A New Path

Melisa finds a newfound peace in Jesus.

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"Choosing Jesus was not easy for me"

Raised in the grip of poverty, religion often felt like a distant concept, reserved for those whose lives were less burdened by the harsh realities of survival. In Romania, a nation renowned for its devoutness, where Orthodox Christianity holds sway over 85.3% of the populace, this paradox is starkly evident. For Melisa, a 17-year-old residing in the impoverished northwest region of the country, the struggle was all too real.

 With her family ensnared in a cycle of financial deprivation, her parents' earnings barely covered the essentials, leaving scant resources for anything beyond survival. Her father, driven to seek employment abroad due to the scarcity of opportunities at home, was often absent, leaving the weight of responsibility heavy on their shoulders. Despite their steadfast attendance at church, the solace and guidance they sought remained elusive.

Growing up amidst such hardship, Melisa found herself yearning for an escape. The allure of revelry and merriment, increasingly prominent as she matured, beckoned as a temporary reprieve from the relentless challenges of everyday life.

 “Choosing Jesus wasn’t easy for me,” she said.

The trajectory of Melisa's life took a significant turn when, at the tender age of 10, she was enrolled in Mission Without Borders's child sponsorship program. Suddenly, a glimmer of hope pierced through the gloom of poverty that had long overshadowed her existence. With the arrival of regular provisions of food, clothing, and essential items, life became a little more bearable for her family. Moreover, Melisa and her brother received invaluable school supplies and were even granted the opportunity to attend summer camp.

Yet, it wasn't until adolescence beckoned that Melisa found herself grappling with a weightier question: the prospect of committing her life to Christ. This pivotal moment marked the beginning of a profound internal struggle, as she sought to reconcile her newfound stability with the spiritual yearnings stirring within her.

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She said, “I remember this moment when a man visited our church, giving a sermon and inviting people to give their lives to Jesus. I was torn – and I just couldn’t decide whether or not to join the altar call that day. I didn’t. But months later, the thought still lingered.

“When the same man returned a year later, I told my friend that I have to take this step and I did, leaving behind a past of partying that I’d rather forget.

“In September last year I decided to get baptised, together with 10 other people (six of them also connected to MWB).

“I’ve always found joy in attending the Christian Outreach meetings and the summer camps organised by MWB, where I deepened my understanding of God. That later helped me to commit to following him.”

Melisa added, “For a while after the baptism, I had a lot of doubts. I questioned my decision countless times, wondering if I’d made the right choice.

“With prayer and support from my parents, I fully know that giving my life to Jesus was the best decision I could ever take. Now I have no regrets.

“I now feel so much more relaxed and peaceful. I used to worry a lot and now I don’t.”

Melisa's journey towards spiritual growth is a constant pursuit in her life. She dedicates her time and effort to nurturing her relationship with God. Every week, she eagerly participates in church activities, attending orchestra practice and engaging in prayer sessions on Fridays and Saturdays. Additionally, Melisa generously volunteers her time to assist with children's activities when needed. Her commitment to her faith is unwavering, as she makes it a priority to never miss the Sunday services, cherishing each opportunity to worship and connect with her community.

 “One of my classmates is also my best friend,” Melisa said. “She’s an Orthodox Christian, and she’s really nice. I invited her to attend our church when I got baptised and she came. I tell her about God, and we pray for each other.”

Melisa holds onto a dream of pursuing a career in paediatric nursing once she completes her education, pouring her efforts into her studies with determination. Meanwhile, her family's circumstances have markedly improved. With both parents securing employment and owning their own home, they have overcome many of the hardships that once weighed heavily upon them. Though challenges persist, they have made remarkable progress.

Sorin, the dedicated Mission Without Borders staff member who provides support to sponsored children like Melisa, reflected on their journey, saying: “Melisa’s genuine love for God and for her family shines through and she has a determined spirit. I’m thrilled about her decision to follow Christ, and it brings me so much joy every time any child I work with makes the same decision.”


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