Romania Journal

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Please keep us in prayer!

October 2, 10:45 PM

Hi. It's the end of day two here in Romania. So much has happened in such a short time. I think we are all walking around a little shell shocked right now. In the last minute rush before the airport van arrived, a lifetime of emotions started tumbling out, and as of this moment they are still bursting forth on occasion, seemingly unattached to any particular incident. It is now quarter-to-eleven at night, and I just returned Rebecca to her bed, as she says she can't sleep. How do you explain to a seven year old that the reason she is having a hard time sleeping is because her body still thinks its quarter-to-four in the afternoon? How do you explain to an eleven year old that his sense of humor is considered at times to be offensive to some in this culture? Finally, how do you explain to a sixteen year old that the onslaught of emotional turbulence in her young psyche will pass and that the world does not revolve around her? Here we are, Lord, in Romania. You called us here, and you are in control. I'll admit there's a part of me that says "Turn this bus around, I want." That's where the rubber hits the road so to speak ... I want. There are many works the Father has ordered that have probably been delayed by those two words. You might ask me how I know that, and I would answer, "By experience, of course." I use those two words all the time. Oh, I may not be so blunt as to say I want. On the contrary, it probably sounds more like "I would love to help you right now, but ..." (Fill in whatever excuse you want.) Perhaps it's not even as evident as that. Maybe it's an unconscious act such as going five miles over the speed limit, but justifying it because everybody else does it. Blah-diddy Blah Blah Blah, on and on it goes, until one day ... and the one day always comes one way or another. What is that one day, and do we all get to know when that one day is?

Sorry, I tend to go off on tangents at times. The point is that the Father desires that we all come to that place where I want turns into "Father, what do you want?" Father, I need to be less so that you are more ... No, I need to become nothing so that you are everything. So tell me ... who wants to be nothing? Never mind thinking about it ... just writing it out alone causes my flesh to rise up within me! This moment, Lord, I give to you, and then ... This moment I give to you, and then ... Repeat over and over for the rest of your days. There is no other way. The enemy of our souls will try to teach or tell us something different. DAILY - that's when His mercies are new for us ... EVERY morning! There are no short cuts. I'll say it again ... There are NO shortcuts!!

October 5

Three days have passed since my last entry. A weird kind of funk has settled over me. Phyllis Ann and Mike say the first week you can blame anything on jet lag. I don't know about that, but I'm praying for some direction right now. We finally purchased a washing machine and a microwave today. We haven't hooked up the washer yet, as I was too frustrated after working on the plumbing for a couple of hours, and still managed to end up with more leaks than I started with. Dear Lord, I need you more and more. Please reveal your truth in our current circumstances. We need you Lord. There is no way we can move forward without you. God, this is so hard. My heart feels like it's being ripped out of my rib cage. I want to run home, back where it's comfy and safe and everybody knows me. The only thing keeping me going is knowing that you, Father, called us here. Well, we are here, so I'm just wondering what now? Thank you, Lord, for the countless ways you have provided for us. I'm ashamed as I sit here griping and complaining as though I had nothing to be thankful for. Forgive me, Father, and may the joy and gladness that were purchased for me come bursting forth like living waters bringing healing and hope! Thank you. G'nite. Me.

October 8, AM

Good morning, Lord. Thank you for a brand new day! I praise you this morning, for you are everything I need, and you promised me in your word that all my needs would be filled according to your riches in glory!!! Hallelujah!!

Everywhere I look people are just getting by ... no hope, no future. The faces of the young haven't yet been shrouded in hopelessness. There's still hope. Lord, let your spirit move. Please, Lord, move mightily. Let your Spirit descend, and let your power fall here!

Well, we now have the washer hooked up and the microwave is working. Not so long ago these things happened as a matter of course. Not so anymore. I'm just beginning to learn how much I took for granted! Yesterday we did two loads of wash and spent the afternoon at Mike and Phyllis Ann's house. Becca and Kevin played with Michaela and Mihia and the Taylor children. It was good to be out of the city for the afternoon. Phyllis Ann and I went to the ministry house, and I met Maourty and Mona. Wow, have they got a handful! Five children in placement and two of their own. Plus I think they are also responsible for two others, which brings the total to 11. Lord, you are showing me needs all over the place. Father, help us move not on needs alone but on your purpose and plan. Please, Holy Spirit, help us discern your leading. We love you, Lord. Signing off for now. Me.

