The Battle for Relationship

by Sue Volpe

Alina doesn’t talk about it much and I don’t even know how much she remembers but while she was still in diapers, she was placed in one of the worst orphanages in our province with three of her siblings.  It wasn’t until she was 11 years old that she was moved into a placement home with 9 children.  That small family environment helped her grow into an educated, functional young woman who knows how to carry
herself.  Sadly, child protection does little to deal with the trauma that almost all of my young ladies have suffered as children in the system. So, under Alina’s put together exterior, there is a hurting, little girl.  When Alina came to us 7 months pregnant in August 2014, she was very closed off. She did what was required but would not let us in.  She even called my church “our church,” yet there was still no meaningful connection and that distance grew as more moms came into the home.  As her time in the home was coming to an end and it was time for her to move into independent living, she felt alone and rejected even though there was another mom in the apartment.  It seemed that there was a chasm between us.  The girls still in the residence would draw her into household drama, she would take-sides and try to defend them.   When I told her it wasn’t her concern in the attempts to defuse the situations, she would pull further and further away.  All my actions to show her love was viewed as false by her.  All I could do was pray.

This time last year the residence was empty for the first time since we opened and I sensed that God wanted me to start afresh with her by inviting her to come stay with me the week of Christmas.    So even though she lives only a block and a half away, her and her daughter, Victoria, came and stayed for an old fashion Christmas.  We decorated the tree, watched old Christmas movies, baked, cooked, danced, and celebrated Christ’s birth…open dialogue started to happen.  As 2018 progressed, our conversation became deeper and deeper. In July, she asked me if I would take them to her birth mom’s place with a cake for her birthday.  While we were there, she told her birth mom that I was Victoria’s other grandma. My heart skipped a beat. It is rare within the orphan subculture to to refer to someone as family apart from blood relation. The chasm is a small gap with a very lovely bridge. I cherish these past three months as it was well worth the spiritual battle for relationship. There is a trust…we are friends.

Prayer Request November 2018

Please pray for me, Sue Volpe, as I am in South Florida to advocate for Soar Romania.  Please pray that God will bring more people to partner financially with SoarRomania. This is a short trip since I am limited on the time I can be out of Romania due to my residence card application.  Also FYI, once I get back to Romania there is no real time frame for how long it will take to complete the residence process and I will be unable to leave Romania until it is done.   Thus the urgency for raising as much support as I can!

Prayer for the funds to hire a full-time assistant.  I do my best to offer the spiritual, emotional and physical support to the moms, as well as care for their children while they are at work or school, and I know the moms see Jesus though all I say and do and the gospel is being preached, but it just isn’t enough to prepare them for a life of single motherhood. Parenting, life-skills and biblical instruction are lacking without a national by my side.  The ministry needs a $750 commitment monthly to cover a staff person’s salary and taxes (equivalent to the McDonalds salaries).  Please pray about how you can make this happen for 2019 and beyond.  Every little bit helps.  Click here to give then select the SoarRomania button.

Please pray for Iby…she needs healing.  Her unwillingness to deal with her issues makes her life a rollercoaster ride of emotional outburst and she is bringing her daughter along this harmful ride.   

Pray for Larisa and her little man, see details in the  article “In God’s Hands.                               

Thanks so much.

In the hands of God

If you didn’t read in the previous newsletter, Larisa left the residence but left her son in our hands until she could figure out what she was going to do.

Little man was at peace…sleeping through the night, waiting for food (instead of screaming for it), playing with the girls; content.  She did take care of the birth certificate issues but was unwilling to do the work to relinquish custody. She came and got her son and took him to an extended family member of the father. The father, who was in Belgium, agreed to come back and care for him in a couple of months after making some more money (stealing). This back-fired on him because the boy was hospitalized for a stomach issue and they would not discharge him without parental consent. Larisa is nowhere to be found.  He did come to get the boy but he does not have the means to take care of him. He has no money, no place to stay and now none of his family will take the boy.  We offered to take the boy back for a season but he refused.  We trust God’s protection on this little soul.  Please join us in prayer for him as well as Larisa to have a change of heart.

Family Updates

If you did not get a chance to watch the update video from May 2018, what you read below may be missing some context.

