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Christmas at the Ruth School
Christmas is a time of joy and happiness for children and adults alike. The children of the Ruth School anxiously await the annual Christmas celebration during which the true meaning of Christmas is shared. Many classes sang traditional Christmas carols that they learned in music class and during chapel programs. Several students memorized Scripture passages regarding the birth of Christ and recited them. Even the youngest Obed students took part in the festivities by reciting Christmas poetry. Many parents and various family members of Ruth School students attended this program. After the celebration in the cafeteria, the students ventured back to their classrooms to receive their Christmas parcels. For many our students this shoebox full of Christmas cheer and packed with love is the only package they receive during the holiday season. They all were anxious to get home to open their boxes and share the goodies with their families. These parcels are sent each year from supporting churches in Germany and have been faithfully organized by Mr. & Mrs. Klaus Dahm for many years. Mrs. Baerbel Dahm went home to be with the Lord in early December after battling cancer. Her legacy of love for children and desire to share the love of Christ with them through Christmas parcels and life changing of education will live on in this annual event. Project Ruth is grateful for her passion and love for the Roma children and mourns the loss of this Godly woman. Mrs. Baerbel Dahm is pictured in the first photograph with her husband, Klaus, during their fiftieth wedding celebration.
December GSS
Four times a year the Ruth School library is converted into a place of biblical learning and truths for the students of the Gypsy Smith School. During the first full week of December, Dr. Courtney Kreuger and Dr. Jack Couch taught the minor prophets of the Old Testament. Despite the large amount of curriculum covered and long hours, the students exceled and paid excellent attention to the Biblical teaching of these professors. On Wednesday morning, the Roma students joined the older Ruth School students in chapel. They led the worship time with energetic songs accompanied by an accordion and joyful clapping. One of the brothers shared his testimony of how he found the Lord during the severe illness of his newborn son. It was a wonderful to see Roma ministerial students connecting with Ruth School students.

On Friday afternoon, as the GSS brothers left Project Ruth they were loaded down with new knowledge and Christmas gifts for their families. Due to the generous donations of individuals and companies, each man received a new sweatshirt for each of their children along with a pair of gently used shoes for each member of their family.
Winter Clothing
As the cold winds blow and frost begins to appear on the windows in the early morning, it seems that winter is just around the corner. The students of the Ruth School mourn the loss of the warm summer days suitable for playing outside and walking to school. The majority of our students walk at least ten minutes and in some cases up to thirty minutes from their homes to the Ruth School. This walk is getting colder and colder with each passing day. Each student received a sweatshirt and socks along with other articles of winter clothing during the first two weeks of November. These clothes were donations to the Ruth School from various organizations and private individuals. The older boys and girls were thrilled when they discovered dress blazers that fit them and are in style in Romania. Often our students long for things that are “in-style” but rarely receive them because of finances. It was such a blessing to see the smiles on their faces, the next day as they proudly wore their new winter blazers. The young students from the Obed Day Center and Class 0 loved going through the box of handmade scarves and hats to find their favorite colors to keep their little ears warm this winter.

Thank you to all the individuals, groups and organization that made this winter clothing distribution possible!
Emerywood Baptist
Olympics, assertive discipline, and blinged-out earrings... What do they have in common? All were used this past week to show the love of Christ to the students, staff, and women of Project Ruth. The team from Emerywood Baptist Church, High Point, NC, planned a very ambitious week of activities while in Bucharest. Two team members concentrated on teacher training with assertive discipline and classroom management. They also provided little surprises each day for the staff to show appreciation for their dedication to the Ruth School. Three other team members provided Olympic Games each day for the children and sports clinics in the afternoon. Another member with support from the rest of the team did crafts with the Naomi women and all the students. The women and older girls were thrilled to learn the basics of jewelry making and proudly wore their blinged-out earrings for all to see. If all this wasn't enough the team led in chapel, visited a Roma church, sang at the Romanian Baptist Church, helped begin a teacher mentoring program, and provided socks for the entire school.
GSS & Sewing Activities
The Gypsy Smith School is back in session. There are no scheduled sessions for the Roma church leaders during the spring and summer months because many of the men are able to find temporary jobs working in the fields. During this most recent session, Professors Dr. Roy DeBrand and Dr. Andy Tooze challenged the men academically and pushed them to use the Old Testament to discover correlation with New Testament covenants.

