Many of us who travelled to Romania at the end of July had never been in the country before. We had met Pastor Groza, some of the staff and Deborah girls during their visits to Northern Ireland, but we really knew nothing of the country and very little about the Romanian people. Consequently we arrived not really knowing what to expect.
We soon discovered an amazing warmth and friendly nature in everyone we met. The genuineness of the greeting, the affection in the embrace, the sincerity of the handshake made us feel welcome right from the moment we arrived. We were so well catered for – nothing was too much trouble for those appointed to look after us. Anything that could be done for us was carried out with great courtesy and desire to please.
Each one who travelled have their own special memories of the trip. One member of our team spoke to an inmate of the youth prison who testified to being a Christian and hoped to engage in the Lord’s service after his release. Others in our party were positively affected by the trip to the orphanage and day school at Recas. The rush of children to meet us at the gate, their singing and recitation of the Scriptures, the faithfulness of Doru and Rodicato their souls, are some things that will long linger in the mind.
Then there are the girls of Deborah. They give every appearance of being happy in their surroundings. No doubt life has been hard for many of them, but the Deborah homes offer them the opportunity to have a better life. The fact that a number of girls who had previously been resident in the homes, attended the BBQ with their own children, demonstrates the high regard they still have for Pastor Groza and those involved in the work. When we were arranging the gifts for the girls I told one of the house parents that we had some presents for his children. He replied that his main concern was that each of the girls should receive something before we turned our attention to the carers and their families. Such an attitude summed up the love and care exhibited towards the girls by those who look after them. It was a blessing to behold.
In closing, I would like to thank all who assisted us in any way during our trip. It was our privilege to travel to Romania. We went with the purpose of helping in a practical manner and sharing the Gospel of Christ. I can speak for each person who travelled by maintaining that it is us who have gained. We’ve been closer drawn to the Lord and have learned lessons about Christian love and faithfulness that will not soon be forgotten. In that sense alone our visit to Romania brought unexpected results.
Thank you for all you’ve taught us and for your friendship in the Gospel.
Rev. John Armstrong, Portavogie Team
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