Hey everyone, since this update is way overdue, and I hardly know where to start, let’s just do a pretend interview, okay? Here goes…
PRAYER PARTNERS: “So Krista, you are back in Romania now, but whatever happened with your bladder biopsy surgery? You left us hanging!”
ME: Yeah I know and I’m so sorry! I hate it when people do that. Well, the surgery itself was a snap. The doctor biopsied the two half-dollar sized ulcers in my bladder, sliced away the damaged tissue and cauterized it. The recovery after surgery was really quick and wonder of wonders, I discovered that the grinding, stabbing, sometimes incapacitating pain I had been dealing with had utterly vanished. Unfortunately no one told me that when the instructions said to go back to normal activity after 24 hours, they don’t mean vigorous walking around the lake with your very cute grandchild in a stroller. They probably mean sitting at a computer or driving your car. That little mistake (but I felt so great!) ended up costing me two trips to the emergency room (thank you Tony, Peggy and Michelle!) and another cancelled flight back to Romania before I finally healed well enough to come home on June 30th, 27 days after the surgery.
PRAYER PARTNER: But the biopsy results?
ME: The six days waiting for those were harder than I thought they would be. A lot goes through your head. Especially after the nurse assistant called and told me to report to his office the day BEFORE my scheduled appointment. Why else would they want me to come in sooner unless it was bad news? So I called my friend Sandy and asked her to come with me for moral support. The doctor comes in and looks quizically at Sandy as if to say, “What’s SHE doing here?” I explain. Then he says, “Well, it’s not cancer or anything like that!” like how could I think such a thing! He says he’s sorry he didn’t let me know sooner but the diagnosis, confirmed by the lab, was definitely classic interstitial cystitis, which isn’t a picnic, but isn’t cancer either. Big sigh of relief and much thanksgiving lifted up to God.
PRAYER PARTNER: Well now that that’s over, how did it feel to get back to Tim and the church in Valcea?
ME: I cried for joy when I got off the plane and saw that furry face! And it was great to get back to serving the church, and doing outreach, especially after the cancer scare.
PRAYER PARTNERS: So what is going on with your ministry lately?
ME: A lot! God seems to be doing something special in a poor neighborhood across town, where there are government subsidized apartments. One day, about a week or so after my return, while I was visiting a little boy from the church who had had surgery, a friend of theirs stopped by. Soon I had met his wife and two daughters and we were deep into a conversation about spiritual things. I invited him to church and he agreed to come. We were already giving rides to two families in the neighborhood, so on the following Sunday he just came along. Since then his whole family has been coming every week and he has started reading a Bible we gave him.
Also, in that neighborhood, an 11-year-old girl had been getting rides with us to church. But just last week she excitedly told us her mom, who had never met us, wanted us to come over for a visit. We did and found out she has been through a lot. She lost her husband just a year and a half ago from a massive stroke. She has five other children, one of who has disabilities and didn’t walk until he was four. She is paid by the state as the official “caregiver” for the little boy. I can’t imagine how hard life must be for her, especially as all government workers have just received a 25% pay cut. My heart went out to her and as we sat in her kitchen talking, I invited her to church. And to our joy, just this past Sunday, she and the little boy came. It was hard to tell what she was thinking afterwards, but the little boy was all smiles. He asked if I was going to make cakes next week too!
PRAYER PARTNERS: So you must have a bus or something to take all those people to church in, right?
ME: No, we have a 7 seater Dacia Logan, so we have been making two round trips to that neighborhood every Sunday to fit everyone in. Now, if everyone will want to come at the same time, we will make 3 round trips. These people are too poor to afford taxis and it is about two miles from the church…a bit far for little ones to walk. But that brings up another issue.
PRAYER PARTNERS: What issue is that?
ME: We are just now finishing up our first year of Children’s Ministry. It has been a great year. We’ve been using the Children Desiring God curriculum and for me personally, as one of the four teachers, it has been a very rich time.Over thirty different kids have visited our Children’s Study at least once, and there are ten or so kids that come faithfully every week. But now, because of various circumstances, two of the teachers need a break, and the church being so small, we have no one to with whom to replace them. Honestly, unlesss God shows us a way out, we are in danger of having to call the whole thing to a halt. This is a great prayer need.
PRAYER PARTNERS: Well, we will definitely be praying for that! But what about evangelism and outreach?
ME: We have a great open door for evangelism as part of our mercy ministry as we deliver groceries to various individuals and families. One man, who is fairly incapacitated with illness, spends much time reading the scriptures. And yet as I was explaining to him how thankful we can be as we give over our anxieties to the Lord, if we consider that Christ has removed from us the fear of hell, his response was, “That’s what I’m more afraid of than anything!” We also have many opportunities with the unbelievers who are right in our midst. But Tim has also been going out to the center of town every Friday night all summer long. He has been having deep conversations with one particular man about sin, forgiveness and knowing Christ. Tim always gets to open the Bible with him and this man looks for him each Friday night. One of the questions this man asked on a night when I had come along was, “How does it feel to have your sins forgiven?” Though a religious Orthodox man, he had never experienced the peace with God that comes when you are justified by faith and stand in God’s grace! Please pray for this man’s salvation!
PRAYER PARTNERS: We will! And how about the ministry to the elderly homes? Is that ministry still going strong?
ME: Yes! All summer we have been going out to both homes each week. Having missed three months of ministry, I felt I had a lot to catch up on. And although the team is quite small, usually just one other person other than Tim and I, God has really been working, especially in one certain gentleman. Even before our furlough we had begun to see something click in his mind after reading “Can Man Live Without God?” by Ravi Zacharias. But since then I can’t even describe the change in him. One Sunday he took the bus into town and showed up at our church and we gave him a Bible. Since then, he has been looking up all the references in any of the books he reads and his conclusion is that the Bible is the best book of all and that Jesus is the truth, the only way to God. He is still voraciously reading the best of our church library, most recently, “The Life of God in the Soul of a Man”, the book that God used in George Whitfield’s conversion, and John Piper’s “Finally Alive – What Happens When We Are Born Again?” (of course the Romanian translations). We can’t wait to see what more God will do in this 75-year-old, but we are sure He is going to do great things.
PRAYER PARTNERS: On another subject isn’t this about the time of year you usually have to renew your visas? How are things going with that?
ME: I’m glad the subject came up. We got past two out of three obstacles, but we ran into a little snag with the police officer to whom we delivered all our documents. Usually once the first two obstacle are overcome, the final meeting with the police is just a formality. But this particular officer is insisting that we include an original document in our file from the Bucuresti office that signed off on our visas, instead of just a fax from them. Right now we’re working on that, but prayer wouldn’t hurt!
PRAYER PARTNERS: Any other prayer needs?
ME: Definitely. The first one is a relatively small one. My computer is stone cold dead and inside are locked many important files and financial records for the church. Please pray for wisdom on getting those back and for wisdom about the eventual purchase of a new computer. Tim uses his laptop most of the time, which doesn’t leave me much accesss for preparing my children’s lessons and doing church business.
The second prayer request is a much bigger one. Would you please join us in asking the Lord to give the church ten men who will be committed to loving and serving this church? What an awesome change that could make in our ministry! (We are open to as many women as He would want to give us as well, but the church is in desperate need of men!) Thank you all so much for your love and interest in what God is doing in Valcea. May God fuel your prayers with a burning vision of His glory! With love, Krista and Tim Hahne