Sunday, July 18, 2010

What is a house of joy?

As many of my loyal followers (if I have any) know, my dear friends and family members of Romanian decent have suffered from years of oppression (or maybe suppression). They’ve experienced more in a lifetime (especially those more seasoned) than most of us will even read about in our history books. We may read about history, but history they have lived! Though the senior adults have seen and experienced the most, the children of Romania may have been affected the greatest, especially those living in rural villages. Most of these children and their families have never been given an opportunity to break free from the cycle of poverty.

So how do you break the cycle of something that has been going on for decades? In my honest opinion the solution is simple: EQUIP.

If Romania is going to break this vicious cycle, parents must be equipped and children must be educated. Providing a safe, stable home environment increases a child’s chance for success. In addition, providing these children with educational opportunities, while equipping them with life skills and the knowledge of Jesus Christ, will be the best chance to not only break the cycle of poverty but also to raise-up a generation of educated, equipped, leaders of their country and servants of the Lord.

This is where the House of Joy comes in to play. Many of you have seen my pictures from the Pioneer Drive Baptist Church mission trip in early June. This team began construction for the HOJ. Much progress was made but much progress is left to be made. Our goal: To see the doors of the HOJ opened to the children of Susani and the surrounding communities. Our timeline: NOW! Well, to be more realistic by August 2012.

How will the HOJ make an impact you ask? Our dream is for the HOJ to be a support center, hub, or beacon of hope if you will, not only for Susani, but for the surrounding communities. The primary goal for the HOJ is to break the cycle of poverty. Lofty goal! Yes, but an achievable one none-the-less.

The essential components for the HOJ are as follows:
  • Location – Place the HOJ in a high need area. What is a high need area? An area with a large number of single parents. An area lacking infrastructure (water and sanitation). An area in need of education (formal and vocational). An area in need of medical care. An area with a high rate of poverty. Most importantly, an area with vulnerable children and families.
  • Services – The HOJ will provide services to parents that enable and empower them to provide a safe, loving and stable environment for their children. Core services - medical, job training and education, humanitarian aid, family preservation and intervention, and foster care and family unification. Specific services - activities for the youth (physical education, life skills development, educational support, and spiritual development) and the adults (parenting skills, vocational skills, and spiritual development). Support services - delivered via local and international mission teams. Teams will be recruited to host camps/clubs (sports, English, life skills, parenting, etc.). These camps can be hosted at the Center or remotely as well. Teams will also be recruited for short time medical care to be hosted at the Center. In addition mission teams will be recruited to provide support services in the local communities via construction (home repairs and home construction). Individuals and teams will also be recruited for evangelical support via Vacation Bible School, Disciple Now, lay leadership training, and pastor conferences.

Why Susani?
Susani is a community of approximately 200 people. It is a very poor community, but a communty with a big heart; a community noted for great leaders. Susani is strategically placed to reach thousands of families. Within a 30 mile radius of Susani are approximately 25 villages with over 2,800 children 18 years of age or younger. Ovidiu and Adina Patrick have already placed themselves in a leadership role at Susani via the local Baptist church. They have spent over six years developing relationships with the children of these 25 villages. They have the trust and support of the local community.

Why the House of Joy
Why not? Not really! The principles behind the House of Joy are built upon the foundation that:

  1. Every child needs and deserves a safe, stable and permanent family. If given this support system a child will develop into a healthy, productive, contributing member of society.
  2. Families are the basic building blocks of communities. Parents are the foundation. Children are the future.
  3. Most children from rural Romania will leave for educational opportunities and rarely return. Some leave to go to the next village for middle school education. Others leave to the next big city for high school education. Some will leave to a big city for college. A few will leave the country to seek employment. Regardless of where they go given the proper tools these children can serve as leaders of their circle of influence and even better, as missionaries.

The House of Joy truly can make a lasting impact in the life of a child. The foundation has been poured. Walls are being erected. Seeds are being planted. The future is bright. All we need now is you. So how can you get involved? More on that next week. Until then, aspire to new heights!

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