their Christmas celebration performance.  The kids were fantastic as ever with their singing and dancing just filling the whole of the building with warmth and joy.  Special mention for little Niki's breakdancing and the super cute bunny (see photos below).

After this it was time to give out the presents starting with the youngest first, including Christmas Box poster girl Helena.  The Lipnitsa kids are well drilled and always wait patiently for their boxes with the eldest receiving last.  Most of these kids have very difficult family circumstances, whether they be from isolated rural homes, or Roma communities, so to see their smiles as they receive their presents is to know that these gifts are making are real difference and bring genuine joy to the recipients.  We'll let the pictures tell the rest of the Lipnitsa story...

Getting back up the mountain from Lipnitsa proved to be something of a challenge in the now quite deep snow.  The road being quite steep our van really struggled and after a couple of aborted ascents we decided to turn the van around and reverse all the way up whilst some of the team walked up, taking in the fresh air and wonderful views! 

Once we got down from the mountain it was full steam ahead for Sofia and our appointment at Busmansi Refugee Centre together with the team from Breakthrough Christian Centre.  Here we met many young men and women who find themselves locked up indefinitely whilst the authorities decide their futures.  It is genuinely moving to meet people who have taken the hardest of decisions to flee their home countries for unknown lands and to hear the stories of hardship they have to tell.  We gave out some 200 bags of gifts here, and were greeted very warmly by the people who almost above anything else are just glad to see some smiling faces, and to hear the message that there are people that care for them and there is a God who loves them.

It is strange to come out of a place like Busmansi and 30 minutes later be sat in a place like Sofia mall freely drinking coffee and almost taking for granted the freedom we were now enjoying.  Then it was time once again to head home to the House of Joshua but not without having another friendly roadside chat with the Bulgarian traffic police, who for the fourth time this trip felt compelled to examine out van and compliment Rich on his exemplary driving.

Tomorrow we say goodbye to Pete and Chrissy and it will be a bit odd to loose two valuable team members.  Massive thanks to Pete Cole for coming and for keeping us and the kids entertained and for blessing us with his sense of humour and ever present good cheer.  And thanks to Chrissy for her singing and distinctly North Irish atttitude to life; we will be sad to see you both go. 

Lecka nosht.
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Su Parsons on

Great photo's. Abi very excited to spot daddy giving her box to Helena

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