Monday, 10 August 2009
We left for Romania on 12th June and spent the night at Mike and Nora’s as we always do. This particular visit there was a charity evening raising funds for MAF, who Mike and Nora work for. The entertainment was a group of 5 Christian guys’ and the wife of one of them calling themselves ‘The Tuesday Stompers’. They have not been together long but were really entertaining we had a very enjoyable evening.
It was an early start on Saturday morning to get the 8o’clock boat.
This was a really hard trip for David and me as I had not completely recovered from yet another chest infection. Fortunately we had not planned any screening for the first week because we had expected Cyril to be there with us but he is very unwell and was not able to come. This did give us time to rest and as the weather so, so hot we were thankful not to have to do anything.
We did go to Arad on Monday morning to look in on Holiday Bible Club as you will have heard it went really well with lots of children having lots of fun.
By the end of that first week we felt we had to do something. There is only so much sitting around you can do so we went to the old peoples home on spec and were welcomed with open arms to do another screening session for them. The old folk are such a joy to be with and there carers are brilliant too.
That evening we were invited to a BBQ at Adrianna’s home it was lovely sitting in her garden as the evening started to cool just a little.
Saturday morning we were invited for coffee with Anne Arthur, she works for the World Bank and has been a friend for many years although we are rarely in Arad at the same time, so we were pleased to meet up with her again.
We had not been in bed long Saturday night when the storm broke and the electric went off. David was going to see if he could get the generator working but I said not to bother because I was sure it would be back on after about half an hour…wrong, so David, in the pouring rain, went out and got it started. I was no sooner fixed up and the electric came back on. Just as David was on his way out to switch the generator off the electric went off again, the electric finally came back on around 5am having been off since 1:45am. Oh what fun it is in Romania.
Sunday afternoon we were invited to another BBQ, after the rain it was very much cooler but it did not stay that way. Although we did not see any more sunshine until the end of our visit it still got very hot again. I never thought I would wake up and thank God that the sun was not shining it was that hot. As I write this and it is the beginning of August they are still having temperatures up to 100F, phew.
On Monday we went to a new venue, this time it was a Day Centre, we spent the whole day there, David screening 48 people, we were tired when we got back but the rain that was falling was very refreshing.
Tuesday was a day for visiting we went to Pastor Ovi’s for a meal, then an evening out with our friends Kenneth & Kate who run the Street Kids Centre.
Wednesday we were at the airport to pick up Mike & Sarah from New Life Church,
who came out to help us with the screening, and Michelle from Humanity at Heart
who works with the charity in Petrosani. They arrived late due to a bird hitting the
wing of their aircraft on take off, they said ‘it was very interesting’. The plane had
to make an emergency stop and they were held up whist the plane was inspected
After all that we had the longest journey to Petrosani, during which we saw some
of the heaviest rain you ever saw and the thunder and lightening was going on all around us. The memory of the storm clouds will remain with us for ever I think.
On Thursday we were at Aninoasa, well that was the plan, but when we went to Joshua to check all was ok we found there had been a mix up over the dates and they were not expecting us until Friday but Romania being
Romania they pulled all the stops out and we did do a whole day in Aninoasa
after all. This is a photograph of the new Church we are working in.
We were busy working when another storm hit with so much rain again, it ran
down the road like a river and reminded David and I of our visit to Chris &
Elaine Hurst in Mexico a few years ago, when the same thing happened.
Because of the mix up we did nothing at Joshua Centre so left around 10am
for Siria. We had hopped to take Mike and Sarah up the mountains in Petrosani
but it was so misty we called that off.
Saturday was another busy day screening in Cuvin. This little Church is doing a wonderful job seeing folk without us being there. It is such a joy to go there. Another joy of going there is they always insist that we have a meal with them and it is so good, the family are really hard workers in the Church although the father is in Spain working for the summer because the financial situation in Romania is really bad at the moment. Saturday evening we were at Ovi’s again. Wonderful. After getting back to Siria it was still very warm so we sat outside singing with Sarah playing an old guitar.
