We are certainly in the midst of ‘summer madness’!
Welcome to another update on the work of Smiles in Romania which is truly at full throttle at this time of year. July was an incredibly busy month with more than 60 Mission Trip guests, all of whom were working very hard through numerous projects in Bihor and across in Arad County, where so much activity is on-going at the Dezna Outreach Centre.
My sincere thanks to all those who came and those teams still here with more arriving next week. It really doesn’t stop. But one thing is for sure, with over 100 pairs of hands working the plough – it is remarkable what is achieved.
The entire Gepiu Community Centre has been refreshed with paint and now looks so welcoming for the kids who will return from summer holidays next month. So many families have been visited with urgent supplies to help them through their difficult circumstances. The homeless at our Container Village have been visited and encouraged with food, activities, fellowship and prayer. Communities such as Tileagd and Rapa continue to discover the importance of having the extra support of Smiles. Whilst they often get frustrated that progress and improvement can’t move faster – they realise without our involvement life can be very tough indeed.
I was very encouraged when holding a recent Community Meeting in Rapa which pastor Vasile attended with me – to see greater understanding among many of the community of how working together with patience and purpose will achieve more in the long term. Of course, we would all like things to be better instantly, but that is neither realistic nor always the best solution.
Money can often fix tangible things quickly, but it can’t change the heart and produce a more positive attitude. Money will often damage the efforts and so the Smiles approach of getting families, individuals and communities to share and grasp the big picture – is crucially important, even if harder to establish and implement – our team is committed to this philosophy. I am thankful for the commitment and maturity our leadership of projects take in this regard. As I reflect on past years, I often feel the easy going, almost laid-back approach to just providing what our beneficiaries demanded was not the best for them. It actually prevented many of them making the progress they needed to help them longer term. I believe we have a much better approach to the challenges today.
Thank you for your continued support, helping us through these times of transition and change. At the time it often felt uncertain as to the impact – but the comments from our visitors this summer towards our excellent staff who are committed and know the beneficiaries so well, truly wanting to help them, not because of the job – but because God has Called us to aim higher and thereby raise our expectations. He is a faithful God and I am confident we will see great results and positive rewards from our efforts.
A lot of work has been continued in Dezna – the major difference this past month was that we heard lots of singing, playing and happy kids while we worked. In July well over 100 children and young people attended Dezna Camps and another 100 will be there in August. It is so exciting to have these children experiencing Christ focused fellowship while enjoying the beauty of Dezna.
The internal facilities were ready and absolutely beautiful for the guests. Better than any Camp I ever attended that’s for sure. With the Work teams I also got to experience the Camp Food which was amazing. My sincere congratulations to the new staff in Dezna working in the Kitchen and Housekeeping, but also an enormous thanks and congratulations to Ioana Tamas who is living in Dezna this summer and doing an amazing job of managing the facility with so much coming and going. We praise God for so many answered prayers and continue to pray for the lives of all those who attend Camp to draw closer to God and enrich their lives as a result of the ministry in Dezna.
As a result of the wet spring in Romania, not all our Grounds Work was ready, but we were thankful to the Dezna Mayor and School Director who gave permission to use their Sports Ground Facilities which were more than adequate and certainly bigger than we’ll ever have on our own Dezna property.
We continue to work on the exterior of the building and grounds with the help of visiting Mission teams and our own staff along with contractors to see everything finished in time for the Official Opening, coming up on September 28th, 2019.
2019 has been the most settled within Smiles for a couple of years now and allowed us to see the best options for plans next year. As a result, we have some exciting announcements to make, which I’ll start to detail here and will develop over the coming months, especially when I tour with the Smiles Forums in November.
Meanwhile, to give you an insight to plans, here in addition to all our regular Mission Trips for 2020, are some special plans:
April 4th to 11th – Youth Worker Trip.
Very special opportunity for those working in the church with Youth to discover all a Smiles Mission Trip offers and then plan a trip in 2020/2021 with your Youth team.
