Miller Carbaugh is a Summer Intern with RCE. She begins her senior year at Baylor University this fall.
In 2014, I traveled to Romania for the first time to get a hands-on glimpse of what RCE really does and how it functions day by day. Little did I know that four years later I would have the privilege to spend two months in the same incredible and merciful place. Spending time alongside the staff and children of RCE daily provided me with a much deeper understanding of both the challenges and successes of the ministry. I was able to participate in multiple camps and building projects, observe class in Sunshine School, go on outings with the children, and much more. God has clearly placed each and every person there for a reason to fulfill His purpose in their lives. Being able to see the staff in action in all the different facets of the organization made me realize how broadly RCE reaches. They help over 250 poor families, place children in loving and God-fearing homes, provide dignity and normalcy to the lives of disabled and abandoned children, educate children, counsel and guide adoptive families, and so much more.
Each child that RCE receives as their own is a child of God, created in His image and loved equally, and RCE demonstrates this through their work. Many children are non-verbal and severely disabled. Sometimes it is easier to shy away from these kids because they may look intimidating or initially not look “fun” to spend time with. But getting to know all the kids was one of my favorite parts because they taught me the incredible importance of love and dignity.
One child who particularly made an impact on me was Gruia, a non-verbal, mentally disabled and abandoned young man. He usually moves very slowly and rarely changes his expression, as he is severely handicapped and unable to really communicate in most ways. He loves to swing on the playground and hold a plastic bottle in his hand everywhere he goes. It is difficult to get a reaction out of him, and if you are successful, it is very slow. At the beginning of the summer I spent a few days in his classroom at Sunshine School and instantly grew fond of him. I saw him often throughout the summer and spent time with him camp, but never interacted personally with him for an extended time. On my last night in Romania, I went to say goodbye to the kids from Darius Houses and Gruia was outside on a walk with a few others. I walked towards them to say goodbye and Gruia stood there staring at me as I said goodbye to him. He slowly moved his arms and came closer and gave me a hug without me prompting him to do so. He let go and then smiled at me and my heart melted. I realized this small moment was the perfect way to end my time in Romania.
All summer I had been learning the ways RCE loves these children and how much love these children are able to show in their own ways. I truly understood what it meant for these kids to be provided with dignity and to be shown Christ’s love and mercy. Through RCE, this abandoned boy is given dignity and treated as God’s creation, and in this moment, I witnessed the fruit of this care. Christ loves them unconditionally and teaches us to do the same, no matter where they come from, what they look like, or how they behave. Each child is a beating heart and even though they were abandoned by their earthly parents, Christ never abandoned them. RCE is not just an organization, it is rather a group of God’s servants who were placed in Arad to do His work and to show His mercy. It is a testament to what God calls all of us to do. Something one of the staff said this summer stuck with me—he said, “we try to teach these children the Gospel and pray they will know Jesus as their own. They were given a difficult life on this earth, but we know ultimately they will be perfected with Christ in heaven.”