Three members of Christ Church Youth Club The Rock travelled to Romania in July 2012. One of the three, Philip Stone, gives his account of their adventure.
To me the Romania trip was an eye-opening experience. I saw how even the littlest things can have a huge impact on someone, such as giving up time to run a kids’ club, or help renovate a church door and wall, or giving a family a food package. We did all of these things and we saw how the people were affected by it and we saw how grateful they were with the little we did because it gave them so much.
Running the kids’ club was fun for us and them. Over the summer, most children from the larger towns are sent to live with their grandparents for the holidays, so they would have either been working or doing nothing for most of their time there, so we gave them something to do for a week where they could enjoy themselves and learn some Bible stories. At the kids club we played games, did crafts, sang some songs and taught them some Bible stories. We sang the songs in English and it was really touching because they sang in English too, they wouldn’t have understood all of the words, but they put the effort in anyway.
We also helped with our host’s church, repainting the door and removing the old layer of concrete off the wall. It was very hard and tiring work, but the end result made it all worthwhile.
The other thing we did to help the people there, was delivering food to poor families who needed the food. When we visited these families, we saw the despair and hopelessness in their eyes because they had so little and they knew it. But the change in their faces when we showed up with all of this food was amazing, their faces lit up and changed so much when we gave them the food. Some of the conditions they were in were awful, most of the houses were pretty run down and one house was just a room, which was the kitchen, living room and bedroom. It made me realise just how lucky we are to have so much. But despite the amount we have, we give away so little compared to those who have a lot less, because one family, when we arrived, we so happy and grateful with what we did, that they gave us their dinner. This was really touching and showed me how grateful these people were with what we did.
The final thing we did on the trip was the ‘Bush Camp’, which was a poverty simulation at the Exodus centre. We spent two nights in a shelter which we had put up ourselves and it was made of two tarpaulins and wooden planks and pallets. It was an interesting experience because we did a variety of activities, which simulated various aspects of poverty, such as disabilities in poverty, working life in the slums and all of our meals were made on less than $1 a day. It made me realise how hard it is for people who live in poverty and how simple it can be to help them. Overall I thoroughly enjoyed my trip to Romania as it was an experience that was worth doing as it helped me see how much we take for granted and how little we actually need.