The month of May has been what a good friend of mine would call ‘an interesting month’! A combination of ‘highs and lows’ with some tremendous sense of achievement alongside some grave disappointments and frustrations. Some would say ‘This is Life’ which I would often agree with. I certainly believe ‘This is Ministry’ because where 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.
In a month with such a combination of events and emotions, it is so important to keep everything in perspective. When you are in the Will of God, Victory is the only scenario. When the challenges surface and events or people try to discourage you, remember the victories … the incredible blessings the Lord has already given … the promises He gives for today and every day as we move forward with Him.
The month of May has been a complex month of endeavouring to make decisions on moving forward with some of our projects, yet it has been a challenging time assessing many problems that have come to the surface following changes in staff in recent weeks. Of course, there is always a period of unsettled circumstances when people move on, but we have found more than we expected to find, requiring some serious attention and some difficult decisions. But it is truly amazing how through these difficult issues, God can speak clearly as you depend on Him more for clarity and guidance which I am thrilled to say ‘He Has Given’ during recent weeks.
One of the most difficult challenges for us all in life is establishing what the ‘Will of God’ is exactly. Often you need to test and try things, little by little, to see how God provides and guides. We have done that concerning the Field Project, believing God would guide us for the future of the work.
Interestingly, when I sent a report to my executive team at the beginning of the year explaining the sort of leadership I wanted for the Field Project in the future, our Director of Operations replied “We already have that person … Adi! I acknowledged indeed that Adi was ideal for leading the Project, but with many other responsibilities on him, I felt we should source new people to help in the development of the project as relevant for 2018 and beyond.
After many hours of prayer and discussion over recent weeks, a few days ago my executive management team (Maria, Georgi and Adi) met with me in Cihei to discuss the way forward for the Field Project. Reiterating the importance of the work and how the beneficiaries are chosen and truly helped, not just ‘serviced’ and we came to the conclusion of approaching the Field Project in a different way.
Fundamentally, we were concerned with aspects of the projects in recent years. Families, the homeless, even those at EHU often becoming too dependent on our help, causing them to wait on us rather than doing something for themselves. Very little tangible progress was being seen in the development of too many beneficiaries.
It was therefore decided to use the best talent and gifts already available within Smiles, and Adi was appointed Director for the Field Project, assisted by Alina and other very committed members already within the Smiles structure.
Adi has 9 years’ experience with Smiles, and has some exciting ideas of approaching our well established projects with a fresh, professional yet compassionate plan and I am confident our Field Project could not be in better hands. We have not stopped keeping ears and eyes open for subsequent leaders to manage the project or serve as social worker – but the plans now being put in place will provide an excellent and successful solution to taking the work forward, especially as we prepare for such a busy summer season of mission trip guests.
Please pray for Adi and Alina as they embark on this exciting challenge and please thank God as we are, that He never ceases to provide all that is needed to do His work. By the time Adi starts in earnest on the Field you’ll be reading his report on the impact of the decisions next month – the July 1st update. (probably to be published June 30th!)
The month of May has also been an exciting time with such a variety of things taking place.
May 6th of course was Smile’s Prayer Day – and it was wonderful to hear reports of special time allocated to pray for Smiles in so many parts of the world. America, Romania and the United Kingdom. Thank you so much if you took part in remembering the work of Smiles before God on that designated day. It was so successful, we already plan May 5th 2019 to be our focused Prayer Day next year. But please keep praying every day between now and then!
On May 8th this year we had the exciting task of unloading the Smiles Container that had arrived from Northern Ireland. So many supplies and valuable donations provided an exciting 3 hours of unloading. It took us quite a bit longer to get everything put away! About another 9 hours actually, so as well as thanking all the people in Northern Ireland who worked to fill the container, I also thank the people in Romania who helped to unload it!
Thanks again to McBurney Transport for sponsoring the Truck for the 5,000 mile round trip journey.
As Barbara is reporting in the Volunteer Corner, another truck is scheduled for September. Sponsored once again so no cost to Smiles which is amazing, but we need to fill it with so many supplies – we need the help again of so many committed people to fill it. The questions was “Can we do it again so soon?” I believe we can because when God’s people work together with His Blessing over us – anything is possible!
