Tuesday, April 29, 2008

Continued Prayer Requests...

Dear Friends and Family,
We as a family want to thank each one of you who continue to pray faithfully for us. We have a great God, who without any doubt is "...able to do far more abundantly than all that we ask or think..." (from Ephesians 3:20).
HEALTH. Joseph, Ammishaddai, Elijah, and Jeremiah have already gone through a couple of very rough sicknesses while we have been back. At present, they are all healthy, and enjoying playing and learning. Joseph has been enjoying learning to read, and learning math and writing as well. Please pray for their continued health, and that God would protect them from sickness. Please also pray for continued health for us as parents as well.
GOD'S PROVIDENCE. God continues to bless us and take care of us in ways we never dreamed. Please pray for His continued hand of providence upon us, as prices continue to rise, and the dollar continues to drop in value. God calls us, He sends us, and he will provide!
PLACE TO LIVE. We have had to move out of the apartment in Drobeta Turnu-Severin that we had been staying in because the owners want to renovate. We have been watching for a month and a half for another apartment to move to. Not only have rent prices skyrocketed here, but we have been unable to find any acceptable apartment in which to move. However, God has still provided for us! We are moving to some property just outside of town that belongs to Ionut Corlan, and are going to stay in a rulota (camping trailer) for at least a month or two until we can find something else. On that property is a house and a conference center, where we'll have a room to store our things, and a functioning toilet and sink! This is also a great opportunity for the kids to be able to run around outside all they want, something for which we as parents have been praying a long time. The kids are excited about "camping" for awhile in the trailer. Please pray that God will reveal His will for us as to where He wants us to live during this year to year and a half of ministry at the church of Smirna.
A VAN. We have also been praying for the Lord to provide us a van; we have some money saved from when we sold our other car here last year, as well as the money that Bridgeport Chapel so richly blessed us with last November through a fundraiser. Please pray that God would provide more funds to put together with what has already been saved, so that we will be able to buy a van for ministry and family.
Thank you again for your continued commitment in praying for us; God turns His head, and He listens to us when we speak to Him. May God richly bless each of you for your faithfulness "...far more than anything [you] ask or think...".
“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)
“Grace be with you all.” (Titus 3:15b)
Love in Christ,
Andrew & Geta, Joseph, Ammishaddai, Elijah, Jeremiah
p.s. The pictures included with this blog entry were taken on April 27th, 2008, Easter Sunday in Romania.

Palm Sunday Ordination

After God had led us to make the decision to stay in Drobeta Turnu-Severin for a season of ministry in teaching and leadership training, the pastor of the church Ionut Corlan, announced to us that he would like to have me (Andrew) ordained as an elder of the church of Smirna.
Though the idea was a bit intimidating at first, we embraced the idea and agreed to it. So, on Palm Sunday (April 20th in Romania), after our regular church service, there was a short ordination ceremony. I (Andrew) came in front of the church, and was prayed for by three men through the laying on of hands, and was then ordained as an elder of the church of Smirna (picture included with this blog entry, below).
Please pray that God would give me more wisdom each day, and that I would fulfill this calling with God's grace, love, and humility.
-- Andrew and family
"If any of you lacks wisdom, let him ask God, who gives generously to all without reproach, and it will be given him." (James 1:5)

Leadership Training

"And the Lord said to Paul one night in a vision, 'Do not be afraid, but go on speaking and do not be silent, for I am with you, and no one will attack you to harm you, for I have many in this city who are my people.' And he stayed a year and six months, teaching the word of God among them." (Acts 18:9-11)
Dear Friends and Family,
Since our return to Romania in late February 2008, God has used people, prayer, and circumstances to speak to us, and lead us as to what He has in store for us for the next season of ministry. Through friendships God has allowed us to develop here as a result of our being a part of the church of Smirna, God has given us the opportunity to stay where we are and help at Smirna for a time.
Pastor Ionut Corlan and his wife Jenni have asked our family to consider staying here and helping the church for this year; they will be gone several months out of the year and believe that we have the maturity and teaching abilities necessary to continue Smirna's spritual growth during their absence.
It is a blessing, and indeed an honor to have been asked to take on such a responsibility; after much prayer, fasting, and seeking the Lord's will for our family, we have made the decision to accept this new task that the Lord has given us, and stay where we are for a year to a year and a half. Our main responsibility in the church will be as one of the principal teachers for the church (Andrew), as well as being a part of the leadership team of the church. We will also be involved with the children's ministry (Geta) at the church, and participating in one to two Bible studies per week.
We believe that this opportunity and decision lines up perfectly with the vision that God has placed on our hearts for ministry in the village of Giubega, and the things He has in store for us in the future. In talking with others who we would be involved with in the village ministry, God confirmed to us that this is what He has for us now. In this next season of ministry God has called us to, we see in it an incredible opportunity for a time of spiritual growth and ministry experience -- a time of leadership training.
This time of leadership training is a blessing, an honor, and a great opportunity; please pray that God will continue to give us hearts to serve, and courage to speak His truth boldly.
In Christ,
Andrew, Geta and family
p.s. the picture at the top of this blog entry was taken on April 27th 2008, Easter Sunday in Romania. The one below of Andrew and Jeremiah was taken recently.
"And the Lord said to Paul one night in a vision, 'Do not be afraid, but go on speaking and do not be silent, for I am with you, and no one will attack you to harm you, for I have many in this city who are my people.' And he stayed a year and six months, teaching the word of God among them." (Acts 18:9-11)

