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Maria Hava

Maria – When the tough get going

When the going gets tough, the tough get going!

I heard this saying a long time ago….and I’ve heard that there is a song too! But I haven’t heard it yet!

Initially I did not get it, but being surrounded by so many English speakers I asked them; How do I really translate this? And I loved the way that someone ‘translated’ it for me. They said: “Maria, there are times in life when things are getting hard, when you feel like you are at the end of the road, then the strong people, the tough ones, get through – they will ‘survive’.

And it’s true. In life there are so many such moments…..BUT with God we can go through all of them. In all my 14 now going on 15 years in Smiles, the journey was not always smooth. There were moments when I felt that the ‘toughness’ was more than I could handle, but NOT when I have God on my side.

So, how was the journey this past month? February was a short month but for sure it was not a ‘quiet’ one! Lots of ‘tough moments’ were going on in our country, in Smiles, in the world, in fact – everywhere.

If you’ve read the news you might have seen that throughout February there were lots of protests in many cities around Romania. The people got out of their homes to protest against the current government. The Government proposed a law that allowed more corruption issues to be highlighted, corrupt people to be freed. Even today, the situation is still not clear so please continue to pray for our country. Pray for the people in authority and for great wisdom.

For Smiles the ‘road’ this month was harder because of the financial pressure that we are under. January and February are normally low months for income, basically donations drop. This is not something that stopped us to do our job. It’s traditionally the most difficult two months every year. We still had to give food to the hungry, shelter for the homeless, education to the children, love and care to the ones that are forgotten and alone. We are so privileged to be God’s Hands and Feet.

In my report last month I told you about Changes at Tileagdthe Tileagd changes. Because the demand to help people is big I’m glad that we took the decision to transform part of Tileagd Complex to a centre that comes to meet this need. The work there goes great. The division of the rooms are done and I’m so happy to see that even when the classrooms were divided, the final rooms are still big. The bathrooms are done, the laundry room, the counselling room and many other rooms that are a great addition to the work we will do there.

If you did not book yet a mission trip to Romania this year, the good news is that it’s not too late to do that. We need help with painting the rooms, cleaning and getting the place ready for the big opening. So let us know when you would like to come and I will make sure you will have plenty of work to do!

Also if you want to help us financially to see this part of the project done let us know. We appreciate every gift that we receive.

With the changes going on in the old part of the school, the good news is that the new side where the school moved is working really good. A more ‘home feel’ atmosphere is giving the kids a nice environment to come and learn. Teachers and kids working together is the great picture that we want to see.

NadiaA sad moment for us this past month is that one of our nursery teachers that has been with us for the last 12 years, Nadia Lazar has moved to the city to teach kids in a private nursery in Oradea. We are happy for Nadia but sad that we lost her. Even in moments like this we really appreciate all the work that she did for us all this time. So, Nadia, thank you very much for everything. May God bless you and keep you in everything you do….and please come to see us from time to time! At the moment we have a person that is replacing Nadia for a few months. Please pray for her to get comfortable with the kids and the work we do in Tileagd.

Because I’m still working limited hours, I do not have a lot of time in the office. But this month I’ve done something that I’ve not done for years!!!! Together with Nelu our family care manager and with Ioana our new social assistant for family care, I’ve been to visit a few families that live in Smiles houses. I was so shocked to see the difference made with God’s help and with YOUR help in their lives! Some of them came a long long way in life. Some not so far. But I’m thankful to God for the positive ones and praying for the more challenging ones.Viorel and family

During the visit to our families, I arrived in the village where they live and I met one of our ex-employee. Some of you may remember Viorel. He was working for us 7 years ago. At that moment in time he was living in a Smiles house in Mierlau and his kids were part of our Cihei Children Centre. When he left, he did not have an easy life. But God loves him and today he has a small house of his own and 9 kids. When Viorel saw the Smiles car he was really happy. We stopped and told him we will go to visit his family too. I was so shocked to see the clean house, the kids all tidy and very respectful. My heart is full of joy when I know that we were part of his life. We helped him to be a better father, a better person. I’ve promised them that during March I will go again to visit so I m looking forward to that already.

Again, if you want to see this type of situation you have to come to Romania to see it face to face. Not on Facebook or just in my reports. You are a part of it and it’s a great joy to share the work with you.So, I’m looking forward to seeing you this summer or autumn here in Romania. If you didn’t book yet, now is the time.

Do not be worried or scared for the tough things in life. When God is next to us the tough get going and that is great news, a great encouragement!

Thank you for being there month by month.

Be blessed.


Maria Hava ,
Director of Operations, Romania

P.S. ……and if you are wondering if I’m finding it hard to be a parent … YES! There are moments when I do! Especially when your baby wants to ‘find out more about this world’ and he falls from the sofa! But after a visit to the emergency room, lots of prayers and a scary mum and dad, things got back to normal and I enjoy again! Stefan is growing good but way too fast. Next month, promise you I will show you a picture of him!

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