I come from a wonderful little place, far, far away.. It’s white and snowy as far as the eye can see, mostly dark all day long this time of year and its cold so you’ll need layers of clothes when you leave the front door. This wonderful little planet of make-believe is called Sweden. It’s a perfect place for vacation in winter if you don’t like sun, cold drinks and long beaches.
I came to Romania expecting it to be cold to, after all I arrived in the end of January, but there was no snow here and I’m not complaining even though I actually do love the winter. So, why did I leave the wonderful, cold hometown of mine to come here? I travelled to Brasov one and a half years ago for one month, and for some reason God wanted me back again. Why? I wasn’t sure, until I met the disabled kids at the orphanage outside the city and I felt like my heart would burst, and right now I know I am exactly where I’m supposed to be. I don’t miss my hometown, but I do miss to see the work God is doing there right now.
I grew up, and still live in Sundsvall, a town right in the middle of Sweden. My family and I are part of a small non-profit unbound Christian organization called Street Aid. My parents had a vision for a long time to be out in the streets where people are in need instead of being inside a church building. Those of you who have been to Sweden know that there are a lot of people with drug and alcoholic issues. Many are homeless because of it. People start drinking early, drugs are common, families are broken and a lot of young people are depressed. Sweden is one of the most secularized countries in the world, and that’s where the problem starts.
My parent’s vision became real when they got a bus for free and turned it into a café bus and just then got a great opportunity to reach out to people in need. In 2007 they took the bus out in the streets for the first time. I wasn’t a part of it then because I was traveling at that point, but as the years passed my heart started burning for the work that God was doing and now Street Aid has become a very big part of my life. Now we also have a caravan that we use in the same way as the bus, spending time out at night and inviting people in for coffee, sandwiches or just to warm up if it’s cold. We pray for the ones who want to be prayed for and discuss all that comes to mind. Street Aid is also supporting missions in Bolivia, Kenya and the Philippines. This last year we’ve been helping emigrants from Romania and Bulgaria in different ways, and we have truly made some great friends. We’ve been taking the bus to festivals in different places in the summer also, and that’s one thing I just love to do.
Street Aid is my church and my family. We meet every week in our house for prayer and worship, and sometimes we arrange meetings and invite anyone that wants to come. We’re all part of Gods family, and I feel so blessed that my family in Christ is the one that I grew up in and the one that I can work together with in this wonderful way. I’ve had made some truly great friends through Street Aid, we’re about ten active members at the time and we’re growing, slowly but steadily.
Above, in the middle picture, we’re celebrating midsummer in a beautiful place near a small lake outside the city with some friends and family. If you like woods you should really visit Sweden. And as you can see we don’t actually have snow all year long.
I love living in Sweden. Even though I complain about our cold, long winters sometimes. I love the nature and the summers are just beautiful. But I love leaving home to. The world is far too big for me to stay in the same place all time, so if I get a chance to travel, I take it. It’s easy to get perspective on things when you go and see how other people live their lives. Africa and the Philippines lay close to my heart, maybe because it’s very different in so many ways. I’ve been in Africa twice to visit the orphanage that Street Aid supports. I have a lot of fine memories from there and I really want to return soon. The Philippines brought me some memories to, not all good ones though. One time I got sick by a wound I got from burning my leg and I barely made it. Once I woke up to an earthquake and that was more interesting than scary, I thought someone was trying to wake me up by shaking the bed. At one time we went out to a jungle chasing frogs to eat in the middle of the night, and that was fun except for the big spiders webs I got in my face. I enjoy these small adventures and most of all I’m glad I got opportunities to go see the mission I support with my own eyes. I’ve helped out in the school that they’ve been able to build in a small village in the Philippines and I had such a fun time with the kids. The first time I was there they didn’t have a school building and the kids were only a few. Now it has grown in a wonderful way, they have a real school building and the people working over there have different projects going on.
My life is obviously a lot about Street Aid, and I’m curious what God will do with it in the future. I have actually no idea what I’m going to do when I get home after my five months in Romania except that we’ll have a conference at my parents’ house when I get back. God always puts the pieces together so there’s really no need to worry and I love that kind of living. Before I came here I was working at a support home for people with drug and alcoholic issues and I loved it there very much, but I’ll just see what happens in time and I really don’t like to plan too much. One thing I know is that I’m going to pick up my pencil and make some art when I get back home as it’s a big part of who I am. But now I’m enjoying Romania with my whole heart. Firm Foundations is truly making an amazing thing in this country. They’re blessed with people who have so much love in their hearts that it needs to come out somehow, and they reflect that love right on the kids here and I’m so happy that I can be part of it right now.
Life is a path to walk. I’ve wanted to get off that road many times when it gets hard and tried to hide in some bushes along the way. It works for a short while, and then I always realize that life’s pretty amazing. At least if you let God lead your ways, so let him lead you to the adventure he’s planned for you! Who knows, He may lead you to the planet called Sweden someday.
Written by Pauline, from Sweden, a volunteer who worked with Firm Foundations Romania for one month in 2014 and returned in February 2016 for five months.