Wednesday, December 28, 2016

Far More Abundantly

     “Now to him who is able to do far more abundantly than all we ask or think, according to the power at work within us, to him be glory in the church and in Christ Jesus throughout all generations, forever and ever. Amen.” – Ephesians 3:20-21

      Dear Friends and Family,
      As the year 2016 draws to a close, we realize again how blessed we are as a family, and we are grateful for the moments we have together, and for each one of you who continually and faithfully pray for us and support us - you really are a part of our lives and a part of our ministry.
      This year has been one adventure after another, and we are looking forward to what God has in store for us in the new year! Here is an update on how the Lord has been working in our lives recently, since our last blog/update in May.
      Most notably, we celebrated the arrival of Timothy Isaiah Roby on September 4th. He was 9 pounds or so, and about 21 1/2 inches long. He was born at a private hospital in Timisoara, and everything went well, an answer to one of the prayer requests in our last update. He is just over 3 months and 3 weeks old now, and doing very well! He has enjoyed celebrating the twins' two year birthday, and his first Christmas, and is currently not enjoying his first tooth coming in! We never dreamed that the twins would be big brothers, but now they are and they love it!  God is good, and we are blessed to have Timothy in our family! (and I'm sure there will be plenty of "Tiny Tim" jokes around the holidays in the future!)

                  Nehemiah and Jonathan, with new baby brother Timothy. December 2016.

     At the end of June and first part of July, we were able to participate again this year in Camp Little Bit Of Heaven, a youth camp near the city of Fagaras. There were around 60 kids there, and it was a blessing to be a part of it again this year, being part of the staff, being a team leader, speaking to  the kids during a couple of the Bible lessons, and seeing kids learn and ask questions about God and the Bible. Again, it is such a blessing for our whole family to be a part of this camp! It was also a lot of fun this year for our kids to get to go to the youth camp that the Thomas family puts on in Rusca Montana; plus we were able to get several of the kids from here in Ruschita to go, and they thoroughly enjoyed it, so that was great!
     As many of you know we have been trying to run Sunday Schools in two villages, both in Rusca Montana and Ruschita. That went pretty well for a good portion of the year, but attendance dropped off sharply during the summer months, and in the case of Ruschita, kids stopped coming altogether, probably because of vacations and other interests. Attendance has picked back up during the winter months in Rusca Montana, but we are considering and praying about taking a little bit of a different approach in Ruschita. Please pray with us as we seek wisdom and God's plan for how best to reach the children here in Ruschita! We will let you know how God works this out in a future update! We have also been involved in the speaking and scheduling of speakers in Rusca Montana, which has been a help to the church, as it has brought a little more order to the church especially on Sunday mornings. We have also had opportunities to go to other villages and speak, whether in a team or just a couple of people; but it always an encouragement for us, and it is humbling to know from others that we have been an encouragement to them as well. May God always be glorified!
      Most of you probably remember that we are working toward one of our dreams of building a home for our family and a place for ministry. The process is long and sometimes quite frustrating, but of course, God is in control of every detail. We finalized the plans for the house in June and they were legally approved, and we also were able to get official authorization for construction. We still need to run electricity up to the property and have a well drilled before we can start construction. We also need some kind of access road, which is a problem right now, but again, we are confident that God will resolve these issues in His time and in His way.
      God also blessed us with a new (used) van this year, near the end of August. We had many ministry adventures with our other van (a 1993 Volkswagen Transporter) that we have had since 2008, but with increasing major problems and being stranded repeatedly far from home with small children, we decided we should replace it. It took a lot of patience, and a lot of looking, but we finally found our family's next van, a 2006 Volkswagen Transporter. We took a train 16 hours to the other side of the country to the city of Iasi (with Geta nearly 9 months pregnant!) and drove 12 hours back across the country to get home, but it was worth it. God has provided a very nice van for our family and ministry, with enough seats for all of us. We are very blessed, and we were able to give our other one to someone else for their use. Praise the Lord for His providence - He has provided so much!
      The last thing we will mention in this update is something that we think is close to many of our hearts. Many of you take the time every year to pack boxes for children all across the world for Operation Christmas Child, and for many if not most of you, this is quite a sacrifice. This year the church in Rusca Montana received shoeboxes for children and gave them to us to give out to the children here in Ruschita. In the end, we gave out 18 boxes to children here, many of whom probably didn't get much at all for Christmas. It is always amazing to see the reactions of the children, and we usually have to fight off tears, having been able to see both ends of the operation from the packing of individual boxes with such love, to the joy in the children's faces when their eyes light up as they receive their very own Christmas box. (We have included a picture below so you can also see the children as they proudly hold their boxes). This is truly one of those moments that sticks with you as life goes on.
      The work you do filling these boxes, and the generosity you show may seem at the time you are packing the boxes that it won't amount to much, but believe us when we tell you that it does make a difference for these children. When we see the end results here in Romania, the joy in the kids and realization that people around the world care for them, it makes every expense, every box packed worth it in the light of eternity.
      As you can see, your love and generosity affects so many lives; you are a blessing - to our family, and to so many others. Thank you for all the lives you impact, ours as well as countless others. May God continue to bless you in the new year! Let's see what adventures God has for all of us with Him in 2017!
      Andrew & Geta Roby and kids

