I have written this report from the Smiles office in Cihei. I arrived back here on April 8th having been in the UK since December 23rd. That time was the longest I have been away from Romania for two years! Plus, as of April 16th this year I am starting my third year with Smiles. Doesn’t time fly when you’re having fun, even more so if it’s having fun whilst working for the Lord!
So, I am over the moon to be back here, not that I didn’t enjoy being in the UK. Spending time with family and friends is always a blessing but I did find myself getting homesick for Romania! Moreover, I missed my friends here. Both amongst the amazing staff and beneficiaries within the projects. In the first week of being back I got to see Angela, Gusti and their family and help them move to a new home in Oradea. Many of you may well know them from the Homeless Container Village. Well they now have their own home. In a way it is sad to see them leave the Container Village but it is definitely a massively positive step for them!
They now rent their new home with the help of Smiles, which was something they could never have done when they first came into the Container Village. It is wonderful to see this lovely family progressing so well, as this is what Smiles aims to do for all the beneficiaries in the projects, to give them a hand up rather than just a hand out. To help them get to a stage where they can better support themselves and thus breaking the cycle of poverty one case at a time. Please remember them in your prayers, as they start this new chapter. Pray God will be with them and bless them as a family. Smiles will continue to assist for a while, not only with a contribution to rent but also with practical support through Family Care.
I could now launch into a whole list of individuals, families and communities who have progressed and who I love, but I will just restrict myself to one. Anyone who has talked to me about my time in Romania will not be surprised to hear that I couldn’t wait to see the Rapa Community again!
I did have to wait a bit, but I’m not complaining as we had an amazing Mission trip group here during my second week back. They put in a lot of effort in so many areas from painting in JFL, TAL and ECO to helping take residents of ECO on a day out to Baile Felix. We are so thankful that they gave their time and raised money to come here many of them for the first time, first of many visits we sincerely hope!
I enjoyed working with professional painter and decorator Stuart who was here for the first time. I worked with the team one day to get all the undercoat done in the new TAL lounge, then went with Stuart for the day of final top coat which made the room look fantastic.
So, I enjoyed spending the week with them but I had to wait to see my friends in Rapa. This just meant the excitement and anticipation grew and grew. Plus, I heard from Alina that the kids at the afterschool program were asking each day when I was coming back, which only increased my desire more.
But eventually I did get there! It was definitely worth the wait, we enjoyed the day together, the school work, the games and the …… I just love this whole community so much. If you ask me to explain how this connection fully came about, I can’t. We struggle to communicate with each other’s languages but love can easily bridge that gap. We are connected thanks to God being present throughout our time together and I pray that they will continue to progress in their lives and faith.
This kind of connection is one that is something many of our Mission trip volunteers come to experience as well, with someone in one of the projects somewhere. Why not come and experience it yourself, individually or as part of a team? We do have a busy schedule of trips this year but we will still gladly work to find a time that you can come. Please get in touch via the information on this website or drop an e-mail to me and we’ll go from there!
Finally, please continue to pray for the year ahead. For all the trips that are coming, for the people here that will be helped and the staff who work with such commitment every day!
May God bless you all,
Smiles UK Development Ambassador