2023 has been an amazing year. After 23 years of spreading God’s love and working hard at transforming the Roma community in Lazareni, we are seeing major changes take place.
From a people without hope, education, access to jobs and training, we are now seeing a generation that understands the value of education, of having a job, but most of all realizing that they are the ones determining their family’s future.
Hope that comes from knowing God as a good father, made such a huge difference in the way they view life, so much so, that desperation seems to have left the village almost entirely.
Through all the Programs and Projects that Caleb has been running we are aiming at a holistic approach to the needs of the community, while emphasizing some more than others according to seasons and changes we notice.
We are now in a season where Education is of paramount importance, not only because of all the opportunities aiming at the minority groups, but we notice an openness, a hunger even in the children toward wanting to know more. Of course, this doesn’t apply only to school related subjects but also to the Bible knowledge and spiritual growth that is part of our curriculum.
We now have 156 children from age 4 to 14 that come to our programs 5 days a week. Some come to kindergarten, others come to the afterschool program, while others that need more help and attention come to the “one to one” meeting with our teachers. We are blessed to be able to provide care, love, affection and much needed food for them every time they come to Caleb.
From January to August, we had many activities that involved the kids. Among them we had 3 summer camps where we divided the kids according to age. Two of the week-long camps were held on our property and the weather helped make these summer camps some of our best so far. All activities revolved around the theme of this year which was “Kingdom Kids”. The 3rd camp took place 5 hours away at a beautiful camp site and it was for the older kids that have earned the right to go by scoring a high attendance and good grades.
We made sure that the Kingdom values: Righteousness, Peace and Joy were present throughout all our activities. The aim was a major shift in their identity.
It’s hard to capture so many kids and the joy they experienced but of you watch the video bellow you will get a glimpse of what it was like.
In July we were blessed to be able to do a course called “My job, my profession” in partnership with COM International from Switzerland with the young people looking to go to high school and then move on to choosing a career. In 2024 we will continue with the second stage of training.
The Community Building is almost finished (project that has been going one for 3 years, as we are highly dependent on donations) and we are all looking forward to putting it to good use. If you’re thinking of doing a mission trip next year, please let us know. We will now be able to host you in our new building.
There have been a few endeavors to create jobs especially for those that are illiterate or have had very little education. Even though we had qualified people help us write business plans as well as assisting us in applying for grants nothing has materialized. That doesn’t mean we are giving up; we just have to look at other ways of doing it. We have met with the mayor and his team and are looking at finding long term solutions for the unemployment problem in the Roma communities.
Our garden and orchard yielded and unusual bountiful crop this year which meant we were able to bless the community and not had to spend so much money on food. Praise God.
As we are close to the Ukraine border many thousands of Ukrainians have fled to our home town Oradea and many have settled since, we have been able to raise funds for this cause as well as facilitate humanitarian aid in 2022 and 2023 for churches in Ukraine.
It’s been over a year since the Ukrainian church in our town has its services in our church’s facilities every Thursday night. Due to the partnership with the Ukrainian pastor many hundreds have been blessed over the course of almost two years.
We still have a few evets worth mentioning like the Thanksgiving Event for the Ladies that will take place on Friday the 24th of Nov, as well as Christmas celebration events according to age groups in December.
The unplanned & emergencies
There are many of these throughout the year, and being a humanitarian organization, we cannot ignore them. We have a tab open at the local pharmacy where we sent the ones that cannot afford to buy medicine. A few roofs needed to be replaced as the storm blew them away. A desperate family needed a house and we were able to facilitate that. And there are the many cases we need to intervene on the Roma’s behalf in the hospitals or other government offices as they are either neglected or taken advantage of.
These are just some of the highlights of this fruitful year!
Thank you for your prayers and support!
Gheorghe & Alina Galea