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Open House by Zoom

From Luke, UK Development Ambassador, February 2021

Hello everyone,

January seemed like a very short month this time, but I know that is only because of the amazing things that happened in it! The time flew by as we certainly had some fun!

This might seem like a strange thing to say, with so many restrictions through lockdown, but the positive reaction to the new Strategic Pillars, the Fundraising events and the Smiles Open house and Prayer meeting, have all been wonderful events and very encouraging.

At this point, I would like to say a massive thank you to everyone who took part in, or watched as a spectator, the Countdown Fundraiser! Seeing you all was great, but having fun together and some good-natured competitiveness, all in the aid of raising money for the Outreach Pillar, was excellent!

Your support and participation made the event possible and I really appreciate it, as does everyone at Smiles! Not just because of the money raised, which of course helps greatly, but because your involvement shows you care and are interested in the things we try to do. Finally, congratulations to Eithne Smyth, our inaugural winner who joined us from Northern Ireland. I will look to do another of these in the future so everyone in England, Scotland and Wales we may need to up our game, as two of the finalists were from Northern Ireland.

But that is not the end of the fundraising!

In February we will have the Smiles Zoom Cookery Classes! Each Saturday in February we will watch a demonstration in preparing a new recipe by a guest teacher. Here is a list of the dates and delicious recipes:

Saturday 6th – Learning to make traditional Romanian Sarmale (Stuffed cabbage rolls) with a Special Guest from Romania.
Saturday 13th – Learning to make Gingerbread and Scotch Pancakes with Jean Barclay, one of our wonderful supporters in Scotland.
Saturday 20th – Learning to make Potato Bread and Soda Bread with Mitzi Laverty who supports us brilliantly from Northern Ireland.
Saturday 27th – Learning to make Mint Aero Chocolate Pudding with homemade Ice Cream with the wonderful Joye Carson, also from Northern Ireland.

All of these recipes will be delicious! The first one, the Sarmale, will need to be run slightly differently to the other three. To elaborate, it is a longer preparation and cooking time in addition to requiring ingredients that may be more difficult to find in time for the 6th. Equally, current restrictions may not make it any easier either!

Therefore, we will be sending out the recipe and ingredients to everyone so that you can follow it and have for the future, but we recommend that on the day you join us and enjoy the Zoom class before trying it at a later time. There will be the chance to ask questions so you can get the best information from our Special Guest who will lead us!

The other three weeks will be more flexible, and we will send you details of the ingredients and recipes so that you can follow along on the day if you want too. 

Each class will start at 4pm GMT / 11am EST / 10am CST / 9am MST / 6pm EET and run for approximately one hour, with a brief, exclusive update from one of our staff in Romania about the plans and on-going work on the new Pillars that we launched in January.

Please contact me on my Smiles email address to sign up ( or if you have any questions for me. I need to send the Zoom details to everyone who wants to be involved and I don’t want you to miss out. So, let me know as soon as possible and I will add you to the confirmed list of guests.

I very much look forward to seeing you each Saturday, and learning with you, as sadly we are restricted to online fundraisers and meetings due to current lockdown restrictions. But that does not mean that you or your Church can’t have updates about Smiles or hear about us for the first time!

Before Christmas I produced, with the help of Adi and Kevin, a 6-minute video that can be used in an online Church service for you to hear about the new Pillar Structure at Smiles. This is designed to fit easily into a recorded service as some Churches are doing, but if you want a live update then please let me know and I will gladly join you on Zoom to share with you in person.

Moreover, that goes for you personally too. Churches are welcome to hear about this and learn more and ask questions but so are you. If you, by yourself or with friends want to arrange a Zoom meeting with me to talk about Smiles, maybe a specific project, people and communities in Romania, then it would be my delight to meet with you!

After a year of no Mission trips in 2020, I know many of you are missing Smiles and if you want to ask about any aspect of the work and the amazing people, both staff and beneficiaries, then we can do it!

Finally, if you would like the link to the Video I mentioned, then please email me and I will send it to you.

Thank you, and I pray you stay safe and well,

Luke Wathen
UK Development Ambassador
The Smiles Foundation

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