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Archive for the ‘Ministry report’ Category

 God has opened a door for us to share his love with an impoverished family in town. I wrote this story about them as I imagined the eldest daughter in the family might have written it. Names have been changed.

My name is Marta and I am seven years old. I have a little sister named Georgeta and I live with my daddy. My mom used to live with us too, but then she went away and my daddy was sad. He tries hard to take good care of us though. He cooks and cleans and washes our clothes in the bathtub. (more…)

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 As Tim and I walked away from the bench where Dana, Filofteia, Alina and Ada* sat, I was elated and amazed. I had come to the park feeling weak and terribly insufficient, clinging to God’s promises but a curious mixture of faith and unbelief. Yet God had directed us to four high school girls who not only received our tracts, but seriously considered our questions. They listened willingly to what we had to say.  They were not mocking, bored or restless. We had connected with them. In fact, as Tim knelt on the ground and began to share his testimony, they moved over on the bench so I could sit next to them. 

Dana, the most sophisticated of the group, helped translate, which probably helped her listen harder. Alina also listened intently. Ada, who looked like a “rocker,” was visibly moved as Tim shared his deliverance from slavery to drugs. She too had been caught up in that lifestyle. She too attributed her release to the power of God, however to her it was all about monks, monastaries and weeping icons of the Virgin Mary. We saw, with compassion, that though she was free of drugs, she had not yet come to know Christ. But she was open to spiritual things and very appealing to talk to. (more…)

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*Some names have been changed

Sunday I saw one more reason why we remain in Romania. Last Sunday afternoon was Vali’s 22nd birthday and her mother, Elena*, hungered to see her. Severely handicapped from birth, Vali* had been cared for by Elena at home until four years ago. That’s when paralysis suddenly hit her as well. Then, Elena’s husband left her, and so as not to become a burden to her healthy children, she chose to be put in a nursing home. Vali was admitted to a different center in a neighboring town, for children.

The shock of the separation gradually wore off and life went on. Though Elena is helpless physically, she makes the best of things by staying mentally alert and organized. Most of the time she is stoic about her situation, and knows also that her daughter is being cared for with kindness. But from time to time the longing just to see her with her own eyes becomes insupportable.

But how to get to her? Elena’s a fighter and doesn’t give up easily, but the problem was complicated. The nursing home where she stays no longer has a car available. Call a taxi? But what taxi driver would go to all the trouble to get her in and out of her wheelchair and then wait for her to visit? And the cost would be prohibitive. So what could she do? On our next visit she simply shared her dilemma with us.

I knew we had the means to help her. Sunday afternoon was free. We have a reliable car. And this month we happened to have extra gas money. But honestly, there was a time in our ministry when “cautious Krista” would have said, “No way!” In a country often hostile to missionaries, it would have seemed way too big of a risk. Us take responsibility for a handicapped ward of the State on roads that have one of the highest fatality rates in the world? Don’t we have enough problems?  What if we got into an accident, whether our fault or not? Back then, I was too controlled by the “what ifs?” and the mental picture of myself or Tim deported back to the U.S. in shame or wearing Romanian prison pajamas! (more…)

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After my last post, and my lesson on being content with the quantity of encouragement the Lord allows,  I wanted to share a sweet thing God did for us on Wednesday. Tim and I had gone out alone to elderly home nr. 2. We had spent time praying beforehand that God would especially touch my ability to communicate in Romanian (I had to function as Tim’s translator) and that He would powerfully use Tim to intercede for me during the times he couldn’t understand. It was a bright and sunny day and I was excited, because God had provided for a new inexpensive CD player and headphones for Estera*, so that she could listen privately to Tim’s more current sermons and my Women’s Bible study CD’s. Since I’d seen hopeful signs of renewed hunger in her for God, I could hardly wait to give them to her.

We found her, alone in her room, stretched out under the covers to keep warm, the TV tuned to a snooker tournament, one of her few pleasures. Estera is my age. She is almost completely paralyzed. Since we first met her she has lost the use of her hands and her vision has worsened. So reading the Bible or Christian books is out of the question. Most of the time she is left in isolation and can’t even change the TV channel unless someone comes to help her. And her new roommate spends most of her time sleeping, complaining or cursing. Naturally, she was happy to see us and immediately asked us to turn the volume on the TV down so we could talk. (more…)

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Sunday afternoon was our women’s Bible study and the 28th study we’ve had on the women of the Old Testament. This one took me all summer to prepare because the subject was the wrath of God as displayed in Jezebel’s death, and before I opened my mouth, I wanted to deepen my understanding, both of God’s wrath and of Christ’s substitutionary death for His people. Without thorough preparation, there was too much room for heresy! Plus, I was scared to teach it because I was a little too worried about whether the women would want to hear another study on Jezebel, having already heard two.

But by Sunday afternoon, God had met me, had provided great study resources and had warmed my own heart with His truths. He had reawakened me to the fury of the wrath I had escaped in Christ and to the preciousness of salvation, and I felt eager to share with the ladies 4 main things:

  • That God is glorious, not only in His grace, but also in His vengeance;
  • That we also are little Jezebel’s as witnessed by our own idolatry and thus deserving God’s wrath;
  • That Jezebel’s judgment is a signpost God has graciously given which points ahead to the Day of Wrath and warns us to run to Christ;
  • and finally, how in Christ we are saved from God’s wrath. 

Okay, it was a lot to cover, and I knew the study might make the women uncomfortable, but I also knew that they needed far more than cooking lessons or fluffy or amusing little devotional talks. Like me, the women I know are fighting a daily battle against sin, and often losing. Like me, they need truth that will help them dwell as close to the cross as possible.

I know that. And yet this is how weak I am. The minute I stand in front of the ladies and begin to teach, all that certainty seems a million miles away. (more…)

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Wednesday, Tim, Miha and Lucretia went out to the other home for the elderly we vist and had a great time. Tim and Miha played four rousing games of Rummy with their friend Petre* and some others and afterwards had a very serious spiritual conversation in which they were able to open the scriptures with Manuela*. Manuela is a dear believer there who is seeking to follow Christ, but is discouraged by her environment and is stalked by hopeless thoughts. But praise God for the power of His Word and the joy that true fellowship brings. Tim was so touched by her words as they left. She told them, “Today the sun REALLY came out!”

*Names changed

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Note: all names of residents are changed

Today I steered our little blue Dacia Logan out the winding country road, thick with trucks and summer traffic, up over the mountain and out to where the elderly home nestles between apple orchards and brown cornfields. The place would be pleasant enough, but we know that to the lonely residents who live there it only means further isolation from the world, with resulting boredom and misery.  For me, each such visit to these homes demands fresh dependence on God’s grace for wisdom, words, patience and endless supplies of love, not to mention physical strength. We never know what to expect. Sometimes the conversations are so sweet they take your breath away. Other times they leave you completely frustrated.  Most of the time, like today, it is a mixture. You do your best and trust that God is working in spite of what you don’t see.

Today, I park in the gravel outside the home and Miha, Ovidiu, Angi and I climb out of the car and head through the gate towards the front door. Before we are even that far, a sour scent of urine leaks from the building and combines with the waves of heat from the summer sun to create an ammonia sauna atmosphere. I try to ignore it. (more…)

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