Friday, December 25, 2009

Boldog Karacsony!

We wish you a joyous celebration of our Saviour's birth! In Hungary we say "Boldog Karacsony!" or Merry Christmas in English. Our family is enjoying being together to celebrate with the traditions we have made over the years.

This year we have another reason to celebrate. December 2009 marks our 15th year serving as field personnel through the Cooperative Baptist Fellowship. We are grateful for those who have supported us from the very beginning and those who have joined us along the journey. God continues to guide us in this ministry among the Romany and we look forward to what the future brings. "Joy to the World, the Saviour Reigns!"

Monday, December 21, 2009

Twice the Christmas--not necessarily twice as nice

Evangelical believers in Moldova usually celebrate Christmas twice--once on December 25 according to the Western church calendar and again on January 7th according to Orthodox calendar. Does this mean twice the presents? Usually not. According to data provided by Operation Mobilisation, the per capita income in Moldova is less than $500. Keeping warm and fed takes precedence over frivolities like presents. Thank God for sending us all Hope on Christmas, no matter when or how we celebrate it.

Thursday, December 10, 2009

Moldovan Adventure #5--In Praise of Plumbing

Our daughters are greater fans of indoor plumbing than previously. The house we stayed at in Moldova had hot and cold running water (except for that small problem with the pump and the well) and a flush toilet (ditto), but many places we visited did not. Including the pastor's house right there in the "county seat" of Nisporeni. Theirs seemed luxurious, though, compared to some I've visited. Like the one without a light (or even a half-moon cut out of the door) situated sensibly in the far corner of the yard--which happened to be, unsanitarily, uphill from the family well. Such situations are one of the reasons Pastor Petru & Olesea Ciochina are interested in an eco-toilet. Though it's possible to make one from scratch, we'll be bringing a major component on our next visit. Check it out--you might be interested in one yourself!

Friday, December 4, 2009

Church Dedication: Moldova Adventure #4

After ten years of blood, sweat, and tears (lots of tears), the Bethlehem Baptist Church building in Vulcanesti, Moldova, has finally been dedicated. Though there are still some things that need to be done before the building passes final inspection, the congregation (mostly Romany) are worshipping in it. The building itself is a draw. If the lights go on at night, for any reason, people soon gather just to visit and see what’s going on.
Many of you contributed, by volunteering, by praying, by donating funds, by supporting the Offering for Global Missions which keeps us in the field . . . for the long haul. Thank you, one and all.

Thursday, December 3, 2009

Christmas in Europe

A very old tradition in Europe comes to life this time of the year. It's the outdoor Christmas market. They can be found, large and small, scattered throughout the cities across Europe. The custom is to walk through the aisles of stalls, gazing at the unusual items, while sipping mulled wine or in Budapest, eating a kalacs. It is a yeast roll baked over coals and flavored with cinnamon, nuts, coconut, or chocolate. European life at it's best!
Recently while strolling through the Budapest market I noticed two Roma men collecting trash. They weren't just collecting it, they were going through it. They were searching for scraps of food or bits they could slavage to use another way, perhaps as income. Times are economically hard right now for many people, including the Romany. Please pray for them as winter comes and they struggle to keep their homes warm. Pray for adequate clothing and good health as we deal with the flu season. Thank you for your faithfulness and devotion of prayer for the Romany.