O For a Thousand Tongues to Sing

Erin Jones is a freelance writer and humanities teacher. She visited Romania in the spring of 2014 with a group of young adults from her church, Fourth Presbyterian in Bethesda, MD.

After an incredibly rich week, our team had begun to near the end of our visit to RCE with hearts full. That evening, our little team of 14 from Fourth Presbyterian Church, along with some RCE staff, descended on the Residential Campus in Pecica to spend the evening with students and staff, over delicious food, as always. We lingered, chatting after the meal when suddenly a small entourage of visitors burst in, one of whom carried an accordion. Before long the instrument had filled the room with upbeat, accented bellows. The tune soon took the form of a hymn, which all the Romanians in the room immediately recognized and began to sing. When this song ended, another followed close behind. A hymnal appeared, but students and staff alike seemed to know the words.

In an instant, this casual dinner had been transformed into a service of worship. Our hearts were filled with praise, even those of us who couldn’t understand the words. On the faces of the students some wheelchair bound, others survivors of trauma shone with the peace that passes understanding and joy inexplicable. We did not need to know the words to clearly see the truth expressed in those moments: that God is greater than circumstance and difficulty, that His grace is sufficient, and that his merciful love is glorious. So far from home, our little group from Maryland had glimpsed the true home awaiting us: a home where worship of our great God will transcend language barriers, racial divides, ethnicity, and any other temporal barriers.

Revelations 7:9-12
After this I looked, and behold, a great multitude that no one could number, from every nation, from all tribes and peoples and languages, standing before the throne and before the Lamb, clothed in white robes, with palm branches in their hands, and crying out with a loud voice, “Salvation belongs to our God who sits on the throne, and to the Lamb!”  And all the angels were standing around the throne and around the elders and the four living creatures, and they fell on their faces before the throne and worshiped God, saying, “Amen! Blessing and glory and wisdom and thanksgiving and honor and power and might be to our God forever and ever! Amen.”

Summer Smiles and Helping Hands: A Look Back

Miller Carbaugh is a member of Fourth Presbyterian Church and a student at Baylor University.  

Ever since I can remember, my family has had the privilege of partnering with RCE.  When my sister and I were very young, my parents sponsored a classroom at Sunshine School, and we would receive cards in the mail with pictures and letters from the students which I loved to look at.  As I got older, my desire to travel to Romania to see RCE in action grew and grew, and finally, through the grace of God, the summer before my senior year of high school I was privileged to travel to Romania.  I visited Love House families (families who have adopted special needs children) and impoverished families helped through RCE’s Poverty Prevention Program. What an impact it makes to be able to see mercy happening with my own eyes! 

On this trip, there was one particular boy who stood out to me named Laurentiu.  He was the oldest boy of the family whose house we were adding on to, a family who barely knew where their next meal was coming from.  He was so eager to help us and would race us to get the water from the pump for the concrete.  Even though he knew no English, his smile was one of pure joy every time we interacted with him. 

 

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This past summer, I was able to travel to Romania again, this time for three weeks. The first week I was there I worked at camp for Love House children.  I was overjoyed to find that Laurentiu and two of his younger siblings were attending camp.  Being able to see him again and spend time with him for a whole week, still with his bright smile three years later, was an incredible feeling. Seeing that RCE was still a constant support and presence in his life is a huge testament to what RCE does in the lives of not just Laurentiu, but hundreds of other families as well.  The third week I was there, we went to visit families that RCE supports, and as I stepped off the bus at the first family’s home, I heard my name being called.  I turned and saw Laurentiu’s siblings standing there with wide eyes and happy hearts.  Once again this affirmed the impact RCE and those associated with it make in the lives of these kids and families.  These children taught me more than I taught them. 

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To be able to go back and see everything that has changed and developed in these past three years is an experience I never could have prepared for.  Hearing testimonies from families who have adopted children, seeing the way RCE staff interacts with the kids, and most of all watching how much the Lord works through this organization are all things I cherish from going to Romania.  In this holiday season, it is especially important to remember these families and children as they celebrate with us the birth of our Savior.  I hope to return to Romania in the future to continue to watch God work through RCE.

 

 

Celebrating the Birth; Serving the King

Luke 1:52. The Song of Mary
“He has put down the mighty from their thrones. And exalted the lowly.”


