Monday, May 6, 2019

Springtime in Romania

April 2019 Update
Hanging out with the kids at Săftica.
Springtime has arrived here in Romania and we have been busy with the kids! At the beginning of April we had a team here from North Carolina and a team from Michigan. We really enjoyed having them come and help with activities with the kids.
During the process of cleaning at Nenciulești.
One of the big projects that we worked on while the teams were here was cleaning out some of the storage areas at the Boys Transition House in Nenciulești. We will be turning these spaces into two dormitories and a meeting space for our summer camps. It was a lot of work getting out all the old furniture and tools but we were able to clear out the space in just two days! Our next step is making repairs and painting.
Regular Programming
Our daily programs with the kids have been going well. At Săftica and Casa Lidia we have been working on developing important social skills such as listening and following directions. We also did some Easter activities using emotions.
Learning how to be good listeners!
(The ears say, "I can listen!")
Coloring Easter eggs based on how we are feeling. Each color represented a different feeling.
In Youth Group and Bible Class have been working our way through the entire Bible using the Through The Bible in 12 Weeks curriculum. The kids have learned about the four relationships that God created us to have (with God, with ourselves, with others, and with creation) and how sin has impacted these relationships. We have also learned about the prophets and how Jesus is the ultimate sacrifice that can repair all our relationships for good. We will be talking more with the kids over the coming weeks about what it means to live a Christ centered life and how we should live in expectation of His return.
Youth Group and Bible Class activities.
I continue to do Character Classes, therapy groups, and individual therapy sessions. Heather and I also co-teach a music therapy class. It is always such a blessing to see how the kids are growing!
Petruța showing off some of the miniatures that we use during sessions.
Dancing out our emotions while listening to music in music therapy class.
Special Events
This month Heather and I had the opportunity to do some fun outings with the kids. We took Iuli, who has been "my kid" for almost 8 years now, out for his 19th (!!!) birthday. We saw a movie, went to dinner, and bought him some new sneakers. I'm so proud of the man that he is becoming!
We had to try out the vibrating massage chairs. I mean, you only turn 19 once!
Heather and I were also able to help with the school at Periș by providing transport to the Natural History Museum and to the zoo. We went to the park one day for lunch and then treated the kids to McDonald's the other day that we were out. It was nice to be able to not have to plan or worry about the schedule for the day but simply spend time with the kids.
Giving and Support Information
As always, I want to say a huge note of thanks to everyone who supports me financially. Whether it is $5 or $500 your donation makes a big difference to my ministry.

Some of my current financial needs are for summer ministry supplies, household repairs, and incidentals for the kids (shampoo, face wash, feminine hygiene products, etc.). If you would like to donate financially through Heart to Heart simply click the link below. You can designate the gift to come to me, one of the other missionaries, or simply to the general fund.
Another way that you can give is to purchase something off my Amazon Wishlist. I have a list for personal items and a list for ministry related items. You can send items directly to me at:

Strada Florilor Nr. 124A
Snagov, Ilfov
Romania 077165
Prayer Requests and Praises
Praises:
  • One of our boys at Voluntari who has not been involved for a few weeks has started to regularly attend his therapy sessions, music lessons, and Youth Group. We are planning to take him on a special trip to church with us and to the mall in a few weeks. Pray that he will continue to have an open heart and mind to all we have to share with him.
  • Over the past few months we have heard rumors of more of our kids leaving the large orphanages and going to smaller foundations throughout the city. We were recently able to acquire a list of all the foundations in Bucharest that are taking in kids. Hopefully this will help us to keep in contact with our current kids as they move to new foundations and will also help us to make new contacts and reach more kids.
Prayer Requests:
  • Continue to pray for our kids as so many of them are getting moved to other orphanages and foundations. These changes often happen unexpectedly and our kids have little time to prepare, both those who are leaving and those who remain behind. Pray that we will continue to be able to make connections with organizations and to be able to come in and work with the kids. Pray that our kids would find stability in Christ through all of this turmoil and upheaval. And pray that we as a staff will be prepared emotionally for these changes.
  • Pray for Nicu C. at the Periș orphanage. He was recently moved to a "re-education" facility after an incident last year where some boys were abused at the orphanage. Pray that he will not lose faith in God throughout this process.
  • Continue to pray that we will have the resources (both financial and physical) to help us accomplish all we would like to do for summer.
  • I recently completed training to be able to teach the Trauma Competent Caregivers course. Pray that opportunities would open up for me to use this training to train others.
  • For staff relationships as we go into summer. Pray that we will be able to work together and have an enjoyable summer with the kids.
  • For health and safety for myself and my family.

