Thursday, June 3, 2021

Changes

 

May 2021 Update
I can't believe that our last e-newsletter was sent almost two months ago! So many, many things have changed since then...
If you follow me (Melissa) on Facebook then you know that the first big change is that baby Oliver decided to make his appearance six weeks early! Thomas Nicolas Oliver Perghel (Oliver) was born 9 March 2021 at 10:50 p.m. by emergency c-section after my water spontaneously broke at 34 weeks and 1 day. Oliver spent 30 days in the NICU before coming home. I stayed in the hospital as well so that I could visit him twice a day. Because of COVID-19 restrictions if I had left the hospital I would not have been able to come back in. Once we left the hospital there were several doctors visits for various issues: to check for fluid in his chest, to monitor his pulmonary hypertension, and to monitor and treat anemia. We are so thankful to God that all the reports have come back good: there has been no fluid accumulation in his chest, his pulmonary hypertension is very minimal, and he has almost completely recovered from the anemia! Because he was premature, Oly will still get more check-ups and be monitored more closely than most babies but we thank God each day that Oliver is healthy, happy, and on the path to stay that way!

Thomas Nicolas Oliver Perghel
Born 9 March 2021

We have also gone through changes with our ministry as well. Of course we are still planning on running the transition program but are in need of funds for the kids before we can begin. Until then we have been able to go to both Voluntari and Periș orphanages to have programs. On Friday we go with Heather and Corni and help with an English class. Then I (Melissa) have a social skills group. Usually Nicu ends up hanging out and mentoring some of the older kids and playing soccer once the kids have finished their classes. On Saturday we go with Heather to Periș where we help with Youth Group and then have free time with the kids. And yes, Oliver goes with us to all locations. He is very much loved and looked after by both the kids and the orphanage staff. And we want him to be immersed in ministry life. This is, after all, why we are here!


Top (L-R): Marshmallow relay game at Voluntari. Nicu hanging out with Denisa, Denisa, and Costica.
Bottom (L-R): Oliver at church for the first time to celebrate Easter. Helping Heather during English class.


Top (L-R): Denisa and Nicu during English class. George, Armando, and Nicu during Youth Group at Periș.
Bottom (L-R): English class at Voluntari. Youth Group at Periș.


Top (L-R): Social skills class at Voluntari. Denisa and Darius during social skills class.
Bottom (L-R): Nicu helping Lucica with Oliver. Social skills class at Voluntari.

As we start looking ahead to summer ministry we expect to see changes there as well. With the drop in COVID cases we have found it easier to see the kids and work with them. However, we have heard that one of the orphanages may be closing down and the kids will be moved to other foundations or orphanages. We are hoping that we can do a VBS style day camp with the kids in the Bucharest area on site at one of the orphanages.


Top (L-R): George and Iuli helping with Oliver. Heather leading Youth Group at Periș.
Bottom (L-R): Nicu, Andrei, and Iuli helping clean the pool at Pipera. Doru and Oliver.


Top (L-R): Oliver with his big brother, Iuli. Angi and Oliver.
Bottom (L-R): English class at Voluntari. Bianca and Oliver.

How You Can Support Us
We continue to need lots of prayers for our family and our ministry:
  • We have an appointment at the US embassy to register Oliver's birth abroad and to get his US passport. We are still waiting for the embassy to open up for visa applications so that Nicu can get a visa to visit the US later this year.
  • AlfaOmega church would like to stay at our home while they do VBS in Alexandria this summer. We still have many repairs and renovations to make. One thing that would help us greatly is if we were able to bring boys from the orphanage to Nenciulești for several days to help us. Pray that we will be given permission to do this.
  • Funds are needed for the kids who we would like to take into the transition program. We need to try and raise $300/month per child. We have five very strong candidates for the program and 2-3 additional kids who could possibly join us.
  • Our family continues to need an additional $200-$300 a month in support. God blessed us with a supporter who donated enough for Oliver's health insurance to be covered for the remainder of the year, a nearly $1700 cost! God has been abundantly faithful to us and we know he will continue to provide for us as our family grows.
  • Our summer programming schedule and the ability to take the kids out of the orphanage for trips to the pool/museums/the park/etc.
  • A smooth transition if/when one of the orphanage closes.

