New Mercies Seen: A Normal Life

This post comes from the New Mercies Seen blog, written by members of the McLean Presbyterian and Capital Presbyterian Fairfax churches who served in Romania in July 2019. Click the link above for more in-depth stories and pictures from their week.

What do you do with a free day in July when the weather is beautiful? Climb a mountain to see the ruins of a 14th century castle and enjoy the incredible views from the top. While at the top, play silly games with your friends and then enjoy a quiet walk in the woods. And before you head down, have a picnic lunch. That’s the stuff of a normal life.

And that’s what we did with the first half of our day. But we got to do it with the orphans from the Darius Houses and Amy’s House. These kids have a variety of cognitive, emotional, and physical disabilities. Today we enjoyed the same simple pleasures together.

At the top!

At the top!

Jump, Anna!

Jump, Anna!

Angela and Sorin

Angela and Sorin

We started our afternoon by learning about RCE’s Job Center programs. These are programs that provide vocational opportunities for young adults with special needs, including young adults still with RCE, and others placed in local families years ago. They make a variety of snack packages (salty and sweet!) and jams that are sold in community. They sort, cut, and package old clothes into bundles of rags that are sold to local industries. And they work in RCE’s vegetable garden, yielding produce for all the different RCE kitchens. And they learn the joy and dignity of work. All part of a normal life.

RCE Job Center jam for sale.

RCE Job Center jam for sale.

We finished our afternoon at RCE’s Pecica campus. This is RCE’s residential campus for older teens and young adults who came through the Darius Houses, but were never adopted into a Romanian family. The residents vary greatly in their abilities and function. Some live a semi-independent life. They have a small private apartment and take the tram each day to Arad to work at the Jobs Center. Others live in Sorin’s House, a beautiful new home that opened in March, 2018, or in Pecica House. All enjoy the peace and quiet of the beautiful campus and the security and significance of simply being known and loved. A place to call home where you are known and loved. All part of a normal life.

We spent a couple of hours working on the campus. We cleaned, we painted, we worked on a new swing for the playground, and laid brick pavers to help finish a large covered porch. And we played games and laughed with our friends. All part of a normal life.

A lovely bright peach color for the sides of the new porch. Romanians love bold, bright colors for their homes.

A lovely bright peach color for the sides of the new porch. Romanians love bold, bright colors for their homes.

The world doesn’t count disabled orphans in Romania as worth much. But to our Lord, they are just as precious as any of us. And through His love and power, RCE restores their broken lives to what they should have been.

Today is July 4th, our nation’s birthday and our Independence Day. But how can we celebrate 4,500 miles from home? Our Romanian hosts took care of that: the biggest feast yet, a live band that began with the Star Spangled Banner, some Romanian fireworks, and a wonderful “birthday” cake. We all felt incredibly loved by our Romanian friends.

Happy Birthday USA!!

Happy Birthday USA!!

Just when you think the day is done: US versus Romania in soccer. The Romanians prevailed 4-3, but only because we ate more!

Summer Camp: Sharing Grace and Experiencing God Together


Drew Gray is a high school senior from Fourth Presbyterian Church who served in July 2019 at RCE’s Summer Camp which benefits children and families from RCE’s Poverty Prevention Program.

This past summer I had the exciting opportunity to go on a Missions Trip to Romania with RCE. It was a wonderful experience, and if you are reading this thinking about going on the trip-- you should totally do it. We arrived in the morning after a red-eye flight and drove two and a half hours from Budapest, Hungary to Arad, Romania. I don’t remember anything from the drive since I was asleep the whole time. We arrived at Sunshine School around lunchtime and ate lunch with Ovi. 

On Sunday we went to Ovi’s church and worshiped with them. Since none of us understood Romanian we couldn’t make out what the sermon was about, but it was still a good day. Monday we split into two groups-- one group helping build a house for a family while my group went to Pecica and Sorin’s House where we helped with the kids and did some simple tasks. Later that day we drove to the camp, where we stayed for 4 days. 

During the camp week we interacted with the kids by playing games and serving food, and sleeping in teepees alongside the kids. Even though there was a language barrier we were still able to communicate with the kids, which was important. Each day had the exact same schedule which was helpful in figuring out when and where you needed to be. It was an overall fantastic time with the kids, but my favorite event at the camp was the USA vs. Romania soccer game, because if you watched the Romanian kids there would be a few cheering for USA and a lot cheering for Romania. Another fun thing that we did was explore an old castle from the 1400s on one of the afternoons. 

Going to Romania taught me many things, but the most important thing that I learned is that there are kids being neglected all over the world and it doesn’t take that much time or effort to help them. We were able to help out for a week and still have an impact on the kids lives for the better.

It was the best of times to Run For Their Lives! (And 5K Results!)

Kids, dogs, babies in strollers, new friends and old, ran or walked or rolled along with Marian in the spring sunshine.  The day was fun, the cause serious.  RCE is rescuing abandoned, abused and seriously ill children.


