Before we begin, let me just point out that young Daniel has not been relaxing today – he has been working since 6am to build some amazing benches for our playground project. The temperature today was 38.4*C at midday.
We started the day with prayer for the issues facing the Middle East at the moment after reading Mark’s email. We were thinking of those of you who are fasting today.
This morning we enjoyed another form of egg in bread for breakfast, this time it was sliced bread with a round hole cut out and replaced by a fried egg. Yum!
At 9am we bundled into the vans and departed (via the supermarket car park) for Dumbrava. There we visited an organisation who take in the elderly, homeless, physically and mentally disabled people and anyone who would otherwise be “forgotten” by the state as there doesn’t seem to be any welfare or support for them. This seems to be a unique organisation in Romania and therefore people are sent from hospitals up to 500 km away who would otherwise be turned out onto the streets. There are currently 130 residents who are housed in a range of smaller communities and the family that run it rely entirely on donations- we were able to give sacks of potatoes, rice, pasta as well as gloves, hats and scarves.
At the moment, there are several separate bungalows at Dumbrava. The first one we visited housed a group of people who suffer from a range of different mental and physical disabilities. For some of us this was a very new experience and seeing the conditions in the bungalow was hard, despite the fact that they are a vast improvement to anywhere else on the streets that the residents would have otherwise have been subject to. However, it was a pleasant surprise to see lots of the men and women who live there wearing TOMS and we think this could be due to the one for one scheme that the company upholds: www.toms.com/one-for-one We then sang to them and it was lovely to see how much simple joy we could bring to them through just a few songs. A couple of the team found they had admirers who were interested in their jewellery, eyes or air guitar skills.
After that we went to a second group of bungalows where the residents mainly had physical disabilities. We met some of the residents, sang to them again and felt that though the situation for some of them seemed helpless and there was nothing we could do, we did have the power to pray and thus Matt prayed for one of the residents who was suffering from an inoperable brain injury. Please do remember these residents in your prayers. We also met a local pastor who lives nearby and has found it a great privilege to be able to visit every day and lead a bible study group in this community. For some people this is the first time they have ever encountered Christianity or the bible and they are fascinated! They had the privilege of baptising 16 people in June this year.
It was hard to know how to feel about the situation of the residents at Dumbrava. With mixed feelings, we battled with the helplessness of their situation however rejoiced in the thought that these people are incredibly blessed for what they have been provided with, and are in the best place they could be given their circumstances. Since October, there has been dramatic improvements to the area, in particular to the outside where residents can relax and socialise. We felt hopeful that they’d been given a home and it was so evident that they had such a passionate team who care for them. Speaking to Viorel and Florica, we heard about his absolute faith in God, who has encouraged him to change and expand the home despite reservations, and has already seen the fruits of his investment. We left with mixed emotions.
(At this point, we seemed to be leaving in rather a hurry, but somehow still had time for the driver to pull over, jump out, and pick two handfuls of wild blackberries which he handed to me, Nay. He refused to eat any himself so I handed them round but still ended up rather sticky.)
We soon arrived at the Felix Spa and had our lunch surrounded by far too many men in speedos! We finally had time to relax and enjoy the naturally heated pools and jacuzzis, as well as trying out some of the water slides. Don’t panic mums, we regularly reapplied our sun cream! 🙂 some of the more esteemed members of the group decided they would prefer to explore the town and managed to come across a cafe selling cooled beverages.
After another trip to the supermarket, we returned home to lamb and tasty potatoes accompanied by beetroot.
The washer-uppers have just finished and we’re about to meet for debrief and worship before retiring to tea/uno/biscuits and bed.
Ta-ra for now!
Nay and Charis