If you would like to partner with us financially through Heart to Heart International please use the button below. As I mentioned, we are trying to raise support to begin the transition program. If you choose to support us financially be sure and indicate in the memo section that you would like the funds to go to Nicu and Melissa Perghel or to the Boys Transition Program. You can check out our Facebook group to receive updates on how close we are to reaching our goal as well as see how God is moving and working through us.


You can also make a donation through Walking With Orphans using the PayPal Giving link below. The transaction will appear as "Eastern European and Russian Orphanages Project" (the registered name for Walking With Orphans).
By using PayPal Giving we will receive 100% of your donation!

https://www.paypal.com/us/fundraiser/charity/1239712

Wednesday, March 3, 2021

Steps Toward Normal


Finally, after many months, it seems like we are taking baby steps towards "normal" ministry. While we still have not been able to start the transition program, Nicu and I have been able to start going to Voluntari to spend time with the kids. When we go, we spend some time playing games with whoever is around but it's really a chance to catch up and provide mentorship. Nicu is especially good at being able to connect with the kids and give them advice in a way that they are willing to receive. We're praying that we can continue to have access to this ministry site and that the kids will come and participate in the activities that we have planned for them.
No new pictures yet...but here's a cute one of Darius from our school year kickoff in August!

Periș has, unfortunately, continued to be hard to get access to. We can no longer pick up the kids for church so they have to come in on public transportation and their day passes expire much sooner, even for the older kids. This means that we have less time with them and that some of them have started to wane in their commitment to come to church...which is somewhat understandable, they have to leave at 9:00 in the morning to make sure they are at church by 11:30! We're praying that the kids will find a renewed interest in coming and that Periș will become more accessible to us in the next few weeks.


Iuli came to church last Sunday and got to help celebrate Karla's birthday with us. Here he is hanging out with Emi. He truly has a big heart.

As I mentioned above, we still have not been able to start the transition program as we had hoped. Thankfully, two of the boys who we would like to enter the program are still in school and have not left the orphanage. However, it is clear that the system is trying to move the older kids out and condense or close some of the orphanages so we're not sure how much more time we will have before these boys must make a decision about their future. Nicu and I very much wish that the boys could be here with us, there is so much they could be learning and, honestly, we need the help. Unfortunately, due to the pandemic, financial support for the program is down. Nicu and I are extremely fortunate that we have faithful givers who have never missed a month. God has provided for us in ways that are amazing over the past year and we are looking for ways to continue to honor Him through our finances. We are praying that we can find at least $300/month in support for each of the boys who would like to enter the program.

Hard to believe that this was just a year ago at Periș! Keep praying for these kids and their futures, so much has changed for them!

Next month, one of our staff members, Wanetta will be leaving to return to Canada. She has worked in Roșiori de Vede for the past three years and has been an amazing addition to our team. She will be greatly missed and leaves some very big shoes to fill! I had hoped to be able to pick up ministry where she had left off: going to visit the kids several days a week in the apartments. However, I was recently told that I'm at an elevated risk for early labor and my doctor told me I need to take it easy. I'm praying that I will still be able to go to Roșiori with another staff member, Sanda, at least once or twice before Oliver comes!

I miss working with these kids from Roșiori!

How You Can Support Us
We continue to need lots of prayers for our family and our ministry:
  • We will have access to Periș, that I can visit Roșiori, and that other ministry sites will open up again as well (Casa Lidia and Mia's Children).
  • We can raise the funds to start the transition program.
  • Baby Oliver will continue to grow as he should and that he will go full term.

If you would like to partner with us financially through Heart to Heart International please use the button below. As I mentioned, we are trying to raise support to begin the transition program. If you choose to support us financially be sure and indicate in the memo section that you would like the funds to go to Nicu and Melissa Perghel or to the Boys Transition Program. You can check out our Facebook group to receive updates on how close we are to reaching our goal as well as see how God is moving and working through us.


You can also make a donation through Walking With Orphans using one of the two links below. The transaction will appear as "Eastern European and Russian Orphanages Project" (the registered name for Walking With Orphans).



Thursday, February 4, 2021

Back to Waiting...

 Well...we had hoped that a new year would bring new activities with the kids but, as life would have it, we're back to waiting again...


After a setback at Voluntari we were asked to not come to the orphanage for a few days. When all the dust had settled the director let us know that we could come but we would need a negative COVID test no more than 48 hours old. Since this would require multiple tests each week (and each test costing about $100 for each person) we had to table the idea of seeing the kids face to face. We are looking to see if we can get instant tests and use these to begin seeing the kids again.