The Church of Smirna

"'The Words of the first and the last, who died and came to life. I Know your tribulation...Be faithful unto death, and I will give you the crown of life.'" (Revelation 2:8b,9a,10b)
Dear Friends and Family,
"Grace and peace from God the Father and Christ Jesus our Savior." (Titus 1:4b)
As many of you know, our family has been living since October of 2006 in Drobeta Turnu-Severin, a city in the southern part of Romania situated along the Danube river. About a year ago now (May 2007), we discovered that my (Andrew's) driver's license had expired, and since Geta does not have a driving license, we were pretty much not able to leave the city much (the driver's license issue was taken care of 3 days after we arrived in the U.S. for a visit last November).
Since the time we discovered that the license had expired, we have been attending a church in the city. Called Smirna (Smyrna, from Revelation 2), the church is relatively new (2 years in September), and it's vision is: "a sea of worshippers in spirit and in truth". Smirna is very much alive, with Biblically accurate teaching, a program for the children during the service, truly moving worship times, and wonderful times of church fellowship together. The Pastor of the church is Ionut Corlan, and his wife's name is Jenni, an American from Wisconsin. They have two daughters, Maya and Lena, and are expecting their third child in November. Our families share a lot in common, from the marriage of a Romanian and an American, to our love of children and people, to our desire -- and in fact vision -- to see more and more people come to Christ in ROmania, especially in Oltenia, the southern region of Romania in which we reside.
At Smirna, our kids have made friends with the other children in the church and have enjoyed being with them and learning during the children's program; Geta has many times helped during this time, or been the teacher during the children's program (she trades off with a couple of the other ladies in the church). I (Andrew) have often been involved with teaching in the church, which is something that I love and have been gifted with; it also gives me plenty of opportunity to learn more Romanian, because I usually teach in Romanian! Practice makes perfect -- or at least better!
We have gotten to know the people that attend the church, and have become very good friends with most of them. The church has many opportunities for times of fellowship together, from birthday celebrations, to meals together (similar to potlucks at Bridgeport Chapel), and even a church campout last July -- a relative novelty here, and well worth the effort.
We are blessed to be a part of Smirna; God has used and will continue to use our time, our friendships, and our experiences there to teach us many things, build our faith in Him and prepare us for further ministry here in Romania. We are blessed with wonderful friends, brothers and sisters who truly love the Lord and want to know Him more.
May God's blessings be upon each of you as well; we love you and pray for you.
Andrew, Geta, and family
p.s. The pictures included in this post were taken on Easter Sunday, which was on April 27th in Romania. The picture below was taken during Sunday School, and if you look carefully, our three older kids can be found in the picture.

Thursday, April 03, 2008

The Key to Missions

Luke 10:2 "And he (Jesus) said to them, 'The harvest is plentiful, but the laborers are few. Therefore pray earnestly to the Lord of the harvest to send out laborers into his harvest.'" (ESV)
Dear Friends and Family,
We appreciate the emails you have been sending to us recently, as well as the encouraging comments you have left for us on this blogsite. It is a blessing when we are so many miles away -- literally on the other side of the globe -- to know that we are still in your thoughts and best of all, in your prayers.
Prayer is the most powerful weapon and ally that we have in our adventure with God through life. You've probably heard us say at one time or another, a quote by E.M. Bounds that has been, for quite some time now, a life motto for us: "prayer moves the hand that moves the world." Prayer gets the attention of God; He turns His head, He listens, and then when the time is right, He moves His mighty hand to move the world!
We share this with you not only because of the truth it proclaims, but because we would like to request that you join us in prayer with regard to our monthly ministry support here in Romania.
As most of you can probably identify with, living costs continue to rise, making it increasingly difficult for our family to make the funds that are currently available to us cover all our expenses from month to month. The drama of skyrocketing inflation continues to unfold here: the price of gas and utilities is steadily increasing; food items increase in price on an almost weekly basis; the dollar continues to decline in value. It is, to say the least, daunting.
Yet, even in the midst of all this, God has every aspect of the entire situation in His control. As we testified at Bridgeport Chapel before we returned to Romania, God has been faithful always to provide for us -- God has never let us down, not one time! We fully believe that God will continue to be faithful, that He will provide for us.
The key to missions is prayer and the church. Who is the church? And who is it that prays? It is you and it is me -- members of the same body, that of Jesus Christ. It is because “the harvest indeed is abundant” (AMP), but the workers are few, that Jesus said in Luke 10:2, that we are to “pray earnestly”, or “Plead with the Lord” (TLB) that He would send out even more workers to do His work, or “…more laborers to help you.” (TLB). That is, we are to pray earnestly and plead with the Lord for people who will help us, work alongside us, and support us in the work of the Lord. Since it is true that not all of us are called to physically go to the mission field, consider that perhaps one way God is calling you as a worker for His harvest is in the capacity of support for a great work that He is already doing.
God allows each of us opportunities to share with others our needs and prayer requests: through friendships, sharing in church, even through a blogsite; we are grateful for this opportunity to have shared these things with you.
God listens when we speak to Him; we must be ready and willing to listen to God when He speaks to us.
The key to missions is the church – the key to missions...is you.
Please join us in prayer regarding our monthly ministry support here in Romania. Let's watch together how God will choose to move the world!
Love, Andrew, Geta and family
P.S. as always, please feel free to email us or call us with any questions that you may have. Also, The pictures posted on this blog entry were taken on April 3rd 2008.

