How the vision came to fruition
This is one amazing story to be told of Dobrovat House.
Back in 2005 a piece of land was given to Valentine by the Mayor of Dobrovat because he liked the work that Valentine was doing in helping the poor. On one of the occasions of visiting the project Valentine asked if we would walk around the perimeter of the land and pray. The prayer was for the land to be used for families and children who live in extreme poverty to be able to gather to have family time, couples time, for young people to learn social skills, even training on how to get work. The vision was a big one. The vision was to have a huge home where it would house up to 40 children each summer so that they could have camp away from their shabby mud hut homes with no heating, lighting or sanitation.
The vision remained a dream until nearly 2 years later. Something needed to be built on the land to stake ownership. A small outhouse was built by the charity for a relatively small sum of money. The land was secured and officially owned by the Way of Joy our Romanian partners.
We first had the privilege of being invited to meet with the leaders of Freedom Church in Bath, Andrew and Betsy de Thierry, to discuss our work and we proceeded to inform them of the work we were undertaking in trying to build a respite home/centre in Romania where we were working with the wonderful Jesus centred Ministry of Valentine Chirica as partners. We had been attending the church for such a short time and were overwhelmed with the response from Andrew. Andrew shared with us that they were raising funds to build their own supersized £5m church in Bath and were doing rather well in their fundraising. Our work had presented them with a great opportunity because they had promised to tithe those funds to an external mission and our work just fitted that bill with their organisation 3CI vision to build buildings for the kingdom. In response to our enthusiastic gratitude he humbly told us that it was no great thing of him, it was God’s money not the churches money and he was grateful that we were able to present the opportunity to them. The transaction was a Godly one for us and a great lesson in Kingdom generosity. The church had no wish to be involved with our work or vision in Romania as it had its own strategic missions – they were delighted to tithe and help sow seed.
After contributing a significant amount we were able to start the building work on the house. The skeleton of the home was built with those funds and we were, and remain, externally grateful to God and Freedom Bath and Bristol for their kingdom investment.
During the following years funding was proving very difficult as the building materials soured and money was coming in very slowly. We finally reached a point where the house was built, the project was using it every summer for the children to have days out, but there were no facilities. No bathrooms, no cooking facilities, nothing – just an empty shell on the ground floor. That said, the children just loved their days out to Dobrovat in the countryside and playing in the river. To have water on their skin was something that they couldn’t experience often due to their living conditions.
We did still need to find £30,000 to finish the house and it was during the summer of 2011 when we had the opportunity to meet several organisations, first the wonderful Fiona Jeffery, founder and Director of Just A Drop a charity who helps people mainly in Africa to overcome their water situations. That meeting was set up in London where the vision was given. It was an unusual request as they are only fund projects in Africa and they use their own manpower. We wanted funding in Europe and with our own man to do the work. Through a lot of prayer and ongoing communication from the charity we were finally given the news that they would fund the water to the house – they had found a sponsor from a business, Atlas Copco, who would fund the work. This again was a significant sum of money and so the work began. Toilets, sinks and showers were added to the 3 bathrooms, the ground was dug and the pipes were laid. We had running water in the house for the first time in 5 years.
In February 2012 we took the decision that we were going to finish Dobrovat House that summer, and that the children would be sleeping in their own beds. Again our prayers were answered when the second of those meetings took place when we met with another CEO of another charity, Link Romania. Through those conversations it became so clear how much our work was related and how much the people that Link Romania work with would also benefit from using Dobrovat House. Another significant amount was given by the charity to help towards finishing the house. Finally during March 2012 in faith we sent the remaining £9,000 outstanding to fully complete the project. The charity did not have these spare funds and much prayer took place for the replacement funds to be made back to the charity.
Within 2 weeks of sending the money out to the project, out of the blue we had news from Stewardship, a Christian banking service that someone (our wonderful anonymous donor) had paid our final £9,000, and more, into our account. We cried tears of joy, we gave thanks to God, we embraced everyone who had supported us over the last 6 years in achieving this wonderful goal.
Dobrovat House was launched on 2nd July 2012 where the first group of 30 children were able to play, work, eat regular hot healthy meals, wash with soap, shower and wash their hair with shampoo, brush their teeth with toothbrushes and toothpaste, sleep in their own comfortable and warm bed – just something that we all take for granted!
Over 150 children met in the summer in what was just once a vision of Valentine Chirica and was wonderfully brought to fruition through prayer and the wonderful people who could also see the vision of Dobrovat House.
From the bottom of our hearts and on behalf of the project in Romania and the Romanian families and children who will be using the facilities at Dobrovat House, we want to thank everyone who has contributed to this magnificent project.