“Loving by Giving” has teamed up with The Besom in Norwich for the fifth year running to distribute Christmas treat boxes for less privileged people across Norwich. This year, 12 (twelve) generously filled boxes full of lovely seasonal goodies were donated by “Loving by Giving” volunteers to bring the spirit of happiness and goodwill to those who find themselves in difficult personal or financial circumstances, fleeing persecution or suffering from loneliness during this particularly difficult time of the year.
Every year during the annual Christmas carol service, children are encouraged to bring food items such as biscuits, chocolates and savoury treats, as well as crackers, baubles and indulgent gifts such as bubble bath to the stage where they have just performed their nativity play. After the service, these generous donations are then assembled into beautifully decorated boxes and a simple card reading “With love from Christians in Norwich” attached to the boxes before they are distributed by The Besom with the help of various local agencies. “They physical act of bringing gifts to other people who are less privileged is a very effective way of making the true meaning of Jesus’ birth visual to children in particular,” said Dr Jaco Beukes, chief executive of Loving by Giving.
The Besom in Norwich was formed in 2003. It is part of a national movement of Christians who wish to encourage other Christians to recognise the needs of people in their local community and do something about it. The Besom in Norwich encourages volunteers, from different Churches and different denominations, to appreciate that Jesus has no one other than us to do something about it in His name and that He wants us to get involved.
written by Adri van der Colff
Photos: “Loving by Giving” volunteers assemble donations into beautiful Christmas gifts hampers for distribution across Norwich by The Besom.
by Adri Rossouw
Our little band of 8 left from Luton Airport on the 20th of August heading to Romania and Bod, where we would spend the next 7 days working on the old school building that Rom Train Ministries bought from the German Lutherans. At Ortopeni Airport, we were joined by Cristina, a young Romanian woman who has worked with us before. As usual, we were taken by people carrier and Cristina’s car from Bucharest to Bod, which took quite a while as there is only one main road and it felt like the whole of Romania has joined us on the road!
The Team: Shaun, Reece, Madèl, Roelien, Laurette, Jaco, Marli, Adri
On arrival in Bod, we were assigned our sleeping quarters with the women joining the London Chinese Church Youth outreach group’s ladies in the OM building and the three gents joining the same group’s men in the Rom Train building.
And the first thing that Adri spotted was this little kitten:
Little Junior, who was about 8 weeks old. He was thrown over the wall when he was about 10 days old, and Alina, whose family are the caretakers of the OM building, raised him and looked after him.
The next day being Sunday, Jaco was asked to preach as part of the Sunday worship session. This he did with his usual enthusiasm with the help of Radu, one of the Romanian youth workers.
The rest of the day was spent discussing the week ahead with Tero, our Finnish supervisor and mingling with the Chinese group and the OM people at the site.
Monday morning found us in the foyer of the old school building, ready for whatever the day was going to throw at us. Tero started us off on the old showers and adjacent rooms with tools consisting of scrapers, crowbars, hammers, chisels and step ladders.
And so a week of scraping off layer after layer of paint started. By the end of the first day, we had finished the work set out for us for the week, and started on the foyer as well, much to the surprise of Tero and Vali, the Romanian builder.
In typical South African/Romanian style, we tackled the job with little regard to health and safety rules as we know it in the UK.
On Tuesday morning, we were greeted by the sight of Finnish precision as we entered the foyer: all our tools neatly arranged by Tero!
And so we moved from foyer to a large classroom with two adjacent rooms.
In-between we had breaks with snacks and the ever-popular Fanta Madness.
In the evenings we joined the Chinese Youth Group in worship and reflection on the day. Roelien could not keep her hands of the Chinese music band’s drums!
On quite a few evenings, we were joined by Junior, who lapped up all the attention he got from us and the Chinese group.
In-between scraping paint off, Adri taught Alina how to make elderberry jam and apple jelly. Both these fruit trees are growing on site, and teaching Alina to utilise the fruit, would hopefully go a long way in helping them stock up for winter. We were joined by our cook and his wife preparing the veggies for the evening meal.
And just to remind Adri and Marli about their day-job, they assisted in delivering six healthy kittens!
On the Wednesday we were treated to a trip to Gimbav where we worked last year at the OM headquarters converting the loft. This has now been turned into offices and it was good to see the end product of our work, as well as seeing Dora the dog again.
