Posts

First Year Of Teen Mums Ends With A Splash!

Since beginning in October 2016, the Teen Mums’ group has transitioned from new starts and unknowns, to a comfortable, relaxed, support network. Friendships have blossomed between the Mums, the babies, and with us. This past week was another great time together when we had a summer baby pool party! It was lovely to all meet up again since term ended in June and to catch up with the Mums, to relax, and to laugh together at the kids’ enjoyment of splashing in the water! Their joy was contagious!

Since January, the girls have been learning about “Who is Jesus?” from Bible readings and sharing personal stories. They have loved being creative and making various different crafty pieces; and we’ve all learnt lots of new information and skills from Jo, a nurse from Australia, about health hygiene, how to professionally decorate cupcakes with Tina from America, and about health and nutrition from one of the hospital nurses, which the nurse and the girls enjoyed so much they want to do it again! We have also welcomed two new babies to the group and attended a wedding of one of the Mums!

We have five Mums who are attending regularly, and with their now 8 babies and toddlers, we are at capacity for the space we have available. But this has allowed close relationships to form within the group which has been so special.

The group will begin meeting again weekly in September and we are looking forward to sharing more with the Mums and babies together. Please pray at this time for health and safety for all of the Mums and babies over the summer, for faith to continue growing for the girls, for wisdom for us as we begin to plan for the next year and for relationships to continue flourishing.

We have had so much support through donations, prayer and volunteers for this group this past year. We, including the Mums, are so grateful!

~ Sarah Peters, Teen Mums Project Manager

   

“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: wandering-heart.weebly.com

“Yes! Jesus Loves Me!”

In America, one of the most loved and well-known children’s songs is “Jesus Loves Me.” Many of us grew up singing this song. The words are seemingly simple but the meaning behind them is a powerful as any song written. This past week Sarah Vienna joined the Teen Mums group to share her testimony. She told the girls what Jesus means to her and then taught them “Jesus Loves Me” in both English and Romanian. The girls were very attentive and interested in both the story and the song.

Please join with us in praying for each of the Teen Mums who has visited the program. Pray that they will come to know Jesus as their personal Lord and Savior and that He will start making changes in their lives. Also please pray for the team to have wisdom to know how to reach these girls and how to best help them.

Real Men Love Babies – A Male’s Perspective on Volunteering

Born in Romania, Robert has returned to his home country for the first time after his family moved to Canada when he was eight years old. He and his wife are volunteering with Firm Foundations Romania for two months. Robert quickly noted that he was the only male volunteer at this time, as the majority of volunteers who come out are female. Through this interview, Robert wants to make it known that “Real Men Love Babies” and encourage more males to come volunteer as the babies in the hospital need father figures and good role models!

Spending Time with Teen Mums and Babies

Our Teen Mums’ programme began on 18th October, and through a trial and error approach and lots of prayer, is growing and forming and flourishing.

So far…

  • We’ve had 6 young Mums attend, 5 regularly, with 7 children between them…and more on the way!
  • We’ve had 8 sessions, including a Christmas Party.
  • We’ve learnt about Abraham, Esther, the birth of Jesus, Noah, Psalm 139, and Creation, keeping our keys themes as ‘fearfully and wonderfully made’ and ‘God has a great plan for our lives, you are important to God.’ It has been so encouraging to see how engaged and inspired the Mums have been by these messages so far.
  • We’ve made bracelets, photo frames, Christmas baubles, handprint pictures and more! The girls have loved making the crafts so much they sometimes don’t want to leave.
  • We’ve eaten countless biscuit and banana snacks and drank a lot of tea, even the babies.
  • We’ve celebrated 3 birthdays.
  • We’ve had conversations about relationships, baby care, and baby health.
  • We’ve seen and charted baby weight growth with our baby scales.
  • We’ve learnt 4 new songs.
  • And we’ve only had 2 tantrums, 3 stinky nappies and no broken toys!

For the new year, we have many exciting plans including: giving each girl a scrapbook so she can record her and baby’s time with us, sharing more Bible stories building on the theme of God caring for us, and having ‘guest speakers’ (volunteers who are also nurses/Mums) come and share what they know about breastfeeding, baby hygiene and more!

It has honestly been a joy and such a privilege, with the lovely Lidia and Steffi alongside me, to get to know these young Mums and babies and to see how much they’re already starting to grow and feel encouraged. I’m so excited to see what more God has in store for us this next year.

