Four Months. That's how long our family has been living here in Bucharest, Romania. Some days it feels like we just arrived and others it feels like we've been here for years. One day we can see so much progress being made in one or multiple areas, and the next everything feels foreign and impossible to accomplish. During our time of preparation and training for the field, we were told multiple times that this season would resemble the flow of waves. Constantly moving in and out of difficulties and triumphs until one day the waves start to spread out more and eventually level out as greater acclimation is achieved. One thing we can certainly attest to is that every single person that shared this wisdom with us was correct. This is a perfect metaphor for what our days and weeks feel like. All in all, its comforting to be able to remind ourselves that we know this is a part of the process and more importantly, its only for a season. One verse that has brought so much comfort and reassuarance to our family is 2 Corinthians 12:9 where Paul says, "But he said to me, 'My grace is sufficient for you, for my power is perfected in weakness.' Therefore, I will most gladly boast all the more about my weaknesses, so that Christ's power may reside in me." Although this has been and still is a difficult season for us, it has been so humbling and amazing to see God's power at work around us even at our most weakest points. He doesn't need us to be able to do it all on our own perfectly. He only asks for us to obediently submit ourselves to Him so that His glory and power can be revealed. What a comforting reminder this has been for us as we press forward in our calling.
October was an exciting month as fall arrived and brought with it the cooler weather and fun, autumn activiites. We have visited several new parks and been able to interact with new families. Many people we meet are so gracious and allow us to practice langauge with them. We carved a pumpkin as a family and have even been able to enjoy a few pumpkin spice drinks at some local coffee shops!
Along with fun, fall activities, October also brought with it an increase in Covid cases. A 4th wave has entered Romania and Covid cases are on the rise. Romania is having to send patients to neighboring countries as hospitals are well beyond capacity in many areas. As of now, the Romanian government has mandated that masks be worn at all times outside the home. Unless you are vaccinated, you cannot enter into any restaurant or mall. Some stores, such as Starbucks, will allow you to order your drink, but you must take it with you. There is also a curfew. All unvaccinated people must be inside their home by 8:00pm unless there is a good explanation to not be. All other people must be in from 10:00pm to 5:00am. Understandably these new restrictions have affected our family and many others, but we are continuing to press forward with our language studies and meeting with people in creative ways that fall within the guidelines given. We are praying for all of those affected by Covid and that cases would begin to decline soon.
Ministry Updates: Outside of language, we have begun working on a project where we will map out the city of Bucharest. This means that we will learn where all of the evangelical churches are located in the area and where there is a need for new churches. Mapping Bucharest will also include identifying their important landmarks such as embassies and medical facilities. Drew has been meeting with other missionaries in the city along with other pastors, and will soon be meeting with Baptist Union officials. His goal is to network and determine what the needs are here. We have also started a small group that meets weekly in our home. We are watching The Chosen series and we discuss the show afterwards. We are excited about this opportunity to share the love of Christ with those who attend.
Language: We are progressing well. Our tutor says that we are on track for learning the language and meeting our goals. We are going to tutoring three hours a day for five days a week. Drew was in the gym with a man he hasn't seen in three weeks due to the Covid mandates and the man told Drew that he was impressed with where he was in his Romanian language. We are both beginning to have full conversations with people. The most difficult part is still hearing the words that Romanians say. If they slow down, we can understand them better. We try to pick up a word or two in every sentence in order to try to figure out what is being said. We are told that we will eventually begin to understand, so we have to remind ourselves that language learning is a marathon and not a sprint.
As we enter the month of November, lyrics from the sweet hymn, "I need thee every hour" have been such a comfort to us. "I need Thee every hour, in joy or pain. Come quickly and abide, or life is vain." We can do nothing apart from Christ and we will choose to rejoice even during the most challenging moment because we know a life devoted to Him is the only kind of life worth living. Thank you for praying for our family and please know each of you means so much to us!
Below are a few prayer requests for our family:
1. Pray for our Mapping of Bucharest project.
2. Pray for God to bring new relationships and networking opportunities.
3. Pray for our neighborhoods, Cismigiu (pronounced Chish Mi Jew) and Piata Romana, and that we would have the opportunity to share the gospel with neighbors.
4. Pray that our small group will be fruitful.
5. Pray for those affected by Covid and that numbers would begin to decrease soon.