The Beginning of the Mission: May 2003
After a period of a few years, in which God spoke to us in various ways regarding Romania and how we were to get involved, we founded the mission God’s Family, Inc. Our main objective is to portray God’s love and to help the Gospel of our Lord shine and be made known in those hearts in which there is now darkness and pain. He, who is the Father of orphans (Ps. 68:5), has lead us through His Holy Spirit, to respond to the needs of the “least of these” (Matthew 25:45), to those street children, abandoned children, and to those deserted and scorned by their families and society.
In the month of May, 2003, the Holy Spirit spoke to us that it was time to start our work in Romania through faith. On May 26 I left for Romania leaving my family behind in the States. It was not an easy decision for my family and me, but both my wife and I realized that it was God’s calling. Before leaving, I bought a hand luggage full of candy that my children sorted into 40 sandwich bags. When I arrived in Romania, the customs officers were surprised to see all that candy and asked what I was doing with it. I explained to them who they were for, after which they easily let me through customs. Through the help of the director of The Children’s Protection Agency (DPPC) in the city of Buzau, I was able to give out the candy to children in an orphanage in Buzau that is home to dozens of severely handicap children. I was very shocked and moved by the look of those children. Two of the children were tied with their hands behind their back due to the danger they posed to themselves through self mutilation.
I was also able to visit an orphanage in the city of Iasi that was opened by sister Genoveva and an orphanage in the city of Suceava that was founded by a group of Mennonites from here in the States. I was overjoyed to be able to fellowship with them and to see how God had worked through them in the lives of many orphaned children. Among other things, these children are taught the word of God from a young age, just as Timothy once was (II Tim. 3:15). Encouraged by their work and words, I returned to Buzau, the city that God put on our hearts, ready to start what we were called for.
The city of Buzau is one of the most spiritually desolate areas. There is much witchcraft practiced and the number of Christians are very few. This is, however, the city in which God found me ten years ago when I was wandering the streets of this lost world, and where He had called me to be one of His own. Through Him I was changed and received forgiveness and became part of His family, part of the local church that numbered 35 members. That church has had a rough time these years due to the spiritual drought in the city and surrounding areas, and today it still numbers only 35 members. The brothers and sisters were very glad to hear of what God had put on our hearts. I was overjoyed to have the help of the local church in our mission. Together we can better work to fulfill what God wants us to. Over the following months the local church members proved to be an indispensable part of this mission. Two of the members are full-time workers with us, while the others have constantly provided us with their support.
Workers working together with God
The two brothers from Buzau that are working with us in the mission are: Andrew Chioibasu and Costache Gheorghe (Didian).
Brother Andrew (the one on the right) is a young man of 24, single, and who has finished his BA in Theology this year. At 13, he accepted the Lord in his heart and was baptized. Soon after his baptism, he could not keep silent and therefore started to share with others his newfound faith. Andrew has had a difficult journey in life due to the fact that his father was and still is an unbeliever who cannot stand Christians. Andrew’s mother, though, has been a great blessing to Andrew since she, too, is an active believer in our Lord Jesus Christ. Andrew and his mother have not ceased in praying for Andrew’s father, that he, too, may one day find the Lord.
Brother Andrew is sponsored monthly through God’s Family by a young man here in the States. We thank the Lord for his sponsor! Here are some of Andrew’s own words describing his part in the work with the street children:
“After finishing the Theological Institute, my tendency was to become a library mouse, dedicated completely to studying all day. My addiction was so strong that if a day passed without at least a few hours of study, I was terribly unsatisfied with myself. The contact with the streets, the problems that I encountered among these street children, and seeing the conditions with which they struggled, worked within me something else that I did not expect. Among them, I learn daily to love, to value the human soul, and to see reality with different eyes. Soon after I started working with them, I realized that my efforts were not just humanitarian, but a role through which I am to serve our Lord who is dressed in some of His favorite clothes: those of disgrace, sickness, poverty, etc.”
Brother Didian (the one on the left) grew up in a poor, non-Christian family, and at an early age was left without a father. After his father’s death, Didian spent most of his teenage years on the streets. His life on the streets brought him into contact with the worst in society and he started living in lies and petty crimes. He was caught by the police a few times and finally jailed. It was at this time, when he was to be sentenced, that he called out to God. Didian promised God that if He would work a miracle in his life and not be sentenced, he would repent of all his old ways and seek the Lord. God did work a miracle in Didian’s life and he was not sentenced to prison life and Didian kept his promise. He sought out the local church and started attending it. He was baptized and soon after, just like Andrew, he too started sharing with others what God had done for him saving him from his old way of life. Brother Didian is now an active servant in the local church, a husband and father of nine children. Besides his commitments to his family and local church, he has also committed himself to working with the street children. He understands what they go through and God has put it on his heart to work together with us on bringing these children to Christ. Didian started working with us and with Andrew in September and is sponsored through donations that God’s Family receives, since we do not yet have a sponsor for him.
