the Hope of Survivors

God Orchestrates Blessings in Romania!

It is always a joy to watch God at work! So many times, I become unnecessarily discouraged because things do not appear to be progressing as they need to be. Patience has never been my strongest virtue (I'm sure many of you can relate!). But, let me say that, waiting on the Lord is a real blessing indeed! (Galatians 6:9, "And let us not be weary in well doing: for in due season we shall reap, if we faint not.") Steve and I did not know what to expect when we arrived in Romania a couple weeks ago. We had meetings and events planned but no way of knowing how they would go.

Our first meeting with Aurora Parvan was wonderful and encouraging. Aurora has poured her heart and soul into volunteering for The Hope of Survivors and, while her expertise is PR/Marketing, she has gone far beyond that to help however she can. She and Steve made some very important updates to the website while there.

Steve Nelson and Aurora Parvan
Steve Nelson and Aurora Parvan working on the Romanian website.
Iulia, Samantha, Aurora
Iulia Bodorin, Samantha Nelson, Aurora Parvan
Bucharest Team
Gelu Grigore, Laura Fierbinteanu, Aurora Parvan, Mariana Ciuciu, Samantha Nelson, Steve Nelson, Iulia Bodorin, Cristina Constantin--Bucharest, Romania Team
Cecilia, Samantha, Steve and Maria
Cecilia Calin, Samantha Nelson, Steve Nelson and Maria Simionca--Board of Directors in Bistrita, Romania
 

Remember the recent appeal for funds to hire a full-time employee in Romania? Well, Iulia Bodorin is the young woman who is very eager to join our team and she has experience with fundraising (a necessity!) and wants to help us establish a shelter for abused/trafficked women and children (our long-term goal).

At our group planning meeting in Bucharest, we were pleasantly surprised to find that additional people wanted to volunteer. Mariana Ciuciu is going to be helping us create a research survey so that we can compile statistics that will enable us to apply for grant funds to further the goals we have there. These goals include educating children in schools on health, hygiene and boundaries so they will be equipped to protect themselves from any inappropriate or abusive actions. This is a key component to reaching the parents and older generations as well, as change will begin with the youth. This is also critical because many of Romania's young children are being abused and are at risk or already being targeted for sex trafficking.

Just try to wrap your mind around these statistics:

"An estimated 1,500-3,000 children live on the streets of Romania (UNICEF, 2006; MPHASIS, 2008). Without the basic necessities to survive, a healthy family structure, proper identification, and an education, these children are at a high risk for sexual exploitation."

"The most prevalent form of human trafficking in 2009 was sex trafficking, comprising 41% of all trafficking victims (ANITP, 2009b). All victims were women and 176 (29%) victims were minors (ANITP, 2009b). Victims of sex trafficking were most frequently trafficked to Romania (111 cases), Italy (77 cases), Spain (59 cases) and Holland (14 cases) (ANITP, 2009b)."
Source: https://digitalcommons.unl.edu/cgi/viewcontent.cgi?article=1016&context=humtrafconf2

"Romania remains one of the top countries of origin for the estimated 10,000 to 13,000 trafficking victims in Britain--with Nigeria, Albania, Vietnam and Poland." Source: http://www.bbc.com/news/uk-37622796

"...one-third of Romania's trafficking victims are underage girls."

"The Eurostat 2015 report notes that Romania was one of the top five countries of origin for victims of human trafficking in the EU, as registered by organizations (governmental and nongovernmental) throughout the bloc."

"The local police are often involved in the trafficking, and the girls have no governmental protection. Romanian police declined to give an official response to Al Jazeera's interview requests."
Source: http://projects.aljazeera.com/2015/08/sex-trafficking-in-romania/index.html

"In 14 of Romania's 41 counties there are no specialized services for victims of domestic violence. A large number of police officers are not trained in how to communicate with an abuse victim."

"Other members of the family suffer the effects of violence, but it is a woman who is abused every 30 seconds in Romania."
Source: http://sufferinginromania.weebly.com/the-women.html

Friends, you can see why I am so passionate about THOS-RO Division! The need to support women and children in Romania is beyond comprehension at times!

Laura Fierbinteanu, our victim counselor in Romania, is not only still willing to counsel victims pro bono, but she convinced her colleague, Gelu Grigore, to join the team as well. This is truly a much-needed miracle!

And, as we all know, prayer is greatly needed, so Cristina Constantin has agreed to be our prayer warrior for THOS-RO!

Ioan and Amala Mararu, attorneys for THOS-RO, continue to bless the organization by offering their services pro bono and to bless us personally by their encouragement and kind words. We are grateful to have them as part of the team!

From Bucharest we traveled to Bistrita in the the northern part of the country to have our board meeting. Here, Cecilia Calin, our accountant, was also encouraging and helped us determine the exact figures for hiring Iulia when we have funds. Maria Simionca, our administrator, keeps things going for us and we are so grateful! Both Maria and Cecilia were happy to hear of the plans the team in Bucharest had put together and, as a board, we voted to proceed with the implementation process.

Upon returning to Bucharest, we met with Ingrid Muller, an attorney who has volunteered many hours to help us with various projects, and is willing to help us write our grant requests, which is a true blessing!

As you can see, God is still actively working and opening new doors for The Hope of Survivors in Romania. We can all be encouraged by Psalm 27:14, "Wait on the Lord: be of good courage, and he shall strengthen thine heart: wait, I say, on the Lord." Thank you so very much for your prayers and support!

God bless you,
Samantha Nelson
CEO

 

The LORD is nigh unto them that are of a broken heart...Psalms 34:18