Our Bible study is the foundation and the springboard for all our other activities. We began a Bible study for young men in December of 2003. In October of 2006 we were finally able to begin a Bible study for our young women.
From time to time we like to step back and take a good look at what we are doing and how effective it is. In October of 2007 we did this with our Bible studies. The study for our young men had become ineffective and few were participating. On the other hand, our girls’ study was flourishing and needed to be split in two!
So we decided to change things around. We mixed the guys and the girls and divided them into two groups. We now hold one study on Tuesday nights with the two groups meeting simultaneously in different rooms.
One example of how we do Bible study was an eight-week study in the book of Ruth with which we included a competition between the two groups and a reward. In addition to this we made it more challenging by requiring the orphans to come to Bible study with their lessons prepared. Those coming to all eight Bible studies with their lessons done received a trip to a medieval castle.
So far it has been working extremely well and our numbers have grown to 19 orphans who are participating on a regular basis. We are thankful to the Lord to see so many teenagers and young adults interested in coming consistently to study and learn God’s Word!
You are a Romanian orphan. Actually, technically you are not an orphan. Your father is in jail. Your mother abandoned you at birth… but you know where she lives. You have been to visit her and your ten other brothers and sisters. She doesn’t write. She doesn’t call. She doesn’t want you. You live with this reality every day.
You were neglected as a baby and had developmental problems because nobody cared enough to feed you, clean you, play with you, or touch you.
Your earliest memories are of being abused and terrorized by the older kids in the orphanage. Growing up you received nothing but negative input from those charged with taking care of you. According to them you are stupid, lazy, ugly, and good for nothing. You believe them.
You have been exposed to cigarettes, alcohol, drugs, and all kinds of pornography. You know how to steal, lie, cheat, fight, and cause trouble very well because that is what you learned from your only role models – the other kids in the orphanage.
You have been sodomized. You have been beaten up. You have been in terrible fear for your life.
Do you think this description is an exaggeration? Not at all! It was toned down so as not to be too disturbing. This is the life story of many of the orphans with whom we work.
Despite all of this, some have managed to make something of themselves. Some have even accepted Christ as their Lord and Savior. But they have problems, many problems.
What they need are some positive influences in their lives. They need love, acceptance, patience, good role models, someone to say something encouraging every once in awhile, someone to make them stronger. They need a mentor. They need a friend.
In September, 2005 we began the Discipleship 101 Project. The purpose of this project is to fulfill the Great Commission to, “Go therefore and make disciples of all the nations… teaching them to observe all things that I have commanded you.” (Math. 28:19&20)
The idea is very simple. We match up young people from the orphanage with Christian volunteers who meet with them weekly. That’s it. Sounds simple, right? But you can’t imagine the impact it makes!
One of the things we have discovered with this project is that, in getting to know these young people better, we also get to know the problems and trials that they face everyday.
Here are several examples:
Ema, the mentor of one of our girls, Iolanda, found out that she was coming to both church services every Sunday by foot. It took her about an hour to get there… ONE WAY. That’s four hours of walking every Sunday just to get to church and back. When she left the orphanage she began working in a shoe factory where she made about $100 a month. She couldn’t afford the $10 per month for a tram pass.
One of our guys, Levi, had some problems with his teeth. We took him to the dentist who discovered that every single tooth in his mouth has a cavity! Five teeth have to be pulled and some teeth have several cavities.
We have discovered that several of our guys have problems with pornography. We can’t really be surprised seeing that pornography is sold on the streets in Romania alongside newspapers and decent magazines. Anybody can see them and buy them.
The young people at the orphanage are offered almost nothing to keep them occupied except for a big television in a common room that plays Romanian MTV all day long. We are told that, at night, boys and girls watch pornographic movies that come on regular TV. Even commercials in Romania contain nudity.
At one point one of the girls in our project began exhibiting very negative behavior. She would call her mentor on the phone constantly, become very jealous if her mentor spent time with other orphans, and wrote her mentors name in her flesh with a knife! We have found her some professional help. Please be in prayer for her.
Through the mentoring process these kinds of problems surface and we are able to deal with them. This enables the young person to get rid of past sins and heal wounds and become all that Christ wants him or her to be. In addition, the mentor is a constant, Christ-like example and a source of support and help. Please pray for these young people and for their mentors! Equipping