I am confident many of you will relate to my comment ‘life is so fast and furious at times’ I wish I could just stop the world and get off the rapid treadmill we often follow, if only for a moment. By the way, I have to admit I enjoyed the Fast & Furious 8 movie for a total unwind from the stresses of the day. It is nice to see someone else going at the pace I often feel life demands!
Although the Fast & Furious movie is a little extreme, I genuinely feel that we are all running at full throttle so much, we must be careful not to miss the beauty and joy in the journey. At risk of showing my age, I can’t help remember the beautiful song from Michael Card ‘Joy in the Journey’ which after more than 20 years is still one of my favourite songs from a truly great artiste. Take 3 minutes to enjoy it: Joy in the Journey.
The past month has been another very busy experience. The first week of April we had a wonderful Mission Team from Scotland and it really was a very special week. Not least because we officially launched JFL 2 Disability Centre with an amazing event for a group from the Down’s Syndrome Society in Oradea and Salonta. It was great to see our beautiful facilities at JFL being used so fully and the expressions of joy on the faces of those attending said it all. What a special day for them and us which I hope we can repeat on many future occasions.
A lot of work has been undertaken in Tileagd with the new Assisted Living Facility. We doubled up our skilled work force to move the job along quicker and the results are becoming very visible. We are now well over half way through the planned changes and renovation. We have spent nearly £20,000 ($26,000) so far and fund-raising support isn’t currently keeping up with expenditure! I sincerely ask you to consider arranging a special event to provide some significant financial support for this project. In the next couple of months we will spend as much again as we move towards the finishing target of June 30th. That’s only two months and there really is still a lot of work to do.
I’m delighted we have some more Mission Teams with us soon who I trust will be willing to help with the huge painting job we have and then the endless cleaning task from all the construction dust that seems to settle every day after we clean. Our focus has been on interior, so that the facility can open as planned on July 1st. In July we will have a lot of exterior work to complete, particularly all the landscaping and gardening. We have a lot of land around this building and would like to make it as attractive and enjoyable as possible for the residents.
If you can help us with these practical tasks, please come on one of our many Mission Trips and enjoy that Hand’s On Mission Experience here in Romania.
This past month I have spent a lot of time reviewing progress and results within our Enterprise Initiative activities as I look to Phase 2 of the Business Development that supports immediate needs and provides sustainability for the future needs of the Smiles Foundation.
I was thrilled to see fantastic results from the 2017 first quarter of Management Accounts for Sminro Glasshouse activities which produced a surplus in excess of £14,000 ($18,500). It has been a huge learning curve and a great deal of hard work since we first purchased the Glasshouse in 2011. Six years later after various trials (and tribulations) we finally decided upon and focused our efforts on Horticultural Flower production. This was initially easy to deliver during Spring and Summer, but to justify such a large Glasshouse and associated overheads, we needed and still need to develop more business ‘year-round’ and this past winter we achieved our first major success which was evident in the Sales and financial results.
Now we are looking to Phase 2 which means maximising the potential of what we have learnt, the contacts we have made and the tremendous facilities we have in Arpasel, our headquarters for Farm and Glasshouse. We have the capacity to more than double our output over the coming year and the results that will follow will make a significant impact on Smiles and our daily endeavours to meet need and share the Gospel throughout our varied projects here in Bihor County.
Please support and pray for the Enterprise Initiative efforts and especially Simona Tosity who heads up the work as Project Manager and Dani Faur who is responsible for the daily work and staff out at Arpasel.
Having mentioned staff, I need to also mention the great job our Executive Management Team here in Romania do on a daily basis. Maria, Georgi and Adi work very hard to produce the best results from projects they are responsible for and equally oversee the considerable staff structure we have in Smiles.
Maria has quite a challenge balancing 7 month old Stefan with all her duties as Director of Operations, but she is managing by hard work and long days. She is still managing Authorisation issues for JFL in Salonta and Assisted Living in Tileagd. She is still responsible for directing the School and Nursery in Tileagd and all the associated staff and yet is managing through State and Sponsorship coordination to produce a small surplus which a few years ago would have seemed impossible. Read Maria’s report – Half way through!
Georgi has the huge task of directing the Residential Projects within Smiles of JFL, ECO and TAL from July. Assisted by Ligia on management issues and with Mioara and Rebeca as Social Workers – Georgi somehow manages nearly 100 residents involving more than 40 staff. All those staff, especially Dr Diana on the medical side, carry tremendous responsibilities for each of our residents but Georgi carries responsibility for it all. This first quarter of 2017, for the first time ever, she managed to bring all the projects within Budget which is an amazing achievement through State and Sponsorship coordination.
Read Georgi’s report – Friendship between generations.
Adi is involved in just about everything it seems. Responsible for EHU and Outreach Projects as well as overseeing operational procedures for other key projects such as Family Care and Homeless. He is also managing the Cihei office and many of the logistics that run through the office, plus a considerable amount of translation work, design work, Sponsorship Coordination and yet finds time to produce a Staff CD for us all to enjoy.
Read Adi’s report – Thankful hearts, a great journey.
Be sure to read all the reports they share each month and please drop them an e-mail to encourage them from time to time. Their work is not easy and does carry pressures and responsibilities, so please take a moment to tell them you are praying for them and the work.
Also – don’t forget to buy a copy of the new CD ‘Thankful Hearts’ which would be a great encouragement to them all, especially Adi!
Finishing our second recording was indeed a happy experience and like Adi shares in his report this month, we are very pleased with the results. I hope you will agree by getting your copy and then dropping us a line telling us what you think. Smiles Ambassadors will have supplies of the CD but if you have any difficulty obtaining a copy, just call the office to place your order and Dawn will have it to you in the next post.
Trust me though, the CD is a wonderful worship experience and every sale puts 90% of the proceeds directly into Smiles Projects. Why not buy a copy for yourself now and one for a friend. Thank you for your support.
The album is entitled ‘Thankful Hearts’ which reminds me to encourage you to check our feature this month. Enjoy another up-lifting testimony from a beneficiary who has a thankful heart! Thankful Heart – Kovacs Family.
In closing there has been a lot of activity this past month with fund-raising so I want to personally thank all the people that work so hard month after month to raise these important funds for our work. Barbara does a magnificent job coordinating all the volunteers and encouraging them in their efforts. Enjoy her report this month and do let her know what you are doing by way of special events and be sure to send her some photos so we can feature your story next time. Barbara’s Report – Therefore encourage one another.
Time has gone so I will wrap up here and just say again how much I appreciate all you do for Smiles month by month. Your prayers, your practical support here on Mission Trips and your financial support through regular sponsorships, special gifts or fund-raising events. I greatly admire you for all you do and trust our reporting each month is an equally encouraging time for you.
Sincere blessings to you all.
Chief Executive to
The Smiles Foundation