Hilton Team visit Romania: some reflections (3)

Casa Name Board

Fiona at the CasaHere’s Fiona Waite, pictured last week in the Team Room at Casa Harului, preparing a talk. The room is on the top floor of the Casa, with a massive window which slides open to give a great view of the surrounding countryside. Beneath the window, there’s a plaque place by Vision Romania  reading in both English and Romanian ‘I to the hills will lift my eyes: from whence doth come mine aid.’

I particularly remember the morning Fiona spoke at our morning prayers. She explained to the UK  and Romanian teams, and some of the campers and their parents what it means to say ‘God is our refuge and strength, and ever-present help in trouble. Therefore we will not fear…….’ (Psalm 46:1-2a) Fiona particularly emphasised the ‘us-ness’ of these words. No doubt an individual can pray these words and find help through them. But they were originally written to be sung by a group of God’s people. Together we say ‘God is our refuge.’  Together we say ‘Therefore we will not fear.’

It is a reminder to us when we are tempted to focus on individualism, that we belong together.

I remember sitting at a table at the Casa Harului last Friday playing a card game with some campers, some Romanian team members, Adi the dad I spent time with each morning, and Jonathan Fraser. It occurred to me what a privilege it was to spend time with these people.

At the end of morning prayers, Fiona asked us all to form a circle, and link hands before repeating the Lord’s prayer in our own language – it seemed to me that there are a lot more words in the Romanian version than in the English version!  Our linking of hands symbolised our togetherness.

We are called in Hilton Church, as it were, to stand in a circle, link hands, and entrust ourselves to the one who is Lord of the kingdom of freedom. Are there those whose hand, for whatever reason, we find it hard to take in ours?

And we are called to stand in a much bigger circle, the circle formed by the international community of God’s people. Again, are there hands we are reluctant to take in ours?  And do we remember that we have a responsibility for that brother, that sister, who takes our hand in theirs.  What shape does that responsibility take when that fellow-Christian lives in a place of poverty and privation?


Building a trampoline under the midday sun - Liam Morrison, Jonathan Fraser,a Romanian team members, and Cailean MorrisonAnd here’s Jonathan, Liam, Cailean and a member of the Romanian team photographed in the afternoon sunshine just about to assemble a new trampoline which had been in storage at Casa Harului waiting for someone to erect it. It’s a reminder that there is a constant list of practical things requiring to be installed, upgraded, replaced, or maintained at the Casa.  It’s challenging for Mia Medrea who runs the project to raise money, and find suitably qualified volunteers to carry out this necessary work.  That’s why Mia so appreciated Liam’s willingness to spend six months in Romania last year to carry out practical tasks. Even when we were there a week ago, Liam was constantly seeing things needing done, and simply getting on with it. Thus, the broken step outside our chalet was replaced one morning.

Mia’s work at the Casa Harului is very significant, making a difference in the lives of hundreds of Romanian people each year. The teams going each year from Hilton Church raise funding to enable the camp they are leading to take place, but perhaps as a church we should also be thinking of imaginative ways of raising money for the on-going maintenance of the Casa.

By the end of the day, campers were bouncing happily on the new trampoline.  Another job well done!

(John Dempster)

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