This post is also available in: Romanian
The year of 2020 was an atypical one. A year in which all activities suddenly stopped. It has been a very difficult year for the whole world. A year we would certainly never want to live again. Even though it was a difficult year, I am convinced that 2020 did not take God by surprise. The prophet Isaiah reminds us that God is not taken by surprise because He knows everything: “Remember what happened long ago, for I am God, and there is no other; I am God, and no one is like me. I declare the end from the beginning, and from long ago what is not yet done, saying: my plan will take place, and I will do all my will. I call a bird of prey from the east, a man for my purpose from a far country. Yes, I have spoken; so I will also bring it about. I have planned it; I will also do it.” – Isaiah 46: 9-11 CSB
2020 took us by surprise. It was the beginning of March and the heralds of spring, i.e. “the snowdrops” had appeared in God’s Garden from Sântion. Suddenly, on March 16th, a breaking news was heard in Romania, on all media channels: the country goes into lockdown for 2 months because of Covid 19! By military ordinances, our travels were limited and even stopped. It was difficult to get from home to work.
In the tumult of those events, we made a quick decision: the decision to isolate ourselves in Charis. The two months turned into other months of state of emergency or alert. We found out that, in addition to the fact that we could not move without a “written statement”, we were also forced to practice social distancing. Schools closed and children moved their classes “online”. Churches moved to ZOOM or Facebook. Isolation in 2020 has become commonplace, but not something to be desired!
Due to isolation, some lost their jobs and others lost their businesses. As a result of the isolation, many people became lonely and some even became depressed, especially since the news about the number of those infected and those who died from Covid was alarming.
Being isolated, we started to forget what a day is like with friends at a restaurant, what it’s like to worship with your brothers and sisters in church, what it’s like to enjoy the stadium with the fans at a football match, and much more.
Children, accustomed to moving and playing in parks and green spaces, suddenly found themselves alone, with their mother, father, and siblings between two walls, always asking: When do we go for a walk? When can we go and play with friends? The answer they received from their parents was: we don’t know!
Isolated in Charis, with a country in lockdown, we realized that we could not run the most important programs of the foundation in 2020. Through the program 2 CULTURES 1 GOD we had planned the visit of 3 groups from outside of Romania, groups that were to come on a mission trip to volunteer. Due to the pandemic situation and the restrictive measures imposed in many countries around the world, they told us they were not coming. Through the OPEN DOORS program, we had planned 20 groups from Romania to carry out different socio-cultural activities at Charis RETREAT Center. Due to the restrictions imposed, only a few of them managed to come, with a small number of participants. Being in forced isolation, I could no longer visit and serve the Gypsy community in Telechiu.
In 2020 … Isolated in Charis we had only two possibilities: either to “close shop” (as some did) or to reinvent ourselves and experience the words spoken by Mother Teresa: “Not all of us can do great things. But we can do small things with great love.” We chose the second option and we thank God for that. We have chosen to do small things and continue to be faithful to God. And God has blessed our ministry as we have not even dreamed or imagined. He helped us get through this period of isolation and walk with confidence and hope in the 30th year of our existence as a Christian mission.
General Manager of Charis Foundation
We managed to organize 20 charitable activities, we distributed clothes, necessary goods, and staple foods to poor families with many children in a Gypsy community. We have prepared and distributed Christmas packages for 70 children, We were glad to visit (two times) those who live at the elderly house in Dumbrava and to bring them cherries and walnuts from God’s Garden from Charis, sweet bread, and crocheted slippers.
We had 6 groups and 215 participants. A class of students from a Christian high school organized a party with parents. A doctor from one private hospital organized her birthday party together with the family. A group of children from a Pentecostal church organized a day camp. A family organized a birthday party. A group of young people from an Evangelical Church spent an afternoon in Charis. A group of families from a Baptist church organized a get together.
We worked on our small farm and we enjoyed the resources that God has blessed us with: vegetables, fruits, honey, milk, eggs. These resources we used for our charitable activities. We were constantly concerned with the current activities in God’s Garden. We maintained the parks, the yard, and the sports fields. We planted raspberry bushes and blueberry bushes. We also cleaned over 100 fruit trees from the Charis orchard.
A CHANCE FOR EVERYONE
We kept in touch with 5 of the orphaned boys who were in the Charis program, encouraging and helping them in different situations. We helped and supported one of them to get the driver’s license.
CHARIS RETREAT CENTER
We managed to do some practical projects at Charis. We repainted and redecorated the art wall in the children’s playground. We moved and rebuilt the external bathrooms which are supplied with hot water heated by the Sun’s rays. We finished the crafts workshop. We continued the work at the RIVER LIFE fountain. We rebuilt and repaired the fences around the greenhouses and solariums. We installed the rainwater collection pipes on the outdoor Chapel.
As a Christian mission we too are going through a difficult period like many others around the world. We need protection, health, wisdom, and skills in fulfilling our mission.
- Pray for the Charis Team: Dani, Mona, Rebeca, Mircea, Ioana, Lidia, Teo, Ronela, Daniel, Ema, Kevin, Iudita, Petrică, Cipri, and Vitali.
In the difficult context we are in, like many others, the fulfillment of our mission objectives also depends on the material and financial resources we have. We are thankful to God for our friends in the UK, the United States, and Switzerland, who have supported and continue to support us.
- Pray for: Edith & Denis, Jacquie & Richard, Georgina & Chris, Jim & Vicky, Matt & Naomi, Mary Theresa, Sue & Chris, David, Vincent, George & Louann, Lidia & Liviu, Corina, Mirjam & Matthias.
We are glad that in our ministry we have a reliable partner who has been supporting, encouraging, and praying for us for more than 15 years. During this difficult period they were and are a real encouragement and support for us.
- Pray for ST. STEPHEN CHURCH from TONBRIDGE and for the team from that church we work with: Mark, Miriam, Edith, Denis, Lynn.
In order to function as a mission, in 2021 we need 2,000 Euros every month. Please join those that financially support the work of Charis!