Posts

“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

FFR Primetime Live: Cupcakes with Christine Pasta – Using Your Talents while Volunteering

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 mail@firmfoundationsromania.com to see how you can use your talents to teach, inspire, and love the children in Romania.

FFR’s ‘Rock’ Testimony – Donating Time to Volunteer

Firm Foundations Romania’s hospital project is successful because of the international volunteers who come to love and hold the babies who are there without parents. In 2016 we had over 70 volunteers from 10 different countries come to help and assist our projects. We appreciate each volunteer who comes, and we are especially thankful when volunteers return after their initial visit. Jackie Caetano first volunteered with us in 2014 and was able to return again this past February.

                          

Jackie is the one and only volunteer we have had from Gibraltar! Many people have heard of the Rock of Gibraltar, but not many people actually live there. But Jackie is one of them and we were very happy to have her back. Jackie shared about her volunteer experience with her local newspaper and an article was printed about Firm Foundations Romania in the Gibraltar Chronicle. What a great way to spread the word about volunteering and about what FFR is doing in Romania! Thank you Jackie for sharing this article with us and we look forward to having you volunteer with us again soon.

Please click HERE (Gibraltar Chronicle) to read the full article.

Good Morning Guildford! FFR Presents at a Women’s Breakfast.

Melanie Gray, a returning volunteer at Firm Foundations Romania, invited Sarah Vienna to speak and sing at her church’s Women’s Breakfast. Sarah had the opportunity to share her testimony of how she followed God’s calling which led her to Romania. The event was meant to inspire and affirm the women in England to follow God’s calling.

Goodbye Is Not Forever

A British “Ambassador” Supports FFR

Melanie Gray has made numerous trips to Romania in the past few years to volunteer with FFR. She has a passion and a heart for the children, and she wants to share more about what FFR is doing so she has organized for Sarah Vienna to present at her church’s Women Breakfast. In Melanie’s own words, here is a description of the event:

An invitation if you want to find out more about the beautiful country of Romania, what motivates me and many others to volunteer and, most importantly, what it is like to be a disadvantaged child in Romania today. Sarah Vienna has been living and working in Romania for over 12 years leading Firm Foundations Romania and she will be in my church – Guildford Baptist, Millmead – on Saturday March 18th from 9.45 – 12 noon talking about her work and her music. You are all very welcome.

If you need any more information, please contact us at mail@firmfoundationsromania.com and we can put you in touch with Melanie. We hope that you will spread the word to anyone who is in the area and we look forward to seeing you all there!

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!

How to help a Christian organization from afar….

FFR’s Ambassador Of The Month

What is an FFR Ambassador? Someone who goes beyond their daily routine to assist FFR with various tasks outside of Romania.

Jill Corrales, who is currently in the Navy and stationed at MCAS (Marine Corps Air Station) in Cherry Point, NC, learned more about FFR after her daughter Odessa came to volunteer in May 2016. Jill is currently connecting with donors, sending thank you cards on behalf of FFR, collecting and shipping school supplies for our After School Program, and posting scriptures and encouraging words on Facebook to keep volunteers motivated to reach out to humanity. We are very blessed by Jill’s teamwork and support of FFR!

While Odessa was volunteering in Romania, she had the chance to meet Sofia and, like all of us, fell in love with her. Jill shares that love for Sofia even though she hasn’t met her in person yet. Included in her boxes of school supplies, Jill sent a Christmas gift for Sofia and her family. Our volunteers were able to give them the presents when Sofia’s parents brought her to the hospital for a follow up appointment. They were so appreciative and thankful, and Sofia was thrilled with her new musical toy. Sofia continues to get bigger, stronger, and healthier each day. Thank you to everyone who is praying for this little girl. And a big thank you to Jill for making Sofia and her family feel special and for all the work being done on behalf of FFR.

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):

No Boredom with the Board

board-of-directors

*Photo courtesy of Vera Fuad

We often talk about how blessed FFR is to have volunteers come from around the world to help in Romania. This past week we received an additional blessing when three of our board members (a Board of Directors oversees the activities of a company or organization) came all the way to Romania to see the projects first hand and meet our wonderful team. April Herin came a bit earlier than the others and was joined by her sister who lives in Dubai. They served the children in Romania by doing hospital shifts, going to the orphanage, and visiting Budila. It was wondering to have them here over Thanksgiving as well! For one board member, Turino Fuad, accompanied by his wife Vera, this was his first time ever to visit FFR. Though he’s been assisting FFR in the accounting department for years, Turino was able to personally experience the projects and enjoy the beauty of Brasov. Our third board member who came was Paul Giobbi. Paul came with his family for a 24 hour visit in 2014, and once again came for just over 24 hours! Though a short visit, we squeezed in a tight schedule of activities! Unfortunately Raelene Schmalz was not able to join, and we missed having our last board member with us.

After showing the board each of our projects, we enjoyed an evening of music at our Benefit Concert (blog post coming soon). Saturday was spent meeting with our project managers and brainstorming about the future of FFR. We are excited about new things on the horizon which will help us reach more children, have a bigger impact in Romania, and enable more people to hear about Jesus Christ and receive His hope! That evening the FFR team was invited out to dinner where we had a fun, relaxing evening.

We so appreciate our board of directors and their hearts for Romania! We hope to see them all again soon.