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!


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! 

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.