The plans we had for Sunday did not work out so we had a quiet day with yet another storm and more rain.
Monday was an exciting day……we were going to a village called Varias where the grandmother of the family I spoke of earlier in Cuvin, lives. The girls came in the car with us as they were going to translate for us. David had looked at the map and decided the route checked with the girls they said yes ok. Well we went down some very rough roads ending up on a dirt track when one of the girls in the back asked where we were going. It turned out they did not know the way to their grandmother’s village because they always went by train…..We eventually found Varias with the help of a young mum who put us on the right road. We did 75k and drove for 3 hours before we arrived there. We knew it was a village Church that meant an outside toilet and we have seen a few of those, so I was a little unsure about this. It was outside but really well kept so no problem, it even had a sink, soap and a nice clean towel outside. Once again we were fed, we were taken to a block of flats my heart sank thinking how many steps am I going to have to climb? Imagine my surprise when we were taken for the very first time to a ground floor flat. I spent the rest of the day praising God for His wonderful provision. After the meal we went back to do more screening leaving there around 5 o’clock. It took us about an hour to get back, now we know which way top go with the optoms in Sept.
Tuesday we were at Kenneth & Kates then it was back to Siria for our own BBQ before having an early night. It was to be a very early morning to get Mike & Sarah to the airport for 5am we said our good byes and were back just before 7 going straight back to bed for some lost sleep, it is always a strange day after doing that run. We have decided that we will get a taxi for the optoms when it is their turn to go back especially as the first 3 go back for the early morning flight and the next two arrive at 1 o’clock the same day.
Thursday saw us getting the house cleaned up and start on the packing, we went to get the car washed, it is still so very hot, we had yet another storm but at least the bad dirt was off the car. That evening the car was half packed before we went into Arad with Kenneth & Kate & their family, also our Mark to celebrate Kenneth & Kate’s Silver Wedding Anniversary, it was as lovely evening and very hot again. On the way back home the lightening was flashing all around us, thankfully the electric did not go off.
It was an early start Friday morning, I cleared up after breakfast David finished packing the car and we were on the road just after 8 o’clock.
The journey back started well and we made good time but then the rain came and the traffic got heavy so we called it a day and stopped at the hotel we stayed at on the way back last time, even to having the same room. It was good to stop earlier than we usually do because we were not so tired. We enjoyed a good meal and had an early night.
We both slept really well and were refreshed when we went for breakfast at 7:30, we were back on the road by 8:15 and made the 4pm boat and were back home by 7:30pm. It was so good to get back to some cooler weather although we understand it had been really hot while we were away.
Again we thank you for your prayer support it really does sustain us and keeps us really close to Father God because we are totally reliant on Him whist in Romania. We leave on the 9th September for the last trip this year. It is going to be a really busy one with 5 optometrists over 2 weeks and Mark and Jules will also be there towards the end of this trip to help David pack the house up for the winter. We really do need your prayer support this trip please, we have a lot of hard decisions to make and we really want to hear what God is saying to us.
God Bless you all. David & Beryl.
Friday, 15 May 2009
Our first trip was a real joy to prepare for, it was the first time we did not have to rush to get ready, having Easter just before we left gave us a lot of encouragement, being able to join in the March of Witness on Good Friday then celebrating the Resurrection on Easter Sunday.
We left Biggleswade at 3:30 Tuesday afternoon to stay with Mike and Nora again but we did not arrive there until 7:30 due to the M20 being closed because of the French fishermen blockading the ports. After eating the lovely meal Nora had prepared for us David and Mike had a chat about the situation and decided that the best thing for us to do was to forfeit our ferry costs and book the Channel Tunnel. I was definitely not happy about that, I just do not like tunnels especially under water ones! As it turned out it was ok. We Praise God we went then because we understood that the tunnel was going to be blockaded on the Wednesday. Again we were blessed as we got on an earlier train than we had booked and were in France 2 hours earlier than we would have been using the ferry so that gave us the opportunity to drive further the first day making Thursday less of a rush.
