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.

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