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Maria and her father

Maria – New Creation

“Therefore, if anyone is in Christ, the new creation has come.
The old has gone, the new is here!”
2 Corinthians 5. (NIV)

I love it! What a great promise! To know that you have the opportunity to wear “brand new clothes” every single day! Who would not like that? For sure the ladies would love it! The only condition, the only thing you have to do is TO STAY in Christ! At first sight, that is not so hard, but sadly looking at the world we live in makes it harder and harder. So, what is there to do?

STAY FOCUSED on HIM. NOT on the world! And I pray to God that we can do this day by day!

A new year, 2018 has started! Another new month and January has already gone! Smile’s is still here, doing the best we can for the less fortunate people of Romania. As you’ve heard from recent updates, we are in the process of “restructuring” our work! Getting new clothes. But how does that work and how is it going?

Let me share with you a few updates!

TILEAGD. As you know, over the last 3 years this project has been through a lot of changes. Some of them were really hard for me to accept, as this project is very close to my heart and therefore an emotional one for me. Many times I felt that “the new clothes” did not fit!

I am really happy to say that finally, I found the “right size!” Once I accepted the changes were for the good of the children and I will always have to make changes, things fell into place.
Tileagd Nursery
I’m happy that the NURSERY is functioning now all in one place (the main nursery building) and the small children love it! With the help we receive from the State our monthly deficit in the budget is smaller. I still have to make sure that with sponsor’s help we cover the cost of the functioning and for that I need committed people all year round. So if you are one that believes EDUCATION is important, sign up today and support the Tileagd Kids to receive education! Support via PayPalUK £ Support Tileagd Education  USA $ Support Tileagd Education

A positive encouragement is also with the SCHOOL. Since the State started to help with our teachers costs, we needed to make sure that the facility and all the utilities were covered.

With the changes that we had at the beginning of the last year (2017) with the school moving to the smaller side of the Complex, things really improved. Now I feel more at home when I go to visit the kids. The morning programme (grade 0 to 4) and the afterschool programme (grade 5-8) runs pretty much on their own now. The kids know what they have to do in order to benefit from our help and most days are good and encouraging! They realise EDUCATION is the key to their future and even if they do not get the support at home that they need, it is great to know that coming to Smiles they have it! So please stay close to us and help us to achieve this goal in 2018 too!

As you know Tileagd now also includes the ASSISTED LIVING project. On one side of the complex where the school functioned, it is great to see the place used at full capacity.

What is even greater to see is the amazing connection that is now between the residents and the kids. Honestly, we were all worried how the kids would respond to that change. I was panicking many times about it. But it is a great joy now to go in the rooms and see the kids chatting with the elderly. A few of them, if I allow them, would spend the entire day there!
This feeling applies to all the residential projects we have. JFL in SALONTA and ECO in ORADEA are both wonderful to see the love and care that the people are showing to the residents. It is like being a part of a bigger family. No wonder so many of them, after spending one week in the centre, are telling us: “I’m sure in heaven will be amazing, but here we feel like being in heaven already!” It is so nice to be encouraged and to know that by having projects like these, the lonely, the elderly and the sick can spend their final years of life in a place that shows them LOVE, CARE and SUPPORT.
Gepiu meal
The GEPIU project is not a long way from showing that as well. Over the past 14 years lots of kids, teenagers and elderly that came to this project knew that they have a “safe place” there, a place where they can come with their problems and for sure somebody would listen to them.

You might wander, ok but what about FAMILY CARE, HOMELESS, EMERGENCY HOUSING projects? What about all of them? They were from the beginning! And YES, they were and are the 3 projects plus all our supported communities that are now “under restructure”. It can be hard to do that after having projects around for nearly 20 years, but as many things in this world if we do not change by improving it, you risk losing it! And we do not want that!!
Family Care
Even though I said many times to Mr Hoy that “we have to do something” – I was never really ready for it. So in November, when Mr Hoy had the courage to take the first steps of a restructure, I panicked.
Do not misunderstand me, I agree with the changes. And current discussions are bringing about some positive and exciting changes. During my life I had many, but the process, is not always that easy!

Pearl in a shellI heard something nice this past week at the church in Tileagd, coming from a disabled person who is part of our project and it encouraged me. He said “the pearl comes out of the suffering of the shells”. So I need to accept that we have to go through a lot of difficult changes, sometimes even ‘suffering’ in order to get to the “pearl”.

Nelu’s leaving was not an easy one for me. It took me a while to accept it. Another colleague, Dana Hanga who was working on the administration side left this month. Dana had worked with Smiles for over 13 years. But in both situations, even if I am disappointed with the loss, I understand once again, that if Smiles work is made BY GOD, HE WILL FIND THE PEOPLE AND SOLUTIONS! So, no matter who it is – Nelu, Dana or even ME, God’s work WILL CONTINUE!

Why I’m so sure of that?!?! Because over the last 16 years I’ve experience it over and over again. And this time is no different!

My Hoy, has in the past 5 years, undertaken the hard challenge of negotiating with the State concerning their responsibility to share in the financial burden of some of our projects. Especially the more ‘Social’ projects. Mr Hoy is keen to remind us we are not here as an ‘alternative’ to the State for social services. Anymore than we were for ‘Educational’ provision for the Gypsy communities. Smile’s role is often to show what can be done. What God would do and as His Hands & Feet, it becomes our privilege to lead. But once the State has seen what can be done, we must encourage them to take a more active role. Not just sit back and watch us do it! As we begin more partnerships with the State and encourage them to take a share of the financial burden whilst still working with Smiles for the Love, Care and Passion – so we will be able to focus more on our primary calling of sharing the Truth of the Gospel and drawing people to Christ through faith.
This is part of the objective we want to achieve through the Restructuring of our Field Projects, so please continue to pray for wisdom and courage to do all that is necessary to embrace the changes that are necessary.

So dear friend, get ready to be part of our new adventure! We are very excited about it!! We believe you will be too. Stay close and we will share more with you on all the news as it comes.

Until then, be a blessing wherever you are.

With love

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