A Personal Testimony ‒ It's Heartbreaking
14th February 2019
I am sitting in the so-called office with Vali the Adventist owner of a school in Romania, known as Soli Deo Gloria. This room is not just an office – it is a storeroom, first aid room, computer classroom and a thousand and one other things. I am hoping that we can get on with vital work without interruptions. No such luck. First one teacher, then another interrupts. Then a little girl of about 7 years of age comes in with a sore throat. She needs the bee pollen spray. This done I hope she leaves, but she doesn't. She chatters on to Vali. I am feeling that this is not exactly efficient or organised and wish the child would go. I am getting a little impatient. Then I begin to smile to myself at the persistence of this little bespectacled girl. She wants to chat, and chat she does no matter how gently and kindly Vali tries to get her to leave! Eventually she goes.
Reflecting on this episode I put away all desires for efficiency and organisation. They are not important. What is important is the love and protection that these children receive. The school's core is based on love. You see, all these children are from disadvantaged homes and need a tremendous amount of love. Babies are abandoned at birth in the hospital. Hopefully someone will provide them with a home; children have had experiences that make them terrified of everything and everyone; fathers go abroad to earn money to send back to the family but all too often they find another woman – end of family; parents are alcoholics; parents just leave their children to the mercy of other members of the family because they have no money, no job, to sustain the children. And so, it goes on. All children come from poor poverty-stricken families. All children need love and protection and this school provides it. Vali is mother to them all.
The school is love in action. Who clothes the children? Who feeds the children? Who gets them to and from school? Who treats their minor ailments or gets them to hospital? The government closed 3 village schools and the parents would not let their children take the dangerous route to the main school. The consequences of this could be the children would end up on the streets, in petty crime and eventually prison, or much worse. Vali and the teachers are well aware of the many dangers facing children such as being vulnerable to human trafficking, organ harvesting, molestation and other heinous crimes. Vali's tender heart could not let that happen and so she provided a safe environment within this school. The children used to come to her hungry. An apple or a slice of bread did not help. They could not learn because they were so hungry. So, Vali gives all the children plus teachers a good healthy breakfast which sets them up for the day and this costs money. She gets a supply of free clothes, but it costs money for petrol to collect them. She transports the children to and from school in 3 nine-seater minibuses – 30 kids to a bus! What school in Britain would do this? The children cannot afford to pay any fees, teachers wait months for their wages, so how does this school continue to run after six years? Just one example of a miracle: Vali ran a minibus without fuel for a whole year! But how long can this continue? Vali needs help. It costs in the region of £6000 per month to run this school. An awful lot of money.
About four months ago I returned home from Romania with the unenvied position of Acting Business Manager of an 84 pupil and 20 plus staff school. What have I taken on?! Where do I start? I need help, firstly and mostly from the Holy Spirit. That being requested, I have already dealt with the problem the Fire Department had with the school building – that is a long story and ended in a miracle! I am dealing with a problem of some land bought by Vali but the previous owners have not sorted out the documentation; and a new website is being prepared. Then there is a matter of getting financial help from the government. The greatest headache of all is getting money, especially to pay the teachers and their government taxes. So, I am now coming to anyone who will listen to me. If anyone would like to donate that would be wonderful, or if anyone could point me in the right direction for other sources of financial help that too would be wonderful. The teachers need their salaries otherwise they have no bread to put on their tables. The children need feeding and clothing. The boiler needs wood at a cost of £3000 a year to heat the classrooms, a fire alarm system is needed. The list of needs goes on and on.
So, who am I? I am Ruth Farrer from the Crieff Adventist church in Scotland, and can be contacted by email at firstname.lastname@example.org, or on 01764 652611. I will be only too happy to answer your questions.
May God bless you as you consider helping in whatever way you can.