Friday, August 10, 2007

Fellowship, Blessing, and Preparation

Blessings to each of you -- family, friends, and others! We pray that this blog entry finds each of you in good health and enjoying this summer.
It had been quite hot here for awhile, although now it has cooled down noticeably which is very nice (but it's still pretty warm). We've also recently had some rain, which is good for the crops, since very hot and dry conditions had been predicted for this summer.
As many of you know, we have been without a driver's license since the beginning of May. Through the wonderful observatory skills of the local police, we came to realize my license had expired last year on my birthday and we didn't even catch it. Needless to say, we can't believe we didn't notice until May, and I (Andrew) feel like somewhat of an idiot. However, immediately after we discovered the license had expired, we sent renewal papers to Oregon DMV, and hopefully we should be receiving the renewed license in the mail anytime before September (although why the Oregon DMV sent it third class, we'll never understand -- it can take three months or longer to get here!)
So we have spent these last three and a half months up until now without a driver's license, which has been frustrating mostly from a ministry standpoint, but also from a going-to-the-store-across-town standpoint. Sometimes people look only at the negative side of a situation like this, but we have learned (and are continuing to learn) to look at the positive side of whatever circumstances we find ourselves in.
These months without the driver's license have been in fact, a great blessing in disguise; there are so many more positive things that have come of this situation than negative things, too many to list here.For example, if we had had the driver's license these past months, we would have been constantly going in ministry to the area we believe we are called to move to (which of course, would be a good thing); but we would not have had the opportunities we have had of going to and serving in a church here in the city on a regular basis.
We have had the opportunity to attend Smirna (Smyrna) church here in Turnu-Severin, and get know the people from this church. They are wonderful people, brothers and sisters in the Lord; and through many times of worship and fellowship together, they have become great and sincere friends for our family. We have made many close friends, and we know that they are willing to help us in our ministry later when we live in the village.
There have been other opportunities to serve as well. In one instance, A friend and his wife came and drove us to Caransebes for a weekend of ministry in the village of Zlagna, and we were also able to have a nice time of encouragement and fellowship with their family. In another instance, Geta's father came to drive us to the country village of Rachitova, where Geta's grandparents live. We stayed there for two weeks, and the kids especially had a great time. On the weekends, we went to the village of Hobita where we had opportunity to take part in the services there morning and evening (see picture above). We also had the opportunity to go to the village of Clopotiva, where we were for one service.
We are one hundred percent convinced that God had a reason for the timing of these circumstances, as He has reasons for everything. More than being as simple as 'I forgot to renew my license on time', it is very evident that God ordained and has used this time to accomplish many great things. God knows what we need before we ask Him; God knows that each one of us needs friends and fellow believers for fellowship, encouragement, and help in the work He has called us to do. This has been a remarkeable time of fellowship, blessing, and preparation for our family.
Almost everyday, we are finding new opportunities for ministry; almost everyday, we see new reasons why God has allowed this time for us. Even without a driver's license, there are still so many opportunities for us to serve and minister: to serve Him whom we are called to serve, and to minister to those whom He has called us to minister to. God is everywhere...just look around!
God be with each of you, and we pray that we may see you again -- perhaps soon!
In Christ,
Andrew, Geta, and Family
p.s. The picture above was taken in the village of Hobita on July 15th. I (Andrew) am on the far left, Geta and the kids are toward the center. The others in the picture are the believers from the church -- nearly all of them. Pray for the church and the village of Hobita!

Tuesday, June 05, 2007

God Will...

Give me a man of God -- one man, whose faith is master of his mind, and I will right all wrongs and bless the name of all mankind.

Give me a woman of God -- one woman, whose tongue is touched with heaven's fire, and I will flame the darkest hearts with high resolve and clean desire.

Give me a man of God -- one man, one mighty prophet of the Lord, and I will give you peace on earth, bought with a prayer and not a sword.

Give me a woman of God -- one woman, true to the vision that she sees, and I will build your broken shrines and bring the nations to their knees.

-- George Liddell

The House

Some of you, our friends and family have asked for a little more information on the house and property we are praying for in Giubega (the village we are going to move to) and to see a couple of pictures.
The property we are specifically praying for in Giubega is approximately 80 meters long and 30-40 meters deep. There are 2 buildings at one end of the property; one is a house with four good-sized rooms and a basement, which would be our place of residence; the other is smaller, with three individual rooms each opening to the outside, which we would like to one day use as a guest house for ministry purposes. The other end of the property is basically field, and could be used for a variety of purposes, such as outdoor evangelization meetings and concerts, a soccer field (big over here) for outreach, a youth camp or two in the summers, etc. It seems that there are endless possibilities for ministry, endless opportunities to bring glory to God!
The pictures posted here are: >1 a close up of a good portion of the main house; 2> a view through the front gate of the smaller building (on right, with main house barely visible through trees on left); 3> a long shot of the property from where the houses are (to the left, outside of picture) to the end of the property (follow the tree line down the road until the wood fence).
As you can see, there is a lot of work that needs to be done in order to repair and fix up the buildings and property. It will take a lot of time and money to accomplish, but God will provide everything in His time.
The price on the property we heard was orignally about $8500, but later when we talked to the owner he had raised the price to about $14,500; we believe this is because he probably made some calls in the village and found out that it was Americans looking at his property. The common assumption in Romania is that all Americans have a lot of money and unfortunately this line of thinking is common in Romania. Although this change was quite discouraging, we also know that the owner can never get that price for the house, especially because of the condition the house is in.
Even with these circumstances, God has placed in our hearts a burden to pray specifically that He would provide this house and property for us and the ministry in Giubega. We don't know exactly why, except that there are so many extroardinary things that could be done here for the glory of God.
We also don't know how in the world God is going to provide this house and property for us, but we believe that since He has placed a burden on our hearts to pray specifically for it, that He will somehow provide it. It will take much prayer and faith. One of our friends recently said to us, "our God is a rich God; He can do anything He wants". That is so true! Our God is a God of miracles, wonders, and blessings, and nothing is impossible for God.
Thank you for your continued friendship and support, and your faithful prayers for us -- prayer moves the hand that moves the world!
Keep praying -- God will provide!

