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A Warm Springtime in Romania: March 2014

Dear Prayer Partners of the Romanian Children’s Homes–
I have discovered a corollary to Murphy’s Law from my years of traveling in Romania:  whatever clothes I need while I am in Romania will be at home, hanging in my closet!  This was particularly true this trip. Jerry and I left America, still locked in a seemingly endless cold and snowy winter, and arrived to find Romania already enjoying a warm spring.  From the moment we broke through the clouds in preparation for our landing in Bucharest we could see the bright, almost neon green fields spread out below us.  How thrilling to drive from Bucharest to Giurgiu, and several days later, to Braila where we passed fields dotted with spring flowers and trees with leaves just emerging in a pale green haze.  It seemed each field had tractors zipping up and down tilling the black soil, and each small town was filled with people enjoying the warm, sunny weather.  It reminded me of the movie, The Wizard of Oz, where we left America like Kansas, all in boring black & white, only to wake up in Romania, like Oz, an explosion of vibrant color.
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As soon as we arrived at the Bethel Home in Giurgiu, we packed our winter coats, hats, gloves, and heavy sweaters in our suitcase (which didn’t leave much, believe me) and settled in to enjoy our visit in the spring sunshine.  We came to Romania this trip to have our  board meetings at the children’s homes in preparation for the annual board meeting of the Evergreen Foundation which is the last Saturday in March.  Because of Jerry’s nomination to the KY Veterans Hall of Fame and the induction ceremony March 12our trip to Romania was shortened a bit, so each day was packed with activities.  The evening we arrived we gathered for the board meeting of the Bethel Foundation along with Dave Gall, who is also a member of the Evergreen Foundation board, to hear Marius Radulescu, Director of the Bethel Home, report on the previous year.  We were happy to hear that 2013 had been a very good year for the Bethel Home children, and we are also excited to hear that there are plans this year to welcome new children to Bethel Home in time for the beginning of a new school year in the fall.
A few days later we gathered with Ina Popescu, Director of the Home of Hope, for the board meeting of the ProVision Foundation at the Home of Hope children’s home.  Ina reported that 2013 was a good year at Home of Hope, but also a very busy year.  The Home of Hope families continued to grow as 7 new children were added to 2 families (5 siblings in Ligia Trandafir’s family and 2 siblings in the Aliman family), bringing the total of Home of Hope children to 47 in 4 families.  Of these 47 children, 28 are in elementary school, 10 are in high school or vocational school, and 9 are at the university, both in Romania and the United States.  Presently the families are at capacity but since a few children will be graduating from the university soon and becoming independent, the Department for Child Protection (DPC) has asked Ina to consider taking 3 little sisters who are living in an emergency shelter in Braila now, waiting to be placed in a home.  Ina told us they will be coming to visit Home of Hope probably next week, and she is hoping to be able to find a place for them in one of the Home of Hope families.
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Jerry and I were also excited to hear that Home of Hope will be having the first weddings of two Home of Hope young people this summer.  Sandica Scarlat will be getting married in June and Cristina Popa will be getting married on July 5.  Home of Hope was buzzing during our visit with feverish planning for the festivities.  It is always exciting to see the young people of the children’s homes finding a job or being accepted at a university and moving on to a new stage in life.  But there is something even more exciting about seeing them getting married and beginning a new family of their own.  We pray for each child as they make decisions about their future but we pray especially that these young people will begin to pass on the love that they have received from their families at the Home of Hope and Bethel Home.  How blessed Jerry and I are to be able to be witnesses of these special occasions for our Romanian children: birthday parties, school programs, graduations, and now weddings!
As we returned to Bucharest to fly home to America, Jerry and I made plans to welcome some of our Romanian friends for visits.  This week Lori & Dora Erbatu, our successors for the Evergreen Foundation in Romania, will be coming to attend the Evergreen Foundation annual board meeting.  And later in May, Dorin Prunariu, our friend and Romania’s only astronaut to fly with the Russians in space, will be speaking at the commencement at Lindsey Wilson College where Gabi Parnica, one of our Home of Hope children, will be graduating.  Once again, Jerry and I will be witnesses for an exciting new beginning.
We hope that you too, our faithful supporters of the Romanian children’s homes, can feel a part of these special times.  It is your heartfelt prayers and your faithful support that allows these children to go from those first days of fear and trembling to that happy day when they leave with joy and hope to begin their new lives.  Please join with us so that each of those days will be bathed with prayers that these children will not only come to know the Lord who loves them even more than we do but also that they will live the lives that the Lord has planned for them.
With love in Christ–
Jerry & Kendrick McCandless


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