The weather forecast was for rain all the way to Romania but we had the most beautiful weather up in the 20c’s all the way.
We stopped as usual at Tesco in Hungary for fresh fruit and vegetables then made good time to Romania only to loose an hour when we were almost in Arad due to trains. We have to cross 3 level crossings and it does not matter which way you go you have to cross them. We managed to get there as several trains were coming through and the crossings are so badly maintained that the trucks really do have to take it slowly so we had to just sit and wait. We finally got to Siria at 7pm unloaded the car sorted ourselves out then had a large bowl of ‘Big Soup’ (instead of going out for a meal as we were tired) we had not tried them before they made a good meal for us.
It was quite an eye opener for me on the Friday when we went into Arad, it was Good Friday and just as in the UK all the shops were open as usual……
We shopped for the few things we needed that we could not get in Tesco because we could not understand what was written there. This trip we took most of our food with us. We had been told that prices had risen so much this year and that the exchange rate was bad, in both cases it was not that much different but it did mean we did not have to spend time shopping.
Just as well really as there was no time once we had picked Mark up from Timisoara on Sunday lunch time.
Before we left UK at our Church Prayer meeting we were told that something special was going to happen on this trip, the first was as we were waiting at the airport for Mark, a young man asked if he could pray for me and as he prayed he cried, I do not know what he prayed (he prayed in Romanian) but God knows and I am in His hands.
We went straight to Petrosani where we stayed for two nights. On Monday we were at Aninoasa by 8:30 for breakfast then started screening at 9 o’clock. Aninoasa is the poverty stricken area we found on our last trip last year. During the winter months a group of young people from Aininoasa had been going down to Petrosani for training so when we were there it was really to give them more skills so as to be more effective, it was just so encouraging. We were told we would be screening at the ‘new Church’……the upstairs is almost ready but that is all. You have to walk up this steep mound to get to the door to get in, thankfully it was a dry day. The toilets are ‘a long drop’ and I thought ‘a new Church great’ how wrong I was again. One young lady took me to her parents apartment which I really appreciated the only problem was it took me ages to get there as her parents apartment was on the 3rd floor all those stairs to climb, stairs and I do not go well together. That aside it was a very encouraging time.
The next morning we said we would have a session at the Joshua centre but they had arranged for the people to come at 11o’clock and we started at 9o’clock. We packed up at 12 and left them to get on with it as they are now very proficient at doing it themselves. It is such a good feeling when you are not needed anymore and can move on, because they have really got the understanding of what they are doing and just get on with it. Praise the Lord.
We stopped and had a meal on the way home then dropped Michelle (from Humanity at Heart) off at Kenneth and Kate’s where she was spending a couple of days looking at their work with the street kids. We then came back to Siria where Mark had a chance to get unpacked.
Wednesday was designated a day off but it turned out busy again.
Thursday we went to Kenneth & Kate’s screening the street kids oh my! It was a good day though.
Friday we were at the old peoples’ home in Arad. We were so pleased to go there this time, we had been there years ago before we started this work, it was not really a very nice place to be but the change now is just wonderful. The staff are just so caring, the place has been cleaned up and pleasantly decorated and the gardens have improved too. While we were there we met a lady from City Hall who we had worked with years ago, she was really happy that we had been to help the old folk
Saturday was another early start in Cuvin, we always enjoy working with this
Church but imagine our surprise when they told us they had been busyall
winter screening people in their homes. Apparently Laura had been e-mailing
me but the e-mails never reached me. They had seen many people in their own
homes just what we had hoped would eventually happen, they have really
understood all that we had encouraged them to do, they see the value and are
making opportunities to meet people at their point of need.
This photograph shows one of the reasons why we do what we do, a lovely old
lady was wearing them and they were no where near her prescription. Someone
had given them to her, thankfully we were able to help her with the right prescription glasses.
When we arrived back in Siria David and Mark worked on getting all the glasses that needed making up for Cuvin ready before going off to bed early.
