Recently a team of 45 volunteers from Madrid and Zaragoza, Spain spent a week helping Romania’s Adventist Development Rehabilitation and Help Agency (ADRA Romania) with projects in rural communities of Bacău County, Moldova. The group provided masonry and interior finishing work on several houses, organized two summer schools, aided the elderly by cleaning and sanitizing their homes, and distributed food and clothing to needy families.
Children loved summer school! Volunteers created fun activities and taught about personal hygiene and courtesy. At one of the schools, organized in the village of Iteşti, the number of participants increased from 56 to more than 130! This scenario was repeated at the second summer session in the Roşiori community, with the most conscientious students receiving awards at the end of each program.
Bogdan Necatu, ADRA volunteer and Zaragoza youth coordinator, says that their youth group, ranging in age from 17 to 36, wanted to participate in the ADRA Romania projects. “We prepared everything we thought we needed, sending 22 boxes containing clothing, work materials and children’s gifts to Romania. Every day was very intense. We woke up early in the morning and worked until late at night. We met people who faced various problems, and it made us happy to see the smiles on their faces. We had countless experiences bringing joy, by the grace of God, into the lives of many little children. The smiles on their face can never be erased from our minds.
“Miraculously, the Buruian family house was completed in one week. On Friday afternoon, we loaded two vans and left to distribute food and necessities to 16 needy families. It was an unforgettable experience. We were in the midst of the people; we heard and saw their pain and tried to bring a drop of hope to the ‘least of these.’ Words are not enough to describe the happiness felt by bringing smiles to the faces of other people."
Daniela Limbosanu, another ADRA volunteer and coordinator of the Madrid youth group shares: "When we see images or hear of people who are less fortunate than us, our hearts are moved. Sometimes we even donate financially to improve their lives. But these moments are short lived, and we are once again caught up in the daily routine of life. Our problems remain ours and their problems remain theirs. This time, however, something moved us to the point where we could not remain passive. Perhaps it was the harsh images, the real-life stories, and the sad faces of the children.
“Last year we built a house. This year, we accomplished so much more. In addition to our other acts of service, we blessed 130 children through a summer school program in Iteşti commune, Bacau County. We learned songs, worked together and shared smiles. We were impressed by the children we met there and were overwhelmed by their love and gratitude. I think the most important thing for them was not the sweets they received at the end of the meeting, but that new friends came to play, laugh and sing with them and appreciate them for who they are."
Gabriela Istrate, social assistant and ADRA projects coordinator for Moldova and Bucovina remarks that, "It was an honor and privilege for me to work together with these volunteers from Madrid and Zaragoza. I will never forget their enthusiasm and dedication to change the lives of the people they met. They worked hard in very difficult conditions, sowing seeds of hope and joy in the hearts of men. The summer schools organized in the Itesti and Roşiori communities were so appreciated, not only by the dozens of children but by parents and local authorities.
“The health and construction projects they completed showed compassion and mercy to their neighbors. But more than that, they made new friends. These wonderful young people have my respect and gratitude for showing us what practical Christianity really means. I thank the coordinators from Spain – Daniela Limboşanu (Madrid) and Bogdan Necatu (Zaragoza) – as well as the Adventist churches who have supported them financially. May God bless all volunteers who invest in these wonderful projects, and may their example motivate us to serve.”
ADRA Romania is part of the ADRA International network, one of the most widespread non-governmental organizations in the world. ADRA Romania aims to improve quality of life for those in need and to invest in people's potential through community development initiatives focused on five main areas: economic development, basic education and health, supporting victims of domestic violence, assisting those affected by natural disasters and serving disadvantaged social groups. Their motto is: "Change a life and change the world!"