101 Lives

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“When I met Claudiu he wouldn’t stop screaming,” Nelu Balog recounted to the guests at RCE’s fall event. “I carried him outside in my arms, put his head on my shoulder and began to sing Amazing Grace. His little body finally relaxed in my arms and he quieted. I knew then that God was calling us to take this little boy into our family. ”

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Nelu and Nicoleta Balog had a busy life. He pastored four small churches while she taught at the local high school. They had three fine, almost grown, children and they knew they wanted to share what they had with one of Romania’s many abandoned children. A good friend told them about RCE and they quickly made plans to visit the campus in Arad where they met two little boys, Darius and Claudiu.  The boys, not brothers, were little more than toddlers and had only recently arrived at RCE.

Claudiu had been abandoned at the maternity hospital and then bounced through state institutions before arriving at Darius House. 

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Darius’ mother was young and homeless when he was born. She tried to take care of her son but finally left him (with a little food and clothes) in the dirty stairwell of a block of flats. He was one year old.

After meeting the boys, Nelu and Nicoleta left RCE that day knowing that God had called them to take not one, but two orphans, into their family.

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Nicoleta explained how hard it was in the beginning. Claudiu continued to scream much of the time - especially during the night. They put the boys near them so she could reach out and touch him, comforting him through his night terrors. Gradually, over the last 3 years, Claudiu has come to know that he is safe and loved. He laughs and plays with his brother and attends kindergarten with him. He still only has a few understandable words but talks a mile-a-minute in his own vernacular. They are working with him and praying that one day Claudiu will be able to talk.

Darius could only say a few words when he arrived in the Balog family – including the words for me (YoYo) and Bob (him/or baby). The nicknames stuck. New names. New boys. New family.  Today Darius is verbal and able to keep up with his class. He no longer fears abandonment and assures everyone who visits the family, “This is my house. I live here.”

The evening concluded with a cake to celebrate twenty-five years of making mercy happen.   There were 101 candles on the cake, not for years but for lives! One candle for every abandoned child placed in a family through the faithfulness and good efforts of Mihai and Carmen Bocsa (RCE Placement Directors), and by the grace of God who loves the ‘widow and the orphan’.

YoYo & Bob, two of the 101 children, enjoyed ‘helping’ carry the cake.

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Thank you for your prayers and support. We are well on our way to reaching our financial goal for the evening.

You can help us make that goal with an on-line gift

or by mail to: RCE 21058 Unison Road. Middleburg. VA 20117

Take a few minutes to view RCE’s new film ‘making mercy happen’ and celebrate with us all that God has done in our midst. Thanks for your part!

"Orphan chic"

Karen Myers is a board member for Romanian Christian Enterprises.

I got a marketing email in my inbox the other day from a kids’ clothing company. The tagline was “British orphan chic.”
 

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Squeaky clean kids wearing expensive, earth-toned clothes.

If this is the image that “orphan” conjures in our culture, our society has successfully barricaded itself from the reality of what it means to be an abandoned, abused or neglected child.

I think of Robi and Cici, aged five and three, abused by their father, living as runaways in the woods surviving by foraging and communicating between each other using a language they created for themselves.

I think of Ghita, bigger and stronger than the other kids at the orphanage, forced by abusive orphanage staff to exact punishment on his fellow orphans. A gentle soul, Ghita has never fully recovered from that trauma.

I think of Roli, bright and intelligent, with all that potential locked inside with pent-up rage at abuses he can’t fully remember.

The stories of these children who Romanian Christian Enterprises has rescued are numerous and overwhelming and far away from “orphan chic.”

How do we inoculate ourselves from the temptation to romanticize the plight of the weakest members of a society? By listening to their stories and obeying the commands of Christ to act on their behalf.

Throughout Scripture we see the heart of a compassionate God who calls His people to care for the widow and the orphan. Jesus compares their physical and temporal circumstances to our spiritual circumstance.

God incarnate came to put the spiritually broken and  lonely in His family.  For two and a half decades, Romanian Christian Enterprises has been putting broken lonely orphans in loving Christian families for life.  They have plucked one hundred and one precious and amazing children from abusive and neglectful situations out of the darkness into the light in the name of Jesus.

Come to our fall event this year and help us celebrate 25 years of making mercy happen for the ‘least of these’ in Arad, Romania. You will meet and hear the story of YoYo and Bob, two boys who became friends after being rescued into the Darius Houses, and then were adopted as brothers into the Balog family.

 

Back to school supplies

Lorena Martin works as an administrator in our poverty prevention program.

Slowly but surely, fall steps in. The weather is cooler during the day and in the night time it is almost cold. Everybody is back from vacation, tan and full of energy (more or less...).

Late August and early September is the time of the year when we buy tons of school supplies and share them with families in needs. This year, around 200 children benefited from this program. It is a great adventure to go and buy hundreds of colorful notebook, pencils, backpacks and other school supplies, and then return to the office with a full van, sort them, go over the lists with the families and make individual packages for each.   

But the best part is when you get to take them to kids. To see their smiles and hear their giggles as they share everything! It is great to work in this ministry, to see how God is taking care these children! Thank you for all the smiles I get to see. Thank you for donating and investing in their education!

Impressions

Megan Eyler, a physical therapist, and her colleagues (Becca Adams, Marti Carroll and Tara Collins) traveled to Romania in late spring of this year. Here are some of Megan's impressions of the work RCE is doing in Romania.

Before we set off for Arad, Marti and Becca, both physical therapists who have spent time in Arad working with RCE (Marti for almost 20 years), shared some of their experiences and stories. This gave me a deeper understanding, but I am so grateful for the rich personal experience I had while visiting.

As I met the children and families served by RCE, I learned of the hardship, tribulation and sadness experienced in many of their lives. But for many, the joy of their current situation has outshone this darkness. It’s incredible the amount of light, love, hope and joy RCE has brought to families in need, abandoned children, children with disabilities and many other underserved but deserving children of God. It was evident that the light of the Lord shines upon this organization, and by God’s great grace, it has changed so many lives forever.

I will never forget the smiles, laughter, and energy of the children of the Darius houses and Sunshine School during our daily PT co-treatments with Natalia and Cipri.  

I will not forget the excitement of the young adults of Amy’s House or those living in Pecica as they showed us their rooms and shared their interests with us.

Nor will I forget the astonishment and tears of happiness from the man we visited who had a stroke and had not taken steps across a room in years.

While visiting and meeting families who have been ministered to by RCE, I was blown away by the generosity and openness shown to us by those who have little.

It is easy to feel the joy versus the darkness in life when we take the time to recognize it in the little things and share it with others. With patience and stewardship, little acts of joy make big dreams come true.  For all the things that bring us down, God’s love for us brings many joyous gifts that lift us up -- a sunny day, a delicious bite of bread, strength for a first step, a new friendship/partnership, a beautiful view, a family volunteering to adopt a child. These are just a few of the many examples of joy I witnessed in just a few days. I will be forever grateful for my time visiting RCE.

Job Center Summer Progress

It's been a busy summer vacation around RCE's campus. During the break we have lots of opportunities for our teens and young adults within our Job Center. 

Our Job Center is where we provide meaningful employment for our teens and young adults with special needs. We do our best to fit the activity for the person rather than fit the person for the activity, so that means we are developing lots of activities! 

This summer our people sorted clothes, gardened, cleaned and helped with construction. It's hard work, but we make progress every week! We are thankful for all our supervisors who coordinate each task with with patience, love and perseverance!