Dear Friend of House of Hope,
Greetings to you just a few days before Christmas! I have attached the latest letter from House of Hope. I hope you have time to read how your involvement in the past and present have blessed many people and continue to do so. God is still touching many lives in this ministry. Thanks for your support and prayers!
Merry Christmas and Blessed New Year!
It’s time for an update from Romania regarding the House of Hope. I trust this finds you doing well and enjoying the Christmas season. Even though Easter is considered the most important religious holiday in Romania, Christmas is a very special time of the year. Every year the holiday gets more commercial, but it still is less so than in North America. Romania has its own special Christmas carols and there are many concerts during the Christmas season. The main square in the city center is decorated beautifully and has a Christmas market that has been going on for 10 years. Most families will have a Christmas tree, but it is a tradition to get the house clean before the big event. There will be many church services to proclaim the birth of the Prince of Peace.
House of Hope already looks festive with Christmas decorations.Groups from churches will come to carol. The residents will have special meals and treats during the holidays.
When I wrote to you in the summer, I mentioned that 3 more girls from the village of Coparceni would come this fall to study at the Christian High School in Sibiu. Melania, Izabela, and Magda arrived in time for school to start in mid-September. They are working hard in their subjects, but one area that is hard for them is English. The village schools don’t attract the better teachers, and their background in English is very poor. The other students in the 9th grade are pretty far ahead of these girls.
In November I started working with the girls in English. We started at the very beginning to try to build a good base for them. The picture below shows our classroom in the kitchen where they live in the Barlea home. The three 9th graders are on the left. Two of the other girls also have joined us, wanting to improve their English skills. The second from the right is in the 10th grade. The one on the end at the right is an 11th grader. The other girls (there are 8) at the house are sisters who are in the 12th grade and 11th grade, respectively and one who is studying at the university. We meet twice a week for an hour and a half and are making progress. Pray that these girls will feel more at home in the big city.
I wrote last time about the smoke alarm installation. It has been completed, with the company allowing the House to pay for their work in installments. You can see in this picture that the smoke alarm is on the ceiling and there is a red box near the ceiling that actually says “Fire” in English. There is an emergency light in that red box. Money is still needed to pay for this project. Recently we learned that the fire code now requires that the ceiling on the top floor be redone with special plaster that is fireproof. House of Hope needs 2 layers of this plaster to meet the standard, which says it has to keep the ceiling from catching fire for 30 minutes. Currently the ceiling has wood paneling on it. The code is strict, but it is necessary, since many of those who live at the House are not capable of getting out of the building on their own power. This project will have to be done by sometime next year, but it will cost over $25,000. Please pray for the funds to be able to move forward with this project. Thank you to several who have donated money lately for the fire renovation project.
Last summer I included a picture of work being done on the fence. Below is a picture of that same area with the fence completed. Also, in my last letter I wrote about all the ways the House of Hope is saving money by raising some of its food. I have included a picture of part of the shelves in the basement with canned goods.
Thank you for your interest, prayers, and support of House of Hope. If the Lord would lead you to send a donation, the address is Greater Europe Mission, PO Box 1669, Monument, CO 80132. Please designate it for House of Hope on a separate piece of paper. Thank you! We send our very warmest wishes to you for a Merry Christmas and a Blessed New Year! God bless you!
My dear friends,
Greetings from all my heart. I wish that some of the Christmas wishes above might come true. I feel better now. Praise God! He has always given me strength again and now I am already dreaming of driving down to Rumania again next spring time.
As our team reports it has become calmer in Selimbar. The fence has been completed with the help of some men from the church in Rosia. With the help of the women 100 portions of Sakusca (bred spread made of aubergine) were made. Jam was cooked from 1.000 kg (?) plums, fruit and vegetables have been stored, meat frozen. Now only little has to be bought during winter time.
Like every year camps were held also in 2016. 400 children took part. Children from a foster home in Ogna Mures (in the north of Sibiu) were also allowed to spend time on our grounds. There was also a group of five families, each having 10 to 12 children (56 children all together) who joined a camp. They really enjoyed it since they could not afford a holiday on their own. It was a great and blessed time.
|One of the seniors (Mrs. Rotarescu) celebrates her 82nd Birthday||Maria – her favorite activity||Mrs. Buruiana doing her daily work out|
The new school year has begun in September. Three girls from Oltenien (one of the poorest regions in Rumania) are new at our house. They have a very poor background and their families are non-Christian. They go to the Christian gymnasium in Bethania now. They visit the church in Zion, which is only a few meters from our house in Verzariei Street.
I hope that you are able to enjoy a hassel-free and contemplative Christmas time. Have a blessed start into the new year!