We were also invited by Tero to meet his wife and three children and we were treated to coffee, cake and Finnish hospitality.
Reece joined the activities of the Chinese Youth Group on their outreach to the local Romanian children, and he thoroughly enjoyed himself in spite of the language barrier. He became very good friends with our cook’s son, with a six-year old boy acting as translator between the two!
But he also helped with scraping paint off walls!
As always, we were treated to Romanian food, of which smarma is a prime example.
The final day arrived, and as we finished more than was expected, we offered to help Tero and Vali prepare the wood that Tero, true to his Finnish roots, are going to use to build a sauna in the school building.
All too soon it was Sunday again, and after a short sermon by Jaco, we said our goodbye’s to pastor Soreen and our hosts for the week and headed back to the UK physically tired but spiritually revived and enriched by what we’ve experienced on Romania Outreach 2016.
We are Loving by Giving. We serve a loving God in any way we can, across language and cultural borders to His glory.
By Lesley de Villiers
The morning was dry, the truck was HUGE, and the team was ready!
9am on Saturday morning, 6th June, 11 very able bodied people (including an 8- and an 11 year-old) got stuck in and started to tackle the very full storage container that has been housing boxes, bikes and other goods for the past year or so. Our job was to load a very large truck that in a few hours was about to embark on a day long journey across the sea all the way to Romania.
Very quickly we organised ourselves to load minivans, one with small boxes, and the other with larger ones, to then, once full, drive a short distance to where the truck was parked (It was so huge it could not park up next to the storage container!). Some boxes were broken, and needed patching up, other items were in black bags and needed to be put into boxes that we made up. The bicycles were piled up in a long line against the side of the containers: they were to be packed last.
The men on the truck along with the friendly Romanian driver had the job of packing the boxes in such a way that maximum boxes could be fitted into minimum space… and so the game of Tetrus began! They did great work, because in the end there was some space left over!
All in all, in 3 hours, we had loaded 354 boxes (of clothes, shoes, toys and bedding), 23 bicycles, 3 pushchairs, 2 car seats, 8 computers and 1 bed. These will all be distributed at the other end in Romania over the next few months by Operation Mobilisation, who, through the local churches, will donate the goods to those in need.
We are all waiting eagerly to hear the stories of how these much needed items will affect people’s lives in extraordinary ways (we know that last year there were some wonderful ones!).
From the bottom of our hearts, we would like to sincerely thank all of those who donated towards this worthwhile venture… it means so much to those who are in desperate need.
Loving by Giving recently sent a small team to the Arusha region of Tanzania, to help people in great need. When the team got there, they immediately got involved. They visited schools, donated soccer balls and stationery, conducted children’s programmes, trained church leaders and visited local villages. This video gives a brief overview of the work they did and the lives they touched.
We have met so many amazing people on our recent outreach to Romania, but none more so than the Craciun family. They are working and living at the OM Romania base and hosted us for the week we were there.
Adi and Alina have two lovely boys, Edi and Ruben and a beautiful five month old baby girl, Bianca. Unfortunately Bianca has spent the last two of her five months in hospital.
Just after Bianca turned three months old, she started having serious seizures. Initially it was thought that this was epilepsy, but then she didn’t respond to any treatment. Since then they have tried numerous types of treatment and have done a score of tests, but still they are not sure what exactly causes the seizures. The doctors are now recommending one final test, a DNA test, in order to determine the cause of her illness and how to treat her. This test is very expensive, though, and costs around €2,000, a sum this family cannot afford.
Therefore, Loving by Giving is helping to raise the necessary funds for this family, so that they could determine how Bianca can best be helped. If you would like to make a donation for this cause, please use the Loving by Giving *bank details, with the reference “Bianca”.
Thank you for your help in this matter. Together we can make a difference.
* Bank details: Loving by Giving; HSBC; Account number: 812-979-96; Sort Code: 40-08-53
When Loving by Giving’s truckload of clothes, toys and bedding arrived in Romania, it was distributed all over the country in order to benefit as many people as possible. In this video Raluca Cardos of OM Romania describes where the aid was sent and tells a few stories of the impact it had.
Christmas is approaching fast and with this season comes the tradition of giving gifts to each other, reminding us of the very first and greatest Christmas Gift. Yet, so many children, especially in the developing world, have never experienced the joy and excitement of receiving a gift at this time of the year.
