Cherish

by Valentina (our newest resident)

The secret of life is not what you cherish, but is to cherish what you have.

Me and Aliya at 7 months old

I was 20 years old… so young and unprepared to have a child.  I met a boy. I wanted to have a serious relationship with him. I believed we would have a beautiful future together. I supposed that he desired the same. Shortly into our relationship, it took an unexpected turn: I found out that I was pregnant. After I did the first pregnancy test, I called the boy and calmly told him. In his fear, he freaked out and started yelling vulgarities. It continued with one explosive conversation after another. One conversation he was telling me to have an abortion, the next not to, and the next: do whatever you want. This went on to the point that all the beauty, love, and respect was gone; it was replaced with emptiness in my soul. Most everyone I knew told me to have the abortion. I made an appointment, then didn’t go. I went to an open clinic, left crying. I went again (with only 3 days left) and the nurse saw my hesitation. She asked if I wanted to talk to a counselor, I did. The counselor helped me realize that my constant hesitation to have the abortion and sense of peace about having the baby was God leading me in the right direction. I never lost hope.

The counselor worked for a ministry called P.U.L.S. whose sole purpose is to guide pregnant young women and support them through their first couple years of motherhood. After giving birth to an adorable baby girl, life got harder. I was completely overwhelmed because of the situation. I felt like everything around me was tumbling down. I was alone in a house with a new born baby, emotionally broken, spiritually empty and with no money to pay the rent. So, I decided to call P.U.L.S., where I knew I could find someone to listen me. That’s when I found out that they do much more than crisis counseling. I explained my situation and that I was about to be homeless. They supported me in every way possible. Knowing  that it wasn’t good for me to be alone, they connected me with an American missionary, Sue. She had a place for me in her apartment and let me come live with her. I can easily see God’s hand in bringing me to Soar Romania.

I am blessed to call this place my home. I moved 8 months ago and in all this time I have had all the support, care, and counsel that I needed. I believe that if I wouldn’t have met Sue, my life would be full of hardship and sadness; I certainly wouldn’t have finished high school. She has a big heart, faith in God, and she is helping so many other girls, giving them the all the support that she can. I am so grateful for all the things that she has done for me and my daughter. She made a difference in my life. She helps me to become a better person, to discover who I am, to develop Godly character and to be a good mom. She always motivates us to focus on positive things. I cherish my relationship with her so much that with out it there would be a big void in my life. With the help of her church family (mine too) and colleagues, I am learning what it means to be rooted in Christ. I’m learning that everything is possible if you have faith in God. When I doubt, Sue is there to help me to rise up. I am sure it was not a coincidence that I met her; God had a purpose in it all.  I know it is not easy to sacrifice they way she does; it takes a lot of faith and support.

My daughter’s name is Aliya, she is the most wonderful thing that ever happened in my life, (even if at the beginning I didn’t see it in this way.) God took care of us, and now we have wonderful people around us. They are always there when I need them. A child is not a burden, but a blessing. You need hope and faith in God to overcome the hard times, to truly rejoice in a beautiful thing like your child. I am grateful that people like Sue exist, and that the church and like-minded believers work together to play an important role in the lives of those in despair like I was.

Never forsaken; God’s foreknowledge.

“When God promises, He’s not saying, I’ll try. He means, I can and I will.” – James MacDonald

Hebrews 13:5 – “Nor forsake you” James defines as: “He will always be working on our behalf.”

Spring in Oradea
That Spring day. Alys, Eunice, Sue & Alexandra

On a Sunday, in late spring, just as it was beginning to get warm, several of us decided to go for a walk after church. In this group was a young lady, Alys, who was in our city to complete a training course for her job. It was a “God-incidence” that she became connected with our fellowship. In the short time with us she committed to go Africa with the team, and she did. As we walked, she shared her heart for ministry and her interest in what I do specifically. I was so encouraged by her faith and zeal for the Lord. I flippantly said, “Well, you can always come and serve with us after your summer mission trip.”  Knowing her heart for missions, I thought little of it, assuming that interest was just that: an interest not a calling. Boy was I wrong…God was working. God was working on my behalf way before I knew I needed the help. 

Alys using her nursing skills in Rwanda
Alys serving in a clinic in Rwanda this past summer.

I decided to keep little contact with Alys, to stay out of God’s way. If you know me, I sometimes get ahead of God. While Alys was in Africa, so was my co-laborer, Miha. God was moving for change in the ministry of Soar Romania. At the same time that God was confirming in Alys’ heart to come serve with us, God was moving in Miha’s heart to return to the States.  Once again, God’s incomprehensible foreknowledge and His faithfulness at work not only on my behalf, but also for the moms in our ministry.   

