October has been a beautiful Autumn month in Romania, with temperatures often around 25C (80F.) Much more than we would rely on for this time of year. But it has helped with getting more done than expected, which has been assisted by another 70 visitors to us just this past 3 weeks.
We were thrilled to have Sam Morrison back out with us, particularly working at the Farm, and Robin Foote, Barbara’s brother visiting for the first time, who got stuck in with all the projects! An emotional but wonderful visit.
We have also celebrated Harvest Thanksgiving and were reminded last Sunday in Church how faithful God is each and every day to supply all our needs. This is indeed a miracle and blessing that we experience in Smiles month after month. The extraordinary budget of over £115,000 ($150,000) per month is testimony to God’s Faithfulness and Goodness. It is also a testimony to the incredible commitment that supporters of Smiles across the world give each month to see the Gospel shared and Lives changed here in Romania by a devoted hard-working team on the ground.
The team have worked very hard and continue to do so in fulfilling what we are Called to do. Serious challenges exist in all our projects – whether Residential Care of the elderly in Oradea, Salonta and Tileagd or Educational support in Tileagd, Gepiu and Rapa. All require an exceptional devotion to love and care for those we serve. I am so thankful to have such a team serving here day by day better and more effectively than I had for many years.
As operating the charity becomes tougher month by month due to Government policies and economic challenges – we need both staff here devoted to the work but also supporters there who will not slow down and give up because sometimes circumstances are tough, or even disappointing.
We know how that feels, to give so much and feel the return is so little, but I have come to realise and appreciate, even a small change in someone’s life today can constitute major change for their future. We must remain Faithful just as God is to us and remain Focused (as Paul says) on the race ahead.
All the Mission Teams have helped us achieve so much more this past month. 250,000 Bulbs that were delivered to us from Holland at the beginning of the month have all been potted with thousands each day done by visiting guests. The old Pig Barn at the Farm has been demolished and site cleared ready to start planning the construction of a new Barn to provide additional facilities for temperature-controlled bulb growing and hopefully an automated ‘Potting Machine’ to arrive in 2019. A further 100,000 Primroses were potted for spring next year.
Our Farm harvest was completed in beautiful weather with a tremendous crop this year of Maize Corn from our 80 acres.
We also spent several days at Dezna Outreach Centre and all I hoped to achieve before winter has been done. The new Roof in place; all rotten floors have been replaced; the Grounds have been cleared. We even got some painting done on the second floor and all the Velux Windows on the third floor have been re-varnished. They look great!
With less teams coming now until Spring 2019 – we have employed our first person at Dezna. Adrian Pacurar, who will watch over the site and work there day by day to ensure progress doesn’t stop during the winter. I have also worked a lot this past month on Building Options for a new Residential Facility at Dezna. It involves taking the old house separate to Casa Torch and tripling the floor area to provide a facility for 20 residents.
A UK Builder who owns a small construction company came out to Romania for 48 hours to visit Dezna with a view to bringing a team of his employees to provide some expert professional skill (as volunteers) when we start to build Dezna Elderly Care Home. It was a whistle stop 48 hours, but I was so thrilled to have interest from the professional building sector willing to help us. I will be putting a plan together soon for the development at Dezna to share with you all and for you to recruit your local builders to give a week of their time in Romania!
We are now planning for activities in Dezna for 2019, so at the same time as working on future plans and buildings we are also structuring a Summer schedule of Camps. We are looking to run Children’s Camps in Dezna from June 22nd – August 31st 2019.
We’ll be having Romanian Camps and will need Children Workers to help organise and supervise.
Could you come for a summer of Kids Camp Work?
We’ll be having an option for UK & US camps to serve and explore cultural differences here in Romania.
Could you organise a Camp from your Church in UK or America?
You might like to spend 2 weeks in Romania instead of our regular 7-day Mission Trip. Come for one week in Dezna and your second week in Cihei. Endless possibilities for you to think and plan for. Contact me for further details and I assure you – 2019 could be your best summer yet! firstname.lastname@example.org
As our current mission team prepare to leave on Saturday (Nov 3rd) we come to the end of our busiest Mission Trip season for as long as I can remember, if ever before! Virtually non-stop teams since June 30th and four months with nearly 300 visitors has been a demanding time. We managed it and we loved it. The teams brought so much support and so many hands did a lot of work. Thank you all for being here. I think you loved it, so we look forward to welcoming you back soon!
