Saturday, November 1, 2014

Taxi trips, tires and time together

Hello and happy November!  Can you believe it??  The holidays are on their way, and we are loving the long fall season we've had so far.  As the temperatures drop, our schedule is really beginning to heat up!  Once Paul returned from his recruiting trip at the beginning of the week, he hit the ground running with a season-high 3 "taxi" trips this week.  He drove on Monday and Wednesday mornings to Targu-Mures (once with our new minibus!) and once to the prison in Bistrita on Friday morning/afternoon.  These trips are great opportunities for him to serve those we work with as well as to build relationships with them.  Car trips are great places for good conversations, so even though these trips take up lots of time, they are beneficial in our ministry and are a big help to the people he "taxis" as well.

These taxi trips left two free mornings this week.  We were so thankful to be able to spend Tuesday morning together at home catching up on some much-needed time to connect with each other.  Many of you have encouraged us to make this kind of time a priority, and we are so thankful for that.  It's a blessing to be able to live and serve together here, but healthy marriages take work, and after Paul's long trip last week, we were ready for some time alone together.  Thankfully, we had Tuesday morning for that!

On Thursday morning, we spent the hours before after-school out and about in Reghin.  Our first stop was the tire shop!  We'd been noticing a weird "thud-thud-thud"-kind of sound in our front right tire for some time, but we hadn't had the chance to get it checked out until this week.  I know absolutely nothing about tires and can't understand much Romanian, but I knew right away that, after a quick look, the technician was saying our tire definitely could not be repaired!  So, we made the choice of two new tires to go on the front of our car, and we waited while they "installed" them - is that the right word to use for tires? :) Anyway, in that moment, we were so especially grateful for our financial partners.  We were so thankful to have the money that we needed to make that unexpected car repair.  As we drove away, Paul and I thanked God aloud for providing for us through the generosity of so many of you.  Thank you!!

After the tire shop, we headed to the weekly market!  We don't always make it there, but when we have free time on Thursday mornings, we try to at least "make an appearance." :) The Thursday market is always bustling with much of the town mulling over the weekly offerings of fresh produce, handmade goods, and - our favorite part - lots of beautiful flowers!  And don't forget the food vendors! :) I think everyone has their favorite mici grill stand to visit.  We indulged this week on two pieces of mici and a sausage, served hot with bread and mustard.  Mmm!  Many of you who have visited us here know about the Romanian specialty of mici.  It's basically a spicy blend of ground meat shaped into a log and grilled to perfection.  Is your mouth watering yet?  Come visit us and we'll be glad to share some with you :) This week, we also saw some interesting varieties of white pumpkins and the most gorgeous array of fall mums!  We even ran into Attila, Adel and Kaleb while we were at the market - so it was, all in all, a great trip :)

Friday afternoon was our children's meeting with the Hungarian-speaking children in Apalina, and we finally finished our creation banner!  We've had so much fun sharing with the children about all of God's creation, and we can tell they've learned a lot!  Thank you for continuing to pray about our work with the children here.  We love them so much.

And now it is Saturday, and, so as not to disappoint, it's held a new adventure all its own!  We woke up to silent, empty faucets :) From what we can gather, there was some sort of break or explosion in the pipe(s) that feed water into Reghin.  Almost no one in the town has running water.  For us, that also means our heat is out!  Earlier in the day, we heard it would be back on by 3 or 4, but we went out to buy some more bottled water and ran into a friend who said he heard it might be back by Monday!  Thankfully, we still have gas and electricity, and we even have a small electric heater, so we are doing ok!  It's not more than an inconvenience, but Paul and I both have considered how most of the people we work with and know here never have the convenience of running water at home.  We are so privileged, and sometimes it takes times like these to realize that and appreciate it fully.

We've spent today working hard on our home and getting ready for the weeks ahead.  We also went out to buy water, as I said, and also to visit a cemetary.  Today is All Saints' Day, and for the past several weeks, local shops have been running specials on candles and votives.  We wanted to see how the cemeteries transform on this day that is so special to many in the Catholic, Orthodox and Reformed faiths.  We saw families gathered around their family graves to leave flowers, wreaths, candles, and mementos of their loved ones.  So much care was taken to make each grave beautiful, and the flickering candles reminded me that the spiritual life of believers continues on after their time here on earth is done.  Here are some photos of what we saw:

Tonight, we're looking forward to relaxing together and maybe even visiting the new Chinese restaurant in the town center.  I've got my hesitations, but we'll keep you posted on how "Chinese" the food really is :)  And hey, without running water, how can we wash dishes at home anyway? :)

Thank you as always for praying for us.  We are thankful and blessed and are looking forward to being in the states next month to share with you in person what God is doing here in Romania.


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