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NEWSLETTER

PRISON FELLOWSHIP ROMANIA

No. 3, July - September 2010

John,14:12 village where I was born.


I tell you the truth, anyone who has faith in me will do what That was true for Gina, Rares, Mihaela, David, Carmen,
I have been doing. He will do even greater things than these, Alexandra, Kinga, Ovidiu...
because I am going to the Father. Believe it or not, at the moment we are in storming, a stage
In just a few words I would like to share some thought that forces us to give in, and allow our attitudes, feelings and our
about the TEAM. In the above verse, the Great Teacher is ad- capacity to listen, allow all those things to be shaped. And that is
dressing a team he worked with for over three years. It was a so hard to do, as all of us fear vulnerability, failure, discourage-
team of simple people but very different from each other. Some- ment. I am the first to admit that it's painful to feel sometimes that
one once said that, in a team, usual people accomplish unusual the 20 years of experience I accumulated is not always wel-
things. comed, but the truth is that we all need to change, even the older
For the last three months we have tried to talk in our of us…
weekly bible study about ways we can enhance the efficiency of It's been on my heart for a while to allow the team to work
team work. We talked about our identity and the values we cher- more freely, and that will start more and more at the beginning of
ish. A team is not built over night and you can't expect results 2011.
from one day to another. Many leaders believe that God had called them to a posi-
I have been preoccupied by the issue of team work for a tion for ever. I, myself might be in this category. How could I think
long time and I realized that unfortunately sometimes my weak- like you, dear youngsters, when we are 30 years apart? I used to
nesses and limitation might be an obstacle to the efficiency of the study at candle light, go to school, tend the animals around the
team. I have been trying hard to allow the leaders develop their house and spend the whole day crying at times.
own personality and make their own decisions. We learned the It is so different for you: intelligent young people, well edu-
hard way that a team needs to evolved through at least five cated and experienced in a different world.
steps: forming, storming, norming, performing and finally, re- Dear ones, I VALUE THE TEAM AND I LOVE YOU SO
forming as in going separate ways, because, everything in the MUCH!
world is temporary. It is amazing that all PFR leaders benefited I just looked out the window and noticed that the storm has
from managerial training but also learned from valuable books as passed...
well as the hands on work in the fields as I learned in the little

Her name is Gabriela Tunde. She came to Sobarilor Center on the Like in a movie, there’s only dark-
17th of August, 2010 and she immediately caught our attention with ness, 6-week coma in a hospital and
her slow walking and her bent body. blind pain, a lot of pain....
She’s only 40 years old and had an oscillating life with glimpses of Two weeks after being discharged
unknown pains and tears that make you wonder: how was she able to from the hospital she is arrested for
go through all that? murder.
Immediately after her birth, her parents divorced, and she was raised The only proof: fingerprints on
by her grandparents until she was 7 years old... the knife…
"You're my girl, come to mama ..."," You're the only grandchild we The lack of witnesses and proofs could have helped her if she had
have got, come to your grandparents! We want to adopt you ... " a lawyer. There was a process that she did not understand. What she
Her mother remarried and Gabriela (as I like to call her) started ele- understood was only a number: 18 year sentence, years of harsh and
mentary school and then economic high school. undeserved life.
After only two years she leaves school in order to take care of her She was then moved from prison to prison: four years here, eight
bedridden grandfather. years there, two years somewhere else …
At just 18, Prince Charming comes with the promise: “until death do The ruthless disease struck a devastated human being, and this
us part!" was the reason why Gabriela was released from prison and brought
Her husband was not what she expected. Well, yes, love lasted four to us by Lydia Dan…
years... after that: fights, violence, physical and mental abuse... The most painful thing is that her life is still a struggle: ambulance
Gabriela goes through another divorce… twice a day, Oncology examinations, perfusions, morphine and pain,
Just two years passed, and another Prince Charming comes into her a lot of pain!
life and gives her "a nightmare marriage" … "Now nothing makes sense anymore. I WAS NOT GUILTY! Even
Spring 1997: In a flat, a drunken stepfather hits his 8 years old daugh- if it could be proven I was not guilty, what's the point? Like the swan
ter directly into the heart. that sings before her death I have one last dream: to be with my
Hearing the cry of her daughter, Gabriela comes from the kitchen, daughter on the shore of a lake, to be touched by the willows and the
sees the nightmare scene and instantly gets stabbed in the stomach. Lord Jesus to be with us. I believe this with all my heart! We do not
With a last effort she pulls off the knife with both hands and looses need good references, higher education, or a lot of money. We only
consciousness. need His mercy and His grace, His grace alone ... "

HIGHLIGHTS FROM THE AGENDA OF OUR PRESIDENT,


CONSTANTIN ASĂVOAIE

7 July 2010, Ceremony for changing the President of Rotary Club;


- 10 si 11 July 2010, preach in God’s Army Assembly and in a wedding in Rome ;
- September 2010 Collaboration Protocol signed for three years with the National Penitentiary Administration
- Meetings : Martin de Graf, Hoost Europa, Olanda
Sofie Bjorkman, Erikshjalpen, Suedia
Niels Arne Skov, chairman Danish Balkan Mission
Leadership of Rotary International
Page 2 NEWSLETTER

Freedom behind bars...


We walk again with our Lord’s help behind bars in Satu the Bible have a big impact
Mare prison. And still with God’s help we bring bread and on prisoners. They do not
fish to those marginalized by society but remembered by the really read, but they enjoy
Lord. Thank God for He uses us in His work behind bars! crosswords, and trough
We have received many letters from prisoners and we crosswords they learn a lot
are thankful we can talk to them face to face. All those deal- about God.
ing with prison ministry must take into consideration the We met with the prison
great need of those behind bars to know God, to know that chaplain and we went to-
He offers forgiveness as a gift for all those who trust in the gether to the church where
atoning sacrifice of Jesus Christ on the cross. 36 prisoners were waiting for us. We prepared 40 bags with
There are souls in prison who do not know this and some sweets, notebooks, Christian literature and some other
therefore they are going through a great spiritual crisis. things for them.
I met prisoners that although had an idea about God We all sang together then we read from Luke 13 and
used the gifts that God gave them only for private purposes brother Laios and sister Judith explained the Word. We
just looking for opportunities to gain things. But we must not prayed and I briefly told my testimony about how I met the
be downhearted. Lord behind bars.
Visiting several churches I noticed that most Christians Some of the convicts cried and we were glad to them
do not go to those behind bars, do not even mention them in praying.
prayers, and it’s very sad. Many times when speaking about the work in prison
Our brothers from the Simleul Silvanai - "Bethany" some brothers asked me if we have some results, some
Church gave us fruits. I thanked the Lord and said: "One of the fruit is me!
power to go on, hav- Praise the Lord! "
ing great love for Yes, we have a lot of fruits in the prisons! We have peo-
those behind bars ple there who are free in Christ!
and being engaged in They need us, they need our love, let’s not marginalize
this work. We thank them especially now that the time is so short. Pray for those
God for the fire He who are behind bars and for those who serve in prisons.
put in the heart of our May Lord make us all free in Christ!
brothers.
Christian magazines Iulian & Iudit
with crosswords from

