Sunday, March 29, 2009

Pictures are worth 1000 words...

8:30AM. Crowd beginning to assemble in the street.

One and a half hour before opening the crowd is growing.

Bogdan getting names and addresses and me giving out numbers

215 boxes near the gate ready to distribute when we open at 10AM, somewhat worrisome as no Gendarme have arrived.

We begin the distribution at 10AM...the riot begins...we close the gates and try to reason with the people...

the first police arrive at 10:20 and we have to close the gates

10:20AM more police arrive and are soon joined by the Gendarme. So why weren't the Gendarme there beforehand? (I thought it was all set up!)...we were instructed to e-mail them with the particulars and the hour we needed assistance. I requested 8:30AM for them to come so we could get the people in a line and not rush the gate. The e-mail had not been opened...OOPS. This was my fault in not being sure it had reached the right people. It took some time to straighten it out!

Sani and Ionci guarding the gate as we are passing out the boxes again.

In less than one hour we have given out food parcels to more than 200 families

Bogdan and me - we survived another week!

We have moved into the unfinished building with the street access - ready to begin again. Please pray for the family that owns the building, this is a real trial for them.

Thank you all for your prayers. No one was hurt and I do not think I was fined (not quite sure yet). I had some interesting conversations with the police and Gendarme, I wanted them to see my heart and hopefully to understand why I was doing this. The people I mainly help are difficult and I do understand the prejudice. Today, as always, I feel some what down and tired and think I am truly crazy to be attempting this. If it is truly of the Lord then He will go before me. I know that in another day or so I will be planning the buying and restocking. We have another distribution April 11 and I am planning for 300 families.

Wednesday, March 25, 2009


...and that it does not rain Saturday!
I have not yet heard whether I will have Gendarme to help me at the food bank on Saturday. I need about 50 more empty boxes and then need to pack 80 more. I am hoping to have them all done before Saturday so I can utilize volunteers to get the names and addresses of people, explain the scope of the program and generally be visible. I am not sure yet how many volunteers I will have. This work is such a work of my heart that I pray it will continue and grow. it seems unless I get more help to buy and stock I can only open the food bank every other week. I also want to scout out the elderly that come to see if they qualify for the Widow's Mite program.

Edith Bond, a missionary in Hungary, is coming today for a visit. I am looking forward to her coming and will shamelessly draft her as a volunteer. Vlad and another pastor from Timis are also coming today for dinner. I think this other Pastor has many elderly that need food in his village.

I'll let everyone know how it goes Saturday! I am also praying for the Lord to go before us and hinder those who should not be getting the parcels of food. I know there are abuses but I also know I will lean in the direction of giving the food. Pray for peace and patience with the crowd.

Saturday, March 14, 2009

Yesterday was a riot!

It was cold and sunny yesterday morning and I was glad we wouldn't be working in the rain. We had almost double the food that we had for the food bank the week before and I had extra volunteers. So far so good - right?

The people had been assembling since 7AM, we open at 10AM. The crowd grew and grew. We were attempting to give out numbers and take information on those that had not been there the week before. Within minutes that became impossible. We gave out food to about 80 families and then had to stop. We couldn't open the gates as they were pushing so hard and trying to rush in every time we tried. One of the people that came to help has a friend in the Gendarme and she called him. He came and then called for a wagon and reinforcements. I felt really bad. I had the food and the people needed it and I couldn't give it out.

When the Gendarmes arrived they did bring order out of chaos. The rromi are afraid of them. They were very nice but I did expect to receive some sort of fine. I told them what I was doing and they asked if I was out of food. No, I had plenty more. They stayed while we gave out food. When they had to leave I had to close.

I am not scheduled to open again until Mar. 28. Without large food donations and more help with buying and stocking I can not do this myself every week. The Gendarme said with notice they will show up to help next time. I may have lost a couple of volunteers. Most people have not been involved in situations like this but I have. This was not my first riot! The Gendarme told me not to be afraid, and I wasn't. I told them I have been doing this for almost 12 years. Several people were saying that those people are animals and that really bothered me. It takes quite a while working with a new group to get them to understand that that behavior will stop the project. The landlady at the building was beside herself also.

