International Volunteers – Testimony in English and German!

Everything started in October 2017. My parents attended a Sarah Vienna concert in my hometown. All excited, they told me about the organization that Sarah Vienna and Steffi Vogel founded in Romania. At that time, I was planning to spend a year overseas in 2018 and had already contacted different organization, but nothing had really captured my heart yet.

Then I read about Firm Foundations Romania. My heart started racing right away when I heard about their work, and I wanted to go there right away. It didn’t take long before I decided to go for ten weeks in the fall of 2018 to volunteer. And I can say – I don’t regret it for one second! I couldn’t really picture the country of Romania or the work I would be doing, but I was positively surprised. I was welcomed with open arms and immediately felt welcomed. When I got home from my first shift, I felt fulfilled. You give love and you receive it back 10 times more! Often friends from home asked me what I do for hours with the babies and if it gets boring. I can tell you, it’s anything but boring. We had dancing sessions with the babies, we sang and listened to Christmas songs, we read books to them, we played, we changed diapers and fed the babies, and we had full conversations with them (yes, it is possible to have conversations with babies!)

As volunteers coming together as a team, we encouraged each other to brave full diapers, helped each other in difficult situations and just enjoyed holding the babies. I love how every person in Firm Foundations Romania is respected. No matter if I was sick or I had an exciting experience – I always had somebody to talk to and someone who cared for me. With other volunteers or visitors from Germany, I got to explore the beautiful nature of Romania and I am totally smitten by the beauty of this country.

I can’t wait to see how big my babies have gotten when I come back! 😊

Alles begann im Oktober 2017. Sarah Vienna gab ein Konzert in meinem Heimatdorf, zu dem meine Eltern gingen. Sie erzählten begeistert von der Organisation, die sie und Steffi Vogel in Rumänien aufgebaut haben. Ich war in dieser Zeit dabei, mein Auslandsjahr für 2018 zu planen und informierte mich bei verschiedenen Organisationen, jedoch hatte mich bisher nichts so wirklich ins Herz getroffen. Ganz anders bei Firm Foundations. Mein Herz ging sofort auf, als ich hörte, was der zentrale Punkt der Arbeit dort ist und hatte Lust, sofort hinzufliegen. Es dauerte dann auch nicht lange, bis ich mich entschied, für zehn Wochen im Herbst 2018 als Freiwillige mitzuarbeiten. Und ich kann sagen – ich bereue keine Sekunde! Es war eine der besten und erfahrungsreichsten Zeiten meines Lebens.

Ich hatte kein Bild von Rumänien und wie das Land und die Arbeit wohl sein würde, und ich wurde so positiv überrascht. Ich wurde mit offenen Armen empfangen, fühlte mich sofort willkommen. Als ich von der ersten Schicht im Krankenhaus kam, fühlte ich mich so erfüllt! Man gibt Liebe und bekommt sie zehnfach zurück! Ich wurde oft von Freunden zuhause gefragt, was man denn stundenlang mit Babies tun kann und ob es nicht langweilig sei. Ich kann sagen, dass es alles andere als langweilig ist. Wir hatten Tanzsessions mit den Babies,  haben Weihnachtslieder gehört und gesungen, vorgelesen, gespielt, gewickelt, gefüttert und geredet (ja, man kann durchaus mit Babies Gespräche führen! 🙂 ). Man ermutigt sich gegenseitig, sich an volle Windeln zu wagen. hilft sich, wenn es zu kniffligen Situationen kommt, lacht gemeinsam, wenn man versucht Rumänisch zu sprechen und genießt es einfach, diese Babies auf dem Arm zu halten. Ich liebe es, dass sich bei Firm Foundations für jeden Einzelnen interessiert wird. Egal ob ich krank war oder ob ich ein aufreibendes Erlebnis hatte – immer hatte ich jemanden zum Reden und es wurde sich gekümmert.

Mit anderen Freiwilligen oder Besuch aus Deutschland habe ich die wunderschöne Natur von Rumänien erkundet und bin absolut begeistert von der Schönheit dieses Landes. Kann es nicht erwarten, zu sehen, wie groß die Babies geworden sind, wenn ich bald wiederkomme! 🙂

Goodbye, Blanca!

After volunteering with us for over a year, the time has come to say goodbye to our dear Blanca as she and her husband move back to their home in Spain. Blanca has been a hospital shift supervisor, friend to all of us, and the loving arms of a mother for so many babies in […]

A Day in the Life of an FFR Hospital Volunteer

Calah recently came from Texas to volunteer with us for 3 months. We are so thankful to have her on our team! Below is an update she wrote after her first week in the Children’s Hospital.

Using the Talents God has Given to Serve Where He Sends

I’m Erin Patton, and after coming to Romania as a short-term volunteer each summer, I’m currently here long-term. Over the years, I have volunteered with FFR, and also connected with other services and charities who support people with disabilities.

Looking for a change in 2018?