While the men were busy studying the Word from 9am until 5pm, Carolyn DeBrand served using her artistic gifts. On Tuesday and Thursday afternoons, Carolyn DeBrand shared some secrets to making fantastic hair bows with the seventh and eighth grade girls from the Ruth School. The girls loved them and couldn’t make them fast enough! The women of the Naomi Center were treated to Carolyn DeBrand’s talent on Thursday morning as they made small tote bags from colorful placemats.
The Beginning of a New School Year
September 17th was an exciting day at the Ruth School as it welcomed its students back to school after summer vacation. Many excited students along with a large number of parents gathered outside, bringing flowers for teachers and bearing smiles for the beginning of the year celebration. Students were welcomed by the headmistress Virginia and Executive Director Mishi. Also introduced was Sergio, a Ruth School graduate in his second year of university. Sergio brought words of advice and encouragement to the students, who could one day follow in his footsteps.

After much anticipation, the students and their parents were dismissed to classrooms to settle in and meet their new teachers. First time attendees to the Ruth School received new backpacks, and returning students were reunited with old friends. The Ruth School, also, celebrated the opening of class 0 in which young students (5-6 years) start of their academic careers off strong. Pray for the students, parents, teachers and staff as enthusiasm, hope and excitement once again fill the hallways of the Ruth School.


Louisa Baptist
For final week of summer club, the summer interns were joined by a fantastic team of volunteers from Louisa Baptist Church. This team organized and implemented club for a full week at the Ruth School. Their edible craft activities and upbeat worship songs brought in a summer high attendance. Students learned about Biblical truths and reinforced these principles through crafts and scripture memorization. The team held bible club in the villages of Bolintin and Glina in the afternoon. On Thursday afternoon, the Louisa Baptist ladies joined the Naomi Center sewing club as they made scarves, studied the Bible, and fellowship together as women. Thank you Louisa Baptist in Virginia for sending a wonderful team of volunteers. If you or your church are interested in organized summer or vacation club for the students of the Ruth School please contact Project Ruth at involved@projectruth.ro.
Virginia Volunteers
Summer for a typical school means a very quiet building and no activities but fortunately for the students of the Ruth School there has been a wealth of volunteers organizing activities. Three volunteers from Virginia have been serving at Project Ruth for various periods of time from May until the beginning of July. Lydia Freeman assisted with end of the year activities and 20th anniversary celebrations. Jennifer Beville and Kasey Gray helped organized summer clubs for grades 1-4 every Tuesday, Wednesday and Thursday for five weeks. These clubs were attended by about 35 students consistently and strong relationships were built between these volunteers and students. If you are interested in serving as a summer volunteer/intern next summer please e-mail brittany@projectruth.ro.
End of School Year

With temperatures approaching 100 degrees summer has come to Bucharest and with summer comes a break from school.  The Ruth School celebrated another amazing school year at the close of school last week. During the celebration students were presented with special awards for high scores on national benchmark exams. Anxious first graders proudly accepted their school record books in which their grades will be recorded every year as they continue their education. This celebration had a record breaking number of parents in attendance, especially fathers, which is very encouraging as attendance at this event shows an increasing amount of parental involvement in education.

Please keep our recent graduates in your prayers as they take their high school entrance exams and decide which path they will take now that their time at the Ruth School is over. Summer day camp starts at the Ruth School next week and will be held three days a week for the next six weeks.

Farewell 8th graders!

For most of the academic world finishing the eighth grade is not a widely celebrated event. For the Ruth School and its students completing the eighth grade is a huge accomplishment and therefore is meant to be celebrated. This year the Ruth School bids farewell to fourteen students. These students were honored individually during the last chapel service of the school year by their teachers sharing a little bit about each of them unique. The celebration was made complete by the eighth graders wearing caps and gowns and dining on festive cupcakes. The younger students of the Ruth School are now anxiously waiting for the day that they are the honored eighth graders. Please keep our recent graduates in your prayers as they take their high school entrance exams and begin their lives after the Ruth School. In the fall, these Ruth School alumni will be a part of the transitional care program, which is a new ministry of Project Ruth, that will help them transition through life skills training sessions and tutoring.

Celebrating 20 years of ministry!

Twenty years of Project Ruth led to a celebration and reunion for supporters from the United Kingdom, Germany, the United States, and of course, Romania.