Making History

On May 3rd through the 11th, I (Andrew) had the opportunity to attend a leadership seminar in the mountainous area of Baile Herculane, about 1 hour from where we live (see picture of hotel). It was a leadership seminar called History Makers; "History Makers is a ministry of the International Leadership Institute (I.L.I.), a global network of leaders committed to accelerating the spread of the Gospel". History Makers seeks to train a new generation of leaders who want to reach people with the Gospel. History Makers' vision is to: "Change history by accelerating the spread of the life transforming power of the Gospel of Jesus Christ through leaders of leaders empowered by the Holy Spirit."
We studied many things throughout the week, including intimacy with God, visionary leadership, discipleship, mentoring, stewardship of time and money, integrity, and making family a priority. We had plenty of opportunity to discuss things we had studied, ask questions, and do some practical applications, such as set personal goals for more time alone with God, more time together with family, etc.
It was a very good week for me, and even though I had heard many of these sort of teachings before, they were still very good and reinforced many of the ideas within me. I was able to set personal goals for more time with God, and more time with family, which already have been a real blessing. I was also encouraged and emboldened to share our vision for ministry and what God has placed on our hearts with others with boldness and with confidence. I also realized during this time that God in fact does want Geta and me to be leaders. I have resisted the idea for too long, preferring instead to be in a supporting role to a leader (I felt that we were not leaders). However, it is obvious especially in light of things that have happened in the last months, that God wants us to be leaders and in fact has thrust us into that position in ministry; we acknowledge that now and have embraced that call in our lives. May God help us to be the leaders He wants us to be!
Another great benefit that came from the seminar was the strengthening of friendships and the buildng of new ones. There is a sense of community that grew during the seminar; we now have a network of brothers and sisters in Christ all around Romania who we are willing to help and who are willing to help us. I met many people with various trade skills and ministries -- it is incredible to think of all the ministry opportunities that may arise in the future.
One of our new visions is to one day have a History Makers seminar in Giubega, at our future home, for emerging new leaders in that area. Right now, we are hoping for spring of 2010. We are putting it almost three years out because after God provides a house for us in Giubega, we will need time and money to repair it, and make it workable for a seminar like this.
Please continue to pray for us, and for God to keep raising up leaders all across Romania and the world who will change history for Jesus!

Family in the Park

Here are some pictures of our family that were taken recently at a park in the city of Orsova. Please enjoy them!
1> Here is a picture of Ammishaddai, Elijah, and Joseph sitting on some rocks...

2> A picture of Joseph in the park. The park is near the Danube River (background).

3> Geta is playing with the kids in the park...

4> Andrew and Elijah...
(Pictures taken April 17, 2007 in Orsova, Romania)

Wednesday, April 11, 2007

Prayer Requests...and the Future

 As we mentioned in an earlier blog entry, we know that many of you have been praying for us, and we are so grateful for that. Some of you have asked us for specific prayer requests, so we would like to take a few moments to share some current prayer requests with you.
 Health for the children. Joseph, Ammishaddai, and Elijah have been sick quite a few times over the last 3 months or so. It’s always the same basic thing, but it keeps recurring, and we’d just like to ask for good health for them, and God’s hand of protection and blessing upon them.
 God’s continued provision. God has continued to be faithful in everything; as you probably already read above, He continues to provide in amazing ways, and at just the right time. Please pray with us for His continuing hand of blessing upon our family, and great provision for our family. He knows what we have need of before we even ask!
 The future: Giubega. Praise God, because we know that He is absolutely sovereign, and He leads us where He wants us to go. Through the experiences we have had working with a couple of different pastors in different areas over the last few months, after much prayer and in accordance with the vision that we have, we believe that God is leading us to move to a village called Giubega (pronounced: jew-BEG-a). We have made the decision to move there, and discussed this on Easter Sunday evening with the pastor from Bailesti, who is the pastor for the general area. We are all very excited about this direction that God is leading our family!
 This is a huge step of faith for our family, because we know that in order to move there, we will need somewhere to live, which we don’t have yet. We have been praying for a long time that God will provide us a house to live in, in the village we would eventually move to. We are praying now that God would provide a house for us, or the money with which to purchase a house.
 We know that many of you would like us to be more specific with the request, so here goes: we are praying either that God would specifically give us a house in Giubega, or that He would provide $8000-$10,000 dollars with which to purchase a house. We will also most likely need money to do some repairs, and/or improvements to make it liveable (especially during the winter). We would like to be moved in to the house by the end of May.
 This is a big prayer request, and we know that; but on the other hand, we have a big God, who is awesome in power and endless in resources. He has done everything so far that we believed He would; He has never let us down. God will provide what He wants us to have.
 Please pray with us for the above requests. Please pray for the people of the village of Giubega, that they would be open to the gospel of Jesus Christ; we believe God will do a great work in the people and village of Giubega. We love you; thank you for praying for us. We will see you again soon.
 Servants Together in Christ,
  Andrew, Geta, and Family

