This post comes from the New Mercies Seen blog, written by members of the McLean Presbyterian and Capital Presbyterian Fairfax churches who served in Romania in July 2019. Click the link above for more in-depth stories and pictures from their week.
What do you do with a free day in July when the weather is beautiful? Climb a mountain to see the ruins of a 14th century castle and enjoy the incredible views from the top. While at the top, play silly games with your friends and then enjoy a quiet walk in the woods. And before you head down, have a picnic lunch. That’s the stuff of a normal life.
And that’s what we did with the first half of our day. But we got to do it with the orphans from the Darius Houses and Amy’s House. These kids have a variety of cognitive, emotional, and physical disabilities. Today we enjoyed the same simple pleasures together.
We started our afternoon by learning about RCE’s Job Center programs. These are programs that provide vocational opportunities for young adults with special needs, including young adults still with RCE, and others placed in local families years ago. They make a variety of snack packages (salty and sweet!) and jams that are sold in community. They sort, cut, and package old clothes into bundles of rags that are sold to local industries. And they work in RCE’s vegetable garden, yielding produce for all the different RCE kitchens. And they learn the joy and dignity of work. All part of a normal life.
We finished our afternoon at RCE’s Pecica campus. This is RCE’s residential campus for older teens and young adults who came through the Darius Houses, but were never adopted into a Romanian family. The residents vary greatly in their abilities and function. Some live a semi-independent life. They have a small private apartment and take the tram each day to Arad to work at the Jobs Center. Others live in Sorin’s House, a beautiful new home that opened in March, 2018, or in Pecica House. All enjoy the peace and quiet of the beautiful campus and the security and significance of simply being known and loved. A place to call home where you are known and loved. All part of a normal life.
We spent a couple of hours working on the campus. We cleaned, we painted, we worked on a new swing for the playground, and laid brick pavers to help finish a large covered porch. And we played games and laughed with our friends. All part of a normal life.
The world doesn’t count disabled orphans in Romania as worth much. But to our Lord, they are just as precious as any of us. And through His love and power, RCE restores their broken lives to what they should have been.
Today is July 4th, our nation’s birthday and our Independence Day. But how can we celebrate 4,500 miles from home? Our Romanian hosts took care of that: the biggest feast yet, a live band that began with the Star Spangled Banner, some Romanian fireworks, and a wonderful “birthday” cake. We all felt incredibly loved by our Romanian friends.
Just when you think the day is done: US versus Romania in soccer. The Romanians prevailed 4-3, but only because we ate more!