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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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September 2015

'Real People making a Real Difference'

It seems like no time since I wrote about the Mission Trip season being upon us and now I canít quite believe it is the end of August and the Summer Season has drawn to a close. I am home 3 weeks now. It often takes me this time to reflect, digest and to get my head around a few things.

July in Cihei was very busy, very productive and a real blessing for me. I simply pray that we have reached a few more people with hope and shared Godís love in a real, tangible way that can change lives for eternity. After all, that is why we GO; to serve Him and to share His Love.

I want to thank you for responding to my Update/Prayer Letter during July, it is very encouraging and essential that we join together in prayer, because without it nothing will be achieved!

John and Joan Mayo have been faithful Volunteerís for many years now. I have learned much from their commitment and experience with Smiles. I would like to share some of their words;

"Thank you for your Prayer Letter, it was encouraging to hear your experiences during this Mission Trip and to be able to pray into the situations you shared. In fact it was inspirational! 

Reading your email I was there in Romania sharing your experiences and also re-living many of my own. Our first experience of the need in Rapa in 2013, the plight of the Homeless on a hot day, the joy of the Elderly Lunch at Gepiu when the singing and prayers of these precious elderly folk lifted you to a new height in worship, the enjoyment of the 'simple pleasures' of the Tileagd children at summer school and the eager participation of the children attending Holiday Bible Club!  

The challenge of Family Visits on a hot day when the lack of sanitation, heat from the stoves and various odours take your breath away. The joy of time spent with our friends Felicia, Mia and all the residents at Salonta and Oradea Elderly Centres. The progress on the Disability Centre from the day when we first viewed the Salonta site & the incredulous look on our grandson Thomas's face as he asked Kevin "how long will it take"? All these things that make a Mission Trip with Smiles such a challenge but also a joy! Our first Mission Trip with Smiles in 2005 when we met some amazing fellow mission trippers, including Rob & Margaret and Stephen & Carol and were so aware that God had His hand on Smiles in an amazing way and was calling us to be involved. Thank you for the memories your email has rekindled!"

Thank you Volunteers who travelled to Romania so far this year. It was great to have been with so many of you this summer. Jo Reading from Worthing was on her second Mission Trip and wrote some thoughts;
 

'Why am I here?' I thought to myself as I stood there witnessing poverty which would shock you to your core (2 hours flight from home, Europe 2015!) 'What good can I possibly be doing, standing here feeling compassion for their situation and guilt for all I have at home - comfort, love, security, purpose?' Then this evening Kevin said, 'You can't change the world but you can try to change the world for one person.' Little steps. Today a smile, a sweet and a toy made the difference in the day of the life of a small child. Today that will have to be enough. But watch out! If you're already fed up with me talking about the huge difference 'Smiles' is making to lives of desperate people, I intend to be SHOUTING about it on my return for which I will make no apologies!!

"So. Packing up and traveling home day. What an incredible week it's been. When I get back please don't ask me, 'How was Romania?' To get an answer to that you need to come here for yourself (ask me about that) for no answer could possibly describe it. Instead, ask me about Violeta (expect tears). Ask me to tell you the story of Johnny and Maria living homelessly. Ask me about George and Lady Maria and how Smiles are helping them at the JFL centre. Ask me to tell you Florentinaís story and how she ended up at the Container Village. Or ask me about the ladies of Tileagd making crafts so that they are able to feed their children. If you have a while to listen to my answer, ask me about the people who work for Smiles; Kevin, Raul, Nelu, Adi, Dan, Ioana, Emilia, Georgi, Maria, to name but a few. Because you see.....my experience this week hasnít been about a place, itís been about people. Real people struggling and people struggling to make a real difference."

Violet and Rosemary Hunter were on their first trip from Northern Ireland and wrote this article for their local Newspaper;

"The Smiles Foundation was set up to work with the homeless, elderly, disabled and disadvantaged children and families in Romania. We, along with 12 others from Route Presbytery, signed up for a week working alongside the staff to see first -hand the amazing work they do by participating in a Hands On Mission Experience (H.O.M.E).

