Just a quick update but I haven't got long on the net! Firstly, thank you for all your prayers so far - we are knowing the benefit of them out here.
It has been a challenging time so far - from the heat and strong sunshine (with me forgetting my sunglasses... left in the car at Dublin airport), to the language barrier when meeting Romanian families. I've also been challenged about how much we in Northern Ireland have, compared to our brothers and sisters with virtually (or actually) nothing at all.
On Sunday we went to the Tileagd Community Church for the morning service. This is a church primarily for the gypsy community, and we were warmly welcomed. The choir is made up of young people from the congregation, and they sang in English and Romanian - the choir is also coming to the UK on a tour in September/October time - more info to follow!
Yesterday I was out on one of the Family Care Project teams, taking food, clothes and toys to fmailies who need them. I was struck by one 'house' where six people were living in a room little bigger than my college room. We also saw families where the father has died, leaving a wife and eleven children who are struggling to cope.
The kids were so appreciative of what we brought - taking great pleasure in simple things like a soft ball, or balloons or a toy car. One wee lad even came to give us the ball back when we were leaving - his face lit up when he was told he could keep it! The Smiles Foundation cetainly brings smiles to the faces of the families they are helping.
Today I was out on Operation Hope - the elderly visitation and friendship scheme. We spent about two hours with a 94-year old lady who told us stories of her life, and was deighted to receive a gift pack of juice, biscuits, yoghurt, bread and other stuff - which came to the grand total of about 4 pounds sterling.
As I've said earlier, the weather is warm - my tan is coming along nicely, but we've also been seeing tremendous thunder and lightning storms. I think we've had some every day so far - last night was the worst. At about 2.45am it was directly overhead and lasted maybe up to an hour - the chimney on the building I'm staying in was hit (we reckon) and the top half fell. This has now been replaced, but it was close enough for comfort!
Thankfully I haven't been bitten so far by mosquitoes, but Lynsey is suffering from quite a few bites.
On the prayer list - please pray for Kevin and the Smiles staff as they reach out to those in need, extending the kingdom; for the team as we work together across the language barrier; for safety on the sometimes scary Romanian roads where cars will overtake with very little space to do so; and for us as we see some horrific things.
Hopefully I'll be able to update again soon - keep praying, and be assured that you are in my thoughts and prayers as well.
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