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From Maria, Director of Missions, February 2021

The Fast Track Lane…

I will never forget my first travel to UK as a Smiles employee. It was back in the summer of 2003. At that time Wizz Air, Ryanair or Easy Jet were not on the list! I had to go through Amsterdam each time I visited UK. I will never forget how happy I was when I could use the fast track lane. Once arriving at the gate, I had to wait, and wait, and wait and I ALWAYS was asking myself WHY did I rush?!?!?!?

So it is in life. So many times we use the fast track lane and forget to enjoy the journey! Isn’t that strange?

This past week was a shocking one for me. After I came from brother Sabou’s funeral, the very nice old man from Tileagd church, I said to myself: “I hope the next funeral will not be too soon”. Little did I know that evening, a younger lady from my home village passed away while she had her shower. She did not even finish it!

I do believe more and more that this world is on a fast-track lane 24/7.

BUT God is telling us every day, ‘ENJOY THE JOURNEY’. Be ready for the destination. I pray that we all will be!!

So – How is Smiles? Well with everything that is going on many times I do feel I’m on the fast-track lane. BUT it is important to learn to enjoy the journey!!

What about January 2021?

Well, with the new structure in place we need time to adjust to it.

On my Pillar, MISSIONS, I have very exciting news!!

We have nice plans for Mierlau EHU. PLEASE pray for that. Pray for the financial side and for the people. Adi told us about a situation of a mum with 4 kids that need desperate help. We will come up with news of this and the actions we took.

On Mission Trips, I really hope to see you face to face this year!! I miss you all.

At the Tileagd Nursery, and our After-School, although the situation with COVID-19 made life harder, we have continued the work where we could.

Because the school has moved to the state buildings now, we have the kids for the After-School programme. The attendance depends on the day. There are days when we have over 40 present and there are days when we have 10. Because it’s optional for them, and sometimes their programme and the demands at home, means it’s harder for them to attend Church-Club. But the great news is – Schools are planning to re-open on February 8th so new opportunities arise for us to reach the kids for Christ. What I’m happy to know is that the kids are coming on a regular basis because they want to learn and really want to do things different, which is great!

I’m really thankful for the support I have from the Nursery staff. Monica and the two teachers are helping us with the homework in After-School for the kids. Monia and Meda with the food and goodies, as well as discipline (when needed!) !

All the kids that come to the Afterschool Club are there each Sunday in the church. It’s thrilling to see them singing and sharing what God put on their hearts. I hope that in each one of them, the desire of being a close friend with God is growing day by day! Yes, everything that we do is important but if their souls are not in the right place, we failed!

On the Nursery side, I’m really happy that September- October we could do our activity in the building. Since then, it’s been on-line or after-school. But the State says that we will be open again on February 8th – so PLEASE PRAY FOR THAT! Why?

Well, I’m sure that the situation in UK/US is the same and authorities try to limit the spreading of the virus as much as possible. Still, here in Romania a lot of the schools have been closed since March 2020, that’s nearly a year ago. The kids are suffering and a lot of them from the poorer communities, which includes the gypsy communities, where they do not have any educational support, are left behind with the curriculum and their overall learning and development.

Yes, it is important to read and write, but for a lot of them being out of the house was more important than the academic learning. They had a meal, they had warmth, they were clean and more important, they play and laugh with their friends!!!

I’m looking at my own child, at Stefan. He really has everything yet he misses his friends at nursery!

Pillar - MissionsPlease pray for this part of the Missions Pillar. Pray for our financial support too. This past year really affected us hard. We had to reduce staff, and peoples working hours. I’m happy that we managed to finish 2020 ok but with the new plans for 2021, I need to have people involved with the programme.

Something that came in my mind this past month was to ask you, the long-term supporters that know soooo many things about the educational side in Smiles, about the nursery, the school. WHAT WOULD BE nice to see happening in these projects? What do you think I could do more to support the children? I would like you to come with ideas. Just send me an e-mail! I’m sure there are things that I am not thinking of.

But more important than anything, please PRAY for us. Prayers keep us going.

I’m looking forward to come again next month to tell you more news!!

Lots of love in His service


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