Thursday, February 26, 2015

Tuesday is Mocrea day

We are having an ever increasing number of patients join us on Tuesday.  I think there is an attendant  that watches how many people get out of our vehicle and then decide to start opening the rooms depending on how many THEY think we can handle.  Our normal size group is now usually over 45 patients.   

Although we usually have a prayer time and singing after the craft and snacks, I never want a patient to feel they are obligated to take part in any of that so they can have the coffee and cookies.  I know many people think you could not really effectively take the gospel in to a place like Mocrea. Maybe... but we can love them.  This last Tuesday after we read a chapter from the bible and had sung I felt moved to do what I guess you would call an "alter call". I had never done that in all the years ministering there at the mental hospital. Again no obligation but if you do believe in your heart then you should confess with your mouth and if there is anyone that had never confessed out loud their belief in Jesus Christ as Lord and Savior that we could lead in a prayer right then.  Raise your hand if that is you. There were two or three that raised their hands and stood up. Bogdan started to prayer and have them repeat after Bogdan prayed more and more stood up and joined in - it was...AMAZING!  We are to come as little children and that is what they did,  I just wanted to share this with you.              

Where do we find the widows for Widow's Mite?

So many times people who visit here ask me where/how do I find the widows and widowers for the Widow's Mite program.  Sometimes someone knows of an elderly person that seems to be going hungry and they heard I have a program to help feed the elderly.  Priests have asked me to help. I have found them begging on the streets and also going through trash cans looking for food. It takes time to talk with them to gain their trust before they will give me an address so that I can visit.  Many have very small pensions and some have none at all.  
This is Margareta from Arad.  I was parked along the main street through town and spotted her sitting on the steps of a pharmacy.  I asked Elizabeth to go and talk with her.  Margareta was holding x-rays of her hips - they have big screws in them and she needs further surgery. She says she has no pension nor children. Elizabeth was asking for an address and Margareta was looking suspicious so I got out to talk with her myself and ask if we could take a picture.  Many times there is no actual street address as is the case with Margareta.  Do I know where the colony is by the old sugar factory?  I gave her my phone number to have someone call with a little better address. Someone did contact me and there is no actual street or number. I will call next week and we will meet by the Serbian church by a piata and they will lead me to where Margareta stays.  Not everybody that I go and interview meet the requirements.  When I did receive the phone call it seemed there were many people in the background.  I'll know more after the home visit.

Monday, January 26, 2015

2nd Chance

2nd chance is the name of the State run educational program here in Romania. It accepts school drop outs from all age groups, over 16 I think. The school will issue a diploma which is almost a must to legally obtain employment. The drop out rate is very high among the Roma kids I work with in Vinga. It is usually OK with the parents for them to drop out, which makes it very hard to convince these kids they need an education. Last year I was able to fund getting 5 students to school and back daily from my own personal funds. The first semester of this school year the Vinga church paid for the transportation but is no longer doing that. The second semester starts in a week and I do not have the extra funds needed.

Do we have high success rates with these kids? No, not really. We have had two so far that were able to get jobs. If a student gets a job the 2nd chance program allows them to stay enrolled and continue if they can pass the exams. Just being in this program gives these kids a better chance at getting jobs.

As most know - I really don't fund raise and often do not do a very good job of making the needs known. So I am making a need known now.  The cost for our five students to go to school this second semester is $350 a month and $1575 total for the semester. This sum also includes their school supplies. This program is near to my heart. Their culture is such that self motivation is not usually seen.  The kids that are enrolled in the program attend the Friday night youth meetings at Vinga. Bogdan is doing a wonderful job and the group is growing. Bogdan knows that had some of you not helped him he never would have been able to attend a University.

Will some of you invest in the future of these kids? .

Tuesday, January 20, 2015

Since my last post...

Well I may have set a new record -over 3 months without an update. Almost all of the pictures are on a friend's memory stick computer operating system is old and can't read the stick. I kept putting off updating the blog - surely THIS is the week I will update my operating system - so this explains the lack of pictures, I haven't gotten it updated yet.

