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In 2012 I moved to Romania to work with the LOC Foundation in a Roma community in the Prevention of Abandonment Department in Ogra. I originally planned to stay 5 years – 5 years in which I wanted to invest in these people; families, children, adolescents.

At first we had different programs with children, where we talked about the Bible, played a lot and created close relationships. Over time, we have introduced more and more things that seemed normal to us, but for many of these children these were new things (washing hands and face, apologizing, the way to behave with children their age and also adults.)

The work with teenage girls was on my heart, so I started a girls club, where we met once a week. Being only 10 girls, conversations have become more personal and intense. We talked a lot about their dreams, young mothers in their community, relationships with boys and more. Besides we taught them how to do  practical things for girls and future moms.

Through out these years I invested in many different programs (reading with children in their homes, educational lessons for young mothers, camps with children, weekends with adolescents, clothes and boots distributions, …) in which these children and their families as well as me personally have learned a lot.

5 years have passed and I am still here :)! I met my husband here and in 2014 we got married and we have two babies who fill our hearts! With two little children at home, I can not invest 100% in my work in Ogra, but I try as much as the situation at home allows me, to invest in these people.

David, Tobias, Salome, Nicole

Knowing that a change in a community does not come overnight, because it takes work and investing for many years, I am motivated to go further with them! And with the help of the Lord I am convinced we will see many miracles and small changes in the next years!

I currently work with Niss and two other missionaries with 1-3 grade children, who we help with the homework and try to recover the shortcomings they have. I really like this practical investment for their future, and enjoy together with them  every little success they can experience .

I can not wait to see what the Rroma community will look like in Ogra in the next 10 years!

Nicole Triff – Switzerland Missionary – Prevention of Abandonment

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We are enjoying the nice weather at our weekly after-school program in Reghin. It is fun to be able to run around and bond with the kids when they first arrive, before we move on to lesson and organized game time. Recently, we watched an animated version of the story of Jim Elliot. After which we talked about why someone would do what he did, his desire to tell others about God, and about how through God’s love, his wife was able to forgive the tribesmen who killed her husband.

We are also continuing with our memory verse challenge. There will be a new verse every three weeks, and whoever knows the verse by heart at the end of that time will receive a small prize. Right now, we are working on Deuteronomy 6:4-6:

“Hear, O Israel: The Lord our God, the Lord is one. You shall love the Lord your God with all your heart and with all your soul and with all your might. And these words that I command you today shall be on your heart.”

Last Friday we played games to try and help the kids learn the verse. A few kids already have it after one week, and most are still working on it.

Thank you for your continuing support through prayers, may God continue to bless these children and the work that we do there.

Carter Green – Orphan Outreach US. Missionary

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Livada’s ministry at the baby hospital continues. Highlights tend to come with cute expressions or delighted smiles or laughs as the children experience life. It’s the little things, whether that be learning to roll over, clap hands, stand, or, for the older children, just getting out of their cots and being able to run around a room.

It’s also the bigger things, like celebrating birthdays. Last month we had a joint celebration for 2 children’s first birthday, Roxi and Stelian. Of course, like any 1 year old, they didn’t really understand what was going on, but we put the kids in better clothes, had a cake and sang happy birthday anyway

We have had numbers fluctuate from 7 in February, up to 13 a couple of weeks ago, before several children went home again. Several newborns meant that the little babies room filled up, with 1 born each month : December, January, February & March.

It’s such a pleasure and a privilege to work with these kids, whether they are with us for a short time, or long term. Even when they can be difficult, we love them whole heartedly, and rejoice with them as we see their progress.

Jo Fletcher – Baby Hospital Australian Missionary

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This spring, the Casa Juliana homestead has expanded to include 10 chickens. The kids and Remi worked to build a new and improved chicken coop last summer and fall, and have been waiting all winter for our spring chicks to arrive.

