Friday, July 31, 2020

Finally, Some Good News!

After many months of waiting I have some good news to share with everyone...we are finally able to start seeing the kids again! After four long months we were able to have day camps with some of the kids in Roșiori de Vede and to hang out with the kids at Periș (and give them a long awaited Easter egg hunt!).
Day Camps in Roșiori de Vede
At the end of June/beginning of July we were able to take groups of kids out of the orphanage in Roșiori and transport them to the local picnic area in the woods to have VBS style day camps. We sang, learned about the prophet Elijah, talked about how God never leaves us, did crafts, played games, and even had a barbecue!
Visiting the Periș Crew
Around the end of July we were able to finally go out and see the kids at Periș. One of the things they had requested months and months ago was to have an Easter egg hunt. We hadn't done one last year because we thought all the kids were too big and wouldn't want to participate. We were surprised when our teenagers got upset that we weren't having a hunt this year due to the coronavirus. So, the first order of business once we were finally able to see the kids was to have a very belated Easter egg hunt! The kids loved it and found all but 4 of the 200 eggs that we hid!
We have been very blessed to be able to establish a schedule at Periș and the kids are already asking when we are going to start therapy sessions again. They also really missed doing Youth Group in person (online just isn't the same!) so we had a "mini Youth Group" where we sang and read a short devotional. It was really awesome to get to discuss some Biblical concepts with the kids again.
What's Coming Up
As I mentioned above, we have been able to establish a schedule of going out to Periș twice a week. I plan on starting therapy sessions with the kids soon. I also talked with the director at Voluntari and we are going to start visiting those kids as well! Once we establish a schedule there then I would like to start therapy sessions and groups again with the kids.
Nicu and I would like to begin going to Casa Lidia and Mia's Children again on the weekends as we had been doing. We would need to be tested for COVID-19 before we can start visiting the kids again. We're praying about what to do as the tests would cost us $200 and we can't afford that expense at the moment.
Another area of ministry we are praying will open up is the apartments in Roșiori. At the moment only one staff member can go in at a time to work with the kids so my colleague, Wanetta, has been going alone for almost a month now. We're praying that they will soon start allowing more of us to go and work with the kids!
Giving Information
We are so thankful that over the past month we have gained new supporters and that some of our old supporters have decided to up their donations! We are continuing to inch forward towards our goal of bringing Nicu on staff full time and appreciate every dollar that we receive. We would love to have Nicu on staff full time by the end of August so that he can begin working with the kids once school starts in mid-September. Check out our Facebook group to receive updates on how close we are to reaching our goal. If you would like to partner with us financially through Heart to Heart International please use the button below. Be sure and indicate in the memo section that you would like the funds to go to Nicu and Melissa Perghel.
If you would like to donate directly to us please use the link below. This is for my non-profit, Walking With Orphans (the charge will appear as Eastern European and Russian Orphanages Project...this was the original name of Walking With Orphans). 100% of donations made through Walking With Orphans comes directly to us!

https://www.paypal.com/cgi-bin/webscr?cmd=_s-xclick&hosted_button_id=5SVY3LDR397KW&source=url
Prayer Requests and Praises
Praises:
  • We, and our families, are in good health.
  • That we were able to start seeing the kids again.
  • We have gained more monthly supporters.

Prayer Requests:
  • That any changes made about wearing masks, the state of alert, etc. would not impact our ability to continue ministry.
  • Nicu will pass his driving test.
  • Guidance about financial decisions (house/apartment, car, etc.).
  • Ministry opportunities.
  • That international travel will return to a more normal state so that Nicu will be able to get his visa without a problem.
  • We will get the rest of the monthly support that we need.
  • Continued health and safety for ourselves, our families, and the kids.

