Romania Fara Orfani by Sarah Peters

Sarah Peters is one of FFR’s interns. She, along with fellow intern Izzy Hathaway, manage the volunteer apartment, help organize donations, supervise shifts in the hospital and lend helping hands wherever they are needed. We are so thankful for our interns!
 

This November, Izzy, Rachel
and I had the privilege of attending a conference organized by the
alliance Romania Without Orphans. At the conference, we heard from
Romanian politicians, a director of social services, social workers,
families who have adopted, charity workers, church pastors and young
adults raised in institutions, now supporting other orphaned and
abandoned children.
Here discussions revolved around these views:

  •  Children should not be raised by the state, but in a family.
  • Adoption
    is not currently viewed as a priority by many in Romania, so we need to
    motivate a culture of adoption across Romania, to care for the children
    in institutional care.
  •  All children have a voice, and where some children may have lost theirs, we should help them find it.
  •  Children who have experienced trauma in their lives need love, support and safety – all children deserve that.
  •  Supporting
    families so they don’t have to leave the country for work, or abandon
    their children, putting preventative and early intervention models in
    place.
  •  ‘Because God cares about the orphaned and abandoned children, ‘si noua ne pasa’, we also care.
It
was a wonderful opportunity for us to network with other people working
in Romania with the same heart, and it was so inspiring to see so many
people, especially Romanians, committing to working towards ‘Romania
fara orfani’, Romania without orphans.

FFR At The Circus!

Orlando’s Circus came to town and the FFR team made a day of it. From acrobats to clowns and everything in between, we had a blast!

The gang with Orlando of Orlando’s Circus!
Anxiously waiting for the festivities to start! We had great seats 🙂
Costel got to pet a llama!
Our fearless leaders take on the zebras
Orlando himself performed a gravity defying finale! Take a peek…

Bonding, Building & Pizza

Having the teenagers from our Teen Mentor Program living in Brasov is a great opportunity to get to know them on a deeper level, to develop individual friendships with them and to expose them to new cultures and new people – and vice versa!

That’s why, once a month, our FFR Interns plan a dinner night with the teens, inviting volunteers to join as well! On top of the relationship building aspect, it’s a great way for the girls to practice their English.

September marked the first “Dinner Night” – pizza was ordered, team building games were played and fun was had! It was really neat to see our teens bond with their flatmates and our volunteers. We’re already looking forward to the next one!

New Kids On The Block

Last week, we introduced you to our teens. This week we’re giving you a glimpse of Kid’s Club! Seeing their faces light up when we pull up to the schoolhouse, when they learn a new song, or when they get to play with a plethora of toys is such a joy. There are some familiar faces and some new ones, but either way we feel so blessed to have a group of kids that are excited to come learn about Jesus and sing His praises!

Meet Our New Teens!

Autumn is in the air! And with the change of season comes a new school year full of possibilities. We hope that the teen girls that have joined our High School Mentorship program this year will reach their goals and taste the sweetness of brand new experiences. These girls have moved out of their homes in Budila into our second teen apartment (we are so blessed to need more space). We ask that you pray for these girls, their studies, their relationships with each other and their personal relationship with Jesus. Pray that they would be undaunted during this new adventure!

 

Diana Denisa Burmaru
Diana is 15 years old and has just started 9th grade, studying culinary arts. She loves to cook and one day would like to be the chef at her own restaurant.

Denisa Florea
Denisa is also 15 years old and has just started the 9th grade, studying culinary arts, as well. She and Diana go to the same school and have the same dream of owning their own restaurant. They encourage each other and are close friends, even sharing the same room in the teen apartment!

Rebeca Denisa Lingurar
Rebeca is 15 years old and just started 9th grade. She is studying electromechanics at the moment, but hopes to one day become a secretary and a make-up artist.

 

Rebeicca Marias
Rebeicca is 15 years old and just started 9th grade. She is studying to become a hair dresser and one day she hopes to be the principal hair dresser in her own salon.

 

Izabela Brumar
Izabela is 15 years old and has just started 9th grade. She is studying social studies and hopes to one day become a police officer. We ask that you keep Izabela and her dream in your prayers as her family does not want her to pursue that line of work.

Estera Constantin
This is a face many of you may recognize! Estera is 19years old and has just started 11th grade, studying fashion. In her free time she loves to do
different hair styles. Estera has a gift for both fashion and hair and one day she hopes to be qualified in clothing design and hair dressing so that she can run her own business.

Visionary Aid

Being in the hospital, taking care of the abandoned and semi-abandoned children, is one of the most rewarding things we get to do as volunteers. But we often wonder, is it enough? The children that are left in the hospital are at high risk of underdevelopment, in several ways.