October 8, 10:00 PM

What a day! Misty and Christina got here about noon, maybe a little before. and we played a game of settlers. Then we went to the Targoviste church. That was the first time I'd experienced a complete worship time in Romanian (in other words, tongues). It was awe-inspiring to see how even though we are halfway around the globe, the love for the Father is expressed in word and song and deed. Mary sat in front of a girl who picked up on the fact we were clueless and interpreted for her through a portion of the service that was strictly in Romanian. That was very cool and really helped Mary feel included. Trying to help Christina through this period has been one of the biggest challenges we have had, partly because she is so resistant to anything we say and partly because we are so resistant to anything she has to say. Well, Father, as you told us tonight, grace ... not only do we need it, but we need to give it as well. Thank you, Lord, for your grace. It truly is amazing! G'nite. Me.

October 9, 10:30 PM

Well, it's been just about an hour and a half since the flash of light and the explosion outside the apartment building. We have no idea what the explosion was from, or why no politia (police) showed up, or why there are puddles of gasoline (or perhaps some other fuel oil) in the hallway outside our apartment door. But Mary has just filled the mop bucket, and I'm off to swab the decks, so to speak. Hopefully that will prevent us from getting sick from the strong fumes. Just another day in Romania. This is the bomb squad signing off. G'nite.

October 10, 10:15 pm

You would think at this point that I would begin to at least get a hint that we are not in Kansas anymore. What do you do when you need an extra set of keys for the house, so that you can all leave and go in separate directions (and it doesn't really matter when anyone is going to be back, because you can all get in with your own keys)? Well, silly me, I thought you went to the store and had them cut you another set, right? … Wrong! First, there is a special magnet key that gets you into the main block. You can only get that at the Conducerea Apartamente . (This is essentially like a Condo association that oversees the external aspects of the building.) They are only open between 4:00 and 7:00 pm Monday through Thursday, and they don't have any of those special keys. They have to order them, and they only come in on the 12th or 13th of the month. So, I'm not holding my breath that we will see those special keys anytime soon. Thank you, Father, that you are showing me day by day that the things that are really important were not made by man. G'nite.

October 11, 8:40 PM

Our first Romanian lesson in Romania ... learning the language, that is. There are daily lessons in learning the Romanian culture, and this will continue for quite some time. Conjugated verbs ... I can't even spell them let alone figure out what they are. I'm beginning to think it would have been easier to have been born here and then moved to the U.S. of A. than the other way around. I'm kidding, of course. In fact, it really opens the eyes to see just how fuarte mult (that's very much in Romanian) we have, and have to be thankful for, in the states.

Every so often waves of homesickness wash over me and I get all teary eyed, but then I remember it's not about me, is it? Yes, I know it always seems to come back to that. That's where the battle really is! Oh, we may have some tough days, and at times it can seem like some dude with a pitchfork is stabbing us right in the back of the neck. But the very real battle is the one to live the surrendered life!!! Who knows how many books or how many sermons have been preached on this topic? I couldn't even begin to count. I guess the first step is understanding that the battle is real, and the battle is fought daily. Lord, I need your mercies afresh right now. G'nite.

October 15, 1:00 PM

Hello again. It's almost 1300 hours - that's 1:00 pm to all of you in the states. We are going to the theater to see the movie "Cars". The movie will probably be dubbed in Romanian. This is somewhat helpful as it is helping us put Romanian language with English meanings.

October 19

Four days since my last entry. I'm finding that all of us are going through various stages of culture shock, on and off. Things will seem fine, then someone will mention something from back home, and it kind of hangs there like a lead balloon in the pit of your stomach. There but for the grace of God we would probably dwell. Thankfully the Spirit lifts us up again and we are reminded that we are here for a purpose. What I mean to say is that the most important thing is our relationship with the Father. Not to discredit the work he has called us to join with here. On the contrary, our relationship with God is imperative to the work here.

What has transpired over the last few days ...

Well, we saw the movie "Cars", and it was in Romanian ... and not dubbed in English either. Talk about a Romanian lesson. I learned how to say kachow in Romanian ... Are you ready? kachow ... Pretty good, huh? Oh yeah, and machina is car. This may take longer than I thought . On Monday, I went in to Ploesti (pronounced Ploy-esh) and Bucharest with some of the other missionaries here to do some shopping. I feel like somebody inserted a piece of my puzzle because I now have a tool box and a cordless screwdriver. We also bought some things for the apartment like a clothes drying rack (no clothes dryers here ) and a hamper for dirty clothes. I know it doesn't sound very exciting, but let me tell you, these things, although they may seem like no big deal, provide us with a sense of normalcy and progress. That reminds me of a story I want to share that happened on Monday.

