From May 3-10, our farm was taken over by a helpful team of workers that, headed by Nicu, helped with some maintenance work on the main area of the farm and on adjacent parts. For sometime, the embankment on the east side of the farm was beginning to show signs of collapse and risking, during rain and snow, of falling against the bedrooms, as happened last winter. It was difficult but we finally received the funds to restore the first 28m, the most dangerous part for our guests. We still need to fix another 30m but it is less urgent and we are hoping to finish it by the end of the year. This time we also had some visitors. There were new guests (Michela and Giuseppe Falcone) and we had the pleasure of seeing David Ferrante come back to Rebricea, a brother that had already visited and worked on the farm in the past. Everyone, including me and Giacomo, were put to the test during the five days (Monday-Friday) of hard manual labor. Nothing stopped us: adverse weather conditions, limited time, shortage of equipment and adequate materials, the amount of things to fix, easily getting worn out (at least for some of us) and other challenges. But thanks to God, everything went even better than we expected. We were able to do much more than we thought we would. Giuseppe’s contribution (heating and plumbing by profession) was essential. Thanks to him, we restored the correct operation in three bathrooms, improved the efficiency of hot water, moved a hot water heater to a new room created in the old storage area, and connected drinking water from town to our water system on the farm in order to access it during droughts. Even Michela (Giuseppe’s wife) had a lot to do with organizing food items and utensils that have not been used for a while. David, with his great patience and pleasant mood, helped with all of the maintenance work, including painting various rooms and setting up the tents that we will need for the summer camp. For once, Giacomo and I became real bricklayers with Nello, a friendly sixty-year-old man that Nico asked to give us a hand: a real force of nature! We can’t forget about Mihaela’s important contribution cooking for a hungry army two times a day and also our children on the farm. They keep growing and they always show a willing desire to help us: this time, for example, they hung up the dark curtains in the bedrooms that our dear Costanza Sansone sewed with love and they helped clean up after the painting We also had the regular activities like the Saturday Kids’ Club, visiting the church in Pădureni (Saturday afternoon) and for the first time on the farm, we had a Sunday church service with the church in Negreşti that we had lunch with afterwards: with excellent lasagna that was prepared by Michela Falcone. Giuseppe shared (both in Pădureni and Rebricea) a short message from the Word of God. Once again I asked our new guests to write their impression of their experience in Romania. We like to relive the moments we spent together, from the point of view of our guests and to see how these experiences are different for everyone, creating feelings that are unique and unforgettable.
Michela and I are grateful to the Lord for having given us the opportunity to visit the brothers and sisters in Christ in Romania with the Bethesda mission and to spend a week with them. Meeting the Stroi family and the children was both exciting and encouraging. Nicu, Mihaela and their daughter Crina welcomed us with love and the children surrounded us with affection! During our stay we were able to, in some way, offer help with various practical jobs that occupied most of our time, but also participate in some spiritual activities like the Saturday Kids’ Club and visiting the church in Pădureni and also have a meeting on the farm with a lunch among believers. Seeing the reality of the poverty and difficult situations that many families face, opened our eyes and our mind. I thank God that He introduced us to Bethesda!
This was my fifth trip to Romania, but it was the most important. First, because I had never worked so hard and second, because of meeting the new Stroi family. My experience with the farm began about 13 years ago, with the work and visits to the poor villages but I had never spoken with any of the children that we were helping. Meeting the children on the farm was moving, their affection, their attachment to me after only one day, listening to them as they sang Christian songs. Those are feelings that stayed in my heart and I thank God for allowing me to have this time there, I thank the Lord that I was able to meet Orazio in a way that only God could have made happen. I thank God that I was able to see Mihaela and Nicu again after 8 years. I thank the Lord that allowed me to be an active part of Bethesda.
I must say that I was very touched with how Bethesda works on the farm: the determination in wanting to continue the work of God. Working with Giuseppe, Michela, Giacomo and Orazio was a great experience. It seemed like we had known each other for years. I’ll end by saying that I pray every day for Bethesda, for the children, for Mihaela and Nico and for all of those who are a part of it. Thank you for giving me the opportunity to help you, a hug in the Lord.