Fortunately though, there are organisations, like Samaritan’s Purse, who make it their mission to deliver shoe boxes filled with gifts to children all over the world. This is a great incentive and about a month ago we issued the challenge to people in our church to pack a shoe box for this project – and the response was amazing. On Sunday 33 shoe boxes were delivered, meaning that the lives of 33 children will be positively impacted by the generosity of a handful of caring people.
Thank you to each one of you who donated gifts for these children and the time and effort you took to pack it. Be assured that this gesture will make a huge impact on children who need to know that there are people who still care.
We still have until the 18th of November to pack gifts for Samaritan’s Purse and I am pretty sure that we will probably get a few more in before then. If you are interested in this project, have a look at Samaritan’s Purse’s website and pack a shoe box for these children, it will put a smile on their faces.
Written by Jaco Beukes
I was wearing my Loving by Giving jacket and walking through the market in Norwich, when someone approached me from behind and said: “Excuse me, I saw the logo on your jacket and couldn’t help wondering… Are you the guys who gave out the backpacks earlier this year for homeless people…?”
I was slightly surprised by this, as I didn’t think anyone even knew about this, but I confirmed his assumption, so he continued: “I was one of the people who received a backpack from you and I just wanted to say thank you… it was such a thoughtful thing that you did, and it really made a difference. All the items that were included, especially the £5 voucher… it was just such a kind gesture. Thank you so much.”
It turned out he was still homeless, but he is now selling the Big Issue and trying very hard to fit back into society – and the backpack was a bit of help along the way, giving him hope and letting him know that people still care.
This encounter was extremely encouraging to me, as it seems as though the effort we’ve put in so far is really making a difference in people’s lives. It was also encouraging because our logo is being recognised on the streets of Norwich.
Thank you again to each one of you who are contributing so generously to the work we are doing, especially the children who helped to pack all these backpacks, it is definitely helping to make a difference.
Written by Jaco Beukes
During May we sent more than ten tonnes of aid to poverty-stricken communities in rural Romania and in August we had the privilege of meeting some of the families who were helped as a result of this work. Here are a few stories from the frontline:
In 2012 we helped to fix an old derelict building in a small town, called Bod. This building was transformed into a clinic, kindergarten and church and this was the main base where the truck was sent. From there, all the goods were distributed to many different parts of Romania where the need is greatest.
Amongst others, there was a young lady, Alexandra, who has two children. Her family is extremely poor and when she discovered that she was pregnant with a third child, she didn’t know what to do, as they simply couldn’t afford another child. She became very despondent and was actually contemplating abortion. However, in her despair, she turned to the church in Bod and found new hope and decided to keep the baby and live by faith.
About a month later, this decision was strengthened miraculously when a truck arrived with everything she could want for her new baby. This was an incredible experience for her and she and her family is deeply grateful to everyone who contributed to help a baby that hasn’t even been born yet.
Another family, the Craciuns, serve full-time with Operation Mobilisation in Romania. They have to raise their own financial support and are struggling to make ends meet. They also didn’t quite know how they were going to manage with another baby on the way. However, at eight months pregnant, the truck arrived and everything they hoped and prayed for was delivered on their doorstep. And a month later, little Bianca was born and her parents could give her everything they so desperately wanted to, because people on the other side of the world responded to a call for help.
Then there is David, a sixteen year old lad, who is quite bright, but who doesn’t have a lot of opportunities. He is the youngest of six children and his family is very poor. Previously he had a bicycle, which he used to get to different youth meetings and events. Unfortunately this was stolen two years ago and since then his options has been limited. However, when the truck arrived in Bod, there was a beautiful new blue bicycle with his name on it. When he received it, he was so excited that he put the bike on his back and ran up three flights of stairs to tell his parents. This gift has inspired him to work extra hard at school and he doesn’t miss a meeting or youth group anymore.
We’ve heard incredible stories of desperation when we visited families who are living in dire circumstances. However, we also saw how a simple gift of some second-hand goods could literally change lives. Not merely because it fulfilled a material need, but mainly because of the hope it gives. Hope that life can be different and that there are still people who care.
Therefore, on behalf of all the people who received goods from you, a huge and sincere “thank you” that you are putting your love into action, it is making a real difference to their lives.