New Year – New Challenges!!!
Is it never too late to wish you Happy New Year, true??!!…even if one month has already gone!
May God continue to give you a blessed 2019. May His peace and love surround you and your family and His protection be over you all the time! I appreciate your hard work, effort, faithfulness to the work we do here in Romania! THANK YOU for not giving up on us! We might not be perfect, but I appreciate the fact that in times like this where “normal” is not feeling like normal anymore, God has people like YOU out there!
After a hard 2018 I was looking forward to have some time off! So the Christmas and New Year break was a great time for that. Let’s say I charged my batteries at full speed, sufficient for at least one full month!
And indeed January is the best one when you need to come with fresh strength.
Smiles projects never stops! Even if some of them went into the ‘holiday mode’, the Elderly Centres we are running 24/7 at full speed! So I’m really grateful for the people who work in the centres, grateful for their commitment! Having to work Christmas Day, New Years Eve and so on is not so easy. But every day the kitchen is preparing food, the carers are there for the residents and nurses are caring for their needs.
Georgi did a great job, and even if she is a more ‘backstage role’ now, she knows everything that is going on there! Well with me, Mioara and Rebeca texting her, at times she feels like she has 2 full time jobs. Speaking of Georgi, on December 21st she and Florin celebrated their first child, a sweet baby girl called Sarah! Please pray for her as – yes, Smiles was a hard busy job but she discovers now what I discovered in October 2016, when Stefan was born – that Smiles was an easy ‘project’ compared with raising a child. If you want to say congratulation to her you can do on her normal e mail address; (firstname.lastname@example.org) She will be happy to read it between feeding Sarah and changing nappies!
So, being now involved a bit more in the day to day operation of the elderly centres, which if I’m honest with you is not my strongest point, I was shocked about a few things that they have to cope with month by month. For example – the amount of pampers they use in the 3 elderly centres and the cost for them! It shocked me! Over £3,500/$4,550 each month!!! A lot of money! And since January 1st the company increased their price again due to the salaries increased imposed by the state!
So, IF you know any good supplier who can help us with Adult Pampers, feel free to let us know. Also, the amount of hygiene surgical gloves and other medical disposables is huge. One thing that keeps us on the ‘high recommendation’ list between other centres in the city is the quality of the services we provide! So we want to continue doing a great job! If you can help us with recommendation, or with the items I detailed we have a container coming from UK in May and it would be more than amazing to fill it with good needed supplies! Everything is welcome. From cleaning supplies that save our budgets immensely throughout the entire Smiles projects, to big things like bulk supplies of items such pampers, toilet rolls and everything on our wish list. https://www.thesmilesfoundation.org/wish-list/
For everything – big or small – WE THANK YOU!!!
Our Education project that includes Tileagd School and Nursery, the Gepiu centre and Rapa community, all started their new year classes on January 14th. What a great break they had. Sadly, the Romanian winter this year is not an easy one, so few of them had schools closed and kids had an even longer holiday. I think during last year I told you many times that I got to the conclusion after 16 years of working in this area, that Education is the most important thing, education of the kids starting at the younger age.
To educate the parents is very hard, nearly impossible to change. And to be honest, more and more we realised that we must focus more on the kids, even if at times it’s harder work due to not having the support we need. In this, I’m THANKFUL TO ALL THE PEOPLE who are helping us month by month to get the kids through education. Yes, we might not always have the results we want or dream of, but I’m sure that along the way the seeds that we plant in them one day will give a good harvest!
Maybe not even with them, maybe with their kids, but the work WILL GIVE FRUITS!!! That is my reassurance from God and even if I have times when I’m disappointed and let down and want to give up, I know that the battle is not mine!! So please do not give up in supporting us! Maybe some of you are for 16 years in the process, some for 16 months or days! Each one of you is important!!! Starting at £5/$10 each month we can make a difference for the 140 kids we serve through these projects!
I’m thankful to all the staff that day by day are there to encourage them not to give up! THANK YOU and I pray for 2019 to be a better year for us.
Another project that I’ve been involved with this past month is the great restructuring of EHU (Emergency Housing Unit). Adi is the main person responsible for it, and I’m sure you will hear more from him in the near future. My involvement is to help a little with the ‘decorating’ side! (my favourite bit!)
And so far, I did a great job, just took everything OUT!! and leave the rooms empty! Sooooooooo I think I need a bit of help from you not to leave Adi in a ‘panic mode!’. So far we have the beds! Because since 2016 we’ve not got any new furniture, just painting the rooms, now we are looking to get a few new things like bedside cabinets, wardrobes, beddings, and very important picture frames to make the place look happy. If you can help us, please do so. Kevin will report more as things develop, but meanwhile – you can support our efforts at: https://www.thesmilesfoundation.org/project/emergency-housing-unit/
Our FIELD project also started the new year on January 3rd. You have heard a lot about the restructuring last year and I’m really happy to know that we are nearly at the end of it. Adi did a great job in ‘starting all over again’ with a new formula. He might not be as popular now as he used to be, with the families that left the project, but we concluded is was better to have fewer families, between 30 and 50 and do a more consistent job than have so many to just ‘drop’ the food package while rushing through.
So during January we finalised the support list and February we start fresh. The great news is that we are looking to EMPLOY A NEW COLLEAGUE to help Alina! So please PRAY for a Godly man or woman to come and share the vision we have. During February we place the announcement and hope by March to have a new member for the team. Alina is continuing to do a great job in Rapa and also at the Container Village. Now we are looking to have a voluntary support base to ‘share’ the time there as the State agreed to give us a ‘free hand’ to be there, Saturdays and Sundays too! Pray for God to send good people. And pray for all the staff.
As you know, I can go on and on and on, but I have to stop here for this month!
My encouragement for you dear friends is to know that GOD IS AT WORK, even in times when we do not understand. I do not want to look back at 2018 because it was a hard year. But I’m happy that with the events from December, I closed that chapter in my life. Yes I lost people, I was upset with people that betrayed me and let me down, but I gained a lot of great things too. And for that, I’m THANKFUL and look forward to 2019. I do not think it will be an ‘easy year’ as we do not live in an ‘easy world’. You just have to watch the TV to see it’s not like that. Maybe I will have people that will let me down, maybe I will have people that I lose, (although I pray not) but I have ONE THING that I’M SURE OF. MY SAVIOUR! MY BEST FRIEND JESUS – HE will not leave me nor forsake me! That helps me with continuing on – day by day!
I leave you with my motto song for this year, and I hope it will encourage YOU.
Be blessed dear friend and thank you for being a blessing for me.