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January 2019 — A Letter from the Bethesda Foundation

A new year is here, and in Romania we say “La Multi Ani” [to many years ahead] if God allows.

Dear friends, dear prayer partners, another year becomes history, marking time, marking the calendar and marking in one way or another our lives, both inside and outside. When we think of our biological life, we all recognize that in children and young people, the process of growth and development is real.  It evolves naturally, and, in elderly people, the reverse process is as real and unstoppable. We know well from biology that our skin changes every 2–4 weeks, hair cells every 3–6 years, bones cells about 10 years and intestinal cells 2–3 days! So, biologically speaking, we change whether we want it or not! The same is for our spirit, for our soul: the reality is that we are changing! Nobody is the same as a year ago! He/she is changed even a little for bad or for good! It depends on whom we allow to work in our character! Let’s meditate on this!

It is a great joy to see that the Heavenly Father continues to change lives in the big family of Bethesda! You know, in sports there is an expression that emphasizes the good performance of a sportsman at one point: ”Was the revelation of the game” or of the season, or of the year … Well, the ”revelation of the season” in Bethesda it was and is Andreea Banu, a 15-year-old teenage girl, from The Girls’ Home, who was a year ago for us ”the challenge of the season”! At the start of her teens, deeply affected by her separation from her brothers (after the court’s decision), one year ago, she was the most rebellious child in Bethesda. She refused to listen. She hated school (she said she would prefer to become a shepherd in the field than to learn). She was totally uncooperative with our team members and school teachers. Because of the very poor results in her studies, she finished the 8th grade with further summer examinations.

If Andreea had passed those exams, however, she would have reached to a very low-standard high school and in an insecure environment for her, which could mark her negatively the rest of her life. So, we made the hard decision to let her repeat the 8th grade and invest in her on all plans this year. It was an effort and a challenge for the whole team. The team prayed, the church prayed and you, dear friends, you prayed. And God has worked! And Andreea has changed incredibly much! She is smiley and friendly, ready to listen. She works hard for school and has been counted among the best students in her class! Always with opened arms to receive and give a hug, with an open heart, Andreea is blooming! Praise God! Her change in the past year is a great encouragement for us, the team from here and, we hope, that for you too, dear friends and prayer partners, who are the other side of the team. Not only Andreea Banu has changed, but her sister – Georgiana has made progress, though not as “spectacular” as her sister.

Hope for the Future partnered with Bethesda Foundation, a not-for-profit organization in Romania that is doing great work with children in the area of Galaţi.

To contact the Bethesda Foundation:

O.P.7 C.P.11 Galaţi 800780 România Head quarter Str. Drumul de Centură nr.184 Galaţi
Mobil 004.0753.109300 / 004.0759.011930
Tel. 004.0236.460.783
Email: benub@yahoo.com

Registrate Number: 7646751

We are also delighted to see Talabă sisters as well, Andreea (14 years old) and Ana-Maria (11 years old), accommodating in the girls’ house, progressing in school, quietly regaining their confidence, inwardly peace and smile! In September, because of the severe violence suffered from their father and husband, the Talabă children, together with their mother Doina, were taken to Bethesda in emergency shelter. Doina, the mother, along with her son, Beni (2 years), lives in the emergency shelter apartment at the day center, during the day time, and the girls are in the girls’ home. At night, Doina sleeps with her children at the girls’ house as a night worker. In the day time she works part-time at the day center. This is beneficial for both sides: Doina and the children receive full support from the foundation and the foundation benefits from Doina’s services where it is needed. She can make herself useful and she also has the feeling that she is capable to offer help, not just to be socially assisted.

Both, Doina and the children, have suffered serious abuses from Doina’s husband, they need our love and help, but they need God to heal the deep traumas of their soul. Let us join our hands and our voices and pray constantly for them.

Seeing things from another angle, it was needed for Doina to become a night worker at the girls’ house because Alisa Bănică left, starting with October 2018. She moved to Iaşi, where she is studying, with Bianca and Anca Constantin, social sciences. They now live all three of them, in a rented apartment, we are glad for them and, together with you, dear friends, we give thanks to God for their beautiful evolution.

Ana-Maria Brailovschi (22 years old) returned from England this summer, where she worked for two years as a baby sitter, and her sister Adelina (19 years old) returned as well, who had a similar summer job in England. They decided to step out of Bethesda and rented a one-room apartment and live together. Ana-Maria has a job at Orange Mobile Phone Company and they can be independent financially. We would have liked Adeline to stay for at least one more year with us to finish high school because we do not see her being ready to face the challenges and temptations of an independent life. We continue to pray for them, for all aspects of their lives now and in the future.

Having Adeline’s “example”, Estera Candrea (18 years old) is tempted to step outside Bethesda and live with her brother Sebi (26 years old). We do not want that, she is in the third year in high school, she needs support, protection, supervision to stay on the good road. We strongly advised her to stay in Bethesda at least two more years until she will finish high school. She has extraordinary examples to follow: Silvia Sava, Bianca and Anca Constantin, Alisa Bănică … that she might follow, not Adeline’s example. But if she chooses to step out (her family’s pressure is an important factor, as in Adeline’s case was), we will have to respect her choice because she is legally major, adult. Pray for her with us, dear friends and prayer partners. Thank you!