We try to combat many of these development issues through touch and love but most recently, thanks to volunteer Heather Zorzi, we are able to provide a little something more. By using mobiles and books containing certain colors and shapes we are able to give these babies some visual stimulation that will go a long way towards growth and development!

Most recently the President of FFR, Sarah Berchtold, said: “I recently did a shift and I was amazed to see how much these [visual aids] are helping the kids.”

Having volunteers from all walks of life come to the hospital is such an encouraging and educating experience as we are able to welcome new ideas and perspectives into our program. Visual aids are such a small thing but they carry so many benefits in the long run!

SPOTLIGHT on Rachel Titiriga

You’ve all read about the projects, the kids, the hospital and life
in Romania. Now it’s time for you to read about us! That’s right, we
asked the staff of FFR a series of questions so that our friends and
supporters could know a bit more about us. Next up is Rachel Titiriga –
After School Program virtuoso and intern authority with an expert proclivity behind any camera lens! 

How long have you been in Romania?
I have lived off and on in Romania for over 3 years. I just recently moved back to Brasov however 7 months ago. 

Where are you from originally? 
Huntington Beach, California 

What brought you to Romania? How did you start working with FFR? 
My first trip to Romania was in 1997 with a youth missions organization. I came back in 1999, 2005 and 2007. I met the FFR team on one of my trips and eventually in 2009 began to work with them here in Brasov. 

What’s your favorite FFR project and why? 
Hard to choose. But right now I love working with the After School Program. I love the kids I have in my classes, seeing them grow and learn. Being able to love them and share the love of Christ with them is such a rewarding experience. I’m also VERY excited to begin our Internship program this year! 

What’s one thing from “home” that you miss? 
My mama. She’s my best friend! I’m thankful for the internet and phone, but I still miss seeing her all the time. 

If there was one food or drink that you could bring to a Romanian grocery store, what would it be?
 Kale. Seriously. I miss Kale. And maybe Dr. Pepper. We have it here, but it’s not the same recipe. 

Where’s your favorite vacation spot in Romania? Outside of Romania? 
In Romania, I LOVE Timisoara! It is such a beautiful city, and it is the city where the revolution to end communism in Romania began in 1989. It also happens to be the very first city I visited when I came to Romania in 1997. Then in 2007 I did 2 months of language training there and have very good friends there. It definitely holds a special place in my heart! Outside of Romania, I love Zion National Park in Utah. OR Budpaest, Hungary. They are both completely different, but I love them both! 

If legality, finances and logistics weren’t an issue, what’s one project you would love to see FFR start? 
I would love to see a home/shelter for pregnant women. With Romania having the most abortions in all of Europe, I would like to see a place where women who have no other options can come to have their babies in a safe and loving environment. A place where they would be able to learn life skills, maybe skills for a career to become self-sufficient, and a place where they can learn to be healthy and be good moms. 

If you had to pick a Romanian name for yourself, what would it be? 
I do have a Romanian name! I go by Rahela here, as Rachel is difficult for the kids to say. 

What’s your favorite traditional Romanian dish? 
Sarmale. It’s a rolled sour cabbage leaf (think sauerkraut) that is stuffed with meat and rice. I also LOVE mamaliga, which is similar to polenta. 

Approximately, how many diapers would you say you’ve changed in the Brasov Children’s Hospital? 
Not that many. I work on the Neurological/Psychiatric floor of the hospital in the Play Therapy Room so I don’t change diapers. 

If you could spend the day with anyone in the world, living or dead, who would it be? 
I would love to hang out one day with CS Lewis and JRR Tolkein, together. I think that would be an epic day. 

Who is your hero? Why? 
I have a lot of heroes. I’m inspired by so many missionaries from the past, even when I was 8 years old I remember reading about Amy Carmichael for the first time and it impacted me so much, then when I was 9 I read about Nate Saint, my desire to be a missionary was sparked even at that young age. But I think my biggest hero would have to be my mama. She is an amazing godly woman, who helped inspire me to be the person I am today. She is my biggest supporter and encouragement. She can call me out when needed, and is always there as a sounding board for me. I am so blessed to have her wisdom and love and grace. She is my best friend and my biggest hero for sure! 

What about the Roma people inspires you to continue working with FFR? 
The idea that we are able to point the way to Jesus. He alone is able to transform their hearts which in turn can transform their lives and whole society. That is a pretty exciting opportunity! Plus being able to be His hands and feet to a group of people who are looked down upon in this society, to love the kids in the After School Program and give them the tools they need to succeed in life is an awesome and humbling experience. 

