Updated: Jul 13, 2019
Sonya sat on her hands, singing softly the melody of a simple worship song she knew. Her spunky smile shone as she jumped from one subject to the next. I asked her, “What do you want to be when you grow up?” “I want to do hair and nails,” she answered in Bulgarian. I held her thin, childish fingers in mine. If no one ever told you, you would never know that beneath her bright red shirt was a heart beating with incredible amounts of shattering pain.
How can one imagine the despair of both parents incarcerated? Or fathom the difficulty of growing up in an environment with little to look forward to except the destructive cycle of poverty, crime, moral depravity, and hopelessness?
Like a lot of the children in gypsy villages, Sonya will continue to pretend that all is well. The thought that drives this attitude is one begging for acceptance and love; if their life is together, can they earn the love they crave?
Yet here, in this lonely gypsy village in the bustling city of Sofia, this beautiful girl is transforming under that same love, except this time, the love is unconditional. The ministry pouring out their hearts for Sonya and children like her seek to educate, inspire, and bring radical change to a heart-breaking situation.
At the beginning of Sonya’s participation, she would not speak. Her grandmother, who takes care of her, took her to the doctor, who deemed her mentally incapacitated. She came to the program on a trial-basis to see if she would act in aggression. Under gentle one-on-one observation, Sonya was declared to be a little slow, but certainly not how the doctor implied.
Day-to-day, her progress is tracked, and improvement is obvious. In the two years Sonya has participated in this program, her life has experienced unconditional love and taken on new meaning and potential because of it. With the love of Christ awakening her heart to His goodness, Sonya will find her purpose and calling for this life. But more than that, she will find the love she has so desperately craved.
* Blog article written by Sara Scott - Editor and writer for Changing a Generation. These are true stories written during Sara’s summer missions trip to Bulgaria. Names of children are changed for protection purposes.