Are you looking for something new this year? Have you ever considered volunteering with FFR long term? We would love to have you join our team! In addition to hospital shifts, there is also opportunity to assist with Kids Club, After School Program, Teen Mums, sorting and organizing donations, welcoming short term volunteers, and a […]

Love can make a difference

Through our work in the Brasov Children’s Hospital, we have the opportunity to care for and love many babies and children. Some we know well and have watched them grow up back and forth between their home and the hospital since shortly after birth, and others are only in for a few days here and […]

From Michigan to Romania – a touching testimony

I was always that person who gave money to missions, prayed for missionaries and encouraged others to go on missions.  I always said, “Some people are called to go but I am called to hold down the fort”.  This all changed about five years ago when I met a sweet woman from England.  She told […]

Will You Be Our Next Returning Volunteer?

Long term volunteers are those who come for longer than three months, and often end up staying for at least a year or longer. They give up living near family in order to be able to serve the people in Romania, they sacrifice the comforts of home to be in a foreign country because God […]

“Small Love” by volunteer Julia Asmus

Julia Asmus came to volunteer with Firm Foundations Romania for a few weeks this year. After her experience, she wrote a blog about her trip and she shared this blog with us. It’s a beautiful testament to the work that God is doing in Romania, and that we in FFR are blessed to be part of. Thank you Julia for coming to volunteer with us and for allowing us to share your writing:

      In the 20 hours after I finished my last final of freshman year, I packed up my dorm, headed home, and hopped on a plane to travel the 5,000 miles to Romania.   I made a point to spend time looking out the plane window and reflecting on all the things God has done in my life this past year of college, and man, there’s a lot, but that’s for another post.  For most of the flight it didn’t seem real, and then at some point it simply was: I’m going to Romania and I hope I don’t come back the same.
      I arrived Saturday evening and went to church the next morning with the girls I’m volunteering with.  The pastor preached a message on the early church in Romanian and one of the volunteers translated into English.  In that small room people from all around the world, coming to Romania for multitudes of different reasons, sat together and listened and talked. That evening I walked around the almost empty Brasov citadel in the gentle rain and visited the Black Church in the city center.  It was a beautiful, yet stoic building that survived a massive fire hundreds of years ago and took decades to restore.  It was built to hold 5,000 people when there were only 2,000 living in Brasov.  The makers must’ve had big plans for their cathedral.
       I worked my first volunteering shift at the hospital Monday morning.  Sarah and I changed into our scrubs and carried over toys to play with the children.  The children we visit in the hospital are all sick.  Most of them have parents, but their parents may rarely visit them, if ever. Firm Foundations, the organization I’m volunteering with, steps in by bringing them diapers and hosting volunteers who assist the nurses by playing with the children, holding them, feeding them, and changing them when they might otherwise not get the necessary attention they need.  I held little Adam* and played with him.  I put little shoes on his feet and held him so he could try standing up.  He’s nearing two years old and still can’t walk or stand on his own, but he knows how to giggle and loves to laugh.  I held Callie*, a little girl who was supposedly left abandoned in a park and another little boy whose name we didn’t know.  We handed  out at least 50 diapers and changed multiple babies.  When I came back Tuesday, little Daniel* sat up in his crib when he saw me and reached out his arms toward me.  He sat in my lap and played with the toys while princess Samantha*, a 2 year old recovering from heart surgery, blew bubbles at us.  
      I’ve wanted my life to be this great big grand adventure.  I’ve wanted to do big things in big ways.  I want to change lives and impact eternity…and yet this trip has shown me that I am so small and everything I’m doing is so small.  Feeding babies, changing diapers, blowing bubbles, holding children, playing with them, and I’m only here for two weeks, what can I do in two weeks?
      And then I look at the mountains and think of all the miles I’ve traveled to get here and the sunsets I’ve seen and the bird song I hear each morning and the wild flowers that grow along the road and it hits me that I know the God who created it all, and He holds me and says “I’ve got you covered, I am in control, I love you, I love these children, and I’ve got you in my hands.”  And I stare at Him with wonder, the same way the children open their eyes when they awake from their naps and stare at the room and everything in it.  “It’s a big world out there,” I tell them as I hold them up to the window so they can see the sky and the sun and the mountains right outside their door.  Their eyes grow wide and I smile at them and they smile back and perhaps life and love don’t have to be a grand adventure to be wonderful.  And perhaps I don’t need to change the world everyday, perhaps all I’ve ever needed was God and His love and this relationship where He pours out all His life for me on the cross and I respond by letting that love guide me everyday, in the big things, and especially in the little ones.

*Alternative names used

Julia’s blog site:

FFR’s International Language Lesson

English is a universal language; but after years of working with volunteers, we’ve learned that some words are not as universal. One example we run into in the hospital is that in America babies wear diapers, but in England babies wear nappies. Steffi, our German, decided to quiz Australia, England, and America to help us all learn a few more words and become more universal in the English language!