prayer and praise
...... Something to share.
I was in a Primary School this week where I
heard the phrase; "if you have something spare, you have
something to share." It really made me think about sharing
.... sharing in so many different ways.
As we think about Christmas, it is often
said that Christmas is about ‘sharing’. Well I suppose it is, yet as I
reflect on our work with Smiles, we rely on people to ‘share’ all the
time and not just focus on it around Christmas time. Many do share
every month and we are very, very grateful.
I want to encourage you as Volunteers within
Smiles, thank you and acknowledge how you may have ‘shared’ with us
this year. You may have shared your time to help at a
Smiles Fundraiser, maybe you organised one or maybe you spent hours
sorting clothes and packing boxes for a Container. You may have
shared your love on a Mission Trip and therefore you
shared your money with Mission. Maybe you shared
your resources in giving to the work as a friend or family member
went on Mission with Smiles. Maybe you shared your thoughts
in praying for the work we do, the staff, the beneficiaries and all
the projects. Maybe you have cleared out your wardrobe and
shared some of those clothes that no longer fit or you’re just
never going to wear again, or bought extra and shared some
toiletries, stationery or toys for the children in Romania.
Whatever you have shared with
Smiles, I want to say thank you, and say that all of this is very
important in making God’s work happen in Romania. We go to Romania
to ‘share’ God’s love, not by standing on a soap box and shouting, but
by following in the footsteps of Jesus Christ leading to lonely,
hurting, lost and forgotten people whom He loves, and commands us to
Have you been to Romania yet with Smiles on
a Mission trip? If not, 2016 could be the year for you; there are
plenty of opportunities available. Please check the
website for dates. I encourage
everyone to go and share something of you with someone else.
God will bless YOU, as well as those you meet. Does a Smiles Mission
Trip really change your life?
Read what Charlotte Sadler has to say
about sharing in Mission and how it changed her life:
Prior to my extended stay with Smiles
Foundation as a part of my gap year I had had very little
Christian contact – in fact I understood very little of what the
gospel was and certainly didn’t understand the point of Jesus. I
had attended a church for a while with my family whilst younger
but the teaching was aimed at far too complex a level for me at
that age. There was no children’s work and as a result I soon
stopped going preferring other things instead. On arriving in
Romania I was extremely emotional and felt rather lost – I had
left everything I knew behind me. I was asked if I wanted to
attend church in the morning and agreed feeling I may be offending
people if I refused as I knew it was a Christian Foundation but to
me this just meant a nice person doing something good for others.
On arriving at the church people were smiling, children were
playing, it wasn’t freezing and they were extremely welcoming!
the coming weeks I saw many hopeless situations which really
showed me the fragility of life, one which really stands out. Once
a week I looked after an eighteen year old (the same age as me)
two year old child, Chubby whilst the mother, Eva attended
‘catch-up’ school. Eva had been born on the streets, never been to
school and couldn’t even write a single letter when I arrived.
Eva’s story upset me and I just couldn’t understand how people
could get into such a desperate situation if there was an all
loving God. During a youth meeting at Gepiu there was a talk or
discussion about suffering which answered so many of my questions,
without me even asking. Over the coming weeks in Romania, more and
more of my questions were answered in devotions, talks and
conversations with mission trippers.
I decided about one month into my stay
that I needed Jesus. I began reading the gospels and slowly my
faith grew and grew. I have returned to Smiles twice since, the
most recent time being after a very challenging time for me and my
faith. Seeing the staff and their love for Jesus really sparked
something in me again teaching me that God has control over every
situation and always knows what we need most, even when it isn’t
what we think. Each time I go to Smiles I really feel God is
teaching me something in my life and I cannot be more thankful.
The Smiles staff have really taught me a lot about staying
close to Jesus particularly when it is hard to do just that. If
you haven’t been, I can only encourage you to go and see for
yourself – it won’t just change someone’s life but it will also
blow you out of the water and make you reassess your own life.
Just a few short weeks ago I was baptised to publicly show my love
and dependence on Jesus, the amazing Smiles team played a big part
in my journey and I can only praise and thank God for them all.
Thanks also to Pat and Georgia who have
shared their Mission Trip experience this year and their fundraising
all had a brilliant time this year on our trip and got to visit
Catalin and his family again.
In October 2013 my grandaughter and I
went on a Mission Trip to Romania as part of a larger group from
Chesterfield. I hadn’t heard of Smiles until Georgia had been
invited to accompany her friend Emily who had been on a previous
trip. We had a wonderful experience and met some lovely friends. I
was so impressed with the work being done to help the people in
On our return I made a diary of our time there with lots of
pictures as it is difficult sometimes to explain to relatives and
friends what the trip meant.Georgia, Emily and myself decided to
return on a Mission Trip in October 2015. We decided to do a
coffee morning on Saturday 3rd October, just 3 weeks
before going back to Romania. Georgia donated lots of Build a Bear
and Littlest Pets, and this stall was very popular with the
I did a raffle and while selling
tickets, it was lovely to find so many people who were interested
in Smiles. I was able to pass on information leaflets kindly sent
from Leeds. It was a lovely morning with lots of lovely cakes and
My diary of the trip in 2013 was really
helpful as Georgia and I were able to talk about our trip then.
