Do you remember Emma? She’s a young lady that you had the chance to “meet” in our previous posts or newsletters. She was somehow, the initiator of the Ambassadors Together project, about eight years ago. Back then, she put up a team of friends and “adopted” a poor village called Rast, devastated by the floods in 2006. This summer, she ended up a beautiful chapter of her life. Here’s what she wrote about this experience:
[quote]As we all know, playgrounds are important for the children’s physical and mental development. In this protected space, they learn to socialize with other children, to take care and share different things and to solve their conflicts. In the new village of Rast, founded in 2006, there was no such space.
Many children from Rast are forced to grow up faster by taking adults responsibilities. In this area people still practice child marriages (before 18 years old). By building this playground, we offered these children who matured too fast, a glimpse of childhood.
We ended up an important chapter of ministry in the South of Romania. Since 2006, we invested a lot in this generation of children. We are very glad that we had the chance to leave something behind, a place to remember the values we planted all this years.
Now, we passed the responsibility to the local church, who will benefit from this place to continue to fulfill their mission. By God’s grace and your help, we were able to build an oasis of childhood in a place still in social, economical and spiritual recovery. The fact that the local authorities and the Baptist church accepted to join our efforts and continue what we started, is another success in the benefit of the children from Rast. They are planning to extend the playground, to build a volleyball court and probably some other sport facilities. We will be ready to support them if needed. [/quote]
[quote]Childhood is an important part of our lives. The child inside us never disappears even when we have our own children. We know that they are important for Jesus and also important for us. Therefore, those who brought a smile on the faces of these little ones and joy in their hearts, making them feel important, we thank you! God bless you! (local pastor, Adi Gaspar)[/quote]
[quote]The children from Rast are a living example for me, a lesson about having too little but being rich. They always teach me to look over the walls that we build around us, to see behind appearances. All this little children, poor, dirty, with no education and no future plans are worm souls, vivid and clean, valuable in God’s eyes. (Emma Stanescu) [/quote]
[quote]Like always, this last experience at Rast, building them a playground, made my heart full of gratitude, joy and prayers. I shared with them, what I have received: His love, His blessings. Those kids and their community need that. We all do. I had a great time working with my friends, installing the small playground. The greatest satisfaction was to watch the joy and happiness on the kids’ faces when we officially opened the playground. If I had to do it all over again, all those years, I would do it. Every single time. (Andrei Rus) [/quote]
[quote]Hearing about my friends’ dream to build a playground in Rast, I wanted to get involved in this project too. So, I’ve got too meet this little children who were waiting for us impatiently on the village’s streets. The joy on their faces when they have seen their friends from Cluj, was overwhelming. I was also impressed by their worm welcome even though I never met them before. I’m honored to be part of this project and I know that God will continue to tender their hearts and this seeds will bear fruits in His Kingdom. (Daniela Rus)[/quote]
[quote]We started our last trip to Rast in August 2014, with slight doubts about the success of this project. At that moment, it was hard to believe that the local authorities and the people from the village will be fully cooperant, or if the kids will really enjoy the playground. My doubts were all removed one by one as we installed the playground and vanished at the time of its opening. Soon, the children filled the space with their laughs and sounds of joy and soon I could read the happiness on their faces. I then realized that our idea of building a playground for these children was a total success. (Bogdan Stanescu) [/quote]
Short history of the project
In 2006 Europe was devastated by some of the most severe floods in history. In Romania several villages were destroyed in April 16th when the Danube flooded over 800 houses. More than 4000 residents were evacuated from the villages of Rast and Negoi. In the following weeks the number reached 16.000 people in the South of Romania, as dams were affected and collapsed due to the water pressure. In the same year, a group of volunteers from Cluj went there to offer their help in the reconstruction of the village. The large number of very poor children determined them to make plans for coming back. Since then, every year they organized a VBS in the summer. Between 80 to 150 children participated every year. They also visited them every Christmas since then.
Between 2007 and 2014, they tried to respond directly to the needs of the children, so besides VBS and Christmas events, they collected and distributed shoes (about 2,000 pairs) and school supplies.
Back in 2006, the volunteers were young students. Since then, many of them got married and had their own children so it became more difficult to organize them for the summer visit to Rast. Also, some of the children from Rast who enjoyed coloring pages six years ago, now they have their own children. Others, have left the village to find work or continue their studies in the cities.