Sunday, December 28, 2014

Good-bye 2014, hello 2015!

As we come to the close of 2014 and look ahead to 2015, we wanted to take a moment to share a big "THANK YOU" with all of you who faithfully follow the Crooks in Romania.  We also wanted to share a few of the highlights from the past year and give you an idea of what things look like heading into 2015.

Here are a few of the year's big events:
·         New Year's Eve/New Year's Day- A proposal and a "YES"
·         February-June- Our long wait and dating over Skype
·         July 12th- Our Wedding!
·         August- We returned to Romania as a couple.
·         September- Our 4th year of the after-school program in Apalina started, and Katie celebrated her first birthday in Romania.
·         November- We discovered what it's like to live without running water for a week, cooked the 3rd annual Thanksgiving Dinner in Romania, and celebrated the birth of Daniel Toth.
·         December- We spent time with family and friends in South Carolina, Texas, Virginia, and Georgia.

In thinking about and planning for the new year, we give thanks for all of the opportunities we have to serve our Lord as we serve others.  We will continue our work in the after-school program, children's meetings, and newly formed English classes.  We are also excited about continuing opportunities to disciple new believers, train worship teams, and help develop vision and goals for the overall ministry.  The summer will bring another season of camps where children and youth from our area will hear about God's love.

We are blessed to have faithful partners who give each month to support our financial needs in Romania.  Because of you, we are able to focus on the work that God has called us to.  In the year ahead, we are still in need of some one-time gifts to help us cover our international health insurance, car insurance, road taxes, yearly medical expenses, and air travel.  As of writing this, we are about $4500 short of this goal.  We are thankful for the opportunity to trust God with these needs.  We are certain that just as He has called us, He will also provide for all of our needs!  To God be the glory!


Thursday, December 18, 2014

Texas Time!

For those of you who are regular readers (and we've met a lot of you on this trip), thanks for keeping up with the Crooks in Romania!  It's been great to chronicle our adventures through this blog and we are encouraged to hear from so many people who are following us in this way.  Keep the messages coming! :)

This week, we are enjoying some great family time with Katie's family in San Antonio.  We have played games (Katie won the Mexican Train marathon), eaten lots of great food (including my first deep dish Chicago-style pizza), and relaxed with family and memories old and new.  Sunday, we had a great afternoon visiting some of our dear friends in Austin. Last night I was able to officially join the SPURS fan club by attending a nail-biter of a game against the Memphis Grizzlies.  While we would have loved for the outcome to be different (117-116 loss in third overtime!), we still had a great time.  We're looking forward to the next few days of family and Christmas celebration #1 before we fly back to South Carolina next Wednesday.

In Austin with Daniel and Kelly
Go SPURS Go! (that's Katie's brother, Paul)
Thank you for praying for, keeping up with, and encouraging us during our time in the States.  We wish all of you a great week before Christmas!


UPDATE: Last night we enjoyed a great dinner at Casa Rio on the riverwalk !  This was one of my requests for our time here.  It was a great night (even if I did get attacked by a duck)! :)

Monday, December 8, 2014

Home for the Holidays

Dear friends, thank you so much for your prayers for our safe travel over the last few weeks.  We've been through Hungary, Austria, Germany, New York, Charleston, and Washington, D.C. in just over a week!  It feels great to be back home now with family in the States.  While there's still so much to be done to prepare for the holidays, there's nothing like sharing meals with dear friends and family to get us into the Christmas spirit!

This weekend, we were blessed to have the opportunity to spend the weekend with our friends in Leesburg, Virginia.  Leesburg Community Church (LCC) is one of our sponsoring churches, and they've sent many teams to Romania to be a part of our ministry over the past several years. We stayed with the lovely Bill and Joyce and enjoyed dinner and lunch with friends we made from the Romania mission teams!  Pastor Alan invited Paul to share about our work in each of the three morning services, and we soaked up the love and encouragement from SO MANY sweet members of the church.  It was really meaningful to us to hear from so many people that they are praying for us, that they love reading our blog (!), and that they are encouraged by what God is doing in our lives and in the lives of those we work with.  THANK YOU, LCC, for welcoming us so well and for being such a big part of our lives!

Paul speaking in the contemporary service at LCC

Paul and I will head to Texas on Wednesday for the next two weeks.  We're excited to visit with our family and our supporters there.  Then, we'll head back to Charleston for Christmas and more family time here!  We're a little ready to be off airplanes for a while, but we truly feel so blessed to be able to have this time in the United States.  We hope we will get to connect with many of you while we're here!