The week involved family care visits, delivering food to the homeless, Holiday Bible Club, elderly lunch and practical days cleaning houses or working in the Glasshouse. One of the main projects was laying paving and preparing a garden in a new centre for the disabled. It was great to see and work on this project as the team raised over £17,500 ($35,000) towards the Capital Costs of JFL Phase 2.

Back home, it makes you appreciate all that we have Ė when giving a child in Romania a balloon and a packet of sweets their wee faces light up as if you have given them the world. We have so much to be thankful for living in Northern Ireland. If you ever get the urge to do something different we would definitely recommend a week with the Smiles Team in Romania."

Joanne Morrow and Catherine Montgomery led a team from NI; Joanne wrote;

"This year I was given the opportunity to lead a Mission Trip for Smiles to Romania. The team was made up of 29 people of all ages and skills from Northern Ireland. The team was called 'Carland and Friends' and we set out at the beginning of July for a week of Missionary work including house visits and practical work. I had been to Romania on a Mission Trip with Smiles two years ago. I really felt God had placed it on my heart to go back again and allow others to experience what I had. Prior to the trip, the team met every few months for prayer and team building. The team bonded very quickly and we could really see the benefits of our meetings while we were on Mission in Romania. We cried together and laughed together. It was clear God was answering prayer! We could really see God in the centre of everything we did. Our morning devotions before breakfast were a real blessing to all of us each day. As a team we were able to fund the building of a house for a family in the Rapa Village, contribute to the new JFL2 building and help towards a new home for the Varga family in Cuiesd. As a team we felt very privileged to work on various Smiles projects and also with the staff in Romania. The following verse really spoke to me as I prepared for my time in Romania and sums up my whole experience with Smiles. It shows the reason why we share God's love - "Truly I tell you, whatever you did for one of the least of these brothers and sisters of mine, you did for me." Matthew 25:40."

And Catherine wrote;

"Two are better than one Ecclesiastes 4: 9-12 is normally associated with marriage, but it's very relevant for leading a Mission Trip to Romania as my co leader Joanne is the super organised one, which was just amazing because she had all the paperwork, fundraising totals and money allocations under control at all times. I am perhaps the encourager! Joanne has already explained a lot of what we did in her report, so I will focus on the team. It was just fabulous to watch eighteen months of praying and planning all come together and to see all the fears that our team felt being crushed by the power of prayer, to watch the plans God had for us unfold on a daily basis. We were truly blessed with the team ranging from 16 - 77 yrs old, no two of us the same. But we daily committed our time and talents to God and not only did he use them, but he blessed us in the process. Can you really afford not to go???? it will change your life!"

So there you are; real words from real people making a real difference.

I want to close this month by reminding you of our Volunteer Days coming up in Leeds on 5th and Belfast 6th September. I look forward to seeing you there, days when we will have progress updates and plans for the next months and year ahead. They will be great days of discussion; an important opportunity to share and air. You will enjoy it; we will be very encouraged to see you there.

As we partner with Smiles, it is very important for us to be together to encourage each other, pray together and equip ourselves to serve God in this very special work in Romania. Please reply soon to let us know you can come, if you have not already done so.

The words of Galatians 6:9 have been with me all Summer and still are very much on my mind;

"Let us not become weary in doing good, for at the proper time we will reap a harvest if we do not give up."

Thank you for being a part of Smiles and God Bless.

Barbara

Barbara Morrison

Development Ambassador &
Volunteer Coordinator
The Smiles Foundation

E-mail: barbaramorrison@thesmilesfoundation.org
Telephone: 0788 087 5845


Previous Reports

August 2015 - GO andGrow!
July 2015 - Being prayerful

June 2015 - Be glad you are not a cow!
May 2015 - Sharing Something Special
March 2015 - Welcome back
rch 2015 - Welcome back
February 2015 - Introduction
 

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