And for Geanina Ali (10 years old), the beginning of the school year came with a major change. Being supported financially by a friend of Bethesda and, at his wish, she studied 3 years in a private school with an atypical educational system: the Montessori system. That was OK for the beginning, but it did not work well for Geanina in the last year. So, we decided to transfer her to a public school starting with September 2018. So far, things go well. With some help from our team, Geanina recovers and integrates. Let’s pray for her too. *******************

At The Day Center, the hard work of the team never ends. Mihaela, Nicoleta, Mariana, are helped now part-time by Doina Talabă. In addition to the difficulties of the daily work with the assisted children, the team also faces other types of challenges that affect, not just their work, but also their emotions, their souls. In the city of Galaţi, several Orthodox churches opened daycare centers, next to or within the church, and some of the priests deliberately address the families that Bethesda assists and seek to persuade them not to come to our day center for religious reasons. Sometimes they succeed because they offer them some material support (sometimes more consistent than the one offered by Bethesda), without asking them to contribute too much to the educational progress of their children. Some have left and have not returned, others chose to return, seeing how important is the educational, school and spiritual support we offer to children.

Other poor families are tempted to emigrate to western countries attracted by the mirage of social benefits and child allowances which are about 10 times higher than in Romania. Recently, a family with five children assisted at the day center, went to Germany for the reasons mentioned above. For the team it’s not easy, it’s frustrating, it’s painful because they invest themselves in these children, but these are the realities they face. Let us continue to pray for the team, for the children, for the assisted families. Here, at the Day Center, in the administrative field, we managed to accomplish a small part of what we planned for this summer: to extend the courtyard by approx. 20 m², but we could not do more because of lack of labor and financial resources. We are grateful for what has been achieved, we pray for the resources needed to continue at least for those urgent issues, such as rainwater drainage that affects the house. *******************

And at The Boys’ House, one of the young boys hosted here, after a year of staying with us, chose to drop out school and go to work with his father. He is Florin Răducanu, a 16 year old boy who is very well developed. Physically, he’s a solid man. He did not like school. He wanted to work. The family accepted his choice, so he’s not with us anymore. We pray for him, for what has been sown in his heart when he stayed in Bethesda. We pray for his family, for his future. *******************

We are also thankful to God for The Summer Camp season, for the groups of children and young people who were there during the summer weeks. We ourselves, as a team, had a camp-week with the children of Bethesda and of the churches in the area, then a week with our team and children from the day center. We are grateful to God for all the good things that have happened in these camp weeks. Glory to Him!

Here too, there are unresolved administrative problems due to lack of resources, the most important one being a new drinking water tank (which collects water from the spring), the old one being in an advanced state of wear. We pray to the Heavenly Father with you, dear friends, for the seed of the Word sown in the hearts of children and young people who were in the camps this summer. We also pray for the resources needed to maintain and repair the current site of the Salt Valley. *******************

As you have already become accustomed to, we are now coming with briefing news from the extended family of Bethesda, and to make you smile, we say that if this autumn Romania faced the lack of rain for more than 3 months, in Bethesda ”rains” with babies! ☺ In Radu’s and Silvia’s Profire family, Rebeca Betuela was born in October, healthy (despite the negative prognosis of the doctors) to the glory of the Heavenly Father! In Eugen’s and Julia’s Burghelea family was born little Filip, now in the beginning of December. In Răzvan’s and Lăcrămioara’s Profire family will be born, with the help of the Lord, a little girl, at the end of December, this year. In Mircea’s and Angela’s Tiron family a baby-boy will be born, with the help of the Heavenly Father, early next summer. Let them come, Lord! … ☺ *******************

In September, Bethesda family, we enjoyed being at the wedding of Maria Sava with Ruben Tănase in Arad. We pray for them, as a new family, for a solid foundation of their relationship, of their earthly, but also spiritual, home! *******************

As parents, we enjoyed a lot for Raul Profire and Carmina Profire who were with a team of 10 young people, on a mission trip, for a month, in India. It was an experience that motivated them, grew them up and we are glad to see our own children, not only converted to the Christian faith, but becoming disciples of Jesus and serving others. Glory to the Lord for them, too! David Bulugu also moved to Iaşi this autumn, shares a flat with Raul, we pray for them as young people for a strong human friendship and spiritual one, too, to grow them in walking and serving the Lord. Speaking about those who moved to Iași, there are 11 young people from Bethesda or our own children who moved there! May the Lord keep them in grace and faith! *******************

For all the good things that have happened in our personal life, family, work, there is only one explanation: the goodness of the Lord. Everything we have, everything we are, comes from Him, The Father of light and The Giver of all good things. We are deeply grateful to Him for all ! We are grateful to Him for setting us together in this partnership, dear friends: we here, you there. It’s a joy, a privilege, a blessing ! We love you, we cherish you, we also pray for you and we want that, regardless of the evolution of our biological body, our soul, our character will be more and more transformed and made in the image of Christ (according to 2 Cor.3.18).

