Saturday, October 3, 2015

Elizabeth turns 17!

Wow - where did the years go?  We have always been "The Americans" here.  So many people are amazed at how well the girls know the Romanian language. They can not get their minds around the fact that Romanian is their first language.  No I am not quite the typical grandmother here. I like to think that I can do (or used to be able to do) almost anything. Why I could ride a horse, ride a motorcycle, do work on the Space Shuttle, raise children, build simple structures, shoot, cook and clean...but alas I fall short on what almost all, if not all Romanian grandmothers can do - BAKE A CAKE!  Elizabeth wanted a carrot cake with cream cheese frosting. Can I do that she asks? Well sure I say.  The results:
Before Elizabeth saw the cake I told her to remember I made it with a lot of love. Not very pretty is it.  Also I didn't have the number 7 to make up the 17.  Hey - the numbers add up to 17!  I couldn't get the numbers to stay on the top of the cake - the surface was too uneven. The cake tastes good and Elizabeth was happy with it - that's the important thing.

Grain Game camp in Vinga

Just before school started in Sept. we had a week long Grain Game camp for the kids in Vinga aged 8-12. Fifty two attended during the week. Bogdan Galea did the gospel demonstrations and teaching, Callum King and an awesome team from World Race did games and crafts while Elizabeth and Samy Novak covered the music. Everybody had a really good week.                                           

  These were a great group of kids!

Making masks - Callum and his team came up with great crafts everyday

We had rain for two of the days but had enough floor space for indoor games on those days

Bogdan did a truly great job of presenting the gospel through the GG demonstrations. The vision of GG is for the gospel to reach every child of every nation. 

Saturday, August 8, 2015

My Sarah

 It doesn't seem like I write as much about Sarah as I do the activities of her sister Elizabeth.  Sarah is having a good summer. She hadn't particularly liked the first 8 grades of school but she loves high school and is anxious for the fall semester to begin. She enters the 10th grade. She rides the train to town and back every day and that is the focal point of her social life. If I need to discipline her the biggest threat is that I would drive her to and from school!  Elizabeth would love that and wants to know why I never threaten her with that.  The girls are as different as night and day but both are a joy to my heart. Raising teens is not for the faint of heart however. Sarah is so photogenic. She would love for me to allow a tattoo or a few piercings...ah no.  Just wanted to take a moment to spotlight this gorgeous young lady.


While Elizabeth was slaving away doing camps Sarah and I were able to get a week at the Black Sea in Bulgaria. We went with the Poncey's and their girls.  It was a long drive but I so enjoy the ocean and poolside.  Scott and Carolyn as well as Tammy and Randy, visiting after a wedding, went with the girls to a water park and parasailing too. The parasailing was the highlight of the trip.  Here are some pictures:

Sarah and I both enjoyed the trip
Anghelina and Sarah on the beach
View from Apt. balcony
The lovely pools

Elizabeth and Eurotrek

Elizabeth has been a Grain Game camper for years and last year was a junior leader.  This summer she joined Eurotrek.  Eurotrek is Grain Game in Europe. Elizabeth had the opportunity to spend one week in the Ukraine, two weeks in Serbia and two weeks in Romania.  Fundraising in Romania is not an easy thing to do. Kids don't have part time jobs as a rule, they don't pay babysitters and you can't do car washes or bake sale type of projects. She wisely decided it would be somewhat rude to write to the supporters of my work and just ask for money (although some helped of course). We brainstormed and came up with nothing. I do not have the funds to just send her, besides I wanted her to raise her own funds as much as possible. I did sell a trailer just before she left which helped! Elizabeth has been invited to a Grain Game function in Alabama in January and has already made plans to join Eurotrek next summer. She feels drawn to Africa and would like to make a trip there and work with Grain Game Africa after high-school graduation. As she is gushing about her future my mind is adding up expenses... but I do know God has provision for the vision so I wasn't worried. He has provided for us here all these years.

During a week of alternate education Elizabeth took a walking tour of Arad. The city is full of old places and historical buildings. She was excited to share what she had learned with me when she got home..."LIGHTBULB MOMENT"  We decided that many people might like a similar tour of the city.  Teams of visitors come in and out all year and she could handle groups. Elizabeth has made up a booklet to hand out after the tour.  We will be advertising her tour soon on Facebook and maybe sending out e-mails. Of  course if people aren't coming to Romania and wish to support Elizabeth they will be mailed the booklet.  We are excited about this and it will give her ownership of her ministry. I am so joyful of the paths she is choosing.  Elizabeth will also help us with the Vinga camp next month.
Elizabeth in Serbia

Chip and Elizabeth

Grain Game Rromi Camp

What an awesome start to the summer.  The kids from Pesac were able to attend a summer camp up in Sistarovat!  Thanks to an American team, led by Daryl and Janna Edwards, for helping and the financial support!  This aspect of The Grain Game is fairly new.  Bogdan and Callum and a few others are the leaders. I agreed to spearhead this effort and administrate it for now until Bogdan can take over.  Grain Game primarily targets middle school age youngsters for the wonderful gospel preparations. Grain Game, Chip Riley, has developed some of the best demonstrations for children's ministry that I have ever seen.  This is our second year for camp with the Pesac kids. During the rest of the year Bogdan, Callum and team do monthly kids club with them. 

