From July 2nd-9th, 2014, COHEU took its fourth Adopt-A-Community trip to Biesti, Moldova. Biesti is a community that has been adopted in partnership with Mission Impact of L’Église Protestante Évangelique de Tubize of Belgium, and Agape Church, Amsterdam, Netherlands. This time, we were joined by a team from Mission Impact. On previous trips, we have worked to build a relational foundation with the people of Biesti through several community projects. We have done home improvements, built a playground, distributed food, and even handed out 18,500 KG/40,000 lbs of coal before Christmas so families could stay warm through the winter. On this trip, we continued community development by building a fence around the local kindergarten. This helps us to forge a connection with the local education system, which is always a priority for Adopt-A-Community projects. We were also able to help out a local woman who is responsible for supporting her adult daughter with mental and physical disabilities, as well as her two nephews. With very little resources, this woman bears a heavy burden for her family. We were happy to be able to help by making refurbishments around her house, painting, cleaning, and installing insulation under her flooring. Additionally, we held two children’s events with about 165 kids in total. The children around town were invited to a “Special Kids” day where they could play games and sports, do crafts, make bracelets, and even plant a bulb in a pot to take home as a special memento from the day. There was also face-painting, singing, and quality time interacting with these kids giving them a rare treat just to show compassion. We then visited with several local families handing out food and demonstrating to the townspeople that we care and are invested in making their community a better place for them. Thank you to Mission Impact for your dedication and sacrifice for the people of Moldova. Thanks also to Agape Church, Amsterdam for your partnership in Biesti. Stories of previous trips to this community can be found here, here and here. To donate to this project, click here.
From June 15-22, 2014, Convoy of Hope Europe (COHEU) in partnership with Christian Center, Brussels, Belgium, took our second Adopt-A-Community trip to Sarajevo, Bosnia. The team returned to the community center continuing with renovations we helped start last year. This time, we focused on painting the walls and windows in the main meeting room, painting the hallway, and finally laying a new carpet, giving the first floor a fresh new look. Over the past 20 years, Bosnia has been struggling to recover from the devastating war between 1992-1995 which caused 13,000 casualties and left multiple generations in need of rebuilding lives and societies. Then in May 2014, Bosnia was one of the Balkan countries to be hit with record high flooding and landslides. COHEU and Brussels Christian Center traveled to Majlaj where flood waters rose to 3 meters (almost 10 feet) putting 8,150 flats and homes under water and stopping 700 businesses from operating. Clean-up crews are still clearing debris and restoring buildings and structures that were destroyed by the flood waters. Normally the streets would be full of children enjoying the summer break. However, a majority of them were sent away to family outside of the village in fear that the water would rise again. We got a chance to see first-hand some of the devastation we are working to relieve. Being able to make a personal connection with these families and individuals brought some much needed hope to this area. Thank you to Brussels Christian Center for your ongoing investment in this project, and to all of our partners helping us support the Balkan flood relief efforts. The story from our previous trip can be found here. To donate to this project, click here.
From June 18-24, 2014, Abundant Life, Hibbing, Minnesota, USA took its third Adopt-a-Community trip to Fier, Albania. We are in our second year of a three-year AAC project in Fier, and COHEU is overjoyed to see the relationship grow between the people of two towns half a world apart. This summer, we welcomed a team from Hibbing to Fier who worked chiefly with the children in a local gypsy community. The kids came every morning to the village kindergarten where we spent hours playing, singing, dancing and teaching them new things. We had a lesson every day followed by a free lunch, which you could see from their excited faces they appreciated. We even invited their parents the final evening to come see their children perform the songs and dances they had been practicing with us throughout the week. We also organized another day of city cleanup, as we have done on previous trips. Team members went to areas in the city and picked up litter around the streets as a gesture to the mayor of our compassion and heart for his town. A local TV crew came out to inquire as to who we were and why were doing this. The answer is simple: We love their country and we have hope for Albania! We aim to reach the overlooked and believe that change is possible on every level, and this was as good as any a place to start. Thank you to Abundant Life and to our Albanian friends for what you do year-round to impact the community of Fier! The stories from previous trips can be found here and here. To donate to this project, click here.
From May 12th – 18th, 2014, COHEU partnered with Life Church of Germantown, WI in the village of Peresecina, Moldova, situated about 30km/18mi from the capital city of Chisinau. Moldova is currently the poorest country in Europe. For this reason, COHEU has partnered with churches and organizations to bring hope to the people of Moldova through community work. A key aspect of this has been our Adopt-A-Community program. We have completed two projects in the towns of Leova and Glinjeni, and are currently adopting the village of Biesti, as well as supporting other communities around the country. With the help of Life Church Missions, we spent the week showing compassion to the people of Peresecina. Throughout the week, the team worked chiefly on the assembly and construction of a playground for the local kindergarten. Painting and priming the wood, and laying the foundation was no easy task amidst the rainy weather. However, the team left the community with a souvenir of love in the form of a structure that will bring joy the town’s children for years to come. We also had a chance to spend time with many of the local families and visit an institute for the blind, handing out bags of groceries to our new friends as we went. Thank you to our Moldovan partners and the members of Life Church Missions for helping us spread a little hope to the faces of Peresecina, both young and old!