By JULIE-ANN SPENCE
Free Presbyterian Church has been playing host to some very
special visitors - 22 girls from the Deborah Centre in the
Romanian city of Timisoara, which is home to underage girls who
are victims of domestic abuse.
The girls have made the & Hillsborough church
their home in for two weeks and have been kept busy, seeing the
sights of Northern Ireland.
Aged 10-18 the girls have been making the
most of their time in six Northern Ireland and are very grateful
to Rev Stanley Barnes and everyone at Hillsborough in Free
Presbyterian Church for giving them the holiday of a lifetime.
Hillsborough Free Presbyterian Church has
been helping to support the Deborah Centre since the Romanian
revolution in the early 1990s.
It was shortly after the fall of Ceausescu
that Rev Barnes visited the country and since then the church
has hosted four visits by young people from the Deborah Centre,
giving much needed support to those in need in Romania.
Two of the visitors spoke about their time in
the Province. Gaby said: "We have been doing lots of things and
it's great. We have seen a lot of places here.
"We have been to Cookstown and Newcastle and
I have seen the sea.
"It will be a good surprise to see what we
are doing next," she added.
Reverend Eugen Groza and Director of
the Deborah Centre, Lisburn Mayor Trevor Lunn,
Reverend Stanley Barnes with Romanian children in
traditional dress, Serina Branduse and Paul Rusovan,
at Lisburn's Civic Centre. US32115A0
Reverend Eugen Groza and Director of Deborah Centre
present Lisburn Mayor Trevor Lunn with gifts of
appreciation during a visit to Lisburn City Council.
Also included is Reverend Stanley Barnes. US32-116A0
During their time in Lisburn, the girls had
the opportunity to meet the city's Mayor, Councillor Trevor
Lunn. Speaking before their meeting, Simona said: "I am really
looking forward to meeting the Mayor."
Gaby said that everyone had thoroughly
enjoyed their time in the Province. "I like the people here
because they are very kind and friendly and all the places here
are very clean. We hope to get the chance to come back again "
Simona summed up everyone's feelings about the visit. "We will
be sad to go back home again," she said.
However, the group still have a lot to look
forward to before they return home. They will be visiting the
Giants Causeway, Belfast Zoo and Enniskillen.
There will also be a farewell service in
Hillsborough Free Presbyterian Church on Sunday (August 13) at
7pm and a barbecue at the church will bring the visit to an end
on Monday evening (August 14) at 7pm. Everyone is very welcome
Thanking everyone in the church for their
support in helping to give the girls a very special holiday, Rev
Barnes said: "I couldn't have done this without the help of the
church elders and committee and the support of everyone in the
church. We have been overwhelmed by the generosity of the people
of Northern Ireland."