Saturday, January 21, 2006

Thanks for Praying...

I have been at this internet cafe for hours now so this will be quick! :) Thank you for praying for our needs here! Unfortunately Nadia got the money for her abortion and had it Friday, the same day we went to see her to talk about seeing a doctor with her. Its tough for me because I was really hoping to see God work a miracle for this baby's life, but I know God knows better and also, it was Nadia's choice. But we will still be seeing Nadia and hopefully our relationship will grow. She also has a serious arm injury that is not healing properly so maybe we can help her with that and be a blessing to her large family of 12!

Tomorrow we get to see Vacile at church and I hope to give him a New Testament and talk to him more about knowing Jesus. I'm waiting to see what God will do with this guy and with the other kids who have been coming to church. Its so cool that they come and I am so glad that our church allows them to come there. Pray for God's Spirit to continually show up in our services!

Well, I am super excited because my best friend Leisl is coming all the way from Visalia, California to visit me on the first of February! She is coming at the perfect time as I am having to say good bye to my two closest friends here in Constanta. She is also bringing me a laptop that my family is giving me! Thank you Jesus! So hopefully my updates will be more frequent and I can get more pictures out to let you guys see what all is going on here. Please pray for her safe trip and for our time together to be blessed! I can't wait!

Well are amazing and I have to tell you that my time here has been blessed because of your love and support, packages, emails, and prayers. I miss you and hope to hear from you when you have the chance.
La revedere! (Good bye) :)

Tuesday, January 17, 2006

A New Beginning...

Last week we began our new year of ministry. It was awesome to be back on the street with the kids again. I was SOOO happy to see them and to see that they had done alright while our team was away. Some of the kids, including my little princesses, Elena and Angelica, have gone to another city, but most of the kids are still hanging in there as always.

The Day Center is doing well. It was also great to be with the kids there and they seem to be doing well. The outreach team from Ireland has two team members there a day so they are taking care of the special activities and for now it seems like one of the teachers is taking care of the Bible lessons which I had been doing when it was my day. I'm relieved about this because for some reason I get so freaked out about doing Bible lessons. It is so difficult keeping the kids attention in the first place and then when you have to take time for translation you really loose them. So I guess I will tackle this Bible lesson challange another time in the future. For now I am hanging out and helping with the kids and get this- TRANSLATING!

No joke! The other day the teacher who speaks no English asked ME to translate what the kids were saying to the outreach team! I totally laughed at her because I am SOO not that good at Romanian. But I guess that kind of kicked off my far as language goes, its sink or swim! In the day center they lost their aid that did the translating for outreach teams and in our street team we also lost our translator and only Romanian! So, Therese, who speaks a good deal of Romanian and I are the only ones to translate now. Its crazy. Please pray for me to get better and quickly!

Now for some serious prayer requests:

*NADIA* We know this girl, about 23 years old, and she has come to us asking for help with an abortion. She some time last year she was in a horrible accident where a wall fell on her and her baby girl, killing the baby girl and injuring Nadia. I am not sure if this accident had anything to do with this, but she is telling us that due to some surgeries she had in the past and her physical condition now, if she tries to give birth she could die. She has no money for the abortion and that is why she is asking us for help. We are really praying about how to respond to this situation as there seems to be no easy answer. Please pray for God to give us wisdom and to do a miracle in this girl's life and in the life of her baby.

*Eugenia* This woman, has had a very hard life. I won't go into her story for time-sake but she needs to pay a very high water bill as soon as possible and our team is trying to go about drawing papers for an agreement to give her a loan. We need prayer for this to go well and to take care of this is the appropriate way. We also need prayer for the money that we will need in order to give her the loan. This is going to be a huge blessing for this woman and a gigantic burden lifted off her shoulders.

*Vasile* Sunday at church a bunch of street kids came and stayed, listening to the whole message which was a simple, straight-forward, passionate message of salvation and God's love! It was the PERFECT message for street kids and as a result one of the guys from the street, Vasile, prayed to receive Jesus as his Savior! Awesome! Please pray for this young man to grow in the Lord and that we would be able to take the right steps to disciple him. We are seeing more and more that we need to start a Bible study for these guys on the street. Pray for this as well!

*More Workers* And as always we are praying for God to call more and more people with different gifts to Constanta for this ministry. We now REALLY need a Romanian or at least someone who speaks fluent Romanian. And we are also praying for a nurse/medical assistant to join our team too, but we can use anyone with a heart for this ministry! We will be losing Cressida at the end of this month (And I will be saying good-bye to a very dear friend!) and sometime in Februrary we will be having a man from Sweden joining us. He has a big heart for intercession and that will be a huge blessing for us. So God provides in his timing, but I am reminded that we need to continually seek God's face for these needs. He is our good Daddy who provides for us. Amin!

