Ukrainian Refugees Update

You will be pleased to hear that we now have a new cook – Elena – who lives in Cataloi. The staff are working very hard to help the Ukrainian refugees, and below are extracts from an email sent by Adrian and Gabriela, bringing us up to date with all that is going on at Casa Valentin. We are so grateful for the many donations we have received in aid of the refugees. Adrian writes:

“With a total of almost 500 people that stayed from 1 to 3 nights at Casa Valentin until today, March 16th, and maybe another 500 helped with either translation/orientation/ transportation from the Customs border point to Cataloi, or even picking them up from some northern cities, we are most blessed to have this great opportunity. The way we see it, direct contact with the refugees is a great thing. A blend of love, faith and hope coming from our team in contact with despair, hopelessness, weakened or even broken down spirits, anger, and frustration, gives us the opportunity of being a vivid, real testimony about a God that is known in theory but now proven in life experiences.

The rhythm of refugees coming through Customs has decreased a little bit yesterday. We had 29 souls on Monday at Casa Valentin and yesterday morning we were left with 5 (until noon). The rest of them have been helped to go to other places like Bucharest, Constanta, Ploiesti, Câmpina (Romanian locations) and even further on, to Germany, Netherlands, Israel and Spain. But last night more came and so we had 36 last night, 31 this morning at lunch. The 5 that were yesterday at noon, have today left.

The Emergency Unit that works at the Border point in Isaccea, now rules over the destinations refugees are offered to go. They arrive and after they are sorted by where they think they would like to go, they either get on busses or wait in a huge triage tent. Some stay 1 or 2 nights, either waiting for some of their left behind relatives to catch up, or because they have no clue where to go. For those who are most vulnerable, (handicap people, elderly people, mothers with small children) those in charge have lists of available places like Casa Valentin. For those who do come to us we have to provide transportation to Cataloi and then onwards to their future destinations.

Yesterday we had a visit from Emil Toader – Mission Link International Romania – and he brought basic food (flour, maize, rice, cooking oil, pasta, sugar and also some tomato pasta) packed in a small van, (a 20 year old faithful van that still runs). The van will stay with us for a month to help us to transport people around the local area. Yesterday the van brought a group of 7 people and their luggage from Isaccea to Casa Valentin. They were waiting for hours for someone to pick them up but 7 is too much for a small car, and too little for a bus. So they have to wait. But we just got the van and it started immediately to be used!

Thank you all for your continued support, especially the extra amounts sent in February and March for the refugees. May God allow us to serve His Kingdom and be a testimony for the lost, wether they are refugees or not! Adrian and Gabriela”.

EXPENDITURE ON REFUGEES

The money we have sent so far has been spent on: Urgent Needs (mattresses, beds, bedding, blankets, etc) Health products including Pampers, Formula, Toilet paper, Soap and sanitizing items, Equipment (cleaning, cooking, laundry bought/repaired), heating (24 hours a day and in every room!) Electricity for heating and all equipment including Hair Dryers, Irons and charging mobile phones, Food and Fruit, and Fuel for transportation (for cars and vans including taking refugees to the doctor and to Tulcea for shopping and financing purchase of clothes when refugees arrive with only the clothes they are wearing).

We are expecting that the expenses for March will be much higher than usual for electricity, water (showers, washing machines, drinking water and cleaning much more than usual), sewage (cesspit now having to be emptied weekly), food and salaries (to include the additional cook). The Sunflower Fellowship is continuing to send extra payments to Adrian and Gabriela as necessary and wish to thank you all for your generosity and prayers.

With best wishes from the Trustees.

Casa Valentin and staff are helping Ukrainian refugees

Dear supporters, Adrian sent us this email following a telephone conversation a few days earlier at the start of the war in Ukraine:

“So at Casa Valentin Cataloi, we have had over 100 people coming, staying and leaving within the last 5 and a half days. We use all facilities we have (our capacity is of 25 beds) and at the Church we have also prepared for more refugees. 5 beds in the children’s room and 5 more in the Church itself. We have volunteers helping with transportation of people from the border (40 kilometres away) using their own cars.

