Towers' Romania Journal, 2007
Hello, how are you all? Welcome to 2007. It has started with a bang, no pun intended. We have felt the attack of the enemy on our family, the strongest it's been since we arrived here. I'm not trying to be dramatic. Please pray for a hedge of protection around us. I thank each of you who have kept us in your prayers and for your support. Your partnership here is invaluable to us, and we thank God for you.
We hope to finish a rental contract on Monday for our move to Razvad. On Tuesday or Wednesday we hope to close on a parcel of land in Moreni, just a 4 minute walk to the Boisvert home in one direction and a 4 minute walk to their land in the other. This seems to be an amazing answer to prayer, and we hope to be able to build a house and move in by next Christmas.
Now that the holidays are behind us we hope to hit the books in earnest, Mary and I on language (limba), and Kevin and Becca on their studies. Christina is waiting for curriculum from the states. Mary is going to start doing science and history with Michaela, and she taught an art class in December with all the children - Hannah, Kevin, Michaela, Sarah, Rebecca Tower, Rebecca Taylor, and Timothy.
Isaiah's Garden is moving forward. We hope to have the paperwork done by the end of February. Thanks to the Lord at the end of the day, when all the ups and downs are done, that the thread that runs through it all is You. You are the rock of my salvation and the grace that carries me. I love you, Father. Bye for now.
Here I sit in the airport in Otpeni, which is just outside of Buchresti. My flight was supposed to leave at 8:35 am, but was delayed until 1:00 pm. Lord, open my eyes as to how to redeem this time in a way that will have eternal consequences. Oh, that's right, you are wondering why I'm at the airport? It's a long story but I'm sure it is part of His plan. I'll let you know if it all works out.
Cio for now. John
Hello, all. My first full day back in Romania, and the enemy of our souls just doesn't quit. As I write this, my wife is very upset with me, probably because I haven't had any sleep. After all, it's all about me, and so she gets to deal with an irritated selfish sleep deprived idiot who is insensitive. Well, maybe I'll try to sleep before I write more . In my present state of mind it would probably be best. Know His mercies are new every morning. Love, John
Hello, and thank you. If you are still reading this, I consider you one of our most faithful. My apologies for the erratic and disjointed nature of my entries the last several weeks. I will attempt to bring everyone up to speed on what has been happening. First an overview, and then perhaps some details.
1) After Christmas I finalized plans to return to the U.S. for several reasons:
a) to attend a court date for my daughter Heather
b) to attend to some tax related paperwork
c) to look for opportunities to share about our mission to Romania
d) to finish the work that had been started on our home in Massachusetts to prepare it for the real estate market.
2) The week after Christmas we purchased a piece of land in Moreni, centrally located near the Boisvert home and their land.
3) We finally received Kevin's new books, as up to this point all he has been able to work on is math and spelling.
4) We finalized and signed a 2 year rental contract for a house in Razvad. We hope to build a home on the land in Moreni before this contract reaches term.
5) I left for the U.S. on January 12th and returned on February 3rd.
6) We have been moving into the house in Razvad from February 6th to present.
Whew, that about does it. Other than that, not much is going on here.
Oh, and in the "by the way" department, if there are any of you out there who haven't heard a few days before I left for the states, Mary and I found out we are going to have a BABY! August 11th is the due date, and both Mom and Baby are doing well.
Now I haven't told you all this as an excuse for not writing. I just thought if I talked about other things long enough you would forget about that part .
Now the details ... First and foremost, thank and praise our God who is able to do more than we could ever hope or imagine. I could not even begin to give testimony to the countless ways He has answered prayers, guided our steps, and held us in His protective care in the last 60 days. We truly do have an awesome God.
As far as the trip to the U.S.of A. goes, let me say it was one of the most difficult and spiritually rewarding trips of my life. I don't even know how to put into words all that happened, but here are a few highlights. Before I left Romania we were praying that there would be opportunities to share about Romania. The Lord provided these in a powerful way. I would like to send out special thank yous to some special individuals (you know who you are) at Charlton Baptist Church, WYCM radio, and of course our home church Faith Fellowship. Each of you contributed to my stateside visit in memorable ways.
Also, thanks to the folks who helped out with putting our house back together to make it saleable, or at least rentable if it doesn't sell, and my mom and Paul, for countless acts of help and food and shoulders to cry on, and so much more ... Thanks, Mom. I love you.
Thanks to Leo for the best rental car deal I have ever had. Thanks also to Davey and Pastor Gil for your prayers, your listening ears, and your willingness to help. You guys are my brothers. There are so many more people to thank, and if I didn't mention you by name, please don't be offended. I remember you, but I am a terrible typist and my friend and editor is incredibly good, but he can't help me type any faster .
