Twelve people from different churches in the Oskarshamn area travelled to Romania in a group, to learn more about the Roma´s situation.

We flew to Budapest and then drove across the border to the small town of Marghita. Fog and a closed border crossing delayed our arrival until half past three in the morning!

Despite the delay, we were received with open arms by Barbro and Lars at the Guest house where we stayed during our five days in Romania.  

The Baptist church in Popești took care of us during the weekend and was very hospitable. We participated in a fantastic children’s meeting and two church services. The church members invited us for both lunch and dinner in their own homes.

On Monday and Tuesday we were given an insight into the fantastic FCE ministry.

We heard the story of how it all began during the 1990s and were taken on a guided tour of the FCE workshop, depot, bakery, kitchen and offices.

The Executive Committee described the organization’s different activities. We also participated in motion games with the young people at the Day Centre and took the opportunity of buying some of the nice candles and cards which they had made.

I took part in a class at a special needs school, and met pupils who would have very little chance of an education if that school did not exist.

We spent an afternoon ”on the hill”, during an ”Afterschool” session. It was a great joy to see how happy the children were who had eaten their lunch there, done their homework with the help of a teacher, and then happily ran off to the school bus carrying newly baked bread and fruit in their hands to take home to their families.

During the evening we visited three family homes. It was fantastic to meet the families who had taken in as many as five orphans, as members of their own families.

I visited the half way home that has been started for young adults who need training in how to live by themselves, with everything that is involved. That evening we had a Bible study with Demelza. We also sang worship songs and prayed together.

One thing which struck me was that in the little town of Marghita it was easy to identify the FCE Centres. The yellow painted wooden buildings, donated by Sweden, stood in contrast to all the other plastered buildings surrounding them.

I could say that FCE lit up the whole area with their activities.

The goal of our trip was to explore what we could do to help the people of Romania, but the fact is that it was we ourselves who felt enriched by all the generosity, willingness and unselfish love which was shown both to us and other fellow human beings in the area.

I will certainly carry with me many fine memories from this trip, and hope that one day soon I will return and meet again with all my new friends.

Thank you Barbro and Lars for having the courage to step out from the everyday routine of life in order to meet the challenge that the Lord gave you!

Åsa Ohlén Nilsson ”Oskarshamn”