When we visited in 2013, we met a lovley young man called Catalin,
who sadly has Cerebral Palsy. We have been following the progress
of JFL2 closely and decided to donate the £180 raised to assist
with this wonderful facility.
It was especially exciting to meet up
with friends we had made on our 2013 trip. Marion and Mary are
truly inspirational and lots os FUN!
I feel that Smiles and the wonderful people we have met and worked
with have enriched our lives.
I find these stories encouraging and
inspiring. For me they demonstrate the importance of ‘sharing’. If we
experience something that means so much to us, we want to tell other
people and this is exactly what we can do for Smiles.
I love to read the short updates from
Romania that come through on Facebook from the Smiles staff, seeing
some photographs of our friends and how they are getting on. These
updates highlight the great need to continue supporting, praying and
supplying everything we can, to enable the work to continue.
We all have something to share, ‘how
will they know if we do not tell’, comes to mind. The good news of
Jesus’ birth is shared at Christmas time as Carols are sang out and
nativity plays shared in schools, churches and nursery schools. This
is how the good news is shared, by people telling a story of something
they believe in themselves.
We can do that for Smiles. Those of us who
have been on Mission have a great and personal story to tell! We need
the word spread, the information shared and the support base
strengthened! Will you think about doing this in 2016? You
might think I’m crazy as its only early December, but Smiles NEEDS YOU
to SHARE your passion, stories and experiences and in that way we are
sharing the good news of what God is doing through us in Romania.
Where can you go to tell your story ...
church, a school or nursery, a womans group, a mens group, a business,
a club; anywhere really to spread the good news. Pat kept a diary of
her trip, if you did that you will find all your thoughts and
information in your diary, Charlotte was clearly challenged and
changed by her trip, praise God! We all take photographs so get a few
printed off and make up an album of your favourites. This is a great
thing to pull out of your bag anytime, and ‘share’ some stories. We
don’t have to be in a pulpit to share!
At the Volunteer Days in Leeds and Belfast
we discussed trying to do something together on the same day in
2016, as a merry band of Volunteers. January and February are
quieter months for fundraising and income, so what about Saturday
6th February 2016, when you can be a part of a
‘Sharing Smiles Day’.
can we do? I want to hear your ideas, it can be a big day for
you or a quieter one, but the aim is to ‘share smiles’ at
your function as part of a UK Fundraising Day when we can encourage
each other by knowing we are all doing something, by texting and
posting during the day, cheering each other on, having a real fun
day raising awareness, raising money and making smiles in Romania!
What can we do together? Well, you can open
your home for a coffee day, your church hall, your friends house, you
can do a soup lunch, have a film afternoon with the fire lit, set up a
stand in the local shopping centre, have a sponsored cycle or walk.
The idea is to ‘share smiles’ during your day whether that is
as a presentation, with a Smiles DVD or just talking to your guests.
But ‘sharing’ is the key factor and encouarging donations towards the
Christmas is a time to plan the new year,
the trips away, the challenges and resolutions. Over Christmas this
year, remember those on Mission with Smiles from 23rd –
30th December. There will be 16 of us with Kevin and the
Romanian staff. As we read Kevin, Adi, Maria, Emilia and Georgi’s
reports each month, they challenge us to help and always thank us
for all we do. On behalf of all Volunteers I want to thank them,
Dawn and all the Smiles Staff for the work they do in love,
service and commitmnet to God for the people in Bihor. Each one is
an inspiration, so we say ‘thank you and send blessings this
Rebecca, one of our young Mission
Trippers (13 years old) from Worthing has had major back surgery, so
we send greetings and best wishes. I hear you are doing really well
Bex, I want to say hello from us all, and look forward to seeing you
back in Romania very soon. x
‘If you have something spare, you have
something to share’ .... remember these lovely faces, continue to
pray, and please include Smiles in your plans for 2016. I am looking
forward to hearing from you.
May you have a Christ filled Christmas with
those you love.
Thank you for all you do for Smiles.
John 16:33 "I have told you these
things, so that in me you may have peace. In this world you will have
trouble. But take heart! I have overcome the world."
Development Ambassador &
The Smiles Foundation
Telephone: 0788 087 5845
November 2015 - Many hands and faithful hearts
October 2015 - With God all things are possible!
September 2015 - Real people make a Real
2015 - GO andGrow!
July 2015 - Being prayerful
June 2015 - Be glad you are not a cow!
2015 - Sharing Something Special
- Welcome backrch
2015 - Welcome back
February 2015 - Introduction
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