Friday, November 9, 2018

Warmth . . . For More Than One Winter . . . ?

In previous winters, people from the Roma village of Vulcanesti, Moldova, could pick up firewood off the forest floor. Not exactly legal, but the forest ranger looked the other way. Until this year. So what are people who cannot afford to buy fuel going to do? In a climate where people heat their homes 9 months out of the year?

Enter three different sources of help:  donations to our programming fund; donations from the Baptist Church Arnhem-Centrum, the Netherlands; and donations from Quelle des Lebens, a Roma-and-Sinti church near Bonn, Germany.
So far, we've been able to provide 11 families in Vulcanesti with 2 cubic meters of wood per household. We hope to provide the poorest families in two other Roma communities with firewood, too.

For this winter.
What about next winter?
And the winter after that?

We need help, too. Help in finding long-term, truly helpful solutions.
Help in offering development (sustainable solutions for the future) rather than just aid (firewood for right now).

Friday, September 14, 2018

Trip Report--Moldova, September 2018

Last week we went to Moldova with one goal:  to see what God had planned for us. He had not revealed much of this plan to us in advance.
This is what unfolded, day-by-day.
 Pastor Otta & Kennedy Laubing's church in Germany had a vision. They wanted to partner with a Roma community in Moldova to make a long-term difference.

We found two. One in the north, where we received a royal welcome by various officials in the town hall . . . and another village in central Moldova, where I had visited once before.

We were thanking God that in both places, the Roma could understand most of the Sinti Romani which Otta and Kennedy speak. 

This was particularly crucial when we visited the church in the Roma village of Vulcanesti.  

Our German translator wasn't able to go with us, so Otta and Kennedy were completely dependent on Romani. 

Even though their Sinti Romani is very different from the Ursari Romani spoken in Vulcanesti, Kennedy was able to preach (with a little help) and Otta was able to lead a children's program.

All along the way, 

they distributed  a lot of Christian materials 

in Romani languages . . . 


Puck made a lot of new friends!

Thursday, August 30, 2018

What I Saw in Moldova: Innovation!

This humble Moldovan home does not have indoor plumbing (note little house with red roof). It does have a shower with solar water heating (note blue shower curtain).

Their next-door neighbor has a larger house with the same energy-efficient solar-heated shower. 

I'm heading back to Moldova next week. I'll be visiting other Romany villages in new part of the country. I'll also be meeting with a business-as-missions person to discuss innovate ways of creating employment. Prayers, ideas, and solar-heated showers will all be welcomed!


Wednesday, August 15, 2018

What I Saw In Moldova: Hope

We were driving back from Sunday worship in a Romany village in Moldova when this rainbow appeared over the road. In retrospect, this sign of hope seems especially fitting. The worship service had been full of men and women. Twelve years ago very few, if any, women regularly attended.
A Romany church leader had preached in his own language. He had kept the services going while the regular pastor had had to go abroad for employment. In the past, when the church had been without an outside pastor, things had fallen apart. This time, they had continued to have youth meetings on Tuesdays, midweek Bible study, and Friday prayer meetings--in addition to Sunday worship.
Earlier that day, this leader and a group of other believers had driven an hour north to another place with a small Baptist church. They had invited the Romany they knew there to the worship service. They had grown themselves and were eager to share the Good News with others.
Sometimes Moldova seems like a hopeless place and the Romany there seem like a hopeless people. But God's promised hope glows here, too.

Saturday, July 21, 2018

What I Saw in Moldova--Cherries!

Sweet cherries. 

Sour cherries. 

Red cherries. 

White cherries. 

Fresh cherries. 

Pitted cherries.

Cherries turned to juice. (No, that is not cherry cola.)

Moldova is rich in cherries.

Saturday, July 14, 2018

What I Saw in Moldova--Families!

Families sometimes include several generations . . . 
. . . as well as pets . . .

. . . or neighbors . . .

Families may live in their own home . . .

. . .  or be invited to share the home of a friend . . . 

And some families delight in one another!

Saturday, July 7, 2018

Different Kind of Food

Remember this lady (Every Mother's Child, post in May)? I visited her last October. Pastor Petru Ciochina and I brought her a food packet. (Thanks to all of you who contribute to the Texas Baptist Hunger Offering.) Her roof leaked.
Last month I was in the Republic of Moldova again. Before we could bring around food packets again, we were asked to come and pray with this lady. Her family expected her to die. She hadn't eaten anything for a month, they told us. She lay curled up on a couch and periodically asked for a drink of water. In her own Romani language.
We talked with her about the home God had prepared for her, and that He invited everyone to go there. We don't have to do anything but put our trust in Jesus. We prayed for her.
Then, when we brought around food packets, we came by  again. Since we knew she couldn't eat anything, we brought her a small gift and prayed for her again. A number of you also prayed for her. Later, Roma Christians from the church came, too. The pastor and his wife brought her some geranium plants, to replace the ones that had frozen (in her kitchen windowsill!) during the cold snap in January.
A couple of days ago, when I called the pastor and his wife, I asked about this aged lady. Was she still alive?
Oh, yes. She was up, eating again, and moving around her house. Her family, who had all been pretty sure she was about to die, asked the pastor what happened. Well, it certainly wasn't any food packet that made the difference!