Greetings to you as we ‘officially’ embark upon SUMMER! Always an exciting and busy time for us as we have Mission Teams visiting and lots of activities planned.
I don’t know how it has been for you but the approaching summer in Romania this year has been very wet and a little cold, compared with what is normal. The considerable rain fall has made outdoor work extremely difficult for a couple of months now. Not only dodging the virtual daily showers, sometimes torrential downpours during severe thunderstorms – but then the ground is so wet it is difficult to work it – needing a few days to dry out, which we haven’t had. Just more rain!
For me, it felt like I was in England, not Romania – but one benefit has been the sight of beautiful green fields, forests and hills that in a strange way remind me of home!!
Despite the weather, a tremendous amount of work was needed and much has been achieved. After months of hard work, we finally reach the launch month – JUNE 2019 – when Camps will start at Dezna Outreach Centre. There is still a lot of work happening every day. Thanks to an amazing response in May to our appeals for financial support for the work – over £32,000 / $41,500 was received – we have been able to press ahead with work and supplies for the facility. Thank you so much for this wonderful response and support. We are now around 67% of the budget covered and I continue to ask for your prayers and support to get us ‘over the line’ as we continue to work on the site during the next 3 months.
The way I have scheduled the work in Dezna means – we have the more immediate deadline of being ready for Summer Camps which start on June 29th. The large facility in Dezna has been divided into two parts with phase one needing to be complete and ready for the Camps. Phase two will continue with work during the summer, even while the Camps are running, as much of the second phase can be separated from the main building away from the kids.
The main area that should have progressed more than it has so far is the huge garden area. The weather has simply prevented us progressing on schedule. However, we don’t give up, and progress is being made with the BBQ Area, the Camp Fire Area and the Prayer Garden all being worked on as fast as the weather allows.
Having had teams these past couple of months helping with a vast amount of Painting for the entire facility interior, we’ve just had folk over from Northern Ireland undertaking all the preparation and varnishing of the BBQ Furniture.
June 1st – another team from Northern Ireland arrive to work on the Prayer Garden Frame along with other requirements as time and weather allows. Then we have a large team of 20 from America who I hope and pray will provide many hands for the final push inside and out to be ready in Dezna for Camps to start on June 29th. They will be painting, cleaning, gardening and no doubt assembling much of the furniture needed for the Camps. The Cinema Projection system and the Internet are all being installed as I write this update!
Thank you, thank you, thank you for your prayers and support that is enabling us to provide a fantastic facility to reach many kids this summer through a ‘mountain top experience’ as we share the Gospel of Christ to those who need comfort and direction in their lives.
Let’s keep at it and focused on the need, as we pray towards raising the final third of the budget for Phase Two of the Dezna Outreach Project. About another £33,000 / $42,000 is needed by September. Keep praying!
As we battle with Dezna, many have been battling to get supplies gathered and loaded into the Container, which is leaving Ballymena today – June 1st. Another packed container is being brought out to us by McBurney’s Transport. We are so thankful to all who have been involved collecting supplies, loading them in the container, praying for its journey, for McBurney’s sponsoring the trip and of course for Alan and Richard driving the truck across Europe.
Many of the supplies on board are for Dezna and numerous trips will be necessary with the van and trailer to get it all delivered. These next few weeks are going to be very demanding between Cihei and Dezna so please pray for all the arrangements and travel.
Today, guaranteed reservations close for the Official Opening Weekend (September 28th/29th, 2019). I am already amazed and thrilled to have 60 people travelling from the UK & US for this very special occasion.
They will be joining many staff and special guests from Romania who will be sharing in the Celebrations in Dezna that weekend. If you haven’t booked and still want to come, the 9-day Mission Trip (September 21st – 30th) which includes the Official Opening is still open to bookings. This will include a regular week at Cihei visiting Smiles Projects in Bihor, before heading to Dezna in Arad County on 28th for the exciting weekend events which will include a Community Fayre, Concert with UK & Romanian Artists and special Thanksgiving Services on the Sunday (29th) in the Outreach Centre and the Vine Planting Ceremony for the Prayer Garden in memory of Barbara Morrison.
It will be an incredible weekend of Thanksgiving and Praise. Although it has been, and will no doubt continue to be a stressful and demanding process to complete Dezna – I know the Official Opening Weekend will be a suitable end to the work as we dedicate it to God for His Glory for many years to come. If you can be there, don’t miss it. It will be special!
Everyone is very busy in Smiles but a huge and increasing burden of responsibility is taken by Maria and Adi. Both have tremendous heart for the ministry and do a fantastic job. They have new reports for this month, so please take time when you can to read their updates as they share their heart for the ministries they oversee.
I know Maria wants support to take School Kids to a Dezna Camp and Adi wants Field Project sponsors. I pray some of you will be able to help, so go to their reports and see how the Lord moves.
Maria: Faithful in the small things
Adi: Field project development and challenges
Adi also compiles our monthly Residential Video ‘Thankful Heart’. He has done another great job this month featuring Floare Andor, a resident at our ECO facility. (Elderly Care Oradea). I trust you will enjoy the video and brief write-up. If you can assist Floare and others at ECO or at JFL and TAL who need support with their costs, please check our specific web-page: Residents Needing Support
In June we start with a construction team specifically working at Dezna for a week, but that is followed immediately by a team of 20 from America. From July we have 4 consecutive weeks of Teams, totalling 75 guests in one month! Work is going to heat up quite a bit in the next couple of months and I guess we hope the weather will also!
I’m thrilled our Mission Trips are still so popular, even after 15 years of hundreds visiting us every year here in Cihei since 2004 when we opened our purpose-built Mission Centre. Hopefully if you are not already booked for this summer, you can consider September – Christmas. We have six (6) scheduled trips between September and December, so why not consider joining one? If this year isn’t possible, start thinking for 2020. We already have teams reserved for March and April and a full programme will be available through-out the year.
Call the office or e-mail for further details now. If you’re not familiar with our Mission Trips – take a look at our webpage: Hands On Mission Experience
In closing, I want to thank all those who participated in our Smiles Prayer Day which was May 5th, 2019. We asked you to Pray for the work of Smiles, to remember the projects and the people we serve. The staff who work within Smiles. To pray for the finances and support needed to fulfil the huge demands upon us day by day.
Can I say – God heard your prayers. We had a truly fantastic month of May and were richly blessed, and once again we were reminded that God’s Hand is over us at all times. Again, we say – when you pray, God hears more than what you say, answers more than we ask and gives more than we imagine in His own time and in His own way!
Thank you again for partnering with us to reach the Romanian people with the Love of God through the Hope found by Faith in Him.
Sincere blessings to you all.
Chief Executive to
The Smiles Foundation