February 17, 2008 Revisited

We previously decided to post here on our blogsite our project summary and vision statement (see blog entry below on March 18, 2008) so that you, our friends and family, and others who may be interested, may have access to what God has laid upon our hearts as our life's work. We decided to also post here for your review the text of the things we spoke about in regard to the VR Project when we shared them with Bridgeport Chapel on February 17, 2008.
Please take the time to read through the contents and refamiliarize yourself with the things we were able to share with you.
We believe God may once again speak to you and show you why He has called us to Romania, and possibly show you how you can join Him in the great work of His harvest that He is already doing.
God be with you!
Andrew, Geta and family

The VR Project
Project Village Reach: Romania
(Outlined and Shared at Bridgeport Community Chapel on February 17, 2008)

The Calling and the Vision
My wife and I sincerely believe that this ministry of The VR Project is what the Lord has called us to do – that as husband and wife, parents, and servants of the Almighty God, this is what has been laid upon our hearts as our life's work.

Our Vision when We Return to Romania is:
To move into and live in the village of Giubega, in southern Romania. There is no New Testament church there, and only three believers in the entire village.
2. We believe that Giubega and the immediate area is where God is calling us to be leaders for Him.
3. We believe that God will provide property and a home for us to live in and raise our family as we share Jesus with those around us.
4. We believe that God will also provide, in accordance with the vision of ministry and service He has given us, a building on that property with guest rooms and a multipurpose room where…
5. Pastors, friends, and ministry teams can come serve and fellowship together, and where God's people can meet to learn more about Him and worship Him.

**We will be working together with pastors we have gotten to know, and with churches we have been involved with. Many of us share a similar vision for reaching unbelievers in forgotten villages of Romania, and are ready and willing to help and support one another in prayer, ministry and friendship, all toward the goal of introducing people to a personal relationship with Jesus Christ and growing the Kingdom of God.

HOW are we going to accomplish this awesome task, this vision that God has laid on our hearts?
> First of all, WE aren’t – GOD is!
> Working together with others who share a similar vision for reaching unbelievers in the villages of Romania
> We talked Tuesday at the business meeting about the members of the body all working together. (one can’t say to the other ‘I don’t need you’; we all need each other)
> We talked today about praying earnestly, pleading with the Lord that He would send out even more workers or laborers to do His work; God provides the workers; it’s God who provides that support – others who will help you, work alongside you, and support you in His work.
> God uses His people to help accomplish His purposes; whether your heart is for Africa, Romania, your next door neighbor, God is using you to accomplish His purposes.
> I mentioned earlier that God gives us open doors to share the vision (what God is doing) and the needs. I’ve shared with you already today the vision for ministry that God has given to us; let me also seize this moment that God has provided to share with you the needs:

First of all, just like Jesus said: PRAY EARNESTLY
>> above all else prayer is what we need, because when you pray for us, you enter into the very presence of God, and bring our family before His throne.
Second, some people have asked us while we’ve been back, if we could use some more SUPPORT; I said ‘yes we could’.
>> “The Key to Missions is the Church”; (who is the church?) perhaps one way God is calling you as a worker for the harvest is in this capacity of support for a great work that He is doing.
Next, as most of you are already aware, when we return to Romania, we will need to find a VAN.
>> A van will allow us transportation to various areas of ministry.
>> thanks again to Bridgeport and their generosity (you have truly given extravagantly!) 2700 + 2000; 6-7000 total needed
Finally, as we talked about a few minutes ago, we believe that God will provide property and a home for us to live in and raise our family as we share Jesus with those around us.
>> we truly believe that God will provide this for us at the right time
>> a home would allow us to live in the community where we want to minister, get to know the people around us much easier as we live our lives together with them, side by side. We also believe that God will eventually provide the funds for guest rooms and a multipurpose room for ministry and outreach purposes.
>> The basic immediate need right now, is for property and a home in which to live and begin building the ministry
>> 10-15000 to buy; 10000 to fix

God appoints us; God sends us; God instructs us; God uses His people to accomplish His purposes.
> We believe the statements contained in this vision statement are 100% true, and that God will bring to pass the vision that He has given us.
> maybe you’re sitting out there thinking, ‘they really are crazy!’. Well, we’re willing to take that risk, and step out of the boat again.
> God is sovereign, and “The key to missions is the church” – the key to missions…is you.