FGCI Bible Camp in Purcareni, Romania

July 2019



Romania was liberated from socialism at the end of 1989.  FGCI was founded by Joel Burkum and Walt Blankenship in 1995 in response to the overwhelming needs of thousands of abandoned children discovered in Romania suffering in poorly-staffed and inadequately-resourced government-run orphanages and institutions.  Soon after FGCI began working with institutionalized children in Romania, God allowed FGCI to expand its ministry to serve children in the neighboring country of Moldova (formerly of the USSR).  In 2006, FGCI assumed ownership of a Bible campground facility (Camp of the Good Shepherd) near Louisville, Nebraska, in order to serve children in the USA.  Most recently, FGCI has begun work among the Lakota Natives living on the Rosebud and Pine Ridge reservations in south-central South Dakota.



What is the primary purpose of your mission?


For God’s Children International’s motto is:  “Providing hope, dignity and love in Jesus’ name.”  It is FGCI’s mission to replace despair with the hope of Christ, humiliation with the dignity of Christ, and indifference with the love of Jesus Christ.  “We proclaim him, admonishing and teaching everyone with all wisdom, so that we may present everyone perfect in Christ.  To this end (we) labor, struggling with all his energy, which so powerfully works in (us)” (Colossians 1: 28, 29 NIV).


For God’s Children International exists to serve abandoned, suffering, poor and marginalized children, by caring for their physical and spiritual needs.  “For I was hungry and you gave me something to eat, I was thirsty and you gave me something to drink, I was a stranger and you invited me in, I needed clothes and you clothed me, I was sick and you looked after me, I was in prison and you came to visit me . . . I tell you the truth, whatever you did for one of the least of these brothers of mine, you did for me”  (Matthew 25:35, 36 & 40b NIV).  Above all, we desire to serve and glorify God and to share the Good News of His Son Jesus Christ with a hurting world in need of a Savior.

Statement of Faith

For God’s Children International is a non-denominational Christian ministry most closely affiliated with independent Christian Churches and Churches of Christ.  It is our policy to work with all Christian believers who believe in the One Eternal and Almighty God; who hold the Holy Bible as their authority and standard of faith; and who believe that salvation from sin and death is found only in Christ Jesus.  While we do not claim any particular creed except “Christ,” we do hold to the following foundational beliefs.


    We believe that there is one eternal and all-powerful God, existing in three persons:  the Father, the Son and the Holy Spirit (John 14:9-17).


    We believe that the Holy Bible is the inspired Word of God (2 Timothy 3:15-17); that these Scriptures are Truth; that they constitute our complete and final authority; and that they contain God’s plan for the salvation of mankind through faith in Jesus Christ.


    We believe in the deity of our Lord Jesus Christ, in His virgin birth, in His sinless life, in His miracles; that He died for the sins of mankind; that He was buried and, after three days, was resurrected bodily; that He ascended to the Father and sits at God’s right hand in Glory making intercession for the saints; that He will return to judge the just and the unjust; that salvation is found in no one else, for there is no other name under heaven given to men by which we must be saved (Acts 4:12).


    We believe that the salvation of lost and sinful man is by the grace of God through faith in His Son and regeneration by the Holy Spirit; that the terms of salvation are clearly set forth in the New Testament Scriptures; that the terms of salvation and Church membership are one and the same; that the Great Commission of Jesus (Matthew 28:18-20) to preach, baptize and teach still applies to us today.


    We believe that Jesus desires unity among His Body the Church (John 17:20-23) and that it is our duty as members of the Body of Christ to pursue this unity of believers in and through the power of the Holy Spirit and the love of our Lord and Savior Jesus Christ (Ephesians 4:1-16), built on the solid foundation of the Word of God.




FGCI is governed by a board of directors.  FGCI is a 501(c)(3) nonprofit corporation of Iowa.


How and when do you communicate with your supporters?

Every month, FGCI sends a new ministry update (“A Personal Note”) to contributors who give during that month.  FGCI also sends this personal note electronically to those who have subscribed online.  FGCI also attempts to publish a newsletter every year (“Buna!” newsletter).  FGCI has a website (www.fgci.org) that is regularly updated.  

