Known, Wanted and Loved

Morgan Pracht

In the long-term aftermath of Romania’s revolution, World Challenge’s partners are providing a home for kids who don’t have family of their own.

Up until 1989, Romania was under the control of one of the world’s most oppressive Communist regimes. Romanian dictator Nicolae Ceaușescu was eventually overthrown and executed, but the timing of this political turmoil could not have been worse for Romania’s most vulnerable populations.

In the decades preceding his death, Ceaușescu made an effort to grow the taxpaying population by increasing the birthrate. He banned all forms of birth control, created social stigmas and imposed tax penalties on childless adults. The result was a large set of new parents who were unwilling or unable to care for their children.

Social turmoil and high poverty rates led unprecedented numbers of parents to give up their children. Many of these parents were desperate, and they believed that they were doing what was best for the kids they could not care for. The Romanian population had been led to believe that the state orphanages would provide a better life. It would be years before the people realized this wasn’t true.

As the former Eastern Bloc’s most violent revolution took its course, funding for the orphanage facilities was cut to a minimum. Without enough staff to keep the facilities in order, there was vicious fighting and bullying. A tragic number of kids died because there was very little food and almost no adequate medical care. Drugs were used to keep the kids in line, and physical abuse was rampant.

Through no fault of their own, these children grew up believing that they were unwanted and unloved. More than anything, they needed caring, stable families. That’s where Casa Sanctuary came in.

A Place to Call Home

Casa Sanctuary has been one of World Challenge’s partners since it was founded in 1992. In that time, they have raised or found adoptive families for over 120 kids. Casa Sanctuary has two goals: to create a loving, stable family environment and to share the gospel with the children they take in.

A little boy named Andrei came to Casa Sanctuary when he was just three years old. Even though he was a toddler, the impact of his insecure family background was obvious. Andrei’s father left early, and his mother had spent the past few years in constant transition. Even at the age of three, Andrei had developed a fear of abandonment and had a hard time trusting people.

Within his first week at Casa Sanctuary, Andrei heard the message of the gospel. World Challenge’s partners taught him about God, created a family for him and showed him that he was wanted and loved.

Now, 15 years later, Andrei is a high school senior who is working to help kids in the villages surrounding Casa Sanctuary. He volunteers with youth ministry at his church and serves meals to those in need.

In particular, Andrei has a heart for the Turkish Muslims who live in Romania. He has gone on two missions trips to share the gospel with them.

Andrei’s life could have looked very different, but his story shows the incredible difference made by a secure, gospel-centered home. World Challenge’s partner is working faithfully to provide that for as many kids as possible. They truly believe that these children are precious in God’s sight.

“Whoever gives one of these little ones even a cup of cold water because he is a disciple, truly, I say to you, he will by no means lose his reward” (Matthew 10:42, ESV).