Eurasia Regional Retreat, Malta
After 3 years, it was good to once again be with our PAOC colleagues from across Eurasia. We met those new to our region and heard their passion as they spoke of the work in which they are now involved. A highlight for us was to spend a couple of work sessions strategizing together with our young millennials. To see their innovative thinking and creative approaches towards task solving and ministry was inspiring.
Bucharest International Church: Better Together!
Saturday was a fun day. Though work took place from morning until evening, it was energizing to work alongside others to do the final clean-up and preparation of the new facility. Thirteen different nations were represented. Filipino soup was served before noon, Jerry’s pizza delivery arrived shortly after, and then an afternoon snack of Romanian mici (grilled sausage) served with mustard and oven roasted potatoes.
With the chill of winter approaching, Sunday meetings were moved from the outer courtyard to the inner room of our Activity Center. Knowing the indoor space would not be sufficient, the ministry team scoured the listings for weeks and finally discovered a former gym, just a block and a half from our present center, that would meet the criteria. Renovations began. Mirrors came down, dry wall and paint went up. A kitchen unit and a classroom for children were formed. Carpet was cleaned and new drapes were sewn and hung.
As people gathered Sunday morning for the English hour and then for the Romanian meeting, there were expressions of thankfulness for the doubled space. There was a sense of community, of camaraderie, of doing life together. There was an expectation of a dynamic and a fresh new season to come.
Reaching Out Romania with Director Iana Matei
In the human trafficking shelter, it is so special to do simple things with the young girls like drawing or coloring. You see them begin to open up, begin to trust. God is at work in these very precious lives. Some of them are struggling to read. Some have never attended school consistently. Others are working to memorize the multiplication table so that they can catch up to their classmates.
Sara*, 12 years old, one of four sisters now in the shelter, was forced to beg on the street, to sell flowers or to have sexual relations with an elderly man to make a daily, financial quota. If not, she was beaten. Sara is now experiencing a new future. Weekly, a care group does a bible study with the girls. Sara has asked to be water baptized. On several occasions Iana has talked with her to check her understanding. Each time her answer is the same. “I believe Jesus is the Son of God and died for my sins.” All the girls are looking forward to being with her and celebrating the day.
*Names changed for security
The Battle Goes On
Last week Iana had a thirty-minute talk at parliament. She knew that she was going to blow the whistle on some sub-standard practices of the Child Protection Agency. “There will be personal fall out,” she said. “Pray for me. Pray from 1 Timothy so that I will not have the spirit of fear but of power and love and of a sound mind.”
Just last Friday we arrived at the shelter and were let in by the social worker and greeted by the girls. Daniele, our guest from South Surrey who had been with Iana for the last four days looked at us and said, “Things are very tense. I arrived and four people, two men and two women, were sitting in a car waiting for Iana. They were from the Child Protection Agency. They arrived unannounced. Someone had given them the address of the home. For four hours they requested documents and the administrator scurried about searching. They talked with the girls. They questioned Iana. They had received a tip that the girls were being tortured. How absurd! In the end, all the documents were in order. As they finished up, they commended Iana for her good work. They commented that they could see that the girls were content.
Spiritual warfare! “Pray for me,” said Iana, “that I will be like Jonathan and his armor bearer who took courage to go up against the Philistines and were successful.”
Birthday Flash Fundraiser
One in an Army (OIAA) is a fan-collective group for BTS, a well-known South Korean boy band. They believe that many people donating just $1.00 can make a huge impact. To celebrate band member Jimin’s birthday, OIAA looked to support an organization concerned with issues such as antiviolence, abuse and trafficking. They chose Reaching Out Romania. A 5-day birthday flash fundraiser in October brought in sufficient funds for ROR to have some basic operational costs for the shelter met until the end of the year.
Take a moment to watch the 1 1/2 minute clip as Iana speaks on-line with a Canadian church sponsor and expresses her thankfulness for the BTS birthday fund raiser.
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Donations may be made to ROR and receipted in Canada: