Tuesday, July 31, 2012

Recent Happenings: June and July 2012

The people of Smirna church together with the people of the church in Hobita. Sunday, July 15th, 2012, in front of the church building in Hobita.

Greetings from Romania!
We hope this finds each and every one of you continuing to draw strength, joy, and encouragement from Jesus in every day...
Nehemiah 8:10b: "...for the joy of the Lord is your strength."
This is an update about what we have been doing and been involved with in the last couple of months here in Romania.

As summer wears on, we have been very busy with projects around the property - cleaning, mowing, sweeping, clearing space to be more clean, putting locks on garage doors to "fortify" them better against thieves, etc. We also need to work in the basement some, and on the water system in the basement. There's nothing wrong, we just want to modify the space a little more so others will have more room to store canned goods and things for the winter, also need to modify the water system slightly to not leave water messes any more when we have to switch the main pump hose to fill different water tanks. Busy, busy...before we know it, it will be time to buy firewood and deal with that in preparation for the winter.
Ministrywise in June, things seemed a little scattered. We had some different things going on, so even though the church met every week like usual, the youth group was on and off. Either they couldn't
come, or we had some thing to do, or whatever.
Early in the month myself and another leader from the church (Dan) were invited with our families to a leadership meeting (an afternoon/evening with dinner too) near another city called Targu Jiu. It was actually up in the mountains, and there weren't a lot of people. It was a nice time to get away for the afternoon and evening with our families and learn a bit together and fellowship with others. Plus all our kids enjoyed it a lot since there were quite a few other kids there to play with.
The last week of June was a really great week for us. Many of you have already seen the pictures we posted on our Facebook page. We got the opportunity to take whichever kids that wanted to go from
our church (and who were old enough) to a camp for kids (in the end, only 1 other kid came with us to the camp). The camp is near the city of Fagaras, about 450km from where we live. The drive was long, but it was very much worth it. Geta helped all week in the kitchen, and I helped with the kids in the camp, taught lessons, was a room leader (there were several dorm rooms with 13 or so beds each). The kids were generally between 9 and 13 years old, and there were about 45 or so there, from all around Romania. It was an amazing experience and one that we will not soon forget. It was one of the
best weeks we've had in a long time. It was great to get to know the kids, and they are at that age where they just are eager to be your friend, and they are so trusting. By the end of the week, we were
sad to go. On the last night there was a big campfire; some shared, and there were lots of laughs but also lots of tears, as the reality set in that it was the last night of camp. We miss the kids, but are
looking forward to going again next year to help. We want to stay for two weeks next year, and are hoping to see many of the same kids again. We are also hoping to take more kids from our church next year. We will see what God has in store for us in regards to that next year! 

The month of July continued pretty much as normal, with the weather being quite hot for most of the month (near 100 degrees! Although it's cooled off here a bit at the end of July). We've had our
regular church meetings every Sunday, with afternoons full of fellowship, "hang out" time, and encouragement.
One of the weekends in July (the 14th and 15th) we were went as a church in mission to a village, about 150 kilometers away. We left Saturday afternoon, and arrived at the village (Hobita, where we
also went 2 years ago as a church) toward evening. There were 19 of us (wow!) that went on the mission, and it was really a great time of being together with others. Saturday evening, we had a meal together and visited with people from the church. Later on, the ladies all worked together with the ladies from the church in Hobita to prepare a whole bunch of sarmale (cabbage rolls) for lunch together with the church the next day. They all seemed to enjoy that; again, many of you may have already seen the pictures from our trip to Hobita on our Facebook page.
Sunday morning, we all walked along a little creek through a small wooded area to where the church was. There we sang a lot together, which was great because the people there at the church don't have someone to play music during their services, so that was something a little more special for them. We really are blessed to have someone at the church (both here and in America) who can play music and lead us in worship. After that, I spoke from Romans (10:12-15) about "Beautiful Feet". I  believe that went pretty well, especially considering that I taught in Romanian; people seemed to understand
the message that God had for us that morning and that is what is important.
After the service, we walked back to the house where the majority of our group had stayed the previous night, and we all had lunch together - our church and their church. It was a nice meal together, and a nice afternoon of just being together with other believers. Later that afternoon, we had a short service again, with singing and various people sharing. At the end the church's pastor showed up for a brief word of encouragement. (they still have many areas in Romania where a pastor has several churches under his care, and must travel to several of them during the morning service time, and several during the evening service time. This is the situation in Hobita and the surrounding areas.)
As I mentioned earlier, the weather cooled off a little in the last week or so (all the way down to 90). We were supposed to have church camp last weekend, but postponed it for a week because of
thunderstorms. More of the same is predicted for this week, but hopefully it will clear up by Friday so we can all go for a weekend together in the mountains. We'll see...

Prayer Requests
Please pray for all the boys and girls that were at the camp near Fagaras at the end of June (camp Bit of Heaven, as it's called); pray that God will speak to the children's hearts and cause seeds that were planted in their lives to grow so that those kids can know him more.
Please also pray for the church, the people in Hobita. It is a very small church with almost all older people, several of whom have died in the last couple of years. Pray that they would be strengthened and encouraged physically as well a spiritually, that God would work in their church and use the people there to reach the village and raise up a new generation of people there for the glory of his kingdom.
We appreciate all your continued prayers for Geta - it is a great encouragement to our family. She is still having trouble with her leg; in fact she took a bad spill in the ladies restroom on a wet floor while we were up at the children's camp in June. Please pray that God will continue to heal her leg, give her strength, joy, and encouragement. I am so proud of her (and inspired by her), because in spite of the pain and discomfort that she has to live with every day, she continually has a positive outlook, and chooses in every day to declare that God is in control and knows what is best for her.
We hope and pray that all is well with you and your family. God is taking care of us, and we see his hand in our lives on a daily basis. We trust and pray that the same is true in your life.
To God be all the glory!
Servants together with you,
Andrew & Geta and family