Reaching Romania was founded by The Union Mission in Norfolk, Virginia to provide a place of hope and healing for Romanian children in need, as well as to make a difference in the lives of hurting Romanian adults.
Reaching Romania is called to intentionally invest the love of Christ in the children in Romania and to empower them to reverse the history of the culture they have inherited.
To change the history of Romanian neglect of poor children by investing in the next generation.
The European Union is requiring that Romania close all orphanages (placement centers), a process that is now underway. The country’s fledging foster system will not accommodate the projected needs, which means that all future abandoned children will have no place to go. We aim to provide solutions to help.
To relieve the physical suffering of the Romanian people, including children, by providing a message of hope through feeding, clothing, shelter, and the Gospel of Christ.
To provide training to equip the Romanian people to invest in the lives of others and to learn the joy of helping others.
Reaching Romania’s approach to meeting these goals is:
- Increase our Children’s Home capacity beyond that of Casa Linda so that we may accommodate 10 to 12 more children in need. This was accomplished in 2022 with the retrofitting of existing space to create our second Children’s Home. Casa Armonia (House of Harmony) is currently housing and helping Ukrainian orphans and their caregivers who were forced to flee their destroyed orphanage building early during Russia’s war against their homeland.
- Construct three additional children’s homes, as well as and a separate multipurpose activities center with a full-service kitchen and classroom / training spaces. This project will enable us to house and serve up to 30 more children. Initial construction costs have been provided by a € 1 million grant from The European Union, but we will need to raise at least an equal amount to complete this building project in the timeframe required by the grant.
- Expand our ongoing partnership with the Timis County Welfare system.
- Enhance the services of the Romanian Child Welfare System through professional training in trauma-informed care, enhancing their ability to serve.
- Enlarge our Food for Body and Soul benevolence ministry from serving 12 needy families and widows to helping 50 each month.
- Offer broader and targeted outreach activities and opportunities.
Reaching Romania is a ministry birthed out of The Union Mission in Norfolk, Virginia. Located in the city of Lugoj, Romania, it was the vision of the late Dr. Ted Bashford, former Executive Director of The Union Mission. His desire was to relieve the physical and spiritual suffering of the Romanian people by “feeding body and soul.”
Dr. Bashford served as the Executive Director of The Union Mission for 53 years. A man of vision, faith, and compassion, he had a deep love for the poor and needy—especially for children and the elderly. In 1993, he saw a segment about orphaned children in Romania on the television news magazine “20/20.” His heart was deeply touched and in October 2000, at the age of 81, he made his first trip to Romania.
The Bashford Foundation was established in Romania in 2004 with both U.S. and Romanian leadership to provide an official means to begin making a difference in the lives of these hurting people. Since then, our mission teams have traveled most every year to minister to the people of Romania, as is recorded in this timeline.
Today the ministry is building on the foundations laid in the past: the ongoing relationships that Reaching Romania has formed with Romanian churches, businesses, government officials, nonprofit agencies, and other important partners.
REACHING ROMANIA LEADERSHIP
CHRIS GILLIAM – DIRECTOR
serves as Director and is responsible for all day-to-day operations of Reaching Romania programs. He previously served as Pastor of Highlands Baptist Church in Ocala, Florida. Rev. Gilliam has been traveling to Romania to teach and to serve since 2003.
JAMES MCPHERSON – ADVISOR
traveled to Romania with his grandfather, Dr. Ted Bashford, on the ministry’s initial missions trip in October 2000. James continues his longtime commitment with Reaching Romania by leading expansion plans and missions teams today.
JOHN W. GRAY – ADVISOR
is the Executive Director of The Union Mission in Norfolk, Virginia. He is a humble servant who has been traveling to Romania since 2002 serving and teaching with our ministry teams.
LINDA BASHFORD VAUGHAN — ADVISOR
is the daughter of Dr. Ted Bashford and has served The Union Mission since 1971. She served as its Executive Director from 2008 – 2016. She has been traveling to minister in Romania since 2002.