Thanksgiving was wonderful with over 50 people gathered around a 38lb turkey and all the trimmings.  The celebration was at Scott and Carolyn's apartments. Carolyn had to return to the States to be with her mom, who passed on in Dec. This has been a really tough few months for the Pouncey family.  They faithfully help at Mocrea every week and soon Carolyn will soon join the volunteers in the Pre-placed Child Development the hospital. I think there were 63 babies we were able to help care for in 2014. We have gained the respect and trust of the staff.

Irene Phillips with Reaching Romania was able to be in Romania to help distribute all the hundreds of Christmas shoebox gifts her charity works on all year. There were many wonderful celebrations with orphans, widows, the poor and the homeless. The Mocrea Christmas party was truly a lot of fun. Cerbu came with the girls of Osana girl's home and a great performance of The Christmas Carol along with carol singing. We had bags for every patient with fruit and candy as well as coffee and hot chocolate packets. Matthew, Callum and Marius came to help. Bogdan was Santa. There were also gifts for all.  I love that Christmas party. To so many of those patients we are their family.

The Jesus Generation bible club in Sanicolaul Mic, with Marius and Elena leading it, is doing fantastic. I was able to expand the building over a year ago and we are again bulging at the seams with children. Marius continues to give music lessons and we are again in need of instruments.

Several widows and 1 widower passed away in 2014. Each one was special.  It was a wondrous thing to see how the need for winter wood was met.  We bought wood as the funds came in...and as always it was enough.  These precious elderly in the Widow's Mite program are so thankful for the food every month but they are always the most thankful for wood.  We are buying more medicines than we were and again it is loaves and fishes!  The Ball family helps in Arad and Vlad is faithful in the Timis area.

The program continues at the detention center every Thursday evening. What a wonderful opportunity to bring the gospel to these children that would ordinarily be skipped over. We want them to know that The Lord has a plan for each and every one of them.

The Vinga church, Seedtime and Harvest, is doing fine. The Saturday program for the children is very poopular. Spencer and Lynsey Ball as well as Bogdan and his mother are so faithful. They are building relationships with these kids and the children know they are loved. After a dry period with the Vinga teens the group is now growing again.  It is truly amazing. It really shows - don't give up. If we are supposed to do a ministry - just do it the rest is up to God..."and God gave the increase". Last Friday night I think we had 17 there. I have taken in a new supply of bibles for them and Bogdan will start going through the New Testament - chapter by chapter.  I would like to plan a fun event or outing for them in the Spring - funds permitting.

The 2nd chance project is faltering right now. It is very expensive to get these kids back and forth to school as well as provide the supplies. God knows all this and we wait on Him. Several of the boys who attended have found some employment.

Elizabeth and Sarah are involved in several groups. They are 16 and 14, what can I say?  Phases come and go at this stage.  I do remember the teen years and I would not choose to repeat them. They are a joy to my heart and I look forward to seeing the plan of the Lord worked out in their lives.

The next big thing on the agenda is the the Grain Game Roma conference in Feb.  After last year's conference we were able to do one camp and Callum and Bogdan are following up. Spencer will be joining the team.  I am hoping we can do 3 camps this summer and have 3 new kid's clubs up and running by mid-fall.  Reaching the gypsy kids is very different from others. It is not an easy work...but oh so worthwhile!

Thank you all for your support, both prayer and financial.  Without you I would not be able to be doing this ministry. May 2015 be an awesome year for us all and may we all work together to build His Kingdom.

Monday, October 13, 2014

Last but not least...

The church in Vinga, Seedtime and Harvest, is growing. We have many more children now. The Saturday program staffed by Spencer and Lynsey as well as Bogdan and Delia is awesome! Many of these children are now coming Sundays too. They often have music prepared for us.  Elizabeth often goes on Saturday so she can accompany them with her guitar. It is time for us to have an activity of some sort for the teens, we haven't done anything for quite some time with them. Bogdan is the faithful leader of that age group.