We have another camp scheduled for the 2nd week in September, just before school starts. We will be doing this camp with the Vinga youngsters. We already have a kid's club there on Saturdays run by Spencer and Lynsey Ball as well as Bogdan.

Saturday, June 27, 2015


Cati is is on the left, a mentally challenged young man that helps Roza in the middle and Roza on the right. Cati and Roza are sisters and live next door to each other in Vinga. Roza is the oldest of 14.  I know Cati is younger but I am not sure how many siblings were in between.  Cati has some trouble processing information and can be quite difficult.  Cati as well as Roza are in the Widow's Mite program.  They are not close, in fact I am not sure Cati knows Roza was baptized.

Several weeks ago Cati fell in the fields while collecting flowers to sell at the Piata.  She was transported to the hospital in town with what I thought was a broken leg. Cati returned home in less than a week. She was afraid of surgery and would not let them operate. it was her hip that was broken not her leg. She was brought back by ambulance and placed on her "bed". She could not get up to go outside (there is no bathroom).  Lynsey and I visited with her to assess the needs...whoa, what a list.  Neighbors are helping to care for her so with adult diapers,baby wipes, antibiotic cream as she has open sores where she fell, a bed pan, a walker and diaper creams and a supply of sheets, she was settled. I gave her a couple of shifts of mine to use as nightgowns as she lays in a room open to the yard.   Christine let us have one of her twin mattresses as Cati really didn't have a bed. She had a rusted box spring with old filthy blankets and a quilt for padding. It also looked like there were several layers of clothes underneath her. It was pretty smelly to say the least - let alone a REALLY bad place to be laying with open wounds. Here is a picture before she was transferred to the new nylon covered mattress. That is just packed dirt beneath those crates - and that is all the furniture in that room.

Cati is actually (and surprisingly) doing quite well and is able to move her leg around now. God is good - because without Him having His hand on her - it would have been a much worse situation. Please pray for a rapid healing and that she be able to walk again!

Roza's Baptism

Roza was quite shaken by Mihai's passing. She was worried about being baptized.  We had a fairly long discussion about the requirements to be baptized and the meaning of it. I asked her to tell me what she believed. It was really amazing. As many years as I have known her she had never spoken about the Lord the way she did then. Her Christianity is a very private matter to her.  The village assumes she is not a believer because she refuses to attend church, we discussed that too - she is no longer strong enough (she has gangrene in both legs and has refuses amputation) but more importantly to her is that the churches are full of hypocrites in her opinion and she wouldn't bother even if she could make it that far..HMMM - not much I could say there!  With Spencer, Bogdan and Edith we had a baptism service in her mud house and then I served her her first Communion. There are no words to express how glorious it was. So often I think I am just banging my head against a stone wall...and then I see the flash of light, a quick trip to the mountain top..."It is well with my soul..."  Here are a few pictures, not really good but the lighting was really bad but I did want to share them:

Ministry doesn't get much better than this!!!!

Missing Mihai

In Early May Mihai Florea went home to be with the Lord. Mihai suffered from TB as well as heart issues for some time. He had just come out of 4 months of hospitalization. Mihai loved reading the Psalms in church, he loved the Lord...but he did not have an easy life - Mihai fought alcohol for many years. He hated himself when he would start drinking again but I would remind him he had stayed sober just a little longer this time than last - just keep on fighting. He no longer has to fight - he is at peace.

Tuesday, April 28, 2015


It is so exciting to see the girls at Osana mature and grow!  I was there recently for a visit with Irene from Reaching Romania (this charity in the UK sponsors children  as well as supports many other of the projects I am involved with here in Romania) Christine and also Grant Croxford were also with us.  Grant sponsors at Maranatha and came to Romania for a week to visit and help in several of the projects we have.  I love to have people come and see the work firsthand.

The taller two girls in the back row are especially close to my heart. I have been involved in their lives since they were born. Their mother is in Mocrea and I visit with her each Tuesday while we do the program for the patients there.

Tuesday, April 14, 2015

Spring has sprung!

We had a really mild winter, which was wonderful in helping our wood supply stretch. I know the elderly in the Widow's Mite project were blessed.  Just last week we bought a little more wood for our two sisters in the program from Vinga.  I had taken pictures as we had visitors but I also have a new operating system on my computer so I have no idea where they may be hiding in my system. Cati, one of the sisters has apparently had a stroke - her right arm is paralyzed so she has great difficulty in cooking and cleaning. Her older sister Roza has gangrene in both legs. She has deteriorated a little more every time I see her. It is amazing she is still on her feet. She is waiting to die. She refuses to go to the hospital as she says they will amputate and she can not get  long in a wheel chair.  Irene, from Reaching Romania as well as Christine from England visited the sisters last week. Grant Croxford was also a visitor here for a week.

I will see her again tomorrow.  I will offer to take her laundry home and take her some food she won't have to prepare. I pray for relief from the pain. 

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.