Recent Ministry Summary

 We have been busy these last months working with two pastors from a couple different areas, ministering in various villages and churches. It has been a great experience for us, as well as a time of learning and growth. We have gotten to know each of the pastors and their families somewhat, and we have met many new people in the various villages and churches in which we have been blessed to be part of the ministry.
 Here is a summary of what we’ve been doing the last few weeks:
 March 17-18: I (Andrew) went by myself with one of the pastors to the mountain villages of Obarsia Closani and Marasesti (more information on these villages is available on our website). Only I went from our family that weekend because two of our three children were very sick, so Geta stayed home with them. The pastor and I had two services Saturday night, and two Sunday morning (one of us went to each service that morning), and two services again Sunday evening. I had no translator, so I knew it was going to be an interesting weekend. Saturday night, the pastor tried to translate for me, and he gave it a valiant try, but I found that I needed to repeat most everything (in Romanian) to get across correctly what I wanted to say. I decided that evening that I would give the rest of my messages that weekend in Romanian, as far as I was able. I was pretty nervous, but by the grace of God (a lot of grace), I was able to give 3 messages Sunday in Romanian. While it was not the full text of what I had prepared, and I had to speak relatively slowly, and carefully choose the words I wanted to use to make sure I could finish the thoughts and sentences I had started, the principal ideas, and points were clear, and the people understood what the Word had to say that day. I was blessed because a number of people told me afterwards that they understood “all” that had been said. Praise God! I definitely believe that God used that weekend to stretch me out of my comfort zone, but it was great, and I also was given more confidence in “my” abilities with the Romanian language.
 March 25: By invitation we as a family went to a village not too far from where Geta grew up -- one that may be familiar to many at Bridgeport Chapel: a village called Maciova. We had been invited there by Marius, who is the pastor in that village; he is also a friend of ours, and graduate from the Bible school that Geta and I graduated from. We stayed all day, and it was a wonderful time of fellowship at the church, as well as fellowship with Marius, his wife Adriana and young son Andre. They are an inspiration to us because what they have done is much like the vision that we have: they moved into a village where there were very few (or no) believers. Through many years of struggle and God’s blessing, they have been able to build God’s church through living with the people in the village and building friendships with them. God has blessed that village and the church, which is now fairly good-sized. The band that some of the youth of Bridgeport Chapel helped teach to play instruments is going strong, and sounding great!
 April 1 & 8: We went to the church in Bailesti for both Palm Sunday and Easter Sunday. It was a great time of fellowship with the people there, celebrating Jesus’ royal entry into Jerusalem, and then the glorious hope that His resurrection brings. We took part in the services there morning and evening by singing and sharing the Word of God. In the afternoons, a family from the church took us to their home for lunch and rest, and that was a real blessing. We pray that we have been able to be as much of a blessing to the people in Bailesti as they have been for us. Please pray for the church in Bailesti, that God will continue to work in and bless that church!

Thank You!

 Greetings in the name of our risen Lord and Savior, Jesus Christ! We hope you had a wonderful Easter together with friends and family celebrating the glory of Christ’s resurrection. The picture above was taken Easter Sunday 2007. 
 First, we want to thank the Missions Committee, the elders, Pastor Ron, and all of Bridgeport Chapel for the great blessing of your support as a church. Although we knew that you already supported us wholeheartedly in your friendship and in your praying for us -- and we one hundred percent believe that this sustained us through some hard times -- your decision together as a body to also support us financially was such an encouragement to our family, and will continue to sustain us in good times and hard times; we believe that God will use all these things together in a mighty way for His glory. As always, may God’s hand of blessing be upon you, and thank you so much, Bridgeport Chapel!
 We also want to thank those of you who have supported us individually as well, through friendship, and through specific prayers and intercession for us in the presence of Almighty God, and also through the generous financial support that you have shown to our family. It has been really amazing these last months to watch how the Lord has taken care of us. It seems as though whenever we think we might not make it to the beginning of the next month, somehow we always do. This is our God! He is using these times to build our faith in Him, and He is using each one of your prayers and your generosity in a special way to provide for us at just the right time: His time! Thank you so much for your fervent, faithful praying for us, and also your generous, faithful financial support -- it has been an incredible blessing for us!
 “The Lord make his face to shine upon you and be gracious to you; the Lord lift up his countenance upon you and give you peace.” -- Numbers 6:25-26

Thursday, February 08, 2007

A Love That Knows No Limits

 To all our friends, family members, and fellow servants of Christ, Greetings in the name of the Lord! We hope that this entry finds you feeling well, and loving Jesus more with each passing day.
 We miss each of you and think of you often; we pray for you, and we are encouraged because we know that you are praying for us. We would like to take this opportunity to thank you again so much for all your praying; your prayers are greatly needed, and appreciated. Thank you for coming into the presence of God on our behalf; what a remarkable and exquisite privilege! Remember, "prayer moves the hand that moves the world" (E.M. Bounds). How awesome to serve the One to Whom this quote refers!
 This picture of our family is the latest one that we have, taken on January 23rd 2007. We had to go into Serbia for a couple of hours and then come back into Romania to get our passports stamped, and while we were there we spent some time at some old Roman ruins. It was interesting and fun to see the ruins, and the kids got to run around too. We also had a surprise encounter with the Serbian border police! (don't worry, they were very nice).
 On January 28th, Geta and I celebrated six years of marriage together; time sure passes quickly; we know it will only seem to pass more quickly as time goes on.
 Speaking of time passing quickly, our children are growing faster every day. Joseph, our oldest, is now 4 years old; our daughter Ammishaddai will turn 2 on February 10th; and our youngest, Elijah, will turn 1 on February 26th.
 Thank you again for praying, and being such a blessing to us; now let us leave you with what we hope will be a great encouragement for you. A song that has meant a lot to us and has spoken to our hearts in a special way (and which we sang at the mountain churches we were recently in) is the song "Redeeming Love"; we'd like to put the words from the chorus here for you: "Redeeming love, a love that knows no limit; Redeeming love, a love that never dies; My soul shall sing throughout the endless ages, the adoration of this great love on high".
 May God bless you today, and everyday.
 In Christ, Andrew & Geta & Kids


