My first trip to Casa Jubilee, Bucharest, was in August 2011. I had made a very last minute decision to join a youth team that were carrying out mission work between Casa Jubilee and Casa Shalom. I’m so thankful for that spontaneous decision to go on the trip. There was no big ‘burning bush’ moment nor any other kind of miraculous sign telling me to get on a plane: there was, however, a need. And I had the time and resources to simply join in, so I did. I feel as Christians we tend sometimes to over- complicate, and perhaps even ‘over-spiritualise’, our response to what God would have us do. Isaiah 1:17 says “Learn to do right; seek justice. Defend the oppressed. Take up the cause of the fatherless; plead the case of the widow.” God made it so that my desire was to go on such a trip; I hope and pray as you read this that He would shape your desires too.
Scorching summer mornings and afternoons were spent painting the walls within the grounds of Casa Jubilee, as well as just generally helping out with whatever needed to be done. I remember being taken aback by the amount of work that had already been carried out over previous years to provide such a safe home for the girls. In between tasks we took breaks to play basketball and talk together (the language barrier didn’t hold us back!). Despite having horrendous backgrounds, each of the girls was incredibly friendly and fun loving. It was so moving to see some of the girls who were more withdrawn engage and enjoy the hustle and bustle around the compound.
As the time throughout the mission trip continued, I got to learn about some of their stories in more detail: abuse, neglect and abandonment were unfortunately a common theme.
It was quite a difficult pill to swallow – why on earth did I get to go home to a comfortable and secure family unit while these defenceless girls had to rely on strangers for support? I can’t pretend to know all of the answers however I have come to know God’s character more deeply through reading His word: thankfully, He is a good God! Where man has breached the commandments set out in His word, causing pain and hurt in this broken world, He brings restoration and life! He appoints His church to be His hands and feet, to usher in His ‘Kingdom principles’ and to show His character in a broken world: more specifically for the damaged women of the Casa Jubilee family in the community of Bolintin-Deal, Bucharest.
I had the opportunity to return to Casa Jubilee in the summer of 2015 and again in the spring of 2016, this time with smaller teams. These trip involved spending a lot more time with the women as opposed to carrying out maintenance work within the property. I’m so grateful to have had the opportunity to go back and visit the women again. It was amazing to witness first-hand the benefits of the care and love they have been given by the staff, and support from faithful givers. Many of the women who had been quite withdrawn were much more animated and independent. As well as this, they had grown in their creativity; this was evident though their enjoyment of the craft activities. The women have also grown in their solidarity; have truly have become sisters. Now anyone with a sister or sibling will understand that petty fights and squabbles are pretty much inevitable! Though consider this: for these women, many of whom were deserted by their own families, learning to develop and work on such relationships is a gift from the Lord. Sisters can also be fiercely loyal, and it is evident that the women have become very protective of their home and their own family unit.
I could see that other members of the team were also deeply encouraged by the work and investment in the lives of the women at Jubilee. Taking part in a smaller team naturally exposed us to the more specific needs of the staff, of the women and of their home. It was inspiring to watch how God provided for those needs as we prayed. Casa Jubilee relies totally on the prayerful and financial support of those who see a need and meet it in the way they can. It is our prayer that God would continue to miraculously meet the practical, emotional, physical and spiritual needs of the women at Casa Jubilee. We would love you to partner with us in this prayer too.
As a result of making that last minute decision back in 2011 to ‘tag along’ on a mission trip, I now look forward to more pre- planned visits to Casa Jubilee.
“And after the earthquake a re, but the LORD was not in the re. And after the re the sound of a low whisper.” 1 Kings 19:12
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