2016 Updates

Although the focus of our updates are the moms, we want to show you how beautiful and healthy their babies are growing to be as a result of empowering and equipping young pregnant women.

Valentina graduated high school and has begun nursing school. She’s enjoying this new endeavor. This nursing school is actually a christian school and she seems to be making friends and enjoying her studies.

Iby settled into the dynamics of our home very well and is getting along with the other moms. She’s adjusting to motherhood and still pretty exhausted.

Alina’s job search has been rocky so far. She seems to be allowing her insecurities to become hinderances in this process. It’s a challenge to face these new responsibilities and changes.

Felicia is returning to Romania after a disapointing attempt to reunite with the father of her daughter. We have secure an appartment for her and Alina to move into in February. We will assist with a portion of their rent and child-care, as they work and continue to be mentored by our volunteers.

After a training program at our local church, Meggan and I have restructured our discipleship tactics. This new approach invites more involvement and ownership from the moms and it has been bearing fruit. We are encouraged!

Alys, Allyssa and I are still going to the state orphanage. Our initial prevention/self-worth group has bloomed into more of a Bible Study, at the request of the girls! We were encouraged by their desire to know more about the Bible.

Sue V will be traveling home to support raise in February and March. The last year has been sustained by all the one-time gifts from my last visit home. However, we would like to grow in monthly commitments. Our budget for this next year will increase $150 because of education and independent living expenses. We are also hoping and praying for a house to grow are assistant living project which would triple our current cost to operate. Please let me know if I could come share with your small group, church, Sunday school class or any group really about our ministry for pregnant orphans as they transition into motherhood.

Hope & a Future

by Sue Volpe

7 weeks old at her dedication

Most of you know our newest mom, Iby. She has been in my life for 10 years now and some of you may have met her the couple times she traveled to the states with me. Through the last year with Iby I have learned a lot about how we minister to the orphans here in Romania. We share the Gospel, we teach them the Word, but we often fail them because of our focus on “normalizing” them rather than training them to apply the Word of God to their life. In Iby’s case she was easily swayed by the lies of the enemy that she deserved more. Her “friends” told her she should make her own decisions and do what she wanted. These decisions led her on a course of rebellion and rejection that resulted in her pregnancy and need to be in my ministry. It was a difficult summer of repentance and getting back on the path toward restoration. I’m thankful that God continues to work in Iby and for the first time ever, I can see that her relationship with God is not based on deeds, but rather on a

10 days old

greater understanding of God’s unchanging character. Iby’s favorite bible verse is Jeremiah 29:11 and now instead of wanting this to be true in her future, she is beginning to grasp that this promise is already hers. Iby’s baby is almost two months old. God is using parenting to shape her. Through this journey with Iby, God is teaching me the importance of submerging the ladies in my ministry in His Word. My heart is that they will learn to be steadfast when faced with difficulties and deception.

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.

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