We had to be up at 3am Sunday morning to get Mark back to the airport for the early flight home. We went back to bed when we got back to Siria. Sunday was a very strange day then.
Monday we were getting ready to go to the home for the youngsters with AIDS, I was 2/3rds way through doing my hair when the electricity went off, again, so I then had to go out with part set hair and part frizzy. Whoops!
We picked Kate up and spent the day with these young people it was wonderful. The last time we were there it was a little daunting but as with the old folks home the difference here was just really encouraging. The staff are wonderful and there is real affection between the staff and the young people. It was such a pleasure to be there again.
This was the evening we were to go out with Etelca but both David and I were feeling very tired so decided we just could not manage going out for a meal. Kate said she would let Etelca know but before she could ring her Etelca rang Kate to say that she could not make that evening and rearranged for Tuesday evening instead. That was a good move because although we had another busy day at Kenneth and Kate’s we really enjoyed having the evening out and meeting an old friend Ann who we had lost contact with. We went home tired but very happy that evening.
Wednesday was the first time I had to do any washing and cleaning we could not believe how busy we had been, we had planned days off but this time it just did not happen. We did manage to get to see Ovi in his new home and have a meal with him, Nicol and their children.
After returning home we had a quiet late afternoon, the weather had been wonderful since we arrived so being able to sit out until 8 in the evening was really good.
Thursday we were invited to the early May Day Celebrations at the old peoples’ home. A Romanian band that regularly appears on Romanian TV & radio gave a concert free of charge for the residence, did they enjoy it. One little lady was so excited she started waving her arms around in time to the music and shared the orange juice she had in her hand with everyone around her. Again the weather was really hot, we were all trying to sit in the shade of the trees and were covered in BBQ smoke!!!!
It was back to Kenneth’s then for more screening it was supposed to be for children from a couple of children’s homes, only a few turned up but we were really busy, then we heard that one of the street boys was standing out side the Centre and was asking people going by if they wanted their eyes testing free and of course most came in!!!!
We were so tired that evening I did not feel like getting food ready so we went to see our friends at Hotel Olimp and had fast food chicken and chips there.
Friday and we decided we would leave next day so that we could get home and see our Mark before he left for 6 months in Romania doing charity work. So it was another busy day cleaning up preparing for Cyril coming out with us in June and getting the packing done and preparing for a BBQ that evening.
Our first BBQ it was good. All too soon it was time to say goodbye but it is only 6 weeks to when we will be back.
The journey home as good as the journey out, very little traffic. There really are less trucks on the road, the only exception is the car transporters, the financial situation really is affecting the movement of goods.
We arrived back here on Sunday night, Mark came to see us on Monday leaving a case of clothes for us to take out in June, he left on Thursday and as I finished this article we hear he has just arrived in Romania.
Thank you again for your prayer support as I always say we cannot do it without your prayers, may God bless you as He does us.
Beryl & David.
Wednesday, 4 March 2009
We have been rather slow in keeping our blog up to date and with so much happening last year and during the winter we must keep you all up to date.
Lets just chat about last year in general. It was a busy time for us. We travelled by road to Romania 3 times 11 000 miles in all.
The visits involved :
20 Health Screening and Vision Care Sessions at Church and Charity locations in the West and Central Romania.
800 patient consultations
1500 pairs of glasses given (Cost £2560)
30 local Romanians trained and involved in the activities
5 complete sets of screening equipment given to enable units to do their own screening.
Meeting with prospective churches and charities to further our activities in new places.
Encouraging these units to develop micro enterprise activity to self finance future development.
Quite busy Eh1
On the home front we have been busy fundraising.
· Horizon Optical of Dunstable have been so generous with lenses and frame donations
· Fairplay Optical, Watford have glazed many of the really difficult prescriptions
· C&H Optics of Newcastle have been supportive with frames and lenses
· S. Cuddy Opticians of Frazerbrugh have donated many hundreds of pounds.
· Our Optometrist volunteers have paid for all their travel and worked hard to help with fundraising.
· Churches from U.K. and abroad have donated and prayed for us regularly.
