Stories from Romania
Even though I was able to attend only one leadership training, it was very important to me.
I came to the leadership session for two reasons: as a university student, I became more acquainted with the term “leadership,” and I was hoping to deepen my understanding and gain more practical skills; and secondly, I was in need of a Christian community that could thaw my spiritual ice age.
Up to this day I am very grateful that I could attend the third session of the leadership school. I was able to amass a lot of important information during these three days. The useful practical and theoretical activities, the intelligent and amiable speakers, the worship ceremonies as well as the dance meditation brought big changes into my life in many ways.
My first move after the training was to join the local women’s association, where the majority of women were much older than I. As practically the only young member of the association, I sought to offer fresh perspectives to the nature and service of the organization. I brought new programming ideas and concepts, and proposed new strategies to attract potential – and younger – members.
I thought of starting a “Women’s Breakfast” program, which turned into a series of lectures because it wasn’t seen as a good idea by the traditional elderly members. I invited well-known psychologists to talk to the women in my community about time management, the roles of women in society and family, and paths to a spiritual renewal. I wanted to show them that the women’s association is an open organization, and everyone could get involved. I organized two similar events, one in partnership with the local youth. And I already have plans for the new “season.”
I would very much like to structure the work of the organization, which may take a lot of effort. I would like to see the roles within the association clearly delineated, for example. I am also planning to hand out a survey in the village to assess interests and needs, which will be a big help in determining future goals and activities. I would also like to see a network or a partnership of local women’s associations – this idea came up at the training I attended. And last but not least, I want to let you in on a secret: I haven’t given up on the idea of a Women’s Breakfast program: monthly breakfast meetings with invited speakers on a variety of topics. I hope such a program – apart from informative and educational purposes – will bring members of the association closer together, attract women who are not currently active or are outside of the work of the women’s association, and stimulate exchanges that lead to the strengthening of the organization.
I feel like I received a push at the training. All kinds of ideas sprang to mind as to what I can do for the local community so that its inhabitants can grow spiritually. One of these ideas, the “praying circle” program is now functional.
The first meeting I attended as the newest member of the women’s association was a little uncomfortable: the elderly were not very enthusiastic. But then we sang together a beautiful song, which contains this line: “there is a lot of work to be done, but so few workers.” This line rests in my heart to this very day. I realize the immense potential we women have if we all bring to the table our enthusiasm and readiness to work together.
Blessings to dear Gizi, the organizers, and volunteers who made this happen.
With grateful thanks and love,
A participant in the violence awareness training session in Transylvania shared her thoughts with us, anonymously:
What this weekend training offered I cannot really put into words. I didn’t talk much, I didn’t share my story, I didn’t talk about what happened to me – but I can tell you that the training has changed my life.
I had experienced all the manifestations of domestic violence that the experts talked about. After years of suffering and hope, I got a divorce. I had always hoped for change. I convinced myself that in time our life would be better. That time never came – instead, the situation became worse and worse. That is why I decided to file for divorce. But that did not mean an end to my ordeal. My family, relatives, and acquaintances blamed me and told me that I should have endured. That I shouldn’t have gotten a divorce. My child should have been raised by her own father. This is the reason why she is also divorced. Confronted with such charges, I could only become filled with self-guilt. I blamed myself for my failures and the failures of those around me. Then various illnesses started…when the leadership school was launched, I signed up. The training sessions filled me spiritually. Every time I came closer to myself. When I went home from this training, I sat down and thought it over. Again and again. Then I told myself I am ready to forgive myself.
My heart is filled with gratitude. Thank you, for making me unburden a heavy load that others kept piling on my shoulders; a load that I silently carried and even added to…which I could hardly bear any longer.
I forgave myself! How odd this sounds but how much power it carries. Now I know that I wasn’t the reason for our lives not working out together. I am grateful to the experts and the organizers for helping me to forgive myself and finally breathe freely, unburdened, giving thanks to the Almighty that I am. And I am who I am. Thank you!