Wednesday, December 11, 2013

Warsaw, Poland



                           Hey there again!                                  
So we're gonna go back just a bit and talk about the end of October when we were in Warsaw Poland!  So if you didn't know and are looking at the picture above, you may notice some differences with our team. 
Wasn't there 4 girls and 2 guys before? What happened? 
Sadly, Taylah, our friend from Australia was called home.  To Australia, not heaven lol! But she felt God telling her she it was the right thing to leave after Romania and head home.  So we bid her farwell.  She was definitely missed, but God has big plans.  You know?!  
So who's that other guy?!  
You mean the the one on the end?
Oh yeah, him. 
That's Igor! He's from Macedonia and was visiting some friends there in Warsaw and got connected to the couple we were working with in the church.  So he had the wonderful opportunity to become an honorary team member for those 10 or so days there in Warsaw.  Oh yeah,  he felt blessed to be one of us....let me tell you :P 





Here's a view of the Old Town in Warsaw.  I loved seeing the history here.   Toward the end in our stay in Warsaw we were also able to go see a museum about Warsaw's history in WWII.  It was very eye-opening.  Book (or movie if you don't like reading) recommendation: The Pianist. Very enlightening.



The first week we were there we did a lot of various things there with the church.  This was one of our first activities.  Talking to young all adults that were all our age.  We performed our chair skit that we've gotten quite good at, Mpumi gave a message, and Grace here gave her testimony!  They had an awesome group of people there and were VERY engaging!


 Street/homeless ministry! If my memory serves me correctly, this is somewhat new ministry for the church we were with.  But it was a really fascinating ministry; they brought out a full worship band into the middle of square downtown,  served dinner for all the homeless who came,  had a message, a prayer tent, and several workers in the crowd.   We were split off into teams of 3, each with our own interpreter.  I was able to talk with a few individuals, but the really cool thing was watching Igor and our interpreter talk with this young man in the picture below.   I think he was just walking by, wondering what was going on when Igor came up and started asking him questions.  About life, about his beliefs, about what questions he may have.  This kid seemed glued to every word.  Our interpreter was then able to invite him to the church.  I'm not sure what became of him,  but if you could, please keep him in your prayers.  Pray that he went to church, that he stayed curious about this Jesus and Christianity, and comes to accept Him as his personal savior.















Schools.  Schools.  Oh boy, schools.  We gave presentations galore! These pictures were the first of NUMEROUS class presentations we gave in various places in various countries. On this day, we were talking to kids in English class that ranged from 4th-6th grade.



Each of us talked about our own countries; the famous things, a little history, our homes, etc., each with our own style and flair.   Mpumi of course gave much more story in his part talking about the Dutch and English fighting over South Africa, all the big safari animals, and obviously Nelson Mandela.  Some had power points, others just used themselves.

The point was to talk about where we're from yes, but then include our faith, Jesus, the church when and where we could.  Mpumi was most prominent in that Nelson Mandela had to forgive his oppressors in order to have influence and create change in his country.  

These kids were insanely smart and interactive! Short story....they wanted to arm wrestle me (thanks Igor for that).....I beat all of them, except one.  It was REALLY close but my endurance got the better of me and had to let him win. Next time kid....NEXT time ;) )

Saturday, November 9, 2013

Amara, Romania

Still trying to catch up on what we've been doing.  Thank-you all for reading and following our blog, for some reason it always surprises me when people say they've been reading what we've been doing.  Please bear with us as we try to catch up on our travels.

Whilst we were still in Romania, our second week we traveled to Amara (about 4 hours away from Brasov).  We had long days filled with church services,  home visits, and various children programs (several of which we had no idea about until we were doing it).  It was a testament of our flexibility and mental (and even physical) endurance for long days such as these.

 The man on the left is John, the local Pastor whom we worked with that week - who organized all the various places and events we went to and participated in.

But the man on the right left a big impact on me personally.  His name is Elisha, from Pakistan, and is an incredible preacher and man of God.  These pictures are from one of the home churches we went to the first few days.  He comes from and Eastern country but has been westernized - so when he was
preaching he would NOT let himself go past the allotted time he gave himself.  But BOY, did he have the most charismatic and animated preaching I think I've ever seen.  I loved it.  You couldn't get board listening (and watching) him.