Monday, February 4, 2019

Happy New Year!
January 2019 Update
Handing out gifts at Voluntari.
Lucas and Daniel after getting their presents.
After being home on furlough in December, I was glad to get back to the kids and start the new year with them. We had a team with us for the first week or so of 2019 so we were able to visit the orphanages, play with the kids, and hand out Christmas presents.
Kaylee, Ana, and Heather
Regular Programming
Since the team has been gone I have been working on getting normal programming up and running. This has been a little challenging with my colleague Heather being gone to the States but it was been good getting back to seeing the kids on a regular basis.
Working with the kids at Săftica.
My typical schedule includes a weekly visit to Săftica on Tuesday morning, Character Classes at Periș, individual and small group therapy sessions at Voluntari and Periș, Youth Group and Bible Classes at Periș and Voluntari, and a visit on Saturday morning to Casa Lidia. I'm thankful to have the help of Corny and several of our transition graduates to help with seeing the kids.
Playtime at Casa Lidia after our group lesson.
What's Coming Up
As February begins I plan on continuing with all my various ministry responsibilities. The kids have a short inter-semester break at the beginning of the month and I plan on using that time to do some pre-planning and preparation for the spring.
Above: Darius and his picture of me from a small group lesson.


Right: Christina working on a project.
Heather will return from furlough this month and we will continue planning for spring and working together on some music therapy activities that we plan to do with the kids. I will be attending a planning session with Alianța România Fără Orfani (Romania Without Orphans Alliance) in Bran and hope to make some connections there as well as discussing where orphan care in Romania is headed. Heather, Jen, and I will also be taking a quick weekend trip to Milan to visit with a fellow missionary and to regroup for spring. At the end of the month, we will be hosting two returning team members, Cindi and Sarah.
Bible Class at Voluntari.
With Vali and Adela at Casa Lidia. It is amazing how quickly my heart has been stolen by the kids there!
Larisa, Lăcră, and Corny. I am so blessed to have Corny coming to help me with the kids. I couldn't do it without her!
Giving and Support Information
As always, I want to say a huge note of thanks to everyone who supports me financially. Whether it is $5 or $500 your donation makes a big difference to my ministry.

Some of my current financial needs are for summer ministry supplies, household repairs, and incidentals for the kids (shampoo, face wash, feminine hygiene products, etc.). If you would like to donate financially through Heart to Heart simply click the link below. You can designate the gift to come to me, one of the other missionaries, or simply to the general fund.
Another way that you can give is to purchase something off my Amazon Wishlist. I have a list for personal items and a list for ministry related items. You can send items directly to me at:

Strada Florilor Nr. 124A
Snagov, Ilfov
Romania 077165
Prayer Requests and Praises
Praises:
  • Our new connections at Casa Lidia and Săftica.
  • That all the teachers have been open to having me come and teach Character Classes during the school day (previously I was only working with the third grade).
Prayer Requests:
  • One of our boys from Periș, Nicu Costache, will be attending a “re-education center” due to his involvement last year when some of the boys at Periș were assaulted. Pray for his protection and that he will see God’s hand throughout.
  • Continued openness and willingness to work with us from all sites.
  • That we can get more accurate information about what to expect at Periș and Voluntari in the coming months with more and more kids leaving.
  • A productive weekend at the ARFO planning session.

Thursday, August 30, 2018

Summer 2018 Wrap-Up

Summer 2018 Wrap-Up
June-August 2018
Summer Fun!
It's hard to believe that summer is over! The months fly by when we are busy each day with summer camps. We started the summer in Nenciulești with the little kids from Roșiori. Then we did two teen boys camps, two teen girls camps, a camp in Alexandria with the girls from the special school, three camps for the kids from Periș and Voluntari, and an arts camp for a grand total of 10 camps! We had an amazing time with our pirate themed curriculum that looked at the life of Peter. 
What Comes Next...
Now that summer ministry has wrapped up we are prepping for fall activities. I will be leading Character Classes, small groups, and individual therapy sessions at both Periș and Voluntari orphanages. I'm looking forward to what the new school year holds for each of the kids that I will be working with!
Special Thanks
I would like to give a HUGE thank you to Grace Baptist Church and to anyone who donated to my grandfather's memorial fund. Thanks to the special donations that we received we were able to purchase a new printer and two new whiteboards for your ministry. Thank you for your support!
Giving and Support Information
As many of you probably know, I am planning to extend my stay here in Romania past my initial three year commitment. I pray that you will prayerfully consider supporting my ministry in the years to come. If you are already giving there is no need to "recommit"; simply continue with your monthly giving plan as established. If you would like to begin supporting me, please use the link below to visit Heart to Heart's giving page and start your giving plan today!
Prayer and Praise
Praises:
  • Successful summer ministry
  • Heather and I were able to visit three of our kids who are at the orphanage in Săftica. Two were moved there due to behavior issues and the third is there because she is pregnant. We are very grateful for the opportunity to continue to minister to these kids.
  • We have already begun the process for preparing for summer ministry 2019!
  • Continue to have good, open relationships with the caretakers and directors at all the orphanages.
Prayer Requests:
  • Fall ministry planning
  • Ionela T. (at Săftica), she is 16 and will give birth to her first child in just a few weeks. Pray that we will know how best to guide her throughout this process.
  • School starts on September 10th for our kiddos!
  • We have received word that there may be renovations on the back building that we use for our programs. Please pray that any issues with space and the renovation would be resolved and that we will continue to have adequate room for our programs.
  • This month we have had many kids placed in foster homes or who have gone back to live with their biological parents. We pray for smooth transitions, good care, that this is truly the best for them, that the families would feel supported, and that we can continue to keep in touch with the kids. Also, please pray for our peace as we often do not have a chance to say good-bye to these kids or even know they are leaving until after they are gone.