From the Field – March 2016
It’s not officially springtime in Romania until you’ve received a “martisor” (pronounced martsy-SHORE) from one of the kids at Ana’s House. A martisor is a small decorated pin that is given to celebrate March 1st (much like we give valentines on Valentine’s Day) and to welcome the spring season. Many a martisor is decorated with a snowdrop –a small white flower that is one of the first blooms of spring, sometimes even popping up through snow.
As February ends, martisoare (plural) are sold on every street corner and market place–and the kids and staff at Ana’s House have enjoyed making and selling their own martisoare each year. This year they brought a little innovation to the market place and made crocheted martisoare. They use the money they earn on all kinds of things: home repairs, family outings, weddings… and of course always seeding money back into their small handmade crafts business.
Life in the foster families has been busy as well. Some recent updates include: Lynete, who is in 1st grade, has conquered her alphabet and is now doing very well with reading. One of her favorite types of books is fairy tales, which she loves to read to her younger brother Eduard. Alexandra, who is in 9th grade, is on the handball team. She tells us they’re very good and will be going to the championships. Hoiny, who is in 5th grade, had to change schools. Everyone was nervous about it, including Hoiny, but she is adjusting great! Her school is close enough to home that she can walk, and after just a few times of walking with her, Mama Gabi tells us Hoiny now confidently walks to school on her own.
Life is hard. Being an abandoned child makes life even harder. There have been many difficult winters in the lives of our children. But as winter fades we are seeing glimpses of the beautiful works God is doing in the lives of children popping up through the wintery terrain, just like a snowdrop flower.
By the time Antony was four years old both his parents had died leaving him and five other siblings on their own. The oldest daughter, who was only 14 years old, tried to take on the role of mother, but it was more than difficult. The family had little means to provide adequate meals, and they certainly didn’t have the means to pay for an education, forcing all of the kids to drop out of school.
By the grace of God, a nearby friend knew about their struggles and had also heard about Hope for Orphans Rescue Center (HOREC). He helped connect the family to HOREC, but HOREC was only accepting girls at that time. That meant two of Antony’s sisters (Alice and Agnes) got to go live at HOREC while Antony and his two brothers were left behind. A year later, at 17 years old, Antony’s sister got married and left her brothers with relatives. They weren’t the kind of relatives you looked forward to seeing, in fact they were abusive to the children. When the HOREC staff learned about the situation the boys were in, they were heartbroken and convinced they needed to open their program up to boys. In 2008, Antony and his brothers were admitted as the first boys to HOREC, and reunited with their sisters.
Despite his difficult history, Antony is thriving! He is known as being a hardworking and disciplined boy and it showed through when he passed his eighth grade exam in December with flying colors. Now, we celebrate with him as he begins his first year of high school this month.
These are the stories that remind us of why we work so hard to support homes like HOREC. Antony’s life could have gone in a very different direction, but praise God, he is healthy and learning and growing into a strong, Christian man who has the ability to make a good life for himself.
Antony has been blessed by having a Godparent who sponsors him and takes time to connect with him through letters. There are more children who are in need of sponsors. Consider being a friend and prayer warrior for a child like Antony. You can email Nancy Week if you’d like to be a part of a child’s life today!
Spring Valley Academy
The dorms for Joshua’s Boys’ Home are almost complete and Simon can’t wait! That’s because Simon is one of the boys who will get to live in the home once complete.
Simon currently lives with his mother, brother and two sisters. His mom digs trenches for a living, but that doesn’t pay well so they live in a small one room iron sheet house. Besides being small, the house has holes in it and floods during the rainy season. As you can imagine, this creates an extremely unsanitary and uncomfortable living space! Because of the family’s poverty, Simon and his siblings have received free food from Spring Valley for a number of years, but there are other risks that made Simon a good candidate for Joshua’s Home. Right outside their home is a prostitution and drug den, and the risk of Simon getting lured in is high. He needs to be in a safe place to learn and grow up.
In the beginning of March, 48 mattresses and pillows for the Joshua boys’ dorms were delivered to the school. Please pray for the boys who will be entering Joshua’s Boys’ Home in the next few months.
School is a big deal for the children at Hope Boys’ Home and Hope Girls’ Home, and they know it. They know that before they came to the home, they didn’t get to go to school, but now they do, and they’re enthusiastic about getting to learn and getting to know other kids. Of course, it helps that they have caring teachers, and for the boys, they are especially thrilled about their principal at St. Ann’s school. She knows how to make each child feel like they’re very special, and has also shown to have a soft spot for the boys. Just last month, she visited Hope Boys’ Home, passing out sweets and letting them show her around. They had a very memorable time together!
Caring for orphans and vulnerable children isn’t just about the home they live in, but also about the community accepting them and providing positive influence and role models. School is where children spend a lot of time and so it is important to ensure they are surrounded by good, supportive and caring teachers, and we praise God for the staff and teachers at St. Ann’s (and at St. Alphonsus where the girls go)!
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