 Children in Ruschita, Romania receive Operation Christmas Child boxes. December 26, 2016.

Wednesday, May 04, 2016

God's Continued Blessings...

Dear Friends and Family,
Thank you for your continued prayers on behalf of our family. We are blessed beyond measure, and are grateful for God's hand in our lives every day, and for each of you who have been and continue to be such a blessing in our lives.
We are taking this opportunity to share some of the ways that God has been working in our lives and family, as well as the ministry here in Romania. Most of you know already that God provided us with some property last year so that at some point we could begin building a home for our family and a place to use for ministry. (More of this amazing story can be read about in our last blog entry).
With God's help we have been able to make some progress toward fulfilling this dream. We are awaiting the finalization of the house plans which were designed by us, and then we will be able to get authorization to begin construction. This is a great praise to God, and we have continued to see God's hand in every step of the process. We would ask for your continued prayer for us in this endeavor, that we would have wisdom and discretion in the decisions we will need to make, and that He will guide us every step of the way. Also pray that God will bring us the right people to make an access road, a well on the property, as well as the construction itself. May God be glorified in all of this!
Geta is almost six months along with baby number seven, and so far everything seems to be coming along as it should. Please keep Geta and the new baby in prayer, especially as we get closer to the delivery date (sometime in August); please pray for health and safety for then both, as well as for us to find a good private hospital for the delivery.
The children's ministry in two villages - Rusca Montana and Ruschita - is going well. We are working with another couple in Rusca Montana, and we take turns doing things like songs or flannelgraph lessons, and the kids enjoy it. One mother came to us a couple weeks ago and told us that her two sons are always happy about Sunday School, enjoy it very much, and tell her all about it every week. That was an encouragement to us! In Ruschita on Sunday  afternoons we have Sunday School, and there are a few kids that come there as well. We have a special privilege in Ruschita because there are so many children here who have never heard the stories from the Bible. One week we had the story of Noah's Ark, and at least a couple of them told us they had never heard that story before! Can you imagine? What a privilege and a responsibility we have here! Please pray that God will continue to move in the hearts and lives of these children in each of these villages, and that we will be able to respond to questions and needs that the children have!
I know we have said this before, but it is something we feel deeply: we are so thankful for each one of you; for your love of God and your example to us; for your friendship and love to our family, and your generosity that is beyond measure. We wouldn't be where we are today or doing what we are doing here if it was not for all of your love and generosity toward us, and God's sovereign hand upon all of our lives. May God richly bless you all!
Together With You In God's Sovereign Hand,
Andrew & Geta and family

P.S. A recap of prayer requests: for the property, that we would have wisdom and discretion in the decisions we will need to make, and His guidance; also that God will bring us the right people to make an access road, a well on the property, as well as the construction itself.
Please pray for Geta and the new baby, especially as we get closer to the delivery date (sometime in August); please pray for health and safety for then both, as well as for us to find a good private hospital for the delivery.
Please pray that God will continue to move in the hearts and lives of these children in Rusca Montana and Ruschita; also that we will be able to respond to questions and needs that the children have!
Also we have a prayer request regarding our van. We have been having a lot of issues with it recently (it's a 1993 van), and once the baby is born in August, we will be one seat short! Please pray that God will keep the van running with not so many problems (we know mechanical problems are always inevitable on cars!) and that in His time he will provide another one with the right amount of seats.
May God be glorified in all!

P.P.S. Below is a picture taken at the property, looking out over it, with a view toward the hills, and over the valley where the village is.

Thursday, October 22, 2015

The Lord Provides...

