It all started in the country where it all started! In 1996 I I heard the voice of the Lord saying, "Who shall I send, and who will go for us?" I responded by taking a huge leap of faith and studied to be a clown carrying the Gospel across the world with greasepaint and grins. During my first outing at the Jerusalem School, I knew I was doing exactly what I had been called to do. I felt the shower of blessings. I returned in 1997 with my teacher, best friend and mentor officially starting the ministry of Sunshine After Rain. That first trip we ministered to over 1,000 school children, orphans and those hospitalized. We've returned to our future homeland 11 times down through the years, each time an extraordinary blessing!
I thought I had experienced a country filled with hardship. I was wrong. In 2000, the broken hearts of the Romania disabled were seen not on their sleeves, but on their faces. It was a good reminder to realize there were many blind and lame left unhealed when Christ departed from the Mount of Olives. The young boy named Marius did not leave that afternoon healed. His small legs were still deformed, but he and his parents left with more than a pediatric wheelchair, crutches, and a walker that he can utilize as he grows in height. This family and each one of the over five hundred families ministered to by the “Wheels to the World” campaign left with the hope of the risen Christ.
The war had concluded in 1995, but in 2000 the evidence of war was not only still imprinted on the structures it was a scar on hearts and souls yet to heal. The individuals we ministered to, the stories of war, the shelled city of Sarajevo, the weather, all combined to send me back to the States emotion-ally broken. There were more questions than I had answers for, more images that didn’t smile back and no place for me to “file away” the feelings. My return in 2006 brought difficulties as well as treasures.
It was a joy to go to Finland and once again work alongside the physical therapist that had been on the Wheels to the World distribution in Bosnia. We were able to train healthcare workers and youth leaders on the art of joy as ministry! There are two languages understood worldwide - tears and laughter – no translation is required. Healing the sadness associated with sickness and circumstance is possible even though outward conditions may not change, attitude can make all the difference – and we all are in the business of making a difference. And from the very far shores of Helsinki we watched as the world changed on September 11, 2001.