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Maria and singers at Tileagd

Maria – March 2018

Roads ….. travelling on the road!

Do you like travelling? I love it! I can’t stay still for a long time without going somewhere! I love the journey but once I get to the destination, I’m even happier!  Unfortunately, in Romania we do not have the best roads and that does not makes travel easy! But we have some amazing scenery!Romanian Scenery So I think the same is in life! Not all the roads are easy and smooth! Some are with bumps, some are rocky, but the final destination can be HEAVEN and that is amazing!

This past month was a very hard one for me personally. I won’t go into all the details but I ask you to pray for me! It was hard when I received a text asking me to pray for a dear friend that was sick, another one that had suspected cancer. It was hard to lose people that I’m close to. It was hard to be once again betrayed by people that I thought were my friends. It was hard to hear my baby is gone, or my child is sick, I can’t pay for his medicine. It was hard to hear “I can’t get food for my kids” knowing that once again, I had food in the fridge that I would throw away because I did not eat!

All this is hard! Yes, very hard!! When you are not so sure that God can turn them around for YOUR GOOD you feel lost!!! I do not say that it’s easy to accept. If you are like me, waiting – having patience, is one of the hardest things that I have to do when I’m going through a difficult situation. BUT there is HOPE!! God is our hope! and with Him all things are possible!!!

In recent days everybody is speaking about Pastor Billy Graham.I will never forget the revival that was in 1985 in Timisoara. I was small, but I remember being on my father’s shoulders, next to the window of the Orthodox Cathedral in Timisoara, listening to a tall man saying that AT THE CROSS all things have been paid and there is HOPE for us. Glory to HIM! When the people started singing Glory Glory Alleluia I started crying! Even today when I hear this song I get emotional. I get emotional knowing that I have hope in God and with him I can be victorious.
Billy Graham in TimisoaraLike Pastor Graham says:”my home is in Heaven, the life here is just a journey”. 
So my dear friends, let’s make sure that our journey in this world is with Him .

How was our journey this past month within Smiles?  A lot like “the Romanian roads”- rocky but with a great view:)

I told you in my last report that we are in the process of restructuring projects. Well we have now got to the stage when we are looking to find the right people for taking it forward. Please pray that God will send them to us. I know that for the long term supporters, and even for me, we tend to believe that “no one will do better than x, y or z”….And I’m sure that each person has “something special” that like Ecclesiastes says “it was good for that time”. So pray for us to have wisdom in choosing the right people. I will keep you updated how our search goes.
There are few things that really impressed me this past month!

Two Sundays ago, I went to Rapa church. I’ve not been there for a very long time. With Stefan now, I tend to do the mornings in Tileagd and the afternoon Oradea based. But this time I did Rapa. I was really impressed to see the progress that the kids are making since Alina has been working with them week by week! It is so encouraging to know that THERE IS HOPE! It’s not easy, it’s a lot of work but things are moving forward! Please do not give up in supporting this project.

The same is true in Tileagd with the School and Nursery!  All the hard work that we’ve done since 2003 is not wasted. This past Sunday we had a special event at Tileagd Community Church! 50 people visited our church for their first time as a part of a “Conference for the Disabled” that was being held in Oradea over the weekend.
Tileagd Disability Service
My delight was, if 10 years ago I would have asked a Gypsy person to be in the same room as a person with a disability, this would not have been possible. Today they were not only sitting in the same room but eating at the same table! When I got in the front to greet the people, I asked my kids and the people from Tileagd Community Church to come with me to sing a song. I was all goose bumps. I wanted that second to freeze the picture and keep it like that. To see lady Cornita who is nearly 85 years old singing in the same group as Sara who is 3 years old was amazing. Or to see Reta who just came out of prison singing with all her heart the song that says ‘there is no place like heaven’ you do not need any other thing! Yes, they all still have a long way to go, BUT PLEASE DO NOT STOP praying for them and supporting them! They need it. We need it. But God is doing a great work in His way and His time.

Another thing that I was thrilled with this past month is related to our Homeless project. Many of you know Ramona and Denis, or the Coman family. Well, as part of our restructuring, we have been challenged to find permanent solutions for people like them. After so many years in our Container Village which Mr Hoy always said ‘was to be transitional’ it was time to make more progress.

So, for example, Ramona and Denis have moved to our Emergency Shelter in Mierlau. Denis is going to the school there and it’s really nice to see the way that they’ve integrate in the new community. They have a new home. Not a container, but a real home. A new beginning which is so exciting for them.

Again the Coman family have been in the Container Village since it opened over 6 years ago! From March 1st they will move in to their own house! Amazing isn’t it!! If we look back from where we took them, behind Lotus supermarket where they lived in a cardboard hut, in to the container village for the past 7 years, now knowing they will move into their own house is an amazing achievement!

Home behind Lotus

Smile’s has a property in Sabolciu and we will sell that to the Coman Family. Living in the Container Village they have managed to save each month a small amount of money and from now on, they will give Smiles each month a small amount towards the cost of the house! Eventually it will be their own home.

Another positive encouragement comes from the Family Care project. We have a similar situation like the Comans. Many of you that have visited us in Romania heard of or know about Catalin Colar. He and his family have been in our project for a long time. Many times they told Nelu about their desire to have their own place. If that place would be somewhere closer to Salonta they would be even happier because they want Catalin to benefit from the Disability Wing at JFL.
Catalin Colar and his family
So, we had a house in Tulca that we bought many years ago and never really used. It was the best option for them. As with Coman family they will pay small amounts of money each month towards it, but no one will be able to move them from there. Even better is the fact that Catalin would be able to go to our Joint Facility of Love in Salonta and benefit from the sensory room and other facilities we have there. An amazing new beginning for them too.

We hope that the contribution each family can make towards their new home will encourage sponsors to also help towards the costs. Any gift received designated to ‘Coman House’ or ‘Colar House’ will go directly towards the cost of the house and bring forward the day it will be in their name.

So please pray for us! Pray for all the things that are going on now here in Smiles. It’s not easy. With all the changes that the government made starting from January 1st this year the pressure gets higher and higher on us! We, more than ever, need to be careful on all fronts and work extra hard. But without your support month by month, the future achievements will not be as encouraging as these issues we have worked on faithfully for so long. Smiles’ doesn’t just take care of people during the crisis, we provide long term solutions and that is why I pray you will continue to support us.

Please pray for my colleagues in each project. Pray for wisdom in their operational programme day by day. Pray for the beneficiary, that they will get to know the person who died on the cross for them! That’s the most important achievement!

And pray for the people that GIVE. Without them we can’t do the job we do here in days where the financial pressures are bigger month by month.

They journey is not easy, but the end destination is amazing!

May God bless each one of you and thank you for being a blessing!

In His Service

Maria

Keep in touch: maria@thesmilesfoundation.org

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