Marian, special guest at the event, was there to represent all his friends back in Romania at Darius House and Sunshine School.  He (and all of the children in varying degrees) have known terrible suffering.  Marian lived on the streets with an abusive mother for the first three years of his life. He has deep emotional scars that will take time, professional help and God’s love to heal. All of that help is available to Marian on RCE’s Campus in Arad and made possible through the good gifts of generous friends.

Thanks to all of you who took part in the RUN FOR THEIR LIVES campaign!

Congratulations to Zeke Frerichs (Fourth Presbyterian Church Youth Group) winner of the 5k Race. Complete race results are below.


Special thanks to RCE partner and friend, John Mollard, and colleagues from Lockheed Martin who were out in force (once again) running for the cause. Their generosity helped RCE near our goal of $50k.

Marie Ciorobitca and Carina Martin (who help care for Marian in Romania) did a wonderful job during the week of sharing his story with friends at Ambleside School (VA), Washington Christian Academy (MD) and our partnership churches (McLean Presbyterian Church, Fourth Presbyterian Church, Capital Presbyterian Fairfax).

There was also time to explore Washington D.C museums and monuments. Marian even took a plunge in the Reflecting Pool when he ran headlong into the water thinking the seed covered edge was actually sand. 


On Sunday morning, Carina shared in the worship service at Fourth Church. Hear her sing the wonderful old hymn, How Great Thou Art in English and Romanian.

It was, by God’s grace and your help, a great week for the RUN FOR THER LIVES CAMPAIGN!

If you wish to help us over the financial goal line:

5k Run results!:

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Thanks for running for their lives!

Who Makes the Woeful Heart to Sing!


Robed in the blooming garb of spring; 

Jesus is fairer,

Jesus is purer, 

Who makes the woeful heart to sing.

This marvelous old hymn has been beloved by the Church throughout the agesat least since the 17th Century when an unknown author penned it. Jesus is Fairer reminds us of the promise of spring and renewal, and that the grip of sin and death has been broken at the Cross. The love of Jesus is fairer, the love of Jesus is purer, and it does makes the woeful heart to sing! 

Every year millions of people flock to D.C. to see the Cherry Blossoms, or so it seems to those of us caught up in the traffic around the Tidal Basin. One might lament the congestion but no one can deny the magnificence of the trees ‘robed in the blooming garb of spring’.  On a somewhat (!) lesser scale, the trees on the RCE Campus in Arad are also ‘robed in the blooming garb of spring’. Children from the Darius Houses walk across the campus to Sunshine School, and play in the afternoon under the blossoms of the apple, cherry, and apricot trees.  (In the fall they will enjoy the fruit!)

These precious children understand what ‘woeful’ means. They have been battered, abused, neglected and abandoned by the very ones God meant to love and care for them. The cruel injustice they have suffered has left terrible scars. But God’s love heals broken-hearts. It lifts burdens from the heavy-laden.  “Let the children come to me,” Jesus said. And that is what God’s people at RCE are doing. They are bringing these ‘woeful’ hearts to Jesus for comfort and for the healing.

One of these woeful hearts is Marian, a six year old boy who was abandoned, but now rescued by RCE and lives in Darius House. He can’t wait to have a family one day. By God’s grace, He will come to America in a few short weeks to share his story alongside two of his Sunshine School teachers at our Spring 5K + Fun Run Event on Saturday, May 4th. He would love to meet you.

Easter comes two weeks later in Romania, (per the Orthodox calendar) and everyone on the RCE Campus is busy getting ready. The teachers are telling the story of Jesus love that led him to the Cross. The kids will hear this truth again in story and song at the Chapel, and at home in Darius House and Amy’s House. There will be special cakes (it is Romania) and treats and beautiful clothes for Easter Sunday morning. God’s Spirit transcends language and even the non-verbal children, and those with limited cognitive abilities, can and do feel God’s love and tender mercies. 

Jesus makes the ‘woeful’ heart to sing. Thanks be to God!

The 2019 Fun Run is here!


Saturday, May 4th
from 8:15-10:15am

10701 S. Glen Road
Potomac. MD

We’ll have an official timed cross country 5K and a half mile fun run/walk suitable for families with young kids. The run/walk starts promptly at 9:00 and brunch follows the race.

Our special guest this spring is Marian who was abandoned as a 4-year old. God’s people at RCE rescued him & today he lives at Darius House & attends Sunshine School. Marian is coming to America (with Carina Martin & Maria Ciorobitca) to RUN for all his friends back in Romania!


Join us for the Fun Run:

Name *

Other tools to support RCE’s Fun Run:

  1. Download the Fun Run flyer

  2. Create a personal fundraising page

  3. Offer financial support (scroll to the bottom of the page)

RCE is a 501(c)(3) non-profit and all donations are tax-deductible.
All donations go directly to helping children like Marian, so each gift truly makes a difference.

With your help, we can continue to end cycles of abuse and poverty by giving kids like Marian a hope and a future.