Melisa’s story

"Choosing Jesus wasn't easy for me"

Growing up in poverty, religion can seem irrelevant with its traditions and rules for people who have their lives together, who aren't overwhelmed by practical questions around finding work, paying the bills, and putting food on the table.

Romania ranks as the number one most religious country in Europe, according to Pew Research Center, with 85.3% of the population describing themselves as Orthodox Christians.

However, growing up, Melisa, 17, who lives in northwest Romania, was surrounded by poverty. Her parents' small income was swallowed up by rent and bills, leaving little for anything else. Melisa's father often had to go abroad for work, as there were so few job opportunities at home. Although the family regularly went to church, there seemed to be no answers there, and Melisa craved fun and, as she got older, parties that offered an escape from everyday hardship.

"Choosing Jesus wasn't easy for me," she said.

When Melisa was enrolled in Mission Without Borders' child sponsorship programme at 10, things started to change. Her family began receiving regular food, clothes, and donated goods. Melisa and her brother were given school supplies and had the chance to go to summer camp.

It was when Melisa became a teenager that she began to wrestle with committing her life to Christ. 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. So, I didn't. But months later, the thought still lingered.

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

"In September of last year, I decided to get baptized along with ten other people." Six of those individuals were also associated with MWB.

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"I've always found joy in attending the Christian Outreach meetings and the summer camps organized 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 continually seeks to grow in her relationship with God. She attends church on Fridays and Saturdays for orchestra practice and prayer and sometimes to help with children's activities, and she never misses the Sunday services.

Giving my life to Jesus was the best decision I could ever take.


"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 baptized, and she came. I tell her about God, and we pray for each other."

Melisa hopes to study paediatrics nursing when she finishes school – and is trying her best to study as well as she can. In the meantime, her family is doing much better now – both parents are employed, and they own their own home. Life is still challenging sometimes, but they have made significant progress.

Sorin, the MWB staff member who supports sponsored children like Melisa, said, "Melisa's genuine love for God and 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."

Our child sponsorship program is what gives us the opportunity to journey with children in need and witness as they come to experience the love and faithfulness of God for themselves.


That is how many children are supported through sponsorship.

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