I began working in Romania during the fall of 1992, just shortly after having left a successful high-tech management position in Silicon Valley. I worked coordinating relief transports to an orphanage in Pitesti, Romania, via a fellow relief organization. What I experienced on my first trip to that orphanage in Pitesti changed my life forever.
After that first meeting with Peter, he suggested I come to Bucharest to meet with him and the mayor. I did so, and several months later the City Council voted to lease a building to us for the development of a home for street children. Our goal was to establish a city/campus where young people's physical, educational, spiritual, medical, and vocational needs could truly be met.
After seeing those children crawl out of the sewer hole that bitterly cold night, I committed in my heart to do something for the Bucharest street children. Shortly after, God, in his miraculous design, allowed me to meet a man by the name of Peter Dugulescu.
I saw children living in the middle of the icy cold winter with no heat. They had no warm clothes and a couple of the younger boys had hepatitis. However, beyond their material poverty, they had no one in the world to love them. After that first trip to Romania, I cried everyday for nearly two weeks.
The building was donated on February 16, 1994, under the condition that we were to have the building renovated and the project started by the beginning of August. I had six short months in which to raise funds to renovate the building, acquire all furnishings and equipment, hire staff, enroll children, and raise my personal funds with which to get to Romania.
After much prayerful consideration, we named that building "Orasul Sperantei" (which in Romanian means City of Hope). The day the building was donated I had no financial support nor any full-time staff to help me. I knew I had to work hard, pray hard, and believe God for
some fast miracles. God performed miracle after miracle and brought people into my path that literally helped make Orasul Sperantei a reality for the street children of Bucharest. A building team from the USA came and transformed the old, filthy, run-down building into a beautiful home where abandoned/orphaned children could come and receive shelter.
The project was completed on August 29, 1994. The next day we set out to bring in our first children to Orasul Sperantei.