· The U.K Optical Industry has donated 1000s of frames to help our efforts
· We are involved with Humanity at Heart a UK charity working in Romania. They help us enormously and we encourage them.
It is so encouraging when you reflect how many people are involved in the process.
So what about 2009
We are so excited! because after years of working in health screening with these units, some are now with our support, doing their own screening. They are using our data base and reporting back and sending requests for ready readers monthly. We are now able to book appointments for when our volunteer optometrists visit at the end of the year and send ready readers out to Romania each month. This has been a long time coming, but the fruit we see spurs us on to continue. Along with this success we now see these units going on to encourage other poor village activity. We will visit one of these villages in April ( Aninoasa) and encourage the established unit in Petrosani, to train the new volunteers. It really will fast track the training process
We will continue to visit all the established units this year to review their activity and refresh them in the processes of health screening
We have already booked all our trips for this year
April / May: We will be working in Romania towns: Petrosani, Aninoasa, Arad, Cuvin, Siria and Galsa.
We have to open the house up where we live. It all has to be drained down for the winter as the temperature can drop to below – 20.
We had a burglary last year and lost about £2000 worth of kit ( no insurance of course, because we are not resident all the time) It’s the same the whole world over!!
We have replaced most of the kit but we still have major items of glazing equipment to buy.
The £ has dropped to an all time low so everything is now more expensive so we will have to take most of our food with us. ( Imagine having to do a Tesco shop before we leave!!) It cost us about £500 per trip for fuel and accommodation and road tolls. 2 days and an early Norfolk Line Ferry usually see us in our house in Romania
We have to take all our bedding and personal effects along with frames, lenses and other equipment. The car will be full and I mean FULL!
Our son Mark will fly out and help us for the first week and then Cyril from C&H Optics of Newcastle will join us for the next 2 weeks.
We will set up our glazing lab and most of the people will get their glasses within a couple of days
We will visit the AIDS Centre in Arad to screen there and also a Street Kids project “Vis de Copil” which is run by our dear friends Kate and Kenneth Cope.
Exciting isn’t it!
June will be different, quite hot, the temperature can be in the 40s. We are having visitors from our church in UK who are going to take part in the process. Hands on is the best way to be involved, especially if you want to enjoy the process. Passive spectators don’t learn much! Training is the name of the game for this trip, with the Optometrist visit pending for September/ October 2009 the more people we are able to train, the more work is done while we are not there. It’s a matter of building teams and structure and control processes, that will support the activity for years to come that is importance for this trip.
It’s a time to meet with doctors, administrators Mayors and the like, to establish strong links in the communities that we work, or are intending to work.
September /October 2009
This is a time when we have to get the teams in the communities where we will take Optometrists, ready to accommodate a strict regime of appointments and dispensing process, The whole Screening Process is designed to accommodate the people who really need to see an Optometrist. They have been “screened in” and the appointment system is designed to enable the Optometrists to give the best we can offer to some really poor and needy patients.
Some of these prescriptions lenses can be very expensive and we are so grateful to Specsavers, Hoya, Horizon Optical and Fairplay Optical Labs for their support in this provision.
This process changes people’s lives. People who could not see to read the bible or in the case of some of the old ladies with so much dexterity in sowing and needlecraft, can now do it again. We take so much for granted in the western world!
Beryl will do her snapshots to keep you updated as to our journeys and progress this year
Thanks for your support and interest. “If you want help! give us a call or E Mail us.
Donations can be made payable to “Light for Life Romania”
Have a good year
Dave & Beryl
Wednesday, 23 July 2008
How quickly 6 months can go, here we are back from our first trip to Romania for 2008.
The journey there was pretty rough, snow, hail, sleet, heavy rain, beautiful sunshine (momentarily) you name it we went through it. We arrived at our hotel again within minutes of all the other journeys in spite of the weather, (who wants to travel in those conditions?)