Having chickens in the yard is great as it provides an opportunity for the kids to learn responsibility, and having outdoor tasks can also be therapeutic for them in a way. The Juliana kids help with feeding the chickens and giving them water, but collecting the eggs is their favorite part. In fact, the hardest thing so far about keeping chickens in the yard is convincing the kids they don’t need to go check for eggs every ten minutes.

Another reason for having chickens in the backyard is of course for the very practical purpose of providing eggs. A family of eight can eat a lot of eggs in a week! Additionally, the opportunity to sell extra eggs to neighbors can provide an important lesson in entrepreneurship and money management for the kids. We’re grateful for our supporters who help us to sustain these types of initiatives and to provide a holistic approach of healing for our kids.

Emily Rodenbach Derta – US missionary/ Casa Juliana House Mom

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For the second semester of this school year, we’ve been able to expand our afterschool programs at Ogra in order to give the kids more consistency. This semester, we’re working with around 20 kids from 1st-3rd grade. Each class comes for an hour of homework help, math practice, and reading exercises three days a week. We’ve also started working through memorizing the multiplication tables with the 2nd and 3rd graders by turning it into a competition – whoever knows all the multiplication tables the best by the end of the semester will receive a really cool prize!

Adelina, Emilia, Yasmina and Rafael
2nd graders at the school in Ogra

Working at these afterschool programs at Ogra has its ups and downs. Some days, it’s really exciting to watch these kids finally understand how to do a math problem; and other days, it’s discouraging to see how far behind some of the kids are in school. Our hope is that in our little investment in these children’s education now, they will have the chance to create a better future for themselves. Each one of these kids has a different story, but each one is valued by their Heavenly Father, and we want to help them use the brains the Lord has given them for good. Please pray for patience, wisdom, and love for us as we pour into these kids, and that the Lord will continually provide people in these children’s lives who will encourage and help them go further in their education.

Allyson Lim – US missionary – Prevention of Abandonment

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Kid’s birthdays aren’t about the size of the party, it’s about how special they feel on their birthday.

A child is going to remember who was there, not what you spent on them. They outgrow toys and outfits, but they never outgrow time and love.

This is what we wanted to do with the children from our foster families.  To spend quality and valuable time with them, and let them know they are important, loved and not forgotten. Making them feel extremely loved and important, doesn’t cost a penny… 

We are grateful to be able to create lasting memories with our kids, and grateful for those who made all this possible by giving and investing in the kingdom of God!

So, again, Happy Birthday sweet and precious kids!!

Gabriella Simon – Foster Care Coordinator

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The kids have been back to school for over a month now and our weekly program in Reghin is back in swing. We are currently working our way through the end of the story of David. This past week we created a new activity that we will do each week with the kids. We bought little note books for them to write a weekly memory verse in from the program, and even to take notes during the lesson if they so choose.

The verse for the next three weeks is:

“fear not, for I am with you; be not dismayed, for I am your God; I will strengthen you, I will help you, I will uphold you with my righteous right hand.” Isaiah 41:10

At the end of three weeks we will see how many of the kids have committed the verse to memory, and they will receive a special reward that has yet to be determined. Through doing this we are hoping to plant God’s truth into their minds in a way that will prove to be resilient and helpful for them.

Carter Green – Orphan Outreach Coordinator/US Missionary

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In my 14 year of work at LOC Foundation I had the opportunity to work with all the children from different departments with whom LOC worked with.  I started in 2005 as a social mom for 10 children at Casa Ana, then continued as a mentor, living in an apartment with three of the girls who grew up at Casa Ana, then as an independent life skills teacher, educator and later in 2011 i started to work at a Pediatric Baby Hospital where there were abandoned children.  Seeing the children abandoned there, knowing their needs and how abandonment affects their physical, mental, emotional development, i wanted to know more, to learn how to help them and to contribute to their recovery and development.  I have had much support from the Foundation, there have been therapists who taught me how to work with these children, I learned how to evaluate their development and from where to start… an extraordinary example was when I started working with a 3-year-old boy who had a lot of trauma, and who did not know how to eat solid food (he was on a bottle with milk).

