Family makes all the difference
When the communist regime ended in Romania in 1989 many of the bad effects remained for years. Communism left our country with a system of state run orphanages with deplorable conditions. Children were dirty, lice infested, and crowded into cold hard institutions. Medical care, nutrition, and education were nothing short of a disgrace. In the years since then there have been many improvements to these state run orphanages but one problem remains to this day. When children “age out” of the orphanage system at 18 they are released to live on their own. Many end up on the street involved in crime. Without job training, higher education, and mentoring these young adults don’t have much of a chance to live healthy productive lives. Too often they perpetuate the problem of the generation before them and bring children into the world with no way to take care of them. From the time the Bread of Life Orphanage opened it’s doors in 2003 we have taken a completely different approach with the children in our care. The difference is that Bread of Life is a Christian family. When children are old enough to leave the orphanage they remain part of our family and like teenagers in any family they are given ongoing support, help with education and transitional housing, and mentoring. For the first few years the orphanage did not have children old enough to leave. Then the first two young people to come of age were Maria and Narcisa. We remained involved with them, gently walking beside them until they were ready to fulfill God’s calling for them. Maria is now 24 and living in a nearby town. Narcisa married a good man and together they have founded a wonderful Christian home.
More recently Bread of Life celebrated the marriage of Andrei and Adriana both of whom grew up within our family. What a contrast between the dire circumstances they lived in before they came to us and where they are now. I have never been to a wedding that brought me more personal satisfaction. Witnessing these two young people standing before God vowing a lifetime of love and dedication to each other I smiled to think how far they had come. Andrei was a tough ex gang member when he came to us. Today he has finished school, works a job, pays bills, and supports his young wife as she completes her final year of nursing school.
Today we have more young adults than ever who are receiving help transitioning to adult life: 16 in all. We maintain two apartments for them in the capital city of Bucharest: one for the young men and one for the young women.
Under our care and guidance they all attend school or job training, attend church, and help out with projects. The projects include things like working in the warehouse or assisting me with computer tasks. We recognize how important this final effort is in bringing young people to their full potential as young men and women for Jesus. That is why we hope to be able to also offer this arrangement to young people who are referred to us by the Feeding Centers. This would be a big undertaking but we know our cause is right and so we “press on toward the goal” [Phil 3:14].