Greetings from Charis – Part One

It’s day 4 of our trip to Romania. We arrived mid afternoon on Saturday and were warmly welcomed by Dani and Mona, and Daniel. Denis and Edith went to the newly opened Lidl (2 days earlier) and purchased toiletries with the generous donations from St Stephen’s. After dinner the team packed up two gift bags, including food bought with the MAG donation.

Sunday morning saw us driving for an hour to Tinca, where we took  part in a church service unlike anything we had experienced before. There were about eight beds in a room and about 20 residents from two of the houses in Tinca, as well as the 16 strong contingent from Tonbridge. Dani led the service, Edith gave a talk based on Romans and Sabrina gave a testimony. Matt led the worship and Tom assisted on the keyboard.

Afterwards, we travelled by minibus to the different houses and gave out gift bags to 160 residents, mainly elderly and homeless, often physically or mentally disabled. It was a new experience for many of us. In total there are 10 or 12 homes in the various villages caring for about 300 residents in this way, headed up by Viorel, an ex pastor who was led by God to open up two rooms in his home some ten years ago. Where the State has not provided, God has and Viorel’s tentative initiative has mushroomed into the provision that we see today. We learnt that people have donated money and even left houses to support Viorel’s work.

After lunch, we had some downtime in Felix where the youth and Joanne went swimming at the local spa pool. There wasn’t much actual swimming because the water was naturally too hot (40 degrees). The other adults had a wander and drank hot beverages.

In the evening we talked about the day and reflected on how we found it. Many of the youth commented that they were touched by how glad the residents were to receive what they considered to be very simple gifts. It brought to home how much we take for granted. We also celebrated Beth’s 18th birthday with singing and a cake made by Ronela.

Monday morning saw us assembled outside awaiting a briefing from Dani on the week’s work he had lined up. Concrete mixing, painting, wood cutting and jobs with polystyrene were undertaken with great enthusiasm by all members of the team.

In the evening, we were served lamb curry (delicious, as is all the food). At the meeting, some of the team members admitted that Dani’s vision for the week had seemed quite daunting, but everyone felt that after a hard day’s work good progress had been made. Matt organised a team game and certain youth got very competitive!

It was felt that some of the youth were struggling to arrive at morning prayers in a timely fashion so the decision was made to allocate the evening dishwashing to the last three to arrive as an incentive. Abby took this one on the chin.

More to follow. La revedere.

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