Monday, December 29, 2008

Happy New Year!!!

I am still in Wales for the holidays. Christmas Eve and day was a little sad at times but that was not unexpected. Not knowing where the rest of my family is... and I miss the girls, I haven't had a Christmas without them before. As far as I can tell from the phone calls they are having a good visit with their father - however Sarah is ready to go home.

Today we are going from Wales to Devon England to visit Kay. I haven't seen her for a couple of years so this will be nice.

I am excited about 2009. I am getting out of survival mode and looking forward to what the Lord has planned. I am praying about a couple of new projects, one is having a summer camp for the kids in Vinga and the other is being able to establish the food bank. The food bank is a VERY large, long term project but I have found if I can figure how how to do these projects right off it may not be God...He is B-I-G. I hope to expand the Widow's Mite project also.

The start of a new year is always an adventure, serving the Lord is never dull! Thank you for your prayers and please continue to pray for me, my family and all that the Lord would have me do. That I can clearly differentiate between good ideas and God ideas!

I wish you all peace and joy, health and provision for 2009!

Wednesday, December 24, 2008

Merry Christmas

Well it is Christmas Eve day and I am in Wales for the holiday at Irene and Wayne's. They have a definite goal of getting me rested.

Elizabeth and Sarah are in England visiting their father. I pray they have a good time. They called last night and we had a nice chat. This is the first time they have been away from me at Christmas. I suspect it is harder on me that it is for them. We had our family Christmas Saturday before leaving.

I pray all of you have a joyful Christmas season! You are in my prayers.

Wednesday, December 10, 2008

Mocrea Day!

Left: Here are two of the ladies putting the decorations they just made on their Christmas tree. The tree was cut out of a green bed sheet and taped to the dining room wall. Irene and Wayne were in charge of helping the patients make the decorations. The upper left photo is of Ionut playing chess with a patient. I was in charge of coffee, soda and snacks. Next Tuesday we will go back and take Santa Claus with us. We sing carols and have a great time. I am hoping we can interest more people in volunteering there.

The photo on the right is of Wayne, Irene and our two Widow's in Paulesani. They did in fact hike up the mountain with food and gifts. It's a good thing it was a little icy up the path otherwise they wouldn't have made it - it's like a spring flows down the road and it can get pretty muddy. The lady on the right works up on the mountain watching cows. She said it is getting pretty difficult to make it up and down.

Well I learned how to correct the time on these postings - but how do you get a title or label under the pictures???? Oops, apparently I DIDN'T learn to correct the time - it is now scheduled to be published at a later time. S-I-G-H

Tuesday, December 9, 2008

Don't they look loving? I didn't even ask them to hug. HMMMM, wasn't it just this morning they were duking it out? Elizabeth is a mature 10 year old and Sarah is more of a space-cadet. Elizabeth has always had the better grades but we have discovered that math comes easier to Sarah and her grade reflects it - much to Elizabeth's annoyance! Their personalities are so different but they both can be described as strong willed. I have no idea where they might have gotten that from.

Tomorrow we make Christmas decorations at Mocrea, the State mental hospital, and then go on to Paulesani to deliver food and Christmas gifts to a couple of widows. One of them lives way up a hill and the lane is impassable with a vehicle. Wayne and Irene mentioned they were hikers...seemed like they volunteered to haul food up the hill to me! Between them and Ionut we can get a lot of food stuffs delivered there. The road in to Paulesani is almost impossible on ice so I am not sure whne I can get back there.

Monday, December 8, 2008

Casa Alexandru - Sofronea

I went to visit the center in Sofronea today. I took flour, sugar, gris (like Cream of Wheat) and rice. When I walked in I was greeted with "oh, look it's Jackie!" There is a worker there that I knew when she was working at the orphanage in Neudorf years ago.

One girl there is Andreea. Cassandra knew her from the State facility at CP3 then she was at Mocrea. Andreea was excited when I said Cassandra would visit soon. A girl sat on my lap and is my new best friend I think - and I think her name is Susie.

I promised them that Santa Claus would visit and bring each a present. There are 4 females and 2 males at this house, it started out as a private facility but was given to the State when the foundation could not afford the help or the overhead.