        Can't wait to go back! (Pics from our beginning of the school year celebration in the fall.)

Periș continues to be on lockdown as well. We are still taking some of the older kids to church each week and love being able to have conversations with them about salvation, their current struggles, and their hopes for the future. We have seen these kids starting to make better choices and growing in their faith in God. We pray that soon we will be able to begin ministry face to face each week with more kids.

Petruța finally learned how to use Facebook Messenger to call me! I can't wait until she and I can start meeting again one on one.

One big disappointment from this month is that we haven't been able to start the transition program. We had hoped to have 2-3 boys begin the program by the end of January but the funds simply aren't there. One of the prospective boys ended up leaving to live with his brother, a move that we, and the orphanage social worker, do not feel is in his best interest. We have hope that he will be able to join us once the program is up and running. In the meantime we are trying to raise $300/month for each boy (total of $900/month for all three boys).

Constantly praying about what the future holds for these kids.

As for our family, we received some good news this month that baby Oliver is growing well and continues to have no fluid build up in his chest! Some of my recent bloodwork came back a little off so I now have an endocrinologist monitoring my thyroid levels and a diabetes specialist working with me (I failed one part of my gestational diabetes test). My ob/gyn isn't overly worried about any of those things...she is most focused on making sure that Oliver's lungs develop enough and developing a plan for delivery. We are counting down the days until our little man is here!

Another blessing that we received this month is that Nicu was asked to join a training program for up and coming leaders in the church. He and several other young guys will be meeting with the church leadership board and training twice a month. Our church is looking to expand their home groups and to start a second, satellite church and these guys will be filling some of those positions. Nicu has already led prayer time in front of the church and during a night of prayer over Zoom.

Nicu praying in church.

How You Can Support Us
We continue to need lots of prayers for our family and our ministry:
  • We will have access to ministry sites.
  • We can raise the funds to start the transition program.
  • Baby Oliver will continue to grow as he should and that the rest of my pregnancy will go well.
  • Nicu will thrive in the leadership program at the church.

If you would like to partner with us financially through Heart to Heart International please use the button below. As I mentioned, we are trying to raise $900/month to begin the transition program. We are also still slightly below where we would like to be on our own monthly support. If you choose to support us financially be sure and indicate in the memo section that you would like the funds to go to Nicu and Melissa Perghel or to the Boys Transition Program. You can check out our Facebook group to receive updates on how close we are to reaching our goal as well as see how God is moving and working through us.

You can also make a donation through Walking With Orphans using one of the two links below. The transaction will appear as "Eastern European and Russian Orphanages Project" (the registered name for Walking With Orphans).





Monday, December 28, 2020

Merry Christmas!

 Merry Christmas from the Perghel family! We hope that this email update finds you well, rested, and ready for what 2021 has to bring!

This month has seen some small returns to "normal" life. I (Melissa) was able to do some therapy sessions via Zoom with the kids at Voluntari and Nicu continued to make repairs at Nenciulești. Including putting in a new hot water heater! We couldn't have done that without the love and gracious financial support from the members of Cochranton Christian and Missionary Alliance Church in Cochranton, Pennsylvania.

Our brand new water heater!

A new ministry area that we have been able to take part in is having some of the kids come to church with us. While we aren't allowed into the orphanage, the kids have the chance to leave the orphanage. Several of them, of their own accord, have asked for permission slips to leave for the day and to come to church with us. We could not be more proud or excited to see the kids take this kind of initiative!

We often give the kids a ride home after church since it takes about an hour and half by public transport. Of course that also means they often get a detour to the mall or the team house in Pipera for some time to hang out.

This month culminated in the giving of Christmas gifts to the kids at the Periș, Voluntari, and Peticot orphanages. The members of AlfaOmega church in Bucharest provided enough stockings and gifts for all of the kids to get something special. It was amazing to finally see some of the kids after months apart. And the directors told us that we were the only organization to bring gifts to the kids this year which made the whole experience even more meaningful.

Handing out gifts at Periș. It has been about 3 months since we have had face to face interaction with many of the kids. It was great to see all of them again!
Gift giving at Peticot. Peticot is a special needs orphanage that is located on the grounds of the Periș orphanage. The two orphanages are separated by a chainlink fence and, in recent months, have been totally separated from one another. The kids were so very excited to have visitors and to receive gifts.

