Hi friends! Below are snapshots from the past five months since somehow that's how much time has passed since our last e-mail update.
We said goodbye to Dinu last Tuesday! He is in the States driving a semi-truck for the next six weeks. Thanks to modern technology he is able to stay in touch with the young men here. I am receiving lot's of help from volunteers and Dinu's sisters so that the Bible study and other ministry can continue uninterrupted.
We would really appreciate your prayers for our family. We sense God at work in us and for us. Please pray He can freely work through us as well.
April was such an exciting month! My parents came and brought two of my aunts and an uncle with them! Each of them poured into our family and our Bible study kids in their own special way over a two week time. We also spent Easter loving on the kiddos from the Illisua orphange together.
My parents stayed the entire month of April and, in addition to our regular ministry schedule, did a lot of discipleship, preaching and spreading passion for evangelism. Of course, they also spoiled our kids and we got to spend time in the village together too!
Beginning in March, we've asked volunteers to be more involved in preparing the weekend children's programs because of temporary changes in our staff. The volunteers like the increased responsibility and have a greater sense of investment in the kids. We are also making room for them to use their specific interests and talents to benefit the ministry.
Here's a picture from our February volunteer retreat. We spent three days studying, praying, worshipping and playing together. We also worked on practical ways to create and maintain spiritual habits.
We love, love, love these semi-annual retreats! They are always a time of re-focusing for our young people who the world tries to pull in so many directions.
This is Iosif (Joseph). He joined Pas cu Pas in December and the retreat for the Teaca children's home in January was his first ministry experience.
He had been "backslidden" until last Fall when God got a hold of his heart. His renewed relationship with God brings energy and life to every activity he's involved in with us.
Please pray for him as he just left to work in England this summer. His goal is to save up and to go to Bible college!
MerryChristmas! We pray that you would be OVERWHELMED this holiday season... With PEACE as you fix your mind on Jesus and JOY as you receive His LOVE!
THE JOY OF EXPERIENCING GOD...
It's common here, especially among the Orthodox, to observe Advent. However, most children (and I suppose many adults too) don't benefit from the tradition because they have not been taught to expect ANYTHING from God.
In November we spent time with children from all of the orphanages and group homes we work with. Taking them one small group at a time, we shared about Advent and the message of real and personal relationship with God because of Jesus! Of course, there were plenty of crafts, treats, activities and singing carols too! And again this year, thanks to Pas cu Pas's supporters in Canada, each child was able to choose a pair of shoes and a coat!
Christmas ministry continued all this month as we've taken small groups from the Prichindel and Illisua orphanages on outings to see lights and serve them special meals with carols and games afterward.
We believe this small group approach is worth the extra time and effort to make sure each child feels valued. That experience (feeling valued) re-enforces the message of God's love and hopefully gives it a better opportunity to take root!
We also had a nice Christmas party with just our volunteers. Dinu showed his skills in the kitchen coming up with awesome barbecue ribs! It was a special time. Check out this video of a fun "animal signs" game from that night!
RISKY BUSINESS... Each year, an estimated two thousand young adults exit orphanages in Romania. Many end up homeless, with no money or shelter, and turn to drugs and crime. (source)
The boys you see here live in the children's home in Beclean (what used to be the largest institution for children in the country). We provide a monthly program for the children there, but obviously, these guys are way too old and way too cool to participate!
Watching them head toward everything the statistics say they are at risk for has been a painful frustration! BUT, thanks to some Holy-Spirit inspired brainstorming and recruiting by the rest of our team, all of that is changing...
Dinu now leads an eclectic group of godly men (from 7th year brain-surgery student to pastor to electronics salesman) in a once a month mentoring effort. They hang out, play soccer or go bowling, etc. and then the guys share advice and talk about important topics over dinner.
These boys are now at high risk of developing their own relationship with God and living lives that reflect His grace!
This is an important new ministry and we would really appreciate your prayers for these young men- that their hearts would be soft and their eyes opened to the truth of the Gospel!
Visit our photo blog to see a recent post of pictures from the first few outings with the boys
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We are so glad to be back in Romania! Having picked up our normal Fall ministry schedule the day after we got home, it honestly feels like we were only gone for a week instead of all Summer!
We realize even more now how much we have missed the special young men and women God has called us to during this season of our lives and theirs! Our hearts are filled with desire for them to know God's Word and His presence in the most intimate way possible.
Please continue to pray for us and them, that we would overcome every obstacle and experience all God has in store!
Below are some pictures from the last few weeks. We've already had a team training (with dinner), three Bible studies (with dinner), the monthly get-together for guys (with dinner) and get-together for girls (with dinner), a 3 day spiritual retreat for our volunteers (breakfast, lunch and dinner together) and our monthly "family dinner." You may have noticed, for us discipleship nearly always involves food. Jesus' ministry did too so I guess we're on the right track!
Dinu taught one session at the retreat on a lifestyle of celebrating- what it means to rejoice in the Lord, regardless of circumstances!
Girls get-together was great! We talked about the Love of God, made shawarma and played cheesy games!
Marie started preschool. She is becoming confident in her Romanian again and sounds very good!
John, now 4 months old, with his very proud grandparents!
Sarah was so very happy to visit her Bunicu in the village as soon as we got home! She wanted to go straight there from the airport!