by Carlton Deal
In the late 90s, I was a youth leader in Geneva, Switzerland, and I brought a team of international school students to serve in an orphanage in Lugoj, Romania. It was a very formative experience for all of us. One of my co-leaders was a good friend named David, who had moved from our home state of Virginia to work with me in Geneva.
Fast forward a few years and I had moved to Brussels, Belgium, to plant an international church. Along the way, inspired by serving experiences in Romania and elsewhere, we started an outreach in Brussels called Serve the City. Little did we know it would grow into a global charity, which today is active in every continent, impacting nearly 1 million lives. My good friend David had moved back to Virginia by then, but year after year, he brought a team from our home church to serve with us in Brussels.
But as Serve the City started to spread around the world, I couldn’t get my experience in Romania out of my head. Eventually, I met some inspiring local leaders in Romania, and had the opportunity to see their wonderful work in person. It seemed to me like a fantastic opportunity for a partnership, so we spoke to these friends and asked if they wanted to lead Serve the City Timisoara. They said yes, and that’s how we have Georgi as our amazing STC Timisoara City Leader!
Often when we start Serve the City in a new city, we look for a team of visiting volunteers that could come and help. So to whom did we turn? David of course!
So during the week of the 5th of June, Georgi and her team, with the support of David and a team from Virginia, launched Serve the City Timisoara, just a few kilometers away from Lugoj, where David and I first served all those years ago.
I asked Georgi about some of her highlights from last week and she told me a few stories, which I will share like this:
In various projects around the city…
We weren’t just re-painting the Onesimus house together…
We were helping the children who live there feel respected and cared for, and loved.
We weren’t just gardening at Debora House…
We were learning to find joy even in the jobs we don’t prefer, when we work together as a team.
We weren’t just picking up trash at the park…
We were making our city more beautiful, remembering that Jesus is making all things new, even our lives.
Georgi continued, “We had an amazing week! Because of David and his team, not only were we able to serve in various projects around the city, but we attracted a group of local volunteers who are now eager to continue!”