Campus Improvements!

Lots of hard work over the past year has transformed RCE’s campus in Arad. We have updated the chapel, added a walking and biking path encircling the campus, installed a new, adaptive playground, added attractive fencing and play area improvements including a sandbox, enclosed trampoline and park benches. Everyone on campus helped make this transformation a reality.

Sunshine School teachers and assistants painted fence posts, Amy’s house boys laid out the fence itself, Darius House kids helped shovel sand and were the first with their Sunshine School classmates to try out the new swings and slide.  The staff is working on a fitness program utilizing the improvements to enable the children and young adults in RCE’s care to become even stronger and healthier.

God continues to bless RCE in ways unimaginable. The transformation of our campus is yet another way He has provided.

A Romanian turtle

Our guest writer today is Erin Jones. Erin is a high school English teacher who visited Romania in 2014 with a group of young adults from her church, Fourth Presbyterian.

Five years after my brother Reid’s death, the image of a turtle could still reduce me to tears at the least expected moments. Turtles were his favorite animal; turtle decorations graced the walls of his room, and stuffed turtles became his bedside companions in the twilight days as he battled the illness that would take his life. Like a turtle, he was steadfast and brave as he gently bore the burden that came with his birth.

Doctors didn't expect him to live more than a few hours when he was born at 23 weeks gestation, weighing only one pound, ten ounces. Then he survived and continued to survive. He survived blindness, cerebral palsy, and multiple surgeries for 23 years. He overcame numerous challenges, astonishing teachers, doctors, and nurses. I had every reason to think he was going to recover that week in July when pneumonia hospitalized him. Instead the numbers on his vital signs monitor slowly and relentlessly dropped, and I watched in surreal horror as he slipped away.

Grief descended like a black cloud in the year that followed. I didn't realize that tear ducts could bruise until Reid died. I routinely awoke with a battered face mornings after wrestling through helpless hot tears to make sense of it all. The years don't make the pain hurt any less, but, like a turtle’s shell, the burden of grief brings strength and perseverance. Still, some reminders and triggers exposed the pain as raw as raw as the day it happened. That's why in 2014, just five years after his death,  when given the opportunity to visit RCE on a vision trip with my church, I feared the memories that would lurk at every turn.

Romania won my heart from the moment the sun rose that first day. Beauty lay everywhere; in the mosaic-covered church we attended that first morning, the architecture of the houses and most of all in the kind and warm hearts of our host families. Even as I tried to soak in this wondrous new country, surrounded by 13 teammates and dear friends, I prepared for the emotional landmines that awaited me when we arrived at the school.

No amount of bracing myself could ease the blow of touring the school that first morning. Some of the children reminded me of Reid, and the classrooms themselves rekindled memories of visits to his school as a child. I struggled to smile, wanting so much show appreciation for the wonderful work the staff were doing for these precious children, but the tears could not be kept at bay. I longed for any kind of escape so I could get away from everyone and fall apart. Then we came to a classroom where one student, Sorin, sat intently drawing with markers, surrounded by his artwork.

"He draws animals," his teacher said. "His favorite animals to draw are the fierce animals with big teeth." She held up picture after picture of lions, bears, and dinosaurs, but then she paused. "Except this one." She turned the paper over to reveal a gently smiling turtle. I had to catch my breath. A turtle?

A turtle. All the way in Romania, in the moment I needed it most, here was a beautiful reminder of Reid’s life.  While that moment could have meant my emotional undoing, I only felt pure joy and hope. A gift from heaven had come from the most unlikely messenger.




Click here to watch a short film about the artist behind the turtle.


Witnessing joy

Tara Collins, a physical therapist, recently visited RCE with her colleagues, Marti Carroll, Becca Adams and Megan Eyler. Here are her impressions from last spring.

I feel so blessed to have traveled to Romania to see first hand how the people of RCE have touched so many lives.  This was my first time traveling to Romania. I went with three other physical therapists. We had the opportunity to work with kids from the sunshine school as well as people in the community.

On many afternoons, we spent time visiting with some of the families who have been helped by the people of RCE. God’s work is truly happening and it's an amazing thing to experience.  For so many struggling families with unsafe and crumbling houses, RCE has pulled communities together to rebuild lives and homes. From resetting foundations, building kitchens and roofs, adding rooms for kids to sleep safely and comfortably...the list goes on. I never could have guessed the number of lives RCE has transformed by the grace of God and through His people.

We were able to meet some of the families who have worked with RCE to be able to welcome children with special needs into their lives. It was amazing to experience the joy of all the kids as well as the parents.

During our mornings we spent time at the sunshine school, working along side Cipri and Natalia. By Gods grace, Marti [Carroll] was able to have a company donate a gait trainer (a device that allows you to be upright and walk with support). We were able to have multiple kids, from the school and the community, utilize the gait trainer.  I’ll never forget putting Florinel in the gait trainer the first time, we learned quickly that we had to decrease the speed -- his little legs just wanted to take off running down the halls of the school! I loved witnessing the joy on his face to be able to stand in the gait trainer and play one of his favorite games of shooting a ball into a hoop.

I want to thank Ovi, Doina and their three beautiful daughters for opening their home to us. I am especially grateful for the opportunity to witness the homes and lives they have helped open and expand for these special children to join and feel safe and loved every day.

