"Cercetați toate lucrurile, si păstrați ce este bun!"

Apostolul Pavel

Every year, ​Firm Foundations Romania (FFR)​ is blessed to have around sixty-five volunteers come from around the world to assist our projects in Brasov, Romania. The testimonies written by volunteers often touch our hearts, especially this one written by written by Sina from Switzerland who volunteered with FFR from September 2015-February 2016​. I hope your heart is moved by Sina’s testimony! Sarah Vienna, President of Firm Foundations Romania​.


Unexpected Experiences of Volunteering

Six months ago I was sitting in a minibus riding from Bucharest to Brasov, very exited and not really knowing what to expect of my time volunteering with Firm Foundations Romania. At this point, I didn’t know anyone of Firm Foundations and I didn’t know much about Romania in general. Yesterday I was sitting again in the minibus, this time on the way to go back home.

Last week Firm Foundations Romania embarked on a new experiment for our Roma preschool aged Kids Club children. Making homemade pizza! These Roma kids had heard of the word pizza; however, they had no actual concept of dough covered with tomato sauce and cheese baked in the oven. This is most likely because the Roma people do not have ovens rather “sobas” which are filled with fire wood to create a stove top to cook soups and fry potatoes.

This holiday season was extra special for a young Romanian lady who had the opportunity to visit the states for the first time. Andreea has been in our program for years, and with the support of Firm Foundations Romania, attended and graduated from high school in Brasov. She is currently in her second year of university and also serves as a den mother to our teenage girls who living in the city to attend high school. This past year Heather Zorzi from Raleigh, North Carolina, came to volunteer with FFR with her daughter, Abrie. During the visit, they had the opportunity to meet Andreea and friendships quickly developed. The Zorzis sponsored Andreea’s trip to America to spend the holidays with their family. Heather shares about the experience:

Through our work in the hospital and the village, we become well acquainted with certain families. There is a family in Budila that we have known for years, having had close contact with many of the children. The father passed away a few years ago and the mother has a new husband and baby now. While she stays in the city, the kids travel back and forth between living with their mother in Brasov and their older sibling in Budila. Ideally we would have them all be together all the time, but since that is not an option at this point, we want to do what we can to help the kids.

Billy Graham once said, “To get nations back on their feet, we must first get down on our knees”. It is a truth universally acknowledged among Christians that prayer changes; a cry out to our Heavenly Father never goes unheard.

Within Sarah Vienna Music, within Firm Foundations Romania and within my own personal life, prayer is the epicenter. That’s why, when my colleagues and I were invited to the 10th annual Romanian Prayer Breakfast held at Parliament in Bucharest, it was an easy invitation to accept - we were honored to be a part of the event.

The Romanian Parliament is one of the largest buildings in the world (second only to the Pentagon in Washington D.C.) and the Ecumenical Prayer Group of the Romanian Parliament has been putting on this event for 10 years - this year being their Jubilee Anniversary celebration!

I visited a home of a third grader who is enrolled in our After School Program, where we offer educational assistance and emotional support for Roma children between the ages 7 and 18.

This little girl always has a smile on her face, attends the program daily, and always has the cleanest clothes and shoes. Little did we know what her home situation was? One of the After School Program teachers alerted us that the little girl's mother was asking if we could help a new soba (wood burning stove) since her old one broke after twelve years of use.

Of course many families ask us for help and we aren't able to assist everyone; however, we felt God saying to go visit this family's home due to the mother’s faithfulness to her children.

Originally from California, I have been living in Romania for thirteen years and have seen firsthand the need to transform Romanian adoption and abandonment laws. After seeing the needs of the children, from volunteering in the orphanage, children’s hospital, and local Roma villages, we founded a non-profit organization called Firm Foundations Romania, which is dedicated to transforming the lives of disadvantaged children and families by providing physical and educational guidance along with sharing the Gospel and God’s love. In addition to running FFR, I’ve had the privilege to write for this newspaper for over a year now, connect with the Romanian diaspora in various parts of America, and attend the Balkan Prayer event located at the Romanian Parliament. Romania is very much a part of my life.

Firm Foundations Romania runs an international volunteer program in the Brasov State Children’s Hospital. Holly Winterrowd, who lives in Florida, came to volunteer for seven weeks this summer. This was her third trip to Romania, and she hopes to return again soon. After her second week of volunteering, Holly wrote this blog regarding her experience in the hospital:

What can be said about a diaper rash so severe, the child's skin peels off and blood seeps onto the crib sheet?

“Train up a child in the way he should go, and when he is old he will not depart from it.” ~ Proverbs 22:6

We recently had our Kids Club and After School Program Graduation in Budila!  What an amazing time it was for all the kids, teachers and volunteers who have worked so hard this past school year.   The kids sang songs for us, and we handed out certificates to those who were graduating out of our Kids Club Program, 8th Grade and High School.

Rachel Titiriga is one of our project managers from our After School Program in Budila, a Roma village located about 30 km outside of the city of Brasov. Rachel shares her heart about one of our Roma teens from Firm Foundations Romania’s programs working hard to reach her goals:


“This beautiful young lady, is Elena. She is in the 8th grade and attends our After School Program (ASP) twice a week. For this entire school year, every Wednesday she has also been my Assistant for my 5th Grade ASP class. She really has a gift for teaching. About a month into have her assist me I began to allow her to do most of the teaching, we would meet before and discuss what we would do with the kids and then I would let her go for it! I would guide her as she went and helped with the kids. It has been great to see her grow as a "teacher".