Saturday, August 30, 2014

We're here!

First off, I just want to say what an incredible, blessed week it has been.  We are beyond grateful - ecstatic, even! - looking back on how many joys have been crammed into one very full week of our lives.  Thank you to all of you for praying for us, sending us encouraging messages, and supporting our ministry here.  God has done great things for us through you!

Also, one quick note before we share all the new developments in our life: We began our week by worshipping with the Open Door Baptist Church in Bamberg, South Carolina last Sunday, August 24th.  Open Door was one of Paul's very first supporting churches, and this was his second time to speak there.  We loved visiting with all of the members there, and we left feeling encouraged and even more excited to get back to Romania so we'd have even more to share next time!  Thank you, Open Door!  We are praying for you!

Ok, now for ROMANIA!  We finally arrived to our apartment around 3 a.m. Romania time on Wednesday morning.  The total travel time was around 24 hours including a 9-hour layover in Munich (during which we took a train into the city, took a walking tour of downtown, and had some delicious German food!).  We were exhausted, but it's hard to describe the excitement we felt upon finally arriving here, to the first home we will share together and to the place we have loved for so long!  We had been waiting for that moment for a very long time :)

However, as you can tell from the photo in our previous post, we brought a lot of luggage!  And all the contents of that luggage had to find somewhere to go!  We also had some furniture to buy, since the old bedraggled couch that once graced the living room had finally been removed while we were away this summer, and a few other items needed to be replaced as well.  So, the past few days have been long working and shopping days.  We've alternated cleaning out, rearranging the apartment and browsing local shops until we found the items that would work for us.  We have been able to buy a new couch, a new refrigerator, a table lamp, two kitchen chairs, an office chair, and a hair dryer (hooray!!)!  Our home is finally coming together!  When we arrived, our gas was turned off and so was our internet, so it took a couple of days to get those fixed (hot showers had to wait!), and we are also still waiting for my cell phone to be activated.  But we are well on our way to being settled, and it's only been a few days!  We're looking forward to taking some time "off" this afternoon to take a walk around our town and just enjoy being back home :)

Here is our brand new couch!  It can expand to sleep two!  And the back/top of the couch is adjustable (as you can see, the left 'pillow' is slightly more angled back).  Interesting feature :)

Here we are in our bright yellow living room! 

Thank you again for all of your prayers!  Here are some big "praise" items to include in your next prayer time!

Praise for:
-Safe travels, smooth connections, seats together and luggage arrival!
-Our little apartment that has everything we need!
-Our friends who came running when we needed help bringing our new refrigerator up to the fourth floor of our apartment building!
-Still more friends who've tirelessly helped translate for us this week at area offices such as the gas company, internet company, etc.

Please continue to pray for:
-Wise decisions about goals and responsibilities in the coming year
-Discipleship of new believers (last weekend, the Apalina church baptized 16 new church members!)
-Language learning of Hungarian and Romanian
-Our new marriage and new life together in a foreign country!

We're looking forward to being back with four of our churches tomorrow.  More updates and photos coming soon!


Monday, August 25, 2014

Saturday, August 23, 2014

Celebrate with us!

"My God will supply all your needs according to His riches in glory in Christ Jesus." Philippians 4:19

God is so good!  We are thrilled, blessed, encouraged, and so thankful to be able to say that He has provided for us in amazing ways over the past several weeks.  We are returning to Romania on Monday confident of His goodness, faithfulness, and care for us, feeling confirmed in His calling on our lives, and excited to begin this new chapter! Thank you to all of our new monthly partners as well as to so many givers of generous 'one-time' gifts!  Both types of partnership help to make our ministry possible!  We are excited to continue sharing with all of you, financial and prayer partners alike, what God is doing among the Roma people in Romania!

- Paul and Katie

Friday, August 15, 2014

Let the countdown begin!

In just ten days, Katie and I will be leaving for Romania! In preparation for this upcoming milestone, I've decided to write a countdown to help you pray for us over the next week (and three days). 