God's Heart for Orphans

W. Scott Brown is a member of the RCE Board of Directors. He is vice president of leadership experiences and resources at Christian Leadership Alliance. He serves as an Elder at Cherrydale Baptist Church, and as the Aging Out Initiative Coordinator for Christian Alliance for Orphans. He and his wife Kristin live in McLean, Va.

“A father to the fatherless, a defender of widows is God in his holy dwelling. God sets the lonely in families, he leads forth the prisoners with singing; but the rebellious live in a sun-scorched land.” Psalm 68: 5-6

It is an honor to serve on the board of Romanian Christian Enterprises, a ministry which lives out God’s heart for orphans, the poor and those with disabilities every day.  

In 2002, I first experienced God’s deep heart for orphans. I had traveled to Romania as a part of a short-term church mission trip to help lead a summer camp for 70 or so children from a large state orphanage. We prayed intensely as a team prior to the trip. While there, we experienced God ministering through us to these children in a remarkable way. It was a divine moment in which God worked through us to communicate his fatherly heart to these children.

As a young, single guy at that time, feeling God’s powerful fatherly love flowing through me for these children was life-changing. In fact, while there God clearly communicated to my heart that the love I felt for these children reflected how he felt about me. I had long been a believer, but this experience transformed my relationship with my loving “Abba” Father. The overflow of my renewed joy was so transparent that one young girl from the orphanage shared with a translator that she wanted in her life whatever it was that she saw in me. We were able to lead her to Christ, and saw her transformed by her Abba Father’s love as well.

Last year's summer camp (2016)

In my numerous visits back to Romania it has been inspiring to see the profound life change Romanian Christian Enterprises is affecting in the lives of children, families and communities. It’s a joy to embrace a mission so dear to God’s heart. At Cherrydale Baptist Church, my home church, we offer a study on “God’s Heart for Orphans.” You’re welcome to download our “Leader’s Guide” and “Student Guide,” for your own church as well.

Have you explored Scripture to understand God’s deep heart for orphans?

Do you know God’s “Abba” Father love for you?

The radiance of Christ

This is Becca Adams' second guest post (find her first post here). Becca and her physical therapist colleagues, including board member Marti Carroll, recently returned from a trip to Romania.

As I reflect on my second trip to Romania, I have a simple, recurring thought--

That the promises of God are not far-off, unrealistic, or ethereal stuff. The Kingdom of God is reality.  

God works and speaks undeniably, powerfully and beautifully through the lives of those who look to Him and trust Him fully. And His Kingdom is more real and infinitely better than any other kingdom we try to operate in.

I saw this simple truth in the village of Obarsia. We had a heavenly day of taking part in a community picnic with homemade EVERYTHING brought up to the crest of many rolling hills by a blanketed horse and his cart. Can you imagine? Deeper than the joy of beholding the majestic scenery was the joy of watching loads of children roll down the hill, sneak extra donuts, swap stories of milking cows and exploring their new rural life.

These kids have come out of broken, traumatic histories of being abandoned or abused, of being tossed around different orphanages and separated from their siblings. God worked through RCE and Christian families in this village who were inspired by each other’s decisions to adopt, many after already raising families of their own. A beautiful domino effect of adoptions unfolded. He brought these kids into a safe and ‘spacious place; He rescued them because He delighted in them. (Psalm 18:19). This village is radiant, filled with His presence and light.

Radiance is a promise of God. We have direct access to the source, and so we are bearers of His light; we can shine brightly in our daily rhythms by looking to Him and relying on His strength. Seek His face always (Psalm 105:4). Those who look to the Lord are radiant; their faces are never covered with shame (Psalm 34:5). And we all, who with unveiled faces contemplate the Lord’s glory, are being transformed into His image with ever-increasing glory, which comes from the Lord, who is the Spirit. (2 Corinthians 3:18).

I think of Flori and Sebi who care for the young men in the semi-independent living center in Pecica. It’s a daily work of loving on, delighting in, disciplining, and bringing a family dynamic to the lives of boys who bear the marks of childhood trauma. It’s not glamorous. I would imagine it’s often lonely and exhausting. But it is a radiant life, fueled by the light of the Lord. They look at the Lord and so reflect His glory. It’s a daily, steady, full eye-contact kind of gaze—not swayed by temptations to look elsewhere.


I think of the focus group discussions we held on disability and healthcare with caregivers connected to RCE’s Poverty Prevention Program. I was moved by their beautiful vulnerability in sharing.

Some interesting themes emerged. First, how the strong affects of communism still linger in society’s views, even permeating into the medical professions. The belief that people with disabilities are irrecoverable, lacking potential for full life and unworthy of dignity.  They shared about the regular caregiver stresses combined with the disillusionment with a medical system that dismisses their loved ones and a social context that discludes them.  And yet, a theme of collective hope arose. The stories of RCE and the stories of these caregivers intertwined to display a radiant Different Way that stands in stark contrast to the dark, oppressive system these children were born into. RCE and these caregivers go to great lengths to care for the disabled simply because they look to the Lord and are empowered to reflect His perspective.  

I am so very encouraged by the radiant Body of Christ seen through RCE. It so well reflects the very fullness of God, who “fills everything in every way.” (Ephesians 1:23)