Saturday, January 17, 2009

Teacher for A Day

Another fun experience I had this fall was substitute teaching for a friend. She is an English teacher at a local private school and she had to miss a few days so the school let me come in her place. It was a great experience and I fell in love with the kids pretty quick :) Most of the kids are from other nations or have one parent that is Romanian and the other from another nation, such as Saudi Arabia, Serbia, Turkey, South Korea, America, Holland... very international! The school is run by Lebanese directors and so there is a lot of Arab influence. Most children learn Arabic as well as Romanian and English. It is great to see the positive impact that my friend is making with the kids and to realize what a special ministry being a teacher is.

This is a pretty cheesy picture, but its me trying to be as teacher-y as possible :)

Strange things one may run into in Constanta

I happened upon this interesting discovery close to Christmas so I am assuming it is part of someone's holiday preparations, but why it was left out on the street like this, I just don't know. Yum... ;)

Believe it or Not!

Yes, folks- you may be shocked to hear but this photo documents my very first-ever Big Mac experience! Yum...Mc Donalds is waaay better in Romania :)

Church Ministry to Turkish Preschoolers

Last fall I had the very great pleasure of visiting a ministry that my church here in Constanta has been running for Turkish children. They are running a preschool and offer homework help and other social services for many children from around Constanta who otherwise would not have such opportunities. The teacher there Adriana does a wonderful job and has seen much fruit in the lives of her students over the past 15 years that she has been working in this area. It was an inspiration and a blessings to join in for the few days I was there- and man, the kids are adorable! :)

New Staff at YWAM Constanta

A few months ago YWAM Constanta was blessed to have a new couple join us as staff, Mela and Calin Pescaru. They were actually staff in my DTS in Cluj back in 2006 and its great to have them with us now in Constanta. At our base we have a tradition of surrounding new staff and "praying them in"- asking for God to lead and bless their time serving with us in Constanta. We are excited to see what plans God has for Mela and Calin in the coming years!

Monday, January 05, 2009

Randomness in Romania

WOO for bowling at the new mall in Constanta- yeah I get out...once in a while! Good staff bonding time :)

Classic scene one can find walking through the parks of Romania :) I love these guys!

YES! Korean food in Romania! Its a miracle! Thank you Kyoung Soon!
Kyoung soon was visiting us on her outreach with her CDTS from YWAM Chatel- man I loved that team! Miss you guys!

Sometimes we get exciting loads of donations to sort through . Actually this load was given to us by another ministry in Cluj, Romania and we received lots of clothes for the kids at our Day Center and more! God provides- clothes and fun :)

Rune our base director lets the donations take him back to the 80's...looking good Rune!

Yeah YWAM Constanta :)

This is our ad for YWAM's Go-Manual- a directory of all YWAM bases in the world. We are doing our best to get the word out on our upcoming DTS in July. Tell your friends and come join us!

Let's Get Practical!

Here's just a peek into what practical duties are like at YWAM Constanta. I am so thankful for such awesome people to work with. They have such serving and loving hearts! Thank you team, you are the best!

Kids Club in the Old City

The Kids Club that we have been helping out with for the past two summers is going strong! This is the first fall that it has continued to run and it will stay going through the year. It is lead by a wonderful lady named Lorraine who is a missionary from England and another missionary from Nigeria named Matthew. The club is a part of church plant among the Turkish families of the Old City. I was blessed to be a part of the fun this fall! The club has moved into the home of a lady who is also hosting the church plant Bible studies once a week. Its so encouraging to see things happening in the Old City as it has been an area of prayer-focus and involvement for our base for some years now. God is faithful! Please pray for this church plant and for those who are serving to make it possible!

Friday, January 02, 2009

Jazz Night at the Cafe

Having our new staff Martin Axelsson around has been so fun! Since he got here we've been working on different music nights in the cafe and in October we had our first ever, Jazz night. A friend from church, Silviu Doroftei, joined us on electric guitar and we covered songs from Billie Holliday, Nora Jones and Michael Buble...okay maybe it wasn't strictly jazz- but jazz-esque if you will! It was an exciting night- with a bit of ruckus from some neighborhood kids, but all in all a fun night and singing those songs was like a dream come true for me! I hope we do it again soon :)

Jolie's Photo Exhibition at the Cafe

We had a special night at the cafe for Jolie and her friend Linda to share more of their photography. Jolie had brought with her photos she had recently taken in China as part of her photography school with YWAM. Linda had pictures from a mission trip to Africa- all beautiful and inspiring. We also displayed pictures of Romania Jolie had taken and she showed a slide show of photos from her time in China. It was a great night full of inspiration and a clear heart for the nations. Once again, thank you Jolie!

Photography and Dreams Come True

Jolie and Linda at the Kids Photo Exhibition at New Wine Cafe
Also in October my good friend Jolie Watts and her friend Linda Stahl came to visit and serve in Constanta through photography. I first met Jolie in 2004 when I was leading a short-term mission team from Simpson University working with YWAM and Jolie was a student in the DTS that was being held at the base here in Constanta. She is also from Oregon so since 2004 we've been meeting up and hanging out whenever I've been in the States. After completing YWAM's photography school in Kona, Hawaii Jolie decided to come back to Romania to fulfill one of her dreams of serving the street kids in Constanta that she had worked with during her DTS. And what a blessing she was! She raised money to buy disposable cameras for each child at the Day Center and taught them the basics of photography before sending them home to photograph people and things at home that were important to them.

Once we got the pictures back each child presented their pictures to the group and then on the last day of the week we had a photo exposition of each child's favorite photo and a celebration in the coffee house. The photos the kids took were great. Mostly of little brother and sisters, cousins and parents. Some of fancy cars in the neighborhood and others of pets- but all creative and unique from each child's perspective and ability. A local photographer also got involved by printing the pictures at discount and offering lessons for the children showing the post potential. Amazing eh?! Jolie also took gorgeous portraits of the kids and of the families as well. She has a gift and she is using it to bless others! Thank you Jolie for blessings us!

Jolie teaches the Day Center kids about taking pictures

Exciting! Everyone receives their own disposable camera!

Sharing photos with the rest of the Day Center kids

Jolie the proud teacher and her students ;)

Photo Exhibition and fun at New Wine Cafe

The local photographer joined us for the event as well as staff and friends

And of course we had to sing! Andreea, friend & volunteer to the left, Martin- staff, and me

Day Center Kids Go to Mc Donalds

October was a crazy month at the Day Center. After rushing to get papers filled for the Day Center's legal approvals, the passing of our educator's husband, and meeting with the kids for a couple of days at our base while the Day Center was being repainted and repaired, we needed a break! The kids also had a week off from the Day Center during the repairs and to encourage them to continue to do their homework while they were at home they were offered a reward of going to Mc Donalds for their usual daily meal. A very exciting treat for a kid!

Well it ended up that not everyone did their homework, but Nuti ("Nutsi") our social worker had an idea and told the kids that each one who had earned the right to go to Mc Donalds could take another child with him, but would be responsible for helping him get his homework done the next week. Each child chose another until almost everyone would be going to Mc Donalds- except Ferdi...who had not been behaving very well and everyone knew it. "Should we leave Ferdi here kids?" Nuti asked the kids. Their immediate reaction was not very positive but after a few seconds they were all in agreement- YES, Ferdi would come to Mc Donalds too! And that is how all the kids ended up going to Mc Donalds. I have to say it was a example of grace and the best part was seeing the kids extend it to one another.

And needless to say, we had a great time!

"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)