The History of our Ministry
2001 was a banner year for ROM’s founder and President, Corey Burba, because 2001 was the year God called him to work with orphans in Romania.
Corey’s early life was, in his own words, “a disaster.” In his teen years he grew very rebellious and became a troublemaker, relying heavily on drugs and alcohol to ameliorate his pain. Although his Christian mother had consistently taken him to church, put him in private school, and taught him from the Bible, Corey developed a hatred for Christianity and for God Himself.
In 1994, at the age of eighteen, Corey gave up his hatred and his fight against God and accepted Christ as his Lord and Savior in a drug rehabilitation clinic. The changes were immediate; however, he had a long way to go.
The next few years were a time of consistent spiritual growth as God worked with Corey undoing all the damage and destruction of his former life. In 1999 Corey was involved in an auto accident that left him with a strange back problem. Although he saw many specialists, no diagnosis was ever made and no treatment worked. Soon he was no longer able to work and entered into a year and a half time period that he describes as, “the most difficult of my life.”
During this time Corey fought to understand why God had stricken him with this malady and what His plan was for his life. After a year and a half Corey finally accepted the hand the Lord had dealt him and was at peace. It was only then, in 2001, that the Lord showed Corey the plan that he had had for him all along.
In September, 2001, Corey was asked to volunteer to help with a group of orphans from Romania who were attending a camp in the United States. The orphans flew into JFK airport and stayed in downtown Manhattan on September the 10th, 2001. The next day Corey, the other leaders, and 20 scared orphans from Romania witnessed one of the worst tragedies in our nation’s history with their own eyes. After a frightful, sleepless night in a hotel with five people to a room, the group attempted to leave Manhattan. The sea of military vehicles, police officers, firemen, and other various emergency workers was a shocking sight, but not as shocking as seeing the second plane hit the World Trade Center and watching as both buildings collapsed the day before!
With this as a backdrop, the group took the orphans to a camp in South Carolina where they spent three weeks together. The relationships developed with the orphans during this time significantly affected Corey. When the orphans had to be taken back to the airport they cried and begged not to be sent back to Romania.
After this Corey began to research the plight of orphans in Romania. He began learning the language, attending a Romanian Baptist Church in his hometown of Nashville, TN, and corresponding with orphan workers in Romania.
In the spring of 2002 Corey made a trip to Romania, his first trip ever out of the U.S., which was intended to last seven weeks. Corey changed his plans and stayed for more than half a year visiting many organizations that worked with orphans, studying the language and the culture, learning to live in Romania, and making contacts.
After this life-changing stay in Romania, God called Corey to work full-time with the orphans there. Miraculously, Corey’s mysterious back problem disappeared during this time! Corey had felt held back and frustrated by his back debilitation. Therefore, when God took it away he took off running.
Corey founded Romanian Orphan Ministries, Inc. in the state of Tennessee in 2003 and applied for tax-exempt status with the IRS. This status was given in the fall of 2003. During the meantime Corey had taken a second trip to Romania to set up a legal non-profit in Romania. This process was completed in the summer of 2004.
After the long, frustrating process of creating two different non-profit organizations in two separate countries was completed, ROM was finally able to begin helping orphans and fulfilling its mission.
As the work with the orphans progressed and his relationship with them deepened, Corey began seeing how God was using all of the hardships that he had faced in his life to equip him to minister to the crude, tough, and hardened orphans in Romania.
In 2005 Corey married Diana, a Romanian, and the two live and work in Romania evangelizing, discipling, and equipping orphans to follow their own calling from the Lord and to become mature, independent, and confident young people.
However, Corey and Diana do not work alone! In the United States volunteer workers take care of much of the day to day business of the organization. Volunteers have been indispensible from the beginning and ROM in no way could function without them.
At the Agape Association, ROM’s legal non-profit in Romania, a team of six people from the U.S. and Romania work together to mentor and minister to teenage/young adult orphans.
Our prayer is that these first few years of Romanian Orphan Ministries have laid the foundation for much more work in the future with the orphans of Romania. We hope and pray God will use us in mighty ways in their lives for many years to come, and that the history of our ministry is just now being written.
To read an article about Corey and ROM in the Nashville paper the Tennessean please click here!