The Story Behind the Home
The vision for a children's home in Bucharest, Romania was birthed when a
church from Germersheim, Germany
came with relief aid in 1990. This was right after the Revolution. The
Germans, whose organization was called the
Festung (Fortress), were touched and moved to do something to he,p the
scores of street children at the northern
train station (Gara de Nord). They started a daily feeding program at the
train station and in the meantime began to
search for property or a building they could buy.
Buying the Old House
In 1994 they found an old skeleton of a building standing alone one and a
half kilometers west of Bucharest. It was
the only house left in the middle of a huge field after the former dictator
Nicolae Ceausescu decided to destroy nearly
30 homes in this area. The Romanian Christian organization called Neemia
bought the old house on a 400 square
meter parcel of land for the Festung. Then the Festung paid to have the
house enlarged and renovated. The quality of
work was very poor, but the building was completed in December 1995.
Becky Becomes Director
In the summer of 1995 they were looking for a director to run the
children's home. It was only a few months before
that God had spoken to me to open a house called Casa Shalom ( House of
Peace). I was busy looking for a house
but had no money. I had been working at a Bible school in Bucharest as a
dorm mom and the Director of Evangelism. During the summer of 1995 one of the directors of the Neemia
organization came by to visit me in
Bucharest. He told me about the house and he felt I was the right person
for managing the children's home. He didn't
know I had already been looking for a house for several months. We went to
visit the home and what a surprise to
find the house was only ten minutes away from my
apartment. Was this just a coincidence? No, I don't believe it was. Also, I
found out later the German organization
the Festung had been trying to contact 'me for two years. (So don't be
discouraged if you can't contact me in a day
or two; just hang in there.)
Our First Year of Trials
In December 1995 1 said good-bye to Germany. I packed up all my belongings
and sent them on a tractor-trailer to
Bucharest. I had lived in Germany for 13 years so it was a little emotional
to say Auf Wiedersehen to all my friends. I
was excited about the new project and wanted to get this orphanage up and
running. Needless to say it was a real
trial right from the start. We stopped for the night in Hungary and during
the night someone broke into my van.
Praise God, when I left Germany I was in such a hurry that I had forgotten
to take the bags of trash out of my van.
When the thief broke in, for the most part what he found was the bags of
trash. The one overnight case he stole was
returned to me six months later, even with my onedollar sunglasses that I
liked so much.
The Driveway to the House
When we arrived in Bucharest, for the first week it was very cold and had
no problem driving on the frozen driveway.
But a week later the ground thawed, and it was impossible to travel the
driveway to the house. For two months we
had to walk, and then one day I slipped and fell in a foot of mud. That was
enough, and I called a company to fix the
road. Eight huge truckloads of stones were dumped in the driveway. Ooops!
They ran out of stones in front of the
house, and while Becky wasn't looking, they just dumped several loads of
sand instead. We could now at least drive
down the road, but I couldn't turn my van around in the sand in front of
our house. So, for the next four months I drove
to our house, and then each time I had to back all the way out of the
driveway. I became a good "backer upper" and
just thanked the Lord we didn't have a longer driveway.
Snow Outside and Snow Inside!
It was winter and when it snows, it blows. It blowed so hard I had a
one-foot snow drift that came in under the door.
Then when the rains came, I thought we would have a flood. All the windows
were so poorly made. I said to myself,
now that just won't do! I like snow and rain but there's a time and place
The next day I decided we would have to build a porch. I started with a
plan for a simple little roof above the doors,
but then I thought how nice it would be to have a little place for clothes
and children's wet shoes to dry and maybe a
place for a flower or two and, of course, for a few tables and chairs. Our
porch vision grew even though we didn't have
any money. We made a plan, and I had a few hundred dollars. My carpenter
friend Danny (18 years old) came from
Germany. He built
most of the porch in two weeks. He was so energetic all the neighbors were
amazed to see a young man work day
and night to build a porch for an orphanage. Every few days more money
would come. We were so amazed and kept
running to buy more wood and other materials. It was our first real faith
project, and how exciting it was to see how
God provided. Everyone comments about how beautiful our porch is. It has
become both ours and the children's
favorite place in the summertime.
Water Problems for One Year
We surely learned to appreciate water at Casa Shalom in 1996. We had
problems with our pump every few days.
Once we had no water for a whole week. Sometimes the neighbors were not
home. The children began to pray that it
would rain. Then they quickly ran outside to wash their hands as the water
came out the rainspout. Finally our pump
problem was solved 12 months later, and we have not had a problem with
Our lawyer told us we would have our non-profit organization registration
with the government in two weeks. The two
weeks turned into a nightmare of 12 long months. The papers came a few days
before Christmas. We were finally
legal. That is, we were legal until they just passed a new law last fall.
All non-profit organizations have to be
registered with the government. It was a lot more paper work, but we did
it. We had a favorable interview and received
our accreditation from the government to operate Casa Shalom. Praise God!
This is an accreditation that has to be
Volunteer Worker Killed
On August 11, 1996 Wolfgang Schmid and his wife Renate were returning to
Germany after driving a large truck with
aid to Casa Shalom. They had spent a week with us and became new friends
who had a heart to reach out to the
street children. On their return trip Wolfgang fell asleep at the wheel of
the truck, and it ran over an embankment and
landed in a cement river bed. The impact killed Wolfgang immediately. It
was a miracle Renate survived the accident.
She is still suffering with some neck and arm problems. Pray for her
complete healing and for their two teenage girls.
This was a terrible shock for us to go through at the time. We thank God
for His grace and we see so clearly how
quickly a loved one can be taken away from us. How we need to be ready to
meet our Lord at all times.
Our Land Problems
Many of the neighbors have told us a little of our fence is on their
property. One even said part of our house is on
their property. I said, "We have 400 square meters, and the lot line is
here somewhere." People do not work very
accurately when they make official papers. This has caused us severe
problems. Now we're learning. Right now I
have already bought the property from two of the neighbors. This spring we
will make a playground for the children
and also have land for a garden.
One of the most frustrating things for us was that until February 1998 we
had no telephone. This made our work even
more complex. People couldn't contact us and we couldn't contact them. For
those who would like our new number,
011-401-413-1658. Not only do we have a telephone, but we are also on the
Internet and have a web page where
your friends can read our latest newsletter.
Our e-mail address is firstname.lastname@example.org
Our web page is:
"Please tell me more."