Eight years ago, Becky Loyd swallowed her fear and climbed onto a plane bound for Moldova.
Because of that decision, she’ll spend this Christmas season delivering slippers, pajamas and hope to hundreds of abandoned children. And because of that decision, two brothers 5,000 miles away have begun to call her “mom.”
Tudor was 12 years old and Jony was 9 when she met them in an orphanage on that first mission trip in 2007. Loyd now talks online with them every day.
“We talk about God. We talk about money. We talk about girls sometimes,” Loyd said. “I’m the closest thing they have to a mom, and they are the closest thing I have to kids.
“We’re just figuring out how to be a family.”
This month Loyd will travel again to Moldova, a small former Soviet republic sandwiched between Romania and Ukraine. With the nonprofit Justice & Mercy International, she’ll visit villages and orphanages, bearing gifts and sharing the story of Jesus.
“When these kids in orphanages receive a gift, it may be the first gift they’ve ever received,” Loyd said. “They have nothing to give, but they will give you everything they have.
“It changes your whole perspective on Christmas.”
Although Moldova is a poor nation, Tudor and Jony live in an area with Internet access, and Loyd helped them buy phones.
Technology quickly transformed Loyd’s newfound family by breaking down the language barriers.
“The Google Translate app has really changed my life,” she said. “Sometimes it’s just, ‘How was school today?’ But I’ve had some pretty intense conversations.
“Jony is taking English classes, so it was the best day ever when he asked, ‘Will you help me with my English homework?'”
Getting a tourist visa from Moldova is a challenge, Loyd said. So far, she’s been unable to bring Tudor or Jony for a visit to the United States. But she’s managed to arrange a surprise trip — the brothers will fly on a plane for the first time. “It’s a really cheap flight from Moldova to Vienna, so that will be their Christmas. They get to go and experience a new country.”
Called to be an advocate
Loyd wasn’t sure what to expect when she first reached Moldova in 2007. The poverty was unsettling, but the children touched her heart. “I remember knowing God had called me to be an advocate for them and not knowing how to do it.”
She just kept going back. Year after year, she returned to the same orphanage — getting to know the kids, doing summer camps with them, watching them grow. Tudor and Jony became Christians. So did many others.
Now, Loyd said, some of those orphans have become leaders — directing music, acting as translators, and sharing the Gospel with other orphans.
“It’s neat to see them turn around and not be ministered to but instead pour out what the Lord has given them,” she said.
“I can tell an orphan their life is going to be okay and God loves them. But to hear it from somebody who’s been in the same situation as they have been in is a lot more powerful.”
For more information on the Justice & Mercy International site go to http://justiceandmercy.org/.
— by Lisa Cannon Green | BP