La Multi Ani!

As we look back at 2021, We have so much to be thankful for! 2021 was the year that we moved to Romania one year to the day of the terrible car accident. God in His great mercy redeemed the 29th of June for our family and now it marks the beginning of our adventures living and serving in Romania. We have much to look forward to in 2022 and we are excited to see what the Lord will do!

Gwen teaching the Christmas story and Callum translating

In our last update, we asked you to pray for the Christmas party for children in our village. The party took place on December 22 and praise the Lord it turned out very well! 25 children from the community came and our children who could participate brought the number to 29. Many of the mothers also came and stayed for the entire program. Ladies from the Baptist church in the village had prepared very nice refreshments of sandwiches and traditional Romanian sweet bread, and the pastor got some juice for the party. Adi Muscan led the children in high energy games. Then we sang a few Christmas songs, and then Gwen taught the Bible lesson while Callum King translated. We shared the Christmas story from the Bible and were surprised at how well the children knew the story. Orthodox Christianity is the state religion in Romania and there is a religion class taught in the public schools. Just because the children and adults are familiar with Bible stories though doesn’t mean that they are walking with the Lord. In the Bible lesson, we focused on Mary’s response to the news that she was going to bear the Savior of the world. This was a huge interruption of her plans and her life! Yet she said, “Let it be according to your word.” She chose to follow God’s plan for her life. We all have the same choice. We can choose to follow God’s plan for our lives, or we can go our own way. When we choose to go our own way, we will find ourselves running from God, or even fighting against God. I hope and pray that all of you will know the joy of living your life according to God’s plan!

Anne Marie preparing the gifts

None of the children who attended the club made a profession of faith, but we trust that it was seed that was planted, and we know that God’s word does not return to Him void! We were able to give the children very nice gifts which had a soft fleece blanket, a stuffed animal, a wooden craft to paint, a pair of new socks, a toothbrush and toothpaste, a bottle of bubbles, and of course candy! There were enough gifts that we were able to give one to each of the moms who attended as well. The moms were surprised to receive a gift, and we were happy to be able to share God’s love with them in this way. We had purchased and assembled 40 gifts and there were just enough for every child and every mom to receive a gift. Praise God! We hope to begin a weekly Bible club for the children in the village in January for 6 weeks at a time. Please be praying with us for God’s timing, for all the helpers needed, and for children and adults to come to Christ and be discipled in God’s word!

Christmas Eve was only 2 days after we had the party for the children in the village. Our first Christmas in Romania was a learning experience on many levels. On Christmas Eve, it is customary for groups of people to go caroling from house to house. We learned that many times people expect a gift of money for going caroling. We didn’t give out money, but instead we gave out some homemade cookies. On Christmas day in Romania, everyone goes to church! Even people who didn’t attend at anytime the rest of the year. This is true for evangelical and Orthodox Christians alike. This was something different for us because as you know most American churches do not have a service on Christmas day unless it happens to fall on a Sunday. Here churches met for caroling on Christmas Eve, for a service on Christmas Day, and again for the day after Christmas because it was Sunday. So, on Christmas morning, after opening our stockings and enjoying our traditional Christmas breakfast, we went to church at the little Baptist church in the village. Learning about and participating in the Romanian Christmas traditions has been wonderful. However, we realize the need to keep our own family traditions and to have a good balance between ministry and family time.

Carolers from the Baptist Church in Our Village
Timmy getting an early start on his Christmas dinner.

The day after Christmas, we did not go to church again. Instead, we took a shuttle to the airport in Budapest Hungry and began our journey to France. Gwen’s cousin and her family live in France, and we had been wanting to visit them, but were looking for the right time. We were able to spend New Years with them, and it was wonderful to spend time with family! Gwen’s cousin has 4 girls, so there were 9 children in all. The kids loved playing with their French cousins and experiencing a little bit of what their life is like! We did go and see a few attractions. We saw 1 castle and went downtown for ice skating and to ride the big Ferris wheel. Mostly, we focused on resting and spending time with family! We’re so thankful that we were able to spend some time with family!

Not everything has been a joyful experience. As you know, Timothy has struggled with health since we moved to Romania. Praise God, we were able to find a good allergy doctor in Timișoara. Timmy was tested for allergies and we learned that he is allergic to eggs, peanuts and tree nuts, cows milk, green peas, chickpeas, and lentils. Since we removed these things from his diet, he has not gotten sick with a cold or other virus. Please pray that he continues to be healthy!

Gwen and her cousin in France

David has also not been very well. He has had a flare up of symptoms from the brain injury which began the week of Thanksgiving and has not stopped yet. He gets terrible, debilitating headaches and has extreme fatigue. On Christmas Eve, he was not able to help wrap presents like usual. On Christmas day, he was not able to get up with the rest of the family and enjoy Christmas morning. He couldn’t attend church with us on Christmas day. (He was able to get up and open presents with us and enjoy Christmas dinner after we came home from church.) When Timothy got tested for allergies, he wasn’t well enough to make the trip into Timisoara with the rest of the family. By God’s grace we found a good neurologist in TimiÈ™oara, and he has gone to see her. She ordered an MRI and gave him more supplements and a pain medicine. He has been faithfully taking the supplements along with some that he was already taking from the USA. Unfortunately, he hasn’t noticed much of a difference, and on days when he had a splitting headache, the pain medicine didn’t seem to do much. Spending time resting in France did seem to help the most, but he is still struggling. Please pray that David will be well, and that we will know what to do so that he can be healthy. Yesterday, he was going to have the MRI, but the lab wanted to know exactly what metal his face was rebuilt with so that they can calibrate their machine properly. So, he is rescheduled for February 1, God willing.

We hope you experience God’s love, joy, and peace this New Year! Praise God, He makes all things new! We look forward to what God has planned for 2022! God bless you, thank you so much for praying!

Praises: The Christmas party was a wonderful success and many people worked together to make it happen, We found a good allergy doctor for Timothy, David found a good neurologist, Timothy has been much healthier!

Prayer Requests: David’s health, continued health for all of us, that we will find a good balance between ministry and family life, that we will learn the language, that we will keep our eyes on Jesus and not become discouraged, that we will be a light and a blessing!

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