Eyes are often called the “windows to the soul.” One of our members, Renee*, looked into the souls of Roma children on a daily basis. Seeing the hope and desire for love and acceptance, she was compelled to gather them in to train the older ones in basic life skills and to provide them all with a safe environment to hear the Truth and to experience the love our Father has for them. Her husband was moved to create a business that provided jobs for their fathers. Here, in her own words, is a snippet of Renee’s story of MDE’s connection as they moved away from this work and came back home.
Our introduction to MDE came at a time when we really needed support. I was reaching out to the children in our community and my husband was starting a manufacturing business. Our mission organization allowed us to be seconded to MDE, and MDE helped us walk through the legal hoops of starting both a nonprofit organization and a business overseas. They encouraged us each step of the way and never made us feel like what we were doing was a “bad idea.”
The support we received came in many ways. I saw how they invested in my husband, developing his vision with him, advising him on what was needed, filling in the gaps. They invested in us both financially and with their time – even coming to the field for visits. In our combined 12 years in Europe, we rarely had visitors, so it was huge that they would care for us in this way.
When I entered a time of depression, my MDE mentor became my advocate. With the MDE leadership, she advised my husband and I that we needed to attend counseling together. While we attended a residential facility, my mentor called me weekly and offered to visit. She did not need to do that, but it meant the world that she was willing.
They understood that communicating with our supporting churches would be difficult. So, they became our advocate there too – encouraging our churches to step up their personal care of us, instead of dropping us because of lack of communication on our side. MDE even drafted the explanation letter we finally sent to our churches.
Starting a nonprofit overseas was a challenge but closing it has proved the bigger challenge. The local authorities are more interested in bribes than upholding legal processes. We are no longer active MDE members, but MDE is still tirelessly working to make sure the nonprofit closes in the “right” way.
These experiences have made me one of MDE’s biggest supporters, and I constantly refer people to MDE.
* Name changed for privacy.
** Picture of one of the children who attended the kids’ club.