Summer 2017 Update

Hi friends!

A big hello to all of you, our amazing supporters! First, we want to say a big THANK YOU for you all and for your continuing support of us and the ministry that God has blessed here in Romania. We think about each of you often and we're constantly amazed and thankful that people like you continue to support us, even though we're so far away. Because of the intensity of our ministry schedule over the last few months we haven't exactly been keeping you all up to date as much as we would like, so we're sharing an update with you today re-capping the last few months of ministry here in Romania. We'll be sharing about the last half of the Bible School which ended on June 17th, sharing about Jerry's trip to Capernwray Hall in England for the Torchbearers International Staff Conference, and updating you on what's been going on at PdF this summer!

Ministry Update: 

First of all, we want to thank each and every one of you who were praying for us during the time of the Bible School. Looking back we know it was God who sustained us during that incredibly busy season, and we know He heard and answered your prayers for us. The Bible School went incredibly smoothly and it was a huge success. The students enjoyed the program and it was such a privilege for us to watch them grow in their understanding of God's word and in their relationship with Him. The students were challenged daily with local outreaches, Bible reading and Bible memory assignments, book reports, fitness requirements, and outdoor and cultural challenges. Of course, there were many small matters that came up each day that required Jerry's attention and so a large part of his job became "putting out fires", so to speak, with students and logistical situations. This is to be expected the first time a program runs, so we took it in stride and trusted God to work out the details - and He did. We learned so much during these three months and feel much more equipped to handle the Bible School program next Spring. The planning for next year's Bible School has already begun with meetings and planning the weekly schedules, booking lecturers, and accepting student applications. Please continue to pray for the Bible School next year - for many students to register and for the planning and decision-making process as it unfolds over the coming months.

It's hard to believe that 4 months before the Bible school began we had no students signed up. Jerry began a bi-weekly prayer meeting for PdF staff and volunteers to pray for the Bible School, for students and teachers, and for God's will to be done with the program. Looking back it is SO obvious to us that God heard every one of those prayers - and He answered them! We will be starting regular prayer meetings for next year's Bible School in September and we look forward to seeing how God works in next year's program!

There were so many highlights of Bible School for us, and one of our favourite components of the program was Wednesday night Family Group. On Wednesday evenings, the students would visit one of the staff families in groups of 3 or 4 and enjoy dinner with the family with the purpose of getting to know the staff and experience their culture. We had the pleasure of hosting all the students in our home for dinner many times and it was always a highlight of the week for us.

We also enjoyed taking students to church with us each week. Our church in Brasov, Biserica Harvest Metanoia Brasov,  was so welcoming to the students. On the last Sunday of Bible School we led worship at church with the students and the church prayed over the students and hosted us all for a pizza lunch and ping pong tournament after church. It was such a great opportunity for the students to experience a Romanian church family and learn about the mission field of Romania, specifically the Brasov area.

Other Bible School highlights included the 3 challenges of the program - the Cultural Encounter Challenge, the Outdoor Team Challenge, and the Mission Outreach Challenge. Chrissie and the kids weren't able to attend the challenges with the students, but of course Jerry went along on each trip. Each challenge was a time of learning and growth for the students, where they could apply everything they were learning in the lectures during the week. Getting them out of the classroom and into challenging situations really helped to develop their relationships with each other and with God, and this was a very inspiring thing to witness.  

The Mission Outreach was a highlight for many of the students as they had to completely plan and prepare a day camp for 50-60 youth. They prepared skits centering around the life of Queen Esther, several personal Bible devotions that they shared in small groups with the youth, they lead interactive songs and games, prepared food, and gave personal testimonies. At the end of the event we saw several youth invite Jesus into their lives for the first time, which was amazing to be a part of!

We are so excited to continue keeping in contact with the students and hearing all about how their lives unfold going forward. Because the Bible School at PdF is a Mission Bible School, the goal is to disciple students and equip them for future ministry in the context of missions. Since many of them are young and only beginning their post-secondary education, it might be several years before God calls them to local or cross-cultural ministry. Please be praying for the fire that God has started in their hearts during their time at Bible School, that it would continue to grow stronger and not be snuffed out by the world. And please pray that one day God would use each of these students in ministry to further His kingdom, and that He would be preparing them for that time in their lives.

It was very sad for us to have to say goodbye to so many of the students we'd developed close relationships with, and truthfully it felt a little lonely here at PdF without all the Bible School students around all the time.