The Saturday celebration events held services to memorialize the life of Project Ruth. Different supporters shared testimonies, experiences, and memories with the crowd.  Project Ruth students sang several times during the celebration services, allowing for the audience to see the students whose lives they are helping to change. Saturday night ended with a birthday party for Project Ruth, complete with cupcakes, pizza, and balloons.

For the Sunday services Project Ruth especially partnered with Providence Baptist Church, the church that founded the organization.  Providence provided a variety of music, from their mandolin orchestra to different singing groups.
           Over this celebration weekend, meals were served and memories were shared. This was a wonderful event for supporters to connect with others who are passionate about Project Ruth.

Sewing Lessons

Sometimes, we have big dreams of new ways to minister and serve the Ferentari community that seem unfeasible at the time that we must trust in the hands of God. About a year ago, 30 sewing machines that had been donated to Project Ruth were pulled out, cleaned, and repaired. These machines were the inspiration for starting sewing club with the 7th and 8th graders. As volunteers spent many hours fixing the machines a dream was born: to have a sewing club for the women in the community where they could repair their family’s clothes and maybe even providing some income for their families. This dream quickly seemed further and further away as the only two of the 30 machines worked properly. On Monday, May 7th, this dream was history because sewing club/lessons are now a reality for the Ferentari neighborhood. The Naomi Center is equipped with 15 new Singer sewing machines along with a part-time sewing instructor. The doors of the Naomi Center are opened to any women in the community on Mondays and Thursdays from 10-12 for various projects and clothing repairs.

Naomi Center

The Naomi Center officially opened its doors on April 24, 2012. This center provides individual and group counseling sessions for women living in or around the Ferentari community. While the women are in counseling sessions, their children are cared for in a separate room with toys, games and educational activities by the counseling assistant. In addition to counseling, the Naomi Center will also host twice weekly sewing courses for up to 15 women per session. These courses are led by a professional seamstress and will be taught on new machines purchased for this program. The sewing courses will be beginning within the next two weeks.

The first group counseling session was held in the morning of April 24th. During the beginning of this session, the purpose, mission and programs of the Naomi Center were explained to the twelve women in attendance by Mihai Ciopasiu, Executive Director.  Afterwards, the counselor spent approximately an hour leading a discussion on how individuals can handle problems in their lives. These women were very happy about this program and several have already scheduled individual counseling sessions.  

 

Bonsack Baptist Youth

Spring Break for the average American high school student means two things: sleep and time with friends. For a group of teenagers from Bonsack Baptist Church this break didn’t entirely mean these things in the typical way. Fourteen juniors and seniors in high school spent the week making new friends and sacrificing many hours of sleep to serve. This team, along with their four chaperones, organized club for the Ruth School students who were on Easter Break. They, also, travelled to Glina and Bolintin in the afternoons to spend time with the children in those villages. If you were to ask the students what their favorite part of the week was some would tell you of the piggy back rides, making friendship bracelets with their new American friends while others would proudly show you their pictures that were taken by the team. In addition to sharing the love of Christ with the students, the team spent many hours painting classrooms, hallways and even the sports field fence. Bonsack Baptist Church youth served tirelessly at the Ruth School and their ministry will have a lasting effect on the Ruth School and surrounding communities.

Alternative School

The week before Easter Holiday is always a joyful and busy time in schools. Teachers are trying to get through all their lesson plans before the big break and students are counting down the hours. The week before the holiday was an alternative school week all across Romania. This “alternative school” is a new initiative from the Romanian government to diversify the types of instruction and allow teachers to be creative as possible. The Ruth School teachers dove into this opportunity to teach in creative ways and also provide various enrichment activities that do not normally fit into the school week. The students spent the week learning through instructional videos, hands-on activities such as collage making, tennis lessons and other classroom activities. For example, the third grade class memorized poetry and worked on their comprehension level by acting out the poetry for an audience of peers. The students are now on holiday from April 9-20, but are looking forward to the holiday clubs organized Bonsack Baptist Youth Group which will occur over this period.