Handing out presents at Voluntari. We weren't allowed in any of the orphanages so we had to hand out gifts in the parking lot. This didn't stop the kids from coming to see us and give us hugs (and to pat my belly!).

What's Coming Up
We are hoping that in January we can begin taking some of the boys from the orphanages to come to Nenciulești to work with Nicu for a few days at a time. After talking with many of the boys we feel that it is probably best to wait until the fall to have them come live with us full-time. There may be a few exceptions to this as there are some boys who will turn 18 and have no where to go before October comes. We are continuing to pray for direction about this.

We are also praying that we will be able to start going into the orphanages again to work with the kids face to face. Having not had social interactions or contact with the outside world for months we have visibly seen a change in the kids, they no longer have any motivation or zest for life and many are suffering physically because they have simply stopped eating or doing physical activity. The kids desperately need the positive mental health benefits that come from social interactions.

How You Can Support Us
We continue to need lots of prayers for our family and our ministry:
  • That baby Oliver will continue to grow strong and healthy, that there will be no further issues or complications with the pregnancy, and that his shunts will stay in place.
  • Access to ministry sites.
  • The boys transition program.
  • Financial support. We need an additional $1200 a month in support to be able to continue with ministry. One time donations are also greatly appreciated as they help us with things like medical bills and household repairs.

If you would like to partner with us financially through Walking With Orphans please use one of the two links below. You can check out our Facebook group to receive updates on how close we are to reaching our goal as well as see how God is moving and working through us.

If you would like to make a financial contribution through PayPal please use the link below. The transaction will appear under “Eastern European and Russian Orphanages Project” (the official name of Walking With Orphans).







Saturday, November 28, 2020

Roller Coaster

 When thinking of how to explain this month all I could think of was "roller coaster." Emotionally, physically, mentally, and even at times, spiritually, both Nicu and I have been up, down, and thrown for a loop.


To start things off, we attempted to schedule a visa appointment for Nicu. Our original plan was to travel to the States in late November. However, we were unable to schedule an appointment with the embassy until the 7th of December and our expedited request was denied. A few weeks later we found out the appointment on the 7th was cancelled as well. However, this was a blessing in disguise because of what happened next...

As most of you know, we announced our pregnancy at the beginning of the month. However, about 10 days later, I went in for a routine ultrasound where they found out that our little man, Oliver, had hydrothorax (or fetal pleural effusion). The next day the doctor drained fluid from his chest and abdomen but a few days later on Monday the fluid was back. I was admitted to the hospital and on Tuesday afternoon, after waiting for Oliver to turn into a good position, the doctor performed the surgery to place two thoracic shunts in Oliver. I went back on the Friday after the surgery and everything looked good. I have more doctors visits ahead and we're praying that the shunts stay in place and continue to work. We're also praying that Oliver will continue to grow strong and healthy and stay in place until April.

Pictures after church one Sunday.
Decorating for Christmas...because we all need a little joy after the craziness of this year!

In addition to all the personal life changes and craziness, we still have ministry to think about. I was able to do a few therapy sessions at Voluntari at the beginning of the month and Nicu has continued to make repairs at Nenciulești to prepare for when we are able to take boys into the transition program. Our hope is that in January we will be able to take some boys, even if just for a week at a time, down to Nenciulești to start learning and working with us. In preparation for Christmas we have partnered with AlfaOmega church here in Bucharest to buy presents and stocking stuffers for all the kids at Periș and Voluntari as well as the youth group kids in Roșiorii.

We are still very limited in the work that we can do due to COVID-19 restrictions. Periș was quarantined for several weeks and then they had a change in directors so regular ministry has yet to resume. We are still keeping in touch with the kids there as best as we can but they are very eager to see us face to face once again. In Roșiorii the directors are only allowing one staff member to visit the apartments and they can only visit one apartment a day. Once we are allowed to have more staff come in then I will go to help there. In the meantime, we try to stay busy and prepare for the day when we are able to see the kids again.

