Why Are You Here?
Posted on: February 22, 2022
by: Peter Lazar
by: Peter Lazar
“De ce esti aici?” (Why are you here?) It is June 1, 2015, and I am on my third mission trip with The Smiles Foundation in Romania. We have been led by a Smiles team leader to the third sub-basement of an abandoned Communist era hospital where some homeless are hiding. How they came to be homeless and why they are hiding are discussions for another time. I don’t know many Romanian words; the Smiles team leader is translating. At first, I think the woman asking the question is annoyed by our intrusion. No! The leader explains that she is incredulous that anyone would travel so far to care about her. I had been going on mission trips to Romania for somewhat selfish reasons. The woman’s question caused me to rethink my reasons and I would invite you to contemplate what I realized that day. It changed my perspective on mission trips.
Of course, going on a mission trip does cost money, time and personal risk but Smiles hosts missionaries of all ages very comfortably. I found from our trip in December that COVID exposure seems as well managed in Romania as in the USA. Still, it would be far easier as an American, wealthy by worldly standards, to just cut a check. But what I did not realize was how much it means to the poor for us to be there, especially in parts of the world with virtually no “social safety net.” These people are alone. Profoundly alone. They need human compassion as much as food. The human compassion we bring by being there means so much. I have also learned that the Smiles staff is greatly encouraged and rewarded by the company of mission visitors.
Please consider joining us on a mission trip to Romania. Trips are filled with opportunities suitable for all ages and abilities for compassion, service and joy. We depart May 26 and return June 5, 2022. You can contact me or my wife Carol for further information.
Posted in: Missions