"So Abraham called the name of that place, 'The Lord will provide'..."       Genesis 22:14a
Dear Friends and Family,
We hope and pray all is well for each of you there in the United States, and that God continues to have his hand of blessing upon you.
We want to take this opportunity to share with you some exciting news, and ways that God continues to work in our lives and provide for us here, as well as confirm the direction that we believe God is leading us in ministry.
As many of you know, one of the ongoing prayer requests for our family has been that God would provide a place for us to live, that we can also use for ministry. God has been doing mighty things toward accomplishing this for us in the last few months. Through circumstances that can only have been the hand of God, we now own a piece of property in Rusca Montana, and if the Lord desires, we will begin building a home / place to minister there next spring. 
We had been searching in Rusca Montana for several months (and even in some nearby villages) for some land to build on, or a house that we could buy and fix up. What we found was that there was little or no land available in Rusca Montana, and what was available was very expensive. Most of the options for houses that we found were also too expensive, and had next to no land by them (most of them had just enough by the house for a small garden).
We had gotten to the point of wondering what we were possibly going to do, when we heard from one of Geta's childhood friends about a piece of property that she had seen on a hill that she thought was beautiful and maybe what we were looking for (though she didn't know if it was for sale or not). We went to look for this piece of property, and thinking we had found it, were amazed - it was exactly what we had hoped and prayed for. We asked the owner if it was for sale, and after a day or two, found out that it was. Here is the stunning part that can only be God's hand: the property we went to see was not in fact the piece of property Geta's friend had told us about; we made a mistake on the location and ended up going to see another piece of property instead. The owner of the piece of property that we had mistakenly gone to see said that, "...yes my property is for sale, but how did you know, since I did not tell anybody?" Only God could have arranged all of these circumstances to work out when and how they did. On top of all this, the price was very low, and the owner even agreed to lower it slightly more to help with the cost of doing all the legal paperwork.
God alone is responsible for these series of events, which we believe are miracles. The way he organized each step in these circumstances, and they way he used his people here and back home - friends, family and Bridgeport Chapel, your generosity beyond measure - shows his handiwork, has his fingerprints all over it. This is a direct answer to our prayers and yours, as well as a confirmation to us that he does want us here in this village to do his work. Praise the Lord!  Through some other circumstances that can also only be attributed to God, we were able to get another smaller piece of property right in front of our property (as you go up the hill) which will allow us a much easier road access to the property. Again, for this second piece of property, God worked everything out, including the price being very low.
The property is in a beautiful spot, up on a hill in the village of Rusca Montana. It is roughly 1.25 acres (for the first piece), plus roughly .35 acre for a total of about 1.7 acres. When we are able to build there (again, hopefully starting in the spring), it will be a spectacular view, with lots of room outside for the kids (and others!) to run around in or have fellowship at, whatever God desires. We are looking forward to the day when we will live there, and people will come there to learn more about God, to have fellowship, and above all that God will be glorified in that place. 
We are so grateful for God's leading and provision. We also have so many people - all of you - to be grateful to as well; for your love of God first and your example, your friendship and love to our family, and your generosity that is beyond measure. We wouldn't be where we are today if it was not for God's sovereign hand upon our lives, and all of your love and generosity toward us. Thank you, with all our hearts.
There are many things yet to be done on the property, including making an access road, drilling a well, and getting everything in motion legally so we can build (more difficult here than in the U.S.); but God has shown his power every step of the way, and we are confident that his will will be accomplished, and excited to see what he does next!
With humility and gratefulness,
Andrew & Geta and family
Some prayer requests: please continue to pray for the church in Ruschita, that God will strengthen it, and bring more people to himself. Please pray for the church in Rusca Montana, that God would encourage the people there, and that the Sunday School ministry we have been a part of starting will continue to grow and reach many children. Please pray for the property, that God will work out all details and difficulties so we can begin working on the house next spring. Above all please pray that we will continue to seek his face and his will, and serve him with all that we are.
[Note: we wanted to put a picture of the property at the top of the blog post, but couldn't get blogger to let us do it.]

Wednesday, July 01, 2015

"Increase Our Faith!"

This picture of our family was taken recently,
in Rusca Montana, in a park near where Geta grew up

