April has been an exciting month at Smiles and I do thank you for your continued prayers and support. God is answering our prayers and blessing in ways we could not even ask or imagine. It is truly humbling to see His Hand at work through all we do here in Romania.
It was great to have a Mission Team in April and begin the work for our 2018 guests in a different way to how it has been for several years now. The new Field Project was received with great appreciation and we had a much more engaging day for everyone visiting the Residential Centres which was also a great hit.
It was a lovely time of year for those helping at the Glasshouse in Arpasel and many of the team took advantage of that and enjoyed a busy day working on planting thousands of young plants into new pots.
Of course, the regular visits to Families, Homeless, the School and Nursery, Gepiu, Rapa and Salard were all greatly enjoyed – but the freshness that came with the new year and new approach was particularly thrilling. Whilst we have some huge challenges in the months ahead just fitting in so many Mission Trip guests, we are certainly excited about how all the projects are panning out for the visitors. The team in April had a fantastic experience and I am so thankful to God for enabling the changes to happen and giving us all the vision and confidence to press ahead even into the difficult territory where there are new and unknown consequences. It’s what FAITH is all about!
Whilst we continue the search for new team members for the Field Project, we are equally confident within the Romanian team, that no new person is better than the wrong new person. Having taken the critically important step of updating and improving several key projects, it is crucially important to be confident of God’s guidance and remain faithful to the direction we believe He is leading us in.
Meanwhile, I remain thrilled with the progress being made within our Residential Centres. It is absolutely wonderful to see so many people, currently 116 elderly, disabled and those who are seriously ill taken care of so professionally and within such comfortable conditions. It is a hugely expensive commitment as I’m sure we all know, but the smiles and appreciation that come from our residents satisfies me that we are demonstrating the Love of God in a most practical and relevant way.
On May 5th we welcome another Mission Team for a week who will be helping in Rapa with house building along with repairs needed after the past 3 years. In addition to work in Rapa, some of the team will again be visiting numerous projects throughout the week and we pray once again the impact will be significant, both for our visitors and the beneficiaries they serve.
During that week, probably May 7th, the Container will arrive from Northern Ireland where it leaves on Saturday 5th for the 2 day journey across Europe. God willing, we will be unloading it Tuesday morning, May 8th and there will be so much excitement in Cihei as yet another amazing load of aid and supplies arrives from the UK. We have hospital beds arriving to provide more facilities at our residential centres. We have 150 square metre (1,600 sq.ft) high quality carpet and some beautiful furniture for the new TAL lounge. We have a professional physiotherapy bed on board along with wheelchairs, walkers and supplies to assist all our projects.
The people of Northern Ireland are among the most generous in the world and I am so thankful for all the support they provide Smiles throughout each year and indeed year after year. Hundreds of boxes packed and loaded full of clothes, household supplies and much needed items for all our projects. We say a huge ‘thank-you’ to all our supporters in Northern Ireland for their precious support, even through tough times, even when they don’t agree or fully understand all the ins and outs of operational challenges in Romania – they stick with us and remain loyal. That is so valuable to us working in the midst of the challenges and we thank you all for your unfailing support.
We are just a few days away now from the Smiles Prayer Day scheduled for May 6th 2018. We hope you have managed to get the message out to your church leadership, church magazine/news sheet, house group, friends and family. We are praying and trusting that many people will be praying for Smiles on May 6th 2018.
I continue to honour my promise to update you 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 March, the top 3 needs are as follows:
1. Residential Care and this month the Tileagd Assisted Living which achieved 74% of the income for its operational budget. Therefore we had approximately £11,045 ($15,463) budget deficit at end of March.
Support Assisted Living
2. Rapa Construction costs for the final house achieved just 15% of its required budget. We need £5,100 ($7,140) to complete the build. Please help if you can.
Support Rapa Community
3. Gepiu Community Project achieved 32% income towards its operational budget. A slight improvement on the previous month but still approximately £4,715 ($6,601) budget deficit in the first quarter.
Support Gepiu Project
The annual difficulties of the early months of the year are now moving behind us. We are pleased to have managed 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.
There are many issues we are working on day by day here in Romania, some of them very challenging and delicate to deal with. I value your support and prayers and look forward to being able to share news on some of these issues next time I am privileged to be writing my monthly report. Until then, be assured we will all continue to do the best we can for those we are called to serve with the resources we are blessed with to administer through this ministry.
Be sure to catch up on news through the reports posted this month from Maria, Barbara and Luke. All exciting stuff and a great encouragement to read. I know you will enjoy.
Thank you for all you continue to do in support of the Smiles Foundation.
Chief Executive to The Smiles Foundation