First contact with the street
On one of my first evenings in Romania, I was walking down the street when I noticed a slender, young girl dressed in some old, torn clothes, sitting on the steps of a store. I stopped and asked her what her name was and why she was sitting there. She did not answer me, but continued sitting there with her head leaning forward between her legs. I went home and brought her a sandwich and a bag of candy and gave them to her. She took the things but remained silent. The next day I met her again and this time she was very happy to see me. She said her name was Roxana and that she had been afraid of me the previous evening because a man once wanted to hurt her. I found out she came from a poor family with eleven children and that she was sent out every day to beg for money. She was a shy girl and she hated to beg, therefore, if anyone gave her anything she was happy, but she would not beg. One day, late in the evening, I found Roxana out on the steps again, and I asked her why she was out so late, that someone might indeed hurt her. She explained to me that her younger sister was sick and that her mother had sent her to beg for money for medicine. I took Roxana to the pharmacy and bought her the medicine she needed and sent her home.
Roxana is ten years old and does not attend school because her family cannot afford to buy her clothes and school supplies. I’ve met Roxana many times since then and we have become friends.
Those living in the foundation of an abandoned building
Here are the pictures of some of the twenty children and teenagers that live in the foundation of a an abandoned building. I found them in June through Florin Mitrea (top left) who was getting himself high on the street when I found him. Florin is addicted to drugs and has grown up on the streets. He has no father or mother. Florin was the one that took me to the abandoned building where the others were living.
When I got there, the first thing that hit me was the awful smell of garbage and human waste. I saw huge mounds of garbage and numerous street dogs and cats. The children and teens were all sleeping on the ground on cardboard boxes covered with torn, dirty blankets and rags that they had found in the garbage. Their bathroom was in the same room where they cooked their food and many of them had not taken a bath in months.
Among them was a teenager, Ana Maria (bottom left), who was pregnant in seven/eight months. She ended up giving birth in August and we were able to visit the baby girl in the hospital. Due to the circumstances, the mother has given her up to the state orphanage. Watching that innocent newborn baby, I wondered what would be her fate in this world that could not offer her a home or motherly love. We tried to help her and were able to find a young Christian family that would like to take her in. God’s Family would help to support her. We have presented this case before the DPPC and are awaiting their approval.
Nicu Anghel (middle right) was raised in the state orphanage since he can remember. After many years of living in the orphanage where one must learn to survive, due to the beatings from the other children, Nicu ran away. He has become addicted to drugs and cigarettes. For a few weeks, we were able to house him in various families and he had stopped smoking and was not inhaling drugs anymore. He is an honest young man of 21 who feels the need to be loved.
One of the ones who have started attending church on a regular basis is Elena Burlacu (bottom right). She has a geniune interest in the Word of God and has even asked to be baptized. She is six months pregnant and the father of the child is physically handicapped. She never asks for anything, but is always thankful for what we give her.
These are just a few of the stories of those that live in spiritual, as well as physical poverty. Those that are scorned by society, but loved by God. (I Tim. 1:15)
We have started visiting them on a daily basis, bringing them the Word of God and a sandwich. We brought the young people from the church and we all sang together. They were overjoyed and learned a few songs themselves that they now sing together. They agreed to have Andrew and the young people from the church come twice a week for Bible study, songs, and prayer.
Their needs are many and we have tried to meet them, but we have found that their greatest need is that of being loved and accepted. Our Lord Jesus Christ is the One who can best teach us how to love. (Rom. 5:8)
The train station is their home
In the month of September I returned to Romania along with my wife and children. On one of the evenings after church, my wife and I, along with our one-year-old daughter, walked to the train station in search of street children whom we had heard were sleeping there. We looked around and not finding any, we asked a local worker where they might be. The sales person directed us toward a corner in the underground passage where we would find them. Indeed, there we found the home of fifteen children and teenagers, the youngest only ten years old.
One of the girls that met us was Alina (second on the right), who, attracted by our little girl, opened up to us and started telling us her life story. Alina grew up in a torn family and at a young age was sexually abused by her father. A short time later she ran away from home and ended up on the streets where, under the influence of others, she started practicing prostitution. At only sixteen, she became pregnant, and in April, 2002, she gave birth to a baby girl. At the hospital, both her and the newborn, were found to have the HIV virus. Alina loves her baby girl, who is in the state orphanage at this time. Alina visits her on a regular basis and dreams of one day having a home of her own where she could raise her little girl.