Although we have no Mission Teams in November. It won’t be too quiet! November 5th, we anticipate the arrival of our Container from Northern Ireland full of amazing supplies which we eagerly await. Thank you to all the people in Northern Ireland and further afield who have contributed to filling the container. Our sincere thanks also to John Adams Haulage company for underwriting the huge trip across to Romania. We will be waiting for you on Monday!
Luke is returning to the UK for November to travel through England and Scotland presenting the work and opportunities in Romania. He’ll have a bumper report to share in December. Please remember Luke and his travels in your prayers.
Maria will be in the UK later in November for a Trustees Board Meeting and knowing her, some Christmas shopping, so remember her in your prayers, at least for the Trustees Meeting! And don’t forget to read her new report.
I will also be back in the UK for 3 weeks, catching up on Leeds office issues and spending a week in Northern Ireland, which I always look forward to. We have presentations in the following cities which I encourage you to come along to for an update on the work in Romania but mainly for the focus we will have on future developments in Northern Ireland. More detail of each event is on the events page.
Monday November 19th Ballymena
Tuesday November 20th Toberdoney
Wednesday November 21st Artigarvan
Thursday November 22nd Richhill
Friday November 23rd Belfast
I am also meeting individuals and small groups during each day, so if you would like to meet, please drop me a note or give the office a call.
I’m delighted people are appreciating my highlighting needs each month in this section. The financial position improved significantly in September, so maintaining that focus is important. Thank you for your support. Here is the update to the end of September 2018:
1. Residential Care through Oradea, Salonta and Tileagd achieved 90% of the income needed for its operational budget. Therefore, we had approximately £41,214 ($53,578) budget deficit for the nine months to September 30th. Support Residential
2. Gepiu Community Project achieved 86% income towards its operational budget. This leaves approximately £2,052 ($2,667) budget deficit. Support Gepiu
3. Pastoral Support & Outreach Projects received 69% of its required budget, leaving a deficit of £2,123 ($2,760) for the first nine months. Support Pastoral & Outreach
Gifts and constant Fund-Raising is the oxygen needed to maintain the projects day by day. We are so thankful people are giving and raising funds all the time and I ask you, please don’t stop. I know it is hard work and sometimes you think ‘I can’t do anymore’ – but when you think of the people here who need your help, I’m sure you have the energy and motivation needed to do it all again!
I was thrilled to hear of the fund-raising achieved this past month. Some of the stories are detailed in the Volunteer Corner, brought to us by Northern Ireland Ambassador, Adrian Pogue. Don’t miss the read, it is really worth the time.
Maria and I were also humbled to be presented over £3,400 last week by a Mission Team from England. The team of 14 included 8 teenagers and to raise that much money shows how good young people are at extracting cash from caring adults. Thanks to all the Mission Teams who raised so much before they came and were then so inspired with all they saw within Smiles – they went home to raise a lot more! God Bless you all.
I am also delighted with the new Project Newsletters covering Education, Field, Outreach and Residential. Adi has done a fantastic job creating these new publications which continue to demonstrate and explain our transition in operating procedures for the Projects. Many of you will receive these in the coming days but any who want more, just let us know and we’ll get them to you to share with family, friends, church and place of work. They are excellent tools to communicate what we are doing here in Romania.
Thank you for all you do to support the Smiles Foundation through prayer, financial giving and practical work.
Although most of our teams are done for 2018, we look forward to welcoming 30 people for our Christmas Trips starting December 8th and again on the 15th. During both trips the Team will be giving out the Sack of Smiles gifts and we would love for you to get involved by supporting this Christmas Project. We want to ensure every child across our projects receives a Christmas Gift this year.
Donations to Sack of Smiles, or any of our projects, can also be given as an Honour Gift this Christmas. We will forward a card to you for your friend or relative, which you can then give as their gift. Just drop us an email when you make your donation, or via telephone to the Leeds or TN office. Don’t leave it too late though! Support Sack of Smiles.
If you missed a trip this year, be sure to start thinking about 2019. Some weeks are already fully booked! But we currently still have plenty of options. Get in early and contact us by phone or e-mail to start your journey for a Smiles Foundation Mission Trip.
Keep in touch with us and if you have any questions at any time, just contact the office or one of us by e-mail.
Sincere blessings on you all.
Chief Executive to
The Smiles Foundation
p.s. if you already use Amazon for your shopping, Christmas or otherwise, please consider shopping through www.smile.amazon.co.uk and nominating The Smiles Foundation as your chosen charity. We then get a small percentage of all purchases – and small all adds up!! You can log on direct.