Now don't get your hopes up. This doesn't have any big spiritual message, or if it does, then praise Him for it because I sure didn't plan it. One of the places we went to was called Metro. It's a cash and carry store much like BJ's or Sam's Club. You need a member card in order to be admitted to the store. Well, only one of us had a card, and you can only bring in three other people with you. Well, there were six of us, including the member. Anyway, we came up with a plan. Allan (the member) would try to get himself and the four girls into the store and I'd wait outside. Now we figured this would work because three of the girls are teens or pre-teens, and wouldn't count towards the restriction because they were not buying anything. So he took them in, then came out, leaving them in the store. Then Allan and I walked to another store called Pratiker's and did some shopping. Then we left there and headed back to the Metro.

At Metro, one first goes into a foyer. There is an information booth, bathrooms, and a checkpoint where they let you in. I had to go to the bathroom and so did Allan, so we went there. He was done sooner than me for obvious reasons. So I said to him, "Don't leave me here. I don't want to be stuck, because I don't have a card to get in." He said, "Okay, but I don't want to stick around for the performance." I wasn't sure what he meant, but I did notice it got kind of quiet, and at this same point I noticed there was no Charmin in there with me either. Well, I did what anyone in my shoes would do - I spoke up and said, "Allan, I need some Charmin in here." I waited a moment, and then I said a little louder, "Allan," and then "AAALLLLaaaannnn!!"

"Great ... that's just great," I thought. Now I began to say, "Okay, God. What can I do to get out of this mess I'm in?" I began to scan the area for alternatives, and then God's grace and provision came through. As I scanned to my left there was a small waste basket, and a few pieces of Charmin lay on the top. (I can hear the squeals and groans, not to mention my mother's words of disapproval. But hey, I was in a jam here. It could have been worse - they might have been out of soap!)

Later when we were all driving down the road and I recounted my tale of woe to my fellow travelers, things suddenly went from bad to worse. As Paul Harvey puts it, "And now the rest of the story..." Phyllis Ann and Allan began to look at each other, neither wanting to explain what they thought I should know. "You see," she said, "the reason those seemingly providential waste cans are there is because Romania is not known for their outstanding plumbing services. Those cans are for when you can't send 'it' on its merry way."

Obviously, she didn't realize whom she was dealing with here, because my questioning eyes told her I still wasn't adding 2+2. I said, "Well, what do they do if they can't send it on its merry way?" She replied, "That's what the can is for."

Finally a dimly lit bulb came on, and just as quickly went out again in shock and disbelief. It's funny what you can find to be thankful for and what you can find to miss about home. This is me, signing off. Cio

P.S. Always check for Charmin.

October 22

Hello and welcome back. If you continue to read this ... you must be really bored. The last few days have been fairly uneventful. On Thursday, we did some exploring and found the PTTR, which is the Post Office. We somehow managed to mail several letters without offending many people (I think). It's hard to tell, because part of the culture here is not to smile, so everyone looks unhappy all the time. We often get looks from people as we walk or enter a place of business. It seems like we have large signs on us that say we are clueless Americans. They are probably not thinking that, but our own insecurities have us believing it nonetheless. On Friday, Scott and Debra from CTEN spent the day with us. They are here in Targoviste for a week to visit with the Boisvert family, as well as with us. They brought us chocolates from the states. This is good and bad - good because they tasted sooo good, and bad because of the battles it created in trying to lay our hands on them (two bags ... five people). .

On Thursday night we had a surprise visitor. We still can't figure out who it was, but someone came to the door and handed us a magnetic key for the front door of the block we live in. This is the same key that has been so elusive over the past two weeks, and now suddenly it shows up at our doorstep. Our Lord provides in the most amazing ways! It is still sobering to think how small my faith is.

Saturday we spent the day in the apartment cleaning and cooking ... well, attempted cooking may be a better way of putting it. I tried to make baked macaroni and cheese. It was edible, but ... Let's just say the family was very polite to me .

Later, as we all were settling in for the night, we had a surprise fireworks display ... a surprise to us anyway. The display was somewhat different than what we were used to, as they did not start up slowly and build to a finale. Rather, it started as a finale, and stayed that way through the whole thing.

It is now Sunday, and we will be going to church at 6pm. Thinking of you all. The Lord bless you, and keep you.

