Selsdon Baptist Church is a Registered Charity No. 1126971 Copyright Selsdon Baptist Church 2009 -
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The Cedar Foundation is working hard to provide better lives for Bulgaria’s disabled orphans. They are working with other organizations as well as with Bulgarian state and local governments to create a viable means of de-
Selsdon Baptist previously supported BMS missionaries Mark and Penny O'Sullivan in Bulgaria for a number of years. Mark and Penny now work with The Cedar Foundation
Mark and Penny O’Sullivan have been in Bulgaria for 6 years. Mark O’Sullivan is a trained youth worker and has significant experience in this field. He holds a Theological degree from London’s Spurgeon’s College. Penny O’Sullivan holds a Communications and Computers degree from the University of East London. They live in Sofia where they are raising their three children
In 2007 a team of eight members from Selsdon Baptist went out to spend a week in Bulgaria helping the work of the Cedar Foundation. The team worked at a special needs children's hospital and an orphanage, decorating, installing electrics, and of course spending time with the children. The team said that they gained as much from the trip as they gave.
Teams have gone out again in 2008 and 2009.
On 31st March 10 people left Selsdon to begin our third SBC Mission Trip to Bulgaria. The 2009 team of Dawn, Joy, Val, Esther, Nicola, Gill, Evelyn, Mike, Steven and David took the 6.30am flight from Gatwick to Sofia and then made our way to the town of Kazanlak, our home for the week.
A few miles outside Kazanlak is the Maria Luisa Hospital & Orphanage, which we have worked in before, and was to be our main focus for the week. As a result of some European Union funding a new day care centre was being opened on 7th April, our scheduled day of departure, so we were tasked with completing the renovating work in one of the two main accommodation buildings.
New doors and windows had been installed before we arrived, and much of the tiling work has been done too -
Everyone was involved in the renovation work at various points during the week, and the children in adjoining rooms had great fun watching us work and smile at them in equal measure.
Many of the team were able to spend quality time with the children during the week. The nurses work hard, but there are not enough of them to give the level of care that many of the children require. We were able to sit and play, to help them walk around, and take them out for some time in the sunshine.
The conditions are much better than when we first arrived, and it is encouraging to see some of the children we met in 2007 and 2008 have grown and developed. However, there are still many difficult and sad cases, and leaving the children to come home again was a difficult experience.
With an operation, some cognitive therapy, or just more focused care many of these children need not be there at all.
With the dignitaries all set to arrive on the 7th, and us due to down tools the evening of the 6th, we had lots to do to make sure we completed the work in time. With some additional Saturday hours, good team spirit, and the help of Mehmet the maintenance man, we finished all our work around 3pm on the 6th, with us having completed more work than was originally planned. Each year God helps us get far more done than we would think possible.
Our morning devotions saw us work through Matthew 6-
The Cedar Foundation is going well. We are getting excited and tense as very soon the rest of the residents in the orphanage that we are closing down will be finally moved out. Please pray for our team. It is not easy to co-
For the residents that have already moved we are seeing tremendous improvements. The ultimate goal has always been to integrate the residents into normal society and build up their independence.
Some of the girls were moved down to the south of the country. Every month our social worker, along with one of our project assistants, travels there to train the staff in helping the residents to become independent. Two of the girls in particular are now doing tasks that they had never done in their life: things like making coffee, helping to prepare food. It is wonderful to see them develop in this way. It is amazing to watch the joy a person feels when they begin to explore a life they have never had the chance to have before.
Recently we had the pleasure of hosting a team of young ladies from Newcastle. These girls have been coming for 3 years now. They worked their socks off and were of great encouragement to us all. They helped the residents get used to their new surroundings, spending quality time with the residents, travelling with them on public transport and showing them around the town where they will live.”
Some photos of the young people we have taken out of institutions and placed in family group homes:-
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