I look forward to putting together a program there and getting some others involved.

I had an awesome photo included in this post with Andreea and Susie on my lap but then I thought "Ah Oh" State facility - no pictures allowed. Bummer.

Saturday, December 6, 2008

I received a phone call earlier today asking if I would attend the funeral of one of the street people. I remember faces and stories but names often escape me. His name was Vale and he was just 30 years old. Once I heard about him I remember him from from when I first started working here in Romania. I purchased farm equipment for an orphanage where the teen boys were trying to farm by hand. I had seen Vale on the streets over the years. It was rainy, cold and muddy, not a pleasant time to be on the streets - not a pleasant time to be buried. The street people by and large die young. It is one of the sadder aspects of the life here in Romania.

This evening a lady came to see me that runs a center here in Sofronea. She currently has 6 people in residence, most with mental problems. She sought help a few places and was told to come and see me. This seems like a natural, right in my home village. Two of the residents used to be in Mocrea. They need food and volunteers. I promised to bring some food on Monday and will work on getting some people to help there. I told her I did not think I was strong enough yet to come and volunteer there for a whole day but would do what I could. I'll write more about this new project next week.

Have a wonderful weekend!

Friday, December 5, 2008


Irene, Wayne, Peter and Christine were over for dinner tonight. Irene and Wayne have taken over the British charity, Reaching Romania. We were talking of the year to come and going over some of the vision for the future. I talked about a food bank and expanded feeding program, this really excites me. We plan to expand the Widow's Mite program. I seem to have spent a lot of 2008 in a survival mode that it was nice to once again speak of future projects. I am looking forward to 2009!

I will be in Wales with Irene and Wayne for Christmas (the girls will be visiting their father) and will have a chance to share about the work here.

I continue to pray for people to come along side and help. Everything has been getting done, maybe not on the schedule I want but then I am not really in control of all this.

Before Peter and Chris head back to England we will be distributing much of the Widow's Mite Christmas gifts. This Monday they all go up to Galos Petreu for the distribution there. It is earlier than I would have liked but I need to be all done by Dec. 20th this year. We make up 140 gift bags for Mocrea Psychiatric Hospital for the big party we do there at Christmas. We have food and gift distribtion in Vinga as well as the school Christmas party.

Tuesday, December 2, 2008

A Sarahism.

Sarah must have seen one of those pictures of an "almost blond" Jesus. Sarah wanted to know what Jesus looked like. Well...we have no photos but we assume he looked more like the people from the geographical area than some of the pictures depict. Sarah asked if he had blue eyes... no. probably not - in fact Sarah I imagine he had nice brown eyes like you do. Sarah thinks for a second and, I am Jewish?

Sunday, November 30, 2008

I celebrated Thanksgiving with around 50-60 of my fellow missionary friends at my school. We had all the traditional goodies and it was a lot of fun. I was so happy to be out of the hospital to do that! I had told the doctor she had to either release me on Wednesday or give me a pass to get the building ready.

I also got a pass out of the hospital on Nov. 18, the day Ionut and Cassandra's daughter Caroline arrived! Cassandra's mom is here from Texas which is a real blessing. Cassandra had an emergency C-section but all is well and Caroline is gorgious!

I am behind on getting the Orphan Sponsor letters done. Adina Luca has done them for me for several years but she is now in the States working as a Nanny. I am going to try and get as many done as I can via e-mail. I hope this works for everyone. If you are waiting for your letter - I will get them all done, I promise!

I am so blessed that I have so much help for this Christmas season. I came out of the hospital feeling very much behind the power curve. Then I realized Christine and Peter were here until the 10th of Dec. and Wayne and Irene and here until the 17th.

This year Irene did all of the Christmas shoebox gifts in Wales and they arrived here by truck weeks ago. I think we have around 350 to distribute this year. Peter is doing most of the driving so that really saves me!

We will celebrate our family Christmas the 19th. The family that has helped me with the girls and other work for years, Vio and Ionci, are unhappy we will not be home for Christmas. Elizabeth and Sarah will be spending Christmas with their father and his wife's family. I will be accompaning them to England on the 21st and then going on to Wales to spend Christmas with Wayne and Irene. So...that means the girls want our tree up next week....