Thursday, July 9, 2020

Summertime in Quarantine

Summertime in Quarantine
June 2020 Update
It is officially summer here in Romania! And what a strange one it has been so far, with some very beautiful highs and some very disheartening lows with anxiety, laughter, tears, and hope all mixed together.
Family Update

A definite high that started the summer...Nicu and I got married! We were able to have a civil ceremony and small religious ceremony on the 3rd of June. We're planning a larger celebration on the 23rd of August but we're so thankful that we were able to take this step and start our life together.


After the wedding we were able to get away to the mountains for the day to enjoy some fresh air. We also toured nearby Cantacuzino Castle.


As a new couple we have so many decisions to make and prayer requests to ask. We are trying to raise more monthly support so that Nicu can come on staff full-time. We have been blessed with three new monthly donors and now need only $322 more a month to meet our goal! We also found a car that we like for 7000 euro. Thanks to many generous donors we have just enough money saved to purchase the car! However, Nicu needs to get his driver's license first. We are praying that his instructor will allow him to get his documents so he can apply to take his written exam. We also pray that he will pass the written exam and be able to take his driving exam quickly (in Romania you sometimes have to wait a month between your written and driving exams!). We are also praying about moving into an apartment. We have found several that we like but would like Nicu to be on staff full-time before we move. We are also still praying about the possibility of buying a house. Having a home to start our family in would be great, and houses are fairly cheap right now, but we want to make wise decisions and make sure this is what God wants for us in this season. We ask that you pray for clarity about this decision and all the details that go along with making such a big commitment.
Ministry Update

I wish I could say that these pictures are from last month's ministry but they are, in fact, from June 2019. It is hard for me to look at these pictures and not become emotional. This is my first summer in 9 years that I'm not helping with or leading a full summer camps program here in Romania. The kids in the Bucharest area are still in isolation until at least the 15th of July. The director told me that she believes as long as we are in a State of Alert then the kids will remain in lockdown. Unfortunately, the number of COVID-19 cases as spiked again in Romania. We're unsure of what this will mean for many aspects of ministry and our personal lives: Will the State of Alert be extended? If so does that mean that the kids will remain in lockdown? What will the school year look like? Will we be able to get a visa for Nicu to travel to the US? Will we be able to travel to the US at all this year?

One positive thing we were able to accomplish ministry-wise in June was to plan some short day camps for the kids in Roșiori during the first part of July. Our theme will be loneliness and focus on the life of the prophet Elijah. I will be leading crafts with the kids and want to say a special word of thanks for our supporters: because of your giving I was able to purchase all the arts and craft supplies needed for the camps! I'm so excited to be able to work with these kids after almost 4 months of not seeing them!
Giving Information
As I mentioned about we are just $322 from our monthly goal! We are so incredibly thankful to everyone who has supported us so far on this journey. If you would like to support us financially, with whatever amount you are able, please click the link below. Be sure and indicate in the memo section that you would like the funds to go to Nicu and Melissa Perghel.


If you would like to donate directly to us please use the link below. This is for my non-profit, Walking With Orphans (the charge will appear as Eastern European and Russian Orphanages Project...this was the original name of Walking With Orphans). 100% of donations made through Walking With Orphans comes directly to us!

https://www.paypal.com/cgi-bin/webscr?cmd=_s-xclick&hosted_button_id=5SVY3LDR397KW&source=url

Prayer Requests and Praises
Praises:
  • We were able to get married.
  • We, and our families, are in good health.
  • We were able to schedule camps for Roșiori.
  • We have gained more monthly supporters.

Prayer Requests:
  • That the State of Alert will be lifted and we can go see the kids.
  • Nicu will get his driver's license soon.
  • Guidance about financial decisions (house/apartment, car, etc.).
  • That international travel will return to a more normal state so that my parents can travel here in August for the wedding, so that we can go to the States in November, and so that Nicu will be able to get his visa without a problem.
  • We will get the rest of the monthly support that we need.
  • Continued health and safety for ourselves, our families, and the kids.