Greetings everyone, from here in Romania!
Now that we have been back in Romania for nearly three months, things are settling down a
little bit from how they were when we first got here, as far as routine and things go. We
pretty much finished up all the things we still had to do where we used to live in Drobeta
Turnu-Severin, and after being an additional three weeks or so without our van in early
May, we have definitely come to appreciate even more the van that God provided us a few
years back (remember it's a 50km round trip for shopping from where we live!). We remember
that it was largely our family of Bridgeport Chapel that provided the funds so that we
could purchase that van! It has been a good van, and always a blessing for our family.
In the last couple of months, we have stayed in the area in churches that are close by,
mostly in Rusca Montana and Ruschita (where we live for now). We have also gone on
occasion to other churches in other villages a bit farther away to minister, such as
Hobita, Rachitova, and were most recently invited to speak at the church in Turnu-Ruieni,
about 60km away from here. It is always good to be with other groups of christians, and to
get to know and have fellowship with them.
It has also been very good to stick closer around here and get to know the people in our
immediate area again. The church in Rusca Montana is a larger church, but there are needs
there, including working with the children and the youth, not to mention opportunities for
Bible teaching. The church in Ruschita is really just starting up, with just a handful of
people - three or four - that come on a regular basis in the afternoon when the service is
held. There is definitely a need for ministry and encouragement for the few believers that
there are here! Thankfully, a small team from the church in Rusca Montana comes here most
Sundays, and on occasion, a small team from another village, Marga, comes to be a part of
the service.
We have gotten to share in several churches about how God has worked in our lives in the
last year or two, and about God's miraculous preservation of the twins, and all they (and
Geta) had to go through. Several people actually wept during our sharing at various
churches, and let me say, that made it more difficult to continue the sharing. Whenever we
have shared about Nehemiah and Jonathan, it has been a powerful example of God's love,
mercy, and grace to us, and really, to us all.
Thank you all for being a blessing to us, and thank you for praying for us so faithfully.
Prayer requests that we have for right now: for the people in the churches of Rusca
Montana and Ruschita, that they would be encouraged; and that God would move among the
people in these villages and bring many to Himself. Also that God would use us in whatever
ways He sees fit to accomplish His will here. Also please pray for us as we are preparing
to go to help with children's camps next week near the city of Fagaras - that it would be
an awesome time to get to know kids there and spend time with them, as well as encourage
them in the Lord. May we be a blessing in their lives!
A big praise for us is that the twins have been healthy since shortly after the last blog entry, thank you all for your prayers! Also, as many of you know, we have been praying for God to provide a place for us to live, and thanks to his grace and through His people, it looks like He is doing some extraordinary things on our behalf. We hope to give you all an update on this in the not too distant future! Suffice it to say for now (although really no words are sufficient here) that God's people are beyond generous, and that our God does the unexpected....or maybe we truly need to pray as the disciples prayed: "Increase our faith!" - Luke 17:5.
We love you, and hope to give another update before too long. May the Lord's mercy and blessing cover you!
In His Love,
Andrew, Geta, and kids

Friday, April 17, 2015

Readjusting to Life

                                    Geta holds the twins, Jonathan (L) and Nehemiah (R),
                                              on their 5 month birthday, April 15th, 2015.

Dear Family and Friends,
it's been just over a month since we returned to Romania, and it sometimes seems like we are still settling in. Life has been somewhat hectic, between trying to get settled in here in the apartment we are using as a temporary home, and going to different places to catch up with insurance and taxes that need to be paid; picking up some things we needed from our stuff that's all packed away at Geta's father's house, and trying to do some shopping for supplies needed where we live. It's a 50km round trip from where we live right now to do shopping, so we really need to plan ahead! If only they would build a Waremart Foods five minutes from here...
We have also been enjoying visiting friends and relatives here and spending time with them, as well as going to some different churches. We went to the church in Hobita on one of the first Sundays we were back in Romania, and that was wonderful to see people there, and get to share a little bit about the amazing ways God has worked in our lives over the past year and a half.
Also, Easter Sunday was just last week (a week later than in the United States), and that was a weekend full of comings and goings and lots of ministry opportunities as well. Sunday morning we were at the church in Rusca Montana, where Geta grew up and where we were married. I had the message during the service, and Geta translated - it was a great to be back at that church and to have Geta at my side translating! That afternoon we visited many relatives, and went home ready for rest.
Monday morning was what the Romanians call the second day of Easter, and we were blessed to be able to spend the day with our good friends Cosmin and Mari. We went to church in the village of Dalci in the morning, and then the village of Zlagna for the evening service. I had the message again at both of those services, and it was great to have Cosmin translate for me both times. In between the services we went and saw another village (and small church there) in Cicleni, and also enjoyed fellowship with Cosmin and Mari at their home. That evening we arrived tired again and ready for bed. But we had a wonderful couple of days, and thouroughly enjoyed our time in ministry with others.
Please continue to be in prayer for us. Our prayer requests currently are: The twins Nehemiah and Jonathan - they have been sick with a pretty bad cough for over a week (it's especially bad at night) and it just seems like it's taking a long time for them to get better. Place of ministry and place to live - we have been praying that God will show us just the right place that he wants us to minister, where we can best serve him; also we have been praying for God to provide a house for us to live in. Many of you know this already from talks we've had or times we've shared in church. Please continue to pray that we will see and understand his will for us!
Thank you for your continued prayers and support, we love you!
Serving Christ together with you,
Andrew & Geta Roby and family