I will try and start putting more pictures in the blog (it's on my list of things to do).

Wednesday, November 26, 2008

Thank you for all of your prayers, I got out of the hospital yesterday! I am feeling much better and I am trying to balance playing catch up with not over doing it. I have so very much to be thankful for!!

This evening is the Thanksgiving missionary pot luck. I have the turkey roasting as I type. I think there will be over 60 people attending which is awesome!

Irene and Wayne arrived late last night from Wales, it will be so good to see them again. They will be here in Romania until around the 19th of Dec. They collected and packaged more than 300 Christmas shoebox gifts which arrived a few weeks ago.

I had better go and baste the turkey - just wanted to say Happy Thanksgiving!

Wednesday, November 5, 2008

Yesterday was our day at Mocrea. Mocrea is the State mental hospital. We now go once a week and have amassed a lot of craft supplies, puzzles and games. I am hoping to find more volunteers to go with us, even once a month would help.

George is a patient there and has been for around 7 years. He was involved in an work related explosion that has left him with only one eye, cranial damage as well as other injuries. George does not receive compensation as he was working "black" - not legally employed. He doesn't need to be housed in a mental hospital. When I met George he was a very glum dour man - he has no hope for a better life. He is not interested in hearing about the Lord.

I talked to him about the possibility of a group home with maybe 4 men living there. George said he can wash dishes and clothes. This may be a really worthwhile project in the future, a group home. The administrator and I have discussed it and she said I could get all sorts of State help once I acquired the actual house.

George looks forward to our weekly visits. He will sometimes play chess with me. He does stay and socialize which is a big step forward for him, he is not always in the deep depression.

Thursday, October 30, 2008

Today I am headed to Hunedora and Maranatha orphanage. This is the first project I started when I began working here in Romania in 1993. It is an orphan sponsor program. I have not personally done the sponsor updates in about 5 years. A lovely young Romanian woman, Adina Luca, has been doing the twice yearly letters and pictures. This relieved me of some work and helped her with her college tuition as I paid her a little to help. Adina is going to the States for a year so I have had to take this back over. I am looking forward to seeing the children and that facility again.

I am going to try and do most of the sponsor updates and pictures by e-mail. I hope this will be OK with the sponsors. My work load is requiring some reorganization and labor saving plans. Right at this time I do not have the help I did last year and also I have had some health challenges but Praise God everything is getting done!

Sunday, October 19, 2008

I wrote about Elizabeth saving to buy a house dog. Following that posting I discussed with Elizabeth that if we go to the States next year we might be able to pick up a puppy and bring it back in a little carrier that would fit under our seats in the plane. Elizabeth thought that was a fine idea and would continue to save her money. Elizabeth's money has been stolen from her piggy bank. I have had several thefts in the last year but this one from Elizabeth effected me more. Who could steal from a child's bank? This theft robbed Elizabeth of more than money. I said I would replace the funds but it is not the same anymore. No one broke in to our house, it is obviously someone that we openly allowed in. How sad is this? It seems to me that it is only a betrayal when it is someone we trust - people we do not have a relationship with can not really betray us. Elizabeth feels betrayed. I now need to work on her forgiving the thief and putting this behind her. That is the path we all must take in life.

Monday, October 13, 2008


This gorgeous view is one I was blessed to have on a recent 6 day trip to Switzerland. We only had 3 days in Switzerland the rest of the time was spent in travel, but it was worth it. A ministry from the States, Bill Kaiser Ministries, has a Time of Refreshing every year for missionaries. I went once in 2003 when it was in Cluj but have not been since. May the Lord richly bless all those involved in making these available to us (at no charge to us by the way!) Who can't use 3 days of being blessed and babied? I like hearing about the ministries of the others. All of them have their struggles too.

Elizabeth's Birthday

It is hard for me to believe that Elizabeth is 10 years old! We had a party for her at McDonalds. That is Sarah in the red dress on the right, she is 8 1/2 now.