Both Larisa, my current resident, and Iby are still working at McDonald’s.  Larisa has been moved up to working at the register which is big, as her ethnicity is Roma (gypsy), a discriminated people group here.  Both ladies have been praised for how diligent they are on the grave-yard shift which after 2am is primarily cleaning and they do a great job.

Little Man turn 1 in June

Larisa, who has been with us since March, has decided that she would rather be “on her own” and is searching for an apartment.  After a meeting with our pastoral oversight and her mentor, she has made it clear that she doesn’t want to be a parent. The pastor told her that we would be happy to facilitate a permanent placement for her delightful son but she would need to stay until the boy’s birth certificate issues are resolved and she has full custody.  She has no desire to do this and is in complete rebellion against the standards of the program.  The other moms have been gossiping to me about what she is up, to which I try to shut down immediately; however, what I’m hearing scares me.  Please pray for a miracle so this precious boy doesn’t end up in the state orphanage.  Her beautiful boy is walking now and catching on to the sign language so he gets what he wants without screaming for it.  His first words in english were “all done.” 

Blessed to have Alissa to co-parenting.

***Upon preparing this newsletter, there was an incident that caused Larisa to leave the project immediately.  She has left little man in our care until the birth certificate is solidified. Please pray that she follows through with this or we will have to hand him over to child protection in September.

Iby is finally in an apartment that is affordable and the landlord is very gracious. It’s a bit far but is right off the tram line.  She is still having difficulties as her ID card is expired.  ID cards are issued only with a permanent address, which like most orphans, she doesn’t have.  So they will only issue her a new one for a year at a time with the consent of the orphanage.  When we called child protection in May to see what she had to do, something was either miscommunicated or not understand by Iby.  But never-the-less, this week she found out she needed another paper from child protection to proceed.   This effects a lot of other things that need to happen for their little family.  For example she can’t get a different job that has the same hours as daycare nor can she register her daughter for daycare.  Amelya is too smart for her own good…she is so curious which causes a lot of destruction (Today she destroyed an umbrella while I was putting little man to bed…I don’t know how a 21 month-old can do something like that.) She has the best facial expressions and I think she knows it.

Paddle boating on the lake with our first graduating mom and her daughter.

Alina and Tori are doing great.  As Tori is on summer break, she and her mom are here almost every evening for dinner.  It’s nice to see them every day.  We had a guest preacher at church last month that both her and Larisa enjoyed and they are now following his YouTube channel. Please pray for her salvation.  She doesn’t have the best job but she is making the best of it and not complaining.  Tori loves praising Jesus, enjoying gymnastics and zealous for the water.  We just come back from a three day getaway at a man-made beach a couple of hours away (hope you follow us on Instagram to see all the pics & clips). 

From Rome to Romania

It’s a privilege to see the SoarRomania residential apartment being used for all sorts of ministries.  I’m not just talking about our weekly bible study for the girls from the orphanage which is an extension of our mission to offer hope and wholeness though Jesus Christ.  It’s also used for church activities like mid-week community groups or ladies’ bible study.  But it’s the unexpected events that bless my socks off. I was asked to host a birthday party for a young man, Andy.

Andy thanking Justin for this surprise.

God brought him into my life though my dear brother, Justin Boatright, who serves in Rome. Justin traveled to Oradea for the party. Andy has not yet given his life to the Lord and none of his 12 friends that attended the party know the true gospel.While all of Andy’s guest arrived, and waited to surprise Andy, Justin did a full gospel presentation with everyone.  Andy was brought to tears by all that Justin had done for him and the party was a great success.  I also invited a brother from my church, Razvan, that Andy had previously met, and he had great in-depth conversations with some of the guys too.  It’s cool how a question about his beard came up and lead to a discussion about Jesus. 

The gang
Cutting the custom Camera Cake
Building Relationships

ALOT OF NEWS

THE BIG NEWS!

We are officially a non-profit association (Similar to a 501-c3) here in Romania.  The word Soar doesn’t really translate well so we will be going by the name “Agape FSC.” We are now free to train our mom’s to produce homemade goods and sell them for additional income, as the maternity support from the government is barely enough to pay for diapers. We are also able to hire foster parents to house expecting moms that are minors. We can also accept donations from nationals. As such, we’re on the lookout for a new ministry assistant that we can now pay directly from our ministry instead of being employed by our church.

