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).