What's in store for the days ahead? We have just purchased seed to begin planting both in Razvad and in Moreni on our land as well as the Boisverts'. There is a lot we would like to do but right now. We are waiting on the Lord to see how things will pan out. I don't know if this is proper or not, but I am just going to lay it out there.
In the month of January we received $25.00 in support. This isn't a guilt trip. If anything, it is a confession of my faith and how weak it is. I know in my head that God will supply all my needs according to his riches in glory, but I guess knowing that in my head isn't faith, just intellectual knowledge. Maybe this is God's way of stretching me, or maybe it's God's way of stretching you. I don't know, but God, I have a family to feed and now you have us bringing forth a little miracle this August. Our budget started at $4,000.00 a month, and after being here a few months, we think we can get by on $2,500.00. But $25.00 ... I think I'm going to need a jar with some oil in it.
Well, enough of that. I guess that's why we are called faith-based missionaries. Lord, please increase our faith, or our base, or whatever you do to teach us to trust you more.
I must say that the hardest part about going to the states for three weeks was leaving my wife of 20 years behind. Before this trip the longest we had ever been apart from each other was two days. Getting through the days was hard, but getting through the nights was only by grace. Once everything gets quiet and you begin to have time to think, well, let's just say the tears hit the pillow. You know, as I am writing this, I am wondering if our Father in heaven goes through some of the same emotions as He waits while those He loves wander to and fro. He misses them ... and the separation has been so long.
Maybe you were once close, but now there is a separation, or maybe you are reading this and have never been close. Either way, He's waiting with His arms out. Love is in His eyes. Go to Him. Condemnation is not on His face, and more than anything you will find acceptance in His arms because He doesn't love you based on anything you have done, either good or bad. He loves you based on what He has done. This separation was forever changed when Jesus uttered the words "It is finished".
We love you, and we will write more (hopefully soon).
In His service, John, Mary, and the tribe
February 16, 2:30 am
Good Morning (or should I say Good Evening?) as it's 7:30 pm on the 15th there.
I can't sleep because of stomach aches again, although we think we may have found what is causing them - possibly an ulcer. I am going to talk to a doctor later today. Please pray for Mike Boisvert, our co-laborer here in Romania, as we bring him to Bucharesti on Monday for surgery on his hernia. I told him it was from lifting me up in prayer all the time. I should stop making jokes, he says, because it hurts. Oh, to laugh!
Today Mike and I get together to begin planting. Over the next couple months we will become his hands (and arms and back and legs) as he will not be able to lift anything for a while after his surgery. Mary is teaching Michaela three times a week now, and continues daily with Kevin and Rebecca. Her morning sickness for the most part seems to be over. Praise God for that!
The hardest thing that remains, and will remain for some time, is learning the language. It contributes immensely to our sense of isolation because we are unable to make any meaningful connection with the people here. We are also having a hard time lining up a good teacher.
After spending three weeks in the states it seems even harder now. I'm not sure why. Perhaps it is being reminded of all the family and friends. One day we will never have to say goodbye again. I suppose I could be logical about this and simply make the assertion that in comparison with eternity we are only here for a blip. However, when you are in the middle of a blip you don't really have a good handle on when your blip began. Let's face it, the only things we did have a good handle on was how loud we would scream if we wanted to eat or wanted to be dry. Or when it will end. Hopefully it's before I get back to being in the aforementioned condition, only with much larger diapers. This is why it is important to not let our decisions to follow God's leading be determined by the way we feel. Wait a minute (I scream) ... the way I feel is very important to me.
Feelings and emotions are important ... why would God give us these things? Well, for instance, when I whack my thumb, feelings let me know in a hurry that I probably shouldn't do that again. When a new baby is born, we feel many emotions, depending on our vantage point. As a new mom or dad there is a strong feeling of wanting to nurture and protect, but maybe as a sibling a feeling of being threatened or lost in the midst of it all. As the doctor you may feel anxiety or relief.
When someone hurts us or does something against, say, a family member, our feelings may tell us we want to get even and want justice. There are countless examples to use. However, God is teaching me the way I respond or react has a lot more to do with my heart condition than my feelings or emotions. When my heart is rightly related to my Lord my responses to my emotions change, and that has everything to do with the ongoing work the Holy Spirit is doing in me, and nothing to do with my own ability.
Praise God that after our need for Him is realized and we surrender our lives to Him, He doesn't leave us there, but continues to mold and transform us by the renewing of our minds.
It's almost 4 am. I think I'll give the bed another try. Goodnight, all. Thanks for listening. Goodnight, Lord. Thanks for speaking. Love, John
February 22, 5:00 am
Hi, it's me again. I slept until 4 am and that was it. My last dream was a doozy. I dreamt I was back working at the post office, and I was trying to convince everyone in the office that sending me to Romania was the only way the office would run efficiently. I don't know what that's all about, but please don't try to analyze it.