Elizabeth is saving her money for a dog. I do not want another dog. We added dog #3 to our menagerie this summer. The new addition, Rocky, just keeps getting bigger and bigger. He is only 7 months old now but is already HUGE, I think we should have named him Clifford. (For those of you who do not watch videos with kids or grandkids, Clifford is a house-sized big red dog.) Elizabeth wants a house dog, a pure bred at that. She saw one at a pet store and it is almost $800! When she asked for it I said what any sensible adult would have said "sure you can have it, save your money". If you know Elizabeth you know that it is a possibility!

Thursday, September 25, 2008

There is another lady in Timis whose name is Mina Pandel. I can not find a picture of her on the computer. Vlad took one on his camera and I will share it later.

Mina took the time a few years ago to explain to me how it is that so many old people are just forgotten. In a very matter of fact way she told that the State was responsible and would take care of old people. It was a Godless society and the State was everything. This explanation unfolded when I found that Mina has 8 children and did not receive any help from them. Mina thought there was nothing odd about being abandoned in her old age, there was no emotion attached.

This lady still does hard physical labor in the fields, milks cows to receive a pint of milk herself, and now is living in a shed attached to the house. What happened to her being in the house? The house is in the name of her son and the son's wife has little use for helping her mother-in-law apparently. They had other people they wanted to let use the other parts of the house, collecting rent I am sure. The daughter came upon the scene while we were there and Ionut asked why Mina was relegated to the shed, couldn't she stay in the house? I saw the look on the daughter's face and I knew that Mina would suffer when we left. I was able to get Mina aside and talk to her. Her daughter would mistreat her if given the opportunity but there was a neighbor that looks out for that type of situation and had advised Mina to involve the police, which she has.

When I was talking to Mina there were tears, no longer is it the emotionless situation. How could the children she raised do this to her? I hugged her and said we would pray for her. I also gave her money for wood and instructed her to hide it right then while I keep an eye open for the daughter. Ionut had engaged the daughter in conversation so I could give Mina the money. We also gave Mina some comfy slippers, a lap blanket and a bright pink stuffed dog! She hugged that dog to her and there was joy on her face. I'll bet she had never been given something like that. We named the dog Rosa.

Mina has always been one of the special ladies to me. She was so excited to see me as she knew I had been sick. She asked if I would keep coming to see her as long as I lived. That made me smile, at her age I SHOULD outlive her.

There is often so little we can do for these forgotten old people, only love them and give what little help we can. Hugging these woman and seeing their tears because of a visit is a very humbling experience. Pray for Mina, pray for Smilia and Aurelia...pray for them all please.

Visiting Widows

This week I drove Ionut and Vlad to visit the widow's in the judet of Timis. Because of the distance we only deliver food every 6 weeks rather than once a month here in Arad. Because of recent health issues I had not been able to visit with these ladies in months.
Pictured above with Ionut, is Aurelia and on the bottom is her mother Smilia. Aurelia is 70 years old and profoundly retarded and has been disabled her entire life. Smilia is now 87 and has cared for her all these years. I think Smilia's husband had died years ago. Smilia said she was counseled early on to just leave Aurelia in a State institution but she would not. Aurelia sits on a potty chair all day and is placed in a crib at night. A neighbor comes to do this as Smilia can no longer lift Aurelia. Smilia is tired. I have talked with her and her fear is that she will die before her daughter does. We pray together and include a request that the Lord take Aurelia moments before He takes Smilia home. Smilia has found peace in this I think.
They stay in a small room with cracked walls and a dirt floor. There is a bigger room in the house and in in my western mindset I suggested we could fix it up and move them where it would be nicer. Smilia said she was used to this and wouldn't want to change. I thought - well besides food what can I do to make her life somewhat easier or nicer? I remembered that we had received bed pads - would they like them? How about new bedding? Now that brought a smile to the mother's face. We will take the bedding and pads to her soon. I also think a big bouquet of flowers would be great. It doesn't seem like much though.
The mother's strength and perseverance leaves me in awe. When I start to feel down over some of the little problems of my life I think of this mother and child.

Wednesday, September 17, 2008

This is Ionut Bindea,who helps me with the Widow's Mite program, and Elena Ciobanu. We refer to Elena as the Tee Pee lady because she lived in a little lean-to at the edge of a field that resembled an Indian Tee Pee. That place burned down the next winter.