Greetings to you all!
I have attached the latest letter regarding House of Hope. I apologize that I am not writing to each of you personally, but I hope you will enjoy seeing what has been going on in this ministry. Soon the high school (and 2 university students) gals will be returning to attend school again. School starts here in the second full week of September. The college girls will not start until early October.
I trust all of you are having a good summer. Thank you for your continued interest in House of Hope.
Yours in Him,
Dear Friend of House of Hope,
Greetings to you in a busy summer season that is flying by! It’s time to get an update out to you about House of Hope. This has been a very busy year for me. Just today I turned in my last assignment for my Masters in Ministry Care. With the Lord’s help I have been working on a counseling internship for the past year. I am now officially graduated from Columbia International University!
The spring season at House of Hope has gone well. First of all, the girls whom you are helping to go to high school have worked hard the past year. Six of the seven girls are pictured to the right. The girl on the left is studying medicine. The girl 3rd from the left (in the black and gray) was a junior and finished first in her class. The girl on the right was in the 9th grade and also finished first in her class. She is the third girl to come from a very poor village in the county south of Sibiu. In the past 2 years a young pastor and his family have started to work with a church in this village and they are now in partnership with our church in Sibiu – Bethany Baptist. Next year 3 more girls from this village church (whose parents are not believers) will come to study at the Christian High School and will live with the girls at the Barlea home, where most of the House of Hope girls now stay. As of now, we know that there will be 8 at this home and 2 still on the grounds of the House of Hope building.
As of June there were 76 seniors living at the House. Every possible space has been used for housing the elderly and there is still a waiting list. The House is becoming more and more self-sufficient. They no longer have to buy meat from the store. Each year they raise their own pigs and butcher 2 at a time. They also buy chicks and raise them until they are big enough to eat. They have 200 pounds of chicken at a time to put in the freezer. People here do not eat much beef. They also buy turkeys and butcher them. There are now over 150 fruit trees or bushes. And the garden provides vegetables which are frozen for the winter. On the left is a picture of one of the 2 strawberry patches. During the summer they have or will make strawberry, blueberry, and raspberry jam.
Even though House of Hope is a private institution, there are still inspections which must be passed from the Department of Health and other government departments. They have just passed all the inspections and are accredited for another 5 years. Each time the inspectors come, it is an occasion to testify to God’s goodness in being able to sustain the House to provide good care without government funding. Thank you for your part in making all of this possible.
Last fall there was a terrible fire in a night club in Bucharest which resulted in the death of over 60 people. The existing fire regulations were not being followed. For example, there were fireworks set off inside the club and the doors opened inward, so it made it hard for people to get out. The government is now making sure that all regulations are being followed all over the country and they have added more requirements. When House of Hope was built smoke detectors were not required. Now the House must install a system that is operational by the end of the year. The cost will be at least 20,000 Euros, which is over $22,000. They must be installed on all three floors, the basement, and in the storage areas. At first I thought that maybe we could buy battery-operated smoke detectors from the States and save money. However, those are not acceptable. There has to be a system installed required by the Romanian government. Please pray for the funds to be able to get everything ready by the end of the year. And pray about whether you might be able to help with this need. Thank you.
This summer the fence around the House of Hope was finished, with a cement foundation. As I wrote the last time, this will keep out the dogs from next door, who have caused damage in the courtyard of the House, have killed some of the chickens, and make it unpleasant for the seniors to spend time outside. Below are pictures of working on the fence in June and some seniors enjoying the outside space.
Thank you for your prayers, support and interest in House of Hope. If you feel led to send in a donation, please send it to Greater Europe Mission, PO Box 1669, Monument, CO 80132. Please designate it for House of Hope on a separate piece of paper. Thank you and God bless you!
This turn started with rain and cold while Rumania welcomed us with a warm sunshine. It was a very relaxed journey for us. This was thanks to Aylin’s cheerful manner. She is the eldest daughter of Johannes. Some of her impressions and feelings:
Old and new stories:
I grew up with them – stories about Rumania. Already as a child I looked at the pictures and listened to the reports about this – to me – foreign country. It was a great joy that I was able to join my dad, Ehrhart and Edith this year and visit this country and its places myself. Our journey was filled with funny, serious and exciting stories from previous trips. We, our fully packed Multivan as well as the trailer, reached Sibiu 27 hours later. It
was a picturesque picture with the snow-white Carpathians in the background and the wide land around. The town itself a town full of contrasts: Not far from an old tower blocks a new shopping-center, with shops like Deichmann (a german shoe shop) and Kaufland (big supermarket). Walking through the streets you can watch business men in their smart suits next to Sinti and Roma wearing their traditional colorful dresses. A peculiar sight. Sibiu, as well as the whole country – has developed. Before the beginning of our journey I was told that nothing was like it used to be, now, that Rumania was part of the EU. And it is true: Rumania has changed. But in order to describe how exactly it changed a very close look is needed. One that perceives the opposites and contrasts and knows about the limits of EU-subsidies. A look that enjoys the beauty of Sibiu’s city center but also perceives the small and damaged houses without electricity or water in the surrounding villages. A look that identifies newly rich entrepreneurs whom the world is open to as well as the famers in the countryside whose chances for a better live have not changed until today.
