From Maria's Desk

Leeds, England registered UK Charity No.1087961
Kingsport, USA charitable non-profit # 86-0957704
Oradea, Romania registered Charity No.14839712

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A Letter from Maria's Desk...    FEBRUARY 2014

Travelling Light part II

In my report from March 2013 I told you that this is
one of my favourite books! It is still my favourite!

I love the way that Max Lucado is describing the book! He starts saying: "I donít know how to travel light. But I need to learn. You canít enjoy a journey carrying so much stuffóso much luggage. Odds are, somewhere this morning between the first step on the floor and the last step out the door, you grabbed some luggage. Donít remember doing so? That is because you did it without thinking. Thatís because the bags we grab arenít made of leather, they are made of burdens. The suitcase of guilt. A duffel bag of weariness, a hanging bag of grief. A backpack of doubt, an overnight bag of fear. Lugging luggage is exhausting! God is saying, "Set that stuff down. Youíre carrying burdens you donít need to bear." Jesus says in Matthew 11:28, "Come to Me all of you who are weary and carry heavy burdens, and I will give you rest." I need to learn to travel light!"

Sometimes I find myself in the same situation. And it is hard! But I know my God is there to take my burdens and give me a light journey in life! And for that Iím thankful to Him everyday!

This past month I did lots of travel. Started 2014 on the road in England and ended up on 30th January in the same place, HQ in England, the Leeds office!!

But what I did in the middle?!?! And why I went back?? Let me tell you in details!!

At the beginning of the January I was in Engla
nd with Simona and Cornel, doing retail shopping for the Smiles Shops! I gave you the details in my last update, so will not repeat the details here.

When I came back, on 6th January, I started my regular work! All my colleagues came back from the Christmas/New Year holiday, with new force, new dreams, hopes and challenges for 2014.

So, again lots of meetings and discussions were on the agenda! But the main one, and the most important one, was the Smiles Annual Staff Conference where ALL the staff were present. It was very interesting for me to see so many of the "new colleagues" present there. We shared good news, but some sad news too! Realistically, life for us all is always a combination of both. We shared our hopes and dreams, challenges and prayed to God for blessings over the work we do, for the beneficiaries we work with, for the Smiles/Sminro workers and for ALL our sponsors, all over the World!!

For me this yearís meeting was a bit more special because I had to introduce two special people, close to me and my heart! This meeting was the first one for Cornel, my husband! It is great to have him close in the work I do and sharing the same passionÖ.even if at times working so close is not easy ! Iím thankful to God for Cornel and Iím happy that even if I had a major chan
ge in 2013 by getting married, my life in Smiles was not drastically changed and I still can do the things that I love doing. Cornel supports me in that and I really appreciate it and love him for it.

The second one is our newest Smiles employee - Emilia Pustan. Iíve known Emilia since 2000 when I started the University in Oradea. After we finished school, each of us went in a different direction. Emilia to Spain, to work in marketing promotion and me to Smiles!! But in all these years me and Georgi kept in touch with Emilia and would see her every time when she came back in Romania!

If Iím honest with you, my wish for Emilia to work with Smiles started 3 years ago, but I never had the opportunity to introduce her to Mr Hoy and never wanted to put pressure on her or Mr Hoy. This past year, in August 2013 Emilia came to Romania for a "break". Once I heard this, again my heart wanted to introduce her to Mr Hoy. But because we went to Africa, and then Mr Hoy to UK, again we did not find the right time!!

It took me nearly 4 months but finally, on December 17th we managed to arrange the meeting!!! After 4 hours of discussion and more e-mails and a few other meetings, Emilia accepted the position as Director for International Development in Smiles. Iím really happy to have her around and I pray to God for blessings over her new job and Smiles! Please do the same, and if you would like to say a nice welcome to her, send her an e -mail on !!!

Once she started at Smiles, for the next 2 weeks while Mr Hoy was in the country, each day we had a 2 hour meeting on promotion, marketing and development. On January 24st Emilia and I with Mr Hoy went to the UK for another set of meetings. In this way, Emilia met our colleagues from the UK offices Ė Dawn and Barbara!! We had a great time and I am looking forward to the future! For those of you that are in
the UK, Emilia and I will come to see you again in March, at the
Forums! Please make sure you will be there and bring another person with you!!!!

On January 31st we came back to Romania! Happy to see my husband but sad to hear some of the news that happened while I was away! Iím sure that for many of you it will be a "surprise", but for people in Smiles Romania, it was the same! Our colleague, Marius Pop, who has worked with us since 2004, decided to change his career and respond to a new calling that God placed for him and his family! So from February, Marius will move to Caminul Felix to be a family parent. Iím praying for Godís blessing for us and for Marius on this new journey and I thank Marius for everything that he did for the last 10 years with Smiles, for the families that he worked with, for the people that he got in touch with. Please pray as we begin the search for a new colleague in this important Smiles project.

So my dear friends, the journey through this life is not always easy! With ups and downs but for us that are Godís children, it is great to know that we have HIM next to us.
I do not know how much baggage you have to carry each day? But I hope that the heavy one you give it to HIM!

Thanks for everything you are doing for me, for Smiles and for Godís Kingdom in Romania!

Be blessed

Maria Hava ,
Director of Operations, Romania

Previous letters from Maria:

January 2014 - Happy New Year..


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