Christmas Greetings to all our friends and supporters as we reach this wonderfully important time of year, focusing on the birth of the Lord Jesus. As we prepare to pause from our busy lives and all the activities of Smiles, I want to say ‘thank-you’ for helping us to end 2019 with such a great blessing in creating so many Smiles for the beneficiaries within our projects.
It has truly been an amazing time making up Sacks of Smiles along with Gift Baskets of Love for hundreds of children and adults within our projects. We have been helped by visiting Mission Teams who worked very hard – morning, noon and night, preparing the gifts and delivering them day by day.
Gifts were delivered to our Families, Homeless and Communities within the Field Project. To our kids in School, Nursery and After-School programmes of Tileagd, Gepiu and Rapa. Our busy Residential Centres in Salonta, Oradea and Tileagd were filled with Smiles as specially prepared Gift baskets were given to every resident. We also enjoyed a day-out to Dezna Outreach Centre where we gave SOS to every child in the Dezna State School, located right opposite our Camp.
I was very thankful to so many who generously donated to our Christmas programme for SOS and Gift baskets. In faith, we moved forward as with every year, purchasing supplies for the sacks and baskets. Hundreds of gifts were made, and thousands of smiles created as parents, grand-parents, brothers and sisters enjoyed the gifts shared within their family. For many, the only gift anticipated this Christmas, and to those who made that possible – we offer a huge heartfelt thanks to one and all.
Whilst staff and mission guests worked so hard on shopping, preparing and delivering gifts, I found myself facing many issues in the office or on location that a large organisation always has to contend with. Staff issues, budget issues, logistical issues and numerous planning issues for the new year about to start. However, even amongst the stress and pressure of each day, I still rejoiced with many wonderful issues that were prioritised and secured during December.
I was thrilled with the new Boiler in Tileagd that proved its worth as winter approached. The boiler is superb and the staff and residents, children and teachers in the Tileagd Complex were all thankful to God for His provision and to you the sponsors who never cease to bless us with your generosity. We also had a warm church to worship in each Sunday and for sure the Pastor and entire congregation ‘gave thanks’ for warmth – not only through fellowship but also through the radiators!
Thank you again for your kindness in supporting the new Boiler. It seems I have just another £2,000 ($2,600) to complete all the associated costs of the Boiler, so if you can help with an ‘end of year’ gift, please designate to ‘Tileagd Boiler’ and accept our sincere thanks.
I was also very busy with interviews and final discussions with candidates for some important appointments. Once again, God blessed and provided us with amazing options and I am thrilled to have agreed three new strategic positions – all of whom will start their duties with Smiles, on Monday January 6th, 2020.
Firstly, the much anticipated, much prayed for person, to take the leadership role of the Field Project. A very demanding and challenging position which we knew required a very special, talented and experienced person to fulfil. If I’m really honest, I wasn’t convinced the person existed, but God taught me once again the need for patience and that everything is about ‘His Timing’ not ours!
I am delighted to announce that Daniel Bara has accepted the position and will start his work in earnest on January 6th. Dan is a mature, experienced and highly qualified man and I believe provides the strongest opportunity for the Field Project to develop through our Families, Homeless and Community projects. I have been waiting for this moment for many years and finally God has provided. Praise be to His Holy name!
Field project, ECO, JFL, TileagdWe also needed a very capable person to fill the shoes of Georgi in managing the ECO Residential Centre. Simona has been assisting this year while Georgi takes her 2-year maternity leave. But with overseeing JFL and maintaining the responsibilities of the Glasshouse, Simona needed to let go of something, and we decided ECO was the best option.
Finding the energy and experience needed for managing the facility with 46 residents and 24 staff in a non-stop facility, operating 24 hours a day, 7 days a week was not going to be easy. But again, God surprised me! A great selection of candidates actually made the decision all the more difficult – but through three in-depth interviews with each of the three short-listed candidates, led us to what we believe is the right decision. I am delighted to welcome Carmen Pop to the Smiles Team as ECO Manager from January 6th, 2020.
Finally, our third strategic appointment who will start work with Smiles on January 6th is a new doctor for JFL in Salonta. Dr Timothy Kurniawan accepted the role to assist Dr Diana who will now focus on ECO and TAL. Dr Timothy will deal exclusively with JFL, regularly attending the centre and liaising with our nurses as needed throughout the day. This is not only a great blessing for JFL to have their own doctor, but a great relief for Dr Diana who was feeling the pressure of servicing three facilities and getting drained as a result. Dr Timothy is a super doctor with a caring heart who desires to glorify his Lord through the professional care and treatment of his patients.
I will be giving more details in January of all these appointments, but meanwhile I ask you to Give Thanks to God for the opportunity we now have to see tremendous progress in three significant project areas through these new members of the Smiles Team. I also ask you to pray and consider the financial demands associated with the appointments. We have stepped out in faith once again, trusting God to provide through His people and His miraculous means month by month.
A year is a long time, but here in Romania and the work of Smiles, the year has flown by so very fast. Basically, so much happens all the time, the days just seem to disappear and so much more always needs doing tomorrow.
Well, on December 21st we have decided that what normally waits until tomorrow will now largely wait until January 6th. But during this extended break for many of us, let’s not forget those of the Smiles team working every day, even Christmas Day, New Years Day caring for those who trust us with their lives. I appreciate the staff who sacrifice time with their families on those special days to serve those in our care. Also, our security men, on several sites watching over the properties in Cihei, Oradea, Tileagd and Arpasel who will also be watering plants at the Glasshouse and preparing for deliveries between Christmas and the New Year.
The Smiles Foundation is certainly a Work of God that never sleeps. Every moment of every day, people are serving Smiles in one project or another. Thank you for supporting us throughout the year and especially at this time of Celebration.
As we all rejoice and celebrate the Birth of our Lord Jesus, may we all know a special touch of His Peace on our lives and upon our families at this wonderful Christmas time.
Sincere blessings to you all for Christmas and the New Year.