GSS Graduates Three!
As with all graduations the recent session of the Gypsy Smith School brought a mixture of pride in accomplishment along with a sense of loss knowing that we will not be hosting these students again.  Ioan Cazamir, Florin Pescan and Ioan Cretu finished their 8th session and received their diplomas along with a Bible to mark their successful completion of 16 courses in ministry training.
Twenty-one students attended the session from March 19-23 and were instructed by Phillip Campion from Great Britain and by Terry Hamrick from the USA.  Campion taught on Philippians while Hamrick explored Missiology.  Both courses were well-received by the students who presented the professors with parting gifts and warm hugs at the end of the week.
As has become our tradition we held our GSS worship on Wednesday night in which our students led in singing, testimonies and preaching.  We also awarded the diplomas to the graduates to loud cheering and some reminiscing by the graduates.  It was a wonderful time of worshipping the Lord!
Another highlight of the week was our visit to the Roma Mission in Giurgiu.  Pastor Viorel Dumitru leads this ministry and welcomed six GSS students to a worship service on Friday night.  Our students again led the worship in music, testimony and preaching.  A crowd of some 80 people received us warmly and invited us to return again.  Praise the Lord of willing GSS students who proudly proclaim their love of the Master and wish to see their fellow Roma come to salvation!  It was a privilege to witness their commitment to ministry!
Gardner Webb University
"I was sick and you looked after me…” (Matthew 25:36)  With this theme in mind a Healthcare team comprised of nursing students and professors of nursing from Gardner Webb University in Boiling Springs, North Carolina, USA came to spend the week with Project Ruth.  It was a busy week of doing health assessments for the Roma church in Glina, the Ruth School students and staff, and the Ferentari community.  As the team checked blood pressures, assessed vision, measured blood glucose, and other physical assessments they handed out smiles and words of assurance.  Their message for student chapel was that we should use our God given gifts and not try to be something else.  The younger students laughed at the dental hygiene skit with the very large stuffed dinosaur that had a full set of teeth!  They learned to brush the front, back, and sides of their teeth and were presented with a toothbrush to help. The older students learned the importance of making good choices and to “Just Say No!”  The week concluded with a presentation for our Moms’ Club on keeping our families healthy.  It was a great week of helping others to take good care of their bodies and to give God the glory in all things.
Art Team
During the first week of March, a team of seven visited Project Ruth from Bluefield College in Bluefield, Virginia. This team was unique in the way that it was comprised of visual artists who sought to minister to the Ruth School students through art. This mission was accomplished by painting a mural on the second floor hallway that was over 87 feet long and nine feet tall. The theme of this mural is “Imagine What You Can Be.” The team conveyed the message of seeking out what God has created you to be by having various children standing in the landscape and cityscape scenes with “thought bubbles” as to what they could be in those settings. The team shared the message behind the mural on Wednesday morning during the chapel services while connecting it to the Jeremiah 29:11 and the Parable of the Talents which was taught a few weeks before in chapel. The team was also involved in classrooms at the Ruth School by teaching art lessons. In addition, the group was able to paint a smaller mural depicting Noah’s Ark in the nursery of Providence Baptist (the founding church of Project Ruth).
Martishor - celebrating women
First of March, in Romania has a special meaning for women. Men and children are suppose to offer them a gift called a 'martisor' (martishor).

This is a traditional celebration of the beginning of spring, on the 1st of March. It is a tradition in Romania, Moldova, and all territories inhabited by Romanians.

At Ruth School, teachers have worked with students to prepare some 'martisoare' (martishors), so each student will go home and offer their mothers and sisters a small gift. These gifts were made out of small bits of brightly colored paper and tied on to a white and red thread.

All of the students were excited about making a gift of their own which will be very special and unique to the mothers, sisters or aunts. Many of the students made more than one martisor so that they could be used as decoration for the spring at the enterance of the school.
January course at Gypsy Smith School
The Gypsy Smith School held it's most recent session during the second week of January.  Twenty-five students were instructed by two professors from the state of Missouri.  Dr. Joshua Stowe taught the Pastoral Epistles (I and II Timothy, Titus) and Dr. Bruce Gentry taught on the Prophets.  Dr. Stowe is currently serving as Pastor in Saint Joseph, MO and Dr,. Gentry is the Campus Minister at Southeast Missouri University.  We welcomed eight students to their first session of GSS and celebrated the graduation of one student – Philip Mecea.  Harold Philiips, CBF Coordinator for MO blessed the graduate with a prayer after Philip had received his certificate and a new Bible.  Although our students usually sing along with an accordion they were joined this time with a saxophone.  Their choruses echoed across the Ferentari neighborhood in our mid-week worship service!
Project RUTH Presentation