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 2015

... MY GRACE is enough for YOU!

There is a saying in Romania that says: "when people close the door on you, God is opening the window"

I do not know how much of this is absolutely true, but at times I experience it in my own life. Often people let us down, or we let people down…..and we are wondering if there is another way of reconciliation, or even going back to before the problem started to happen!

And I think there is a way!!! God’s GRACE, the gift that none of us deserve is there for us, gives us the possibility to start again. I love the song from Don Moen that says "God will make a way where there seems to be no way!" …..and is sooo true! With His help, His grace, we can start each day as a new day! Each week, month, year as a new beginning!

What a great encouragement He is giving us in 2 Corinthians 12:9 "My grace is sufficient for you, for my power is made perfect in weakness." He did not say "when everything is perfect my grace is there for you", even if it is! He says "in weakness my power is made perfect for you". What an encouragement!

I can’t believe January 2015 has already gone!  The New Year started in full swing.

It has become a "tradition" for me and Simona, my Sminro colleague to be in the United Kingdom at the beginning of the year to do the shopping for Sminro retail side. The UK has great Sales then! This year we’ve managed to get Georgi with us and of course Cornel. We had a great time and lots of things bought!

Even so, I do want to encourage you all, to DONATE NEW / SECOND HAND clothes to our shops. It might not feel important, but for us this is another way of "fundraising". Through our shops we manage to raise awareness and at the same time earn money for the projects! This was the aim when we thought of the idea with the shops, and I’m really happy that ‘slowly but surely’ the Romanian people understand that and it is working.

Once back from the UK, we were in the office on January 5th and the real work started!

Winter time in Romania is not such a nice season for a lot of people that are homeless or live in poor conditions. I’m glad that God gives us the opportunity to be near to them. At times it is hard but nothing in this life of value, is coming easily! If you want to support us with wood, or extra support for electricity, or fuel and anything that is needed for the families or homeless people, please do so!

I know many of you have heard that we are preparing for a Tour with the Smiles staff in UK during February/ March! Well, we work a lot on this. All our focus is on this and we try to get to you with lots of surprises! Well…….I wish I could tell you a few of them but if I do, there will not be any more a surprise. SO I’m waiting for you to come and see us for REAL in the presentations we have! The itinerary for the events is here, make sure you ‘book it in your diary’ and spend the time with us.

If you do not want to see me or Mr Hoy, I understand :) …. but I’m sure you will not want to miss Adi, Emilia, Ioana, Nelu, Raul, Rebeca and Ritza.

On January 15th we had a special lunch in the Tileagd Gypsy Community. Why? Margaret Biddulph, our UK missionary left to go back home in England after serving the people of my country for 10 years! I will never forget the day when she first came to Romania. She knew few words in Romany (Gypsy) language and had a lot of passion to help the ladies to read and write. Soon that transformed into teaching the ladies to earn some money for themselves and the family. When we asked the ladies if they know to do something their answer was NO!!! In these 10 years, they’ve learned a lot! Margaret helped them a lot! Margaret taught them what unconditional love means. What it means to serve each other. Margaret was their mentor, their teacher, their sister, their best friend!!!

During the lunch the ladies all shared a few words of what Margaret meant to them and what they had learnt from her. I was overwhelmed to see the progress they have made. I will never have enough words to say THANK YOU to Margaret for what she has done. But I can pray and I can work in continuing the things that she started with the ladies in the village!

So once Margaret left we were wondering ‘What Now?’ Well, we already had two meetings in January and managed to do some really, really nice things. Some of the ‘new venture’ you will be able to buy if you are coming to see us on the Tour! Also, some of the things that Margaret did with the ladies will be for sale too. Even if she has moved on, I still keep in touch with her and have the ‘lessons’ from her………So this past week I’ve just managed to finish reading the long e-mails with the specific things and suggestions that Margaret send me!! Thank God for technology and that we can still be in touch. Margaret promised us she will be back, to visit us and to see the results. I’m glad to hear that and can’t wait to show her the new crafts the ladies have done ….with her help!

Thank you Margaret!!!

On January 19th we had our annual Staff Conference in Romania. It was a great time with Smiles and Sminro staff that now total 90!

I will never forget the day, in January 2003 when I came for the interview and Mr Hoy said "Smiles is a small organization. You will be the 5th person employed in it"……I was thinking at that time "well for a small organization I can work, but for a big one I do not think I will ever be able to do it!". Today Smiles/ Sminro have 90 employees and I’m still here!!! How? Remember what I’ve told you about God’s GRACE! Only through that I can do all that is needed each day and one day at a time!!

It’s not easy. There are times when I feel that it is all ‘too much’. There are times when I’m on the top of the mountains but also there are times when I’m down in the valley! There are times when I’m let down by people no matter if they are my staff, or a beneficiary or even people that support us as donors! But through God’s Grace I get over all things. While God is telling me to ‘stay still and do the job He called me to’ nothing can scare me! I pray I can do this, because HE told me that ‘I can do all things through God that strengthens me.’

Back to work now, because until we come to UK, we have to do a lot of the work here, in Romania!

So please pray for us. Pray for the projects that we work on day to day. Pray for all our beneficiaries! Pray for more support so we can do a better job now and for more people in the future.

Please pray for 2015 to be a blessed year!! everything we do and pray for us to continue to be a blessing to others!



Maria Hava ,
Director of Operations, Romania

Previous letters from Maria:
January 2015 - From the Management Team


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