Happy Birthday to the Smiles Foundation Missions Centre! We celebrated the 10 year anniversary of the Mission Centre today. Smiles staff, interns, translators, thee Northern Ireland Team and the Regent team gathered for a celebratory dinner and balloon launch this evening. We thanked God for His provision of the Mission Centre (which has housed over 3000 people since its’ inception) and the work God has done and will continue to do through those who stay here. After dinner we worshipped together in Romanian and English, heard a message from Smiles founder Kevin Hoy, and a presentation on the Gepiu elderly project. The universal experience of celebration, gratitude, and worship bridged our cultural differences.
During our daily debriefing later in the evening, Mel shared a story of the universality of love at the Tileagd gypsy community. Kim’s team visited Tileagd today. Mel and Ketlynn spent time with a 10 year old boy who shared a story of being beaten by his father and being witness to abuse of his mother. As the boy talked, he slipped his hand into Mel’s. They sat together and shared the pain for a few brief moments. Mark shared another story from the Tileagd about a boy with a reputation of aggression. Last week this same boy had learned a deep breathing technique from a Regent team member. Mark saw this boy get shoved by a peer. The boy held the offender to the ground in retaliation, but then turned away, took a few deep breaths and walked away without inflaming the aggression.
Dr. Keyes’ team went to Child Protection Services in Oradea today where he and Cheryl gave presentations on Child and Adolescent Trauma. The team also trained the CPS workers in several practical techniques for their work with traumatized children. They led groups and practiced the use of stones, stories, and puppets. Feedback was overwhelmingly positive. The very burdened CPS workers were grateful for new and useful ideas of helping their clients.
Lem’s team went on family visits in and around Oradea today. They met with a single mother and her 13 year old son with physical disabilities. At the next home they met a woman who lost her young adult son last year. Team members taught her a safe space technique to help her find comfort In her grief. This woman’s adult daughter also lives in the home. She has a severely disfigured face as a result of a genetic syndrome. Her spirit was full of joy. Team members engaged her through the stones technique. Lastly this team visited a single mother and her two boys. Her ex-husband’s alcoholism has ravaged the family’s financial and emotional well being.
It was an intense day in many ways. We shared the universal experiences of both pain and hope.