Many of you know that 2018 has been a hard year for me. As in Maria Cimpoca-Hava.
I’ve been up on the mountains and down in the valley. Betrayed by people that I thought were friends, but making new ones along the way. Hurt each time I hear “smiles is investing in projects these days not in people” but encouraged when I hear from the people we serve “you are an answer to my prayers”… and the list can go on and on.
The biggest impact on me this year was Barbara’s death. We had plans, we spoke just a few days before the incident happened and we were meant to see each other face to face …. but not anymore here on earth. I live now with the hope that one day I will see her again and continue our chat! Until that day, she is looking at me from the best place ever!
This year I also experienced more than ever what it means to review, even close projects as well as open new ones, or make adjustments to those established years ago! January started with restructuring older projects like family care and homeless. But by June, we had the activities of these well established projects put under a new one named ‘Field Project’. That is now running very well. We still pray for another person to come alongside Adi and Alina, so please pray with us for that! We never give up looking around for people to join us to serve others. These days it is harder to find them. Not only in Romania but everywhere.
A positive encouragement for me personally this year was the Tileagd project! In July, when Geta told me she will take a long time off due to medical issues, I did not know how that will work out. I experienced many times such situations like this when I thought ‘that’s it’ and then God surprised me!
Monica and Ligia, Ghiuri and Meda are all doing a fantastic job and I’m really proud of them all. Day by day, around 100 kids are benefiting from our service. The investment we make in them and in their education is the best thing we can provide for Tileagd. Yes, it’s still hard work but it is worthwhile. So do not give up by ‘abandoning this project’. We still have 4 year to go until the 20 year process that Stephen talked about is up!
Another positive encouragement, even if it comes with a lot of challenges is the Rapa community! A lot of progress has been made there since we started working with them in 2013. We have built them new homes, started to educate the kids and they know what it means to go to church and have a personal connection with God. Please continue to pray for this community. There is still a long way to go with them and Alina is doing a fantastic job. The best we have ever done for Rapa!
This year, we were blessed with nearly 300 people visiting us in Romania on Mission Trips and the mission centre project was a great place to come and ‘recharge’ the batteries at the end of the day! This year we had a few changes there too but I’m glad that at the end of 2018 – people were happy and “will come back”.
A new project that we’ve been working on in 2018 is the Dezna project. After 2 years of dealing with the paper work and legalities, this year we have progressed with practical work. I’m looking forward to next summer when the place will be full with laughter and energy of children! Children coming from disadvantaged Romanian families, from churches around Bihor and Arad county.
My favourite project that I do each year is S.O.S. – Sacks of Smiles! Since 2004 – thousands of kids and adults benefit of the goodies that are in the sacks. This year, around 600 of them will receive a sack. For some of them, it will be the only gift they will receive this Christmas. Our prayer is that one day they will know the true gift of life that comes from GOD. KNOWING HIM and having a relationship with him is the best gift that we can give to a person.
So my dear friends, thank you very much for being near me during this year.
Thank you very much for the encouragements that I receive through e-mails or text messages. Thank you for your time that you took to read my reports month by month. I hope it helped you to be closer to the things we do here in Romania! Thank you for every single penny that you gave us towards doing the work here in Romania. Every little helps – for sure!
Thank you for the goods you send in the containers. It has made a huge difference to us and to the work we do.
And not least – THANK YOU FOR YOUR PRAYERS. THIS HELPED ME KEEP GOING! I can do a lot of things but nothing will be successful or worthwhile if I would not have God’s blessings over it.
I love a lot of bible verses and I’m sure that I’ve told you my favourite many times – Romans 8:28. But another one that spoke to me this year a lot in everything I’ve done is Philippians 1: 21. “For me to live is Christ and to die is gain”. In a world like today, when nothing is normal, Christ is THE ONLY HOPE! THE ONLY NORMAL thing!
I pray for each one of us to live our lives, day by day, year by year WITH CHRIST!!
Love to you all and appreciate everything you do for us here in Romania.
Be blessed and thank you for being a blessing!
Director of Operations, Smiles Romania