However, when Miha told me the news that she was leaving, I was unaware of what God was doing in Alys. Sadly, the news shook me off my firm foundation. I cried out to God about how afraid I was to do this ministry by myself, how unequipped I felt to meet all the needs of the moms, especially the spiritual needs with my limited Romania. I also began questioned God’s sovereign plan for the moms in our ministry, though I know He loves them way more then I could ever. Yet, God was so gracious with me. Just as He was with Moses in Exodus 4:12, “Now go; I will help you…I will teach you…”

juggling our babies.
Alys is giving it her all.

As summer came to a close and Miha, Alys and I returned from our journeys to other lands, we all attended a wedding at the end of October. Alys had lots of questions about what it would be like if she would take over Miha’s role with us. It was a good meeting, but I couldn’t sense if she was onboard at that point. However, I was confident that the Lord was sending her as an answer to our prayers. Sometime after, I got a call because she got “THE CALL.”  She started work with us on January 4.   

Please pray that our moms will accept and respect Alys, our new co-laborer. She has a lot to offer these girls spiritually and emotionally. Pray that our girls open their hearts to her friendship & counsel. Currently Alys is interning; however, we have agreed in faith to bring her on as staff in April. Please pray for the provision of her salary of $310 per month. Click here to give toward her salary.

2015 Highlights & Finances

Along with all the baby milestones such as: first: crawl, walk, words, birthday and so on (which you can see on Facebook and Instagram), We feel that our moms’ successes are just as praiseworthy. So here it goes…

Graduation
Sue, Alina & Meg

 

Alina graduated from college in May. She also completed a European Union Child Care Worker certification course in the fall. She is still living with us and seeking opportunities to volunteer in this field to get some experience on her resume. The best news of all is that she has made a decision for Christ!

Pitching tent
Beca & Abi playing in the new place.

 

Geta and her girls are happily adjusting to life in their new apartment. Geta is tackling new responsibilities at work with diligence and it came with an increase in salary. Hallelujah! She is a faithful member of her church, which is a great support. Geta’s oldest is taking ballet and her youngest is following big sis around the house trying to mimic her every move.

 

Mall Kids' Training
Felicia & Sofia

 

 

Felicia (who left us back in March) came for a weekend visit just a couple of weeks ago. She has a stable job in a shoe factory. Her daughter is almost 2; she’s a bit shy, but communicating very well for her age. We hope to see more of them.

Christmas Eve
Valentine and Aliya

 

Our newest resident: Valentina. She came to us in November. She and her 3 month old are settling in well. She has many obstacles to overcome as she is not a Romanian citizen, but she is working hard to balance all the paperwork and preparing to go back to complete her senior year of High School. I hope to share her story in the spring newsletter.

 

And Finally, Sue’s trip to the US was challenging and a real test of faith, but of course God showed up big time. We raised $9,999 in one-time gifts and have $180 in new monthly commitments. This is 62% of our needs for the year of 2016. This does not set us up to grow into a bigger place, but we are trusting that when the need arises, God will provide.

Soar Romania Statement of Activity for 2015

Total

Revenue
      Missions – Soar $ 22,980.61
            Monthly Committed Gifts $ 2,740.00
            One-time Gifts $ 13,683.36
            Forever Fund $ 1,500.00
            Residents rent $ 705.29
            Room & Board – Sue Volpe $ 2,000.00
            Donations by Sue Volpe $ 2,351.96
Total Revenue $ 22,980.61
Expenditures
   Cash on Hand in Country $ 1,050.00
      Admin Expenses $ 4,251.73
            US Travel & Expenses $ 2,193.60
            Computer & Office Equipment $ 1,345.14
            Promotions, Postage and Printing $ 712.99
      Babies/Children Support $ 352.96
      Bank Fees & Charges $ 298.41
      Household Needs $ 853.02
            Furnitures, Fixtures & Appliances $ 434.80
            Houseware $ 418.22
      Living Expenses $ 4,245.92
            Food & Household supplies $ 3,622.70
            Local Transportation & Gas $ 333.83
            Other – Car Registations, Insurance & Repairs $ 289.39
      Medical Expenses $ 34.63
      Mom Care $ 443.19
      Operational Expenses (Rent & Utilities) $ 5,639.97
            Rent $ 2,935.37
            Utilities $ 1,986.62
            Advance Rent payment (Jan, Feb, Mar 2016) $ 717.98
      Outreach $ 130.35
      PayPal Fees $ 193.23
Total Expenditures $ 17,493.41
Balance Forward $ 5,487.20

CHRIST in Christmas:

IMG_7488
Family Groupie

Christmas evening just after dinner, Alina turned to me and said: “This was the best Christmas I’ve ever had.”  It was a wonderful Christmas. Yes, it was a joy to have Baby Victoria hang ornaments on the tree (then rip them back off again), to dress both babies in fancy Christmas dresses, to have the girls help with all the Christmas cookies that I always over-do, and to visit & bless the family that has moved on from us with presents and treats. However, the true wonderfulness had little to do with the tree, the gifts, the cookies or the food and so much to do with our church family. I believe it was because our moms experienced what true Koinonia looks like for the first time. From the intimacy of the Christmas Eve service, to the investment of the Body to bring the caroling to us; from the evangelical outreach where Alina made a public decision to surrender to God, to the quiet conversations after Christmas dinner where Valentina was able to be real with our Pastor’s wife, Denisa. It was glorious. I have to say that it was my best Christmas in Romania too!

