This web-report is something of a special kind, as I do not get to write about touring through United Kingdom very often. But this year we were blessed with such an opportunity and here I am, sharing some thoughts about how things were. As always, there is a lot to write about and the limited space will require quite a good synopsis of all that happened so I hope I will not miss anything important. Even though, most likely I will. Here we go.
The first ‘first’ was that our CEO Kevin Hoy was not with us this time. So it was to be, that at the same time while we were in the UK, he had the commitments of sharing the story with our American friends, on a tour through the United States of America, about which you will most likely read in another report.
For us this was both a challenge and an opportunity to communicate across ourselves the vision, needs and hopes for the future. And to answer questions, to explain the plans, to encourage people into becoming supporters. With God’s help and through clear presentations we hope we achieved it.
A second ‘first’ was to have Dawn, our colleague from the Leeds office joining the tour. Primarily as the driver of the big bus, but more than that, as the person to make sure that all the ‘behind the scene’ work is done. And she did brilliantly.
And a third ‘first’ was that we had Stefan with us, Maria’s and Cornel’s little 1 year child, who was the most well-behaved member of the team through-out the whole tour! He must enjoy cartoons quite a lot!!
As we have on previous tours, we started in Northern Ireland, meeting with friends, long term supporters as well as new folk who were invited to come and hear about Smiles’ projects in Romania. After two presentations in Northern Ireland, we crossed the sea to Scotland, for the third one. And then, all the remaining seven presentations were done in England.
I will not say names here, as I really would not want to miss anyone, but it was fantastic to meet again with so many long-time friends of Smiles, who in the process became even personal friends to us, to share some worship together and then to be able to talk about our work in Romania! People in all the regions were so kind and generous, very encouraging and forever supportive, making us feel like we were stars or something… They took such good care of us that we are all on diet now! We had a great time together with old and new friends, giving and receiving hugs, praying together and thanking God for all the blessings – we really had great fellowship in every place we visited.
I am particularly excited about the enthusiasm I’ve seen among those attending our presentations. On several occasions I was asked about details of how they can come to Romania for a Mission Trip experience. I hope this interest will motivate people to come and see with their own eyes what is happening here. There is a lot to be seen, a lot going on. Both older and newer projects are worth visiting, supporting and all those who would like to do something in this direction will no doubt find reasons to take action.
We were also blessed with several opportunities to visit some of the nice tourist places in England particularly. On the last day of our UK stay, we spent a lot of time walking the little streets of Cambridge. The little town with so many colleges was beautiful, a relaxing conclusion of our tour, giving us the chance to recover after long hours of driving, hotel exchanges, presentations and also helped us to use up some of the extra calories we had added during the tour!
The UK Tour was once again, a wonderful experience in 2017. We came back encouraged to continue doing our work and even achieving more, being even more committed. We realised again how many people out there are very supportive to us and this can only be a great encouragement. And this makes us also responsible to do more, when and where possible. Because there are people who believe in what we are doing!
I’d also like to take the opportunity to bring best wishes to you all, for this special month of December when we’ll celebrate the Birth of Christ. This season is about Him. Along with many other presents we’ll give or receive, let’s all not forget He is our greatest gift. We can receive Him, we can share Him. And all we do should always be done for His glory! Many blessings and a wonderful season together with your loved ones!
Assistant Director of Smiles Foundation Romania