Mission: helping Romania

This past year has held both disappointments and miracles for Concord resident Kim Jackson, 54.

After facing the elimination of her job, she joined forces with a ministry in Romania. After enduring a terrible car accident, she is alive and making a full recovery. Through the ups and downs, she received what she calls her "personalized marching orders."

When she moved to Concord four years ago, Jackson found a job as concierge in an assisted-living facility, now Horizon Bay Assisted Living, three miles from her house. "I really fell in love with the residents and their families," she said.

But in March 2011, Jackson learned her job was being eliminated. Immediately.

On the surface, it appeared to be a tragedy. In reality, it was just what she prayed for.

Sensing God was leading her to something new, she had contacted an old friend, Andy Baker. Founder of Remember the Children, he leads a ministry that serves the at-risk community in Romania. Jackson discovered they had an outreach called Elderly in Need, where they sent support to a couple in Romania for housing the homeless elderly.

"They need a voice," Baker told Jackson.

She wanted to be that voice.

, Now, Jackson serves as the vice president of operations for the newly named Elder Orphan Care. She plans to travel to Romania twice a year, serving the elderly and building relationships.

Knowledge and relationships she gained at Horizon Bay equipped her for this new season of life. Local businesses and ministries partnered with her and donated money, wheelchairs and medical supplies.

"A year ago, Romania was really not on the map for me," she said. Since then, she has traveled to Romania twice, connected with a Romanian church nine miles from her house, and met a number of Romanians in the Charlotte area. They are a confirmation to Jackson that she is journeying in the right direction.

In November, Jackson hit a deer in Kentucky and was rear-ended by a truck traveling close behind. Her car flipped three times. Miraculously, the injuries that Jackson endured are expected to heal completely.

It was another confirmation that Jackson had more work to do.

"We have to sit at Jesus' feet and get our personalized marching orders," said Jackson, "and these are absolutely my personalized marching orders."