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Luke with Colin and Ian

Luke’s News, April 2020

Hello everyone,

Firstly, I hope and pray that you, your family and friends are well at this very uncertain time!

Every day brings some new guidance from the Government and new measures that we all need to follow to try and help the situation. These can seem strange, unnerving, and even worrying but I’m sure we all have our families and friends at the forefront of our minds because of how important they are and many of us know people who are currently, more at risk at.

This definitely extends to your Romanian family and friends at Smiles! You are in our prayers and we hope you will remember the staff at Smiles and particularly our wonderful elderly residents at this time. Elderly at TAL

Throughout this article I will not use the name of the illness that is at the heart of all this, mainly because I am fed up of hearing it and it dominating the news channels! I have been following the BBC news website more than the tv news because whilst I need to know what is happening and how to adhere to the guidelines, I don’t want to be focusing on this crisis to the exclusion of all else.

Crisis is a word that is being used a lot to describe the situation worldwide every day on the news channels. There are certainly a huge amount of problems and crisis would seem to be the correct word.

I think it is the correct word but in another way. The word “crisis” is a latin based word that has multiple definitions:
1. A crucial or decisive point or situation; a turning point.
2. An unstable situation, in political, social, economic or military affairs, especially one involving an impending abrupt change.
3. A sudden change in the course of a disease.

Of course, looking at the third definition, I hope and pray that the disease reaches the point soon where it will begin to recede, so that the spread and the number of infections will soon begin to drop and people will recover.
But the first definition is the one I want to think about now. ‘a crucial or decisive point’ or a ‘turning point’. But to think about this in relation to our lives as we go through the larger crisis at the moment.

The whole situation of the ‘lockdown’, the ‘social distancing’ and ‘self-isolating’ is daunting. It is stressful because of the constant uncertainty but I suggest we all come to that ‘turning point’ in our lives.

All the stress and uncertainty in this situation are earthly, human reactions to a crisis. Let’s use the ‘turning point’ in our lives and in this crisis to come to the Lord and ask him for His help, which is obviously not human, it is His help, from Him the omnipotent God of creation!

We can come to Him and:
Cast all your worries on Him, for He cares for you. (1 Peter 5:7)

There is no better offer than this in troubled times, no-one else who can provide peace and solutions that are better! God wants us to come to Him with all our stress and uncertainty because He cares for us, all we need to do is ask!
Cast all your worries
For things that are big or small to you or me, He wants to care for us. Over the coming months there will be many problems to come, I don’t mean to sound pessimistic, but the recovery period from the virus will be difficult.

So, at Smiles we are definitely going to be casting our worries on the Lord!

Sadly, there have had to be decisions taken for some not come on imminent Mission trips. This is a completely correct decision but I must add, we fervently hope that as many as possible can be rescheduled later in the year once it is safe to travel and restrictions are lifted.

The loss of fantastic Mission Trips will be a struggle for us, on top of missing the wonderful people who volunteer to come, and I know that Kevin and the Leadership of Smiles are praying and considering many options and methods of how best to move forward and continue to help the people in Romania as much and as effectively as possible.Praying

Please take the time to read what Kevin has written in his update as he goes into more detail than I can here!

Mission trips, finances, staff and resident’s health will be just a few of the things we offer up to the Lord for His care. He will work in ways we can’t imagine and provide for all of those problems.

Moreover, we know that the amazing Smiles family of supporters will care and help in fantastic ways too. I am trying to think of ways to fundraise whilst sticking to the restrictions and adhering to social distancing. It’s an interesting challenge and perhaps you could help?

The more people who work on this, with passion and fantastic creativity, the more can be raised for the work in Romania that God is leading! Drop me an e-mail if you have some ideas to share for the good of the Smiles family.

Finally, I would like to say a personal ‘thank you’ to so many people. To everyone who has sent messages to me and my family over these past couple of months, it has not been easy – but the support and prayers from so many people across the UK and Romania has been great support and a massive blessing!

Also, to the people who I have met with throughout January, February and early March to talk with about Smiles and getting involved with the work in Romania. Some of you are friends I have known for years now; some are newly established friendships.  All of you have been encouraging to me and welcoming to the news about Smiles which you have shown great interest in and asked some wonderfully precise questions.

You have kept me on my toes with needing to always expand my knowledge of Smiles, but also Romania as a country and culture and the future plans God has. It has been a privilege and a pleasure to spend time sharing with you! I hope to do this again with you as soon as possible. In the UK or in Romania, I know that might seem a strange thing to say as travelling there is barely possible at present. But I believe that will change at the right time because God is caring and in control.

At Smiles, we want to plan for that future too! As soon as it is safe, we want to welcome people back to Bihor and Arad County. Please pray about this and get in touch with us via our email addresses because we want to keep in touch with you and as things improve and develop, we can all work together to do the best for you and Smiles.

I hope and pray you and your loved ones stay safe and healthy in the coming weeks!

May God bless you all,

Luke Wathen
UK Development Ambassador
The Smiles Foundation

Email: luke.wathen@thesmilesfoundation.org 

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