When communism fell in 1989, no one could imagine that just two decades later a ministry so vibrant and so bold in serving others could not only inspire international corporate executives to change their business models and galvanize nonprofit leadership around the globe to invest in the lives of the marginalized and forgotten, but also would come from such a place as Timisoara, Romania. No one that is, but Peter Dugulescu.
Born into communist Romania, Peter’s life mirrored that of his nation throughout his early adulthood. Rejecting God for a secular life left Peter feeling empty and dissatisfied until one day a pastor moved his heart and he became one of the hated “Repenters” who practiced their faith despite government opposition. Called to minister to the persecuted Christians of Romania, Peter soon became a thorn in the side of Dictator Ceausescu who ordered his extermination. Despite numerous assassination attempts, Peter miraculously survived to help bring down the communist system, armed only with faith and prayer. As a freedom fighter during the revolution when communism fell, Peter's bold faith that had sustained him throughout the oppressive regime burst wide open as he committed his life to the rebuilding of a nation and the healing of the countless lives subjugated, minimized, and injured by the ravages of communism.
From this great effort Jesus the Hope of Romania, JHOR, was born. A fervent believer that God's unconditional love transforms and heals people, JHOR was established to serve the abandoned, the poor, the sick, and the hungry of Romania as a testament of what occurs when faith expresses itself through love. The effort quickly caught international attention and Peter began to share the story of Christ's redemptive work in Romania. A story like that though, cannot be contained. Word spread and soon business executives from America, Canada, and Europe were leaving the comfort of the office for the depressed streets of Romania in order to witness first-hand the explosion of hope upon a nation. .
25 Years Later
25 years later, that hope still burns bright for the people of Romania and the ministry of JHOR! Though Peter has passed away, the legacy of faith and love continues through the work of his daughter Ligia, the President of JHOR, and Laurentiu Timis, himself a former orphan destitute and alone and now the Senior Pastor of Eclesia Church and Executive Director of JHOR.
Today, JHOR cares for 50 orphans living at Onesimus House, a group home for the children of Timisoara. 75 families receive daily meals through the Manna project, while countless street children and homeless are fed through the street ministry each weekend. Seniors find safety and care within Bethany House in Hatag, as well as special-need young ladies whose futures would have been jeopardized without JHOR's provision. The ministries go on and on: children at Victor Babes Hospital, the hundreds of missionaries and pastors JHOR has equipped and supported over the years, and the dozens of churches planted because of this great work. JHOR has partnered with others to provide relief to HIV/AIDS patients. They provide critical career development and job placement assistance for some of Romania's most vulnerable street children who have now grown into men. Through the Open Doors program, JHOR fulfills the role Social Service agencies do here in the States, including providing rent assistance, health care supplies, clothing, glasses, and so much more.
As Bob Pagett, Founder of Assist International says,“If you looked the world over, you would be hard pressed to find an organization doing more to care for people from birth through death, as passionately and with greater an impact than JHOR." There is no better ministry than to take care of orphans and widows; indeed, it is the purest form of faith and love as James 1:27 confirms.
work.love.give & JHOR
For over ten years, Pantheon has been a proud partner of JHOR. This year, Pantheon sent a team of three to Romania to celebrate Easter with the orphans and provide a standing ovation as JHOR celebrated with city officials, international board members, and hundreds of supporters its 25th Year Anniversary, May 2nd.
Pantheon President Elizabeth Schick presented a word of greeting to the people of Timisoara during Sunday's Easter service before the team headed to Onesimus House bringing with them Easter Miracle Bags for each of the orphans, compliments of Pantheon staff members and friends in the States. Just the day before, the team enjoyed spending the day with the Manna Project feeding hundreds of individuals living on the streets and in the surrounding vacant buildings and parks. Monday, the team joined the city-wide Easter celebration which included a special service blessing the City of Timisoara's orphans and a banquet feeding more than 200 children. The team then headed over to the Resurrection March that began on the steps of the Orthodox Church in the City Square, which rounds over to Mayor, then Governor's offices, before heading to the amphitheater where the entire city congregates to enjoy hours of free concerts, speeches, and entertainment celebrating Easter, as well as the freedom the people of Romania now enjoy to express their faith as their heart leads. The long weekend wrapped up at JHOR's colossal 25th anniversary celebration that went well into the night.
The opportunity to serve continued for several days as the team visited the new summer camp under construction in the Apuseni Mountains, then headed over to Hatag to bring blankets and warmth to the seniors and special-need women at Bethany House. Learn more about this week of Philanthropy here.
A tremendous thank you to Pantheon clients and work.love.give friends who contribute to this ministry that cares for widows, orphans, and the poor throughout Romania.
A portion of the profits Pantheon receives from all grocery store, restaurant, and other food-related projects is donated to JHOR for their meal programs which serve more than 120,000 meals each year.
A portion of the profits Pantheon receives from every hotel, condominium and other hospitality project is donated to JHOR to fund the orphanage, Onesimus House, and Bethany House, which cares for seniors and special-need women.
A portion of the profits Pantheon receives from every automotive and other transportation project is donated to JHOR to purchase, maintain, and cover gasoline expenses for the vehicles used in bringing the Manna Program to hundreds of hungry and poor throughout Timisoara every day.