We embrace you with love,

        Benu & Estera, Dani & Paula — Bethesda Family

May 2018 — A Letter from the Bethesda Foundation

“Behold, I do all things new!”

Dear friends, dear prayer partners,

A few weeks ago, the Heavenly Father brought us again the word of John 5 about the healing of the lame man at Bethesda pool. Beyond its applications for the local church, we were challenged, as a team, to think of its meanings for us, the Bethesda family. We remembered that Bethesda means, in Hebrew: “The House of Mercy”.

We are thankful to God for over 20 years already in which Bethesda was a “House of mercy” for many children, young people and adults. We humble ourselves for every moment when those who came in contact with us did not feel that.

Today, when we think of the present and the future, we wish and pray with you, dear friends, that Bethesda will remain and increase to be a place of grace, a house of mercy, a place of healing physical, emotional and spiritual, a place of meeting “The Lord who heals” (Exodus 15:26).

In a world of loneliness (despite social media networks), emotional traumas (despite the multitude of psychologists), spiritual confusion (despite the multitude of churches and Bibles in libraries), we want to grow into being for those wounded, fallen, discouraged, the stretching hand and the mouth that says, “Get up!” Lord, help us, please, be like Your hand!

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It is such a joy when we see this healing process working in the lives and souls of many children and young people assisted by Bethesda.

Maybe in the most obvious way this thing can now be seen with the two sisters Banu: Andreea and Georgiana, the last to come to The girls’ house, almost a year ago. By the way, Andreea has just turned 14, she is now possessing an identity card! ☺

Here’s a recent photo of her on the day of the secondary school festivity! Let’s pray for her final exam!

After several months of working at the KFC restaurant, Alisa Bănică applied for a job at Orange Telecommunications Company and she was accepted! We pray for her! We continue to pray for the baccalaureate exam that she will have in June and her desire to go to college.

Let us also remember to pray for Ana-Maria Brailovschi with the same problem: the baccalaureate exam and the possibility of going to college!

As we had hoped and prayed, Anca Constantin worked hard in college and went from fees places to budget! Thank God!

Bianca Constantin will again have a temporary job in Sweden in July, then there is a prospect of going two months on a mission trip to India. Let us pray for her, her need for mission support and God’s protection.

Carmina Profire (Carmen Profire’s daughter) wants to go to India on mission with Bianca. Let’s pray for her too.

Anca Constantin and Adelina Brailovschi are also looking for a summer job. Let us pray for them too.

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In other news, Alex Ichim (22 years old) who was assisted in The boys’ house, after years of wanderings and dramatic experiences across Europe, he returned back in Romania, in Galaţi. He’s in a time of re-setting his life and important decisions. Temporarily we offered him a job in constructions at Bethesda, but he needs a secure and permanent job, he needs God. Let us pray for him.

Let’s continue to pray for Petru Jighiuță, who, as the years go by, (he is 38 years old) he seems to go down in the ability to behave, to relate correctly to the other boys in the house. His intellectual limitation becomes more obvious, despite the good medical treatments he has taken. Whatever the situation, he is ours, we love him, we take care of him, he will always stay with us, but we need to pray more for him!

Let’s also pray for the other boys in the house (Mihai Dumitrache-16 years, Mihai Ţigănuş-15 years, Florin Raducanu-16 years old), for their school evolution, but also for their emotional and spiritual healing!

We are happy to have Costel Pintilie (22 years old) in the house who is more settled, more mature, more responsible, able to bring balance in the house.

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The children from The Day Center look forward to school holidays and then go to the Salt Valley camp. This scholar year has been a tough one for the team, with many changes, with many new small children that require a lot of attention, time and effort from the team. We are thankful that the Lord has strengthened them and we continue to pray for them.

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After many intentions who didn’t come true due to the lack of resources, we took a step of faith and started the repairs, expansion and refurbishment of the day center courtyard.

Pray with us for resources and grace from heaven to complete this project by autumn, at the beginning of the school year. Thank you!

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A few short news now:

* Radu and Silvia Profire are expecting a baby and there are some health problems with the baby. Let us pray for this.

* Eugen and Iulia Burghelea are waiting for the third child. Let’s surround them with our prayers.

* Maria Sava is engaged and, on September 30, they will have the wedding. Pray for her and Ruben Tănase so that the Lord will help them to build a healthy relationship now and a healthy marriage in the future.

* David Profire and Andra Bulugu will form a family starting with May 26th. Let us pray for their marriage. We rejoice for them and their families, we pray for the blessing of the Lord for all.

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Some maintenance and building works are needed at camp site from Salt Valley too, before the camp season starts. Please pray for the resources we need.

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Please, continue to pray for both families Bulugu and Profire in order to be kept by God in good health (Paula Profire has some health problems; please, pray specifically), in wisdom, in humbleness, in strength and grace to be able to keep going in leading Bethesda on the right way, in the right way, for the right purpose, for God’s glory.

Thanks again for all you love and support!

Yours truly,

Benu & Estera Bulugu, Dani & Paula Profire — Bethesda family

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