I am excited to be sharing with you again all the news from Smiles. Each month seems to pass so quickly but I guess that is simply due to so much happening each day, that no dust settles on any aspect of our work, and the excitement of being on the front line of ministry, seeking daily to do the Lord’s Will – is an extraordinary place to be. I often meditate on the words of Matthew 25, verse 23:“His master replied, ‘Well done, good and faithful servant! You have been faithful with a few things; I will put you in charge of many things. Come and share your master’s happiness!”People often ask me why Smiles features so many different projects, why there is always something new being considered, why enough is never enough? I can only reiterate my thoughts for 20 years now – when there is no longer a need, we can say ‘enough is enough and we’re done’. Meanwhile, I rest confidently on the Master’s words “You have been faithful with a few things, I will put you in charge of many things!” Within the Smiles Foundation, we have always endeavoured to be faithful with a few things, and as a result, God has put us in charge of many things!
This is a great blessing but also an enormous responsibility and I have personally felt the responsibility in recent months as we have worked to ensure our newest project in Dezna is firmly on course for all the planned activities.
Whilst it is fair to say that each and every major project we have opened over the years has caused stress and difficulties, the challenges of getting Dezna Outreach Centre ready has been particularly demanding. This is in part due to the fact we inherited the land and buildings that were sadly in a very poor condition, requiring considerable work to fulfil all the objectives we had set.
Understandably, there were many aspects of the work including many problems that needed resolving, that were unknown at the start of the repair and renovation work. Some work has been considered essential to complete that wasn’t included in the original plan, but as one part of the job finished it often revealed another unexpected job was required!
I appreciated the task was a big one when I agreed to take on the Dezna project. My initial assessment concluded approximately £100,000 / $130,000 would be needed to complete the work required for opening the Camp programme by June 2019 and to then complete the entire renovation and new build work before the Official Opening set for weekend of 28th/29th September. As we arrive at September, the Opening date is getting close, and I know we are over budget by £22,000 / $28,600 with further costs still to consider before September 28th totalling another £12,000 / $15,600.
As I have always believed and endeavoured to operate by, when God Calls you to fulfil His Work, you don’t stop until the job is done. You plan and budget to the best of your ability, knowing that our Heavenly Father always provides and places on the hearts of His people the opportunity to meet the needs for His Mighty Work.
So, having fulfilled the objectives and seen Camps running all summer, we continue to work hard to finish the entire facility ready for the Opening Weekend. I believe God will be smiling over Dezna and that many of you will want to ensure all the needs are met.
I can assure you being a part of the investment in Dezna is a thrilling opportunity to partner in, sharing God’s Love with so many young people through Camps and others through Conference & Retreat events to be run at Dezna Outreach Centre over the coming years.
Adi’s Report this month includes stories of Dezna Camps and our summer’s COP’s so please take time to read his contribution.I have designated September 29th, 2019 as a Gift Day for Dezna. All those attending the Official Opening will have opportunity to directly share in the Gift Day, but just as I ask all supporters around the world to remember the events of that weekend in your prayers, I also ask you to prayerfully consider a special Gift towards the significant costs of establishing Dezna Outreach Centre to the Glory of God. For those who would like to invest in Dezna Outreach Centre, please send your gift to the Smiles office or telephone the office to make a gift using your Visa/Master Card. We value your prayers and your support, and I hope you will all get to see the amazing benefits Dezna will bring to so many people over the coming years.
The summer has been a very busy time with Mission Teams bringing more than 100 visitors since early June who have worked on so many projects on the Field, in the Residential Facilities, at COP’s, in the Glasshouse and of course, every team has been heavily involved with the work in Dezna.
The Teams have been a tremendous encouragement to all the staff and a joy for our beneficiaries to have special days with visitors every week. Now we have 3 weeks without a team as we prepare for the Dezna Opening, when 60 people are flying in from UK and America to be part of that special celebration. Just 5 days after our Opening Weekend visitors return home, our October Mission Teams begin, with teams from October 5th until November 2nd.
We have spaces open for some of the October trips, so if you are interested please write to us or call the office for further information. We also have spaces for our special Christmas Week (December 14th – 21st) so make plans to experience a Mission Trip to change your life!
I am very encouraged by the interest expressed in our 2020 Mission Trips including the Special Weeks I launched last month. Here are details again which I trust you will think about attending and promoting in your church and then encourage folk to contact us for further details:
April (4th – 11th) Our Youth Worker Trip.
Very special opportunity for those working in the church with Youth to discover all a Smiles Mission Trip offers and then plan a trip in 2020/2021 with your Youth team.
May (2nd – 9th) Our Construction Trip.
A great opportunity for those skilled in construction or ready for hard work in Service for God and others to come on a trip with a focused Construction Project planned.
June (20th – 27th) Our Student Week.
A special time for those in full-time education to come for a Missions Experience with all like-minded and similarly aged people. Late nights and ‘later’ mornings will make this Mission Trip something special!
August (1st – 8th) Our Family Mission Week.
The first time we are setting time aside for Families with children between 3 and 15 to enjoy a combined week of Mission together and holiday time. Recognising the importance of ‘family’ we are delighted to be launching this opportunity for five families to share.
These are exciting specialised Mission Trips which we pray will open up possibility to Serve and Explore Missions in a different way. Take a look at the specials and see what could work for you. 2020 Special Mission Weeks
We have many regular trips scheduled with dates for 2020 on the website. We also have new opportunities for 2020 at Dezna Outreach Centre with summer camps, both for attending Camp and serving as a volunteer, whether as a leader for a week or intern support through the summer programme.
So many possibilities I urge you to call the office or drop an e-mail detailing your interest and we’ll get back to as soon as possible. E-mail: email@example.com
With so much planned for the next month, it’s hard to be planning for a few months down the road, but the demands of the Smiles Foundation means forward planning is absolutely essential. I am therefore looking forward immensely to my tour of Smiles Forums in November. I sincerely hope to meet many of you on my travels.
With Forum’s 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
Ballydown, 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
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
Quite a few news reports are updated this month, probably none more important than Maria’s news, but as I don’t want to steal her thunder – I strongly encourage you to read it for yourself!
Luke Wathen our Development Ambassador has also had a busy summer and is currently back in England for presentations. He’s scheduling more travels and presentations for January – March 2020 in the UK – so after you have read his report, drop a line to see about welcoming him to your area in the new year.
Adi has also produced another ‘Thankful Heart’ Residential Video. This month we are featuring Mr. Alexandru Veres, a resident at our ECO facility in Oradea. (Elderly Care Oradea).
I trust you will enjoy the video and story on Mr Veres. If you can assist our residents at ECO, JFL or TAL who need support with their costs, please check our specific web-page:Residents needing support
As always, lots of news to digest and opportunities to share in and support. I appreciate immensely your interest and partnership with Smiles and pray you will get involved in every way you possibly can with our work in Romania.
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