We had a good nights sleep and as always had our prayer time before we left to start our second day. Well I do not know what happened but I prayed and it came out all wrong, what I said intimated that I would be going to Heaven that day. Sometimes words just do not come out right do they? Well this just added to the mixed feelings I had had about this first trip, the enemy latched onto them as we set off. The weather was worse this second day and all the thoughts I thought I had dealt with came rushing back, but our God is so faithful. Here was I, concerned that in this really bad weather we were going to have an accident, I suddenly said to David ‘where is all the traffic’? and just as suddenly there was God just making it so clear that we were ok, He is in control and I had this immense feeling of being hugged so tightly that it could only be the love of God holding me. What an experience it was.
We had another trauma coming home David was very unwell, he looked a bit off colour when we left at 6:50 on Monday morning but we thought he was just a bit tired but by Tuesday morning for the last part of our journey home he was very unwell. We can say without a shadow of doubt that it is only by the Grace of God that we got home safely. Even as I write this some 3 days after getting home he is still spending most of the day sleeping.
In between we were just so blessed with this trip. The first week David spent most of his time trying to fix the boiler, there was a leak somewhere because the pressure just kept dropping. Having put two new gaskets on the boiler it still kept loosing pressure. So we had no real heat only a fan heater and it was bitterly cold. Finally David and Cyril did find where the leak was, it was right by Cyril’s bed, so having found it we arranged for it to be repaired and went off to Petrosani for our first screening session. The drama did not stop, Cyril had arrived with a bad back which in spite of trying everything to help him it just got worse and we found ourselves at the hospital for a couple of hours. So as not to crowd the emergency rooms David & I waited in the car, Cyril went in with Cornelia and Dan (he translates for us) eventually we went in to see what was going on. This young doctor had given Cyril a strong pain killing injection and was telling him what he was to do to help himself. David and I looked at the doctor then each other and realised we had met him somewhere before but could not think where. When we spoke to him it was obvious he also recognized us. We then remembered we had met at the Caritas Centre 3 years ago but had not seen each other since, he knew Nora, who runs the Caritas centre, so explained to her what he had done and she told Cyril and us. God is wonderful He puts just the right people in the right place at the right time.
In Petrosani the screening went so well. We had suggested that they use an appointment system this year. They did and they had sent me the information before we left so I was able to get it all on the computer before we arrived there and it all went so smoothly no one getting pressured or anxious. The training went really well too, the young people were soon doing the job themselves, under supervision of course. They did so well that they are going to do their own screening now. When we go in June they will be assessed and, if they are ok, we will have achieved our objective and made ourselves redundant. That will give us another problem though because they are so well organized now we are likely to have to find another optometrist to go out with us in September. We saw over a hundred people over the day and a half we were there. Giving out 78 pairs of glasses.
We returned to Siria and had three more screening sessions to do. In Siria on the Saturday morning they too ran an appointment system and could not believe how smoothly it all went, the couple we trained here were very good too but are not quite ready to do their own yet. After June they may well be.
Last year we went to Ioan Church in Cladova you may remember me telling you about that, the facilities left a lot to be desired. This time we went to the second of Ioan’s 3 Church’s (Ioan is one of the pastors sponsored by BBC) this one in Cuvin, a village about half an hour from Siria. I went wondering what to expect here, to my great surprise and delight this little Church has built a small extension on the back, the room is obviously a Sunday School room with a small kitchenette in one corner. Out the back they had built two lovely flush toilets.
We saw 82 people that day and 66 received glasses. Cornel a deacon was trained to screen here and wants to do more, he picked the work up really quickly and is very keen to learn more so that he can work with the folk from Siria and Galsa and do their own sessions between our visits. As I said earlier when they all start doing this for themselves we then have to find more optometrists.
We went to Galsa the day after Cuvin which was really tiring. We had planned days between but they could not accommodate us so that was how it had to be. We saw 77 people in Galsa.
This trip we gave away over 300 pairs of glasses, seeing the faces of these folk as they can see again after so long still brings tears to our eyes and just makes all the hardships we go through worth every bit of it, never again will I take for granted water from my tap and the great pressure we receive it. The pressure was just about ok for showering but to fill the kettle just took ages, I used to put the kettle in the sink turn the tap on and go do something and come back when it was full.