But we weren't lonely for long - one of Jerry's main responsibilities for the summer is to mentor and disciple the Summer Team volunteers who come from all over the world to work at PdF in the kitchen, on the housekeeping team, and on the construction/landscaping team for 6-8 weeks. The Summer Team volunteers have been working hard at PdF and it's been fun getting to know them. We host them in our home once each week for a bible study and prayer time, and Jerry has enjoyed working alongside them in the summer programs. Since the Summer Team volunteers come from Canada, the US, Germany and Romania, Jerry finds himself speaking English, German, and Romanian at any given time, which he enjoys.

For those of your who aren't familiar with Torchbearers, there are 25 Torchbearers International Centres all over the world (PdF is one of them) and every 4 years as many staff as possible from each of the centres gather at Capernwray Hall (the original Torchbearers Centre) in England for a week-long staff conference. Jerry was fortunate enough to be able to attend this International Staff Conference this year and it was an amazing time of refreshment for him. He was able to meet many of the Bible School staff from other centres and connect with them, sharing stories and advice with one another. Jerry also helped to organize a Principal’s meeting (for Bible School Coordinators) mid-way through the week which was a special time for them to learn from each other and build relationships that will continue for many years to come. Jerry also gave a presentation about the Bible School at PdF in one of the main sessions, and showed a short video of our first Bible School's highlights. 

Now that summer is in full swing Jerry has been busy again, not only with the Summer Team but also with his High Ropes Course training (he'll be taking over leadership of the High Ropes Course for the next 4-5 months while some of the other staff are away in Germany on a short sabbatical) and leading groups in the ropes course. Jerry really enjoys being in the ropes course, but to be responsible for the safety and management of everything regarding it is quite a big challenge - especially when he's giving instructions in German or Romanian! The Ropes Course is an excellent ministry tool - participants are stretched to their physical limits while they complete the course and once participants  come down from the course they participate in an in-depth debrief to help them draw parallels from their experience in the course and relate them to their understanding of who God is and how He works.

Jerry was also a leader for the Outdoor Challenge camp that finished last week. The Outdoor Challenge camp ran for the first time this summer, so Jerry worked hard with Ebbe and Stefan to plan and run the program. They had over 25 participants who came from all over Romania. It was a fantastic week full of outdoor adventures, spending time in God's word together in the book of Joshua (Jerry preached a sermon on their multi-day hike in the mountains), and even competing in an outdoor adventure race on the last day of the camp. The participants had to complete a course in teams with challenges like climbing, biking, running, swimming, running upstream in a river and climbing over a large dam, all while carrying an 8-kilo watermelon. It was a great way to end an adventurous program!

As we look forward to the slightly more relaxed fall season, we'll be re-focusing on our Romanian language learning. Jerry hopes to take another Romanian language course this fall, and he'll also be working hard on planning next year's Bible school program. He'll also be working as a leader for a correctional program happening at PdF in September for troubled teens from Luxembourg. He'll be sharing his testimony with the youth in German and sharing with them how God redeemed his life. 
Jerry will also be leading groups in the Ropes Course this fall, and the PdF staff will come together at the end of September for the 2-day yearly planning meeting.

Family Update:

After the crazy spring season we experienced with Bible School we knew it was important to re-group as a family and take some time away from PdF at the beginning of July. Although the Bible School was a huge success, it was an incredibly stressful and strenuous time for our family unit. With Jerry working very long hours and going for weeks without a day off, our family life suffered quite a lot. It's no surprise that the last year of our lives has been an incredibly challenging one for us - re-locating our family to Romania and all the stress and preparations that preceded our move, our first 3 months dealing with constant illness, food poisoning, and the stress of language learning, and all the other challenges of settling into a new life in a foreign country that have continued since our move to PdF last November. Our family life has begun to show a few signs of strain, which is very common for new missionary families, and we know we need to do something about this by making family time more of a priority. We spent a few days in the nearby city of Sibiu, absorbing some Romanian culture, and then drove a few hours to the Black Sea in Bulgaria for a few days of rest as a family. 