In February

 On February 3-4, Geta and I and the kids were able to go together to the mountain villages of Obarsia Closani and Marasesti for ministry. We stayed at the house in Obarsia Closani that is owned by the church. They are able to build a fire in one room only -- that is pretty normal here in the villages during the winter -- but it was a pretty good sized room, and we didn't spend too much time there anyway.
 Normally they have a service at the church in each village Saturday night, and then one at each church Sunday morning and evening. We went with the pastor from Orsova, and because he had some business to attend to, we did not arrive in the villages in time for the church services Saturday night. Sunday morning, I drove the pastor to Marasesti, and our family stayed at the church in Obarsia Closani where we participated in the service with singing, encouragement and the message from the Bible.
 In the evening we first had a service in Obarsia Closani again, where we sang and encouraged the people, and then we went to a service in Marasesti, where we also sang, and encouraged the people, as well as had the main message.
 Our family was able to experience again over the weekend the warmth, hospitality, and generosity of the believers in those villages. The friendship they showed us was sincere; in a way, our family was part of them already. Even our kids had a good time, having a chance to play a little after the final service in Marasesti with some of the children from the church.
 We are looking forward to this next weekend, February 10-11, when we will be again going to these villages for ministry. Please pray for me (Andrew) as I prepare to speak in three services this weekend; please pray for Geta as she translates each time for me (and keeps an eye on the kids!) -- she is doing an incredible job translating, and she is such a blessing; Please pray for the kids, that they will have calm and quiet spirits during each service -- it can seem such a long time for them sometimes to sit through these services, but they are doing very well. Finally, Please pray that God will use us in special ways to touch the hearts of people for His glory!
 Also, coming up on February 18th, we will be in the village of Hobita, where one of our relatives has invited us to come and be involved in a service and speak. We are excited about that as well! Please pray for us that weekend as well, that we would be an encouragement to the believers in the village of Hobita, and a testimony for Jesus Christ.
 Then on February 25th, we are looking forward to being in Bailesti again for a day of ministry, as well as possibly another village in the area, one named Giubega. Please pray that we would also be an encouragement to the believers in Bailesti and Giubega.
 We included a picture here from February 4; it shows Joseph and Ammishaddai in Obarsia Closani -- yes, there is a little snow!


3 Days, 8 Services

 On January 19, 20, and 21 (a Friday, Saturday and Sunday) I (Andrew) went with a pastor from the city of Orsova, and a couple other guys to two mountain villages about one hundred kilometers away for a weekend of evangelization. Evangelization is a time in a village or villages when the people of the church invite their friends, family, neighbors -- anyone unsaved -- to come to the church. There are usually guest speakers during the evengelization, and usually the church is pretty full. This can be a great opportunity to present the Gospel to those who have never heard it before, and for peoaple to come to know Christ. In fact, my wife Georgeta was saved during a week of evangelization in the village of Rusca Montana where she grew up.
 The villages that I went to with the pastor and the other guys were named Obarsia Closani, and Marasesti; they lie in a beautiful, rather isolated setting, with high mountains rising on each side to overshadow them, and a rough road winding it's way through those mountains to each village. In one of the villages, Obarsia Closani, is a house owned by the church where we stayed at night over the weekend.
 There were two services Friday night, Saturday night and Sunday night, as well as two services Sunday morning, that we participated in. At each service, we sang songs, encouraged the people, and spoke from the Word of God. I was privileged to have the main message during three of the services, and short encouragements in several of the others. It was a blessing for me to see how receptive the people were to us, and how eager they were to hear a message from God's Word.
 The people were also very generous and kind, which was a blessing as well. Each night, a family from the church in Obarsia Closani would prepare us a meal; Sunday after the morning services we were also invited to a family in Marasesti for lunch. It was amazing how God took care of us while we were there, and provided everything we needed (we had not taken any food with us!)
 Sunday night after the final service, we all drove home to our families. I was fairly tired after all the services over the weekend, but I was also felt very blessed because I had gotten to be a part of such a wonderful experience over the weekend. Please pray that God will continue to work in and bless the villages of Obarsia Closani and Marasesti.

 Picture: this is a picture of me in the church of Marasesti with some of the children (from L-R: Emil, Gabi, Andrei, Me, Ionuti). We had some fun before one of the services, talking and playing games. They were very friendly, and reminded me of some of the children from our home church of Bridgeport Chapel.


