***Originally sent as an email newsletter on 11/17/22
Hello Friends, I pray that you are doing well and are reminded regularly of God's faithfulness! As I prepare to move to Romania, I want to share with you more about what Occupational Therapy is and the difference that this type of therapy can make in a country like Romania. In a nutshell, Occupational Therapy helps people with difficulties or disabilities of any kind to learn or re-learn tasks that are meaningful to them and will allow them to participate well in the world. We use activities that are interesting and engaging to teach or develop these skills and break down each task into the most basic steps. Occupational Therapists also provide modifications for tasks when typical skill attainment would take extended time or be unlikely due to the severity of the disability. Since children's meaningful activities include play, learning, and growing towards independence, we pediatric Occupational Therapists look at and treat all aspects of brain, body, and social-emotional development that could impact their ability to do these activities. For various reasons, some children have difficulties moving towards the next developmental milestone or skip over milestones, which leads to a lack of development in sensory processing (registering and responding appropriately to sensations such as noise, touch, movement, and use of their muscles), postural control, crossing midline, the ability to be still and to attend, emotional security, the ability to tolerate frustrations and transitions, eye-hand coordination, left/right coordination, and fine motor control. These developmental challenges often also impact learning and the ability to interact well with their families and friends. In our evaluations, we look at how a child is functioning in all of these aspects of development then plan goals and fun treatment activities to specifically address the areas of brain, body, and social-emotional development that are delayed. Depending on the child's needs, therapy can last for around 6 months to a lifetime. If you are interested in learning more about the therapy modalities that I use to help children with developmental delays, you can do so here.
In Romania, Occupational Therapy is virtually unheard of. From what I understand, there are 4 or 5 university programs, developed within the last 5 years, for the training of Occupational Therapists, so the profession is very new and underdeveloped there. This means that most children in Romania with developmental delays, both major and minor, do not have access to services that could significantly impact their brain and body development and help them to engage well with the world around them. The neglect, abuse, trauma, and poverty faced by the children in Budila and other Roma villages can easily lead to delays in development. They need specialized care to address their specific developmental needs, which will help them to grow and learn. This effect is heightened significantly for children who grew up in orphanages, where they are often severely neglected. The developmental milestones that they missed from not being touched and carried, not being given the opportunities to go through developmental movement patterns, having nothing to touch, look at, and engage with, and having no or little relational interactions can severely impact the trajectory of their development and their ability to interact well with others and be independent. I can't wait to see how God uses the skills in Occupational Therapy that He has given me to meet the practical needs of Romania's children and to serve as an open door to share the Gospel, which is each of our greatest need!
So that tickets can be purchased and final arrangements be made, I am praying for 85% of my monthly support to be committed to 2 months prior to moving, while still continuing to prepare to move at the end of January. To cover living and ministry expenses, I have an approved monthly budget of $3,000, of which $874 is committed to currently. I am also praying for an additional $2,250 in one-time gifts to cover initial expenses.
The link above leads to a form where intended donations can be shared and a link for giving can be found.
for the open doors that He has provided for me to minister with Firm Foundations Romania and that they are willing and eager to host this mission of using Occupational Therapy to share the Gospel and help bring transformation.
for the opportunity to attend and get involved at Providenta Church!!
for sending me a couple new monthly supporters and encouraging friends to give one-time gifts as well!
that my wonderful church here in Colorado has agreed to be my sending church! I am very thankful for their leadership and covering as God sends me to Brasov!!
85% of monthly support committed to by the end of November, if it is the Lord's will for me to move at the end of January
Grace and wisdom to complete the tasks and projects required before moving
Open hearts to hear and receive the Gospel in Romania
Opportunities and God's leading to minister to abandoned children
Open doors to visit the children with disabilities in the institution again
Housing in Brasov
Grace to become fluent in Romanian
Thank you very much! Your support, prayers, and encouragement mean the world to me. If you have any questions or would like to meet in person or over Zoom to learn more about this mission, please reach out as I'd love to arrange a time to get together. You can find previous newsletters on my blog page at www.toromaniawithlove.org/blog, and please make sure to check out my updated website for additional information: www.toromaniawithlove.org! With love,