The picture below is of our good friend Baseelah, you would often find with Elisha's ipad taking videos of everything happening.  B. stayed with us at the church we were at and helped with all our daily activities,
down to helping make our meals and clean up afterwards.  Such a gentleman.

At that same church house, one of the girls we were with, Christina, helped Grace accomplished something she wanted to accomplish and would NOT stop talking about: riding one of these horse-drawn wagons.  Elated might be right word for her at that moment.


 I wanted to show the pictures from the day we went to a home for mentally handi-cap boys.  We had great day.  The boys LOVED the fact that they had guests that day and were more than eager to show us their rooms and all their personal things.  We put together a little program for them, including games, puppets



(that was our first and only time on this trip we've used puppets so far....it was TONS of fun!), a skit, and lots of songs.   And after we performed with our puppets, they gave us a performance with the puppets as well! I honestly don't know who had more fun that day, the boys or us.






The big picture below is of our good friend, Raluca, an OM Romania field worker who worked right beside us that whole week.  She's worked with OM for yeeaaaarrrrsss now, but has a real heart for her home in Romania. She is also an excellent translator.

We went on several house visits and brought the church to them! Many of the people we were with couldn't leave their homes for a many number of reasons.  When we were with this woman on the right - we felt the presence of God so powerfully!  Hearing her story,  listening to several of our people give a short message or encouraging word, singing songs of praise and prayer.  So powerful at that moment. 



 On another occasion we were given the opportunity to travel into a gypsy village.  I've heard a lot about gypsies - but had no idea what to expect.  During our time here, our original plans were completely thrown off and we had to improvise a LOT.  But it's ok....we're kind of professionals at that.  It was amazing to be here tho, even just for a short time, doing songs, skits, games, and messages.  The children were especially receptive to what we had to offer.  Raluca is pictured with 2 girls who wanted to make a commitment with Jesus Christ in their lives.  How encouraging!! 










 Another day with kids, another day we completely made everything up (well at least scheduling wise) as we went along.  We were brought to this neighborhood and wasn't told much, just that there might be some kids in the park that we could spend time with.  It went from JUST us, to a couple kids, to a handful, to about 15-20 kids just stopping what games everyone was playing at the park (fun games! That what games they were).  We were able to do our Good Samaritan little drama, and Mpumi was able to deliver a message that was perfect for kids   that age.


On our last day we went to a home for mentally handicapped children.  We weren't able to stay very long, and were only able to sing a few songs and help with snack time.  However, I think we were all able to make a special connection with these kids.  For me personally,  my camera became a HUGE hit, this boy and his twin were particularly fascinated with all aspects of the camera, the lens, the buttons.  I loved it.  They made a huge impression on me.  


We then finished up our time in Amara at the Eiffel Tower.  Yep.....it's in Romania now! Well, at least the one that's about 10 times small than the one in France (at least that's what I've been told lol!). 



Thursday, October 31, 2013

Romania.



Since Caitie has taken the task of telling you about the people we were working with on the first week I have been set the task of telling you about the stuff we got up to. So we arrived on Monday night after a fairly short journey to OM Romania (short for us Transiters)  and were greeted with a hot meal which was prepared for us by Michael.   We were also introduced to a wonderful Swiss couple named Markus and Rebecca who we would be working a long side for the next two weeks.

The next morning we meet two local pastors, Sorin and Fausto, whom Caitie has told you about. The first thing we needed to do was go shopping so we were taken to a second hand clothes store and we were able to buy some clothes (the main purpose: appropriate church clothes). Then we drove to a family's house, John, Amelia, and their daughter Eunice, and we were set to work. (John has a sick daughter named Eunice please pray for God to heal her). The boys were set to some practical work sorting out bricks that could be reused for some sort of building work and the girls were set to do all kinds of different housework from doing laundry to sorting out vegetables .


               BEFORE                                                                                                AFTER

.

 At 5pm we stopped working for the day and went with Fausto and Sorin to local villages to promote the kids program we would be doing the next few days. So the next day we all did separate tasks: I stayed behind and helped Michael cook for the team; the girls (except for Caitie) went back to John's house and helped with tasks that still needed to be done there in the house; and Mpumi, Caitie, along with Fausto and Matt took apart a kitchen that was inside the church. This included stripping the walls of tiles, taking out brick half-wall, and just getting rid of part of the ceiling. Afterwards, we all came together as a team and planned for the kid's club that was taking place for the next 3 days. When we had finished planning, Mpumi and Fausto went and gathered the kids and started the program. The next hour and a half consisted of games,songs,bible verses and the creation story.



