ITMI's Adi and Ema Ban were overjoyed when they received the news, but they couldn’t have predicted how important it would become.
They’d been chosen for something exciting!
Adi and Ema Ban’s city was looking for NGOs (non-government organizations) - preferably ones who offered activities that built up family life, and educational skill formation activities for children - use of space in a newly renovated historical building.
Adi and Ema in front of the historic Citadel building.
The applicants chosen would only be asked to pay for utilities.
Adi and Ema’s Young Couples’ Fellowships and preschool, the House of Treasures, were counted among the organizations most beneficial to the city and granted long-term use of two rooms and a hallway for their ministry.
The space in the historic Citadel was ideal for gathering groups for discipleship, fellowship and discussion, so their Young Couples Fellowship groups were immediately blessed by access to the space.
Adi and Ema with one of their Young Couples' Fellowship groups in the meeting space at the Citadel.
The family discipleship groups’ bi-weekly meetings were well-attended, and previously struggling to fit inside the constraints of single-family homes.
The House of Treasures preschool was also able to benefit from the space for special learning activities for its students.
It wasn’t until last month that they found out just how important their use of this space would end up being.
Why Adi and Ema Opened the House of Treasures
The House of Treasures preschool allows the missionary couple to offer the Gospel, plus their years of experience and research in the area of marriage, parenting and childhood education to families outside the reaches of their church as well as families from their church.
Adi and Ema used regular school events and celebrations to provide parents with resources that pointed people to God’s Word as a guide to parenthood and family life.
Adi and Ema use regular school events to develop relationships with families.
As families are open to it, the Bans seek to build relationships and be a blessing in every possible way to everyone involved with the school.
The students receive discipleship through a curriculum that approaches preschool learning through a Biblical worldview, as well as through establishing godly habits, such as pre-meal prayer.
The difference between the House of Treasures and other preschools is noticeable.
Last spring, one family brought their daughter to the House of Treasures. After encountering some financial difficulties, they choose another school the following autumn.
Little did they know that everything would change in the spring of 2020.
After having their preschooler home with them while schools and workplaces were shut down, her parents wrote,
The days we spent inside [because of the COVID19 and the State of Emergency in RO] enabled us to gain a better understanding of how important it is to have a personal relationship with God, Faith and our Family.
They were instrumental not only in helping us grow closer to each other, but also in rediscovering what an amazing job you are doing in the “house.”
We were overjoyed to have a well-educated child, in whom values and principles were instilled, a well-mannered child who knew how to share, hug, say “thank you,” and to be just that: a normal (sensitive) and well-educated child.
No, our child was not perfect, but was doing very well. Unfortunately, the departure from the House of Treasures meant losing a good part of the character traits aforementioned.
On April 27, the Ministry of Education in Romania announced that all schools would stay closed through the remainder of the 2019-2020 school year.
Quickly, things changed for the House of Treasures.
The school employs three teachers, Corina, Melinda and Denisa, who quickly adapted to offering regular interactions online, providing work for the students each day and giving tips, advice and encouragement to their parents.
Overnight, their workload increased substantially.
It wasn’t long before the House of Treasures families were impacted by the economic effects of COVID-19. Many lost incomes, or had it drastically cut as 1.2 million Romanian workers had contracts suspended, meaning 20% of the Romanian work force are without jobs.
The House of Treasures relies on the students' tuition to meet its financial commitments, especially to the three teachers.
They are currently receiving around 30% of their normal pay through a government program, plus whatever Adi and Ema are able to pay them as families struggle to pay their tuition.
In the meantime, the owner of the building where the school has operated for the past 6 years unexpectedly notified them of his intention to sell the facility next month!
That’s where the Citadel comes in.
Because they have that space, they have somewhere to put all the preschool materials temporarily.
“We are very grateful to have the space in the Citadel of Oradea where a good part of the materials could be stored and used,” reflect the Bans.
The Lord’s foreknowledge and perfect provision is clear, even if our current vision of it remains, incomplete, or as Paul writes, only “in part.”(I Cor. 13: 12)
The Bans write,
The unknowns far outweigh the knowns at this time, but we continue to trust the Lord and wait,
And especially in these past weeks of lockdown and overall sense of fear around the world as to what the future may bring, we heard many times messages of hope.
Messages which encouraged us not to look at what we can’t do and what was lost, but at what we can do, and what we can learn, and persevere.
Packing such a place (a preschool) and moving out when everything is shut is not done easily nor without sacrifices of all kinds, but we know the future weeks and months (or maybe years) will bring an understanding of it all.
The Bans need us to lift them up in prayer as they seek the Lord’s will for the uncertain future of the House of Treasures.
They could also use any financial help the Lord laid it on someone’s heart to provide during this challenging time.
Their own income has been reduced because of the pandemic, and they’d love to be able to pay their staff of dedicated teachers more than 30% for their hard work and investment in sharing the Gospel with Romanian families.