I don’t know about where you are, but here in Romania SPRING has arrived. The sun is shining brightly, the trees are all in bud, the cherry trees full of blossom and the greatest sign of all – the Storks are back, nesting and preparing to raise their young. A beautiful season for sure and with temperatures of 23C (76F) I wish it could stay like this year round.
But such wonderful things in this world do not tend to stay around long. Very quickly we are reminded of the less attractive elements we need to live with as a result of turning away from God. Now we live with a constant battle between Good and Evil and although we know who is victorious, the battle is an unpleasant experience we must face day by day.
A battle is certainly what we face in Smiles, as we strive each and every day to help those in need and show God’s Love to them. When living in such poverty, experiencing tragedies in their lives, people do struggle with accepting an All Loving God who cares for them and wants the best for them.
By God’s Grace, we are able to be His Hands and Feet, His Arms of Love to wrap around these people and demonstrate God’s Love. With you as our partner, helping us fund the means to do this work, we do see people responding to the Gospel, thankful to God and seeing their lives transform, because of His Love.
Enjoy the ‘Thankful Heart’ feature this month. Thank you for partnering with us in this important ministry.
To be honest with you, I have felt this past month the enormous pressure of leading the Smiles Foundation as we face so many challenges in trying to do more, because there are more people in need. We try to ensure the resources to do the work are coming in and then we try to stretch and squeeze those resources to get every drop of impact from them to make a difference in the lives of those God has given us to care for.
The average 30 day cycle of a month seems to come around faster and faster. Needing to raise more than £100,000 ($130,000) each month brings its own pressure, but when trying to expand what we do, so as to impact more people, the ultimate fact is ‘more support’ is needed.
Some would say, “you are already doing enough …. slow down or even stop for a while”!
That is not an option for me. Maybe if I sat behind this computer all day long I might be able to ‘ignore’ the realities ‘out there’ but as soon as I go, as I have this past week, to Tileagd, Rapa, JFL, the hospital as well as spending many hours counselling with people who are suffering poverty, discrimination or experiencing tragedy – then I realise we have so much more to do.
I don’t want us to look back on yesterday and just be proud of what was achieved, or sorry for the mistakes we made. I want the primary purpose of yesterday to be an opportunity to LEARN. As I look back each day on the day before I want to see ‘what did I learn’ as a result of the experiences God put my way.
Today is about SERVING. This is what motivates me to get up each morning and face the pressures again, because God has called us to SERVE. In Luke 10 verse 2 we read; Jesus told them, “The harvest is plentiful, but the workers are few. Ask the Lord of the harvest, therefore, to send out workers into his harvest field.” It doesn’t sound to me like slowing down or stopping is an option! Today we must get out and SERVE.
So if yesterday was to learn and today is to serve, what about tomorrow? I know in Matthew 6: 34 Jesus says – Therefore do not worry about tomorrow, for tomorrow will worry about itself. Each day has enough trouble of its own.
And these are wise words for sure, but I do believe whilst we don’t worry about tomorrow, we should PLAN. I have to do a lot of planning in Smiles. I have to plan for 20 plus projects, for 100 + staff and of course I have to plan for the resources we receive to ensure they are used effectively and efficiently.
So PLANNING is critically important and I ask you to see how you can help us plan for the future to make an even better impact on the people here in Romania who need our help.
Perhaps you are planning to come on a H.O.M.E. Mission Trip which is really fantastic and I am excited to serve alongside you. If you haven’t planned that yet, please get in touch with us to look at the options available.
Perhaps you are planning a Fund-Raising event to help a project or the general work to function. Thank you for that because we really need more and more events across the country to help meet the challenge of funding all we do and allow us to develop into new areas for the future.
Perhaps you are planning to start a monthly commitment to Smiles. 5, 10 or 100 a month is not the issue. God and you know what is possible and He will bless you for everything you do for others. Regular monthly commitments are very helpful for us in planning and budgeting – so if you can start a monthly commitment, please do and then encourage others to do the same.
We have so much going on, much of which is shared in the reports available from Maria, Georgi, Adi and Barbara so be sure to carefully read them all as time allows.
It is amazing to hear our Elderly Care Homes are full which all the more confirms the need of the new Tileagd Assisted Living facility. We are pressing on and making good progress, but financial support for the £50,000 ($65,000) renovation costs are a little slower coming in.
Please consider a special gift towards this or join together with friends to run a Fund-Raising event that will make a significant contribution to this wonderful much needed facility. We are still praying to be ready for opening in July 2017!
We are also excited to be holding the first special day at JFL 2 Disability Centre on April 6th. More than 25 Down’s-Syndrome will be having the entire day at JFL experiencing the Sensory Room, Hydrotherapy Pool and Activity Room.
We will be having a special focus on Easter and the Message of the Gospel so please pray for the special day and continue to support the opportunities we have to use the wonderful facility.
It is equally wonderful to have Luke Wathen officially join us today although it actually feels he has been around for a long time. I guess he has and when you read his introductory report this month you will understand why. Be sure to be in touch with Luke.
Encourage him in his new role and if you are in England, Scotland or Wales he would love to visit and speak to a group of potential supporters or Mission Trip guests in your area, whether Church, School or Community group – speak to Luke and see what can be arranged.
Barbara of course continues to do a fantastic job in Northern Ireland, so anyone there who hasn’t yet had a presentation on Smiles – email or telephone Barbara to make arrangements.
It was amazing news in March that Ryanair is to start Direct Flights from London Stansted Airport to Oradea. That’s just 20 minutes from our HQ and after so many years of the 8 hour round trip to Budapest to collect visitors, we are hoping a few more will start flying direct to Oradea. I certainly will, with my first anticipated flight from Oradea in early November.
I hope to be in England for a couple of days in early November before flying to America for my first development trip in a couple of years. SO American friends, if you remember me and would like me to visit in November, drop me an e-mail and we’ll see what can be arranged!
The Ryanair flights start in October this year, and as a celebration of the direct London – Oradea flight, Smiles is offering a £50/$65 per person reduction on the Mission Trip cost this December for anyone using the flight into Oradea. Now there’s an offer you shouldn’t refuse. Get planning now for December; talk to Dawn and thank-you Ryanair!
As always, there is so much I want to share, but I normally stop around 1,300 words and I’m already closer to 1,500 so I will close here until next time, but just to remind you of the three points God laid on my heart:
Learn from yesterday
Plan for tomorrow
This way I believe God will richly bless all we do and we will see the miracles unfold before our eyes. Join us in the experience.
Sincere blessings to you all.
Kevin D Hoy
Chief Executive to
The Smiles Foundation