During the same week a small Mission Team from UK and America started the 12th house in Rapa. Good progress was made but more work is needed and the finance to build it. Please enable the work to continue with a special gift if you can.
Then a week later we had a celebration in Smiles. Rebeca Mariscas, our social worker at JFL, became Rebeca Cenan. We enjoyed a beautiful wedding service in Salonta followed by a grand reception. What is even more amazing is her husband, Gabi Cenan has joined the Smiles full-time staff, beginning Monday June 4th 2018.
Welcome Gabi – great to have you joining the team. You not only chose well with your wife, but also your new employer! We look forward to serving God together through the various ministries of the Smiles Foundation.
Last week we had Sam Morrison out for a week working at the Farm. We are building a large new Barn at the Farm, and Sam made the all important start in May with the help of some men from our projects. Thank you Sam and look forward to the next stage when you can get back.
Perhaps the most amazing news in May concerned the new project in Dezna, that some of you may remember I referenced in my New Year Message back in January.
After many months of delicate discussions with those involved with the project over the past 20+ years, it has finally been concluded that the Smiles Foundation will take over the Dezna Torch project and we will establish a new Project within Smiles called the Dezna Outreach Centre.
The project is huge and will be reported on and updated each month through our web news. The primary purposes we are seeking authorisation for use of the building and land are as follows:
1. Residential facilities for Life Skill Training
2. Summer Youth Camps
3. Conference & Retreat Centre
4. Other activities to be agreed for disabled people, including blind and partially sighted.
5. Working Partnership with other organisations meeting the needs of disabled people.
As we start to investigate the current laws and building regulations for these uses, we will come to know what is actually possible and what will need to be done to facilitate the building for these exciting outreach projects.
For over 20 years people have tried to complete the Dezna project and see it operational, but it wasn’t possible. The Smiles Foundation was chosen because we ‘get things done’ largely thanks to an amazing support base that share the vision and desire to reach out to a hurting world with the Love of God. That is what Dezna Outreach Centre will be all about. I know the Smiles Team of Supporters will love it and can’t wait to get started on the Fund-Raising necessary to transform and complete this amazing project. More news next month and those on Mission Trips this summer, don’t be surprised if you end up with a lot of work to do in the beautiful village of Dezna!
Concerning my update each month 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 April, the top 3 needs are as follows:
1.Residential Care and this month the Tileagd Assisted Living which achieved 73% of the income for its operational budget. Therefore we had approximately £15,314 ($21,440) budget deficit for the four months to end of April. Support Assisted Living.
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 construction.
3.Gepiu Community Project achieved 67% income towards its operational budget. A great improvement on the previous month due to fund-raising support. This leaves approximately £2,907 ($4,070) budget deficit. Support Gepiu project.
Tremendous progress is being seen on the financial situation and we were blessed to receive some Grant Funds in April towards capital debts, which was wonderful. We are delighted to see positive improvements to the changes and associated pressures faced in 2018 and we are confident the situation can improve significantly as we go forward. 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, Barbara and Georgi. These reports are always an exciting insight to the work and a great encouragement to read. I know you will enjoy.
Don’t forget, GDPR came into effect on May 25th, 2018. If you didn’t respond to our request to stay in touch, unless you are a regular donor or mission trip visitor, you may not have received the usual inbox notice of our Monthly Update. If you prefer having our update and news sent direct to your inbox, be sure to request your addition to our mailing.
Go to firstname.lastname@example.org to sign up.
One final piece of administrative news to note, especially our American supporters is a change of address. With immediate effect, please use the following new address for all Donations and financially related issues:
The Smiles Foundation
10645 N. Tatum Blvd # 200-471
Phoenix, AZ 85028
We look forward to the summer and the start of over 260 mission trip guests coming to Smiles Romania is the second half of the year. It’s going to be crazy, but a fantastic time for sure. Thank you for all you do to support the Smiles Foundation through prayer, financial giving and practical work.
PRAY, GIVE & GO is the opportunity we all have and it will change the world.
Thank you for all you continue to do in support of the Smiles Foundation.
Chief Executive to The Smiles Foundation