We cannot believe it has been about one month since our last post. Time is flying by. So many exciting life events or ministry opportunities have happened since being here. Most of the life events are happy while others have been sad. Maybe that is just life. You hope for the difficult times to fly by such as the pain and sickness from Brooke's pregnancy, but know that you want other things to go slow such as your children growing up. Here we are experiencing our first Spring in Romania as residents. Most of you know that we have been to Romania four times before on short-term mission trips. We have always come at the end of March or in Mid-April. Experiencing Spring is different on a short trip than it is being here long-term. We are seeing the grass grow, trees blossom, and feeling the weather finally warming up!!! People have finally begun to take off their thick, winter coats to enjoy the warmer weather. We have been watching the weather in North Carolina where we are from and are jealous at times of how warm it is there. We have also been watching the weather closely because we have been planning a beach trip to Albena, Bulgaria for a few months, and want the weather to be nice. Comparing the weather in Bulgaria and Romania to North Carolina is quite different because North Carolina is significantly further south than Bulgaria is. Romania is on the same parallel as Minneapolis, Minnesota where as North Carolina is on the same parallel as the islands of Cyprus or Crete in Greece. That is a significant difference. If only our trip were to Cyprus or Crete. Maybe one day.
Here are some updates on life here in Bucharest:
We are still in the process of looking for an apartment for our growing family. If you've been keeping up with our past few blogs, you'll remember that we've been looking for some time now. Over the course of the last few months, we've seen a few potential places, but each time something fell through or just wasn't right. It has been frustrating and discouraging at times, but we know the Lord sees the needs of our family and that the right place is out there. He has been so faithful to provide for us in so many ways over the past year and we know He will continiue to do so. Some good news is that we asked our current landlord for additional time in our apartment so that we can keep looking, and he was more than happy to accomidate that request. We have been given until the end of June to find another apartment. Please pray with us that we would be able to find the right place soon as our third baby will arrive in July and there is still much to do in preparation.
Another update is that Drew has begun meeting with pastors again from Bucharest. He recently finished a project where he located all active Baptist churches in Bucharest, found important details on them all, and input them into a database. This information will be used to place all churches on a map and help us, as well as other partners, determine where new baptist churches are needed. We look forward to reviewing this project with our leadership. With that in mind, Drew would like to begin meeting each pastor in order to form relationships with them. As IMB team members, we want to know how we can come alongside these pastors and either help their current church or a new church plant. Building relationships is key in being successful with this.
Drew also had the opportunity to preach at a church here in Bucharest. It was originally planned to be done on April 24th, which is the Orthodox Easter, so Drew prepared an Easter sermon. Many churches here in Romania follow the Orthodox calendar. The translator/worship leader ended up being sick that weekend so church was cancelled. The pastor asked Drew to come back the next weekend and Drew preached his first Easter sermon then. Afterwards we all shared in an Easter meel that consisted of more Sarmale with cozonac bread. We are really enjoying this Sarmale. It was a wonderful Sunday as we were able to meet many new people from that congregation, and even have some deeper, Gospel conversations with several about the sermon.
In America many of you can attest that going to the DMV is not your favorite errand to run. Recently Drew had the opportunity to experience the "DMV" here in Romania. We recently received a larger vehicle by our organization and the vehicle needed to be put into Drew's name as the owner as well as recieve new license plate tags. Here in Romania you must go to one building to register the vehicle in your name and then go to another building run by the Bucharest Police Department to register for a new license plate. Overall the experience was pleasent. Mainly because we are blessed to have a Romanian contact who helps us with this service along with many others. This person registered Drew's name into the system at the Police Department and waited while Drew took the metro to the office. By the time Drew arrived his number in the queue was being called. Side story: Years ago in Bucharest there were older Romanians who would go inside and register a ticket into the waiting queue. They would then sell the ticket to another person outside who didn't want to wait in line for a long time. Since then the police have changed their queue system by making a person add their name thereby putting those people out of business. If you came to Romania you would quickly find out just how well Romanians or other residents are at finding small business opportunities.
All in all, this past month has been a good one, and we are excited to head into summer. The summer months will be busy as we continue our language lessons, prepare for the arrival of the baby in July, and continue ministry here in Bucharest. We also have two additional short-term teams coming in July. As always, we are thankful for each of you and the ways you support us from all over. Below are a few prayer requests that we would love for you to pray over whenever you can. Thank you again!
- That we would find an apartment that meets our growing family's needs soon.
- That the remainder of Brooke's pregnancy would go smoothly and everyone would remain healthy. She is 30 weeks this week.
- That Romania would update their Covid restrictions in the hospitals and Drew would be able to be present for the birth of the baby.