And so the Work Begins!
It's been a busy month for us, but we are so excited to send out this monthly update! Winter is coming to a close, and we see evidence of Spring coming in little ways every day. We've had a few warm days spent outside at our neighborhood park and are beginning to see trees and flowers begin to bud and bloom. To say we are excited to see Spring arrive is an understatement and we can't wait to see what this coming season brings.
One of our biggest updates is the start of a church plant that we are leading along with another pastor in a suburb right outside of Bucharest. For the past 20 months our focus has been on learning the Romanian language. We have been praying about this suburb called Popești Leordeni for several months now as it does not currently have any Evangelical churches there. The city is predominately Catholic with Orthdoxy being recogzied by those in the city who are not Catholic. At the beginning of March, Drew was approached by a pastor who is from Popești who has also been praying about planting a church there. He currently pastors another church in a suburban city outside of Bucharest, but has been burdened for the city in which he grew up in and currently resides. After a few weeks, he told Drew he had gathered a small team from his current church ready to plant a healthy church in Popești and asked Drew if he would lead the training of the team. We discussed it, prayed about it, and said yes! At this point we have met with the team twice and things are going well. Drew is working alongside another American pastor from our home church on training ideas and currently has the team reading a great book called Discipleshift. This book is also in Romanian of course. We ask that you would keep the city of Popesti, the team, and us in your prayers as we follow the Lord's lead with this church plant. We are also praying about a building to meet in and funding of the church plant as funds are scarce. We are excited to see all that God does in Popesti.
Last month Drew began training for Digital engagement and has had three training sessions so far. The intentions of this project are to reach Romanians living in and around Bucharest with the gospel through digital means. We are currently recruiting a team who will help us record and write gospel material for the website. This material will then be advertised on various social media platforms. People who visit the website will have the opportunity to interact with the team and meet in person to hear the gospel more. The goal with this project is to reach Romanians who the team would otherwise never encounter in person, make disciples of Jesus Christ, and either plant new churches or lead them to an existing church with strong discipleship programs. Currently the trainers have Drew conducting interviews with our target group which will provide information to help with advertising. We have seen how successful this project has worked for other colleagues across Europe and are excited to see it work in Romania.We are praying that God will use it to plant many new churches or grow the current churches. This project will also need funding with an estimate of $500-$1,000 each month for advertising and possibly paying someone to help with the influx of messages. We hope that you will consider helping with this project. The training will end in June and we will prepare to launch after that. Donations can be given at this link. Under the first drop down box, please click on "missionary or team" . Then type Andrew Tucker for Missionary Name and Romania for the country.
We were also able to do some fun, family outings this month! Our whole family made a trip out to Therme which is an indoor water park and spa. Being one of the largest in Europe, there is tons to do and the kids enjoyed swimming in the wave pool, going down several water slides, and eating ice cream! It was Claira Grace's first time swimming and she had a blast as well. It was definitely a much needed trip, and we were able to spend some great family time together. Our family was also able to attend one of Emerson's classmate's birthday party. This was a great opproutnity for us to get to know the families at his school better and we were able to practice our Romanian as well.
Prayers for our church planting team in Popesti, for God to remove the barriers that we will face, for the finances of this church plant, and a building to meet in.
Prayers for the research and training to be completed with the digital engagement project, that God sends us the team that we need to be successful, and provides the funds necessary to run the program.
We are still undecided on school for Lydia next year. The free public school near us has terrible reviews from several Romanian parents which leaves us with the option of private schools or keeping her home one more year. Please help us pray through this decision. We would love for her to have the social interaction each day that school provides like her brother, but are fine keeping her at home if that is where the Lord leads us.