The Words of the Brisebois Family
The Sunshine Farm Project
Three years ago my husband, son and I packed up some of our belongings and moved to my native land of Romania. The heart-breaking situation of the orphans and abandoned children motivated us, with the help of a few spirit-filled the WFWP women, to start the project of the Sunshine Farm.
The place to reach out and live was my native village of Simian, and the nearest city of Oradea, where I grew up. This area is in western Romania, bordering Hungary.
At the beginning, most of my family looked at our endeavor with suspicion. First, they knew we did not have much financial support. Secondly, some of them were fearful of being "Americanized." It is too much to write about the heartaches of the early times, so I will focus only on the success side of the story.
In October of 1999, with another local women's organization, we applied for a grant from UNICEF to support a summer workshop for children between the ages of 14-18, especially those about to leave an orphanage. Eventually, at the end of July 2000, we had promised funds available in our account.
Unfortunately -- or fortunately -- my husband and son had to return to the U.S. and I was "alone" again. I missed my husband's and son's loving and comforting presence, but at the same time the intensity of having 70 teenage children (groups of 10 for seven 2-day programs) on our grounds might have been a problem if my son had also been there. Not to mention if they stayed I would have had to converse in three languages instead of only two. (I'm Hungarian and the official language is Romanian.)
The focus of the workshops was to prepare these children for married life, emphasizing character development and purity before marriage. Unfortunately, some of them were already exposed to sexual harassment and abuse. During the two days, especially in the evaluation each participant filled out, it became evident that these orphaned and/or abandoned children deeply desired to have a family, a home. They were each very aware that bringing a child into the world without parents would multiply suffering and social problems. Throughout the program, I emphasized that to reach a degree of self-esteem, they needed to abstain from sexual relationships until they are ready to get married. Some older children seemed to understand this very clearly and others even gave me feedback that they felt liberated through the lectures. In addition to the serious material that we covered, we did street cleaning, visited four local churches of different denominations, picked beans, worked in the kitchen and played many volleyball games. At night, they stayed in tents and fell asleep to the beautiful music of crickets.
Two boys found a home in the Sunshine Farm. They made a commitment to stay and work on the farm. The boys, Horvath Josif (Jozsi) and Picai Constantin (Tino) were good friends in the orphanage. Jozsi, who is 17, was the first one to come to Simian. When I saw him the first time in the orphanage, he had an earring in his ear! He looked shy, small and skinny, but with bright and eager eyes. When he came to the village, he took his earrings off (on his own!). He was always ready to help and willing to do anything. He never knew his parents or any relatives because he was abandoned at birth. Jozsi always hoped and prayed that when he grew up he'd have a little house were he could find some happiness.
Tina was sent to the orphanage when he was three years old. His parents divorced and the father could not take care of him. At the age of 13, his parents got together again, but soon after that the father and then the mother died. Tino, with his two sisters, could hardly even bury their parents. Tina worked all kinds of jobs and lived in misery and hunger. The two boys, Jozsi and Tino, were like brothers in the orphanage. When Tino left, Josie cried and cried.
The two boys met again, having kept in touch all along, week before I came into the picture. I feel that our encounter was arranged by God. I love these two boys and I hope one day they can be adopted by my family or by my friends. If I had the ability, I would adopt each one of them. Their tragic stories are almost unbearable to hear. I also hope that in the near future we can help many others like them.
In closing, I would like to thank my dear friends, the Connecticut WFWP, in particular, Mrs. Jayne Wood, Beverly Freed, Christine Edwards-Remel, and the Simon family. Most of all, I want to thank our True Parents for giving us the example of true love so we can give new life to others.
If you have a question or would like to know more details, please write to me:
Katie Brisebois, c/o New Eden Academy, 400 Linden Avenue, Bridgeport, CT 06604. (203) 334-3434. or Mrs. Jane Wood; email: email@example.com
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