Thank you so much for your prayers and LOVE! I hope you are all doing well and I will give you more updates soon!

Brasov...The most beautiful city yet!

Here is a picture over looking the beautiful city of Brasov. Here I stayed with a friend who had been on outreach in Constanta and this is where we sent our New Years. It was amazing!

Friday, January 06, 2006

La Mult An!...Happy New Year!!!

Its hard to see all the fireworks in the background but just try to imagine it! I've never seen so many fireworks going off at once and in so many different directions! It was amazing! This is us and our friend Alin and his girlfriend Micci.

The Grand Transylvanian Tour...

So...I forgot to mention that Cressida and I set out for our Christmas vacation about a week after our break had officially begun. We first went to Sighisoara where we stayed with Aghi's parents who had just arrived from Hungary for the night. The next day we drove to the village where Aghi's oldest sister lives with her family of four and another of Aghi's sisters. we stayed there for about four days and had a great time. I love her family and especially hanging out with her sisters and little neice and nephews. Check out my pictures to see them!

After being in the village we went back to Sighi to meet the outreach team from Ireland and to show them around the city. Then we went back to the village where they are ministring for a couple of days, Teius, and here I got to meet some wonderful people and enjoy getting to know the Irish team (which is all Americans!:) ). There we went with the team to an orphanage and Cressida told the kids about Africa (she is from South Africa), and we sand more Christmas carols and read a Max Lucado story to them. Then the openned presents from Operation Christmas child! The kids were so cute openning the packages to discover what was inside. NOw I know first hand the impact of those gifts that our church has been sending out every year.

After leaving Teius, we took the train to Brasov, and there I fell in love! No, not with a person but with the city! It is a beautiful city full of all kinds of beautiful artitecture and history. You must see the pictures. We stayed here with a Romanian friend and ate all kinds of good food that his father made. We joined our friend and his girlfriend and friend on New Years watching hundrends of fireworks go off all over the city from our look-out spot on a hill. This was one of the most beautiful sights! After praying together for the new year and I committing 2006 to the Lord, sensed a real exictement for what this new year is going to hold. I can say that this was one of the best New year's I have ever had!

I learned two new things about Romanian New Year's celebrations: the first is that as soon as Christmas comes, boys, young and old and even some girls start lighting firecrackers in the streets wherever you go. New Year's eve I thought I was walking through a war-zone, trying not to get in the way of one small explosion after another!; the second thing I learned was that Romanians don't just wait until twelve, say happy new year and go home, they stay up all night! Call me boring but I fell asleep at almost three in the morning while my friend stayed up all night and even his dad was out at a friend's party until 8:30 in the morning. I tell you again, Romanian's know how to celebrate!

Christmas Day...

Christmas Day I woke up and took a shower only to come out and find that everyone had opened there presents without me! But I quickly learned that presents are such a big deal here. Everyone wakes up whenever and goes and gets their own presents and opens them as they like. This was different for me because my family makes a big deal of openning presents together, but I decided that I like this way because there is not so much focus on the gifts.

That morning we went to church for a very special service of people sharing songs, skits and poems. The youth group did a skit of the Christmas story which was very entertaining :) and other people, even me!, sang Christmas songs.

(At the top you can see Aghi and I singing a beautiful Christmas Carol in Romania! And I am wearing really cool, trendy Romanian style boots :) )

Caroling in Romania...

On Christmas eve we followed Romanian tradition and went out singing "colinde" (Christmas carols) from house to house with the youth group of Aghi's brother-in-law's church ( he is the pastor). There must have been about 15 of us by the end of the night as kids would join up with us along the way. At each house we would sing until they opened the door and invited us in for cakes and soda. I was sooo full by the end of the night, which was really the end of the night- midnight!!! Romanians know how to celebrate!

(The girl "directing" is one of Aghi's sisters Asia)

Merry Christmas...Craciun Fericit!!!
I had a great Christmas with my roommate Aghi's family (her parents, six sisters, and her sister's husband and three kids!) and Cressida from my street ministry team. We stayed for a few days in their little village way out in the country. We sent lots of time dancing with the kids, eatting great food and relaxing!

(Aghi is in the middle wearing blue, Cressida is in the back with the black shirt on and I am the blazing white girl next to her :) )
"All that is not the love of God has no meaning for me. I can truthfully say that I have no interest in anything but the love of God which is in Christ Jesus. If God wants it to, my life will be useful through my word and witness. If He wants it to, my life will bear fruit through my prayers and sacrifices. But the usefulness of my life is His concern, not mine. It would be indecent of me to worry about that."
- Dominique Voillaume
(From "The Signature of Jesus" by Brennan Manning)