Tuesday, January 30, 2007


 (from Ecclesiastes 3:1)
 First of all, we would like to wish all of you a very happy new year, and we pray that 2007 would be a memorable year for you, full of wonderful memories and the incredible experience of God's blessings and mercies -- for they are new every morning! (Lamentations 3:22-23)
 As you can probably imagine, we had quite a different Christmas here. There were many different things for the kids to experience here that they hadn't in America, and they had a good time generally -- except that they were pretty sick right at the turn of the year for a few days, but they're doing much better now. The picture we included with this post is of our three children on Christmas Day 2006.
 We enjoyed our times together as a family both on Joseph's birthday (December 24 in the evening; he turned four years old!) and for Christmas (December 25, again in the evening). Ministry-wise, we were also pretty busy, and we also enjoyed those times with other people as well. We went caroling with some other people for several hours on the evening of December 23 in the village of Ilovita; we went to the big church here in Turnu-Severin in the morning and evening of December 24; on December 25 we went to the village of Gemeni for a Christmas Day service; and finally on December 26 we went to Gemeni again for another service and a fellowship meal with the church there, followed by caroling.
 Some of you will be thrilled to hear that on December 24 in the evening at the church here in town, all the kids in the church were given Operation Christmas Child boxes! On December 26 in Gemeni, christmas boxes were given out to the children there as well. Geta and I thought of Bridgeport Chapel each time when we saw them being handed out, and the look of joy and delight on the children's faces as they opened the boxes; it was quite a sight, moving and emotional. It was unforgettable, and we were proud (the good kind) of all of you at Bridgeport Chapel and other places who have taken time and such care to pack a box (or many!) to send to a child somewhere. Believe us when we say, it is so worth it when you see the children's faces, smiles, and joy as they receive and open one of those boxes.
 For New Year's Eve, a couple that are very good friends of ours, Cosmin and his wife Mari, came from Caransebes to spend time together with us and stay the night to bring in the new year. We had a lot of fun together, and it was a very encouraging time for us as well.
 Even amongst all the ministries, festivities, and experiences of Christmas time, we are saddened to say that we had a rough couple of weeks in relation to our ministry. Sometimes God has us go through things that we don't understand at the time, and maybe won't understand for awhile; but at the same time we can understand and believe that God is allowing it with His purpose in mind, and for His glory, and Geta and I believe this to be true. Without going into details, let me just say that though it was at times very discouraging and emotionally draining for us, we have been greatly encouraged by all the praying that we know people have done for us, and by the emails and counsel from a couple of people with whom we shared the situation and sought counsel and/or advice.
 We were also very encouraged and blessed by the way in which God continues to show Himself to us, and take care of our family day by day. It just seems like God keeps blessing us, and it is really amazing. We believe that it is because of who He is ("...God...acts for those who wait for Him." from Isaiah 64:4), and also that it has a lot to do with all of the people who have been and continue to pray for us; it has a lot to do with you.
 Another verse that has really stood out to us lately is Isaiah 65:13-14. These verses (among others) are comparing those who forsake God with God's servants ("my servants"), and part of those verses say, " servants shall servants shall servants shall servants shall sing for gladness of heart...". Encouraging for us, and these scriptures are so true! May they be an encouragement to each of you as well!
 We know that God is absolutely sovereign, and He leads us where He wants us to go. Even though the last three weeks or so have at times seemed like quite a trial for us, we know that God has a purpose in it -- that He has something even more incredible for us to do here in Romania than we could have imagined. Please continue to pray for us and for God's guidance as we consider more ministry opportunities; pray for clear direction for our family and that we will always seek to honor God by doing what He wants us to do.
 Always Servants Together With You In Christ,
 Andrew & Geta and kids


Update, and Address

(Blog entry originally intended for early November 2006)
Update on last enry: We had a great (and long - three hour drive) day of ministry in the village of Rast (where there are one or two believers), and later, in the town of Bailesti. In Rast, we saw many places where the floods had destroyed or partially destroyed people's houses, and everything they had. In some areas, houses that were made of mud bricks were completely gone -- melted, as it were, by the flood waters. Other areas of the village had houses with walls and/or roofs collapsed, and foundations ripped apart or broken and causing the house to lean as if it were about to collapse. Still other areas of the village had houses that were virtually untouched by the flood, and still intact. It was interesting and heartbreaking at the same time. We enjoyed our two hours or so of ministry there. As we left Rast and headed toward Bailesti, about 5 kilometers down the road, we saw where the government is constructing an entire new village from scratch! In other words, they are rebuilding and relocating the village of Rast a few miles from where it currently is. That was pretty amazing. Included in this blog entry are two pictures from the time we spent in the village of Rast: one of Andrew speaking and Utu translating, and the other of one of the houses devastated by the floodwaters.

The service that evening at the Baptist church in Bailesti was really good, and it was a wonderful time of fellowship. It was their day of thanksgiving, and the church had also invited the Pentecostal church to join them for the service. So there was a lot of singing, four people spoke from the Bible (both the Baptist and Pentecostal pastors, myself, and another American that was with us that day), and when it was all over, some ladies from the church had made Romanian sandwiches for everybody, so there was a great time of fellowship for another hour or so. Geta and I really enjoyed it there; the people were so warm and friendly, the youth group is alive and thriving, and there is just a spirit of love and family in the church. Geta and I were especially blessed that evening because we felt we had found a church like Bridgeport Chapel...we felt like we were home.
Bailesti (or a village near it) is one of several places we are considering moving to this spring or summer, because it is in an area we may be working in. We believe that possibly God had our family in Bailesti that Sunday for more reasons than just ministry that evening. We don't know exactly what God has in store for us as far as moving next year (2007); please pray for continued direction for our lives and ministry, and that the Lord will continue to provide for us.
And...our address for now is as follows:
If you send us mail, we should get it at that address!
Psalm 100:5 says, "For the Lord is good; his steadfast love endures forever, and his faithfulness to all generations." Praise God for His love that does not end, and for His faithfulness to us always! God be with you, and may you be blessed this day! -Andrew & Geta & Family

Life Continues...