    The arc of redemption is long; beginning outside the Garden and reaching across the ages to a lowly manger in what we now call the Middle East.  As stories go . . . none can match the drama and beauty of that first Advent. A young mother going into labor in a stable, choirs of angels, sheep and shepherds, all on a starry night. There is drama, pathos, exquisite beauty, and eternal hope in the birth of the King.

    Jesus came, not to the powerful, but to the poor and lowly. And the Kingdom spreads, not by might or power – or with swords loud clashing - but by deeds of love and mercy.

   It would be wonderful to be able get a glimpse of all places around the world where God’s people are extending the Kingdom of God right now, feeding the hungry, loving their neighbors and caring for the poor and oppressed. I have the distinct privilege and joy of seeing that happen in one tiny corner of the world.

God’s love has been made manifest to Alex & Alexandra this year. Abandoned and separated, they are back together and in a loving family this Christmas.

God’s love has been made manifest to Alex & Alexandra this year. Abandoned and separated, they are back together and in a loving family this Christmas.

   The faithful Romanian team (all 100 of them) at RCE go about their work of mercy every day. Not because it is easy but because that is how the Kingdom spreads. They labor often in places where no one can see how hard it is. Caring for little ones who will never be able to thank them. Taking a blow from sometimes violent children – who were hurt by others. They care for poor families, they embrace the stranger at the gate, those who are other, they make the widow’s heart sing, the lame to walk.  There are hard days (and nights) but the light that shone over the stable does come to dwell in hurting human hearts and the ‘choirs of angels’ continue their heavenly song.

Manu – in his apartment on the Residential Campus in Pecica – welcoming visiting Board Members Jim Young & Paul Wohlers.

Manu – in his apartment on the Residential Campus in Pecica – welcoming visiting Board Members Jim Young & Paul Wohlers.

Home

Just think of stepping on shore – and finding it heaven.

Of touching a hand --- and finding it God’s

Of breathing new air – and finding it celestial,

Of waking up in glory --- and finding it home.

Finally Home by Don Wyrtzen.

None of us who have been raised in safety and love can fathom what it means to be rescued out of abuse and arrive one day in a place where you are safe. Of touching a hand and finding it holds comfort instead of pain. Hearing kind words, instead of violent, vulgar ones.

We have two new girls at Darius House who are 15 and 17. These sisters had been held captive by their own father who had sexually abused them for as long as they can remember. He kept them from attending school, and so they are illiterate. They had no friends, only each other.

Imagine being a slave and waking up free.

Imagine being in a long, dark tunnel of abuse and waking up in the light.

Imagine tasting fresh, sweet food after existing on rubbish.

Imagine living in the stench of a ‘prison’ and waking up in a garden.

Darius House is not Glory.  I am, obviously, not drawing an analogy to the heavenly shore. But when I ponder what it will be like one day – the contrast of going from a fallen world to a perfectly restored one - it helps me imagine the transformation these sisters have experienced.

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All of our Darius House kids have suffered in varying degrees. Every story you hear breaks your heart. And some stories are unknown, locked inside a child without words to explain. But as for the sisters, we know their suffering. And it is unimaginable. You can see it etched on their faces. Time, God’s love, and specialists, educators, and loving caregivers at RCE will heal some of their wounds. Not all. But some. The girls are ‘home’ now, and we will keep them safe. We will, with God’s help, give them a future of dignity and hope, living in our residential community.

The Scriptures are filled with references to God’s compassion and tenderness for the brokenhearted. He sent his Son for all of us and He sends us to those in need, to lift the burden from the heavy laden, and to set the captives free.


 

Giving Thanks

Jim Perry is the Chairman of the Board of Romanian Christian Enterprises.

Natalia and Denis were born into an extremely poor, dysfunctional, and abusive family. Life at home was so bad they ran away. Living on the streets and begging were better than home. But God had a plan to rescue and restore their lives to what they should have been. They came to live at RCE's Darius House. Earlier this year, the Lord provided a wonderful adoptive family for them. Today they are loved and treasured as God's precious gift. This Thanksgiving, give thanks to a God who loves mercy; a God who saves kids who were lost, and gives them hope and a future.

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