Forty Romanians get warm welcome in Ballymoney

HEBRON Free Presbyterian Church hosted a visited of 40 Romanian visitors during a two-week visit to Northern Ireland. The group was comprised of girls from Deborah House and their leaders and house parents. Deborah House is a home built to give young girls from a background of abuse a safe environment where they will be loved and cared for by Christian parents. This was the vision of Pastor Eugen Groza who accompanied them on their trip.

When the anti-Communist revolution occurred in December 1989, one of the first changes noticed in daily life was that there were children - boys and girls - sleeping on the streets in Timisoara. Abused underaged girls became involved in prostitution and stealing for food. They had emotional and behavioural issues beyond comprehension. The vision of Deborah House is to see each girl placed in its charge transformed from a Delilah into a Deborah, from a woman who uses her femininity to destroy, into a woman of God, a leader of her people.

Their visit to Ballymoney began at the Joey Dunlop Centre where they enjoyed the various facilities - Treasure Island, volleyball and swimming. A ‘Cowboy Supper’ was enjoyed by all in the Centre’s dinning room. The manager and staff are to be complimented on the gracious way in which the girls were received and looked after.

The next stop was the Giants Causeway. Billy gave them a talk about the famous rocks before the group enjoyed their beautiful walk to one of the great natural wonders of the world. It was a beautiful, sunny, warm afternoon, which added to the pleasure of the day. The visit gave the girls a wonderful opportunity for a photo shot as they enjoyed the fresh sea-air of the North Antrim Coast. Appreciation to Mr. Mervyn Storey, MLA, for help given in arranging this tour.

The day continued with a stop at Bishops Shoe Shop where all the 24 girls were provided with training shoes. A sincere expression of appreciation to the management and staff for the kind and welcoming reception received by the girls.

The trip culminated in Ballymoney where a beautiful and sumptuous meal was provided by the ladies of Hebron Free Presbyterian Church, headed up by Elaine Calderwood. Many testified to it being the most delicious meal received so far in Ulster.

After a photography session with the Mayor, Mrs. Evelyn Robinson, a service was held in Hebron with a large crowd in attendance. Rev. Park, recently returned from Romania with his 19-strong team, thanked Dr. Stanley Barnes for arranging the visit of the girls, and paid tribute to Mrs. Lorena Rusovan, Director of Deborah House. He acknowledged the love and care given by the House Parents and Staff of the home Appreciation was also expressed to Pastor Groza for organising the visit of the Ballymoney team while they were on outreach in Romania.

The girls and staff sang a number of Gospel hymns and Ion Costache (Little John) ministered in song. Two of the girls were dressed beautifully in traditional Romania clothes, which added to the enjoyment of the evening. An offering in excess of £2,000 was received for the ministry of Deborah House. Many in the congregation signed up to a monthly covenant scheme to help with the support of this work. In acknowledgement of their diligent labour of love, flowers were presented to Mrs. Rusovan and Mrs. Barnes by Kenya missionary, Miss Noreen McAfee, who has been home this summer for the wedding of her brother.

Rev. Park requests prayer for the ongoing work of the Deborah House ministry. ‘We are thankful to God for the vision given to Pastor Groza and his team of workers,’ he said, ‘and trust the Lord will bless this ministry and provide for its needs.’ The first and most important step toward the recovery of these girls is to remove them from a destructive environment to a place where they can discover the proper meaning of the word ‘HOME.’ There they will be provided with all the skills needed to live an independent and successful life and to begin the process of becoming the person God intended them to be.

Deborah House Centre currently has two homes available for girls and young women who have been abused. Further accommodation is being provided, as funds permit, for the girls who reach adulthood, as the staff endeavour to integrate them into normal society. ‘It has been my privilege to be involved in some small way with this ministry,’ said Rev. Park. ‘We have grown to love these girls in the Lord and in a short time become very attached to them. It is our prayer that God Himself will continue to change their lives by His grace, and give wisdom and patience to those who oversee this ministry.’