October 24

What has been happening? Yesterday was our first day with a local Romanian woman named Claudia. We hired her to come in two days a week to help with various tasks. She will help with the children as well as helping all of us to learn Romanian culture and language. The cost for this seems very reasonable at about 100 dollars a month. That is for two 8 hour days every week, or about 64 hours a month ... or in terms most of us understand, about $1.56 an hour!

Beyond that, the lessons we will learn will be invaluable to the work here. Today we are trying to finalize a deal on a car. It is a 2002 Opel with about 160,000 km. It is a diesel station wagon that was imported from Germany and seems to be in very good condition. The cost is 8,200 Euro which is about US$10,500. From what I can gather, this is a good price for a car of this quality here, and it is currently owned by some missionaries returning on furlough to Australia. It is an answer to prayers on both sides. Thank you, Father, not only for this provision, but also for those in the body called as part of this work back in the states that enable us to join in what you want to do here in Romania. Cio for now.

October 27

Here in Romania, I'm still shaking my head as if cobwebs had somehow lodged there. I know many would agree that this has been my condition for years. However, as much as I might agree with them, this goes beyond my usual condition. It's as if I'm looking at this all from the outside, perhaps as if I were in a fish bowl. Occasionally I surface and the reality seems absurd - maybe it's the lack of Dunkin's coffee.

Anyway, here are the highlights from the last few days: The car we purchased was delivered on Tuesday night. We drove it for about half an hour on Wednesday, and dropped it off at the garage on Thursday morning. It is now noontime on Friday, and we hope to get the car back this afternoon. No, we didn't break the car. The previous owner had an agreement with the man he bought the car from to repair a leak in the air conditioning unit. And so we are happy to have this done instead of having to pay for it ourselves next spring. From what we are told, it is a rare thing over here to even have a vehicle with A.C. This is true in part because of the added cost and in part because the culture believes you can get sick from breezes and drafts. When one Romanian girl was questioned about why we could walk around in short sleeves and through breezes and not get sick, she said, "It's because you are stronger than us, I think." This is just one of many differences in our cultures. From my perspective, God allows trials and hardships into our lives not to weaken us but to make us stronger. In light of this I wonder who has been strengthened more.

On Wednesday, Scott and Debra Walston from CTEN took Mary and I out to lunch. They then came over and did some shopping and prepared a wonderful meal for all of us (the Tower and Boisvert families) - curry with white or curry rice, our choice. This was topped with a dessert bar with several kinds of ice cream and topping choices. They were such a blessing to us! Please pray for them as they continue their journey visiting other missionaries in the field.

That's all for now. Signing off from the fish bowl, John.

November 1

Hello all, it's been quite a few days since I have written. I must be honest ... so that's why I haven't written. I think I am entering the area of culture shock that I was warned about. I have been depressed and feeling very isolated of late. I know life goes on in the states at the same or perhaps an even faster pace. But we are in a much slower paced culture here. So when a few days go by, and we don't hear anything from anyone, it's easy to slip into this thinking that no one cares. I'm sorry if this sounds like whining. However, I tried to establish with people how important it would be to maintain communication with us, and us with them. We are here barely a month, and already I sense a drop in communication. When you read this, should some guilt or anger begin to rise in you, please do not attribute this to me, but immediately stop and ask the Lord to speak to you regarding this.

November 6

Hi. Grace and peace to you from Him who is, and who was, and who is to come. How is everyone back in the states? I just received an e-mail from a dear friend who commented on this journal, that it was "real, and to keep it real." I've just reread the last entry and I think that's more than real, as it exposes my emotions in a not-so-flattering light. Forgive me Lord, what a wretched man I am. There has been a lot going on since the last entry. We have the car back, but it isn't fixed. It needs a radiator for the A.C., which is cracked, and the person who is going to fix it is supposed to go to Germany and pick one up.

November first was our 20th wedding anniversary. I had hoped to get away for a couple of days, however it was not to be. We did go to lunch, and then for a drive for a few hours. On Thursday the 2nd we had our first snowfall - not a lot, maybe an inch or two, and it didn't stick around long in the city. The comment I heard the most was "this is the earliest we've ever seen snow here" ... to which I would reply "we brought it with us." Christina left with Misty on Oct. 31st for Cluj and will be gone for a week. Misty is trying to touch base with a Romanian teacher she used when she was last here. The teacher comes highly recommended, and would be a great benefit if she can be persuaded to come and teach us all.

