I sometimes wonder, just how many emotions can we cope with at any given moment? For sure, it feels overwhelming at times, when life is so busy anyway, the schedule is full and deadlines are getting closer. You try to organise everything to fit in the limited time frame – then you realise … we don’t control very much at all … everything is in the Hands of God.
Apostle Paul reminds us in Romans 13 v1:
“Let everyone be subject to the governing authorities, for there is no authority except that which God has established. The authorities that exist have been established by God.”
I believe God wants us to plan and anticipate – but never forgetting our prayer and desire must always be: “Yet not as I will, but as you will.” But when so many pressures and troubles come from all sides, it is hard to remember this crucial rule in our service to God.
This past month has been a roller-coaster of emotions, but we know this world has turned from God, so what else should we expect but sadness, confusion and fear. We all need to double our efforts in getting the great truth of the Gospel shared and setting the example of joy, clarity and assurance found in the Lord Jesus, as Lord and Saviour.
Whilst there is much to be thankful for from positive events in Smiles this month, I can’t move on until acknowledging our profound condolences to Corina Nemtut, our Financial Accountant for Smiles Romania these past 16 years, who sadly lost her husband Daniel, to Covid complications, and died April 25th. It has been a terrible shock and distressing time, but we pray the strength of God will be known to Corina and the three children – Andre, Cristi and Andreea.
The next day, I received news I was to be getting another grandson later in the year. That will be six grandsons and one grand-daughter in England plus the two I’ve ‘adopted’ here in Romania. Such joy to be had from the thought of new life and another child to see raised in the ways of the Lord.
Then I was told that Liza from Tileagd who we had been praying for following diagnosis of a brain tumour had been taken into ICU and was on life-support. A young girl in her 20’s with two young boys under 12 of her own!
And so the roller-coaster of emotions continued, with news Ruben (Maria’s brother-in-law) had successful surgery for cancer in Florida, but Dr Claudia (former Smiles’ Doctor for families) was suffering terrible pain in her fight with cancer in Romania.
In all these situations, I need to remember 2 Corinthians 1 v 3 & 4:
“3 Praise be to the God and Father of our Lord Jesus Christ, the Father of compassion and the God of all comfort, 4 who comforts us in all our troubles, so that we can comfort those in any trouble with the comfort we ourselves receive from God.”
To contrast these sad announcements, we celebrated in Smiles this past month the wedding of Dani Faur and his ‘now wife’ Iza. I was invited to a lovely gathering of Dani’s Sminro colleagues at the Arpasel Glasshouse where ‘master-chef’ Victor boiled up a super ‘Bograci’ (like a thick Goulash) but very nice for sure, and a great time was had with Dani and Iza before their big day.
I had stopped at Arpasel on the way back from Dezna that day, where work has continued on improving the grounds, since the decision not to build a Residential Centre but rather extend the Activity Area for Camps. We can’t undertake that this year, but maybe next, if fund-raising opportunities get the green light soon – so meanwhile, a new fence was needed to prevent many unwelcome dogs on our grounds, that left their mess behind! That’s also now taken care of.
Which is great news, as on May 14th, we have a team of young people from Tileagd going to Camp in Dezna so the grounds being clean is important. We are excited to have a Tileagd group making their first trip to Dezna and pray the Lord will speak to them during their time away from home and family. The kids are certainly excited to be going! Our costs for the trip will be about £580 / $750 and if you can help support the trip, call the office or go on-line to make a donation:
The Smiles Foundation » Outreach through Dezna
It was a beautiful day in Dezna when I visited. Incredible to still have snow on the mountain tops, but warm sunshine in Dezna grounds. By May 14th, the snow will be gone, and the summer sunshine will be feeling very warm. We pray for a wonderful, safe time away with the kids.
I have also been thrilled the past couple of months to restart the JFL Disability Club following the long break caused by Covid. Understandably, some hesitation existed when we first announced a re-opening, but we were pleased to have 3 with us in March from the Downs Syndrome group.
