by Jayme Metzgar, RR president
Sometimes God uses one simple, faith-filled action as the seed from which to grow a miracle. A young boy gives up his modest lunch, and five thousand are fed. A widow drops two tiny coins into the offering box, and untold generations are challenged toward faith and generosity.
In the case of little “Gina,” an entirely new life came through a very simple act of faith indeed. We just heard her sweet story this week from our orphanage director, Corina.
God grows miracles from small seeds of faith.
Abandoned as a newborn, Gina spent her first year of life primarily in institutions. In the region of Romania where we work, private charities often send workers into hospitals to help care for abandoned children, rendering their living conditions (while still less than ideal) far better than they once were. Thanks to these volunteers, it’s rare today to find the hollow-eyed, utterly emaciated children we saw so often in the 1990s.
But sadly for Gina, she was shuffled from one place to another during her year of abandonment, missing out on the volunteer caregivers. By the time she came to our attention, she looked like an abandoned child we might have met twenty years ago. Weak, malnourished, and barely able to take food or lift her head, no visitor would have guessed she was nearing her first birthday.
When a young couple approached Corina a short time later, seeking a newborn to join their family, her thoughts immediately turned to this frail baby still waiting in the hospital. Gina wasn’t quite the newborn they had requested . . . and her health was clearly fragile. But the couple agreed to come and visit her.
The day of the visit came. The prospective parents, not knowing what to expect, tentatively followed Corina through the hallway of the hospital, passing windows of crib-filled rooms. Finally, they pushed open Gina’s door and entered softly. The weak, neglected little baby stirred, looked up into the gentle, eager faces . . . and reached toward them, beckoning to be held.
That was all it took. The couple knew their daughter when they saw her. There was no doubt: “She’s ours.”
Gina went home just before Christmas. Today, just a few weeks later, she has already made tremendous strides, growing healthy, gaining weight, and already learning to crawl. She couldn’t be more loved.
And it all began with that first, impulsive, needy act of faith, as a baby who had never known love summoned all her meager strength to reach out her arms to her unknown visitors.
Do we have the eyes to see our own need, and the faith to respond as this child did? There is One who has quietly entered our lives and stands waiting to heal and restore us. May we daily reach for Him.
“‘For I know the plans I have for you,’ declares the Lord, ‘plans to prosper you and not to harm you, plans to give you hope and a future. Then you will call upon me and come and pray to me, and I will listen to you. You will seek me and find me when you seek me with all your heart. I will be found by you,’ declares the Lord, ‘and will bring you back from captivity.'” (Jeremiah 29:11-14)
by Jayme Metzgar, Romania Reborn president
“Do not store up for yourselves treasures on earth,” Jesus told the multitudes a few millennia ago, “where moth and rust destroy, and where thieves break in and steal.” If Jesus had been speaking those words today, He may well have added: “where banks and companies fail, where economies collapse, and where homes lose their value.”
But if our economic problems today are different than those during Biblical times, I’m fairly certain the solution is the same. “But store up for yourselves treasures in heaven, where moth and rust do not destroy, and where thieves do not break in and steal.” And, I might add, where banks and companies don’t fail, economies don’t collapse, and homes don’t lose their value.
And that, my friends, is the best economic news you’ll hear for many a year. No matter what is happening here at home or around the world, God’s economy hasn’t faltered. And it won’t. He keeps His promises, and His promised returns on investment still hold:
“He who is kind to the poor lends to the Lord, and he will reward him for what he has done.” (Proverbs 19:17)
“Give, and it will be given to you. A good measure, pressed down, shaken together and running over, will be poured into your lap. For with the measure you use, it will be measured to you.” (Luke 6:38)
And one of my personal favorites: “And if anyone gives even a cup of cold water to one of these little ones because he is my disciple, I tell you the truth, he will certainly not lose his reward.” (Matthew 10:42)
This isn’t a prosperity Gospel. God never promised that our rewards would come in this life. This long recession has struck close to home, and has affected several of our faithful donors. These are people who clearly have given generously to the poor, and who have given water and food (and much more) to many needy little ones in Romania. And yet, they have been forced to write us letters about decimated incomes, lost pensions, and layoffs, explaining why (for now) they will have to be supporting us in prayer only.