Also, our rental contract runs out at the end of February, so we will need a place to live after that. We hope to get a Prayer/Update letter out in the next few weeks. Please pray for us, that God would lead and guide us, that we would see His provision, and that I would take the focus off myself so that I might see with discernment and clarity the path.

By his Grace and in His Love, John

November 10

Greetings, several days have passed since my last entry. I have been looking back over the journal and I see that the frequency of entries is decreasing in proportion to the degree that we are becoming acclimated here. My personal goal is to maintain at least a once a week schedule even if it's only a couple of lines. (Of course most of you know that I have diarrhea of the mouth so me only writing a couple of lines is about as likely as jumping a tank over the Grand Canyon).

This week has gone well on Wednesday Mary and I and Mike and PhyllisAnn spent the day together. We went for a drive to Siniai this is where the first king of Romania lived and built his castles. The countryside was breathtaking and heartbreaking at the same time. Mary did take quite a number of photos. Some of which we hope to display on this site soon. We were not able to tour the inside of the castle on this trip because it was closed until December first for cleaning. We did get a surprise private personal tour of the grounds outside the castle by the security guard . Let me explain, as we approached the castle we were stopped by a group of security guards. So I told Mike to create a diversion so the rest of us could sneak around….. No No No that was a dream I had just kidding. So Mike talked to the security guard and found out the castle was closed and that we would not be able to get any closer. Just as we turned to leave the guard asked Mike where we had traveled from. When the guard learned how far we had traveled he said we could walk down and take a couple of photos. Praise God for his mercy and Grace! As we walked around I noticed the guard walking towards us and thought well it must be time to leave, however he instead began to give a verbal history which Mike in turn translated for us. I thought what a nice guy he didn't have to do this but was going out of his way to be helpful. After all his job was to protect the properties not entertain tourists. After about 20-30 minutes I see Mike take out his wallet and start handing bills over and the fairytale ended. I'll admit I was thinking we should tip this guy and be a blessing to him for being so nice. Come to find out he actually asked Mike for money! Oh well another cultural lesson in Romania.

Thursday we met as a core for Isaiah's Garden and established Thursday evenings will be our regular time for corporate prayer. Please prayer that God would lead us and that he would raise up funding. To finish the paper work and officially establish Isaiah's Garden as a N.G.O. (non-governmental organization) we need an additional $1,300.00 dollars. Also our personal funding is way off. Mike and PhyllisAnn I think are at about 40% Misty at about 50% and us at about 5%. This situation will have to improve in order for us to move forward here. We are convinced we are where we are supposed to be and we are trusting that God will show us where and how we are to move. I am constantly reminded that we are indeed part of a body and that in order for us to move (us being the foot) the rest of the body has to move as well. Well that's all for now Bless you for reading and praying. John

November 12

It's 9 am, and we are heading off to the church in Moren shortly. The Moren church is a plant from the Targoviste church, just starting out, with about 12 - 20 attendees. At night we will go to worship with the body in Targoviste. It's a tough fit for families at both churches because they are each predominantly youth/singles based. Christina is doing well and thriving in this environment. Friday we went to an Auto Spalatoria for the first time - it's what we would call a car wash. These are not automated car washes like you see in the States, but manual ones, more like the youth group fundraisers. Again, we were in for a cultural lesson. At the first one where we stopped there were big signs posted on the front of the building telling of their services. Well, seeing as it was all Greek to me, I went in to ask how much. I was able to see from the sign that different services were various amounts from 5 lei to 10 lei. When I asked the attendant inside she tried to tell me it would be 100 lei. (That's about 36 dollars.) I said "see ya later," and drove on down the road. At the next place we came to, when asked how much, the man said doa spre zece, which I thought was 30 lei. I said ok and he proceeded to wash and dry the car. Then he came to me and said sapte spre, which is 70 lei. I said, "No, no, no, you said doa spre zece, so I felt good avoiding a rip off, until the humbling came later when Mary told me I paid 30 lei when all he asked for was 12!!

Caio for now, John

November 21

Hello all. ce faci, which means "How are you?" in Romanian. You would hopefully respond bine, which means fine or good. Language is coming painfully slowly for me, but there is forward progress, and we're told that after a while it will begin to come more quickly.

We are preparing to indoctrinate a few Romanians with a good ole traditional Thanksgiving. This is our menu thus far: roast turkey (of course), pork roast, mashed potatoes, meat stuffing, bread stuffing, carrots, beets, stuffed mushrooms, homemade apple sauce, and apple pie. Unfortunately, there are no cranberries in Romania, and therefore no cranberry sauce. This happens to be one of my favorites during the holidays, so it will be missed.

