On a personal level, I was happy to be able to visit my girls in London for a weekend. We enjoyed just being together with the children, walking and eating together. I hadn’t given much thought as to how my heart would be when we had to separate again, but it felt worse than when I first left Scotland and home in January! As I watched each one leave me separately (they all had different leaving times), my heart felt as if it was torn out from my body and I felt entirely empty without them. It was a harrowing experience that I will not forget for a long time. Thankfully they all call us on Skype as often as possible and I can keep up with seeing our grandchildren as often as I can. I am always glad to speak to my Mum too and she keeps us up to date with everything else that’s happening in Peterhead. We miss our friends, but thankfully we are blessed by receiving emails and cards from those who miss us. It is always an encouragement to hear good news from afar! We miss New Hope Church and our friends there too but hopefully we will not be forgotten. We pray for home and everyone each day as people are precious to us!
My Romanian classes are two hours every Wednesday morning and I feel that I am managing to get to know a little more every week. It's not an easy thing for me to learn a completely new language and I ask God every day to clear my mind and enable me to absorb this entirely new set of words! I can understand a whole lot more, but I think it will take some time before I can converse in Romanian! Sava is helping me with my homework and it helps me with the pronunciation.
The Bible study group that I am involved in with a group of girls (mainly married young wives) has been a source of great blessing to me. Each week we have to do the lesson given from the study book 'Behold our God' and as I have been studying God's word I have been challenged greatly as to my 'Praise life' towards God. So often, we don’t praise Him nearly enough for what He has done - and is doing - and this course has shown me where I fail to thank Him and Praise Him for His greatness and His Mercy towards me! It has certainly changed my thoughts on how to pray! I have changed from begging God to do things for me - into Praising Him for the battles He has won in the past and the deliverances that He has accomplished! It sometimes doesn’t change our circumstances, but it certainly raises our eyes from our circumstances onto God! I have learned so much about God and how He is more willing to give than we are to receive!
In April, Pastor Lucian approached us to begin our own home church. The church is growing weekly and new members are being added who require teaching and grounding in God’s word. We prayed about this responsibility and felt it was what God wanted us to do. It has been a joy and a challenge.
The home church is going well. We have several 'characters' in our group and it makes it fun just to be there. We have six couples as well as ourselves and the topic certainly keeps things lively - Communication, Sex & Money by Edwin Louis Cole - the three things that most commonly cause the break-up of a marriage. The whole church is doing the course in their home groups and hopefully it will be taught positively and help those who attend. I know in our group, we have grown close and as we are on a rota to a different home each week – it’s also broadening our knowledge of the families in the church!
The youth work on a Thursday night continues to be a great blessing and challenge. We must say that we are both surprised and delighted at the forward thinking being shown by the leadership in Aletheia Church in regard to the choice of courses being chosen for teaching! Sava found a tremendous course called Reach for Life put together by the International Bible Society for teenagers and young people up to 30 which is very open about the challenges facing youth today. It is an American course and touches on sexual purity, relationships and sex, God and sex, teen pregnancy, sex before marriage, sex within marriage, Aids, HIV and other sexually transmitted diseases and the whole subject which is quite often 'taboo' in Churches today. The youth are very interested and although it is only a six week course they have thrown themselves into it with their whole hearts. At the last week, it is open for the parents to attend too so we look forward to that and will open it up for discussion. There has been a very good attendance at the meetings and I believe that as we continue to be involved it will grow weekly. Many of the girls enjoy speaking to me and as they can all speak English it helps me to become involved too. I believe that a venue like the Nightbase at New Hope would be very beneficial here and am praying to that end!!! It would take a great leap of faith financially and I’m still praying for guidance on that one. There are tens of thousands of youth in Timisoara alone. I know of at least five universities! The need is unbelievable. Please pray with us on this one as we can’t do it alone!
I have been invited to start a programme the city incorporating my experience with humanitarian aid by two different large organisations. I have been unwilling to do anything in this direction since I arrived here but have been praying that God would open doors for me to help more people - and I had a phone call out of the blue asking if I could attend a meeting bringing volunteers from all over the city together to start a new initiative regarding helping in this area! This has happened through word of mouth from people finding out that I am here and certainly not through me promoting myself! Please pray for me that if this is meant to be that I will have the courage and guidance to take this step. We decided when we came here that I would keep away from stressful situations and up till now I have felt that I could not become involved again in humanitarian aid on a large scale and all the areas of involvement it incurs, but I also promised God that if He opened up new doors, I would go through them! There is so much need here - whatever the media says - there are still people here with no electric nor water.
As ever, Sava is taking very good care of me. Together we are allowing God to stretch us and as we venture forward, we are discovering new areas in God that we didn’t realise existed. He is an all consuming God and as we put ourselves in His hands, He continues to ask of us more and more. In September Sava is going to start a 3 year course in Pastoral Theology at the 'Timothy School' which is run by Aletheia Church. He has been invited to participate but it will be a lot of work for him on top of what we are already involved in. This will run over a three year period and this course has students from all over Romania. Pray for him as he endeavours to follow his heart and ministry.
We know that many of you have been praying for Pastor Cusman’s health. His operation was a great success and we are happy to report that he is back up to full steam! We attended a baptismal service in Metanoia Church on Sunday night and he was both preaching and baptising! Their church is also growing tremendously through the building of relationships.
It has also been my privilege to spend time with my dear friend Carmen who is at home for a month on a sabbatical and support raising trip from Afghanistan. She has some tremendous stories to tell about the protection of God on her life and it’s been refreshing for me just to spend time with her. She goes back on the 25th of June for as long as possible. Trouble is rife there presently.
The weather has already begun to heat up here. It has reached the 30 degree plus mark already and unfortunately our car's cooling just doesn’t work in this heat. Sava took the car to a garage and seemingly a pipe from the Air Conditioning system has corroded (seemingly caused by the salt in the water, they say that all cars that “live” by the sea will have something like this happening) and lost all the Freon and liquid needed for the cooling to work. Hopefully we will be able to get it fixed as it is getting unbearable. There’s no point in opening the windows - the heat is outside! It does make a nice change though to be able to go out in the evenings with no coat on and to see people walking all over the city!... :-)