After this first impression of Sibiu and Rumania we reached Selimbar and the orange-coloured “House of Hope” that was familiar to me from so many pictures. A house with a history. A house that played part in so many stories, that has been through various different uses. Its existence due to many devoted people. Right know it is mainly used as an old people’s home. Therefore we met right away some seniors. A couple of them surprised us with a very good German, which we were very surprised about.
(Most of the girls live in a House in Sibiu at the moment. This house was our first place. Since their timetables vary a lot it was the best to accommodate them there. Only the sisters Alina and Rebecca B. still live in our House of hope where they help very diligently.)
After this we met Lenuta, caretaker, housekeeper, chef and manager of the house. Mimi and Cornel, the manager of the project, soon arrived and it was a very happy reunion for my three fellow travellers. Long-lasting relationships that have been built up and cared for.
By now the new fence has been finished. It was necessary
because of wild dogs straying on our property.
The most important Rumanian word I learned during my first days was “Multumesc” – “Thank you”. This was due to the great hospitality we experienced on various occasions. Often through delicious food, especially self-made cakes. During the six days we spent in Rumania we visited many different places and met people and learned about their very different stories. Sunny days and warm temperatures
|Aylin helps Aline in the kitchen.|
accompanied us through our whole visit. We met poor families in Rosia with its dusty roads and horse drawn carriages. We got to know the shy girls from the project “Esperanza” who live together in a big flat-sharing community. We also spent time with a very young single-mother in her room in a high-rise building as well as a successful entrepreneur in his modern office in town. Sometimes we were supported by a translater, sometimes we could only try to communicate through a smile. I would like to tell you further details of two encounters.
One day we went to visit two of the first girls of the project. They are in their late thirties now and have children. One of them lives with her two children in a flat in Kronstadt, Brasov. When she invited us to her room I was shocked at first. 14 qm for her and her children (7 and 10 years old). Her room is on the first floor, the toilette on the fourth floor of the building. When they want to take a bath they use a red washtub. We hardly a fit in the room. But I was impressed by the two children. Her little son expressed a zest for life, smiled the whole time and made everybody laugh with his comments. Also his big sister smiled the whole time. How amazing their joy despite the circumstances!
|Athena, Narcisa (10 Years) and Daniel (7 years)|
In Rosia, a village next to Sibiu, we met a family that has been through a very hard time. The father had killed his wife when he was drunk and was arrested for that. With him in jail the six children were left to themselves. Four of them were brought to a children’s home the other two could stay with their grandmother in her small house. A family that has faced a terrible time and that needs help. Their fate hit me hard and I will remember them for a long time.
All together this trip was more than an assistance intervention, more than a trailer full with clothes and medication. It was a visit to build and renew relationships. A signal to show them that we do not want to leave them alone. Encounters to convey appreciation.
Old stories have been followed up and new stories can now be told.
I am glad that God knows all the stories and that he is, and was and will be.
I am very sad and a little bit mad at the parents of Simone and Maria S. Both girls finished school with very good marks. We wanted to support them to become a nurse but their parents very completely against this despite many very intense conversations. Their argumentation: Girls do not need a sound education like this. In the end both girls had to return to their home to help with the farming and marry one day.
However we can be happy about
- all the girls being very diligent and successful achieving above average marks
- Rebeca S. being a teacher to the children of the Siemens Manager
- Estera U. moving back to her grandparents after finishing school. She did not want to study.
- Tania F. udn Andres B. who stopped going to school to marry
- Daniela S. who finished school and has got a job now.
So there are eleven girls know that we care for. We already have been asked to take up others girls. Maria will examine their requests carefully of need.
With Estera and Ana S. who translated for us.
The German they know they taught themselves.
Last get together with Horsts who move back to Switzerland
It is becoming more and more comfortable. Water is being redirected
for brave cold-water washers
A duty we fulfill carry out gladly: Greetings and the Sunday
sermon in the church in Rosia
Once again very grateful regards