“…let your light shine before others, so that they may see your good works and give glory to your Father who is in heaven.” (Matthew 5:15)
Bloated and fatigued by the excesses of the festive season, resolving to stick to New Year resolutions; spare a thought for Cluj. Cluj is an old Romanian university city in Transylvania and home to a soccer team that played in the same group as Man Utd in the Champions League this season. Less glamorously it has a district called Pata Rat that is not only home to the city’s rubbish dump but also to families of Roma gypsies living in, on and from the rubbish.
I wrote about my church’s (APCH’s) mission to the Roma last year (Mission Possible); thirty three of us revisited in 2012. What a difference a year makes! A permanent multi-functional building has been built in the centre of the shanty village and is a beacon of hope for permanence, sanitation, education, medication and a symbol of trust in God in the lives of the Roma who live there and those who help them.
We erected six more pre-fabricated houses; at a cost of EUR2,500 each and a life span of ten years means families’ lives are being changed at EUR250 per year per family.
We provided a children’s programme and a food distribution programme. The latter is tough emotionally. Seeing 100+ filthy children waiting prayerfully and patiently for a meagre meal of a sandwich, a banana and a drink is heartbreaking and all the more shocking in that in this European city it is a daily occurrence.
If you haven’t been on a mission trip, maybe you could add it to your New Year’s resolutions and pray that your life is active in the service of others: pray in the words of Charles Garfield: may your life be a mission and not an intermission.