Our outreach began more than twelve years ago in Sibiu, Romania with two individuals, Nathan and Anca Merrill. God has given Nathan and Anca a big heart for Romania’s orphan children. In fact, Anca herself is an orphan. She grew up in the communist era Romania in a state-run orphanage. During the ealrly 1990s, while at the orphanage, Anca fell in with some American missionaries. These missionaries invested in her, eventually saving her from her dire plight at the state-run orphanage.
Anca left the orphanage in 1996 and began to work for a Christian children’s home in Sibiu, Romania. Unfortunately, this home ended up having to close in the early 2000s. The orphan girls (most of whom by this time were 18+ years old) housed at this home found themselves with no place to stay. They were in danger of being sexually exploited. In response to this urgent need, Anca and Nathan (a medical doctor from the US) came alongside these girls. They kept them from being sexually exploited, helped them find living accommodations, gainful employment, plugged them into the local church, and guided them spiritually.
Eventually, Nathan and Anca were married. They lived in the United States for some years after their marriage, but still continued to help the orphan girls in Romania. Five years ago, Nathan and Anca felt lead by the Lord to return to Romania to devote themselves full-time to bringing the love of Christ to Romania’s orphans.
Since returning to Romania their ministry has tackled multiple fronts:
- Volunteering in State-run Orphanages.
- Working with Street Children: The ministry feeds and shares God’s love with said children. They live in the city sewers and are very often preyed upon by sex-traffickers and individuals who harvest their internal organs for the black market (their internal organs are removed sold on the black market). Those that are not sold as commodities oftentimes become child prostitutes and are almost always sexually and physically abused while on the street.
- Coming Alongside Adult Orphans (18+ years): The ministry helps these older adult orphans meet their basic needs and get on their feet on the ground.
- Reaching Out to Poor Families: The ministry gives food, toiletries, and other essential household items to poor families. It also fixes up their houses and even builds some houses from ground up. Lastly, a fair amount of this outreach includes providing medical care to poor families since Nathan is a medical doctor by trade.
- Operating a Home for Orphan Children: Nathan and Anca run a home that houses 12 orphan children. They serve as the host parents for this home. In addition, groundwork is now being laid to start another children’s home by the end of 2018, where 12 more orphan children will be housed.
Nathan and Anca operate the ministry under direction of Finding Hope Ministries, a 501(c)3 US non-profit established in 2014. Finding Hope Ministries is a fully funded charitable organization, operating as per the directives of its board of directors.