 (Blog entry originally intended for late October 2006)
 We moved to our new apartment on October 13th and have been settling in since that time. We are getting used to life here in the city of Drobeta Turnu Severin, and learning where we need to go to do different things.
 We are doing well, and the kids are enjoying running around and having their own bedroom/playroom. The other room is our bedroom/living room, and we also have a bathroom and kitchen. It is very nice to have a bathtub for the kids, and a cord and shower head from the faucet for Geta and I.
 Thank you for all your continued praying for us; we are very grateful to have this apartment to live in, and we definitely believe it is an answer to our praying, and yours as well.
 October 22: we went to Gemeni for the first time since we have been back in Romania. Only one young woman and her baby girl came to the church that morning, along with with another girl of about 7 years. We had a service for about an hour and fifteen minutes; we sang, prayed, and then had a discussion from the Bible. Please pray for the people in the village of Gemeni - there is much to be done, and many to be reached with the Word of God!
 October 29: We will go to the village of Rast, east of where we are living, a village that was devastated by the flooding in Romania last spring. I understand that most of the people still don't have a place to live for the winter, except for the tents which they currently occupy. We will be speaking there together with Utu and his family in the afternoon, and then we will go directly to the church in the town of Bailesti, where we will also be speaking. It is their "Day of Thanksgiving", similar to our harvest celebration, so it will be a time to be thankful for what God has provided, and the service and message(s) will reflect the goodness and providence of God in our lives. Please pray for our family as we go this coming weekend and minister to people that seem to be on both ends of the scale: people who's lives have been severely tested by loss of home and possession; and people who's lives have been greatly blessed by the abundance of God's providence. Remember that God sees the lives and hearts of each of these people, and hears them when they cry out to Him; pray for these people! 
 Thank you each for your friendship, love and prayers. We will see you again soon! Please enjoy these pictures of our kids. One is of all three of them in front of the car; the other is our youngest, Elijah. Joseph is 3 years and 10 months now, Ammishaddai is 1 year and 9 months, and Elijah is 8 months. Time flies, and they are growing fast...


Tuesday, January 09, 2007


(Blog entry originally intended for late October 2006)
This entry is to let you know what else we have been doing the last few weeks and some of the things coming up for us in the next few weeks: what has been going on in our life here. As always, we do appreciate that you care enough to take the time to read our blog, and please feel free to ask any questions you would like to, whether out of curiosity or in order to clarify something.
September 10th: Our family went to the church in Rusca Montana. We knew when we walked in that I would probably be speaking (and that means Geta translating) because there were only a small handful of men there that day. Sure enough, when the man currently leading the Sunday School hour got up to close that hour and move on the the regular worship service hour, he announced that the church would sing a song together, take the offering, and then that "we will hear a message from the Word of God from brother Andrew". I wasn't surprised, it was just kind of funny, that's just the way it works over here. If you come to visit us here in Romania, make sure you have a message prepared to share, and keep it handy (in your Bible)! We had an interesting time during the service because we couldn't leave the kids with anybody (they don't know anybody well enough), so we had to have them on the stage with us, and that was an experience in itself. Sometimes one of the kids wanted a toy or book the other had, and sometimes they came to us and wanted us to pick them up. Needless to say it was a different experience. In the end, everything was okay, and the people weren't too distracted.
September 17th: Our day in the church of Izgar, a wonderful day of ministry and fellowship; see entry below for the whole story.
September 24th: We went to the church in the village of Dalj, which is near the city of Caransebes, about 15 miles away. Our friend Cosmin (who was ordained as a missionary August 20th, see previous entry) and his wife and son are serving there on a regular basis as basicly the pastor and leader of the church. It was great to have the opportunity to visit the church in Dalj and see the way that God is using Cosmin and his family to minister to the people there. It has been a real blessing to see the various ways that God is using fellow students from the bible school in ministry; it has also been an encouragement to us as we begin our ministry.
October 1st: We went to the church in Rusca Montana again, where we heard Diana (a graduate of the bible school) speak. She shared about the year she spent in Mozambique with Janice Peters, a missionary that we at Bridgeport Chapel support. She learned Portugese in about 3 months there and then taught classes to children, and shared about Jesus. God has certainly used Diana in a great way, and has placed a true and deep love in her heart for the children in Mozambique. She would like to return to Mozambique, and we believe that she will, at God's appointed time.
October 6th: I went with our good friend Utu and his van to take a load of our things down to Turnu-Severin, to an apartment that we will be living in, probably until next spring or summer.
October 13th: After a long search -- and I believe much praying on your part -- we finally found an apartment to rent; it has two rooms, a bathroom and kitchen, and we will be moving on the 13th to Turnu-Severin to live. The apartment is on the third floor, and also has two balconies, one of which is enclosed (very useful for storage). Although smaller than we had originally hoped for, it is a price we feel we can afford. Rather than 120-200 euros per month for a 2 or 3 room apartment, we will be paying 70 euros per month (about $90) plus utilities. Isn't God amazing? We are very grateful for this apartment for a number of reasons: 1> The price; 2> the owners are very nice, and fixed it up for us before we moved in; 3> the utilities (gas, water, electricity) all have meters on them, so we only pay for what we use (this is normal in America, but not normal here, although it is becoming more common); 4> the apartment has hot water and heat (which we didn't have in Otelu-Rosu); 5> By moving down to Turnu-Severin, we are much closer to the villages where we want to be working, and we have a nice warm place to stay for the winter.
Later: We will move again next spring or summer to be even closer to the villages where we will be primarily working. We don't know for sure exactly where we will move to at that time, whether it will be a town or a village. Please pray even now that God will be preparing a place for us to move to next year. We would have liked to have moved closer now to the villages we will be working, but nothing worked out for us at this time. We definitely believe that we are to stay the winter in Turnu-Severin, and be prepared to move again late spring or summer. We hope to be able to put our new address on the blog sometime soon.
Thank you for your continued prayer for us, and your continued support of us. We think of our family and friends often; we miss each of you and we pray for you as well. We'll talk to you again soon. May God be with each of you...

