Today's post was written by BH member, Rosie Durham.

In November 2013, I had the honor of leading a team of six (four from Brook Hills) to Iasi, Romania, to serve at the Richard Wurmbrand Christian School. Another team of six from another church in Birmingham joined us, and we all set out to serve a traditional American Thanksgiving meal to 800 students and teachers. The idea came about when the school asked us to teach classes on thankfulness and the celebration of God’s abundant gifts in all forms. The students are always excited to have Americans visit so they can practice their English skills, which are nearly flawless by the time they are juniors and seniors.

From the time we began to plan, we could see God’s blessings were all over our team and plans. One interesting way was with team members, Brooks and Senia Etheridge. Senia has been to Romania several times and really wanted her husband Brooks to accompany her this time. As a surprise, Brooks bought them both tickets for this trip. Brooks is a history teacher and shared with his students what he had done about the trip. The students were excited and wanted to get involved in some way, so they decided to donate their Halloween candy for the students as well as collect various supplies for us.

Reba Williams, who had also been before, and I are in AT Scott’s community group at the church. Our group donated funds to purchase crafts for us to use in telling the American story of Thanksgiving. We purchased pilgrim hats and Indian headdresses for the younger classes to wear while we told the story of how the Indians helped the Pilgrims learn to grow crops in the new land. One of the older classes made a thankful wreath and wrote about things and people they were thankful for on the leaves of the wreath. They shared several stories of thankfulness with us. Another class made a thankful tree where they wrote thankful praises on the limbs and branches. In an effort of disciple-making, we encouraged the students to take their crafts home and to share what they learned with their parents.

Getting to Iasi with all the food supplies we needed to take was an adventure, to say the least. There were cases full of canned cranberry sauce, Karo syrup, pecans, and canned pumpkin. The questions and the explaining at the different check points still leave us laughing and grateful that God was many steps ahead of us. Thankfully, we did not have to take the turkeys. They were 30 and 40 pound turkeys, which were purchased “fresh from the farm and still warm.”

Due to the size of the student body plus teachers and parents (800), we divided the food and served dinner over 4 nights. While our team prepared the feast, the students prepared skits, songs and stories. They told of their thankfulness to God for what He had done and is doing in their lives. The student’s talents and creativity amazed and impressed us. God was definitely blessing our efforts.

One performance was especially touching because it was such an act of kindness shown toward one of their classmates. You see, there is a girl in the junior class who is deaf. She has a translator who accompanies her throughout the day and in all her classes. Her classmates surprised her by each one of them signing to her how much her presence and spirit has touched them. Was there a dry eye in the house? No!

The students also had an auction to raise money for less fortunate students in a nearby village where the students from RWCS go to tutor and mentor the students. The RWCS students ask if they could invite these students to attend the dinner and take their places. They wanted to serve alongside us in serving these students. God was definitely moving in the hearts of those we had come to serve.

These students from the nearby village are extremely poor, and many had never been to Iasi, which is the second largest city in Romania. Many of the Christmas lights were on in the city, making their first time to see the city even more exciting. The night they came through the doors there was wonderment in their eyes, and they were enthralled by the students' reception of them. We were told that most likely these children only received one meal a day and certainly never a “feast” like we served them.

Actually, we were impressed on so many levels. In addition to telling the Thanksgiving story, we were asked to speak in the classes about life in the USA, our careers, and answer the student’s questions. We were amazed by the politeness and courtesy of the students. They stood when we entered the room and greeted us in English.

Brooks, our history teacher, taught a class on the biblical meaning of Thanksgiving, which earned him the title “folk hero” of the trip. As word got out about his teaching, every class asked if they could hear him speak. Each of us had the privilege to share in the classrooms, and again, the students impressed us with their insightfulness and maturity.

I must also comment on the teachers from the village school. So committed to teaching! These teachers sometimes do not receive their full salary for the month because there are no funds to pay them. As these teachers learned more about the teachers in the school they were assisting, they went to the school principal, Christi Lucaci, and asked if they could donate some of their salary and take up a collection to give to the teachers. Again we were in awe of how God works. 2 Corinthians 9:8 states, “And God is able to bless you abundantly, so that in all things at all times, having all that you need, you will abound in every good work.”


Blessings abounded on this trip as we learned of so many students whose parents work two and three jobs to send their children to this Christian school. We met a father who discussed the value of this education for his children. Many of the students told stories of where their parents had come to Christ after hearing them discuss what they were learning.


Many of the students at RWCS are from poor and struggling families themselves, who choose to go without many conveniences for their children to get a Christian education.

You have an opportunity to give a blessing and receive more than you will ever give by sponsoring a student and helping with their tuition and fees. Please let me know if you are interested and I will help you select a student. I have sponsored a student for 10 years and have remained in touch with them through college and marriage. I am thankful every day for this opportunity to share with them.

“The LORD is my Sheppard, I lack nothing” -Psalm 23:1

If you would like to contact Rosie about sponsoring a student, you can email her at rosiedurham@bellsouth.net.

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