Our young boys with their prepared song
We have 7 teens in the 2nd Chance school program this fall. The State is thinking of closing the program but we pray that they won't. This gives school dropouts a 2nd chance for a diploma.  Seed Time and Harvest pay the school costs for these kids and in several cases have provided clothes and shoes. I do not think these teens have much of a chance in life without education. The culture of their families is such that there is no emphasis on getting an education and so many are allowed to drop out. The Saturday program at the church addresses this as well as other areas besides the bible program.

Mocrea is going well.  We are hard pressed to find a different craft each week.  I think tomorrow we are making hedgehogs out of dried leaves (if I get outside soon and collect the leaves!)  The people in the mental hospital at Mocrea bless us. Scott and Carolyn, Edith and Traian are faithful to help each week. Some times really comical things happen - the patients can be pretty unpredictable. One of us will comment to another "well there's one that won't appear in a blog or fb!"  The patients rush to the windows and call out greetings, many only get out of a locked room when we have them to the program or for meals.

Elizabeth turned 16 this month. It is hard for me to believe.  She got new Converse shoes and the cartridge in her upper ear pierced as her gifts. Sarah can hardly wait until she is 16.  On your birthday you get to choose the menu, I'll cook or you can go to a restaurant of your choice. Elizabeth wanted stuffed baked potatoes AND Mexican food. In addition to the potatoes and all the fixings I made 3 pans of enchiladas, tacos, burritos and refried beans.  We had the party at Spencer and Lynsey's because they have a long indoor hallway that could accommodate 3 tables end to end.

Elizabeth's friends surprised her

Happy 16th Elizabeth!!!!

 This week I was blessed to have part of a World Race team come for a work day at my house. They are staying out at Sistarovat and Callum is scheduling their time.
Lots of painting

Fence mending and rebuilding of animal shelters

Hopefully they were well fed!

This next week it will again be time for me to visit the children's facilities where we sponsor. I hope to have all the updates sent out by November 15.

The Pre-Placed Child Development Program at the hospital is really going well. Right now we have 6 babies.  The hospital knows they can count on us to be there every week day and the staff often tell us how much they appreciate us.  I think the only way we can truly explain our favor and success is that The Lord went before us!

We are still helping many individual families with their needs. The needs will always exceed the funds but I am blessed that so much is getting done, widows visited, orphans cared for and the Word being preached!

More of what has been happening

Marius and his lovely wife Elena have been doing a wonderful job at The Kids Club (called Jesus Generation) in Sanicolaul Mic.  The group is growing and more kids and teens are coming to learn to play instruments and sing as well as learning the Word and how it applies to their lives. I am so blessed that I added on to the building when I had the funds, do we need the room now!

Widow"s Mite program has recently lost another of our elderly.  Ghita went home to be with the Lord this month.  He was really special, well I guess they are all special to me - he will be missed but I am happy he will not have to withstand another winter.  The program was blessed because I contacted the family through Bogdan and asked if I could have all the wood back as the program had purchased it and Bogdan and Scott had cut it and stacked it. This type of request is unheard of here, a neighbor had already posted a notice to try and sell it. The sister said I could have the wood so we moved it to others in the program in Dud.  God's provision is an awesome thing and I am waiting to see how He will provide for the winter for those in this program and this wood is part of it.
See you in heaven Ghita

Summer Camps

Elizabeth and Sarah spent 3 weeks up at Sistarovat at summer camp.  Elizabeth wants to join the ministry of Grain Game and go on Euro trek in the summer of 2015. She will need to raise her own funds and we are kicking around ideas now. Things that kids can do to earn money in the States do not work here so we will need to be creative.  Sarah had a wonderful 3 weeks and was very helpful at camp - she is a good little translator too.

Sistarovat 2014

We did a 2 day VBS in the village of Dud with a large team here from Saint Louis, Joy FM.  The plans were to do it outdoors but it poured the second day but we were able to get the keys to the community center and I went around the village picking kids up.

Dud 2014

Some of the Joy FM team

I can't believe I have no pictures of the carnival that this team did in Vinga. There were games and prizes, snacks and a lot of fun. Over 300 kids attended from Vinga. This is the problem - I forget to take pictures. This stuff is my life and I don't think at the time that many of you would like to see what has been happening here in my ministry. I would say something like  "I'll try to do better..." but I know I have said it before.