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Only Hope ....

Rapa House Build

Only Hope – Maria – June 2018

These days people put their hopes and dreams in many different things and different people. With regret sooner or later, they discover that they ‘did wrong’. I’m sure that you know the story in the Bible that talks about the two men and their houses. One was building it on the sand while the other one on the rock. After the big storm one had it, the other one lost it!

We must ask ourselves the question “Where is our house built?” I’m not talking about where you live, I’m talking about your heart, soul, your life! 
I wish to say and believe that mine is built on the rock, but I’m sad and disappointed with myself when I let certain situations ‘demolish’ my house! Yes, I let a negative thought, or an argument with a ‘so called’ friend, or a disappointment to ‘destroy’ my soul and lose my peace!

In a world like today I’m sure that we can find good excuses, but the truth is that even when Jesus was on this earth He had the same type of problems, yet He was strong in His father!

I pray for all of us to do the same, stay strong, anchored in God.

So, how was this month for me in Smiles? Rather like our weather! – Some days with amazing sunshine, some days with a storm but all of them passed and we have a new month ahead.

May normally starts with a National Holiday for us here in Romania :). So, I took advantage of that and visited my family in Susca! I had a really nice time especially as I’ve not been for a long time.

By the time I came back we had a mission team arriving! A small team that had a big impact in the lives of the people in Smiles, Bihor county. 2 from Northern Ireland and 4 Americans!
I love it when I see people from different parts of the world coming together and working like a family! And yes, we are part of a big family, the family of God. I would like to say a huge thank you to each one of them for taking the time to spend it here with us……And more than that THANK YOU for being such a good listener ….as I talk a lot :).
Container and Team in Cihei, Romania
While we had the team here we had also a container arriving. So, it was like CHRISTMAS in May! Amazing!! Just lacking the snow!!!  
I do not know how the people from Northern Ireland do it, but what I’ve learned over the years about them is that they are really special and more than that their love and care for people and God is even more special. So many times in life, we as humans take things for granted, don’t we?

No matter how big or small they are many times we think that we deserve it. But we do not. EVERYTHING we received day by day is by Grace, by GOD’S GRACE! I’m thankful to God for this and very thankful for sending so many people in my life, in my work. THANK YOU VERY MUCH to ALL MY FRIENDS from NI that made this container possible. Like I said, your generosity is beyond my understanding. THANK YOU!!!

As soon as we unloaded the container we worked on doing the carpet in the Lounge at Tileagd! It looks amazing!!! THANK YOU very much to Ulster Carpet for donating it!

After the mission trip left and the container was sorted out we continued our meetings! And trust me in Smiles we have a few of them! For the last 5 months you’ve heard us telling you about the opportunities we have in Smiles. So many times in life we do not understand the direction God is sending us, all we must do is trust! It’s not easy but it’s rewarding!

So be sure to read Kevin’s e-mail and you will find more about the direction God sent us!

Yes, we can do a lot of things for the people we work with, and I think over the years we did! But I know now that ONLY God can change the heart of a person and give a new purpose to the life!

Chandler Woods says:

“It is amazing how you can visit the same place in different time periods and have completely different experiences. First mission trips often teach visitors to be thankful for what God has blessed them with, and we still learned to be thankful this time around, no doubt. But the best thing about having been to an area before is the ability to dive even deeper into the complex dilemmas that it faces. Our familiarity with Bihor County, Romania reduced the acclimation period that often accompanies mission trips.

Chandler in Rapa

We knew, to an extent, what we were getting into, so we were prepared more than ever to put ourselves to work—whether that was through physical labour, emotional care, or a unique marriage of the two (as it so often was). Physiological needs are the basis for most mission work, and we witnessed that, for Smiles, meeting these needs remains a priority. Years of dedication in Romania and support abroad have allowed many communities that Smiles works with to advance beyond raw physiological desperation.

Certainly, we saw that this status upgrade for many Romanians is a two-edged sword. It is only through the grace of God that Smiles has made such wonderful progress, but with mission work, progress always seems to bring with it a new set of challenges. The challenges we witnessed this time around in Romania are all-too-familiar in Western society but are perhaps all the more difficult to address. When someone needs a house, you raise the money, buy the materials, and build it. There! Problem solved… but what amount of money will show someone that Jesus is the only way to a fulfilling life? What amount of money is required to convince someone to lay down his current way of life—the only life he has ever known—and enter the Christian faith?

Of course, Smiles has dealt with these issues since its beginning, but because of the physical advancement of the people it serves, these spiritual dilemmas are making their way to the forefront. We are so very grateful to have witnessed this in person.

Money will always be important, but personal experiences in Romania carry a special significance; you will learn that mission work is never as easy as you think, but that people across the world—no matter how different they may seem—all innately desire the same thing: eternal satisfaction. And that satisfaction is only found in Jesus Christ.”

And Chandler is one of the hundreds of mission trip people that will visit us this year! I’m thankful to have people around like Chandler and his mother Melissa, along with Kelly and her husband Tim that come from a long distance to spend the time with poor people of Romania.

I’m looking forward to having you all back!

….and I can’t wait to meet all the new people that are coming to visit us this summer and autumn.

I’m really looking forward to seeing what God has in store for us all.

Until I see you again, let’s stay anchored in GOD! And then everything else is much easier to take each day!

Be blessed

Maria Hava
Director of Operations, Smiles Romania

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