Since getting that wonderful news, we have been able to turn our focus back on our work and all there is to do before leaving for the States! Since we won't be here for the official start of the Winter Quarter for Children's ministry, we had our quarterly meeting early, on Thursday, November 20. All of the children's workers in our area were invited, and we spent time praying together, sharing about how the work is going and what their needs are, planning Christmas programs, and working on curriculum for the upcoming quarter. The new curriculum system is going very well! The teachers reported that they love having a plan for what they will teach. Because of your generosity, we have been able to purchase some materials to get us closer to completing the plan! Our teachers are also enjoying the resources at Mission Bible Class, an incredible website dedicated to children's Bible classes and teachers. I'm looking forward to continuing all the work we've started in Children's Ministry when Paul and I return from the States in January.
Before I go any further, I am so happy to be able to introduce you to Dániel István Tóth, the newest member of the Tóth family! Attila, Adél, and Káleb are like our family here, so Paul and I are very happy to welcome this new member into our Reghin family :) We are already so in love! "Dani" changes every day. Káleb has been a proud and affectionate new brother to "Dani" too, and we have enjoyed entertaining the new big brother during this week of big changes!
On November 22, the Winter Bible Class for adults began in Gornesti and Apalina. Last year was the inaugural year for this program, and in the 2014-2015 session, Attila and Joseph Kovacs, our guest teacher, will focus on leadership training for church members who are interested in taking on this kind of role in the church. Joseph teaches the class like a Bible course - there's even a test at the end! - and it's a very popular event! The class will be held two weekends per month, and it will run through April.
On the evening of November 22, Paul and I hosted the third annual American Thanksgiving feast here in Reghin! Before we were married, Paul cooked Thanksgiving dinner for some of his close friends here on Thanksgiving Day. Because we will be out of town on Thanksgiving this year (more on that later), we decided to host the dinner on the Saturday before Thanksgiving in America. This was also a perfect day because Joseph was in town as well as Attila's mom (in town helping to care for the new baby) and Bonnie Parker from Teleios. We had about 12 people come for the meal, and it was a very special night. It was special because Paul and I got to do it together this time! And it was also special because of the meaningful things that were shared - things we were thankful for. There's no list long enough to hold what these Crooks are thankful for this year! :)
Our friends Lucian and Cristina and Joseph
Adél introducing Dani to Claudiu and Cristina
Our first Thanksgiving!
I had the opportunity to speak at a local public school today about American Thanksgiving. Our friend Adela is an English teacher at the school near Targu-Mures, and she invited about 30 kids to come to hear the presentation. At the end, they asked lots of questions, and they even sang two English Christmas carols for me! It was fun to be out in a different community and to see another Romanian school. It was also fun to be teaching again, even if just for a few minutes :)
Here's the only photo I managed to snap at the school - the kids watching some of the other kids singing :)
Now Paul and I are in the throws of packing for not one, but two upcoming trips! We have been saving up for several months to be able to take a little trip to Budapest, Hungary and Vienna, Austria! Actually, this trip has been one of our dreams for a long time. Back in 2012 when Paul and I had just started dating, he went to Vienna at Christmas time. Since I studied in Vienna for a semester when I was in college, I gave him some ideas of places to go and told him which Christmas markets were the best! I'm not sure how much fun he ended up having on his own - and of course when he was there, I could think of nothing else than my favorite person walking around my favorite city at my favorite time of year! So, we made a pact that we would try to go together in 2014, two years from then. And now, it seems it is really going to happen :) Paul lived in Toálmas, Hungary (near Budapest) for several years before coming to Romania, so he is excited to introduce me to his friends there and to show me the campus of the Bible school where he attended and worked. Luckily for us, Budapest is driving distance from here (about 7 hours), and we'll take a short train ride from there to Vienna! Please pray for safe travel for us from Thursday to Monday. Then, we'll come home for a day and leave for the States!
Happy Thanksgiving to you and yours!! Thank you again for your constant care and encouragement. It's such fun to share our lives with you!