Hello everyone and Happy New Years! We know, we are a little late on the celebration, but that is our life at the moment; very busy, exhausting, and very little time. We hope your Christmas was wonderful and you are having a great start to your New Year. 2023! Wow another year in the books in Romania with another one beginning. We cannot believe that Christmas Day marked a year and a half for us here as well. Time flies!
Well Christmas Day was great for us. We enjoyed a team party the night before at the home of a new colleague of ours. It was actually our first Christmas party with a team since arriving as the first Christmas we were alone. We actually did not have any teammates in Romania for our first Christmas. This party also helped with the sadness of missing our own family. Our kids, as most kids, woke up excited to see what was under the tree. Then the ripping of paper began, but ended faster than the gifts were put under the tree. It was nice to be able to FaceTime family as the kids were unwrapping their gifts. Afterwards we cooked a Christmas breakfast and then went to church to worship with our friends and colleagues.
Shortly after Christmas our kids became sick again for the 3rd time within three months. This was a very difficult time for us because there were long nights from different kids waking up at different times throughout the night. This was on top of Claira's normal wake up's throughout the night. Adding sickness to this made it even more difficult. Living in an apartment is already difficult, but then we had three sick kids who couldn't go outside to run off any energy that they had. Even with one kid healthy, both of us needed to be inside helping with the other two sick kids. There is no ability to be able to sit on the front porch with a baby monitor watching one kid play while the other two sleep or rest from their sickness. The only time we could leave was to go to the grocery store, the doctor, or the pharmacy. Sitting within four concrete walls day in and day out really gets to your head. So just to give an update on our New Years, you can be sure that Brooke and I were up to ring in the New Year. Through it all, we were able to catch the fireworks that many people were shooting off throughout the city. Lydia was already awake for this, so we woke up Emerson so he would not miss the show.
Ministry Update: The New Year came with new opportunities. Drew has finished his project of building a database of all Baptist Churches in Bucharest and Ilfov County as well as gathering data about most of the churches. Unfortunately some of the pastors weren't willing to offer any information about their church. The information received shows several gaps as to where new churches could be planted or where training might be needed. It also shows that there is one suburban city on the outskirts of Bucharest that does not have any Evangelical Churches. Only an Orthodox and a Catholic church. We began praying about this and felt led to plant a church in this town. Drew began meeting with pastors and will soon begin searching for a team to help with this church plant, possibly two. He has also taken several teams from America to this town to prayer-walk.
The next project we plan to begin soon is training on digital engagement in and around Bucharest. Digital engagement is using digital media to communicate, form community, and find information in the digital world. Millions of people are online a large part of their day and so we want to meet people where they are at. Both Brooke and myself are starting the process of recruiting a small team to take on this project as well and beginning this training in February. The training will end with an in-person training in the UK. We hope that our whole team will be able to go. Also with this project comes the need to raise funds to run the digital media platforms, create advertisement, and for our in-person training event. So if you are reading this, could you please take a moment to pray about how you could be a part of this opportunity to digitally reach Romanians in and around Bucharest? Our colleagues have had a lot of successful with this around Europe and we pray that we will also.
Language Update: We are continuing language through March 2023. We have both taken tests recently and tested pretty high, but there is still much to learn and practice.
Pray for good health for our family. We have been through the ringer with sickness.
Pray for the church plant as well as searching for a faithful and dedicated team.
Pray for our digital engagement project and for it to be successful in reaching people with the Gospel.
Pray that we are able to recruit a team for our digital engagement project and that we are able to raise funds over the next five months to put this project into action.
Pray that we continue to grow in our language, especially before we end in March.