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.