Luke Davidson: Romania Report (SAV)

In June/July 2023, a team of nine from Greyfriars Free Church visited Romania to organize a summer camp for children living in extreme poverty. This was part of a Blythswood Care project called Talita Kum, aimed at supporting the children’s education and creating opportunities to share the Gospel.

We first arrived in Romania the day before the camp to prepare for the week ahead and discuss our plans and what to expect. On the camp with us were three Romanian teachers and 20 kids. Only two of the kids had any form of English.

The kids are all from a small town called Jimbolia and only travel by horse and cart. The camp however was a three-hour drive which took four hours as we had to make several stops for the kids to be sick!

The camp was based up in the Mountains of Retezat and our initial aim was to climb to three of the peaks with the kids across the week. Along with this, the plan was to fill the week with sports games, crafts, dancing (and Ceilidh dancing!) and anything else that would entertain a 6-10 year old!

The weather we experienced happened to be the worst weather in many years but was still around 25 degrees. This meant that we could not do all the hikes so we only did one peak and added in more crafts and games instead. These included designing hats, T-shirts and tote bags, bracelets, paper airplanes and sock puppets. We also played games like sharks and fishes and parachute games.

We had to do all of this without the children knowing any English. However, we discovered that we could find ways to communicate and overcome the language barrier. By the end of the week, we could understand and converse almost normally.

We ended every night by teaching and singing some action songs, the favourite being “Our God is a Great Big God”. We would discuss the lyrics and their meaning with the children, helping them understand that there is always a God watching over them.

The most encouraging and blessed moment came after day three, when all 20 kids – having no English – were able to sing the whole action song without prompt! As a plan to surprise us, they had been singing the song in their beds at night, practising the English words with each other to show us the next day.

We visited the kids’ homes only after the camp had finished, aiming to avoid any preconceived ideas. Seeing their living conditions was heartbreaking, yet they seemed so proud of their homes. For instance, a girl named Ema shared one bed with four other siblings in a house that only had one other room. None of the houses had indoor toilets or showers.

The project’s goal is to keep these kids in education, aiming to broaden their horizons, helping them to realise there’s more to life than the slums they live in.

Our goal with this trip was to provide an unforgettable summer holiday and also play a part in exposing the kids to the word of God, both of which were achieved with the words of “Our God is a Great Big God” in a Romanian accent ringing in our ears.

Women for Mission were pleased to be able to offer Luke some funding towards his trip to Romania via the Support A Volunteer Fund.

Could you or someone you know benefit from this fund? Find out more here.


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