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In our wish to help the people who live on the streets, in an unhealthy environment, under water supply pipes or in houses looking more like animal shelters, I have experienced three touching situations.
First, somewhere in the centre of the town, there are 18 people living together: children, young people, and adults. The yard is full of animal shelters, junkyard deposits, dogs, and rats. The interior of the house looks like a stable, a small and cramped space with broken walls and on the floor – stones, concrete, and even dirt. On the bed, next to an improvised stove made out of a tin barrel, there is a baby sleeping. There is a small pot in which a lady was cooking pasta, probably for the children. For them, a warm meal and a bag with staple food is a reason for celebration.
Second, I later visited a family with 8 children that live in a small house in a poor area of the city. One of the children has a prosthetic leg due to a cancer that led to its amputation. Another child is mentally disabled. They all live in a room which is warmed by a stove fuelled by sawdust. The father of the children sometimes builds tin stoves and sells them in order to buy food. When the children saw the candies we brought for them, they could not contain they joy. We prayed together and we thanked God for His protection. I will never forget the faces of those children looking out the window. There was hope in their eyes.
The third place that I have visited deeply touched me. It is situated somewhere in the industrial part of the town, next to some unused railways and some heating pipes (that distribute heat to the town). When I arrived to that place I was speechless. It is a place where three families and a single person live. They are homeless people. The live in two improvised huts (built by themselves) and in two tents. When I say tents I refer to a plastic cover over which there are some blankets, a plastic foil, and under them there is a mattress on which they sleep.
There were a few dogs around, some goats, a pig, chickens, ducks, and some rats wandering around a pile of trash – what they brought from the garbage bins. One of the people there has cirrhosis (i.e.: liver damage). The person accompanying me showed me their fridge, next to the tent. It was a plastic box where they stored the food they collected from the garbage bins or what they received from different people. It was a shared fridge: for them, the dogs, and the rats. The bread was hanging from a tree. I left that place with the image of the ‘shared fridge’, but also with the joy on one of the people’s faces – they know that others are still concerned about their situation.
I have found in these three places people for whom we are a ray of hope. We wish to be a ray of hope for them and to be able to periodically provide them with a warm meal and staple foods. We invite you to be a part of this together with us. May we never forget the words of Solomon from Proverbs 13:12: Hope deferred makes the heart sick, but a longing fulfilled is a tree of life. Let us give our neighbours their hope back by showing that we love them (with our deeds) and that we cherish them despite the context they live in.
Charis Projects Updates
AGAPEO – The visit to Dumbrava
We were happy to visit the place where 170 elderly people live and who are being taken care of by Viorel and Florica Paşca. We tried to fulfilled their urgent needs. We brought them staple foods for the breakfast meal and homemade cakes baked with love by Mona, Teo, and Ronela. It was a blessing for us to see that place again. The meeting between Dani and Gyuri, his secondary school classmate who currently lives there, was also really emotional.
CHARIS RETREAT CENTER
It was a period of the year when we focused on the gardening, on one hand, and on the Center, on the other hand. First of all, we harvested the apples, the walnuts, and the quince. Also, we made apple vinegar and we pickled the cabbage. Secondly, we modernized the water supply system by changing a part of the underground pipes, building two underground junction boxes, and installing four new water filters.
We were happy to offer the usage of our kitchen for three days to Hope Baptist Church, Oradea. In those days, we were part of a team that prepared food for more than 150 people that were part of the worship and organising team at the BBSO Annual Event 2015, that took place at the Sports Arena in Oradea.
We served in Nehemiah Church, Tileagd once every fortnight. Every time, besides serving with the Word, we encouraged the Gypsy community by giving staple foods to the families that attend the church. For the winter time, we bought firewood for the church building. Also, we prepared and distributed Christmas gifts for 17 children from that community.
AGAPEO: Food for the Homeless
We had our first visit ‘on the field’ to see the people and the families that live on the streets, in improvised huts or in temporary housing. On this occasion, we gave them staple foods and spent some time talking to them.
- Sandu Popică, one of the orphan boys that was in Charis between 1998 and 2000, and his wife, Geta, need to find a house to rent for an extended period of time. Pray that God may open doors for them.
- Balog Daniel, the orphan boy that lives in Charis, wishes to finish modernizing his house. Pray that God may give him financial resources and strength to finish the work.
- In the ‘Food for the Homeless’ Project we work together with Sandu, a man who has himself lived on the streets and to whom God spoke more than 20 years ago that he needs to help these people. Pray that this collaboration may be under His grace and protection.
In order to cover the expenses for Charis ministry between January-March 2016, we need a minimum of 7000 Euros.