When we visited Mrs. Mary and her family the second such people and children.
time in September this year, we realized we had seen a saint. Prison Fellowship Romania through Angels Tree project
We met her last year at the very beginning of the Angel Tree tries to visit a few times a year families of convicts from pris-
project. Mrs. Mary is the ex-wife of a murder convicted, and ons in Transylvania. Every year before Christmas, PFR rep-
also mother of three children: two boys (of five respectively resentatives and volunteers go to prisons and give convicts
nine years old) and a twenty years old girl with epilepsy and the opportunity to be part of this project. Their children re-
severe mental disorder. The only income of the family is rep- ceive Christmas presents and then volunteers are telling
resented by children’s allowances and the girl’s disability pen- them they are from their parents who are in prison. In addi-
sion, but Mrs. Mary’s trust and hope, as she confesses, come tion, during the year we are trying to visit these families sev-
from a sincere and strong belief in God as her Father and eral times bringing them food and clothes or covering other
protector. needs knowing that we bring God to them and in the same
Although very difficult, this family’s life is no different time we fulfill his commandment.
from the life of other families with one parent in prison; or at Christmas is coming again, time to visit other prisoners
least, this is what we thought until few days ago. Instead of with the intention to renew and extend the Angels Tree pro-
three children, Mrs. Mary has now six children to feed and ject. We invite everyone who read these words to thing about
take care of, six children to send to kindergarten or school. the families of those who are behind bars and say a prayer
The explanation is as simple as it is stunning. After the di- especially for their children. You can do more for these peo-
vorce, her ex-husband lived with a woman who already had a ple who are our brothers, sisters, our children, and our family
child and who gave birth to two more children. When the man here on earth:
was arrested, his concubine took care of the children for a 1.Come with us to the families of the project (with your
while, but due to the difficult situation she decided that it own car and covering fuel costs)
would be easier without them. Without saying the new situa- 2. Give financial support to volunteers who do not have
tion is unjust or too difficult, Mrs. Maria offered to take them cars or cannot support fuel costs
home and take care of the three children abandoned by her 3. Financially contribute in order to purchase food,
ex- husband's concubine. school supplies, shoes and clothing for these families
I cannot express in words what an encouragement and 4. Spread the word about our project and motivate your
example Mrs. Mary was for us. Through her sacrifice she friends or acquaintances who are concerned about charitable
reminded us of Hosea. Indeed, she and her children are the activities to get involved.
"angels" that the name of this project is referring to. We Thank you all! God bless you and reward your efforts!
wanted to help them, but we ended up realizing that we were
the ones who were helped. All I can do is pray God to take
care of this woman, and prevent us from being indifferent to
NO. 3, JULY - SEPTEMBER 2010 Page 3

CAMP ORGANIZED IN HUNGARY ON LAKE TISZA


WITH OUR FRIENDS, PFR VOLUNTEERS
The primary aim of this camp was to spend time in na- people from the same team had to stand upright on a surf
ture. Our beneficiaries had contests and activities within the board and keep their balance so that they did not to fall into
local community. "It was exhausting but also a new experi- the water. "(RAZVY)
ence: we covered nearly 40 km cycling although after few The highlight of the camp was also an unforgettable
interesting tasks my feet were not responding anymore. It experience: in the middle of the day we had a wind storm of
was interesting to realize how important is to keep up with 90 km per hour and a hail layer of 23 cm. It was the day
the group that you belong to and to see altruism. (LIA) The when I saw our group as a united team. We worked in the
lake had been for several hours the trail for canoe com- rain and we prayed together for good weather. We immedi-
petes, where our children received awards. "I considered it a ately felt that God loves us ... is there something more to
normal day of boat ride, but I liked that I had an itinerary to say?
follow and on the water it was difficult to reach the indicated
points. The tasks at each stop were quite complicated and
interesting. For example one of the tasks was that three

‘Royal rangers” means surviving in tough conditions on worked as a team. I think I understood what it means to cook
your own and with the materials you find in nature but also for more people and administer your money for longer peri-
not to interfere with the nature God created. ods of time and for a large group of people… we have built
Discipline is the key word and if you’re not disciplined, twig fences to surround our tents with. Oh yes! We also made
trough RR you will become a disciplined person. a table and a clay oven where we made fire with no matches,
The camp was intended for our beneficiaries but also but using ancient methods. We had a terrific time!!! (LIA)
for the members of the community who were able to socialize At the end of the camp everyone was impressed by the
and learn new things about the team, nature and God. atmosphere created and we lived wonderful experiences. We
"Some of us were group leaders in this camp so we had got scared at some point when, like in the Philistines times, a
to take care of our team, to observe the camp rules and to cop came and told us we should immediately leave the area
make sure that we are the best. We had contests, trips on the and we did not know where to go! OH! How much work we
mountain; we visited a cave and learned together how to live had to do with our tents with the place we were, because we
in nature". We attended games that had biblical themes, for had to leave it as we found it, cover the ditches and leave
example the struggle between David and Goliath was actually everything clean.
a rugby match, and David obviously won. And many other But eventually, it was a great lesson to learn. "(EMILIA)
interesting games. (RAZVY)
I liked the idea of preparing our own food and we
Page 4 NEWSLETTER