While Jerry has been busy this summer with the volunteers and the summer programs, Chrissie and the kids have enjoyed playing outside as much as possible, jumping on the trampoline, and visiting the local farmer's market each week.  We've also had Mary Ionescu living with us for most of the summer (she's the 16-year-old daughter of Manu and Feli Ionescu, the family we lived with last fall for 3 months), and the girls have loved having Mary around. She's been a big help around the house and has spent lots of time with the kids, and it's been so nice for Chrissie and the kids to have Mary around when Jerry's schedule keeps him away from home so much.

This week we celebrated our one-year anniversary of our move to Romania. It's so hard to believe that it's already been a year since we left Canada, but at the same time we feel like we've lived here for years already. Romania has definitely become our home and even though we'll always be foreigners here, we couldn't imagine living anywhere else at the moment. We've been through some incredibly challenging situations in the last year - acquiring a reliable vehicle, getting our visas, Miriam's sickness and hospitalization last fall, ongoing food-related health issues, Chrissie's broken shoulder, managing cultural differences in both work and in life, experiencing ethnic isolation as the only North Americans at PdF, language barriers, etc. but there have also been many times of incredible blessing as God comforts us with the assurance that we are walking in step with His plan for our lives and His will for us, that HE prepared far in advance of our understanding. We trust Him and know that we don't need to worry because He is enough for us and His grace is sufficient for us because His power is made perfect in our weakness (1 Corinthians 12:9).

Despite how difficult the last year has been for us, we are more sure than ever that this is exactly where God has planned for us to serve Him. We have never experienced such a strange combination of stress and God's peace all at the same time, and in spite of the challenges and difficult times, our desire to be here in Romania is stronger than ever. We know without a doubt that this peace and confidence in our calling is a gift from God and we are more thankful for this than we can even express. Now that we've hit the one-year mark we are really settling in to life here, and it is so so sweet. We're so thankful!

Prayer Requests:

- Please pray for the yearly planning meeting in September to go smoothly and for many details to be worked out effectively for the upcoming programs in 2018.

- Please pray for our language learning this fall, for God to provide a way for Jerry to take another language course and for sufficient study time. 

- Praise God that He has provided financially for our family over the last year through our amazing supporters. 

- Please pray for our kids' language development as they begin to attend school again in September, that God would continue preparing them for their future years in public school here in Romanian and German, and that they'd begin speaking with ease to their German and Romanian peers.

- Praise God that our food-related health issues seem to be over!! We haven't had food poisoning or food-related illness in many months and we are SO thankful our bodies have adjusted to the food here. 

- Please pray for our continued health this fall as the school year begins again, and for us to find a reliable family doctor and dentist here.

- Please pray for the upcoming Bible School in the Spring of 2018 - for many students to apply and register and for all the preparations for the program.

- Please pray for volunteer staff for the Bible School next year - we're praying for an RA couple (or a single guy and girl) to help Jerry with the day-to-day running of the Bible School and overseeing student life for the duration of the Bible School program.

- Please be praying for the fire that God has started in the hearts of the Bible School students during their time at Bible School this year, that it would continue to grow stronger and not be snuffed out by the world. And please pray that one day God would use each of these students in ministry to further His kingdom, and that He would be preparing them for that time in their lives.

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2017 Spring Mission Bible School Video Update

Hi Friends,

We just wanted to share a quick video update with you - we put together a short video overview of the 2017 Spring Mission Bible School that wrapped up this weekend! We were so sad to see the students leave, but we are very thankful for all God has done over these last 3 months.

Thank you for your continued prayers and support of our ministry here in Romania. It has been such a privilege to disciple 11 students over these last 3 months and see them grow in their relationship with God and experience God through ministering to the people of Romania.

We hope you enjoy the video! Stay tuned for another newsletter from us in the next week or so where we'll share updated prayer requests, a family update, and more about the last half of the Bible school!

Mission Bible School 2017 Update

Hi friends!

After what may have seemed like 6 weeks of silence (we can assure you, it was anything BUT silent for us!) we're here with a mid-Bible School update for you!

Bible School Group Picture - L-R: Jerry (program coordinator), 11 Bible School students, 
Thomas (volunteer staff)

Bible School Update:

This ministry season so far has been amazing beyond words, but it has also been incredibly busy for us. We are thrilled to be developing relationships with each of the students attending the Mission Bible School program and the Bible School is going extremely well, considering this is its first year running! The students are enjoying the lectures, they're getting involved in several different local outreach ministries, experiencing the local culture, connecting with the staff and families here at PdF, and getting to know one another in a meaningful way as they grow closer to God. We're so thankful for the privilege to be able to watch them each growing in their individual relationship with God as well as in their relationships with one another, developing friendships that will last much longer than Bible School and having once-in-a-lifetime experiences here in Romania.