Tuesday, May 5, 2020

An Update From Quarantine

April 2020 Update
This month's update is especially unique as we are still under a State of Emergency here in Romania. But thankfully the end is in sight! On the 15th of May we will be able to leave our homes again without documentation! And more businesses will begin opening up. We will still have to wear face masks in public but I've been making lots of them lately so I'll be prepared!
One of my favorite masks...with Bugs Bunny and Daffy Duck!
Ministry has been interesting this month. I have been making therapy videos and posting them on my YouTube channel. I then text each of the kids that I work with a copy of the video and a corresponding activity that they can do online. Heather and I continue to do weekly Youth Groups via Facebook Live and we did a Night of Worship on Facebook Live with Wanetta a few weeks ago. We pray that the kids will actually watch the videos that we make and join us on Facebook for our broadcasts. Other than the occasional phone call or video chat with the kids this is our only way to connect with them.
Heather and I doing a Facebook Like Youth Group on David and Goliath. The top is a picture of the object lesson about how God can use anyone, no matter how small or weak they may seem, for His purposes. The bottom is a flannel-graph depiction of the story. We like having something visual for the kids...even if we haven't used flannel-graph since we were in elementary school!
Top: Recording a video on keeping a gratitude journal during quarantine.
Bottom: Night of Worship on Facebook Live.
Even though the State of Emergency will end on the 15th of May we still do not know when we can see the kids. Meetings will be limited to no more than three people, even out in the open. Schools are closed for the rest of the school year and many are planning to open online only in the fall. With these restrictions we don't know what ministry will look like in the upcoming months. We did contact the Periș orphanage at Easter time to see if we could drop off some goodies for the kids. We were told that donations have to go through the Department of Child Protective Services and that we couldn't even come by and drop things at the gate for the kids. This is very hard time for me personally as so much of what I do depends on relationships. Some of the kids that I work with do not have cell phones or tablets. If they do have one of these items then they may not have Facebook pages, social media outlets, or even phone credits to stay in contact with me. Please pray that we will be able to start working with the kids again soon, even if it is just one on one.
How much has changed in a year! These are pictures from April 2019:
Top left: Me and Alexandra. This was just before she was moved to Mia's Children, a private children's home.
Bottom left: Me and Alex at the zoo with the Periș school for Școala Altfel.
Top right: Denisa from Săftica.
Middle right: Aura from Casa Lidia.
Bottom right: Nicu with the Youth Group at Periș.
Family Ministry Update
Due to the State of Emergency and quarantine Nicu and I were not able to have our civil ceremony on the 25th of April as we had hoped. We are praying that when the State of Emergency ends in mid-May that we will be able to have the ceremony then. Please pray that we can get married in May and that all the travel and gathering bans will be lifted by August so that we can celebrate with our family and friends at the celebration we have planned.

Nicu is still working at the auto parts warehouse and will continue to do so until we can raise enough monthly support for him to join the Heart to Heart staff full time. We are unsure of when we will try and move as plans to sell the house where I currently live have been put on hold for a little while. We will try and buy a car for our personal use as Nicu will need transport to his job which is 45 minutes away from where we be living.
Our goal is to raise at least $3000 in monthly support. Currently we are just below $2000. We also need one time gift donations for starting our family together. If you would like to support us financially, with whatever amount you are able, please click the link below. Be sure and indicate that you would like the funds to go to Melissa and Nicu Perghel.

If you would like to donate directly to us please use the link below. This is for my non-profit, Walking With Orphans.

https://www.paypal.com/cgi-bin/webscr?cmd=_s-xclick&hosted_button_id=5SVY3LDR397KW&source=url

Prayer Requests and Praises
Praises:
  • That we, and our families, are all in good health.
  • That the State of Emergency will be lifted on the 15th of May.

Prayer Requests:
  • That we will have increased participation in our online activities from the kids.
  • That we can begin to see the kids and work with them, even if just in very small groups.
  • Continued health and safety for us, our families, and the kids.
  • That Nicu and I can have our civil ceremony soon.