While serving as humanitarian missionaries in Romania, we helped with an LDS water project in a small community of gypsies. This project supplied 230 families with water.
In Romania, the people who live outside of the big cities live very close to the earth. They farm by hand, travel by wagon, and many live in extreme poverty. Their homes are made of straw, sticks, and mud, which is not too different from how they lived 100 years ago. Many do not have work or they may work seasonally in the vineyards. Their families are large and the children are not encouraged to attend school.
We worked with the mayor of the community, the local water engineer, and the Red Cross on this project. The Church supplied the materials, and the beneficiaries dug the lines from the middle of the road to their yards and furnished a water meter. Each home then had access to a water tap in their yard.
Every couple of months we traveled to this community and checked on the progress of the project, meeting some of the families who had received water. As we approached the first home, we saw some water running in the yard. We could see two young girls about the ages of 8 and 10 with mud on their hands. We were happy to see them playing in the water. As we got closer, we could see that they were busy mixing dirt from their yard with water and then plastering it on the wall of their home. We learned that these little girls were preparing for the coming winter. During the previous winter, this small community suffered through 15 feet of snow. Our hearts ached for these sweet people who had so little. They needed so much, but now at least they had access to water.
As humanitarian missionaries we have had the opportunity to meet the poor and humble people of this earth. One day, as we were traveling with our assistant area welfare manager to check on some of our projects, he said something that we will never forget. The essence of what he said was, “If the Savior was on the earth, this is the work He would be doing—helping the lame to walk, the blind to see, healing the sick, and visiting and helping the poor.”
Being humanitarian missionaries has changed our lives. It has made us so grateful for all the blessings we have received and has opened our eyes to the many needs of our brothers and sisters throughout the world. We look forward to serving again wherever we may be called.