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.
My name is Heidi, I am a Registered Nurse from BC, Canada. I am currently nearing the end of my third trip back to Romania volunteering with FFR.
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 […]
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 […]
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 […]
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 […]
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: wandering-heart.weebly.com
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!
In this exclusive, Sarah Vienna interviews her sister Christine Pasta (Tina) about using her baking talents in Romania. Tina brought her supplies all the way from the USA to teach children and teens in Romania about how to decorate cupcakes. Everyone enjoyed learning how to make beautiful cupcakes, and of course eating them! Please contact us at firstname.lastname@example.org to see how you can use your talents to teach, inspire, and love the children in Romania.
In addition to providing love to the babies in the hospital, our volunteers also provide much needed laughter and smiles! How can you help by giggle when you see these two clowns. Thanks girls for providing entertainment to the kids in the hospital, the staff, and to all of us! You are both amazing!
Str. Dealul de Jos 18A
Braşov, 500080 România
- Using the Talents God has Given to Serve Where He Sends April 19, 2018
- Sarah Vienna on “Gott sei Dank” March 29, 2018
- A volunteer testimony by Heidi Boettcher March 22, 2018