 It was really exciting to see the turn out of kids that showed up and how eager they were to all be there and hear what we had to say and play with us (despite the language barrier).  Over the few days, our message went from Creation to man's fall and our Sinfulness, to the story of Jesus and the Salvation He offers us.  The last day was the most exciting to watch these kids. 
The day after the girls had finished doing all their tasks at John's house and we at the church had finished in the church kitchen so we moved on to the task of cleaning the school which was in an awful state. The school had a horrible smell to it,had broken glass everywhere from windows that had been smashed,sheep poo, a load of old communism style uniforms and rubble. We had the task of clearing out the school of all this stuff. This took us two days to complete this task and we were all feeling satisfied when we completed the task.

           BEFORE                                                                                                      AFTER





Wednesday, October 23, 2013

Romania!

Well hello again!

I very much think that Romania has become one of my personal favorite places we've been able to serve in thus far.  And for several reasons.

First of all the people were AWESOME....we met such phenomenal people there.  I think I'll put pictures up of all the cool people here.  But only from the first week in Brasov, or more specifically - Ghimbav and Bod. The second week in Amara will come next :)

Michael Jordan (you know, like the famous American Basketball player....well this guy is pretty much as opposite of him as you can get lol).  He is the leader of short term missions in Romania and was our main coordinator for everything we would be doing in Romania.  He has a good servant's heart and great heart for missions.  He was a good leader. In our time with him, we also got an abundance of good quotes from this quirky guy.
             Mpumi: "Girls, were you cold last night like                           you were the night before?"
             Girls:  "No, it was a lot better"
             Mpumi:  "You hear that Michael, the girls                  were warm last night! Isn't that good?"
             Michael: "I don't care" (I think he was                                      smiling when he said it)

            *12 or so people were crowded around a table talking with one another, Michael gets a phone call, raises his hand sharply addressing everyone "SILENCE!"    bahahahahahaha!!



Then there was our favorite Swiss couple, Rebekka and Marcus.  They will be serving in Romania for a total of 3 months.  Marcus has a small farm with 18 cows and Rebekka is an primary/elementary school teacher. They're pretty much the coolest/sweetest couple you'll ever meet.  The more you get to know them, the more perfect of a couple you realize they are and just warm your heart......wow ok sorry, that got a bit sappy. But in addition Marcus and Mpumi got RATHER close - HUGE bromance going on there.  Sorry Rebekka!  To show a bit of Marcus's character I would like to include a short video about him.....hehehehehe!

video
Sorryn: We didn't get to work AS closely with him as some of the others, but it was great to work with him none-the-less.  He's one of the leader's at OM Romania who has a long term vision for Romania.  The vision has helped the start up and work within the church we worked with in Bod as well as an after-school-school he wants to start up in order to help improve the education level of the kids in Romania  He's pretty much one of the best role models a person could ever have.  Especially on a mission level. Just saying.







Fausto (and family):   This is probably the coolest Mexican I've ever met.  He's not staying in Romania for much longer,  but the work he's done here with his family is invaluable.  Plus he's probably one of the funniest missionaries I've ever met (those people exist?!?! what?!?!).  We were able to help him in the work on church as well as the kids programs we put together.  But he also took us to his house and watched the Avengers projected on his wall (much better than the laptop we've all gotten accustomed to).  His daughter gave Rory a much needed haircut.  AND he came to visit us in the middle of the night before we left.  Oh good times.

On the day we (Mpumi, Marcus, and I) went to the church to do some demolition, Fauso brings in this guy Matt saying "I brought the muscle for the day".  Uh...yep.  As Yoda would say - Good hard worker he is.  But he, Mpumi, and Fausto were quite the trio (as this video will show).  Even though he wasn't working with us directly, he was still a good addition to our little team that week.

We also met this wonderful Paraschibu family.  Their daughter has Lyme disease and we were able to bless them by doing chores around the house that are a little hard to tackle while simultaneously working hard to take care of Eunice.  Their whole family are wonderful, sweet-hearted people (I sound like a southern woman right now...my apologies).  But John, Amelia, and Eunice are fascinating people that honestly truely enjoy listening and talking with people.  They instantly make you feel at home.




If our Romanian friends are reading this.  Thank-you for making such a large impact on me and my team by all you've done with and for us. :)