Mike's surgery went well and he arrived home late yesterday. We will see him this afternoon and map out how best to help in the days and weeks to come.
The family had a good day yesterday. We went to the clinic and had one of Mary's tests done. Then we went to lunch at Casa V which cost us twelve dollars for six of us to eat (very cheap). We now all have bicycles and hope to use them whenever possible to avoid using the car. Good exercise and it saves on fuel. We also went to Ploiesti, a city about an hour away, and picked up some miscellaneous items at a store called Praktiker. It's the closest thing we have seen to a Home Depot here. That's all for now.
U NO WHO
February 25, 9:30 am
Getting ready for church, and thought I would start an entry to the journal. Tomorrow I start a battery of tests to determine what is wrong with my stomach. Mary, Mike and I are all going to the Euroclinic in Bucharesti on Friday the second of March - Mike to have his stitches removed from the recent surgery, Mary for an echografia (ultrasound), and myself also to have an ultrasound to try to determine what is going on with my stomach. The following Monday we will go for follow-up visits with our primary doctors.
March 11, 6:20 am
Hello, all. Here we are. Two weeks since my last entry. Still undergoing tests to determine what is wrong with me physically ... they've given up on the mental health end of things.
Daily stomach cramping and unusual weight loss are the two biggest things we are trying to resolve. I have lost 2 kg in the last two weeks. That is about 4.4 pounds, without dieting. Right now the weight loss doesn't bother me because I have plenty of excess. However, a few more months of this could bring some problems for me if we have a windy day. What the tests have revealed so far is that I have approximately seven kidney stones in my right side and a couple in my left. There seems to be a chronic infection due to the stones as well.
Mary is doing well, but has had some issues as well. She had both a kidney infection and a yeast infection in January, and took a round of antibiotics for them. This past visit the doctor found that she has another kidney infection, or perhaps the first infection had not been fully resolved and has returned again. In either case she is now back on antibiotics, and the doctor has ordered another ultrasound to see if Mary may have kidney stones.
The last ultrasound Mary had revealed that she is 15 weeks into her pregnancy, not 19, and so her due date is now August 25th. However, the baby will probably be taken sometime around the middle of August by c-section.
Mike is doing well and gets better daily. We praise God for answers to prayer: the surgery went well, the recovery is going more quickly than expected, and there is no infection. Mike had the stitches out and is beginning to do more day by day.
We are thinking of you all, and we miss you. Bye for now, John
March 23, 11:30 pm
Hello all. It is now two weeks since my last entry, and a lot is going on. First, let me say thank you, Father in Heaven. Words cannot possibly express the magnitude of your love and your grace. As I look back on the journal, please forgive me for the times I do nothing but gripe or complain. I am amazed at how easy it is to slip into the "woe is me" attitude. Father, I submit these things to you and repent of their effects on others. Please help me to stay out of this sin of unbelief.
I feel better having taken care of that before going on.
How are you all?? We LLLLLLooooooovvvvveeeeee to hear from you all back in the States, so if you get a few minutes, please send us an e-mail and let us know how you are and what's happening. Please let me know when the journal stops being informative or gets too self-involved. (I promise I won't be mad at you.) I just have no way of really knowing unless you all tell me. (To be continued)
March 24, 11:30 am
12 hours later, and a bit more rested. (And now the rest of the story.) Mary and the baby are doing okay, but please pray, as there are persistent kidney / bladder issues. For the most part my health remains the same, although my appetite has seemed to improve over the last week. I did throw my back out 2 weeks ago, so that has helped to take my mind off the other pains.
Can you see a common pattern in these things? I know that my God has sharpened my senses and that has allowed me to see the wiles of the enemy much more quickly and clearly. I do not claim this as having anything to do with my own abilities; on the contrary, it has everything to do with the workings of the Holy Spirit and God's amazing grace poured out on us!
We have finally found an excellent Romanian teacher and have begun lessons. If the Lord so leads you to help offset some of these costs, we would welcome you with open arms to join in with what God is doing through us here in Romania! Our language costs will average around $250 a month for the first year. This is for three of us, and it's extremely reasonable!
The traditional greeting here in Europe, between women in particular, is a light kiss on both checks, first the right, then the left. You have probably seen this on TV or in the movies in the States. In fact, some of you with strong cultural backgrounds may have grandparents who still greet this way. (I have learned recently that here in Romania this greeting has a name I thought was quite humorous - it's called "Tay Poop". That's not how it's spelled, but phonetically that is the proper pronunciation.)