#10 Pray for (at least) ten new children to come to our after-school program this year.  We are so thankful to have seen the average attendance increase from 8-10 children per day in 2012-2013 to 22-25 children this past year.  We are praying that this will continue to increase as we welcome a new group of 5th graders on September 15th.

#9 Pray for the nine months of our school year.  We will continue to focus on: teaching character and life skills (such as patience, perseverance, and caring), reaching out to the parents of the community, and preparing these children for high school.  Pray also for our teachers: Claudiu, Cristina, and Annamaria.

#8 Pray for eight new contacts in our hometown of Reghin as we get to know more people in our community.  We are excited about new opportunities to share God's love with our neighbors and those we come in contact with throughout the week.

#7 Pray for the seven churches of our area. We have work in Reghin, Apalina, Filpisu Mic, Peris, Gornesti, Glodeni, and Petrilaca.  Each of these communities is unique, but it is a blessing to serve in each of them.

#6 Pray for six people to join our support team at $50 a month by December.  This will help us reach our goal of $1600 per month.  Will you be one?  You can join us here!

#5 Pray also for five people to join our support team at $100 a month.  We are currently at 52% of our total goal.

#4 Pray for four new leaders in our local churches.  Two church leaders left our area as God led them to work in other parts of Romania.  We are praying for God to reveal who He has called to take on new leadership roles while we continue to focus on the discipleship of new believers.

#3 Pray for three visits (or less) to the immigration office as we apply for Katie's residence permit.  We are praying about which type of permit to apply for (work or religious activities) as we also pray about what Katie will be involved with on a weekly basis.

#2 Pray for the two of us as we start our life together in another country.  We are excited about the opportunity and are praying about the challenges of living a newly married life in Romania.

#1 Pray for our goal of reaching the Roma people of Romania with the Good News of God's love and salvation through Jesus Christ.  We are so blessed to be a part of God's work in Reghin, Romania.  We invite you to continue with us on this great journey!


Thursday, August 7, 2014

Update from Teleios Camp

Thank you for your prayers about Teleios camp this week!  The team made it successfully through their first session and have just begun their second.  We wanted to share some photos with you of the Apalina children enjoying camp and learning lots!

Attila and some of the children from Apalina

Here are many of the children gathered in the main room for their morning meeting - anxious to recite the memory verse perhaps!

The big soccer match between the Apalina boys and boys from the local village (final score: 6-4 Apalina!)

Here is Bonnie teaching a Bible lesson in the morning with Adel translating

Each morning the children respond creatively to the Bible story.  They draw or paint a way the story and lesson connect to their lives.  At night, the children can share their creations with the whole camp!

Relay time!

Floyd is doing a great job leading the recreation, as always!

For more pictures and stories from camp, you can visit the Teleios blog here.

Please keep praying for our team in their second session of camp.  Pray for health, strength and safety as well as an extra measure of God's presence among them!

- Katie

Saturday, August 2, 2014

Prayer Request for Teleios Camp

Thank you all for joining us here on our 'new' blog!  We had a blast setting it up because it meant getting to share even more about what God's doing in Romania!

This week, a team from Teleios is on the ground in Romania running our annual summer camp!  They will be at camp for two weeks.  This week they're working with children and youth from Apalina.  Today they left Apalina and should be arriving at our campsite outside Sibiu any moment now!  Here are some specific ways you can be praying for them this week:

  • Pray for the team's health and strength.  The Americans in Romania are Floyd, Bonnie, Anna and Sarah Grace.  Floyd, Bonnie and Anna have been to camp many times.  This is Sarah Grace's first time out of the U.S.!
  • Pray for Attila as he is heading into the third straight week of camp.  
  • Pray for the words that will be spoken in teaching, sharing of the gospel, and in one-on-one conversations.
  • Pray for the kids' hearts to be open to the message that God has prepared.  Some have been to camp before, but many are there for the first time.
Thank you for partnering with us in prayer!

- Paul and Katie