Reaching Romania was founded by The Union Mission in Norfolk, Virginia, and is now an international ministry of The Bashford Foundation. In 2004, native Romanians and Americans established the organization in Lugoj, Romania, to begin making a difference in the lives of hurting Romanian people.
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 fledging foster system will not accommodate the projected needs, which means that all future abandoned children will have no place to go.
To relieve the physical suffering of the Romanian people 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:
- Expand our ongoing partnership with the Timis County Welfare system.
- Increase the capacity of our existing Casa Linda children’s home to accommodate 10 to 12 more children.
- Apply for an EU grant to construct three additional children’s homes and an activities center with a kitchen/classroom to serve 30 more children.
- Enhance the services of the Romanian Child Welfare System through professional training in trauma-informed care, enhancing their ability to serve
- Expand our Feeding Body and Soul benevolence ministry from serving 12 needy families each month to helping 50.
- Offer broader and targeted outreach activities and opportunities.
Reaching Romania is an international 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 and founder of The Bashford Foundation. His desire was to relieve the physical and spiritual suffering of the Romanian people by providing “Food for 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 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 mission teams have traveled each year to minister to the people of Romania. 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 LEADERS
CHRIS GILLIAM – PRESIDENT
serves as President of the Board of Directors of the Bashford Foundation and is responsible for the day-to-day operations of all Reaching Romania programs. He previously served as Pastor of Highlands Baptist Church in Ocala, Florida, and as Director of Compliance for Reaching Romania. He has been traveling to Romania to serve and teach since 2003.
JAMES MCPHERSON – VICE PRESIDENT
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 – BOARD MEMBER
is the Executive Director of The Union Mission Ministries in Norfolk, Virginia. He is a humble servant who has been traveling to Romania with our ministry teams for many years serving and teaching.
LINDA BASHFORD VAUGHAN — Board Member
is the daughter of Dr. Ted Bashford and has served The Union Mission Ministries since 1971. She served as its Executive Director from 2008-2016. She has been on many trips to Romania to serve and teach.