September 2020

Mardie Shares: ‘Back To’ or ‘Forward Towards’?

This season of time is often referred to as “back to school” and implies a return to routine, a return to normally scheduled activities. I’d like to re-phrase the term to “forward towards” as we are shifting forward towards a routine that is yet to be determined, to scheduled activities that are yet to be restructured and redefined.

Though our ministry style is to walk alongside and work together, bring presence, support, encouragement, and strength, we are in the process of learning to be content working from a distance. This is certainly not our preferred choice but the best we can do during this fall season while we wait and consider the next possibilities.

Value for Risk

Talking with a fellow Canadian-based Global Worker, he introduced the term ‘value for risk’ into our conversation. We have been advised from Romania that it is still not wise to be in the country this fall. Their COVID-19 cases are increasing daily, their hospitals are at capacity and they have not yet entered the expected 2nd wave. Not only would we be putting ourselves at risk of contracting COVID, but also increasing the risk of our friends and colleagues who would be meeting with us and helping provide for our needs while there. Interactions are still limited and primarily taking place on-line, so the value we would bring is limited for the risk it would entail.

Peace of Heart and Mind

My ‘go-to’ verse for meditation during the last months has been from Philippians 4:7 “And the peace of God… will guard your hearts and minds in Christ Jesus.

To experience that peace of heart and mind and to offset all the uncertainties of present realities, I’ve been intentional to remind myself:

“Whatever is true, honorable, right, pure, lovely; whatever is of good repute, of excellence and worthy of praise, think on these things!”

(vs8, my paraphrase)

Update: Reaching Out Romania with Director Iana Matei

Fighting the battle against human trafficking and providing shelter and care for its victims

Iana Encouraging the Young Women in the Shelter

Attempt by the Ministry of Labour to close the Shelter

  • Child victims of human trafficking fall under the general licensing category of ‘children in difficulty’, but there are not any specific laws to protect the children who have been enslaved. Since 2004 the Ministry of Labour was to define the standards for trafficking in minors, but that has never happened.
  • In June, local authorities wanted to close down the Reaching Out home by revoking their license to operate.
  • Since the shelter is the only one run by a Non-Government Organization (NGO), the Ministry of Labour thought that by closing it they could then declare that Romania does not have an issue of trafficking.
  • A huge scandal ensued once the US Embassy and Romanian media became involved exposing the lack of investigation, lack of assistance and corruption of the system.

    Results of US Embassy Involvement and Media Coverage:

    • Every day more people from within the system are pushing for reform as they testify publicly about the evident corruption within the Ministry of Interior and the Prosecutors Office.
    • A network of NGO’s formed to amend the anti-trafficking legislation that was modified by the Ministry of Interior and that benefits the trafficker. Deputy Adriana Saftoiu will now take legislation to Parliament to address and protect the children who are trafficked.
    • The operating license for the shelter was granted to Reaching Out Romania for another year.

      Death Threat: Police Corruption Exposed Yet Again

      Due to the under-cover work of a woman police officer an entire trafficking network was arrested. The day she finalized her mission she was at home and looked out the window to see why her car alarm was sounding. On top of her car was a funeral wreath with a note in her mail box that read, “If you don’t stop now, this is how we will take care of your child.’’ Only 2 people knew she worked under-cover and only those same 2 police officers knew her address. At that moment she realized that it's not the traffickers she has to fear but her own police colleagues.

      A Battle Won!

      Following the actions of the media, the US embassy and many requests and documents addressed to the Ministry of Interior, Reaching Out Romania received a letter 2 weeks ago to withdraw the order that places Non-Government Organization’s (NGO’s) under their subordination; a model not practiced in other European Union countries.

      Iana said, “This is not the battle I would choose, it is the Lord’s battle, I put the whole situation in God’s hands, I left it there and I don’t intend to take it back. I believe that this was a fight that the Lord picked. I certainly didn’t and I couldn’t win it in this wonderful way so it must be Him. God has never lost a battle, we give Him glory!”

      The war is not over,” says Iana, “So please keep praying while we push for reforms here.”

      Pray that:
      • In the process of amending anti-trafficking legislation, everything is clearly stated to adequately protect the children and that nothing of importance is left out.
      • That parliament will approve and pass the ‘good practices’ outlined in the legislation.
      • The young women in the home will know God’s peace as they walk along the path towards restoration and as they return to school in the next days.
      • The Lord would protect the police woman and her daughter from harm.