Mountain? Seaside? Surfing? Hiking? Traveling or just relaxing?

So many options to choose from when it comes to how to spend your vacations. But this year God made me an offer in addition to the ones mentioned above: What about building a social house in 6 days? I initially had kind of “Jonah’s” reaction: well, first of all – it doesn’t really sound like a vacation; second – I’m not skilled in construction; third – it doesn’t really sound like a spiritual activity, you know like a Bible study thing; forth – are you sure 6 days are enough? But I was thinking that if it’s God’s suggestion for my vacation it should be something interesting in it, and I took the challenge!

Homes of Hope in Cluj, Romania

We got to a village called Dezmir, where we met a family with two kids (4 and 12 years old), all of them living in the past 12 years in a one single room, with water coming through the roof everytime it was raining, with an extempore kitchen corner and a toilet in the backyard. Not even to mention the non-existence of a shower and warm water – and all these for 12 years! WOW! So we started to work, we split into teams and we were coordinated by experienced team leaders. I really appreciated that Homes of Hope Cluj leaders were giving credit to each one of us! Each one was considered an important part of the team, and even though many of us were beginners, having no idea how to build a house, the leaders made us feel valuable and useful! There has been a lot of hard work, mixed with great moments that connected us as a team, good food and of course good coffee!

On a personal side, during the week there were many thoughts and emotions running in my head: I realized how many unfulfilled needs are around me, and that God calls me to open my eyes and heart to see them and react. James 2:15-16 was the text at which I meditated the most during those days: “Suppose a brother or a sister is without clothes and daily food.

 If one of you says to them, “Go in peace; keep warm and well fed,” but does nothing about the physical needs, what good is it?” So if I have a bit of spare time, financial resources, good health and joy, I am called to not live only for myself, but bring all these in the service of God and others! Of course, there are many who are in need in this world, and we cannot reach everyone, but this should not be overwhelming for us! We are called to bring hope and joy to those who are right next to us, and have a heart that pours itself to provide for their urgent needs: “Our people must learn to devote themselves to doing what is good, in order to provide for urgent needs and not live unproductive lives.” Titus 3:14

I was thinking that 20 volunteers built a house in 6 days. God created the world…in 6 days as well! How small we are and how big He is! To God be all the glory!

Roxana – Volunteer with Homes of Hope ELS Cluj