Dear friends, it has been a long time since I posted anything here, and I’m sorry for that. But I’m back in Europe now, so I’m setting a goal again to post a least something each week. Please hold me to that friends!
I should be saying that I’m back in Romania. But that wouldn't be true as of this moment. I actually typed up a big long update the week of Thanksgiving, but I left it on another computer in Romania. Now, I am in Hungary, spending time with some friends at Word of Life/Elet Szava. I really had wanted to come here for a visit in December, but the Lord had other plans.
I arrived back in Romania on November 10th, after many long delays trying to get out of New York and a snow storm there. When I checked in at the passport control, the officer reminded me that I only had 16 days left out of my 90 free days in Romania. I knew that I only had a short amount of time left, but I hadn't realized that it was this short. I also hadn't taken into account that it would take 2-3 months to apply for residency in Romania. Now this was a big oversight on my part because part of my job when I worked in Hungary before was completing residency paperwork for students. I should have though about this timetable, but I guess I was just so excited about being back that I didn't plan carefully. SOOOOO, on November 24th, I left Romania for Hungary. I will be here until December 17th. At that point, my new 90 days will start (Americans have 90 free days in every six months). I have already applied for the residency in Romania, and hopefully I will be able to get that in the next two months. Then, I will not have to worry about having to leave again for a while. (This is a big prayer request…thanks for praying! :) )
Now that those details are out of the way, let me fill you in on a little more of what’s been going on since I left the States in November. I did get to spend two weeks in Romania. That time was full of many new things (many of which I will share when I get back and post the before mentioned long update). I got to start working in the after-school program in Apalina. This was a great blessing and answer to prayer. I've been waiting for two years to be a part of that, and many times it seemed like it was impossible that I would get there. The sad thing was having to leave two weeks after starting, but God knew this and I will be able to start again with the new year in January. It was great to meet two of the teachers that I didn't know: Claudiu and Cristina. They are both Roma/Gypsy, and are also teachers in the school in Apalina. They are a great example to the kids that we are working with, and I look forward to getting to know them better in the future.
I also had the opportunity to share in one of the youth meetings about what it means to be a true Christ follower. We had a great discussion about this. I’m always surprised at how open the youth are here. No one tries to hide behind anything…instead just openly sharing their heart and what’s on their mind.
Another big event was Thanksgiving dinner. Adel (she is the wife of the pastor, Attila, who I am working with here) was very excited to help me pull off this special event. Usually, I am all for trying to blend into the culture of Romania. I don’t like to try and impose my culture on them…especially since I am living in their country. But this time it was a little different. So on Thanksgiving day, I had several friends over for a special dinner. We made turkey (and in a way that none of them had ever seen or eaten before), dressing, green beans, mashed potatoes, and crock-pot macaroni and cheese. Adel even made banana pudding to enjoy after. This was a year when I personally had a lot to be thankful for, and it was great to celebrate with new friends and family in Romania.
When I found out that I had to come to Hungary for three weeks, one of my first prayers was, “Lord, please let me have some ministry opportunities in Hungary.” God has really answered this prayer! On my first Sunday here, I was able to share my testimony in one of the churches. That afternoon, I went with a group of gypsies from one village close by to have a fellowship with another group in another town. Although I didn't share, it was exciting to be a part of that ministry as well. Tomorrow, I will go with a group of Americans and Hungarians to a school. This school asked for some Americans to come and share about American Christmas traditions, and to share the gospel. The leader of the group from Word of Life asked me if I would come along and do the evangelism part of the meeting. Again, God has answered my prayer!
It has been a big journey to get to this point, but I’m so thankful for all of the things along the way that have helped me to get here. I’m thankful for what I've learned and for the people who have helped to shape who I am today. Thank you for being a part of this ministry with me. I look forward to sharing more each week as this adventure continues!