Please continue to pray for relationships to grow, for the girls to feel strengthened and empowered in the love God has for them, and for God’s wisdom for us in leading, planning and in reaching out and meeting the needs of these precious Mums and babies.

~Written by Sarah Peters, Teen Mums Project Manager

Want to be updated with FFR? Check out this newly made video for 2017!

What a wonderful year FFR had in 2016. Over 70 volunteers from 10 countries came to provide love and care for the babies in the hospital. We increased our After School Program team to four Romanian teachers and now have 130 children being helped. The Kid’s Club continues to grow with up to 13 children coming. And we started a program in Budila for Teen Moms.`God continues to provide and we are so thankful. We look forward to seeing what is in store for 2017 and we thank you for your continued support!

Check out our new video (an update on FFR projects):

We need gloves, we need you!

Sterile gloves protect our health. If you are interested in helping, please contact mail@firmfoundationsromania.com.

We Need You!

vllll123

  • We are looking for someone to volunteer 3 to 4 hours a week to assist Firm Foundations Romania with social media needs such as website modifications, blog posts, newsletter editing, and fund raising marketing.
  • We are looking for individuals to come and help renovate our Support Center, located on the hospital grounds, where we have meetings, store donations and diapers, and plan to make an office space. Projects include plastering, painting, plumbing, etc.
  • We are also looking to employ Romanian-speaking individuals for our After School Program, our High School Mentorship Program, and as a Den Mother. These is a full time paid positions which include Carta de Munca.

If you are interested, please contact us at mail@firmfoundationsromania.com. We ask that you pass this message to anyone who might be able to assist in one of these areas, and we look forward to hearing from you!

Unexpected Experiences of Volunteering

IMG_2283Six months ago I was sitting in a minibus riding from Bucharest to Brasov, very exited and not really knowing what to expect of my time volunteering with Firm Foundations Romania. At this point, I didn’t know anyone of Firm Foundations and I didn’t know much about Romania in general. Yesterday I was sitting again in the minibus, this time on the way to go back home. Read more

Part Of The Family, By Katie Greiner

Volunteering in the Brasov Children’s Hospital, we have the
opportunity to care for so many precious babies and toddlers. With some of
these little ones, we don’t know their names, where they come from, or anything about
them. With others, we know their families well and have watched their older
siblings grow up in and out of the hospital when they were small. Whatever the
background, though, we are there to fill in the gap and love them for as long
as they are in the hospital.

 
 One family we have all gotten to know well over the past few
years, is that of Constantin and Stefan. Constantin is now about 4 ½ years old
and Stefan recently turned 2. Many of our volunteers will remember these boys
as they were in and out of the hospital many times over their first couple of
years. Stefan still comes in now and then whenever he is sick, but not so much
as when he was small. They also have a 12 year old brother, Alex, who has been
in the hospital a few times, and a 17 year old brother.
One of the things that has set this family apart is how they
will all come together to drop off or pick up one of the boys, and so we have
been able to meet the parents, grandmother, and oldest brother at these times. We
would greet them whenever we saw them, and often bring clothes, shoes, and toys
for the boys. Over the past year or so, we’ve gotten to know them more and they
now come to our office to see us anytime they are at the hospital. There is a
small box of toy cars that we keep on hand for visits like this, and the boys
know that they can choose one any time they stop by. The family is very poor,
so the clothes and shoes that we are able to give them from the donations that
we receive has been such a blessing to them and they are so grateful. How
wonderful to be able to fill bags of clothes for them, put new shoes on their
feet, and bundle them up in warm coats and hats!
Watching these boys grow up and getting to know all of their
family has been one of my best experiences here. Constantin was born 1 week
before I moved here in 2011, so I have been able to measure my time here by his
growth. I had no idea when I first met him as a little baby that he and his
family would become so special to me and that I would get to watch him grow up
outside of the hospital setting. That I would someday be “Tanti Caty” to him
and his brothers, and a friend to their mom. Hearing the three younger boys
running towards our office and knock at the door, excitedly calling my name,
and then just about getting knocked over by them throwing themselves into my
arms for a hug makes my heart burst with love every time. It is such an amazing
gift to be here and be an Auntie to these boys!
Thank you to all of our volunteers who have given your love
and time to these precious boys and to so many other little ones in the hospital.
If any of you are considering volunteering in the future, come on out! These
babies and kids need your love and will change you forever.