Hope in Hardship Greetings and blessings for this happy season as we celebrate the birth of our Lord and give thanks for the comfort, safety and security we are truly blessed with. Please let me take a moment to introduce myself. My name is David Inwood and I am the new National Director for Mission Without Borders Canada. I come to MWB after ten years with the Salvation Army in British Columbia. Before that I was with Missions Australia (not related to Mission Without Borders) and the Wesley Mission in Perth and Sydney, Australia. It’s been awhile since I last visited Eastern Europe but the images of grinding poverty and hardship are burned into my brain. Over many years the people there have seen such hardships: numerous wars, brutality, unending hunger, abandoned children, lack of opportunity, homelessness, and suffering in the severe cold of their winters. The list doesn’t seem to end for our brothers and sisters in that distressed part of the world. There are so many stories of hardship, but hope too. Victoria is a small town located in the western part of Brasov County, 60 kilometers away from Sibiu city, in a beautiful mountainous area, at the foot of the Fagaras Mountains, the highest mountains of RomaCooking a meal nia. At present, Victoria has about 7,000 inhabitants, but the population decreases every year because many people are forced by their situation to leave for abroad, looking for jobs. The people have access to gas, electricity, water and sewage, but the poor families with unemployed parents are often disconnected because they simply cannot afford even these basic necessities. Unemployment for young people, often with children of their own, runs as high as 25%. Having no job, or only a part time, intermittent, or low paying one, many people are dependent for daily meals on our soup kitchen project run at the local church. Most of the adults have little or no education at all, but have many children. When at the soup kitchen, the parents are encouraged to look for jobs while the children are helped with their homework and receive a warm meal. Through our project, we want to offer not only food for the body, but also food for the soul.
One of our coordinators, who is also a pastor in a local church, is there to encourage them to put their life and their different situations in God’s hands as He wants to give them hope for tomorrow. The coordinator knows his Creator and knows how much He loves these people. That’s why he will continue to pray and work for them. There are many children and adults who admit they cannot survive without the warm meals. One family, parents and two children who are just getting started in school (we won’t name them to protect their privacy), admits they are totally dependent on the “Afterschool” project. The family lives in one room in a social housing apartment building. While they have a bathroom, they have no kitchen. Instead, they must use the communal kitchen that is for all the other After school program - food first! tenants on the floor to use as well. Just imagine if you had to use a kitchen that 20 or more families also use. The cleanliness and hygiene is a real concern, as is just getting to use the kitchen when you need it. Storage of food and of course food theft are constant concerns. This family is a little better off than most – they have a small balcony where they can do some limited grilling. That makes it a bit easier for the mom, but not much. With the cold harsh winter coming on they won’t be able to use the balcony very often. The husband works whenever and wherever he can find employment, which is not nearly often enough. Jobs are scarce and good paying jobs are almost nonexistent given his lack of education and skills. The mother is a housewife, taking care of the children. Sometimes she feels overwhelmed by their situation. The father is gone all day long looking for work and the mother stays at home, being both mother and father to her children. This is very exhausting for her and she wishes that her husband could be more involved in bringing up their children. The young son has been enrolled in our Child Rescue International in Community program since last January. His family’s situation is not the best and his school situation is alarming. His mother is very disappointed over her son’s school results and she doesn’t understand why her son is very
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Chopping wood to heat the home
“The good news is the hope and help you so generously bring to these moms, dads and their precious children.” active and clever at the “Afterschool” project and when he is at school, he is so shy and afraid. Our coordinator talked with the boy and found out that he doesn’t like to learn at school, but that he likes the time he spends at the “Afterschool” project more. The child doesn’t have many friends, except one boy, his neighbor, with whom he usually plays outside. His happiest memories came from time he spent at the MWB summer camp. When he speaks about the camp, he lights up. He started to remember and describe the beautiful things he experienced there and he very happily mentioned that he has made a new best friend at the camp. The parents say that the Child Rescue International in Community program is the best thing that ever happened to their son, and through him, to them, too. They see this as a blessing from above and they hope that their son will have a bright future. They are grateful for everything that Mission Without Borders does for them and confess that they cannot find the right words to express their deep thankfulness. They appreciate all the efforts we do to help them and hope that we will continue to support them in this way. Working with you across Europe’s poorest countries, Mission Without Borders stands side-by-side with families, children, and the elderly to help them move from grinding poverty, homelessness, and despair towards hope and self-sufficiency. This year we will bring hope to over 20,000 children, around 9,000 families and more than 150,000 elderly people. We are committed to enabling long-term, sustainable change through our sponsorship programs, family and child support projects, and community care. We do this work because we believe we have been called by God to help the poor Emergency Fuel and needy. Our work is currently focused provided to on Moldova, Romania, and Ukraine. the elderly We occasionally ship a small number of Gift-in-Kind items to Bulgaria. These items include badly needed winter clothing and even entire containers of dry foods donated by our supporters. Our work across the region is coordinated by local churches, volunteers and field staff. The good news is the hope and help you so generously bring to these moms, dads and their precious children. Without your help, Christmas
dinner can mean a plate of beans, for some, taking place in literally a tool shed for a home; even less for others. Many of these people don’t even have a home to go to. Please never doubt that your continuing Emergency Shelters for the Homeless help will bring life-saving food, clothing and shelter for the many months of harsh winter ahead. It is stunning that more than 300 people, most of them homeless, froze to death last winter, but your help assured the survival of thousands of others. Please work with us this winter to make sure nobody freezes to death. As the harsh winter sets in, we roll out “Operation Winter Rescue” to provide life-saving assistance like blankets, winter clothes, medicines, household items and even firewood to the most vulnerable people. Maria from Romania expressed her appreciation: “The clothing and shoes you provided to us are very useful as we have to face a harsh winter with lots of snow. I was also very happy to receive the blankets because the one we had is very old and worn out.” Did you notice that Maria said the “one” blanket they had? What a great gift a simple set of blankets were for her and her family. A gift from you. We are so very grateful for your support and hope that this Christmas season will be a happy and holy one for you. Your support for Operation Winter Rescue will help us help many in the coming months ahead. With grateful thanks, David Inwood National Director Mission Without Borders Canada
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