1 year and a half was needed to learn to eat solid food. This is where I learned patience and perseverance, but the results were overstretched, because after 1 year and a half, this boy was eating all kinds of food by himself, and was much happier and fulfilled. Another example is a four-year-old boy with lots of trauma, lying in his bed rocking back and forth and not being able to walk. He was afraid all the time to put his feet on the ground…  after one year of work, frustration, screaming  and crying on his part and occasionally  on my part too… he succeeded to walk by himself, to climb all over the places and to go on the slide without being afraid anymore.  I could give hundreds of examples of the children I worked with. My greatest joy was when I was able to bring the children’s development as close as possible to their age, when I saw their success as my success, and when I saw that my work over the years bears fruit.  I was blessed to work and change the lives of some children in my 3 years of work there.  We feel the greatest sense of joy not when we accomplish something for ourselves, we fell the greatest sense of joy when we help others accomplish a goal that matters to them!

I did not know then what was the Lord preparing me for…  In 2014 i moved to the Foster to Adopt department. Seeing the abandoned children, and their need to grow up in a family, I realized it was time to move to another stage, the stage where I can start to search and offer families for this children.  My work continues, today I work with foster families, where we have 13 children in their care. Some of them became adoptable and where adopted.  There is no greater joy seeing a child (who was abandoned, had a difficult background and lots of trauma) happy, fulfilled, healed, and enjoying a normal, healthy life within a family.

My work is not just about children, it’s about families too, it’s not just about filling some papers, visiting them from time to time, it’s about creating relationships, being there in times of need, celebrate their successes and  encouraging them in hard times.  It’s not everything easy and smooth, but together we learned to be grateful even in hard times, because we have each other. J

As the quote says: “At the end of our days we’ll measure the success of our years not by the places we went or the things we created, but in the people we loved and the lives we changed”

I want my daily work to have a positive impact in the lives of those with whom i work, and leave a valuable and lasting legacy behind me.   So, this story is not about me, is about Him who is Faithful, about our wonderful families, kids and the amazing opportunity to successfully live your life to that end. 

Gabriella Simon – Foster to Adopt Coordinator

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As we start this new year we are continuing in our work at the baby hospital with a few new changes and faces. We are very thankful to have a new member join us on staff with the cradle care ministry. She officially stepped into her role with the ministry at the beginning of February. We are grateful for God’s provision through this process.

Since December, we have welcomed two new little ones both of whom joined us shortly after being born.

Now our largest age group at the hospital are the little babies. What a precious group of little ones they are!  Our older babies are continuing to grow, learn and make developmental milestones. They are learning to sit crawl and eat solid foods. It is such a joy to get to see them progress in positive ways. They will be walking before no time. Our toddlers at the hospital are doing well and are full of energy as usual! We are thankful for the opportunity to be serving these kids through this ministry.

Audrey Dukes – USA Baby Hospital Missionary

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„Life isn’t about getting and having, it’s about giving and being”

Kevin Kruse

This quote always reminds me that no matter how much I have, I will not be trully fulfilled unless I invest my time and energy into helping others that are less fortunate than me. I believe this is what our volunteers and staff felt this past January when we visited the children from the school in the Ogra village to give each of them a pair of winter boots and wool socks. We received a donation of winter boots and socks from Metro Ministries Sighisoara.

We arrived there at 10:30 on a cold Monday morning, the children were so excited to see us! They all wanted to help carrie the boxes. The school in Ogra has 260 children that come from poor families, we as a foundation are trying to support these children to go to school on a daily basis and the lack of warm footwear during the snowy cold winters in Romania is an impediment to that. The children were so excited to try and receive the boots and socks.

We want to thank Metro Ministries and our volunteers Damaris Moldovan, Bianca Pacurar, Carmina Cordos si Claudia Roman from Economic High –School in Targu-Mures, for joining our staff and dedicating their time and energy into giving and being a there for these children in need.  

If you want to keep up with our work in Ogra, you can follow our facebook page https://www.facebook.com/ograministry/ where we post weekly.

Eunice Tinca – Prevention of Abandonment Coordinator

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