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The time is one thirty in the morning. The location; Bihor County, North West Romania, and as we stand under the stars of a clear night sky, I (and I suspect many others) truly learn the meaning of the phrase “leaving with a heavy heart”. In the very early hours of Saturday the 26th of July, the High Kirk Romania team said their last goodbyes to the Smiles Centre and set off on the long journey home, and as I started to embark on what would become the most uncomfortable bus journey of my life, it hit me; our adventures in Romania had come to an end.

Since that last emotional night in Romania, we have all returned home safe and sound to our families. I imagine that we have all re adjusted to life back in Northern Ireland, and that we have grown familiar with “home comforts” once again. However, as I write this and look outside I can’t help but wish for one of the Smiles staff to suddenly appear and take me on another trip into Bihor County. I suspect many of my team share the same sentiments, and for good reason.

From the 19th to the 26th of July our 10 strong mission team was given the opportunity to witness and take part in the work of the Smiles Foundation. It was truly a blessing and an unforgettable life experience. We were challenged by the most desperate and hard hitting examples of poverty, and given hope by the positive impact that the good work of the Smiles Foundation is having on these people. We saw families and individuals living in harrowing situations, but took heart in the fact that the children still had hope and joy in their lives and still had a chance to have better futures for themselves. We were impacted by the social injustices we encountered, but took strength in the fact that God was working in the lives of the people we encountered and through the good works of the Smiles team.

Throughout our time in Romania, last July, I was often reminded of the following verse:                                                                                                                                                                                 Group cinema 2

“He has told you, O man, what is good;
and what does the Lord require of you
but to do justice, and to love kindness,
and to walk humbly with your God?” (Micah 6:8 ESV)

With this in mind it would be my wish that we would continue to pray for the work of Smiles so these aims can continue to be achieved in Bihor County.

Of course, our team wouldn’t have been able to take part in this wonderful experience all by our own efforts. As a team we would like to extend our most sincere gratitude to all of the parents, High Kirk Church, The Smiles Foundation, and all of those who supported us and donated to our fundraising efforts. Without your support, none of this would have been possible.

I sincerely hope that our mission trip will not be our last encounter with Smiles, and that one day we will get to visit and serve God in the wonderful Bihor County once more. I also pray that God continues to challenge and develop the team in the future in the way that he has done throughout the entire trip. Perhaps one day we will be fortunate enough to return, but until then, it’s over and out from us here at Team Romania


Team Romania

Andre smiles