Monday, November 13, 2017
“And those who know your name put their trust in you, for you, O Lord, have not forsaken those who seek you.” – Psalm 9:10
Dear Friends and Family,
As we approach the last little stretch of time we have left in this year, we are taking the opportunity to write to you some of the things that have happened over the months since we last shared an update from our family.
This year has seen a number of challenges, prayers answered, and fulfillment of some of our dreams. We are always grateful and humbled by the things God does in and for us, the way he takes care of us, and the way he answers prayer.
During February and March of this year, I (Andrew) had a number of physical issues, from problems with my gallbladder to a hernia that had to be operated on, to an infection a couple of times, to possible heart issues. In February, my gallbladder decided to cause me problems, and I even ended up in the emergency room in Caransebes. Fortunately with some medication, time, many prayers from you and from people here, and God's mercy, I was able to get through that problem. I have had to be a little more attentive with respect to food, so as hopefully to avoid those issues in the future. But God is good!
I was healed from that issue just in time to (three weeks later) go back to the hospital for surgery on a hernia which had been getting steadily worse over the past months. They also told us at that time that I potentially had a heart issue(s). Now, we won't tell you any of the worrying stories from the hospital (or things we wish we wouldn't have seen there), just that they let me go home after eight days. That's right, I stayed for eight days in a hospital in Romania – yikes! To tell you the truth, God is so good to us; all went well, the people were very nice, and I came home and recovered the rest of the way over the next few weeks.
Because they had told us at the hospital in Caransebes that I potentially had a heart issue or issues, I was scheduled for the middle of June at a specialized cardio hospital in Timisoara for an angiogram. Again, God had mercy on us, and the doctors there said that I had no issues, and that I could go home the following day! We have often thought about that time, and how so much could have changed in our lives that day, had the diagnosis been different.
Those first months this year were trying times for all of us, but God is so merciful; God truly is the great healer! We know that so many of you prayed for us during those challenging times; our family is so grateful to you; we are blessed by all of you and your prayers for us. We know that there are many of you who have prayed faithfully for us for many years; you are appreciated beyond what you know.
This year during the first part of July, we were able to participate again in Camp Little Bit of Heaven, a youth camp near the city of Fagaras. This year Geta stayed home with our three youngest children – Nehemiah and Jonathan, and the baby, Timothy. I (Andrew) took the older four kids – Joseph, Ammi, Elijah and Jeremiah. We were blessed to be able to take two other kids with us to the camp, their first time there – Vali, a boy from the church in Rusca Montana, and Abigail, the oldest daughter of Diana and Iosue, who are missionaries in Mozambique (Bridgeport Chapel supports them as well). There were around 70 kids there this year, and I was blessed to be a member of the staff and a cabin leader, which is always fun...and challenging! It is always wonderful to see the kids attentive during the Bible lessons, learning and asking questions about God and the Bible – it really makes any kind of effort put into the camp truly worth it! 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. Again this year, several of the children from here in Ruschita went down to the camp as well.
We have been teaching Sunday School in the village of Rusca Montana this year, which has also seen it's share of challenges. Early in the year, the heating system gave out in the room where we have Sunday School, so for the rest of the cold season, we could not have Sunday School, which was really a letdown, especially for the kids. Then came the summer season, and we usually take a break during the summer because so many people are gone on vacation, etc. But on October 1st, we were able to start up again, and we are very excited about the Sunday School! The heating system is fixed, there are more kids than before, and they love the stories and being there – praise the Lord! We also have a young lady who is coming to do music with the kids, which is an answer to prayer! Please pray that God will use all of us to make a lasting impression in these kids' lives for his kingdom!
Another way God has been working in the church of Rusca Montana is that he has provided a new pastor for the church. The church had been desperately in need of a pastor for many months; Geta had even organized a group for prayer and fasting so that each day of the week would be covered. We know that many of you also were in prayer for this need as well. After nearly six months our prayers, the church's prayers, were answered; God has provided a great pastor, one who has a strong biblical foundation, who genuinely loves the people, and who doesn't shy away from speaking God's truth. The church has been absolutely changed since he came – people are happy to be there, so much more enthusiasm is visible – God is definitely at work! Praise God for his answers to prayer!
As we mentioned in our last update, most of you probably remember that we have been working toward one of our dreams of building a home for our family and a place for ministry. This year, by the grace of God, we were able to make some progress toward the fulfillment of this dream! In the middle of May, we started construction on a road up to the property, also laying water, electricity and internet lines under the road at the same time, all the way up to the property. What is extraordinary about this is that only a week after we resolved the problem of being able to build a road up to the property (after almost two years of trying), we found out that another family had decided to build a house up on the same hill we are, on some property next to us. They also needed a road built; they sought us out (in the same time we were trying to contact them) and we were able to share the cost of the road, whereas otherwise we would have had to pay the whole cost by ourselves! Not only is God's providence amazing, but so is his timing!
During this same time, we were honored to have Kyle Padilla here visiting us; he spent many long hours working up at the property and on the road! Thank you Kyle! We also had Naomi Morgan visit us a couple of weeks before this, and she is always such a help with the kids – thank you Naomi! It was such a blessing to have these two come and visit us – it was great fellowship, and great memories!
In the middle of June we were able to begin building the foundation for our home and place of ministry. That was a long process as well with it's own set of challenges to get through, but God always provided and made a way, and finally in the middle of September we were able to finish the foundation. (You can go online to our facebook page to see pictures of the foundation being built, as well as construction on the road!) We also got camp as a family up at the property for a month during the building of the foundation, which the kids especially enjoyed...and together with the kids' help, I got to build my first outhouse!
We are praying that next spring or summer, God willing, we will be able to continue construction of the house. We are planning to build out of wood, “American” style if you will, so we are asking for prayer for wisdom to be able to get that done right! Please also pray with us that God would provide funds to be able to continue this building project – it is a big project, and there is a need for more funds to complete it!
This year we have gone through some challenging things, but we have also seen God's hand of mercy upon us. We have also seen God's hand of blessing at the church and Sunday School, and his providence as he allowed great progress toward building our home and place of ministry. God is so good, and we are again aware of how blessed we are as a family.
Thank you for being a part of our lives – thank you for your generosity toward our family, your friendship, and your faithfulness in prayer for us; you are a part of our ministry! May "The Lord bless you and keep you; 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) Amen!
Andrew & Geta Roby and kids