Ecce Homo was started in Cluj-Napoca, Romania by Liviu Balas in 1989 following the fall of communism. In response to the massive needs of his country Liviu set up the charity in order to distribute much needed medical supplies, food and clothing in an effort to demonstrate God’s love. Initially his thoughts were to work in this area for about 6 months and then return to his former business of Plumbing & Heating, however, more than 22 years later Ecce Homo continues to grow and is now involved in a wide spectrum of activity ranging from:
- New Birth through to care for the Elderly
- Farming to Food Distribution
- Evangelism & Discipleship to Church Planting
- Disaster Relief to Re-Building
- Learning to Teaching
A truly holistic ministry that now sees the organisation with more than 30 employees and many volunteers working throughout Romania.
The organisation also has many links and partnerships that spread world-wide. One of those partnerships is with CCBC and began way back in 1993 when Chris Hands, a member of CCBC went out to work in Cluj-Napoca with Liviu. Chris was working with a charity in the UK called Operation Christmas Child and went to Romania to co-ordinate the building of the ‘a-mic’ family style children’s home, help to set-up a child sponsorship scheme and look after a summer volunteer programme. The home was a wooden sectional building that had been donated by a group from the UK and was transported to Romania on the back of two articulated lorries. When finished in August 1994 this house became home to 12 children and was a realisation of Liviu’s earlier vision to provide an alternative to the orphanages. 19 years later this house is still operating and has now been home to more than 30 children as they have grown up.
Chris returned to the UK in the Autumn of 1994 but the link with Ecce Homo continued and over the ensuing years many members from CCBC & Stour Valley Baptist Church have made trips out to Cluj to encourage our partners and assist in the work wherever they could. We were also able to host a number of teams from Ecce Homo who came to the Cotswolds for a holiday and a rest from their demanding work. This gave us the opportunity to bless and encourage them. These were times of good fellowship and we saw the deepening of relationships between the Churches and Ecce Homo.
In 2007 a small team went from CCBC & SVBC to Cluj to look at a new possibility to work with Ecce Homo in the specific area of providing summer camps for children from the Child & Family Support Project (a project designed to offer material, social and spiritual support to poverty stricken families throughout Romania). We decided that SVBC & CCBC would work together to provide the finance and personnel to run a camp the following summer at a place called Valea Draganalui in the mountains approximately 80km from Cluj.
The camp was attended by 45 children, along with their social workers, from 5 different areas in Romania and a team of 15 from the UK. A great time filled with laughter and learning about God was had by all. The lessons learnt during the week were then developed by the social workers following their return home and a number of children’s groups were established. Many testimonies were received from families noting positive changes in their children’s attitudes and behaviour leading us to conclude that the camp was a success, which resulted in us returning to run similarly successful camps in 2009 & 2011. We continue to work with our partners in Cluj and are asking God how we can help Ecce Homo in the best way possible to further the Gospel in Romania and enable all those involved, whether donators, prayers or partakers to experience the joy of being able to share God’s love with others.