Castle Trip Photos, Continued...

 (Blog entry originally intended for early October 2006)
 Here are three more photos of our trip to the castle. The first is a picture of Geta and the kids with Geta's grandparents (the kids' great grandparents) on the bridge that leads to the main gate and into the castle.
 The second picture is of Joseph and Ammishaddai on some stairs inside the castle courtyard.
 Finally there is a picture of our whole family together on the same stairs, but a wider shot to show you more of the structure and architecture of the castle: Gothic wooden doors, stained glass, fantastic arches and pillars.
 We hoped you enjoyed these pictures, a slice of our life from here in Romania.


A Castle for My Birthday!

(Blog entry originally intended for early October 2006)
Well okay...not exactly. I (Andrew) didn't get a castle for my birthday, but I did get to visit a real castle for my birthday (10/04)! The castle is commonly called Hunedoara Castle, but is correctly called Castelul Corvinilor (The Castle of the Corvins, the family who came into possession of it in 1409).
 The first photo here is a publicity shot of the castle from a postcard, and the second is a photo I took giving you an idea of how huge it is; it even has a good sized creek running through the grounds and underneath the towering bridge that leads into the castle.
 I had never been to this castle in the time that I lived in Romania before, even though it is only about 1 hour and 45 minutes from where we live. We had been staying with Geta's grandparents for a couple days before that for a visit, and so we also took them with us. They had never been to the castle before either! We all had a good time together, and it was pretty interesting. Geta and I enjoyed the architecture and beauty of the various rooms and halls, and the kids enjoyed the towering walls and wide open areas to play a little bit in. We want to visit some the other historical sites in Romania as well, but that will be sometime in the future.
 Please see the next entry for some more photos from the castle trip.


Izgar: The Unexpected

 (Blog entry originally intended for late September 2006)
 On September 17th, we went to a small church in a very small village about 2 hours drive away called Izgar. We have been there quite a few times before in years past, and the people are very precious to us -- they have a special place in our hearts. There are only a handful of people in the church in Izgar (6-8 or so normally), but they are dedicated. One of the attached photos (above) is a picture inside the church of our family with the people that attend there (although a couple of regulars were not present). It was wonderful and moving for us to return again to a church that has come to mean a lot to us, and spend a day in ministry and fellowhip there.
 When we arrived at the church, we were a little early, but as the people arrived, several of the ladies wept when they saw us. Even though it has been over 3 years since we were in Izgar, they knew us and remembered us right away. There were many kisses and hugs of greeting (Romanian style -- the kids still aren't used to being kissed repeatedly by total strangers). During the morning service, Geta and I had prepared a list of songs to sing together, which we did. I had prepared 2 messages (one for the morning service, one for the evening service), but another pastor showed up and spoke. After he left (he was going on to another service in another church to speak), we still had some time left in the morning service, just enough to give an introduction to the message for that evening. Geta translated, and it went well.
We all decided to have the evening service at the home of the elder of the church (see the other photo with Joseph and I). He is very old, and cannot walk almost at all anymore, and so cannot come to the church. He also cannot see or hear well at all (we needed to yell in his ear when we talked to him, and even then he did not hear us all the time). After the morning service, our family ate lunch outside the church, and then went to the home where the elder lives (also the home of his son, and daughter-in-law; she is first on the left in the group photo). We spent the afternoon with their family which was very nice. Joseph had his first negative encounter with a bee (he got stung), which was not very nice. He was pretty upset, but calmed down after a few minutes. When we went to see the elder there at the house, the daughter-in-law had warned us of his problems, and that he doesn't even seem to know them anymore, which is very sad. When we saw him, he knew us right away and seemed so happy that someone cared enough to come to see him. We had the impression that no one really cares about him anymore. The whole situation made me nearly cry. (I told Geta later that since he knew us right away, maybe he just pretends not to know his family so they'll leave him alone!). It was very good to visit with him and spend time together.
 When the time came for the evening service, we set up chairs in the courtyard of the house. I expected the church people to come for the evening service, and they did, even the ones who had not been present in the morning. And then something totally unexpected happened: other people from the village began trickling in, until we had not 6 or 8 people, but 18 adults, 3 children, plus our family packed into that little courtyard that warm evening. I suspect that many people that would not normally come to the church came, probably more out of curiosity than anything else. I want to share with you that I felt the weight of responsibility for those people there like I haven't felt for a long time -- responsibility to share what I could about Jesus Christ and the Gospel, and responsibility to make it as clear as I could. I felt this was a monumental opportunity, and that here and now may be the only time some of these people would ever come to a Christian service or hear or listen to a message from the Gospel.
 We proceeded with the service, Geta and I had a few songs again that we had prepared, and then a number of the other church members shared various songs and/or poems, until a whole hour had passed. We still had a second hour to go, and it was time to start the message. Geta translated for me, and we spoke from Matthew 5:13-16 about being salt and light in this world. There are many opportunities in those few verses to share the Gospel message and who Jesus is and why. By the grace of God, I felt that we made use of each opportunity to explore and make as clear as possible the truth that Jesus Christ is the true Savior and the only way to heaven, and after 50 minutes, we closed the service with another song and prayer, and I felt pretty tired. We visited a few more minutes and then headed for home.
 The people gave many hugs and kisses when we left and were so grateful we had come. I belive though that we as a family received so much more blessing than we were able to give that day in Izgar. We hope to go again from time to time to Izgar to continue to share with the people there, and encourage them as much as possible. Please pray that God will strengthen and build the church in Izgar, and encourage the believers there, and that He will give them wisdom and strong faith to stand in the face of anything or anyone that would lead them astray or feed them false doctrine. May you be encouraged in your faith as you read this story and see that God loves this small handful of people in a village far away and that His mighty hand is at work!

