Stories From the Field – November 2017
A Story of God’s Providence
Many of the children that Global Hope supports would be living in undesirable conditions (such as in abject poverty, or on the streets, or in an institutional orphanage) had Global Hope not stepped in to provide them a home. Romania, for example, where Global Hope began its ministry, has a long history of institutionalizing unwanted children. The life outcome for children who grow up in an institution is extremely poor. Evidence suggests that these children grow up to have very high levels of unemployment, mental health difficulties, criminal behavior, involvement in prostitution and higher rates of suicide. It’s not the life we want for any child.
This month, we are highlighting two children who started their young lives in a Romanian orphanage, but through efforts of a Global Hope missionary, have been growing up in one of Global Hope’s home for children.
Meet Cristina and Marian…
In the summer of 2000, a Global Hope missionary, Jacci Roberts, was living in Arad helping develop Global Hope’s ministry to children. We had opened several small children’s homes to be new homes for children living in orphanages. These were designed to be small, home-like facilities run by house parents.
Jacci would regularly visit the local orphanage to find children we could bring into a Global Hope home, but this particular summer, there was no more space for new children. Instead, Jacci looked for other ways to serve the children at the orphanage. An opportunity showed itself when a mission team came with two massage therapists. Jacci arranged for them to visit the orphanage and spend time with the children. The director of the center was very interested to have the therapists spend time with two children in particular: Cristina Tamas, a three-year-old, and Marian Tamas, her one year old brother. These children had been in the orphanage since they were babies and showed obvious delays in development. The director had hoped the therapists could identify why. At the end of the week, they had no diagnosis to offer, but had enjoyed spending many hours playing with and praying for these children!
Every time Jacci would visit the orphanage, the Director would ask if she could make room for Cristina and Marian at Global Hope’s House of Hope. Unfortunately, there still was no room so Jacci would just have to shake her head and say, “I’m sorry, we’re full.”
During that year, Cristina was moved to another orphanage for the deaf, mute and blind because at four years old, her eyes were severely crossed, and she had only 4-5 words. The problem was, she could see, hear and speak! This was not a home for Cristina!
Not long after this, space opened at the House of Hope. Jacci went back to the orphanage looking for a child to fill that spot. As soon as the Director heard the news, her face lit up. Without hesitation she asked, “What about the Tamas siblings?” And that was that. Jacci walked out with two new children to live at the House of Hope!
It was by God’s providence that these two children came to live at the House of Hope. Cristina and Marian were re-united and formed an instant bond that continues to this day. Cristina was quickly scheduled with an eye doctor. She had eye surgery and was prescribed glasses, which have made a long-lasting difference in her eyesight. Eventually, House of Hope merged with Ana’s House, and Cristina and Marian have been growing up under the care of house parents Tata Roni and Mama Rodi. While both children may never be able to live independently, they have become very self-sufficient.
Cristina is now 20 years old and in 9th grade at the Sunshine School. The school is dedicated to the care and education of children with special needs, and has been like a second family for Cristina. She struggles with memorizing letters, but has made great progress and even recognizes various words. Cristina likes to help Mama Rodi in the kitchen and gets excited when she is able to do a task on her own from beginning to end. But, Cristina’s primary responsibility is taking care of the chickens, which she takes very seriously. She must change their water, bring in the eggs, catch chickens, and feed them—all of which she does with pride. She is happiest when she can swing with her brother, or play a game of memory with a willing partner.
Marian is 17 years old. His developmental delays are not as severe as his sisters, so while he wasn’t able to get into high school, he was able to enter vocational school. He is in his first year learning mechanics, and really enjoying it. Everyone agrees he is one of the most hardworking kids! He rarely complains about chores, and instead is often the first one to volunteer to help. He cuts the grass around the neighborhood, prepares the garden for summer and winter, and helps Tata Roni with beekeeping. He is also happiest swinging with his sister, as well as riding his bike.
It is stories like this that remind us why we cannot grow weary of doing what we do. Rescuing a child from a harsh environment gives them a true chance at life. But it requires long-term commitment. Instead of getting lost in the system, and being shuffled around from orphanage to orphanage, Cristina and Marian are experiencing a life full of love, laughter, and family.
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