The same evening, we met Catalin– a boy of fourteen, who has never met his parents. He was raised by his grandparents until the age of four at which time he was given over to the state orphanage. A year ago he ran away because one of the instructors there that was cruel to him. We told Catalin and the others that we would be back the following day to bring them some food. Catalin asked if we could come early in the morning because he and some of the others were scheduled to go out into the countryside to help with the grape harvest. They left the following morning and for two weeks, we did not see him and some of the others at the train station. After two weeks we met up with them, only to hear the sad story of what had happened. These street children worked for two whole weeks, sleeping outside in the vineyards, and after the picking was all done the owners did not want to pay them. To make matters worse, they were also beaten by those owners and threatened never to come back again. The case was brought before the police station but no measures were taken. Sad but true.
On a rainy day I met David, for the first time, at the train station. He is twelve years old and grew up in the state orphanage from where he ran away. He was dressed in ragged clothes and walked around barefoot. I took him some clothes, shoes, and something to eat. He couldn’t believe his eyes and asked if all the things were for him. When I told him yes, he asked me why I wanted to help him. I told him that I’m a Christian and that God teaches us to love one another. He was very thankful.
Ioana Anghel also sleeps at the train station. She comes from a family with six children. Both her parents are dead. At the age of five, she was kidnapped by a Gypsy family with whom she lived for three years. When she was eight years old, she ran away from them and ended up on the streets. Now she lives on the streets earning her living through prostitution.
These street children live in inhumane conditions. We have visited them daily, bringing them sandwiches and the Good News. God has started working in their hearts and some are coming to church. We continue to pray for them, knowing that only God can change their lives.
Faith comes through hearing the Gospel
Hearing the Word of God is what produces faith (Rom. 10:17), and that is why our efforts were concentrated on sharing the Good News with the street children. Everyday when they receive a sandwich, they also hear about our Lord Jesus Christ. We also pray with those who want to pray. We have seen God’s hand in many ways. One incident that comes to mind took place one evening at the train station. We were standing together and talking to the street children when a woman who works at the station stopped and asked us what we were doing. We told her, and she responded by telling us that these children do not have a chance of changing. One of the teenagers whom we were talking to, got very upset at what this woman had said and he started yelling at the woman and using obscenities. We calmed him down and asked him to join the group again. After sharing the Word of God some more, I noticed that he had calmed down completely. I explained to him that what he had done was not good and asked him if he would go and apologize to the woman who was still standing around close by. He went without an objection. We all watched him go and apologize and when he came back his face was beaming. He said he felt good to be able to do that. The woman, herself, was so shocked that he had apologized, that she had remained speechless. The woman came closer and for the rest of the time we were there, she just stood there and listened to what we were telling these streets children. The young man went on to tell us that due to his aggressive manners and to some things that he had done, the police were looking for him to arrest him. We told him that if he changes his life, God could work a miracle on his behalf. He may end up doing prison time or he may not. We prayed with him and the following day when brother Didian met with him, they were met by the police and this young man was not arrested. He was overjoyed and stated that it was all God’s doing.
Another way through which we share the Gospel with these children and teenagers is through Bible study, which takes place every Tuesday and Thursday evening at the church. Brother Andrew is the one in charge of the Bible study.
We have used materials such as Brother Harold Morris’s video (an evangelist from the U.S.), in which he tells of how he came to know God after he was twice sentenced to life in prison. The street children were touched by his testimony.
Throughout the months of September and October, we also organized numerous revivals. We had various people of God testify how God had changed their lives and brought them to Him. Some of those who testified were: Brother Daniel Briciu (ex-police officer, picture on the right), brother Stefan Seuleanu (current police captain in the city of Cluj), brother Mihai Stanciu (ex-orthodox priest), and brother Alin Cucu (ex-member of the mafia in Braila that came to know God in a prison in Germany).
Over 25 street children came to one of the revival services. During the service I went outside and noticed that one of them was drunk. I asked him if he would like to come in. He said yes and since there were no more seats he stood at the doorway. At the end of the service, brother Alin Cucu asked if any would like to give their lives to Jesus. The first to go up front was the drunk man. He stated, crying, that he had come drunk to the meeting but that now he was completely sober and wanted God to change his life. He was only one of the many who came to the pulpit. We cannot say that these street children have given their lives to Jesus, but we know that the seeds were sown and we pray that God will help them bring forth fruit. It is very hard for them to change if they continue to live in the same environment in which they are now. It is for this reason that we feel we need a building of some sort in which to house them. They need some way in which to be reintegrated into society.
A child abandoned by his parents
On a Friday afternoon, I visited Leo (picture on the right), a four-and-a-half-year old boy. He was abandoned by his mother and father and is currently living with his maternal grandparents. Leo’s father is an ex-convict and his mother is a prostitute. His grandparents are older people, whose health is not so good. They are Christians, though, and they love Leo. We bought Leo clothes and boots for the winter, and groceries for the grandparents. With Christmas coming soon, we are planning a gift for Leo, through which he can feel God’s love. In the future we would like to help Leo on a monthly basis.