All About Jetta

 (Blog entry originally intended for early September 2006)
 The Basics: On Friday, September 8th, we got to drive our "new" car home to where we are currently living. It is a 1987 Volkswagen Jetta 5 speed turbodiesel which is in excellent condition. It gets very good mileage -- a big deal since diesel runs about $5.00 a gallon here (just barely cheaper than gas). We payed 2300 Euros for it (about $2900) plus about another $300 for all the paperwork and taxes to get it in Geta's name. We have enjoyed having it the last few weeks; it has already been a huge blessing to us, and a great help in getting us started in ministry. Our family is so thankful to each of you who have been praying that God would provide us a car.

 The (Really) Long Version: Before we bought this car, we had been praying a lot that God would bring the right car to us, and that there would be clear direction as to which car was the one for us. We also felt very strongly that we should not make a decision to pursue any car until September 1st or later. So we had been praying, and looking for several weeks in newspapers and autotrader-type papers.
 On August 27th, I went with a friend named Ionica (who's also a mechanic) to an automarket in Deva, a city about 2 hours away. People come from miles around to bring their cars to this outdoor swapmeet sort of market every Sunday. We even saw cars there from the area where we live! Out of all the cars we saw there, we liked a 1987 Volkswagen Jetta, and a 1984 Mercedes. They were both in fine shape, but we spent a lot more time talking to the man with the Mercedes, because overall it seemed to be a better car (although Ionica said the VW had a very good engine). Both cars had about the same price on them. We left the automarket with the phone numbers of both cars' owners, and I was fairly convinced that the Mercedes was probably the one for us. We would pray about it that week, and perhaps call the man with the Mercedes on the following weekend (after Sep.1, Friday) if we felt that was the car God had for us. We pretty much forgot about the VW Jetta -- but God did not!
 On Wednesday, Geta's father called us (he works in Deva) and said he had been looking in the newspaper, and had found a Volkswagen that we should come see. I said okay, so the next morning (Thursday) I took a bus to meet him, and we went together to see this car that he had found in the paper. We went about 10 miles out in the country past Deva, through several villages until we came to the village of Fizes, and arrived at the house where the car was supposed to be. Imagine my surprise when I walked into the courtyard of this house, only to see a car that looked familiar for some reason. When the owner appeared, and I recognized him and realized in that instant that the Volkswagen Jetta I saw there before me was the very same one Ionica and I had looked at just days earlier at the automarket. I was really taken aback at the seeming "coincidence". I knew this was definitely not a coincidence, but that it could just be the "clear direction" we had prayed for. We looked the car over very well, I took some pictures to show Geta, and I told the owner we would call him On September 1st (the next day) or later if we decided to pursue it. After I finally got home that evening (via Geta's dad and then hitchhiking -- safe in Romania) Geta and I talked about it, I showed her the pictures, and we prayed about it. We felt that we should pursue the Jetta, and so we called the owner the next day (September 1st) and told him we were interested in pursuing the car.
 We spent the next week (Monday-Friday) running back and forth to Deva and going through the entire process of buying the car (not a simple process here), getting the technical inspection done, and so on until at last, on Friday evening about 8pm we arrived back at out temporary home in Otelu-Rosu. That was the first set of hoops to jump through, in the county of Hunedoara. Then we spent another couple of days running around the county where we were registering the car (Caras-Severin) in order to get all the correct taxes paid, and the new plates for the car. Let me just say, I am not looking forward to buying another car here in Romania. But, thankfully, everything was done legally and in order, and the car is in Geta's name, so if we ever have to sell it and get something with more seats (more kids? You never know!), it won't be too big of a problem.
 One question I know is probably on a lot of peple's minds is: why in the world would you pay over $3000 for a 20 year old car? Yes, I admit I asked myself the same question. If I were in America, I would have to be insane (maybe even committed) to pay that much for a 20 year old VW Jetta. But we're not in America. The market is very different here in Romania, and this type of car is very popular and highly sought after. This is because it is diesel, and because it gets very good mileage (about 1.25 gallons for 100km or 60 miles), so it is comparatively inexpensive to operate. It is also because Volkswagen is a very reliable car, and the parts are not expensive. The car should hold it's value pretty well. (The other Volkswagens in this era, Golf II and Passat, are generally going for anywhere from 2500 Euros to over 3800 Euros!) We got a pretty good deal on this one because we had to do some extra papers on the motor (it is newer than the car) and because we will probably have to paint it at some point in the next couple of years. After we brought the car home, I went to a junkyard in Lugoj (1 1/2 hrs away) and got seatbelts for the back seat so we can buckle the kid's car seats in!

 The car has run beautifully for us; it has already been a huge blessing for us, and a great help in getting us started in ministry. Again, our family is so thankful to each of you who prayed with us that God would provide us a good car at a good price; you are a blessing -- thank you!
 UPDATE: January 09, 2006 -- The car continues to run beautifully for us, and has been such a blessing in ministry for us. We have changed the rear shocks and coils, and the water pump since we got it, but that is it. We are so thankful for this car. Praise God!