We don’t always see God’s rewards showing up in our wallet. But I am confident that those dear donors have a wonderful, unshakeable treasure awaiting them in heaven. Because God—unlike CEOs or governments or politicians—never fails to keep His promises.
That’s why, for those of you who currently are able to give to help children in need, I would encourage you to see it as an investment. Investing in God’s kingdom may look like foolishness to the world, but in reality, it is the surest and most profitable investment out there: an investment backed by the promises of our Creator God.
And for those currently facing severe struggles and unable to give to us, I would encourage you with yet another of God’s promises: “Blessed is the man who perseveres under trial, because when he has stood the test, he will receive the crown of life that God has promised to those who love him.” (James 1:12)
Whether you’re able to give right now or not, I would ask you to be praying for Romania Reborn and the children we support. The good news: we’re still here, unlike many other organizations working in Romania, who have been forced to close their doors since 2008. But we are indeed feeling the effects of this long recession, and we need more donors. We know God is able to open the floodgates of provision for our little ones. Let’s ask Him to do it.
by Jayme Metzgar, Romania Reborn president
Romania Reborn began with a building project. It was 1998, and as we filed incorporation paperwork, our first goal was simple: to build a real orphanage for Hope House. For years, they had been squeezed into a tiny, two-bedroom apartment. God blessed, and Hope House moved into its new building in 2000.
A few years later, Living Hope Center had its turn to find permanent home. With the help and generosity of two RR members, LHC purchased a large building in Targu Jiu, Romania. It was soon renovated and ready for use as a Christian community and tutoring center.
Over the years, both houses have seen hard service for the kingdom of God. Hope House has seen over 200 abandoned children come through its doors and leave in the arms of a family. Living Hope Center has ministered to hundreds of children through its tutoring program, VBS day camps, and community outreach. The rooms and halls of both buildings have echoed with the laughter, shouts, songs, and footsteps of countless children and their families.
Today, all that good kingdom use has taken its toll. Hope House and Living Hope Center are both badly in need of repairs this year. Windows and doors need to be replaced at Hope House. Bathrooms need overhauling. Flooring and paint are required in both facilities. In fact, renovations are so badly needed at Hope House that they’ve postponed taking in new children until repairs can be made.
Thirteen years after our founding, it’s time for another building project. At Romania Reborn, we’ve designated this the “Summer of Restoration.” Our goal is to restore Hope House and Living Hope Center’s physical buildings, so they can continue restoring children’s lives.
Of course, the Bible contains a whole book about a renovation project. In planning our Summer of Restoration, we’ve borrowed two key principles from the book of Nehemiah.
Principle #1: Sharing the Load
Nehemiah chapter 3 gives a detailed list of each person who repaired a section of the wall in Jerusalem. I love this principle: when faced with a big task, break up the job into bite-sized pieces, and enlist others to help. Everyone does their small part to get the job done.
This is especially relevant for RR. We have a relatively small group of regular donors, who do a tremendous job of keeping our Romanian ministries afloat each month. We know we can’t afford to pull those faithful people off the important task of giving toward regular needs. In order to raise the money for renovations, we have to get new people involved.
To help reach new people, and to better break the job into bite-sized pieces, we plan to create a special brick walkway at each building, as part of the renovation project. Each brick will be inscribed with the name of someone who gives or raises $100 for the renovations. With just 150 bricks—$15,000—we could get the needed work done at both houses.
If you’re a regular donor to Romania Reborn, we certainly don’t want to discourage you from giving a brick. But our main request to you would be: help us spread the word and reach someone new. (See our “Help Rebuild” page for ideas on how to do this.) You can also help by sharing this need with others through Facebook, Twitter, and other social media. Telling others about the need serves as a double blessing: it raises funds and new supporters for our ministry.
For those of you who haven’t been able to give on a regular or monthly basis, please prayerfully consider giving toward this one-time project. It’s a great way to “do your small part” and build your little section of the wall.
