This post is also available in: Romanian
It has been a great joy for us to have the children from Aghireş and Tileagd in Charis for this year’s VBS (Vacation Bible School). It has been a blessed time that we were able to provide for these children from some poor Gypsy and Romanian families. For many, it has been an unique experience. Some of them did not know how to read. Some did not know how to use the toilet. Still, their smile, their affection, their faithfulness and dedication overcame their circumstances. There have been three impressive moments.
The first one happened one day during lunch time. Mona prepared some hamburgers for the children just like in McDonald’s. I will never forget the words of one of the girls: ‘I have seen a hamburger only in pictures, but now I can eat one for the first time!’ Her face was radiant. Maybe a dream just came true for her. There has been another interesting moment when one of the children took two five-liter bottles from the kitchen in order to bring them up to the bedrooms. Someone from our team said: ‘Wait, let me help you! Those are too heavy for you!’ His answer was surprising: ‘Heavy? No way! Every day I walk with two buckets of water, bigger than these bottles, for more than a kilometer, just to bring home water’.
There has been a third moment when the children were taken to a festival organized by one of the churches from Oradea. There were two big slides waiting for them. They just could not take their eyes off them. One of the boys went to stay in the line for one of them. He waited for more than 40 minutes and no luck. At one point, my wife came to him and told him to go and have some food so he would not go home without eating. His answer was surprising: ‘But lady, when will I ever have such a great opportunity in my life again? It is an unique opportunity for me… I would rather not eat than miss this chance’. It was pretty hard for us to send him to eat and then return to the slider.
There is so much sincerity in these children that live in a simplistic life. These are some of the children which we must love, understand, encourage and teach. They are opened to being taught, equipped and prepared for God’s Kingdom. Our Lord Jesus gives us a great lesson when it comes to how we should treat these children: But Jesus called the children to him and said, “Let the little children come to me, and do not hinder them, for the kingdom of God belongs to such as these” (Luke 18:16).
Charis Projects Updates
Charis VBS 2015
Together with Parkwood Baptist Church from Gastonia, North Carolina, USA we organized a one-week camp for 30 children from some poor families and Gypsy families from two villages (Aghireş – Cluj and Tileagd –Bihor). We organized Bible study sessions where the children learnt about Elijah, Elisha and our Lord Jesus. The children learnt new songs, made crafts based on the Bible study, they played and got to know each other better. It was a great joy to have the Parkwood team serving with us.
More pictures here:
Charis Retreat Center
We have had a few months in which we finished several projects. We changed an old greenhouse into a multifunctional space (an outdoor chapel). We finished the toilets for the conference rooms and the first step in protecting the base of the building by painting it with a water proof paint. We built new sidewalks that link the building to the park and the sports area. We also installed new exterior lighting for the parking lot, the back yard, children’s playground and the sports area. All of these projects were done by the three employees: Dani, Mona and Daniel, but also by the volunteers: Ema, Aurel (from Romania), Kevin, George, Louann, David (from the US) and Feri (from Germany).
Nehemiah Program – Tileagd
We have continued to serve in this Gypsy church by preaching (Dani). We were also involved in the children ministry, teaching them songs and the English language – activities done by David, an American student who spent his summer as a volunteer in Charis, serving in different projects. We also distributed food to some of the families from that Gypsy community.
As part of this program we offered Ema and Kevin the space in Charis for their wedding. They are both part of Charis ministry and they wished to celebrate their marriage in a rustic environment (an ex-farm). It was a great celebration. It was also a good opportunity to promote Charis Centre as a multifunctional space for great events.
We have recently harvested the apples and the grapes and did natural juice. We want to use it for different projects, but also for Charis Souvenirs.
- George and Louann (USA) supported and helped us in finishing some major projects in Charis. Pray that God may repay their effort and dedication for this ministry.
- David, an American student of Romanian origin, has served as a volunteer in Charis this summer. Pray that God may bless him in his new academic year.
- Nehemiah Church in Tileagd is going through a though period. Some of the Gypsy Christians began to attend church less and less. Pray that God may bring spiritual revival.
In order to pay the salaries, all the taxes and the expenses for the next period (October-December 2015) we need 4500 Euros.