Monday, February 10, 2020

Holiday Fun, Family, and a Car Fire

January 2020 Update

What a month January was! Looking back I can't believe how busy I was. We finished up holiday activities with the kids here in Romania, I visited family and friends in America, did more wedding planning, and ended up back here in Romania to start my 2020 daily ministry schedule.


Just after the New Year we finished having holiday parties and handing out Christmas gifts with the team from America. I also got to go ice skating with the teens from Roiorii. I always enjoy celebrating the holidays with the kids and seeing the joy as they open their gifts and play holiday games.

I was also in America for two weeks right in the middle of January. I got to celebrate Christmas with my family, attend my 5 year old nephew's birthday party, go to two University of Georgia gymnastics meets, spend the night with my brother and his family, do a mental health therapist training, find my wedding dress, have lunch with a friend, and speak at two churches about my ministry. To say I was busy is an understatement!



Once I got back to Romania it was time to jump right back into ministry. I've started

having therapy sessions again and going to Roiorii to help with Character Classes in the apartments. Weekends are spent visiting the kids at Casa Lidia and Mia's Children.

We did have something surprising and a little scary happen to us. One day, after Heather and I arrived at the orphanage, our car caught on fire! Thankfully it was a small fire and we were able to get it put out. The car has since been repaired but we are thankful that it wasn't something worse. 


Family Ministry Update

Nicu and I would like to thank everyone who has been praying for us and who has donated financial support to us over the past month. We are still in the process of getting Nicu approved by the Heart to Heart board to become a full time staff member. Please pray that this process will move along quickly.

We are also still in need of financial support. Nicu has applied for his passport and will then apply for his visa to come to America this fall for training and to do more fundraising. We need to purchase a car and are looking at a small SUV type of vehicle that will can accommodate a growing family. We will also be starting the process to become a foster family as soon as we are married and will need money for trainings as well as for outfitting and possibly doing renovations on the house so that we can

take in kids.

We would initially like to raise at least an additional $3000 in monthly support. We will also need one time gift donations for things like renovations and a down payment on the car. If you would like to support us financially please click the link below. Be sure and indicate that you would like the funds to go to Melissa and Nicu Perghel. 


Random Romania

Just a random little fact about Romania...it takes less than two weeks to get a passport here! You go to the passport office (in the mall), pay a tax at a little stand (at the other end of the mall), give a 10 minute interview, take your picture, and within 10 business days your passport is ready! The only drawback is that the passport office is only open during the week and only during normal workday hours so you have to take time off work to come in. Still an easier process than in the US! (And at a fraction of the cost...about $65.00) 


Prayer Requests and Praises

Praises:
  • I had a very productive time in America and got a lot accomplished while I was there.
  • I arrived safely back in Romania and have been able to start back with daily ministry.

Prayer Requests:
  • I submitted my Registered Play Therapist application. Pray that it is accepted without any problems.
  • Pray that Nicu and I can get the financial support that we need and that his application will be accepted by the Heart to Heart board. 

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.