Principle #2: Staying Vigilant
Nehemiah recognized that rebuilding the wall was just as much a spiritual undertaking as a physical one. Before the job even began he started praying, and he never stopped. Later, fierce opposition forced him to become more vigilant: “Half of my men did the work, while the other half were equipped with spears, shields, bows and armor.” (Neh. 4:16)
While we don’t anticipate sending armed men to guard Hope House, we do face real spiritual and physical opposition. As we focus on restoring buildings, lives, and even an entire culture, we need people standing ready to do battle for our ministries in prayer.
We’ve created a dedicated “Summer of Restoration Prayer Team” Facebook group for those of you who are willing to stand in the gap for us this summer. We will be posting regular requests—and you’ll also be free to share your own thoughts, questions, or words of encouragement. Visit the group page and send us request to join.
And if you’re not on Facebook, you can still uphold us in prayer this summer! Our regular prayer updates (subscribe at firstname.lastname@example.org) will keep you informed of the most pressing needs.
Broken windows, peeling paint, and rusty sinks may have been the catalyst for the Summer of Restoration, but I have a feeling God wants to do much bigger things through our united efforts in Romania. My prayer is that this summer will yield not only the funds needed to fix up Hope House and Living Hope Center, but also more faithful supporters and a stronger emphasis on prayer as we move forward to change a culture.
We praise God for your prayers on behalf of Romania Reborn, Hope House, and Living Hope Center. You will find the latest praise and prayer needs below. Join us in praying for these needs and praising God for His answers. God bless you all!
Corina Caba (at right), director of Hope House, returned safely from her month-long visit with her sister, a missionary in Mozambique. She had the opportunity to minister to young children and adults in poverty stricken villages, where she saw God working mightily in their lives. We praise God for giving her this opportunity and bringing her home safely.
Recently, the Romanian government made some changes to its adoption laws. The law has opened the opportunity for Romanian citizens residing in foreign countries to adopt, for which we are truly thankful. However, it has also created more regulations and other difficulties for organizations helping abandoned children. Please pray for Hope House as they seek to file for a new accreditation before June 7, and as they work to comply with the new laws.
Irene’s first ten years were spent in a foster family provided by another foundation in Oradea, Romania. Due to difficulties in the family and the closing of the foundation, Irene has been left in a tenuous situation, and Hope House has stepped in to help. Irene is in need of a foster or adoptive family by June 15. Please pray that God will provide a loving family—one who can deal with her emotional and behavioral issues stemming from her displacement, and who can help her heal.
LIVING HOPE CENTER
A recent accident on the LHC playground left Robby (at right with a friend) with a crushed elbow and in need of surgery. When we sent out an emergency request, you responded: over $5,000 was donated for his needs! Even though we didn’t believe all this money would be needed, we trusted that God knew best and sent the money to Living Hope Center. After Robby’s first surgery, it quickly became apparent that something was wrong. An examination by a specialist revealed that the surgery had been horribly faulty, and Robby would require immediate corrective surgery if he were ever to have use of his arm again. With the extra funds already in the bank, Robby was able to immediately get the help he needed and is recovering nicely. We praise God for His miraculous provision for Robby and his family. Please continue to pray for Robby as he heals and enters physical therapy.
A special thank you to all who gave a gift for Robby. His parents have been amazed by the generosity of strangers, and it has opened a door for the LHC staff to share the love of Christ with them.
“I live in the spirit of prayer. I pray as I walk about, when I lie down and when I rise up. And the answers are always coming.” (George Muller, 1805-1898)
Your prayers are vital to our ministry, and we are seeing the Lord answer! Thank you for taking time to pray for our children and their needs. The current praises and prayer needs are below, so join us in praising God for His answers – current and future. God bless!
Living Hope Center
Praise God for providing for “Robby”, a student recently injured at the Living Hope Center! After falling on the playground and severely injuring his elbow, Robby (pictured below in the hospital being visited by other LHC students) was rushed to the hospital and underwent extensive surgery. Although he is doing well, his family did not have the resources to provide Robby with the care he will need. Thankfully, God provided over $6,000 for Robby through the gifts of over a dozen Romania Reborn donors!
We thank each of you who prayed for Robby and his family, as well as everyone who gave toward his needs. The Lord knows exactly what Robby will need in the coming months, and we praise Him for His answer! We will send updates on Robby’s ongoing condition, but please continue to pray for him as he enters physical therapy in the coming weeks.
"Robby" with other LHC students
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