Signs of the Kingdom
Home Up End of Hunger!


"The first time I saw a street kid come up from the underground through a manhole like a worm, I thought I would die. How could a human being exist like that? And as I looked down the manhole into the darkness of the underground, there was a pretty young girl looking up at me. She smiled and said, "Come down and spend the night with us."


The hot air and nauseating smell that came from her "dwelling" was so strong, so putrid, so nauseating, I quickly jumped back to keep from vomiting. She smiled and came up to greet me. Her name was Alina and she looked fairly clean, except for the silver "aurolac" spots on her blouse. It was smeared on her lips and her breath made me dizzy.

Aurolac is an inhalant from a paint base. This was the "drug of choice" for the street kids, but now they have moved on to heroin and more dangerous drugs.


How Alina could live in that hell-hole is beyond me. I have never gone down into the canals, because I was afraid I couldn't get back up. Ron and our co-worker, Dorin,

have braved these scary chambers many times.


May I describe it for you?


Hang on tight and pray as you go straight down into what looks like a huge dark underground concrete room which surrounds a huge hot water pipe. This system of water pipes runs all over Bucharest, providing hot water for the city. These rooms are chokingly hot and damp and are lit by candles. Huge cockroaches roam the walls at will, lice hide

in the kids beds, waiting for them to return to their filthy, urine soaked mattresses that they share with dogs and dangerous people. Mold lines the walls. Be careful not to

step in dog poo. They can't get out, so what can the dogs do? And the kids use the corners when it is freezing outside.


What is the point in telling you about their gruesome lives? It is to show you how some live. Many of these kids were raised in orphanages. And what future do they have now? Prison, poverty, prostitution, and early death.  Many people, even believers, think these kids are hopeless. One of the church leaders told Ron and me to stop going down there because they don't deserve our help...give it to old people, they said. And I replied that none of us deserve God's is a free gift,

even to "the least of these",  like these street kids.


For years we have been helping them to leave the streets and have a better life with God's help. Some will never leave but some have. At one of the canals. they have cleaned

 their "home" and put up Christian posters and Scripture. They are proud of how they live now and call it their 4 star canal.


Pray that we will have the wisdom and energy to continue pointing them to the Lover of mankind and especially the 'outcasts'. "


 "Inasmuch as you have done it unto the least of these street kids and orphans....

you have done it unto me."


Sue Bates


Matthew 24:40



There are few situations in the world as dire as the plight of Romania's abandoned orphans and street children. Yet the paradox that

Jesus challenges us to grasp is that His Kingdom is found in precisely those most hopeless and dark places.


Two people of faith, Ron and Sue Bates, have shown us how in serving the world's most desperate children,

they found God.  They and their work are 'Signs of the Kingdom of God'  here on earth.


If you have a high-speed connection, and some patience as the streaming video intermittently downloads,

please click the video link below to see how acts of faith, love and justice

are building the Kingdom of God.


Lucy Strausbaugh

NDP Justice Committee

June 19, 2006


<<>> Video & Updates from Romania



Ron and Sue Bates, C.P. 53--55, Bucharest 4, Romania
tel: 4021-313-5465 or 4021-351-3224
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