This is a long update this time, but there is so much to share! Feel free to read through the excerpts or go straight to the 3 video clips. Stefan talks about why he moved to the agricultural land and then uses a drone to give an overview of the land. Iana talks of two recent victories and some present challenges.
Thank you so much for your partnership, your interest, prayers and financial support for the needs and opportunities that always arise.
Dan & Mardie
After 2 months of fighting with the governmental agency AJPIS, that grants Reaching Out Romania their license, after 2 months of constant, unjustified criticism, bullying and threats that they will never receive a license, Friday the 8th of October the license was granted! And, surprisingly, it came with very encouraging comments. Iana adds, “I mention this because it’s simply a miracle. Needless to say, that all this time I prayed for these people, for God to touch their hearts, and I don't know what all the church people prayed for but I want to tell everyone that it worked. Prayer works!"
The freshly painted living and bedroom area in the human trafficking shelter, has added a cheery and welcoming home atmosphere. A first-ever painting experience for the girls, what seemed like such fun to begin with required effort and determination to finish. A life lesson well-learned as the girls are now proud of their space and much more careful to keep everything looking good.
As seven of the girls took a break from their on-line studies and came into the living room to chat with us, they sat on their new sofa. Some were quiet, hesitant to talk and pensive, others bubbly and chatty. One 16-year-old particularly wanted to speak English after her time in England, Ireland, and Scotland and another, new to the shelter last month, simply wanted a big hug from the social worker. Soon, a great bond of friendship opened up and it was hard to leave the girls when we said good-bye.
Though furniture was replaced in the living room, the individual bedrooms still require new closets to replace the open doors and the sagging shelves and, in the bathroom, plumbing repair is needed.
Just prior to the pandemic, Stefan, his wife, Alina, and their 2-year-old son, David, moved 2 ½ hours driving distance to the farm in Craiova so they could better manage the agricultural land. From the busy, urban center of Pitesti to one of the most isolated and underdeveloped regions of Romania, was an adjustment. “But,” said Stefan, “I quite like it now. With the pandemic, we can be outdoors rather than in an apartment and there is such beauty in the scenery around us. And, I like the hard work.”
Stefan would like to see an improved production of lavender. Though he has a tractor with an accessory to plow between the rows, he needs a further accessory available in France that would both water the individual plants and sense and remove the weeds invading the root system of the lavender plant. As well, he would like to increase the production of alfalfa that could serve as a cash crop with as many as 5 harvests each year. The goal: to bring greater self-sustainability to the work of Reaching Out Romania.
A young woman living in the United Kingdom and following ROR on Facebook, contacted Iana privately, confirmed that she was a former victim of trafficking, and, though care of her daughters is her primary concern for the moment, wants to move to Romania to work with Iana. Until then, she will continue her teaching profession while she works on developing and maintaining a donor platform for ROR.
Several weeks ago, a Christian family from Switzerland contacted ROR enquiring about trafficking and wondering how they might become involved. The end of October they visited and shared their vision which clicked with the vision of ROR. Christoph would like to take over the Hotel Project in the mountains of Transylvania that has been on hold for several years. He would fund raise, finish the hotel, and transform it into a resort hub where victims of trafficking can be trained and empowered in Christ to become leaders for their generation.
After hearing his idea, Iana remarked, “To me that was like a drop of honey, and I am really very excited about this project because it makes sense and because I know that God can use all their hurt and transform ashes to beauty. Please pray with us.”
A successful, multinational IT company has committed to help Reaching Out Romania. They will begin with the development of an on-line shop where lavender oil and products hand-made by the girls, can be sold. Secondly, a forum will be opened where controversial topics such as legislation and social programs for victims can be debated.