Oh Romania dear Romania I love it.
Something really encouraging happened as we were doing our food shop in Arad. We suddenly heard English voices so wanting them to know we understood them David asked me if I wanted any popcorn, (I do not like popcorn) and we walked on. When we got in the next aisle we bumped into them again and started talking. This young lady, Kathrine, and her husband are running a street children centre right in the middle of Arad, they have been out there 7 years and speak fluent Romanian. We went to see then at the centre and she told us her testimony about how it all came into being it is just incredible. The vision she had and how God provided it is just amazing. I would love to tell you all about it but I was so enthralled by what she was telling us I cannot remember all the details so rather than tell only half the story just believe me it is truly AMAZING. This house they have is right in the middle of Arad with it’s own courtyard just as she had seen in her vision but when
trying to find it was told there was no such place….but there was! We had a long talk with Kathrine and will be seeing her again in June and hopefully working with her to help these street children. God just keeps opening up new doors for us, Kathrine is an ophthalmic nurse!!!! We are all very excited about what the future holds now in Arad.
Tuesday, 16 October 2007
Optometrist Ian McClelland examining a patient
with the help of a translator in Siria, Romania.
£10 donation will provide a new frame and prescription lenses for the poorest of Romanian villagers, who may never have seen an optometrist.
Over 700 people benefit from our health screening programme in 2007
It’s a Simple Process!
Use churches and community centres in the poorest villages in Romania and people with the greatest needs will turn up, looking for help that is not available through the health service, or financially out of their reach through private service providers.
The old and the young are most at risk and our volunteer screening teams can quickly determine needs and recall them to see specialist health carers and optometrists at a later date. Many of the people are given new glasses immediately. or those with high power prescriptions are returned to UK for manufacture.
Health Screening reduces the load on visiting optometrists by removing the need to test over 25% of people who are no RX. 60% can manage with a pair of Ready Readers.
How does it work?
Community and Church leaders in the poorest Romanian villages know the needs of the people. We have tapped into this element of the community who want to help their own people. They invite the most needy to come to churches or village halls and Light for Life Health Screening teams work with these leaders, to encourage them by demonstration, to eventually do this screening with their own teams.
People are weighed and their height measured. Their blood pressure is taken and if required they can have a diabetic check. With the information recorded on the patient report form, they then see a vision care screener, where the visual acuity is measured. If they need help they are given ready-readers or recalled to the next optometrist visit. Any prescriptions are made up in in UK.
Screening teams have visited Romania 5 times and undertaken 11 days of activity which includes 4 days involving optometrists. This has resulted in patients receiving more specialist investigation and higher powered prescriptions. Many of these patients have received their glasses and have quality vision for the first time in their lives.
We have been asked to go further into the poor communities next year, and as a result of being gifted a software package by Optisoft UK, have been able to record all our work in detail and use the data to plan more effectively in the future. We now are confident that we buy the materials we need, with the knowledge that the demands of villages we serve are so similar. The average cost of giving a pair of glasses is about £10. We hope to maintain these costs at the same levels in 2008.
NEEDS for 2008
· Can you help with Plus or Minus plastic meniscus lenses
· Ready Readers
· Lab Equipment
Friday, 17 November 2006
The principle of what God called us to do in our ministry in Romania, is to spend time with leaders of evangelical churches and Christian foundations, to encourage and enable them to be more effective in their ministry.
In order to achieve this we have spent longer and more frequent amounts of time in Romania to develop closer relationships and build up trust in what we have to offer. It has been apparent in the past, we along with many other people from the west, have failed those whom we tried to serve, by building up their expectations which ultimately were not fulfilled.
To overcome such problems in the future we set out by means of Pastor and Leadership away days, to corporately relate to them listening to their views and observe their reactions to the topics of the day. Leadership, Change, Understanding the Organisation, Finance and Improving Personal Effectiveness in a Christian leadership role, were all topics that showed up frailty in the ability of most of them to communicate well, outside of preaching.