If you were granted one wish, what would that wish be? 
For more of my friends and family to come and visit me here in Romania! To see this beautiful country and meet its wonderful people. To be able to see the ministries I am involved with through FFR and to see what life here is like!

Happy Heart Toy Factory

For every happy little toy purchased, another is donated to a child in need! 

You’ve probably come across this give-back business concept as made popular by brands like Toms and People Water.

Now, Grace Lloyd, from New York, is using the same model to help FFR! Grace makes hand made stuffed animals that can be purchased on Etsy. When a toy is purchased, another will be made and sent directly to FFR in Romania. The toys will then be given to the children in the Brasov State Children’s Hospital.

Grace explains her desire to get involved:
“After learning about the high number of orphans in Romania and the hardships they struggle through on a daily basis, I decided that selling my crafts could mean much more than simply making a few extra dollars for myself…
When you purchase a toy from the Happy Heart Toy Factory, another will be donated to Firm Foundations Romania and given to a child whose family does not have the means to provide toys for their children. My goal is simple: to bring a little extra joy into the world, and put smiles on the faces of children who have less than we do.”

Thank you, Grace, for your heart and for using the gifts that God has given you! We encourage you to visit the Happy Heart Toy Factory website. Purchase a toy for yourself or for a loved one and know that you’ve helped make a difference in a child’s life.

From Mentee to Mentor

If you’ve followed Firm Foundations Romania for any length of time you will know who Andreea is. For those just joining us, Andreea was the first person to go through our teenage mentorship program and was one of the first in her village to graduate high school. She is now attending university in the hopes of becoming a social worker, specifically so that she can help the people in Budila and similar villages.

We are extremely grateful for Andreea and we are so proud of the woman that she is becoming. She loves the Lord and she has taken such wonderful strides in her relationship with Jesus. The fact that she seeks Him above all else is further proof to us that God has his hand over Firm Foundations Romania.

With the teenage program growing rapidly we have had to expand to two separate apartments for the girls and we are very happy to announce that Andreea will be the new “den mother” to four of our teens who are attending high school in Brasov.

We have every confidence in Andreea as she takes on this new role and we know that the girls she will be mentoring already look up to her as a role model.

We thank God for the continued success of all of our programs and we humbly ask for your prayers for these young women!

The Interns Have Arrived!

By Rachel Titiriga, Internship Coordinator

 
“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.”  Jeremiah 29:11
I am so very excited to introduce you all to FFR’s first
ever Interns! 

Izzy Hathaway, 20, is from Fenton, Michagan, USA
Sarah Peters, 23, is from Stockton on Tees, Teesside,
England
These young ladies have moved to Brasov to Intern with Firm
Foundations Romania for one year.  The
FFR Internship Program is a Christian Missionary and Discipleship Program.  Izzy and Sarah will be encouraged to grow in
their walk with the Lord this year through Bible reading, group book and Bible
studies, discipleship, accountability and prayer.  They will learn firsthand what it means to be
a missionary as they serve alongside of FFR’s programs.  My hope is that by the end of this year these
young ladies will have a heart for Romania and the people here, but more than just
that, they will have God’s heart for the lost and hurting of this world, and that
their lives will be transformed from the inside – out.
Both Sarah and Izzy arrived on Monday, August 10th
and we began our Orientation Week on Tuesday! 
It was so fun watching them walk through the Intern Apartment that had
been prepared for them.  Their excitement
made all of the hard prep work well worth it! Thank you to the members of the
Calvary Chapel Treasure Valley and Kingwood Bible Church teams for all of your
help in getting the apartment ready!
 
During this past week the girls were introduced to an
overview of FFR’s Programs and how they will be involved.  We went over the Internship Guidelines and
House Rules, did a ton of walking to tour their new home of Brasov, and began
our Romanian Language Training!   These
ladies will be Brasov City and Romanian Language pros in no time at all!
There has been time for fun and fellowship too as Izzy and
Sarah went on a Photo Scavenger Hunt across the city!  They did a great job finding all the places
on their list!
 
We also had our first dinner and movie night together!  We had nachos and watched Peter Pan!
 
Friday night was our first Bible Study and time of prayer
for Romania and each other.  We also
began our Bible reading schedule with the hopes of reading through the entire
Bible by the end of the year.  I am so
honored to have the opportunity to be the Internship Program Manager and to be
able to pour into the lives of these ladies. 
I can see their desire to serve and grow in their relationship with the
Lord and I’m excited to see what God has for them in the coming year!