I like that there is a strong emphasis on relationships here. I believe it was once the same in the States, but our culture has been drawn far from this. Perhaps this is why my heart is burdened so deeply for the ones who call themselves Christians, but the Bible identifies them as lost. On the final day there will be shock on countless people's faces when the hear the Lord say, "Depart from me, I never knew you." This is not a judgment, but an observation from someone who has been in that place. Perhaps I will write more on this at a later time.
April 8 - Easter
What a Glorious morning! I say this with a double meaning: The weather and the Blessed Gift made evident by the Resurrection! God's grace to you all.
Hello to all of you who may be following our journal. No, we haven't fallen off the face of the earth. But a lot ... and I do mean a lot ... of other things are going on. In order to be as clear and concise as I can, this next section of the journal will seem a lot less personal, and a lot more of a report card.
We arrived here on September 30th 2006 with a list of goals we'd hoped to accomplish in our first year. As of this writing, we have been here seven months. Our goals were:
- To come and be helpers to the Boisvert family.
- To begin to learn about the culture we now live in.
- For Mary, to help homeschool missionary families' children.
- To help establish a foundation called "Isaiah's Garden", a multifaceted ministry to feed and disciple Romanian Christians and to minister to neglected and abandoned babies.
- To begin to learn the language.
Praise God! We have accomplished all these goals and more in the first six months!
- We are currently just about finished with Rebecca's schooling for the year.
- Kevin will be finished in May.
- Michaela will be finished in June.
- Isaiah's Garden is in the process of being set up and will need funding.
- The Boisverts purchased a house in the fall, and we did major kitchen and bathroom renovations just in time for them to move in for Christmas.
- We also purchased raw land in the fall, and we are currently in the process of fencing it in.
- We have worked with the Boisverts, and the garden is right on schedule, with much of the planting completed.
- We have been working closely with a young church plant in Moreni, and have begun to build meaningful relationships with several people. The pastor has also asked Mike and I to be his mature help (elders) in an unofficial way.
- Mary has been working with the media team and helps produce weekly church videos. Kevin and Rebecca are also helping. We have also been coming alongside some in the church to put together and perform dramas. We did an Easter pantomime, and we are now helping with weekly skits for their coffeehouse ministry on Friday nights.
- We are going to language classes weekly, and the Profesoara tells us we are doing exceptionally well, given the time we have been here.
- We meet weekly with the Boisvert Family in focus areas as well. On Tuesdays we have staff meetings and address ministry concerns, as well as strategic planning. On Thursdays we meet for intercessory prayer.
Future goals and plans are being developed:
- To engage the local body for help in raising food for those who can't afford it.
- To finish up the legal requirements for the association (Isaiah's Garden), and begin seeking God for ways to fund it.
- To look for doors to open for ministering to the neglected and abandoned children here.
- To continue to learn the language and culture.
Many things are changing rapidly, and are in process, and we need your help!! We are in prayer about several important issues:
- The sale of our home in Manchaug, U.S.A. If this does not happen by May 15th we have determined that at the very minimum I (John) will need to return to the States to get a job, as the bills for maintaining the house have drained our savings at a rate of about $2,500 a month.
- Our monthly financial support remains at about $300 a month, while our actual expenses here in the field are close to $2,400, without medical benefits.
- Our daughter Christina wants to return to the U.S. to finish school and get her driver's license. She wants to look at a junior college, or perhaps a stint with a group like YWAM or Master's Commission. In order for her to do this, a place to stay and folks to help her would need to be in place if the rest of us are still in Romania.
Hopefully you are able to see the tremendous work the Lord has been allowing us to join in with here in Romania, and you sense the urgency with which we are writing and praying for the situation here. Please prayerfully consider joining in with us financially and prayerfully.
We are looking for 20 individuals or groups to support us at the level of $50.00 a month.
We are looking for 100 individuals or groups to support us at the level of $10.00 a month.
We are looking for 10 individuals or groups to support us at the level of $100.00 a month.
The need that is even more important is for consistent dedicated prayer covering. The battle here is real. The enemy is throwing everything he has at this work, and we have all felt the fiery sting. The enemy's weapons of deception and division so far have been thwarted. But as of this writing there are very real battles going on to divide this mission and the families involved. Please pray and let us know that your praying.
Below is our contact information, and how to join with us financially. Grace and peace to you all in His service, The Tower Family
Familia Boisvert / Tower
Oficiul Postal 1
CP 69 COD 130131
Targoviste, Jud. Dambovita
To join with us financially:
Follow the prompts to give to our specific ministry, using your debit or credit card.
Please make checks out to C.T.E.N. (Commission To Every Nation)
P.O. Box 291307
Kerrville, Texas 78029-1307
Please DO NOT write our names anywhere on the check. Instead please enclose a separate piece of paper with our names written on it. You will receive a receipt by return mail.