"Reaching people for Christ: helping thousands of people out of poverty into a sustainable future"

Breaking isolation through OCL – reaching Petru

Petru And Brother OCL Box


Every morning in deep winter, Petru gets up before dawn to tend to the family goats. His is a life of hard work, routine, isolation and a daily struggle to survive.

The family live in a quiet and peaceful hamlet near Sibiu, Romania, perched on a hill past many other hills. During winter, it is almost impossible to reach their home, and on the surrounding dirt roads all you will see now and then is a horse and cart struggling and sliding through the snow and mud.

"The first thing I do when I come home from school is tend to the goats," Petru, 12 says. "If I have time, I do my homework after that. Then we try to stay warm and I get up early again to care for them."

Petru looks more tired, pale and withdrawn than a child his age should, and he does not appear to experience much joy in his life. There is no fridge in his home, no radiators or running water. The toilet is outside, and the only access to water, which at this time of year is often frozen, is from the local well.

Operation Christmas Love aims to break the poverty and isolation that so many families in Eastern Europe experience during winter. 30,000 parcels full of locally sourced supplies and Christian literature are supplied to families in need across the region each year.
This year, one parcel has made its way to Petru and his family despite all the snow, ice and impassable roads.

The children are found sledging as the cold sun breaks through the cloud. They calm their dogs and run towards our coordinator, Nico, smiling as he holds the parcel out to them.

"This parcel reminds them that there is someone who cares for them," Nico says. "It shows that there is someone prepared to get across the impassable roads, to reach them and to make a difference. It shows that Christmas can be special and that they are not forgotten."

It is so easy to take Christmas and everything we have for granted. For Petru and thousands of other children like him, a bar of chocolate, a bag of rice and hygiene supplies, means the world to them. They often too do not understand what 'Merry Christmas' means or who Jesus Christ is and why he came for them.

Let children and families in Eastern Europe know that they are not forgotten this Christmas and that Jesus is alive and cares about each of them deeply.