Continued Progress - wonderful perspective
Some months ago I was
writing about the wonderful testimony of faith that people of Rapa
gave by deciding to make a public commitment to become followers of
Christ. At that time, back in June, eleven were baptised of which 9
were from within our supported community. That was such a great
celebration for everybody. But it was only the first part of this
story, because there
much more happening since June 12th.
Although it is possible that you know already about the latest
progress in Rapa, it is worth mentioning once again, as it represents
a great continued progress in our mission of leading people to Christ.
Rapa is ‘one of a kind’ project in many
ways. Even though what
Smiles Foundation started and has now completed in this community is
not a mere single endeavour,
as from the beginning we felt something was different here. Noticeably,
people seemed to genuinely appreciate the support we were providing,
maybe more than any other community, which we did initially through
our regular Family Care project. Not to say there weren’t any problems
of course, but the families had a more positive approach and a willing
heart to do whatever they could in partnership with Smiles to improve
their own situation. This was apparent from the first visits there, as
we noticed the men’s commitment and efforts to provide for their
When the decision to
new houses for them in Rapa was taken, it was great news for all of
us, but of course for the community residents in particular. The
effort was to be significant and those involved closely with this
project could anticipate many headaches. And sure enough, as you will
have found out from our newsletters and articles, the whole process
was not easy. But we were blessed with wonderful support and work
continued to completion this month, which is such great achievement.
the June 12th baptisms, the idea of building a community
church was equally brave and exciting, more so when October was
announced as the opening date! The people in Rapa, both those baptised
already and the rest of the community, were encouraged to pray and to
participate whenever they had the chance to through the meetings that
Pastor Vasile held in the community.
And they did indeed! We were so happy and motivated to see their
enthusiasm when thinking they might have a church right there in the
heart of their community! As many times they were rejected by other
churches in the village, for being Gypsy and dirty, uneducated and
unfamiliar with customs, the Rapa community considered this to be an
amazing blessing and opportunity.
The church building was finalised and opened
on 9th October. Much to our delight, the deadline was
respected and the last finishes were done in time.
the building in itself has value only if there are people to be
joining together as a church. And the amazing thing is that more
candidates were baptised the same day! Five of them prepared in
advance, of which one was after having a very special experience
through a dream that convinced him not to wait anymore. But during the
baptismal service, at a last call, two more decided to testify their
hearts desire to follow Christ, much to the congregations surprise.
But sure enough, seven more people were joining the local community
church in Rapa!
This is all wonderful progress and amazingly
encouraging motivation. This little place of Rapa looks so different
now then a year or two ago. There is simply no comparison. It would
take a personal experience to really understand how much better
everything is now. A truly powerful transformation happening not only
outside, but inside too. People are changed and they want to continue
their progress. So far, what Smiles achieved in there is absolutely
remarkable, but the perspective is even more exciting! A whole new
understanding of God’s love, clearly visible
through facts and actions, which is exactly what people need to see
and to take forward to others, neighbours, family and friends and to
the uttermost edge of the world!
Thank you for supporting the Smiles
Foundation, for your prayers and financial contributions, as well as
for telling people about the work we are doing here in Romania.
May God bless you! Keep well!
Assistant Director of Smiles Foundation Romania