RCE Summer Intern Joshua Wallace grew up in Chile as the son of missionary parents. He graduated in May from The University of Virginia with a degree in Kinesiology and will continue on to complete his Master’s Degree.
During my time in Romania, I had the opportunity to work alongside other interns, Miller Carbaugh and Aaron Norris, and also with a short-term team from Trinity Christian School in Virginia. I spent my time working with and seeing different aspects of the ministry including helping Cipri and Natalia (RCE physical therapists) perform final evaluations on some of the children regarding their physical therapy progress as well as visiting families with special needs children. We moved furniture, brought food and diapers, and visited the family for whom Fourth Presbyterian's team will construct a new house, since a storm destroyed their old one.
As I learned through these visits, RCE also provides loan assistance to families who may need a new home, a new tractor, or want to start their own businesses, and allows them to pay the loan back without interest. It was incredible to see how the ministry is able to help in so many different circumstances; one can see the fingerprints of RCE all over the city and county of Arad, Romania. Ovi also took us to visit one of the poorest (if not the poorest) areas in Arad that the city originally designated as a trash dump zone. It is now inhabited by families who build homes out of whatever scraps they may find. I honestly had never seen poverty quite like it. It was truly humbling and provided perspective that I will always keep in mind.
I spent the bulk of my free time with one of the boys at Pecica named Alex, who has muscular dystrophy. Having this terrible disease unfortunately means that he does not have many years left to live, but it truly was a blessing to spend time with him and bond over our love of sports-- just in time for the World Cup! Miller and I also were able to visit a family with disabled twin daughters, one of which Cipri fitted with an assisted postural device.
On my last days on the job, I tagged along on two more visits to families with disabled daughters and attended the end of year celebration for Sunshine School. It was heartwarming to see the children perform songs, say Bible verses, and recite poems while observing the excitement in their eyes for Summer. I also observed Natalia work with a 4-year-old named Reuben who showed great progress by being able to lift his head, and occasionally his chest, off of the therapy table.
My internship experience was beyond anything I could have ever imagined. I came to Romania not exactly sure what to expect. I have been on mission trips and service projects my entire life given my parent's work in Chile, but this had a much larger impact on me being my first experience like this on my own and away from my parents. Not only was I able to gain valuable physical therapy experience, spend time with the blessed children of RCE, and serve the Lord in a foreign country, but I was also blessed with the opportunity to work alongside some of the most incredible, loving, and service-oriented people I have ever met. Being in such great company has undoubtedly changed me as a person, given me new perspective, and opened my eyes to the work God is doing in other countries. I will always have a soft spot for Romania after this trip and I fully intend to return one day. Thank you, Ovi and all the other staff members of RCE, for allowing me to work alongside you and be a part of the incredible ministry you are doing. God bless you and you will be in my prayers.