The Pathway to Joy Story

Pathway to Joy Ministries is propelled by the vision of lasting joy for every child. Whether that child is living in a foster home, a state residential home or an impoverished community, Pathway to Joy is there to show Christ’s love and to do something about the sorrow that permeates the hearts of Romania’s vulnerable children living in hard places.

The founders of Pathway to Joy Ministries (PTJM), Cornel and Karen Bucur, moved to Romania in 1995 with their young family. Their initial ministry assignment involved the development of 6 FM radio stations, which now blanket Romania with 24-hour Christian radio. In their free time, they began organizing and leading summer camps for children and teens languishing in state orphanages. They also discovered defenseless children abandoned on the streets and in the state children’s hospital. What started as small acts of kindness, quickly transformed into a passion for these kids and a call to birth Pathway to Joy Ministries, to form of a dedicated ministry team, and to develop solution-focused program initiatives that would empower vulnerable children with the tools they needed to heal and realize their full potential!

For the past twenty-nine years, our journey has taken us to places such as Oradea, Tinca, and Sabolciu. PTJM has ministered to thousands orphans, street children, and struggling families facing toxic levels of stress related to hunger, illness, neglect, fear, and exploitation.

Our various program efforts have included:

Organizing summer camps


Providing practical care and protection to infants and children abandoned at local hospitals


Developing a Christian foster care program


Developing a mentoring project


Planting two Roma churches


Developing feeding and education programs


Publishing Bible studies and devotional materials in the Romanian language


Each of these ministry programs has brought healing and hope to hundreds of vulnerable children, teens, and adults each year. Pathway to Joy remains committed to pursuing effective ways to empower each child we serve with the tools they need to heal and realize their full potential. Recently, we just launched an educational initiative dedicated to empowering Roma children aged 7-12 in the Tinca region of Romania. By offering nourishing meals, access to proper sanitation facilities, educational enrichment, and a spiritual component, our goal is to eliminate the immediate challenges hindering their academic progress.


My parents had problems, and then my mother ended up leaving our home. My father had to take care of my brother and me. He loved both of us very much, and he did the best he could to take care of us. Unfortunately, my brother and I ended up in a government placement center.

Adrian’s Story

Many of the children in the government placement center were placed there at a very young age and have little memory of their lives before the placement center. Pathway to Joy Ministries began their work in government placement centers back in 2006.

Elena’s Story

The Gospel

Romania’s True Hope

We believe in the indisputable power of the Gospel to save and transform lives. Pathway to Joy’s vision of lasting joy for every child is centered on inviting the orphans and poor among us to fully embrace the gospel and its message of redemption, forgiveness and true hope.

We know the Lord longs to heal their broken hearts and transform their lives. We know He wants every child to experience lasting joy. In fact, Jesus is the ultimate solution for Romania’s vulnerable populations.