Greetings to you from a tired but thankful Chief Executive today.
As I sit down to write these thoughts, I have just said good-bye and waved off the last of our 60 International Guests who have been with us for the Official Opening of Dezna Outreach Centre / Casa Torch.
Words will never be able to describe the incredible weekend we have just experienced with so many emotions. Delight to see the construction work completed, the excitement seen in the eyes of kids who enjoyed Camp in Dezna this past summer. Amazement of so many guests who had worked in Dezna this past year during Mission Trips, but never expected to see what they saw this weekend. The tears of memories and moments of missing our dear Barbara Morrison, as we dedicated the Facility and in particular the Prayer Garden, to her memory and to the Glory of God.
Over 100 people from America, United Kingdom and Romania joined the celebration of the Opening Ceremony Saturday afternoon, followed by a Community Event and Open House for everyone to see what was ‘Dezna Outreach Centre’ – and the evening Concert Presentation with poignant moments from Barbara’s brother Robin and husband Sam. Special music guests delighted the audience with Ema Popa from Romania and Marilyn Baker from the UK. We could have been there all night, but we needed to close the day and prepare for Sunday!
10.30 Sunday morning, over 100 people crammed into Dezna Outreach Centre for Worship and to hear God’s Word delivered by Smiles Trustee, Mike Wildsmith.
After lunch, we all gathered in the grounds, in and around the Prayer Garden for a very emotional dedication to the memory and inspiration of Smiles Ambassador, Barbara Morrison.
After Ian Steenson had shared some devotional thoughts from John 15: 5
“I am the vine; you are the branches. If you remain in me and I in you, you will bear much fruit; apart from me you can do nothing.“
I was joined by Sam, Robin and Alison (Barbara’s sister) in planting a Vine in each corner of the Prayer Garden ensuring these vines will be a constant reminder of our call and challenge to ’bear much fruit’.
Then as we closed our time in Dezna, coaches and buses brought us back to Oradea to enjoy a dinner for 100 in celebration of God’s Goodness and Provision.
Although I was delighted to have so many guests and supporters with us in Dezna, I appreciate many more would like to have been there to experience the wonders of the weekend. Two super new videos were ‘premiered’ at the Opening – one featuring the Story of Smiles from the beginning with my first visit to Romania in 1990 right up to the present day with Dezna, alive with the fun and laughter of kids at Camp.
We also showed a Video taken during the Camps this past summer and both were wonderfully received. I’m sharing some extracts from the video to give you a taster as we have a new CD available containing these 2 Videos – but not only – we are also editing this week our Souvenir Video reflecting the entire Weekend, with all the special moments featured.
The CD Disk, with all 3 videos, is available to order from the Smiles Office. £10 UK and $15 USA. Order NOW. The CD will only be available by mail for the month of October. Telephone the office to order with Visa or Mastercard and you’ll have a permanent memory of the special occasion along with new videos that were prepared for it.
It is wonderful that despite having such a big event at the end of September, we still have 24 people coming on Mission Trips in October. Some were here this past weekend and are coming back in just 10-days for a whole week of service within Smiles Projects.
I am so humbled by so many wanting to share in the ministry of Smiles. Whether that be physically here working with those we seek to help or through financial gifts and our special Gift Day for Dezna on September 29th raised a staggering £30,142 ($39,185) which will make a huge impact on the considerable costs we face for finishing the facility. Thank you for your generosity and as further gifts are being received, I encourage you to keep giving, fund raising and promoting so that our amazing projects can indeed reach more people with the love of God and the Saving Grace of the Gospel.
We have another 30 young people at Dezna the first weekend of October. Be sure to pray for every person entering the Centre, that they will hear and respond to God’s knocking at the door, to enter their life and make it worth living for the future.
Now Dezna is officially open, we will be working to have as many programmes as possible in 2020.
We already have interests in the Camps, both in Romania but also from overseas. We are encouraging Camps from UK & America to share a week with a Romanian Camp as a truly International Experience and I believe these could truly see God move in a mighty way in so many lives. Think about how your church, youth work or children’s ministry could benefit from a Dezna Adventure.
It’s also been very encouraging to have interest in our special Mission weeks in 2020.
Many enquiries have been received for the Construction Week, the Youth Leaders Week and also the Family Week. We were asked to consider another special week, which I have and now agreed to launch.
October 10th – 17th, 2020 is now Ladies Week. Yes, I’m sorry to say – no men that week! A week especially designed for ladies who can work with our beneficiaries teaching Crafts, Knitting and Sewing Machine work. Special Days for ‘Pampering’ those in our Residential Facilities and some special programmes with the Girls in our School and Youth projects at Gepiu, Rapa and Tileagd.
If you would like to be a part of our Ladies Week, let us know and we’ll be well prepared for a fantastic experience of outreach and encouragement to those who need it most.
E-mail (email@example.com) or Telephone the office.
(UK:0113-276-5060 / USA: 423-239-9525)
To some extent, I feel like I’ve lived, slept and breathed Dezna for most of this year, so with the intense time largely over, I am looking forward immensely to some regular work and my tour of Smiles Forums in November. I hope to meet many of you on my travels.
With Forum’s held of an evening, I can have additional meetings, one on one or smaller groups, during the day. So, let me know if you would like to meet up when I’m in your area.
Great Ayton, England, November 9th
Banbridge, Northern Ireland, November 17th
Belfast, Northern Ireland, November 18th
Ballymoney, Northern Ireland, November 19th
Omagh, Northern Ireland, November 20th
Kilmarnock, Scotland, November 21st
Worthing, England, November 23rd & 24th
For full details
I am also starting to plan my Spring 2020 visit to America. Likely dates would be mid-March through early-April. I am always keen to visit as many locations as possible, but with the extensive travels of America, planning the trip is truly essential to fit in every possibility. Please do drop me a quick e-mail if you think I could come to your area to share the work of Smiles with your congregation. I’m already looking forward to it! firstname.lastname@example.org
Because of the demands of Dezna Opening I decided to keep this October update a little simpler than normal, so this month we have just the main news here and an update on Prayer & Praise. Reports from Maria, Adi and Luke, plus our stories from Thankful Hearts, will all resume next month.
There is always a lot of news to digest and opportunities to share in and support. This month is no different, but we have focused primarily on Dezna for obvious reasons. It has been a fascinating journey to get this far and I do appreciate the support and trust afforded Smiles by Torch Trust UK when choosing us to partner with them in seeing Casa Torch brought to fruition. A conclusion that truly brings Glory to God.
As always, I appreciate your personal interest and partnership with Smiles and pray you will delight with us and thank God for the completion of Dezna Outreach Centre, phase one. As we catch breath, we will be turning our attention to phase two in Dezna. The residential facility for Elderly, Disabled and those in need of Assistance with Life.
This past weekend in Dezna was a wonderful example of the amazing Smiles family. Please Pray Daily, Support as able, Come to Visit and see what is so special about the Smiles Family.
Sincere blessings for all you do.
Chief Executive to The Smiles Foundation
Dezna Outreach Centre