Monthly Archives :

October 2017

Awareness Outreach Northern Moldova

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In the Fall of 2017, Open Gate International had the opportunity to partner with friends from the organization PELERIN in Riscani, a region in northern Moldova. OGI provided the primary funding for the 4-day event, reaching nearly 1,000 young people ages 14-20 and mobilizing over10 volunteers into 5 high school.

Volunteers from PELERIN and partner organization Beginning of Life presented programming focused on purposeful living, self-esteem, and anti-bullying. At the end of the outreach week, 400 of those young people attended a free concert in the region’s cultural center featuring popular Moldovan band, Not An Idol.

Impact

This initial outreach prompted a very positive response from 4 of the 5 schools visited. PELERIN has been asked by those administrations to return monthly in 2018 to hold presentations aboutvarious topics including: Drug Use and Addiction, Human Trafficking, Aids/HIV, and Abortion.

The following week, 100 students contacted a local youth outreach to get plugged-in to a healthy, vibrant community called “Youth House” where they will have weekly engagement with positive mentors.

Thank you for your continued support of our work at Open Gate International. Because of you and our partners here on the ground, young people in Moldova are discovering their hero within. Please enjoy this video from the outreach.

Octobers “My Hero” Essay Winner!

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My Hero Essay by Miss Lucy D

I’ve heard it said that the best way to find yourself is to lose yourself in the service of others, and my older sister would completely agree. I was only five years old, and she was only seven when she told my parents, “I want to learn sign language.” According to them, she was so adamant that they enrolled her in a local class a mere week later, and she began to learn at a rapid rate, as if she were born already knowing American sign language. I like to think that she was not born knowing it, but born to do it. This passion of hers has taken her far and wide. She has always been a homebody, but no local colleges offered degrees in sign language, so she traveled across the country to continue signing.

Right after she finished her bachelor’s degree, she received a call from a nursing home in that area, asking her if she would be willing to work in the dementia unit for a year. Three women in that unit were deaf or hard of hearing, and all three had adopted some form of sign language, but none of their family members had. My sister Lydia agreed to be their voice. It was hard work, for the women’s memories were failing them, and my sister often had to tell them where their family members were fifty or sixty times a day, and they would ask again the next day. Each of these women died within that one year Lydia was at the nursing home, and she was heartbroken, for they had become so precious to her. I remember leaving one of my college classes two years ago because Lydia had texted me, saying, “Lucy, can I talk to you right now? I just lost one of my best friends.” I was thinking that she had lost one of her friends from high school or college, but it was one of those three ladies with dementia. I’ve never met anyone who loves everyone as much as my sister Lydia does. Her patients were not people she was getting money to work for – they were her friends, and even though none of them could even remember her name, she adored them.

In the photo above, my hero Lydia is on the right.

Today, Lydia is living near home again, where she works as a translator in an emergency room. She experiences death, tears, and heartbreak almost every week that she spends there, but this doesn’t stop her from translating, nor does it stop her from loving. She lavishes love on her patients the moment they come into the emergency room until they leave, whether from recovery or loss of life, and even then, she still locks up loving memories of them in her heart.

So long as she has breath in her lungs, I know she will not stop serving, and it is this loving servitude that makes her my hero. She truly is an incredible woman.