When refugees come we offer them food, we have a few showers and hot water (we are gas tank operated and now we have it full due to a donation in moneys to refill the tank.), clean beds and warm rooms, but due to cold outside our heating central needs help so we also use electric heaters in each room.

Mothers with small children need comfort, children are scared but soon they start discovering the toys we have at night and the grass field to play outside in the sand pit and the swings during the day.

The septic tank was full last week as showers and water is used much more so we will have it emptied. We bought extra bed sheets, blankets, towels, napkins, formula for small children.

Members from the Baptist church in Tulcea have volunteered to help our team at Cataloi (as there are only 3 personnel) and so we have volunteers helping cleaning rooms after refugees are processed and move on. We are cooking food on site, talking to refugees, and helping out with transporting them to other centres. Now we have some Ukrainian refugees that speak Romanian so we invited them to volunteer do the translation work.

We are happy to be here, front row, in this and to be a testimony of love of God beyond nationality, religion, age. Tonight we will organize a service in Ukrainian at the Church or maybe at Casa Valentin.”

We received another email at the weekend:

“This week we continued to have refugees come to Casa Valentin Cataloi. Mostly mothers with babies, grandmothers, daughters and children, all escaping war. (an estimate of refugees helped directly at Casa Valentin is 250).

The people that we managed to help directly through the customs and the co-ordination of groups towards Bucharest, Constanta and Ploiesti lodging, departures to Germany, go up to 700 people.

At Cataloi we have the team from Casa Valentin: Ani, Violeta and Cornelia. As they were working only during the day time 7 a.m. to 4 p.m. we needed to have back-up people for the night shifts. This means that carers that were used to working with less people (and usually children, fewer adults) have now to handle with more adults than before, and many babies...all (almost all) speaking JUST UKRAINIAN. Plus we need MORE people to help with cooking, cleaning, changing beds, washing, ironing, organizing the people that now populate the entire facility. So we have had some support from the Baptist Church to send people to help but they have jobs and they can't be there all the time. We are seeking for extra workers.”

Adrian continues…

WE WILL NEED TO HIRE AN ADDITIONAL COOK.

Today we are buying 5 more mattresses to expand our hosting capabilities. So we would from today have 40 beds/mattresses for people to stay with us.

We could not do without the facilities at Casa Valentin and with all the collateral support sent. God is good with us and we prove God's love to the ones that most need now. It is amazing how God is at work. Villagers of Cataloi decided to cook food for one group (40 people yesterday) and promised they will do it again next week.

We will continue to testify to these refugees about God's love. God bless you !!!”

From our Trustees:

Last week we sent an initial donation of £1,000 to help with the cost of feeding and caring for the refugees. In response to Adrian’s second email, we wrote: “One of your most urgent needs seems to be to hire an additional cook. Please go ahead and do this as soon as you can. We will pay the extra wages.”

If you would like to contribute towards these extra and unexpected expenses, we would be most grateful. This can be either by cheque addressed to The Sunflower Fellowship Romania or by direct transfer from your bank account. The charity’s bank details are: NatWest bank, Sort code: 60-03-25, Account Number: 58711554. Please use bank transfer rather than the website as this saves us a fee.

Obviously, none of us know how long this emergency will continue, but we must make it clear, that any such funds we receive, over and above what is used for the Ukrainian refugees, will need to be used for the ongoing normal work at Casa Valentin, since as a registered charity, we are not able to transfer any of our funds to another charity.

Please pray for Adrian, Gabriela, our staff and all the volunteers in all the extra work they are involved in, as well, of course as the refugees themselves.

Thank you for reading such a lengthy email, but we do appreciate your support of the charity, especially at such a dangerous time in all our lives.

The Lord bless you.

Sunflower Seeds 60

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