By initially operating these awareness modules we have been able to develop new relationships and spend more time getting to know leaders on a one to one basis. This has been so revealing, in as much as individual leaders, having the opportunity to listen to other leader’s comments and reactions in Away Days, has been a catalyst to encourage them to be more open with us in our one to one discussions.
Most of the leaders appear to be lacking in basic communication and business skills, yet it befalls them to manage the activity and finance of their organisation with little understanding and help from those whom they serve. Comments like “what is a business plan” from a person who is contemplating buying land and building on it, along with a complicated development which has considerable revenue consequences, causes us to shudder.
This year has seen God bless us. We have established an infrastructure of encouragement and enablement for Christian leaders in Romania that has surpassed our expectations. What started with a few leaders is now many, reaching from North of Arad county to Orsova in the south on the Serb border, to Petrosani in the county of Hunedoara in the Carpathian mountains. To visit these points on the compass from our base in Siria can involve up to 6 hours of torrid roads and some exciting moments!
The process of getting this stuff off the ground was difficult initially, but as we shared the idea of the church using care in the community as being a practical tool for evangelism, the pastors started to get excited about the prospect of their churches learning new skills. Next year indicates our diary is already filling up with requests to go and visit and share one to one, on ways to progress these elements.
We have been able to help individual pastors who are involved in the BBC Pastor Sponsorship, not just delivering money to them, but also responding when some of them asked to be part of our development programme. They all have different needs and are at different stages in their ministry, but all have the same desire to learn more! There is no doubt these pastors have in the past and continue to benefit from the sacrifice sponsors in UK make to help them. It is also apparent there is in a need to regularly review this process, to ensure it continues to be effective in the ministry of those who have committed their lives to God’s work.
The one to one process of spending time with leaders has been so hard and draining for us. When people open up during this process, lots of stuff comes out that can never be revealed. Confidentiality is at the centre of it and the content of what is said often causes us great concern and we have to give God it all, because we can’t respond in our own strength. Please continue to pray for us because this is the only way we can resist satanic intervention in our work.
We now praise God every morning in our prayer time. He has provided us with a base in Siria, owned by a non Christian, with all we need to be able to live in Romania to standards equal to, if not better that we enjoy at home. We have quickly learnt how to understand the culture and language and are free to make new friends. The friends we have made in the last year have multiplied and our Romanian mobile phone constantly rings. This is not only a means of giving the pastors credibility in the eyes of those they care for as a provider, but also spreads the gospel of practical evangelism.
We also seem to have been adopted by every teenager we meet. These young people are hungry for The Word and we are conscious the pastors are now more aware these young people are the future of their churches. Tradition within some of the established churches seems to be getting in the way of progress that will attract the young to the church. Division within the leaderships over such tradition, that developed during the communist regime, is becoming a barrier to the young who want to worship in a more free and open form.
Managing change in these and similar circumstances is at the centre of our ministry because the Pastors cry out for help in such matters. While we can help by corporate learning activity in the form of away days, it has become apparent because of the differing needs and levels only a one to one can deal with their specific needs and short comings. The security this method provides means the pastors can open up without embarrassment that would show them up in front of their colleagues. We will struggle to maintain this impetus without help next year.
So we seek to recharge our batteries during the winter and do as much preparation for next year as we can. By means of using SKYPE internet telephone and web cam, we can continue to interact and help, but it is not a substitute for face to face discussions.
Air travel arrangements and problems have added to the uncertainty of getting to and from Romania and as the last trip has identified, it’s a long way by road, although we quite enjoyed the nights out on the way. Beryl has managed very well and has a special ministry with the wives and children of those we serve.
We look forward to next year and continue to praise Him who called us to this ministry.
Please pray for our ministry and if you feel you can help in a practical way, talk to us. We will be happy to provide more detailed information to help you discern the best way to be involved in this productive and practical way of spreading The Good News in Romania.
In His name