When we found Elena she was knitting socks from wool she scavenged from along side the roads. She would unravel sweaters or whatever she could find. I tried to buy a pair of these socks but she would only trade them for food. Last winter I finally managed to get a pair for her sponsor after reminding her I had been faithful with bringing her food for a long time.

Elena is 88 years old now but looks better than she did a couple of years ago. She was recently baptized and for that we rejoice. Elena lives in a little shed where the wind whistled through the gaps in the walls. Last winter we went and nailed tar paper to the inside walls and then covered the tar paper with blankets and quilts. It warmed up immediately and it was pretty! One by one I saw that the blankets have disappeared. It is time to buy all the participants in the Widow's Mite program winter wood. The price has almost doubled from last year and there are currently 25 old people in the program.

If you, or someone you know would, like more information about this program or the other things I am involved in here in Romania please go to my web-site at This site needs to be updated and I will get to that soon. Actually this blog thing is so much easier!

Happy Wednesday

This is one of the pictures from our mini vacation in Hungary before school started. Seated on the couch with Elizabeth is Edith, a missionary from New Zealand that has served in Hungary for many years. That is Sarah and myself behind the couch.

I can't believe how big the girls are. Elizabeth will be 10 years old in two more weeks and Sarah is 8 1/2. I will have to get a picture of Sani posted soon - hard to believe he is 19.

I am still fighting a few health issues. I may have to concede soon that I may never be able to do all that I used to - BUMMER!

Saturday, September 13, 2008


I was just a mere slip of a girl at 50 (OK, so I have NEVER been a slip of a girl) when I came to live in Romania. Early on in my career I had wanted to retire at 55. After I moved here I just thanked God that He had let me leave my job even earlier! The thought and benefits of Social Security seemed an eon away.

Today I am 62 and eligible for Social Security - boy does time fly when you are having fun. My granddaughter Elizabeth asked me if now I don't have to work anymore to which I replied "well you never retire from God and that is who I really work for".

I stopped recognizing my birthdays some time ago but today it is different, I can celebrate "retirement". I just wanted to share that.

P.S. in reviewing the post I realize my blog shows it is still Sept. 13 - here in Romania it is Sept. 14. Anyone know how to correct the time the blog is posted? It must be on California time.

Friday, September 12, 2008

Hearing from the Lord

There are so many changes going on here in Romania with missionaries being reassigned as well as going home. I am hearing from other missionaries in other places that they too seem to be in a state of transition. Please hold me up in prayer that I might hear the Lord clearly in several areas.

Since spring I have had several health challenges. It has been wisdom for me to somewhat limit my schedule. Due to some of the changes in the lives of others who were helping me I do not have the same pool of people to draw from to help me.

This is just sort of a "thought for today" prayer request!

Saturday, September 6, 2008

Vinga Teens at summer camp

Look - I figured out how to post this!


Our Sunday School has really grown in Vinga. We also have a youth group with about a dozen teens. It has always been one of my visions to expand the work with the children in that village.

Our teen group was at a summer camp, the first time many of them had been out of the village and the very first time any of them had been to the mountains! Ionut Bindea, who helps me with Widow's Mite, is the teen leader. We had to purchase bathing suits and PJs for all the kids as well as one outfit each. We didn't want our kids to look like "the token poor kids" at this camp. They had a wonderful time! I will post a picture of that adventure but being computer stupid this is the best I can do for one posting.

We have just about finished adding on a large room to the church for the Sunday School. God is moving in Vinga and He is letting me go along for the ride - WHHEEEE!!!!

Irene Phillips was here for a month and managed to purchase school clothes, shoes, back packs and some school supplies for 23 of the children from Vinga. She and Adina Luca scoured Arad for every possible bargain. The money went just like the loaves and fishes!

Friday, August 29, 2008

Vacation in Debrecen

The girls and I spent a wonderful few days visiting friends and sightseeing in Debrecen, Hungary.

Here is a photo from our tour of the Hortobogy (Great Plains) of Hungary.

Jackie is now in the BLOGosphere!

Watch this space for more news!!!