Our list of things to give thanks for as I write this is too long to mention. But here is a sampling: 1) God, for his amazing grace and unending love -- without you, Lord, this day would not exist. 2) Our family, both here and in the states - words cannot express how much we love you and depend on you. (By the way, family means immediate and church.) 3) Our opportunity to serve in this place. It is both an honor and a privilege to be here in this capacity ... and humbling too, I might add.

Well, it has been 9 days since I wrote, so you may be wondering what has been going on. The sale of a house to the Boisverts has gone through, and we have begun to work on the house with the hope of having them move in there by mid-December. Here is the short list we hope to accomplish in the next three weeks:

First, there is no bathroom ... well, let me rephrase that. There is a room (called a baie here) that has water running to it, but no toilet, and right now no hot water either. In fact, they do have town water, but they only have it every other day. Yes, you read that right. So we are putting in a 1,000 liter storage tank so that on the off days they will still have water. Next, we are putting a toilet in the baie so they won't have to go to the current facility at the back of the property to use the Charmin I alluded to earlier in this journal. In order to add this convenience we have had to dig a septic system by hand with picks and shovels. It feels good to have blisters again. Also we have discovered that the wood floors in the house are just planks on top of dirt. So we are ripping up the kitchen floor and then putting in a cement floor and ceramic tile, as well as getting them some kitchen cabinets and a sink. The list goes on, but the time and money do not.

As I reflect on what is happening, it brings to mind some thoughts on serving God that I hadn't had the proper perspective to see before. Having a servant's heart is synonymous with having our Father's heart. I think it means to do all that we can with whatever means he gives us, in such a way as to insure He receives all the credit. Also, our desire is that those whom we serve may be in a closer relationship with Him in the end than when at first we began to serve.

We love you, and our thoughts and prayers are for you. John

November 27, 4:30 AM

Good morning to you all. I have been having stomach issues on and off since we arrived here. I think it's just a matter of time to adjust to variations in the food and culture. It is weird though. It only seems to happen at night.

Things here are progressing. Today we begin to install drain lines for the plumbing in the house ... following my language lesson bada (which means "of course"). I think I'm still full from Thursday, which probably seems like a random comment, but at this hour that's about all my brain can handle.

In the "by the way" department, it was awesome to have so many responses to our Thanksgiving e-mail, which causes us to give thanks more. Thank you to all those who dropped us a note.

Caio for now, John

December 1 (Romania's Independence Day)

How are you all? How are your lives out on the battle lines doing? Thank you for your prayers and for taking the time to write to us. I look forward to hearing from my friends back in the states. The Lord is teaching me much, and I can tell you it is a mix of fear and joy - joy in the realization that my Lord and my God is intimately involved in my life, and fear that it exposes the carnal nature I've worked so hard to disguise all these years. I admit that even writing home I begin to think about how much I should share. Should I lay out all my fears, doubts, and frustrations, or do I only share the remarkable grace in which I, and indeed all of us, walk? Perhaps one without the other is a disservice. I want God to be glorified. Is He if I complain or speak with remorse about the things which my flesh craves and misses? I think not, for His word tells me the first thing to do is deny myself. What exactly does it look like to deny myself? Oh, I can say no to that second cup of coffee, and even pass on a piece of chocolate cake with the right motivation. Somehow I think it speaks to a deeper level, maybe one of sacrifice. After all, that's the example He set for us, isn't it?

I was talking with a Romanian brother about this very thing last night, and a portion of scripture came to mind concerning a certain woman who gave two small coins in an offering. Jesus pointed out that indeed this woman had given more than any other, and the reason was because her gift was one of sacrifice. She gave the only two coins she had. There wasn't a Bank of Bethlehem around the corner where she could make a withdrawal. I look at her, and I think what great faith. I can go, and give and give and give, but when I give I've always thought (subconsciously) I have more in the bank, or I'm getting paid in a couple of days, so no worries, right? God has brought me to this place, and is now confronting me. I feel like Peter, who was asked, "Do you love me?" The flesh in me says "Well, maybe, how much does it cost?" For a long time I didn't understand, and now…. well, I'm beginning to - the price is small compared to the reward. I hear his reply now. He says it costs your life. Coming to Romania was the easy thing. The hard thing is still in front of us - staying here.

The Lord bless you and keep you, Love, John

To stay connected with friends back in the States, John & Mary will be regularly posting photos, ministry updates, and personal blog entries here.

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