Whilst it is incredible to think half of 2018 has gone, I am aware that the past 6 months have been tough in many ways, but so exciting in other ways – as the plan for restructuring important areas of Smiles work has finally found its place and been able to move forward. June was a month where I truly felt ‘progress’ was being made and I thanked God for bringing us through the trials to a promised place that was so much better.
As I said last month, “wherever God is at Work – there will be the devil causing chaos and descent wherever possible to discourage and distract those of us trying to focus on how to move forward within God’s Will.”
Just as we felt we were reaching the end of the ‘restructuring tunnel’ so the devil struck again with the devastating news on June 26th that Barbara Morrison, our devoted Development Ambassador and Volunteer Coordinator, had suffered a bleed on the brain and was in Intensive Care at Coleraine hospital. We were of course in total shock and could only pray that God would perform a miracle and bring Barbara through this terrible ordeal.
Sam and close relatives have kept us informed of developments this past week. A miracle was indeed given and during a time of prayer, after doctors had seen no response from Barbara and considered there was little more they could do, Barbara moved her hand – during the prayer – and made a small audible noise. Doctors were immediately informed and agreed to transfer Barbara to Belfast Neurological Hospital for further tests and monitoring.
In recent days there have been encouraging signs of response from Barbara and although ‘early days’ with a long way to go, we are thankful to God for keeping Barbara and Sam close to His Heart. Both need our continued prayers for healing and for strength. Smiles is a big family with some mighty prayer warriors and I ask you all to join us for the coming days and weeks as we pray for Barbara’s recovery and Sam to have strength and belief that everything is in God’s Hands.
Typically, with how the devil works, we received the news of Barbara on the final day of a fantastic week with Ian Steenson, who was here in Romania helping with several important tasks.
Ian offered a week of his time to come and work on ‘anything that is needed’! So, he spent his first 3 days working in Arpasel helping Gabi with installation of the heating system for the Sminro offices
before helping to lay the Floor Screed. Then I whisked him off to Dezna where he prepared a detailed Report on the more urgent needs for the building. This will help me with planning and budgeting the work in months ahead. Gabi was also with us to test the Electricity and Water supply and safety.
Once we travelled back to Cihei, Ian was making plans for the Gazebo building he is sponsoring at TAL (Tileagd Assisted Living). Ian will be back in August to build the Gazebo. Hopefully before then, some Mission Trippers will have helped by laying the concrete base!
Ian was a great encouragement while here, a great witness to servanthood, and a passionate supporter of the work of Smiles. Thanks Ian for everything and look forward to seeing next month!
While we were all doing our thing here in Romania and you were doing your thing where you live, Smiles had another blessing in Switzerland during June. Kuoni Congress selected the Smiles Foundation to support during the IDS Conference in Geneva (International College of Dentists) which ran June 20th – 24th. Kuoni had offered Smiles tremendous opportunity to share our work in Romania with the 200+ dentists from across Europe.
Smiles Leaflets were distributed. Space in their programme was donated. A webpage was created and placed on the Kuoni IDS Site:
We are very thankful to Kuoni for this generous support and trust many dentists will take the opportunity to support those in need in Romania through the work of Smiles.
Back in Romania, June was an important month for Smiles as we launched the new Field Project with all hands to the plough. Adi has a great vision for seeing all aspects of our new Field Project, which incorporates Family Care, Homeless, Emergency Housing and Communities – and I am excited to now have the project in full flow. As Mission Teams start arriving thick and fast, the new Project will have great opportunity to establish itself and then the changes and uncertainty of the past few months will be all behind us and we will focus on the potential and opportunities of the future.
Adi has prepared a great insight to the new Field Project in his report this month. I strongly recommend you take time for a good read of all he has written so you have a full understanding of the vision and procedure we plan to take for the future of the Smiles Field Project. Adi’s report
In July we begin the Dezna project and after 2 years of talking, we finally get the opportunity to put words into action. I am thrilled to be taking teams to Dezna starting this week and I pray the excitement and potential of the project will be shared with many around the world to make the dream of Dezna Outreach Centre a reality.
We have created a new webpage with further information and ways to support the Dezna Project, so please check it out and join in the adventure of Smiles newest project. Link to Dezna Page.
As promised, here is my update with the top 3 projects needing additional financial support to enable us to continue the ministry we are called to provide.
Based on 2018 support to end of May, the top 3 needs are as follows:
1. Residential Care and this month the Joint Facility of Love which achieved 87% of the income for its operational budget. Therefore we had approximately £8,885 ($12,439) budget deficit for the five months to end of May. Support Joint Facility of Love
2. Rapa Construction costs for the final house achieved 20% of its required budget. We need £4,800 ($6,720) to complete the build. Please help if you can. Support Rapa
3. Gepiu Community Project achieved 71% income towards its operational budget. A great improvement on the recent months due to fund-raising support. This leaves approximately £3,052 ($4,273) budget deficit. Support Gepiu Community Project.
Tremendous progress is being seen on the financial situation and we were blessed to receive some further Grant Funds in May towards TAL capital costs, which was wonderful. We are encouraged to see improvements to the pressures faced in early 2018 after various legal changes. All the projects need your continuous support, but if you would like to start a commitment or make a special gift for Smiles – please consider these needs to help reduce or eliminate future deficits.
Be sure to catch up on news through the reports posted this month from Maria, Adi and Luke. The reports are important to provide you insight to the work and a great encouragement to read. I know you will enjoy, so thank you for taking the time.
Please don’t forget the news I gave last month for our American supporters on the change of our American address. With effect, from June 1st, the following new address should be used for all Donations and financially related issues:
The Smiles Foundation
10645 N. Tatum Blvd # 200-471
Phoenix, AZ 85028
Thank you for all you do to support the Smiles Foundation through prayer, financial giving and practical work.
These are exciting times and I am thankful you are a part of it.
Chief Executive to The Smiles Foundation