Dear friends,

I send the warmest greetings from Romania. What a gift and blessing it is to be here. Thank you for the opportunity!

I can’t wait to see how this relationship unfolds.

I’m often amazed at opportunities that arise during everyday experiences. Roni dropped us off at the open air market Monday am. As we enjoyed a large farmers market and then wandered through town, we had more opportunities to share stories in small group settings, or one-on-one. I was blessed to talk to a couple of the older girls, who are finding their way as young adults. They have wonderful things to offer this world and they are in the business of doing that right now. We took ourselves on our own tour of an Orthodox Church. 90% of the Romanian population worships at orthodox churches. Many worship because it’s what they were taught. As we walked in, my prayer was simple, “Come, Lord Jesus, Come.” Those were the words that circled through my mind as I walked through the beautifully ornate sanctuary, dimly and darkly lit. There was a heavy feeling in the space. 5% of the population worship in Catholic Churches and the other 5% fit in the “other category”. The largest evangelical tradition is Pentecostal. And other, many falling into the Baptist tradition.

Throughout our time together our relationships are deepening, as we connect individually and in large group settings. Our hearts truly are full. There is a shared interest in hearing and learning from one another. The Jessen’s story is coming to life for me as I meet people I heard briefly about from Randy and Sue, and read more deeply about in “Ana’s Voice”. Wow. There are some incredibly pure hearts in this world, and we have met several of them here.

After a nice long walk, we headed home, where the women had prepared a delicious lunch. Meatball soup. It was a light broth, like one would find in chicken noodle, it was well seasoned with meatballs. Mmmm… then something quite similar to a crepe. One rolled with a cream cheese like filling and the other with jelly. One would never go hungry visiting this home.

We had a little downtime in the afternoon. I played a few games of memory with one of the darling members of the family. She is 19yrs old, but has a mental capacity of a four year old. She loves to swing and play memory. She has stolen my heart. The word is, “come”, as she greets me in the kitchen and anxiously awaits her next game. “Come, Memory?”, she asks. And with a full heart I say yes. Who can turn that face down? She is loved and clearly flourishing here. At VBS the same evening I found that her brother is an excellent Ping Pong player. Weston and he would have fun. Weston’s face was bright as he watched the kids play.

The kids loved VBS, listening quietly, singing passionately and rejoicing as they heard teachings in Romanian about the one who came to save them. Yes, Jesus. My prayer for each child is that they would come to know the love of Jesus, freeing them from all despair, and that they would joyfully walk into his light. The church here is doing good work.

Many things are universal. In addition to the lessons and songs, there was a bounce house at the church, they call it a trampoline. And as you would expect, it was a hit!

Returning back to Ana’s house we had the typical evening meal near 9pm. They served fried potatoes filled with cheese, and ham. They were to be eaten with a cucumber sauce. Yep. Another delicious meal. Roni unfolded more of their story with the children. He spoke of adoption, and the joys and challenges, and the cultural setting. He shared with us more about the need for a better system in Romania for the orphans, especially the gypsy orphans. We learned that for most jobs a typical work-week is 40 hrs, but the take-home pay is hit pretty hard by taxes. Many get second jobs if possible.

our minds are full as we listen and learn. We are absorbing everything we can, and seeking to learn a bit of their language as well.

Individual stories and stories of global hope and the work it’s doing here continues to unfold. Thank you Lord Jesus.

Thank you for your prayers!

With a grateful heart,