Green Carnival July 12 to 17 GILAU, Cluj County Edition - II


Green Carnival July 12 to 17 GILAU, Cluj County Edition desired costume
- II (Princess, clown, Ga-
Goal: develop creative skills, shaping personality bor, gypsy, florist, Miss
throughout aesthetic values. Ecology, fairy leaflets,
Description: Children of the Christian Centre for Street Charlie Chaplin).
Children attended the Green carnival Activities:
held in the creation camp week in Gilau Art therapy: paint-
from the 12th to the 17th of July 2010. ing, creation of cos-
The costumes were created by chil- tumes for carnival
dren’s own ideas. They were made of Children were
various wastes (Scrap textile, bottle awarded prizes for: re-
caps, newspapers, and colored paper) alization of the costume, dance, and painting (most ecological
colored with tempera, and creating vari- exponent, the most beautiful paintings on canvas, and the
ous costumes that children wore. Each most beautiful works in thread)
child received a name depending on the

An unforgettable day...
An unforgettable day... The Road to Cluj
The 12th of June, 2010 - BCR Cluj (Romanian Commer- was full of stories
cial Bank) offered to the children of Prison Fellowship Roma- about the most beauti-
nia a gift that will hardly be ignored: "An unforgettable day!" ful animals seen and
A total of 45 children from two centers of the Founda- the jokes made on
tion benefited from a trip to the zoo in Targu Mures. Alexandra, whose
For children the Feast was celebrated with great joy: hands were
• Transportation was arranged with a four stars bus "kissed" (bitten) by a pony.
• Road stops where children were given snacks and We thank BCR Cluj from the bottom of our hearts.
juices were also arranged These exceptional people have a special place in the hearts
• Zoo visit lasted over two hours, and children were of our children. BCR Cluj is "guilty" of the joy and love of the
greatly amused children who know that this the third time they were invited at
The children received gifts from BCR Cluj employees. this event. As a symbol of respect, appreciation and grati-
They had lunch at Charis restaurant in the center of tude, BCR can be accessed on Prison Fellowship Romania
Targu Mures. website.

Earlier this summer, PFR has started a new project. In from the frustration
July we started a literacy program with the convicts in Targu and inability to express
Mures prison. The main reason we chose to initiate this pro- themselves and regain
ject is related to the needs observed and reported by the their dignity. We invite
prison management, at our very first meeting. Writing and you to first ask God to
reading are prerequisites needed for the development in al- save what is lost in
most every field nowadays, being indispensable social tools them and for them:
in the rehabilitation and inner transformation of those impris- childhood years where
oned, and their reentry into society. responsible parents
We selected 42 people out of the 101 convicts enrolled should have taken
in the literacy program, the ones who we considered really care of them and teach
needed literacy. We separated them into three classes and them to swot, years of
we met twice a week. After the first month some of them gave adulthood when they did not progress enough and intellectu-
up and we also realized that the "students” had very different ally stagnated at the level of children in elementary school,
literacy levels so we re-divided them into two classes: begin- years of inappropriate entourages and prison, when they
ners and advanced. The students’ average age is 20. We came to believe that the strength of fist and not wisdom
meet twice a week and we spend one hour each time. Be- makes them men. Then, if you consider it useful, please sup-
sides the actual lessons we find time to listen to short stories port this project financially (the highest costs involve transpor-
about their lives, their families and even their children. Last tation from Targu Mures to Cluj, then special costs for various
week we celebrated the birthday of one of them and it seems school supplies needed, and special costs for birthdays or
prison is the place where many celebrated their birthday for rewards) or even join our volunteers. You can always contact:
the first time. Rares rarebed@yahoo.com (0730078555) and David
Many of the convicts we work with are illiterate, and we david.capris@pfr.ro (0744329672).
realized that it entails deep feelings of inadequacy and inferi-
ority. With God's help we hope to make them free themselves May God bless you!

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