I was able to talk to to many people outside as well as volunteers to explain why I am doing this: because God loves them. I have paid for the building for 3 months and await the lord to provide for the continuing of this project. The scope is truly huge but I did feel that the Lord wanted me to start. Other groups may join in. Two high school students came and they said their high school has a team of volunteers so perhaps they can come and pack boxes in advance. A neighbor came for food and stayed to help, she was a courageous little thing!

I wish I could have taken a video or some pictures, it was wild. The whole street was closed for a time due to the crowds. When I had to shut it down the first time I really was sad and sat in my truck feeling defeated. When the boxes of food were again being given out I told Paula "this makes me happy, this is my passion".

A pastor from California, Craig Turley, is involved in Joseph's Storehouse in Redlands. During a telephone conversation several years ago at a time I was very discouraged. Other missionaries don't have fights in the streets and riots. Other missionaries do not seem to be the victims of so much deceit and theft, I must be doing something wrong! Craig said to me "Jackie, Kingdom building is messy business". It sure is!

Thursday, March 12, 2009

Playground in Minis

The playground has had the rest of the equipment installed for several months but I never got out there to photograph it. It was rainy and cold but at least you can see the new stuff. This was a project the Lord laid on my heart over 2 years ago. A team from CA leveled the land and put up the fencing 2 years ago. I am blessed that it is now been completed. This playground is located at a camp in Minis. The camp is run by Ana and Cornel and they use the proceeds of their camp to fund their private children's home in Arad. This playground has also been used for the camps Cassandra has done for disabled children from State facilities. May this be used for many years as a safe place for children to play.

Wednesday, March 11, 2009

Vinga Church

After opening the food bank on Saturday and recovering somewhat we had our service at Vinga church. Our Sunday school had 50 kids and the main church was also packed. My Pastor, Rich Femia, has been visiting this last week and we were blessed to have him with us Sunday.

Pictures of Saturday Mar. 7

I also should know how to put titles under pictures - I don't! On the lower left is Bogdan handing out a box of food. Bogdan and his girlfriend Liga came to help as well as Bogdan's parents and older brother - what a blessing!

The upper left is Sarah huddled in a sleeping bag on the cement floor as we organized before opening. Both Sarah and Elizabeth ended up helping bring the numbers to those who were packing boxes.

On the right is Vio packing boxes, her husband Ionci was also there - bless them!!! It really was an awesome start to the project - there are just so many people who need food!

Food Bank Launched

Saturday was cold and rainy so I had hoped that we would have at least 10-15 families so that we could at least give out some food and get the kinks out of our system. I had purchased and stocked over $1700 in food so I had enough for the first two weeks at least. I had not advertised so that we wouldn't be swamped before we knew what we were doing and before we could acquire some large food donations. I had to close more than an hour early because we had run out of food. The response was overwhelming. We gave out food boxes to over 100 families, for a total of almost 400 people! I had a lot of help and it went pretty smoothly but...400 people?! I was totally spent and wanted to curl up in a corner and whine "Lord, I can't do this". By Sunday morning I begin to think that I would indeed continue, Monday I started to restock. This truly will have to be a work of the Lord with His provision - it is way beyond me or my capabilities. For some reason I can't get any pictures to post so I will publish this and then try for the pictures.

Monday, March 2, 2009

Food Bank to open March 7

I spent several days last week buying and transporting food to the new building. It looked like a lot piled up in the bed of the truck as well as the back seat as I made three separate trips. Many people have been asking where it will be, what hour we open etc. I thought I had bought enough for the first two weeks but I think I will go and shop some more, It would be a disaster if we ran out of food. I have been involved in near riot situations here before when this has happened with other distributions. Ordinarily this would not bother me but we will be in town and this is a rented building and I do not want to draw the attention of the police or Jardarme. Most of the people that will come at first will probably be rromi and a crowd will certainly draw attention. I pray that over the first few weeks donated food will become available. I am not sure how this project will go I only felt impressed it was time to start. Please pray for this project and thatdonated food and helpers will come!