From Maria's Desk

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

...making smiles in Romania

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Wow- I can’t believe it is summer!!!
It’s May and the weather is AMAZING!!!
It was strange that from winter time in March when we had snow….by the end of April we’ve gone straight into summer time at 25C/80F.

Trees, grass, flowers, all of nature around us has “new clothes on”. I remember the verse from 2 Corinthians 5:17 that says……. “Therefore, if anyone is in Christ, he is a new creation; the old has gone, the new has come!”

But what about my desk? Is it new? Well, I did not change it or move it, but I always have new things to talk about!

April was a great month in the life of the Smiles Foundation! As I write the updates it feels that is was such a long month and I don’t know from where to start! So, let’s try from the “beginning”.

On April 1st, we had 20 students and 3 teachers from Pate’s Grammar School arriving in Romania for one week of
“life-changing education experience”….and it was not a joke:) … it was for real!

We had a great time with lots of fun….I remember one day that I took them to the Gypsy Village in Tileagd and I had a hard time to get them out of there ….After nearly 4 hours I managed, but only because we had to get back on time for dinner.

Also while they were here they helped us in other projects like Family visits, the Gepiu Project - where we redecorated the farm house to get ready for a “new beginning”; Construction, School, Nursery, Children Centre, Homeless and other projects that we are involved on a day to day basis!

I was pleased to see the attitude that these young people have and I was also shocked when I heard the amount of money that they had raised for our projects without even visiting Smiles before!

So guys, if you read this report WELL DONE and THANK YOU VERY VERY MUCH for everything and we wait to see you again in Romania! Thanks.

So, as soon as they left we had another mission trip started! And being a smaller team it was more like “a family type setting”. They did great too and I remember the day when I left them at the market place in Tileagd because they had to go there and “do business :)”…..Well the kids from our school made “Gypsy Easter Eggs” and they sold them in the market and made money for their school budget!!

It was great because they sold everything…….so THANK YOU LADIES for buying what was left from them and for making them sooooooo happy!! The kids really think that they are great business people and that with their skills they can make enough money for the school running cost but with only one condition …….for YOU to buy everything :).

For the Romanians, Easter was on April 19th, and because Mr Hoy and Dave Clark (our Constructor adviser and a trustee of the Smiles Foundation) were in the country we did “invite” them to our Church programme in Tileagd!
Easter Lunch
We had a fantastic time……After church, our fellowship continued over lunch where nearly 100 people were present! Meda and Geta did a great job cooking for so many people….

One thing that really touched me Maria & Ionaand left me without words was when our little girl Ioana (she is a part of the Children Centre in Cihei) came in the front and sing the song ALLELUIA! I remember all the emotion that I had while she sang…. my legs were shaking……my voice was trembling…..but the happiness that was in my heart did not have words to describe!! Since the day I asked her if she would like to sing in the church she did not stop practicing the songs everywhere she went ….Outside when she play…..when she walk on the street…..when she was in the Centre…..when she was in the bath……everywhere and to everyone!!

At the beginning was more like a “fun thing” but when she did it in the church in front of so many people she was like a little angel that sang when Jesus was born in Bethlehem! Please pray for her future and pray for us…for God to give us wisdom in everything that we are doing for this little kids…and not only!! Pray for the support that we need for this project and for all the projects that we have in Smiles.

Yes, I know, many are struggling because of the financial crisis, but don't forget what I shared last month  - NOW is the time to invest in God’s Kingdom……because that will NEVER collapse!!.
Thank you so much for your part in all Smiles is doing here in Romania!

I also managed to go for few days home to my village in Susca, to see my grandparents - all 4 of them are still alive and I thank God for that…..I don’t know for how long I have this blessing but I thank Him for making me a part of their lives…Also I visited my parents and my brother that lives at home and we had a great time together.

After the “short holiday” I had ….. also all my staff had holidays these few days around Easter time……I had to come back at my desk and see what’s the next step we have to do…..So, looking at the near future we realised we had a huge container coming to Smiles at the end of the month and we have to find a place where to store it……so, we did have to do the “spring clean” in the warehouse, and we had fun! Real fun.

Staff Warehouse PicnicI had all my Cihei Office staff (Marian and Dana, Angi, Marius, Adi, Georgi, Mioara, Claudia and myself Monday morning, dressed up ready for the “warehouse war”. Well, we say that we did good, but when lunch time came we had to take a break and being so dirty we had to find the best place where to eat (Dana did not allow us in to the office :) ) so we got two tables outside by the pool and we had lunch together. It was such a nice time, a time when we were all together but because of the busy schedule we all have, we rarely find times like this……but we had fun.

Was a great encouragement for me to look at my colleagues and be happy by having them around me! To know that I work with them and that together with God’s help, we make a difference in this world!

So… that the warehouse is ready we can’t wait to see all the goodies that come in the Container!!

My dear friends, God is great all the time, and God is a real God, a God that was/ is/ and will always be alive…We just have to come with our hearts to Him!! I don’t have all the time “perfect days”, but what I realized is that every day that I surrender to God, my day is perfect and under control, but when I decide to do it on my own I lose each time and I get disappointed!!

So, pray for me, and pray for God’s wisdom in my life on everything I do. Pray for my staff in Romania and for the people that we work with. These times are difficult ones – the financial crisis has hit Romania as well. One thing that shocked me in a discussion I had with people that are older than me and know and lived more during the communist period, was when they did made the comment: “ this financial pressure hurt us more than we did expect… You know, for us Romanians living in a crisis is a bit easier than for other people. During Ceausescu regime we knew that this is what we had and no more will ever come…..and we did accept the situation…..but to live now a double life “a crisis in a crisis” is harder than we did imagine. To live with less now takes a lot, but to live with nothing is a new lesson that we have to learn again!!”

I pray for His blessings on each of you.


Previous letters from Maria: April 2009



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