New beginnings, New challenges:
A new stage in Smiles development is now launched and it brings many updates with it. A major overhaul of the structure, and some very significant changes in how we will do things in the future. The new ideas and plans for taking forward the ministry of helping and supporting people in need, will push us all into a refreshed approach, which could be exactly what is needed for 2021!
Looking at the past 12 years since I joined the Smiles team, for me it was like a great adventure, having the chance to experiment several different areas of work within Smiles. This meant inevitably going up and sometimes down, extending and then coping with it, trying to help and to challenge our beneficiaries into making progress on their own, always adjusting to be able to serve best and be more efficient. Simply because here at Smiles, past and present teams, always felt we need to achieve the best, for the benefit of those who need help!
Along the years, this approach has enabled all the workers within Smiles’ projects to reach out and try their best to make a difference in people’s lives. We grew more and more and inevitably at one point we had to become more selective on who and how we should support, as we often went a little bit ahead of our means. Also, as we have seen, many beneficiaries had little interest in improving their own situation, sadly being quite happy to stay ‘assisted’, so we were led into thinking more and more about the fundamental question that all Christian social assistance workers face: How do we help these people to see God’s love in all the support they receive and how do we encourage them to develop a personal relationship with Him, by changing their priorities?
Ultimately, it’s about being good stewards. How and on what do we spend the resources God entrusts us with? Are we efficient? Are we pushing for the best results? What are those results that we are looking for? Is there something better we can try, for the best benefit of people?
These questions can be philosophical, but also very pragmatic. We need to look at the core of what Smiles is about and try to achieve that ultimate goal, which is presenting and representing God to the people. So, when the major review on Smiles projects started to take shape, the Outreach Pillar became an obvious choice for me, designed to put the emphasis on what our mission is, as Christians first and foremost, and then as people who want to do the work of helping others.
For me, like I said before, being involved with many areas of Smiles work, the new Outreach Pillar of the Smiles Foundation represents the perfect opportunity to do what we are called to do, to spread the Gospel in practical ways and to be God’s tool for enabling people to change their minds and their understanding of what life is about – which consequently would determine hopefully, a different approach when it comes about their day-to-day decisions.
There are many plans and many desires about what we will do under the Outreach Pillar! We will continue helping in practical ways, as we will always encourage a better, higher quality of life for the people around us. We will also explore new ways in which we can touch their hearts and we pray for guidance and energy, for good (read excellent) people to join our team in making all of this possible.
We also very much need your support and partnership! Whatever we would like to see happening for the Romanian people, we need the means to do it and I trust you’ll continue to be those praying hands, but equally the giving hands. We need financial support, as well as spiritual support. And I hope you’ll be happy to partner with us, as in the past, for making these new plans a reality.
Thank you for the support in all these past years! It was amazing to see what can be achieved when all the efforts go together towards a common goal and indeed some very special results have been achieved. Now, please continue to support and see what God will do next!
As the evolution of the new plans continue, we will keep you updated. We all believe that new opportunities will be open in 2021, once the pandemic will hopefully be history. We are looking forward to doing more COP’s in various places, to join kids and youth in Dezna, to talk with and encourage the elderly, and many more activities. Pray that what is in our hearts and minds might become possible rather sooner than later and stay close for more updates soon.
May God bless you richly and have a wonderful New Year 2021!
Smiles Outreach Director