Greetings from Romania! Spring is here with flowers on the trees and leaves beginning to show along with the mosquitoes. We wanted to let you know we are blessing them with blood donations! Our friend, Sean, says people usually only share the good about overseas adventures. So here is our effort to share the other side. It kind of feels like Alaska with them out and about!
One of gypsy men we took through the ministry last month had a serious issue. This week he told us how much stronger he felt with his new freedom. God is so amazing, and it was so encouraging that He let us be a part of what He’s doing in lives at the village.
One of our board members, Bill, said we need to let you know we are working with two foundations at the village. Caleb Foundation started the work here and is in charge of maintaining it and overseeing different ministries there. George and Alina, from Romania, do an amazing job keeping it all together. It can be a very tough job and discouraging at times. We admire them so much for what they accomplish.
Empower Romania is the other foundation led by Mandy, from England. They are gathering funds to find sponsors for four men to be trained in the workshop for 13 months. They are looking for people who will give $50 a month to give them a small wage as they learn. These men in turn will be able to find work or train others who enter the program later.
They already sponsor a man who is in charge of the women’s cottage industry that is being built. He will be going to sewing school this month to be able to come back and teach others.
The dream is to develop cottage industries to take the village from a poverty level to being self-supporting. Lazareni is to become a prototype for other villages that remain stuck in poverty in Romania. Empower Romania has a vision of getting two more mobile units by the end of the summer. One would be a place for the ladies to work in and the other will be for medical and house the dental unit we bought. The one above is used for the kindergarten.
Please pray the government will hook the village up to the water supply from the road. This would be a huge, vital issue that would enable the villagers to bathe, cook, and clear and have sanitary conditions. The schools and buses don’t like having the gypsies, and one reason is due to body odor.
It was a blessing to have our friends, Robert and Mary here in March. They were able to minister while they were here. Mary held a trauma group meeting with a group of young girls from the village. One is 12 years old and just had a baby girl. She was abused by three men and had to drop out to school to take care of her baby that she loves. We were told the Roma do not abort their babies. Another girl 13 is pregnant. The police don’t like to be bothered with the paperwork saying the gypsy girls are sexually active at a young age anyway. With an attitude like this is it any wonder with no consequences that the young girls continue to be abused?
With help from our friends, Bill and Becky, Jim and Linda, Loretta, Bob and Sharon, Brian and Cheryl, and Kim and Dennis, we were able to purchase a load of wood, buy a vice and a planer for the wood shop that will allow the men to make enough projects to sell while earning a small wage and being able to replace the wood.
Beni and the men are working on building a kitchen in the meeting hall. We will send pictures next month of the stove and different kitchen items we were able to buy. Wow! We are incredibly blessed that God answered every last prayer we had in our hearts to do before we leave.
For the sewing, we were able to buy a 4 x 6 ft smooth board Bob screwed down for us to have a nice place to work and cut out fabric. We were also able to buy a storage cabinet to keep things in. The quilts are almost finished! Then there are more pillows along with gift cards they will embroider with with fabric insets in them. We were able to buy fabric for more embroidered pillows and pillow forms to go inside them.
One hundred dollars was even given towards starting an orchard for the village. It is possible to buy 100 trees for $400, so the $100 is a great start. It will enable them to learn to plant, prune, harvest and put up fruit for the village to enrich their diets.
The final things on our hearts was about the “Place of Prayer” at Bookafe. Opening date is scheduled for the week of the 12th of April when the dedicated room will hopefully be completed. To begin with it will be open for 2 days a week from 5 to 7. Bookafe has about 1,000 to 1,500 people a month go through there. It is part of an international group started in Brazil that is a coffee house with Christian literature etc. Bookafe turns into New Life Christian Center on Sunday mornings and feeds about 70 homeless people on Saturday mornings. Pastor Cornel has wanted to add a place of prayer that will be advertised on the menu and TV screen in the cafe.
Our hearts are very warm and thankful that we believe when we leave we will have accomplished the assignments God gave us to do while here. We could never have done it without the prayers and support from everyone here and all of you. From deep in our hearts, we ask God’s blessings to fill you with overflowing joy and to know you have made a difference and brought hope into people’s hearts.
Bob and Joan