Well, the summer is over and as we enter into September, there is a sense of disappointment that the steady flow of Mission Teams has ended.
The disappointment is relatively short-lived, as we take account of the work that needs to be accomplished, that to some extent has ‘been waiting’ and can be done now the teams are finished and the demanding weeks that go with Mission Trips are over. We are further relieved to have some time to ‘take breath’.
The pace of the Mission Trip season can take its toll on the fittest, of which I most certainly am not, but this summer I’ve held up well following the hip replacement surgeries of the past 2 years. All the same, I’m pleased to have some days now with less time pressures and constant demands that exist as we seek to serve the needs and interests of our Mission Trip guests. I trust however we have done that well, with 120 guests these past 3 months, we now look forward to over 60 arriving in October for 3 more very busy weeks of Mission Trips.
Also in October we have the Official Opening of Tileagd Assisted Living (TAL) which will be an exciting day on Thursday October 19th. If you would like to join us, contact the office as quickly as possible as places are extremely limited.
The summer is a blessing in so many ways and the Teams we have visiting work so hard before even arriving here, often raising a great deal of money to bless us within our projects. More than £40,000 ($52,000) was raised these past 3 months by visiting teams. That is absolutely amazing and we are very thankful for the hard work and dedication put into these efforts back home before the trip has even happened.
Then of course, during the trip, people see the needs first hand and become even more committed to continue fund-raising efforts and often taking out personal sponsorship commitments to support Projects, Families, or individuals through ‘special interest support’ in the Elderly Care Homes, School or Nursery.
This is all critically important and I can’t emphasize enough how thankful I am for the on-going support we receive month by month. Some of our biggest supporters have not even been to Romania, and yet they faithfully and in some cases, sacrificially give month by month and more as able.
I pray these people will know a special blessing in their life or just the wonderful peace God gives when you know you are doing something special with what He has given you.
Balancing the growing financial demands within Smiles is a daily challenge. So much bigger than I ever thought possible and certainly more than I signed up for all those years ago when I began to develop the Smiles Foundation’s concept here in Romania.
I never thought we would reach over 20 different projects. I couldn’t believe we would have 115 staff and be looking for more. I never imagined a current annual budget of £1,330,000 ($1,730,000). Sometimes it is frightening to think we care for more than 1,500 people each and every day through our projects with more than 150 of them in 24/7 residential care through the Care Homes, Homeless Village and Emergency Housing Unit.
I confess to often thinking, what if people were to stop supporting? But I soon realise that if God is doing the increase, giving the vision for more facilities to care for more people – then He will provide all that is needed through His people who are faithful to ensure the work can continue.
I often conclude my job is not to worry about how God will meet the need, but I must for sure be faithful to explain the facts, be a good steward of the resources given and ensure what God calls us to do, is done! Without doubt, or hesitation or any reduction in the standards He expects us to provide as we share His Love to many through a Gospel of Hope for everyone.
At the levels the Smiles Foundation has reached now, it means the challenge each month becomes more and more significant. All I can do is share that need and remind you each month that we need more active participants in the work. That could be by joining us here in Romania on an extended stay programme which I am thrilled people are doing in 2018. It could be by committing to a Mission Trip and supporting our projects by sharing in the work day by day with an intense Mission Trip focus.
It possibly means committing extra time to pray for the work and our needs.
To read all the monthly reports from the executive Romanian team (Maria, Georgi and Adi) and don’t forget to read the tremendous news from Barbara our Volunteer Coordinator.
Maria – Birthdays – … August is a special month.. but this month was different …
Georgi – Life.. – … my last report at Georgi Opreanu….
Adi – COPs – Part 2 … we only had winning teams..
Barbara – The harvest is plentiful …. Smiles cake….
I pray it will mean more people getting involved with Fund-raising events. Not just when preparing for a Mission Trip – but anytime, all the time, we need Fund-raising events going on across the full breadth of our supporters. I also pray that more people will commit to a monthly sponsorship commitment. An amount we can rely on, budget on, each and every month towards our mounting monthly overheads as we seek to serve more people against a backdrop of rising costs and devalued currencies.
Not to get too technical, but Sterling is 17% down this past year and the US$ down 10% in 2017 alone. This devaluation is a huge pressure for Smiles. We strive to cut our expenses to the bone. We work to increase our support income and yet we find ourselves up to £7,000 ($9,100) worse off in available cash at the bank – just because of devalued exchange rates. Another reason we need more people to get involved and share the load.
If you are doing all you can do, please work with us to get others involved. Family, friends, neighbours, your Church or Community group.
I truly pray we will all do our part in a concerted effort between now and the end of year to improve our financial position and be better prepared to face the challenges of 2018.
If you would still like to consider visiting us on a Mission Trip this year, we have limited vacancies in October but plenty of opportunity in December. Prior to Christmas is a wonderful time to be on Mission, so give some serious thought about joining us for a week or two between now and Christmas. Contact the office for more information or e-mail: firstname.lastname@example.org
We are also excited about plans in November for the Staff Team to be touring the United Kingdom, while I’m visiting many cities across America.
In the UK, make a note in your diary to be at one of the Presentations between November 10th when we start in Belfast and November 19th for the last night in Bishop’s Stortford. Plus many cities in between as the Staff Tour visits 10 cities in 10 days.
This will be a great tour of updates on all the projects and daily work in Romania. Don’t miss it! Thankful Hearts Tour Details
Time flies for sure as we enter the final third of 2017. It’s been a good year so far. Let’s all work together in these final few months to make it a great year for God’s Work through Smiles in Romania.
Keep in touch with us and we look forward to seeing you soon.
May God richly bless you.
Chief Executive to
The Smiles Foundation
p.s. don’t forget to read this month’s Thankful Heart and watch the video at the end