How frequently do you visit supporting churches?


FGCI also regularly visits supporting churches and church groups.  We are happy to send FGCI representatives to update partnering churches as often as they’ll have us!  We request that each partnering church allow us at least one Sunday per year to present our work to their entire congregation.

Short-term Workers

Does this mission use or encourage short-term workers?  What types of projects are typically done?

FGCI encourages churches to send teams of short-term workers to serve in the areas where we serve.  We also encourage college students to serve on short-term internships (two weeks to two months) in our ministry venues.  These teams are typically involved in ministry in the form of Vacation Bible School programs for children, Bible camps, some building renovation/repair projects, humanitarian aid (distributing clothing, food, materials), work with children in orphanages and hospitals, etc.



How is your annual budget determined?


The board of directors of FGCI determines staff salaries and annual budget allowances for ministries/programs.  FGCI is supported by freewill donations.  FGCI has no foundation income or corporate sponsors.  FGCI has a very low overhead for daily operations.  Generally, the budget is staff salaries and operational expenses.  Short-term missions team members pay fees to cover their trip expenses as well as FGCI staff expenses.  All programs and building projects are paid for as contributions come in.  FGCI has no building or other debt as of this moment.  FGCI owns, free and clear, Camp of the Good Shepherd (in Louisville, NE), two residential properties in Romania (used for ministry purposes) and one in Moldova.  FGCI also owns three ministry vehicles (two in Romania, one in Moldova).


How and from whom do you solicit support?


FGCI is still quite young as an organization.  Currently, most support has come through word of mouth, personal contacts and through summer short-term missions team members.  Several churches in the Council Bluffs, Iowa, area support the ministry.  Joel Burkum, Executive Director, is the main fundraiser.  All staff members are encouraged to raise support.  A few staff members raise their entire personal support through FGCI.  FGCI receives some support from the campers attending FGCI’s Camp of the Good Shepherd in Louisville, Nebraska, each summer.  FGCI plans to pursue grants for special projects in all its ministry venues.  FGCI also seeks to add several churches as ministry partners which are involved in a variety of ways, including financial support, sending teams, doing projects to support the ministry, gathering materials for distribution in ministry venues, and prayer support.



Joel Burkum
Ex-officio Member
Bob Walter
Harry Arrick
Vice Chairman
Carol Johnson
Rick Cole
Jeff Newton
Matthew Keller
Jeremy Befort
Ex-officio Member
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Joel Burkum

FGCI Executive Director + CGS Development & Programs Manager 

(1995 - Present)


Jeremy Befort

FGCI Associate Director

+ FGCI Romania & Moldova Administrative Liaison

(2004 - Present)

USA & Romania

Domnica 'Mama Nootsie' Ristea

President, Fundația

FGCI in Romania

(1996 - Present)


Sergiu Ristea

Fleet Manager & 

Driver in Romania

(2001 - Present)


Vlad & Carolina Pogor


FGCI Houseparents in Nisporeni, Moldova

(2017 - Present)


Nicoleta Breazu

FGCI Sunshine Room Social Worker

(2020 - Present)


Linda Hoschar

FGCI Secretary

(2010 - Present)

USA Office

Susan & Brian Montieth

CGS Business Operations & Facilities Manager

(2019 & 2018 - Present)

USA - Camp CGS

Lola Cash

FGCI Bookkeeper

(2011 - Present)

USA Office

Maleesha Mustion

SponsorLink Ministry Assistant

(2020 - Present)

USA & Romania

For God’s Children International (also known as FGCI and Fagucci), is a Christ-centered benevolent ministry for children.  FGCI is based in Council Bluffs, Iowa USA.  FGCI serves needy children in Romania, Moldova and in the United States.  FGCI is a 501(c)(3) nonprofit corporation of Iowa (Fed. I.D.#42-1448176) and is supported by freewill gifts.  Below are ways to give to FGCI.

By Check


P.O. Box 434, 

Council Bluffs, IA 51502

By Credit Card





Joel Burkum

Ex-officio Member