IMG_7589
Christmas Dinner with our Pastor’s wife’s family. True Romania Style!!!!
IMG_7534
Fellowship with the Carolers.

Mentoring – Changing Hearts Two at a Time

by Meg Murkli

Alina's Granduation
Alina’s Graduation – June 26, 2015

It’s been several months now. We’ve met around a table, at a coffee shop, in my little apartment. And this is how discipleship happens, I’m learning. When we open our lives, the everyday bits of who we are, and invite them to join us, to sit with us, to talk, to let us listen, let us care, let us love them.

That’s really what’s been happening these several months. When Sue challenged me, asking me if I might begin to mentor Alina, I wasn’t sure what it would look like. I wasn’t sure if she’d receive my counsel, be open to my friendship. But, it came slowly, Him revealing to me the how’s of touching her life with wisdom and caring for her heart and her wounds with love and compassion.

I’ve been overwhelmed and equally humbled to witness the moving of God in Alina’s heart. With tears, she’s opened the wounds of her past, shared them with me, asked me how we can know the love of God in the midst of suffering. She’s shared her dreams, the hopes she has for her future + yet has asked how it’s possible with the pains of her past. We have laughed and we have cried and we have walked together. We’ve opened the Word of God and drank in long the truth that sets all men free.

And best of all? I’ve gotten to be a first-hand witness to how deeply God loves her. We listen and we counsel and we open up our own wounds to testify that God really can heal and then we let Him love us all. He’s proved His deep, deep love for Alina during these times and I’m full of praise for Him.

He is at work in her heart. He is changing her heart. He is moving in her life. And I’m so unbelievably full of praise to God for using weak vessels to fulfill His good plans.

Meg & Alina
Meg & Alina

Alina asked me one day, why it is that we do what we do, why it is that we help her, when no one else would?

She confessed that she’d never felt the love of God until now, until being here, sharing life with us. And that’s just what Jesus does.

We say yes to Him and we serve.
In return, He lavishes us all with His love … so that girls like Alina can also say yes to God.
Yes to His redemption. Yes to His love. Yes to His grace. Yes to Him.

No Ones Perfect

by Miha Indries

Apirl 2014 - Our first mom a month after her arrival
May 2014 – Our first mom, a month after her arrival

Recently, during my readings and lounging time in airports and planes I read this quote and it stirred something within me. “When God designed the plan for your life, it wasn’t dependent on you being perfect. Your mistakes are not a surprise to Him.” Just a little over a year ago Soar Romania took in our first pregnant girl and I can still remember the stress, the joy, the pain, the gain, the cries and the laughter. Looking back I see how my struggle was to be perfect. How can I be perfect so that this girl can have a ‘good’ example. Slowly and surely God was teaching me in the midst of my struggle to be perfect. These girls do not need perfect, they do not need someone else showing them their mistakes, they simply need someone to love them, to accept them and to be transparent. A year later I can now say that ‘my plan’ for ‘my life’ is constantly changing because I realized God does not require perfection. He requires availability. This availability, transparency and love is what we aspire to give to the girls that enter the doors of Soar Romania’s apartment.

Actually, as I am writing these lines, I am looking back at pictures of our residents so far, and I am extremely happy that God decided to put us in their lives. Some are happy endings, some are not as happy, but each of them were there for a reason, and definitely their decisions were not a surprise to God. I pray that as we continue the work at Soar Romania, more and more people will come along with us for this extremely amazing journey. Remember, God does not expect perfection. He wants your availability, your transparency and most definitely your loving support for the least of these. Take a moment, look within yourself and be true to yourself. What is God telling you about your life story? Does it involve trusting Him completely and letting Him rule your ‘perfect life’? I know this will probably sound extreme, however I will still put it out there. Are you on the edge? Are you going back and forth about being a part of Soar Romania or a ministry like this one? Do you have questions? I challenge you to take a time of prayer, and seek God’s face. Maybe His answer will be something extreme, like pack up your life… move to Romania… and serve Him there for a season of your life… that is what He told me when I was questioning life… Or maybe His answer will be easier… reach in your wallet and give to those that are sacrificing so much for the love of God…. Those that are transparent… those that have accepted that mistakes are not surprising to God… those that have given their availability fully to God.

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