The BETTER News!

We are so thankful for the opportunity to continue building trust in our relationships with the young girls at CP2. We praise the Lord for the consistency we’ve seen in many of the 10 -14 year old girls. For the older girls, however, we’ve seen how distracted they become with school or boyfriends or the general busyness of their lives. As a result, they lack consistency in coming to our weekly meetings. We are praying that they would prioritize these weekly meetings and desire to be a consistent examples for the young girls who also want to “be cool” like them.

There’re several young girls who have been consistently coming since the new year that didn’t come previously and we’re hoping that God will move in their lives. One of them, Izabela, has asked if I would help tutor her in English and I am excited for the unique opportunity to get to know her better and invest in her life!

The BLESSED News!

We have a new mom with us.  She is 20 years old and arrived with her 8 month old son on March 1.  She was living on the streets in Belgium with her abusive boyfriend that had her involved in a shop-lifting ring.  She seams to really want to change her life, work and provide a stable home for her child.  She has been very appreciative, helpful and willing to learn.  The baby’s father doesn’t have a valid ID card so the baby was not legally registered in Belgium and now we are having problems getting the baby legally registered in his own country because the fathers name is on the Belgium temporary certificate.

From Sue Volpe

My trips back to the US have rarely ever been times of rest or refreshment,  as I use most of the time and spend most of my energy advocating for the ministry. And with the growing burdens of the ministry along with personal issues that I’ve faced, I needed to take a respite break. I was directed by my mentor to use this time to attend a debrief in Croatia. This was a great time for me to reflect and the Lord showed me that I needed to take some time to grieve. I experienced the loss of my grandmother in 2016 and then my dearest friend, Lynnette, in 2017. Of course, we also saw two moms leave with their daughters. All of this seemed to come to a head in the first couple of days at debrief. It was a wonderful time of just letting God be my Dad and resting in the comfort of His wings. I returned home to spend a wonderful Christmas with the moms still in Oradea. Alina and Victoria came and spent the entire week with us. It truly was like family and was such a special time!

In my efforts to be better equipped for the work of Soar Romania, I am using much of my time to strengthen my Romanian, with two classes weekly. I also have begun a biblical counseling course which is offered in Timisoara (a three hours drive for here). I’ve only attended two sessions, but they’ve already been profitable and proved to be biblically grounded. It is only one weekend every other month. I should be able to finish it in two years.

KNOW to TRUST

Girls Ministry at the Orphanage

 

We were looking for a way to build relationships with the young ladies in the orphanage before they are in the position to have to enter our home. In the Spring of 2016, that became a reality. Our volunteer agreement has us teaching an abstinence course for 9 weeks of the year and the rest of the year, we can teach whatever we want. Since our first 9 week course we when to the orphanage every Monday to meet with the girls to teach the bible. After our first year of ministry there I still felt that something was missing…It was trust. Without trust there can be no relationship. They don’t trust us. These girls have trust issues to begin with, so why would they trust a group of ladies that just come every Monday and talk at them. It was time to bring them into our crazy world. We started that summer by bringing them to the Soar Home monthly for a meal and a time of testimony. They enjoy being around our moms and babies, and they asked questions for the first time.We decided to make this a weekly home group instead of going to their turf where there are hundreds of distractons.  I personally wanted them to know that although it is hard for me to come to them more than one day a week when we have a full house, they could alway come to me.  🙂   

 

I worked with the teen girls the generation before at this same orphanage and they would never share feelings in front of the others for fear of being ridiculed, so even if they trusted me they wouldn’t talk in the group. Not so with these ladies, they are asking questions, making statements and three of then have shared bits and pieces of their past and how they became orphans. “You can’t trust something or someone you don’t know.” We shared with the girls this statement and that we want them to know God so that they can build a trust relationship with Him (and us) and we are seeing the fruit of that. 

Last Month, we loaded up the car with 5 of the girls on a 6 hour road trip to attend the Billy Graham Association Crusade.

Posted by Sue Volpe on Sunday, October 22, 2017

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