Last week, we had 13 with us which included 8 from the special needs school in Salonta. The teachers who came with the students, all of whom suffer learning difficulties, were amazed and overwhelmed by the facilities we have at JFL. They loved the two hours spent with us where Andrea did a fantastic job of hosting the Club – so the teachers asked if we could formalise the relationship and have students coming every week to be part of the Activities organised and use the Sensory room and Hydrotherapy Pool which several of their students would benefit from immensely. The teachers said they had never seen such facilities in a Romanian facility and were hoping they would be back again soon!
I also want to share the joy I felt a Sunday or two back when for the first time, Victor Rostas shared testimony in church about the need, and his desire, to be a Good Neighbour, as Jesus taught us to be.
April ‘21 was the 20th anniversary of my meeting Victor as a begging boy in Oradea and if I’m honest, I had hoped to see a decision from him over the many years we have shared God’s Love and Message of Salvation. Another lesson in patience! And a reminder, not in our time, but His time which is always perfect. After sharing his thoughts, Victor sang a song with his two daughters – it was absolutely wonderful, and a great 20th Anniversary Celebration.
Another wonderful experience I am thankful for in April, was the Virtual Mission trip. We had 18 people sign-up and once again I’ve received some lovely heartfelt responses to the experience: –
Liz & Andrew (Scotland) “We both want to thank you & all the Smiles team for the virtual mission trip. It was great and so well done, we enjoyed it very much.”
Pete (England) “A big thank you to everyone involved in the virtual mission trip. It was a brilliant time.”
Julia (England) “With many thanks to you and your team for an inspiring weekend. The videos gave a clear picture of the continuing work of Smiles.”
Margaret (Northern Ireland) “A big thank-you to you and all of your staff at Smiles for the production of all the videos etc. The trip was brilliant, I just felt I was there in real time standing beside the camera person. It was lovely to see all that is happening out there and to see and hear from the new staff.”
We all enjoyed the time with presenting the work and in fellowship with visitors. Our final scheduled Virtual Mission Trip is May 24th – 28th and I suggest if you want to be a part of the team, sign up now by e-mailing me or calling the Smiles office.
Full details are on the website: The Smiles Foundation » New for 2021 – Virtual Mission Trips
And of course, last but not least, I am delighted to announce that on Sunday, May 2nd – we will celebrate the Smiles Prayer Day with another Virtual Worship Service that I don’t think you’ll want to miss!
Another packed production with contributions from so many involved with the Smiles Ministry from Romania, America and the United Kingdom – the theme is ‘Giving Thanks’ and I am blessed to have seen it so I’m looking forward to it being available from the Smiles Website on Sunday May 2nd for you to enjoy, worshiping (virtually) with so many of the Smiles Family. Enjoy!
I trust you will have recently received our Spring/Summer Newsletter. A new-look publication that is full of great news from the various Smiles Projects. If you didn’t get your copy through the mail or want additional copies to share with family and friends, church members and such like – call the Smiles office and Dawn will be pleased to send as many copies as you need.
For your diary, please note that Monday May 31st is the next Prayer Gathering for Smiles. Open to all, but if you haven’t attended a prayer gathering yet, drop me an e-mail requesting the Zoom ID to be sent but for those who have attended before, your ID will be automatically sent to you.
Also, please note Saturday June 19th will be the next Smiles Open House – a casual get-together for all interested in the work of Smiles when we update you on various issues and welcome various guests to talk about their work with Smiles. We also hope to discuss at the Open House, the re-opening of Mission Trips to Romania so I trust we’ll have a ‘full-house’ on June 19th.
We have great updates from Maria, Adi and Luke on this months Web so lots of important news to check out as you get time. Don’t miss them or rush them, as all are valuable with up-to-date information. I personally appreciate all they do for Smiles with an ever busy and demanding schedule.
I continue to be so thankful for your interest and support in Smiles and I look forward to seeing you soon, hopefully on the Virtual Mission Trip in May, or the Open House in June or a Hands-On Mission Trip later this year. All three would be fantastic!
May God richly bless you all.
Chief Executive & Founder
The Smiles Foundation