Success Stories

Ramona - Positive Repercussions of a Changed Life

Ramona was perhaps the most challenging case of all the girls to come out of CP2. She had never received loving attention from anyone in her life, and it showed in her comportment. She lacked even the simplest of social graces and was always getting into trouble. Even when she attended a couple of our free computer and English classes, Ramona had not applied herself to learn anything.

Ramona had been abandoned at birth and never knew any relatives. When it came time for her to leave the institution she grew up in, she begged us to take her into the FAVOR Transitional Home. The director of the institution and their superiors all counseled us against this, as did our own common sense. But, after prayer, we felt led to give Ramona a chance. She had a dream of working with children. I told her that in order to do that, she would need at least a collegiate high-school degree. Ramona said she would go to night school for three years to obtain this, while working in a factory in the daytime, if we would take her in. No one really fully expected her to make this goal. But we told her that if she was determined, we would do all we could to help her make it. Over the next three years, Ramona learned to apply herself and reached her goal. There were many tests for us along the way also, as it seemed that her problems and needs for help would never cease.

After finishing night school, Ramona was offered work in Italy, where she has been caring for a baby and some elderly people for the past two years. She has kept in touch with us, phoning once in a while.One day, Ramona called to ask if I could help her find a room in Bacau. She said she'd been working very hard, and had saved up enough money to buy a little room. This was like a dream for a girl who had never had a place to call her own , and who no one had expected to achieve anything. We were really proud of her, knowing that she has had the inner strength to fight hard for a long time to reach this goal. But I didn't know if the money she had saved up would be sufficient for a room.

The first day I went out to search, I was led to a very small, but clean place, selling for just the amount she had saved up. What's more, it just came on the market that day! When the owners agreed to wait a few weeks for payment, I knew that this was the place . I was able to sign a pre-contract in Ramona’s name to secure the room for her, and a few weeks later she came to Bacau to finish everything.

Ramona told me, “I’m not going to live in this room. For now, I’ll give it to two of my friends from the orphanage. They can stay there for free.” It was wonderful to see how she, like many others who have benefited from the Transitional Home program, want to pass on the good that has been given to her. Ramona’s friends, who have really been struggling since leaving the placement center, could hardly believe that she was giving them this room to live in!

Ramona left with a wonderful feeling of accomplishment, both from having worked to get a place of her own, and from being able to give it to her friends. And we at FAVOR were very happy to have been able to be a little part of it.

-----------------------------------------------------------------

Ioana

Ioanna with Effie, her first birthday outside of the orphanage

Ioana was raised in a Romanian orphanage. Like many of her peers, she had very little self-esteem and no hope for a happy future.

Working at this particular orphanage, my goals were to offer hope and foster self-esteem among the orphans, as well as to provide material aid and educational programs aimed at equipping them for the future.

We first met Ioanna in the computer center that we established in the orphanage. She was the shyest and most self-effacing of our students.

As the end of the school year drew near, we felt led to open a transitional home for some of the orphans who had graduated high school and needed to leave the institution. Ioanna was among those we selected for this program. She was happy to have a place to go and people to look after her, but at the same time frightened and sad to leave the orphanage that she had called home.

Ioana was a good student, but with only limited scholastic experience her hopes for a decent job were limited at best. We enrolled her and some others in secretarial training courses and set up a couple of computers for them to work on. During this time, we tried to make these youngsters feel a part of our personal family. Ioanna grew especially close to our children and us. I remember the first time that she told us, “I never knew what love was, until I met your family.”

As Ioanna received help and encouragement from us, she had a quality of always wanting to pass on some of the same to others. She accompanied us on visits to needy families, helped us make packages of clothing and did whatever she could to return the help she had received.

One day, just before Christmas, as Ioana was helping us in a “free store” that we had opened for the city's poorest families, a drama unfolded. Ioanna's mother, who had abandoned her at birth and only seen her three times in her life, walked into the shop, being on the city's list of those eligible to receive aid. Although Ioana had had no relationship whatsoever with her mother, she recognized her when she entered, and whispered to me, “That's my mother.”

I observed as the woman focused intently on Ioanna and then coldly turned to start selecting clothes. I could hardly believe my eyes. Ioana began to cry and hid herself in the back room, where my wife and others comforted her. I approached her mother and told her that the girl she had seen was her daughter, Ioana. She replied with, “I know. I'm going to greet her after I get my things.”

Neither the city social assistance workers nor I could understand this woman's unfeeling attitude. Finally, I told her, “Mrs. J., I have known your daughter for a year and a half. I want you to know that she is not only a good student, but also a very good person who genuinely cares about others. She is going to do something good with her life, and you should be proud of her.”

Unmoved, Ioana's mother left the store. A while later, she returned and spoke a few words to her daughter. When it was all over, Ioana, smiling through her tears, told us again how thankful she is for our family, and how we were there when her own family was not.

Ioana has now moved on from our transitional home, but not out of our hearts.  After working some time with a mobile phone company, she went into social assistance and is now in England working with children. She still spends much of her free time helping others in a variety of ways. She is no longer too shy to face the world, and is helping to make it a better place for those around her.

---------------------------------------------------------------

Costel

Costel (left) celebrating his Name Day

Costel spent the first 11 years of his life with his parents, until a tragic event resulted in his father dying in his arms and his mother being sentenced to prison.   Costel and his two younger brothers became wards of the state and were moved to the orphanage in Comanesti.

We first met Costel in 2007, when we drove him and his brothers across the country to visit their mother in prison, along with a girl from another orphanage in Onesti, whose father was incarcerated in the same city.  Some months later, when Costel finished school and had to move out of the orphanage, we received him into our Transitional Home.  Costel showed his apreciation of this opportunity by paying close attention to all the training offered.  He was also deeply touched by the caring attention shown to him and the other program participants.  Through this, he developed a desire for a closer relationship with the God whose love motivates us to help others.

Costel's brother, Vasile, is one of the many young people in this country who contracted AIDS as a baby, shortly after the revolution, via infected blood and re-used syringes in the hospital.  Vasile may not have much longer to live, but one of Costel's plans is to have his brother move in with him and stay together for as long as he has.

Since moving out of the Tranistional Home,  Costel gives increasingly more of his time and resources towards helping other young people.  He has told us many times, "Through you, God helped me.  Now, for the rest of my life, I want to help others."

In 2010, some of the boys who needed to move on from the Transitional Home needed a lot of extra help.  They were all a bit mentally challenged and we were concerned that, even after all the training we'd given them, they would likely have a very difficult time adjusting to being completely on their own.  Costel decided to take this group under his wing.  He convinced a few of them to stick together, then he found an apartment and negotiated with the owner.  We helped the boys get set up, giving them some furniture, bedding, kitchen supplies and so on.  But it was Costel who was most often with them, making sure that the bills were paid, that there was food in the house, and so on.  Eventually, when two room-mates had moved out, leaving bills unpaid and a rent too high for those remaining, Costel left the free housing his employer had provided for him and became a rent-paying member of this little co-op.  We thank God for the good fruit that has been brought forth in his life.