May 2nd to 9th – Construction Trip.
A great opportunity for those skilled in construction or ready for hard work in Service for God and others to come on a trip with a focused Construction Project planned.
June 20th to 27th – Student Week.
A special time for those in full-time education to come for a Missions Experience with all like-minded and similarly aged people. Late nights and ‘later’ mornings will make this Mission Trip something special!
August 1st to 8th – Family Mission Week.
First time we are setting time aside for Families with children between 3 and 15 to enjoy a combined week of Mission together and holiday time. Recognising the importance of ‘family’ we are delighted to be launching this opportunity for five families to share.
These are exciting specialised Mission Trips which we pray will open up possibility to Serve and Explore Missions in a different way. Take a look at the Specials and see what could work for you.
We have many regular trips scheduled with dates for 2020 now on the site. We also have new opportunities for 2020 at Dezna Outreach Centre with summer camps, both for attending Camp and serving as a volunteer, whether as a leader for a week or intern support through the summer programme.
So many possibilities I urge to call the office or drop an e-mail detailing your interest and we’ll get back to as soon as possible. E-mail: firstname.lastname@example.org
The generosity of our supporters never ceases to amaze me, and I truly thank God for your sacrificial support month after month. I am also humbled by the efforts so many go to through fund-raising. Sometimes doing the most challenging of tasks to raise money for Smiles Romania. Thank you and please keep at it.
Our projects are growing and there is much to be done. More families need support. More children need after school care. More elderly need our residential facilities to avoid loneliness and illness that comes when living alone in such basic conditions. Often without water, sanitation and sometimes even without electricity. Our support is their lifeline and perhaps the only opportunity they have of seeing the Love of God in action! Thanks for being part of the team.
Having only mentioned last month that I was planning a UK tour in November to present some Smiles Forums, I was thrilled to see my schedule is already full, with visits confirmed to Northern Ireland in Belfast, Ballymoney, Ballydown and Omagh. Then Kilmarnock in Scotland plus Great Ayton and Worthing in England. I am grateful to those hosting the events and encourage all of you to make a note in your diary and come along.
I’m proposing the Smiles Forum to feature a short presentation to update you on Smiles Projects, including the Dezna Summer Camps and the Official Opening in September. I’ll also be featuring the Mission Trip programme for next year, including the Specials I’ve launched details of today. There will be a time for Q & A followed by refreshments and fellowship.
With Forum’s of an evening I can have additional meetings, one on one or smaller groups, during the day. So let me know if you would like to meet up when I’m in your area.
Great Ayton, England November 9th
Banbridge, Northern Ireland November 17th
Belfast, Northern Ireland November 18th
Ballymoney, Northern Ireland November 19th
Omagh, Northern Ireland November 20th
Kilmarnock, Scotland November 21st
Worthing, England November 23rd & 24th
Schedule subject to final confirmation.
I wasn’t sure if we would get Maria’s report this month as she is at the final stages before giving birth to Hava #2 – but we did! so enjoy the read (Maria’s report) but meanwhile, I had asked Simona Tosity to share some thoughts with us, which I believe are inspiring and challenging, so be sure to take some time to read everything.
Adi has also produced another Residential Video ‘Thankful Heart’. This month featuring Tibor Pasztor, a resident at our TAL facility in Tileagd. (Tileagd Assisted Living). I trust you will enjoy the video and brief write-up. If you can assist our residents at TAL, JFL or at ECO who need support with their costs, please check our specific web-page:
This hot summer continues with high temperatures mixed with severe thunderstorms. A little reflection of life in Smiles at times! But being Called by God to this work, nothing should deter or dishearten if we remember who we serve and what He did for us. So much more than we could ever do for Him.
Thank you for partnering with us to reach the Romanian people with the Love of God. If you have any questions on any areas of our work, please write to me and as soon as my schedule permits, I will get a personal response to you.
Sincere blessings for all you do.
Chief Executive to
The Smiles Foundation