Macedonian mission feeds hundreds of children

Danville Express – Nov 9, 2011
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By Amelia Arvesen

The amount of knocking, door bell ringing, phone calls and people at Vula Rushdoony’s house have been exponentially greater than usual. Her driveway that faces Rutherford Drive, a normally serene street to drive along, has recently resembled a parking lot.
Vula Rushdoony and many generous volunteers have been busy preparing for the 19th annual Candy Cane Boutique which raises money for the Macedonian Outreach. Started by Vula and Haig Rushdoony nearly 20 years ago, the Macedonian Outreach raises money for needy children, elderly and hungry in the Balkans.

“We know that the best testimony for the people in this world is our personal example,” Vula said in her fall newsletter.
Both Vula and Haig were retired at the time of founding of the ministry in 1989 and had free time on their hands that longed to be filled.
“We literally got on our knees and asked the Lord if he had anything for us to do,” Vula said.

Not long after their prayer, Vula and Haig were invited by missionaries to take a trip to Bulgaria. When they arrived to the first of many small towns, they were surprised to witness poverty which included dozens of hungry children.

The trip to Bulgaria struck a chord in Vula’s heart. She was born and raised in Greece during the civil war and grew up in a similar environment before immigrating to the United States in 1955.

“I couldn’t keep to myself when I knew they needed help,” Vula said.

The Macedonian Outreach is a Christian, charitable association that was approved as a nonprofit association in 1992. Run by volunteers, the work is restricted to the Balkan Peninsula in Southeastern Europe. Efforts are focused in Albania, Bulgaria, Greece, Romania, and the former Yugoslavian states of Bosnia-Herzegovinia and the Republic of Macedonia.

The Outreach’s main goals are to provide food, clothing, education and spiritual guidance. Twelve to 15 tons of clothing are donated, packaged and shipped annually.

The Rushdoony home has become the office for the Macedonian Outreach. With a low overhead of 2 percent which is spent on newsletters and stamps, more money is available to help people in need. Individuals willing to cover their own expenses have the opportunity to be sent to Bulgaria in teams, every June and July, for hands-on charity.

Vula and Haig visited the Balkans back and forth for 22 years. They stayed for months at a time and spread their love more with each visit.

“I always say that no matter what, God will always accomplish his work,” Vula said, “I’m so glad that we said yes to the call because we would’ve missed out on so much.”

Due to Haig’s illness the couple wasn’t able to visit the Balkans for two years. Haig poured his life into the Macedonian Outreach and touched many people throughout the Balkans and passed away on July 22, 2010.

This past August, Vula returned to Danville after visiting the Balkans for over four months. She drove 11,000 kilometers making 12 trips from the Greek ministry base to the other countries to visit 150 out of the 207 children.

“It was such a joy to see our kids in the Petrovo orphanage: happy, cheery and in the hands of their loving ‘babas’ (grandmas),” Vula wrote in her newsletter.

Before the Macedonian Outreach, 97 children were taken care of by one nurse. Vula was pleased to see that the children now have several nurses, helpers, and grandmas.

“If I didn’t have to do fundraising I would be there longer,” Vula said.

Among the fundraisers is the Candy Cane Boutique. New items such as fine china, jewelry, gift baskets, dolls and toys and baked goods are donated by the community and sold for the cause. Shoppers are encouraged to enter a raffle to win a weeks’ vacation to Sun Valley, ID or a weekend to Donner Lake, Capitola or Bass Lake. Other prizes include fine jewelry and two handmade quilts.

“Every dollar you spend feeds a child for a day,” Vula said.

The Outreach also offers a sponsorship program for children in need. For $30 a month, a child can have school supplies, a school lunch and can be bussed to school. Vula said that 42 children are still in need of a sponsor.