What do you do when you have things planned, they change and you have to start all over again?
To be honest with you, I get mad :). Especially when I’ve worked hard in the first place to get it done! But this past month, something put me ‘on hold’ and did not allow me to take the usual ‘fast decisions’.
Soon I realised that we often do the same with God. He gives us so many good things each and every day but as humans we tend not to appreciate it or even worse, return to where we were, with our ungrateful attitude!
October is traditionally a great month for me, especially since Stefan was born it’s even better! But what made me to ‘start all over again’ in September? Let me tell you a few things.
I started September with a holiday planned. After a busy summer it was great to have time away. Because we had to stay closer to home with Stefan who needed to have some injections, we decided to visit our beautiful country of Romania. And trust me, we have a very beautiful country.
We traveled north visiting the monasteries and a very nice area called Bucovina. After the visit, I decided that I would add a new job to my Smiles one already: a tour guide for the mission trip people that would like to see more of Romania after their Mission Trip! I told you before about it so it should not be a great surprise:) . In order to convince you of what there is to see, I’ve added a few pictures of my trip and wait for you to let me know when you book the trip:)!!
Soon it was time to come back as the new academic year was starting. As you may know, that brings a lot of challenges and a lot of work. I’m happy to tell you that this year we have registered in the nursery and school – 120 children from age 2½ to 16 years old. I was very surprised to have kids coming back to Tileagd from Ireland and the UK. Primarily because their parents realised that the ‘grass is not always greener the other side of the fence’ (or water)!
I’m very happy to have them back. I hope this time they will stay, as it is not helpful for the children to be going back and forth all the time. Please pray for the children and please pray that above everything we do for their education, they will come to know God as their Saviour. In a world like we have today, we all need that!
In my last report I told you a little bit about the new structure that we have in place at Tileagd for the school and nursery work. I’ve told you that the nursery was moving into the one building and from this year everything related to the nursery operation would be at the same location. And indeed, the things are much better and nicer. We love the fact that all the small kids are in one place and they feel more ‘at home’.
Due to the large number of kids that we have registered in the nursery we needed extra hands and we were over the moon when Mr Hoy approved on the budget another person to help us with that. We were even happier when that person came from our Gypsy community.
Because the smaller kids (2/3 years old) do not speak the Romanian language, it is a great help to have someone who can! So from September 11, Florica (S) Rostas is our key person and translator :). Of course Florica also speaks English so will be a great help when all our visitors are here asking questions.
It is great to now see Florica working. Smiles were very involved in her development and education and she is one of the few supported kids who graduated 12th Grade and now working a ‘proper job’.
With Cornel working with security and driving and Roxana at the Cihei Mission Centre, maybe all our effort with the Gypsy kids had some positive results. Sometimes it takes time to see it!
Some sad news is that on September 8th Simida, who was a teacher and director at the nursery decided to step down from the director responsibilities. It was bad timing for us, just before the new term was to start, but like many things in life when you plan one way and that doesn’t work, you have to start ‘all over again’.
So for the last weeks of September I had interviews, then lots of planning and thinking to do. At this moment I have somebody in mind that I believe is a God sent person for our Tileagd project, but I can’t tell you more at this stage because I meet again with her this coming week. I promise you in my next report, I will come with the full story which is a really ‘wow’ one!
So my dear friends, as you can see, our vision for Tileagd Education has not closed. We have lots going on. The addition of the new Assisted Living facility there is helping us on the operational budget side. We do not have the burden to carry alone all the costs of the big complex. And what thrills my heart is that every single room of the entire complex is FULL and IN USE!!!
I was joking that we need a bigger place as there are things that we now need to relocate/ reschedule due to tighter space. 🙂 But God knows best and when we started ‘all over again’ on this side – HE KNEW BETTER!
It is also good news that we started the after school programme in Rapa. This was something on our heart for a long time. We saw the need and now we start ‘all over again’ the introduction of an educational structure. I’m sure it will not be an easy job so I ask you to pray for it. For the people we are interviewing and the test period we will have to see how the work progresses. We also need support for the work and I’m delighted and thankful the ‘seed money’ for starting it comes from fund-raising efforts of Carol Woodward. She will need others to join the effort of raising enough support to see the programme develop and progress. If you are interested, please support: http://www.thesmilesfoundation.org/project/rapa-community/
At the beginning of September my colleagues Nelu and Raul were ‘Santa Claus’ for all the kids from our projects that started school. During this summer with the help of the mission trip people we did nearly 200 gift bags with school supplies. I’m sure at that time they were wondering ‘why we have to do it now?’ I’ve told them because we need help to sort it and put it all together and for that even Santa has helpers:). So THANK YOU ALL for helping us with this. It’s a great encouragement to hear that the families managed to save money because we helped them. They were able to put the money that they were to spend on the school supplies towards wood for the winter. And trust me, the prices for wood this year went crazy high!
As you can see all this month I had to do things ‘all over again’. BUT I like it. Even if at times it is hard. I like to know that we are part of the EDUCATION process for hundreds of kids from our projects!
Like my dear friend Stephen Woodward told me 14 years ago: “Maria, If your plan is for a year, plant rice. If your plan is for a decade, plant trees. If your plan is for a lifetime, educate your children.”
I’m happy I can be a part of this process! AND I’m even happier that I’m not alone!! I’m happy that I have friends all over the world who believe that education is important and they help us. PLEASE DO NOT GIVE UP. Yes, it is a lifetime process and sometimes we do not see the full results but I’m sure that somewhere, someday, somehow the results are coming!!
Please do not forget to pray for us! We need your prayers day by day!
And to help us financially…….. We can’t do it alone.
Please also spend time with us here in Romania…it is always encouraging to see you face to face!
Director of Operations Romania
PS: …..and one final word I would like to say, a huge THANK YOU to the people of Northern Ireland that sent us a truck full of goodies during September. It came RIGHT ON TIME! Lots of our projects have their budgets saved because of the goodies that were inside the container. My educational side for sure. Thank you to ALL the people that coordinate it, people that gather the goods and sort, people that donate and the people that drove it all the way to Romania! YOU ARE ALL A GREAT BLESSING!!!