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Adi Matis – Smiles Romania Assistant Director
JUNE 2014


No, nothing to do with the movie, you might have seen, but this is about something else. It is about people and situations that may never be revealed. No one will ever know their name, only their actions and their efforts will be visible and the results of their commitment for a cause! And of course, seeing the changes in other’s lives may be the only reward they will ever get!

I was always very impressed (as everyone was at one point) with the TV stories about the atrocious conditions that abandoned disabled children were forced to live in during the communist times, in those ’death-camps’ that only served as a trash bin of humans! It was a horrible story about so many children being condemned, without any trace of hope, a place of no escape! Only very few, by truly miraculous chances, will be taken somewhere else or adopted by foreigners, and they are able now, after so many years, to tell their story and to testify about their early childhood experiences. In this material, one of these children was explaining about all the abuses he had to suffer until the day a family from Great Britain adopted him and so saved him from an inevitable end. That was what happened with some of them.

When telling his story, at one point he mentioned something like this:
"..there was a lady there, the only one, who would come to see us when no one could see her usually in the evening or night, and bring us water and a biscuit or two. We were suffering of thirst and hunger, and the food was so little... She would try to treat the open wounds we had and talked to us in a very kind way, almost like trying to compensate for the cold and detached attitude the other workers had toward us. I do not remember her name, I am not sure I ever knew it, sometimes I was convinced she was an angel. I don’t think she’s still alive, but I will be forever grateful to her for being my only hope and friend I had in there!"

Impressive, isn’t it? Now, what is really interesting is that even today, when the Romanian democracy has replaced the bad communism, there are still so many people, children and adults, who live in terrible conditions, they might not be the death-camps anymore, but surely they are not what EU standards expect or demand! When I watched this on television, I was thinking of something, it hit me hard, as often the pure truth does: for the people we visit together with you – those who come to a mission trip with Smiles, we might be their only friend, their only hope, their ’angel’! What about this thought? The children might not remember your name, nor even the adults, but the open heart you showed to them and the support for their food package or medical needs help them see you care about them!

The other day there was a very shocking report about the underground people from Bucharest, drug addicts, beggars, prostitutes. I think it had a big impact on the audience, many of those who watched it surely felt disappointed and discouraged that this is still the case in Romania after so many years of democracy and emphasis on human rights, and even after seven years of being part of the European Union. And of course, politicians, both from Romania and the UK tried to make their point about it, for their own purposes. But I believe what most of the people missed is a huge point: maybe those people never had an ’angel’ to help them, to tell them differently or to guide their steps towards a safer way to live and better life.

Truth is, there is no need to go down to Bucharest to explore the underground tunnels and ditches. The very people we see every day, week or month are in need of a friend – an ‘angel’!

The Smiles team is trying to make a difference, in most of the cases we succeed, in some not instantly obvious, but no doubt what we’re doing - counts. And when I say ‘we’ it really is we here and you there! Together – we can make the difference.

Your name might remain unknown to those you help and your reward quite often will only be the satisfaction to know you did something good. But actually this is truly the best reward! How will people know and act better, unless we guide them? How will they change their mind, if we don’t pray for them? How will they escape from condemnation, if we don’t break their chains?

These were just some thoughts... I hope they will help you see the matter just the same as I see it. As we see it here in Smiles. And of course, you’re very welcome to let me know what you think and feel about it.

Thank you for the messages you sent these past weeks, it is really a great privilege to have you alongside us in this wonderful adventure and ministry - of changing lives.

God bless you!


Assistant Director, Smiles Romania.

To e-mail Adi: adrian.matis@thesmilesfoundation.org

Previous reports from Adi:

May 2014 - Celebrate with us

April 2014 - Beliefs

March 2014 - From being taken care of to taking care...

February 2014 - My dream... to become a pig caretaker

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    Page last updated on 02/06/2014 11:05:20 AM
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