Wednesday, April 23, 2014

The workers are heading out!

This is the time of year when many of the Roma start to head to Western Europe to do migrant work.  This can be a great opportunity for them financially, but it can also be very hard to be away from family and church.  Also, there have been many times in the last two years that a group has come back from the work with no money because they were tricked into working for free.  Last night (Tuesday) in our Apalina church meeting, we asked anyone leaving this week to come forward so that we could pray for them.  They were so touched that we wanted to do this.  They were also charged to seek out other believers in the places they will go and to also be salt and light to the world they are going to.  Please join us in praying for them as they go!

Easter in Romania

It has been a very blessed Easter here in Romania.  I just wanted to share a few pictures of the sights from Romania over this very special weekend.  I thank God for each and every one of you who is praying for us and partnering with us in this work here!

In some of the villages in our area, homes where they have girls will have decorations like this outside for Easter.  On Monday after Easter, many of the boys of the village will go from house to house reciting a verse or poem and then they will spray perfume on the head of the girls and ladies of the house. In return they receive decorated eggs, chocolate, or even money.

Lilacs in the Reghin church on Easter Sunday

Adel made these eggs for a decoration outside their door.

After School Alternate School

Here in Romania, the week before spring break is called alternate school week.  During that week, the students don't have regular classes.  Instead, they have cultural presentations, visits by special guests from the community, and other activities that normally wouldn't fit into a "regular" school day/week.  In our after school program, we decided to also have an alternate school week.  Each day we had something different going on.

Monday: We worked on team work skills by having several team building games.

Tuesday: The girls baked a cake along with Cristina and Annamaria.  The boys played soccer outside and then enjoyed some cake! :)  We also had a mini ping-pong tournament.

Wednesday: We had a cook out and spent time outside talking and playing.

Thursday: We dyed eggs for Easter.  They have some really cool dyes here...we had some there were gold and other that were metallic

Friday: We had a BIG cleaning day!

I also got to speak at two other schools during this week.  In one school, they asked me to speak about what schools are like in America.  The other school asked me to talk about what I'm doing here in Romania and how things work in Apalina.

Saint George school where I spoke about what I'm doing here in Romania
If there wasn't so much pressure to get everything done for testing, I think this alternate school week would be a wonderful idea in the States, too.  The kids are already excited because the weather is nice and the want to be outside.  Add to that a week long break and the kids can hardly concentrate.  But with this alternate school, it was much easier and there were some really great programs at the school, too.
Our girls made delicious cakes!
Grill Day!

We had to eat inside on grill day because the rain came just as we were finishing the grilling.

Goin' to the chapel...

...and we're gonna get married!

Most all of you know about the upcoming event of the summer.  But in case anyone hasn't heard, I want to let you all know that...

I'm Getting Married!

Many of you also know this wonderfully special girl that I am so privileged to spend the rest of my life with.  But I'll tell you a little about Katie McClung (soon to be Crook), too.

We actually worked together for the first time in Romania!  When I first came to Romania to work with Toth Attila in 2010, I was essentially taking Katie's place for that summer.  She was unable to come because of graduate school (did I tell you she's smart?).  However, in 2011, we both came to Romania to work in the gypsy summer camp.  Although this wasn't the first time we had met, this was the first time that we spent any time together and really started to know who the other was.  I am so thankful that God placed us both in this place together that year.  Even though neither of us was ready for "us" to happen that summer, God even then started to lay the groundwork for our relationship.  In November of 2012, I asked Katie if we could start to think seriously about a relationship, and on December 31/January 1 (right at midnight) I asked Katie to be my wife.  There were fireworks...really, truly fireworks!

Katie is an ESL teacher in a public school in Brooklyn, but we will be living and working in Reghin, Romania after the wedding.  She will also be helping keep you all updated about what is going on in our lives.  You might actually get to know more about what's going on than if I myself try to keep this up! :)

Thanks to the many of you who have already congratulated us and for your continued prayers for our upcoming wedding and the start of our life together.

You can also check out our wedding website: