Hidden away in the Carpathian Mountains of Eastern Europe lies a village unknown to the modern world. When we first visited this village in 2000, Brosteni was a place that had seen much suffering and heartache. Formally a prosperous mining town, it became a place of high unemployment and extreme poverty. It is into this setting that Bread of Life came to offer help for today and hope for tomorrow. Since that first visit, nine years ago, Brosteni has undergone many changes and improvements. Today it is no longer classified as a village, but as a small town since the population has increased to a significant number. New businesses have opened which have brought more modernization to the area. Many homes now have internet access through satellite or cable connections. The local school offers classes in Computer Operations. New hotels and restaurants also have brought more touristic interest to this beautiful part of Romania.
In April of 2002, Bread of Life completed the purchase of a large three-story building that was previously used as a dormitory for mine workers. Renovation of the building began in September of the same year and continued until the following September, 2003. Since the Bread of Life Romanian Orphan Ministry was opened, it has been the home for approximately 200 needy children. Some remained only for short time, until their relatives could recover from a temporary crisis. Others have remained with us since our beginning. A few children came from other parts of Romania and were cared for until a relative was able to provide a home for them. Others were taken in and nurtured back to health, tutored in their school work, and taught about the Bible and about Jesus’ sacrifice for their salvation. Over the years, children have come and gone, most with a positive change in their lives. Today we have eighty children who live at the orphanage. Most of these children have been with us for a while and have adjusted to their stable lives. Our doors are always open to help a needy child, or to provide a nutritious meal at our Soup Kitchen. Every poor child within our county knows that our orphanage exists to help them. Some walk for many miles, from living in a different village. When they arrive, they know that our medical staff will examine them, our house parents will find some warm clothing and a coat for them from our storage, and our kitchen staff will make a special sandwich and a bowl of soup to fill their stomach. Some thank us and return to live in their world. Others ask us to speak with the local Child Protective Services on their behalf so that they can be accepted into the orphanage.
Another benefit that our Romanian Orphan Ministry has brought to this town is the employment that we provide for thirty employees. These employees help in many tasks, including house parents, cooks, laundry attendants, maintenance workers, and office personnel. These families, who have also been effected by the poor economy, are now receiving a steady monthly salary. The Bread of Life Orphanage is God’s miracle that is providing a future for dozens of children and bringing stability for many families. Above all, Bread of Life is God’s instrument of blessing, demonstrating His heart for the poor, the widows, and the orphans of Romania. It is also true that we came to Brosteni to be givers, not takers. This has always been our philosophy of ministry in every project that we undertake. But over the years we have exchanged roles with the people and children of Brosteni. They are the true givers, and we have become the receivers. They are the ones who have demonstrated God’s heart to us, while we have awakened to see our own inner poverty and desperate need to be more Christlike. We are grateful that God has allowed us to invest our lives among these wonderful people. There is not a more beautiful place in all of Europe, where many lives have been changed, including our own.