How You Can Support Us
We continue to need lots of prayers for our family and our ministry:
  • That baby Oliver will continue to grow strong and healthy, that there will be no further issues or complications with the pregnancy, and that the shunts will stay in place.
  • Access to ministry sites. Specifically Periș and Roșiorii.
  • The boys transition program. Nicu and I are still praying about how the program will look in the spring - whether we will take in boys full time or part time, how many boys we will accept into the program, who we think would benefit most from the program, and how to structure and run the program. Pray for wisdom and guidance.
  • Monthly support. We are still short of our monthly support goal and also know that we are losing some supporters at the end of the year. In order to start the transition program in January we need to meet our financial goals.

As I mentioned above, we are in need of financial support. In order to start the transition program in January we need an additional $1200 a month. This will help cover Nicu's salary, taxes, and insurance. One time donations also help us greatly. As you can imagine, having in utero surgery is not cheap. While my insurance should cover the expenses we have to pay out of pocket up front and hope to be reimbursed.

If you would like to partner with us financially through Walking With Orphans please use one of the links below. You can check out our Facebook group to receive updates on how close we are to reaching our goal as well as see how God is moving and working through us.

If you would like to make a financial contribution through PayPal please use the link below. The transaction will appear under “Eastern European and Russian Orphanages Project” (the official name of Walking With Orphans).




Monday, September 28, 2020

We're Moving!

Yes, that's right! We're leaving the city behind and moving to the country! In mid-October Nicu and I will be moving to Nenciulești, a small village about an hour and half south of Bucharest. Why would we do that? Because that is where the Heart to Heart boys transition program is located and Nicu will be taking over as the director of the program starting this fall! In the transition program we will housing boys who are 18 and older and have left the orphanage but want to learn a trade and may need some extra help transitioning from orphanage living into the real world. Nicu will be working with the boys to learn construction, welding, and other similar skills. I will help with the daily household management and helping the boys learn to cook and clean. The most important aspect of the program will be a daily Bible study and weekly involvement in the local church and with AlfaOmega church in Bucharest. I will also be helping my colleague, Wanetta, in Roșiori de Vede several days a week and both Nicu and I will be going back to Bucharest on the weekends to work with the kids at Periș, Voluntari, Casa Lidia, and Mia's Children. We anticipate a season of lots of changes, lots of work, and lots of adjusting but are very excited about this new adventure for our family!


Fun fact: The house that we will be living in was originally a cheese factory! It was renovated many years ago in order to house the boys transition program and now has seven bedrooms, four bathrooms (including one outdoors for use during our summer camps), a "club"/hang out space, a living room, a huge pantry, and dining and kitchen area. There is a second building on the property that holds a workshop/garage and four rooms that we use for housing campers and meeting spaces during summer camps. There are already plans underway to add a second story to the building for dorms!

Join us on the adventure!
We need a lot of support over the next few months as we prepare for this new ministry opportunity. The first way that you can support us is through prayer in the following specific areas:
  • Good health. There has been an increase in COVID-19 cases in Romania and several of our friends have become sick. Pray that we will have good health and not contract COVID-19.
  • The move to Nenciulești will go smoothly and that the old house we were living in will sell quickly.
  • Nicu will pass his driving test on the 8th of October. He will then have his driver's license which will be a HUGE help for us!
  • Nicu will get his visa to America. We have plans to travel to the States in November and pray that there will be no issues with getting his travel visa despite the current global situation.
  • New monthly supporters. We will be losing some of our monthly support at the end of this year and we still have a few hundred dollars that we need to raise to make sure Nicu is fully supported. He is first Romanian staff member to have raised all his support independently! All the other Romanian staff receive a portion of the funds that the American staff raise. We're very proud of the fact that Nicu has been able to raise his own support and it is even more important that he be fully funded as we enter into this next phase of our lives together; Nicu has officially quit his job at the auto body parts warehouse and October will be the first month we both live off a "missionary salary."

The second way that you can support us is through financial giving. We need funds to help cover the cost of Nicu's visa and plane ticket to the US, the taxes for the new car we are planning on purchasing, and the renovations that we need to make at Nenciulești. We need both monthly support and one time donations. If you would like to partner with us financially through Walking With Orphans please use one of the links below. You can check out our Facebook group to receive updates on how close we are to reaching our goal as well as see how God is moving and working through us.

If you would like to make a financial contribution through PayPal please use the link below. The transaction will appear under “Eastern European and Russian Orphanages Project” (the official name of Walking With Orphans).

You can also make a donation through our PayPal Giving Fund page:

https://www.paypal.com/us/fundraiser/charity/1239712