“Give ye them to eat”
“And Jesus went forth, and saw a great multitude, and was moved with compassion toward them, and he healed their sick. And when it was evening, his disciples came to him, saying, This is a desert place, and the time is now past; send the multitude away, that they may go into the villages, and buy themselves victuals. But Jesus said unto them, They need not depart; give ye them to eat. And they say unto him, We have here but five loaves, and two fishes. He said, Bring them hither to me.” Matt. 14:14-18
Today, just as in the days of our Lord, there exists a great multitude that besides their need of being healed physically and spiritually, they also need their “daily bread.” In Romania today, there are over 10,000 street children who live in poverty and sickness on the streets. They have no hope for the future and the society around them treats them miserably. Jesus, though, looks with compassion on this multitude. He is the only One who can heal them and give them a hope and a future. However, just as Jesus walked on this earth with his disciples, He does the same today. We, as children of God, need to learn to walk with Him. If we are, then the same word He told His disciples applies to us today: “give ye them to eat.” How will we be able to feed this multitude with just the little that we have? If we put the little that we have in His hands, He is the One who can bless and multiply.
rom the time we met these street children, we started giving them a sandwich a day. Today, there are approximately 35 children and teenagers that receive a sandwich and a cup of hot tea everyday, and on Fridays they receive a warm meal at the church. Until a week ago, we had with us a young couple, Razvan and Sonia, that took upon themselves the responsibility of preparing the warm meal on Fridays. Razvan is Romanian, but Sonia is from the Philippines. Ever since they arrived in Romania, God had put it on Sonia’s heart to do something more for these streets children. She came to us and asked if she could prepare a warm meal for them every Friday. It was a great undertaking, but she insisted. Sonia and Razvan, however had to leave Romania in December, but the sisters from the church had gotten so involved with the meal themselves, that they took it upon themselves to continue the meal. The sisters put together money and bought a stove at the church (we found out and repaid them) to better help them work together as opposed to each one making and bringing food from home.
We continue to pay for all the groceries from which the sandwiches are made as well as the warm meal on Fridays. So far, we have spent approximately $1500 for food.
Clothes, shoes, medicine and health needs
During both of my trips to Romania, I took clothes and shoes, but these were not enough for all their needs. We ended up needing to buy more things from there. We put together a project through which each child or teenager went to the store with either brother Andrew or Didian and bought clothes for the winter. We also bought 45 pairs of shoes.
Another great need that these street children have is that of medicine and health care. Due to the inhumane conditions that they live in, most of them are sick and some need to be admitted to the hospital. We have bought them medicine and for some we have paid their hospital bills. So far, we have spent approximately $1400.
There are many other needs that these street children have, needs that God’s Family hopes to provide for in the future. Today, however, we would like to thank all those that have taken part and have given “their little” for this cause. God was the one who transformed the “little” to be a blessing for these street children in Romania. Glory be to God!!!
“And the King shall answer and say unto them, Verily I say unto you, Inasmuch as ye have done it unto one of the least of these my brethren, ye have done it unto me.” Matt.25:40
With the help of God, God’s Family mission would like to buy a piece of land on which to build a simple building in which to house these children. For this purpose, I will be returning to Romania in the month of March, 2004. We would like to offer these street children not only a place to lay their head but also an environment in which they can learn about our Lord and Savior Jesus Christ. We feel this building is necessary in order for them to be able to change and start over due to the negative impact the streets has had on them.
We would also like to start a schooling program in which they could be taught how to read and write and eventually higher education. Most of them do not know how to read or write and some have never gone to school. We would like to be able to prepare them for living on their own. They need working skills and responsibilities, all of which we would like to incorporate in their daily program.
We are in great need of a sponsor for brother Costache Gheorghe (Didian) who is working with God’s Family full time.
We have also found, in these months working with the street children, that a bus or van would help us a lot in our work with them. Transporting them from one place to another has been hard on us. We have had to rent vans and cars in order to do so.
We are still working on raising enough funds to buy the land and start the construction. We would need a miracle from the Lord to do this.
Please pray for the salvation of these street children.
Please pray for those working with these street children, especially brother Andrew and brother Didian, as well as the Carp family.
Please pray for the local church in Buzau that God may help them to continue showing their love for these street children. Sometimes it is hard to sit in church when the terrible smell of these street children, who have not bathed in months, is so strong.
Please pray that through this work with these street children, God may bring to him many lost souls in the city of Buzau.
Please pray that God will continue to provide for the needs of God’s Family.
For more information, please contact us:
God’s Family Mission, Inc 18205 University Park Dr., Livonia, MI 48152 (800) 331-2730 [email protected] www.godsfamilyinc.com
“Pure religion and undefiled before God and the Father is this, To visit the fatherless and widows in their affliction, and to keep himself unspotted from the world.” James 1:27
God’s Family is a nonprofit organization. All donations are tax deductible.