Jerry's days are filled to the brim with coordinating the weekly schedules for the students' activities, providing discipleship to each of the students, leading and managing all the day-to-day activities and connecting with students over meals and free time activities, planning and leading the 3 Bible School "challenges" along with Ebbe and Florin (the PdF director and Assistant Director), coordinating the bible school Sunday evening church services, coordinating the lecturers, and basically being available for any situation that might arise at any given time during the Bible School. This has meant a very, very full schedule for Jerry (and therefore for Chrissie and the girls as well!) and has given rise to some very interesting situations, including an all-night emergency room visit with one of the students (she's okay now!) and having to take all the students to church the next morning! On top of all this, Jerry is also preparing for the upcoming summer during which he will be coordinating the Summer Volunteer Team. He is handling all the correspondence with the applicants, and when they arrive he will be leading, instructing, and mentoring the team throughout the summer.

Chrissie has enjoyed connecting with the students on the weekends through social activities and worship and prayer nights, and also co-leading the discipleship, prayer, and share group for the female students with Ana (one of the Romanian staff at PdF who works in accounting).  Many of the Bible School students come to church with our family each week which has given our kids a unique opportunity to connect with the students and build relationships with them.  The Bible School students have shown so much love to our girls and it's been fun to see our kids interacting with students from so many different cultures and backgrounds.

In the first 6 weeks of Bible School the students have developed a routine with their weekly outreaches to local Micii Exploratori (Little Explorers) clubs for kids and after school programs in some of the surrounding villages. They've also enjoyed several prayer walks through the neighbouring towns, soccer outreaches to one of the local Gypsy villages, and visits to a few local orphanages, an Easter outreach event in Rasnov, and they even participated in an activity Jerry planned for the PdF staff and students to pick up garbage around the neighbourhood. Each of these outreach opportunities allow the students to work with an existing long-term ministry in action, to see how effective ministry is done in a cross-cultural setting and to experience what it's like to minister cross-culturally.

students on a prayer walk in "Shadow Valley"

soccer outreach - we had over 25 youth show up!

some of the students on garbage pick up day

Easter outreach event in Rasnov

Face Painting at the Easter outreach event in Rasnov

The students have also enjoyed lectures on Evangelism and Missions, the book of Acts, the book of John, the book of Ephesians, Apologetics, Evangelism and Youth Ministry, and there are still many more topics to come.

Andy Thomas, son of Torchbearers International founder Major Ian Thomas, teaching on the book of John, was a highlight for many of the students.

Andy Thomas washing the students' feet as a part of his lecture series

The students have also completed their first "challenge": the Cultural Encounter challenge where they worked in groups to complete a series of tasks in an unfamiliar, remote village which included having to find a place to sleep for the night, finding food to eat, and finding transportation without any money or cell phone. Both groups of students completed the Cultural Encounter challenge successfully with some great stories to tell, both of their time connecting with the local villagers and sharing their faith, and of how God met them in their need and showed Himself to them as they completed their tasks and connected with each other.

The house where one group stayed for the night during the Cultural Encounter

Jerry riding a căruță during the Cultural Encounter

After the Cultural Encounter, the entire bible school group spent the night in a Fortified Church to learn all about the Saxon history here in Romania and enjoy some delicious Romanian food.

The whole group in the city of Sighișoara, after the Cultural Encounter
In the remaining weeks of Bible School the students will be completing the Outdoor Challenge, where they'll experience wilderness survival situations and be pushed to their physical limits. They'll also have 3 more weeks of lectures and they'll be completing the Mission Outreach Challenge. We're excited to see God's work continuing to unfold in their lives as they experience the rest of the Bible School program.

Family Update:

This Bible School ministry season has been a challenging one for our family, although we knew in advance that these would be very busy months. Eden turned 3 in April and so she now attends the German-Romanian Kindergarten in Rasnov with Miriam and several other children from PdF. The girls are enjoying their mornings at school and this has given Chrissie the opportunity to help out a little more with the Bible School alongside Jerry.

Heading to school with one of our German neighbours

We've struggled a little bit to set aside family time in this busy season, but we're trying to enjoy the outdoors with our kids as much as Jerry's schedule allows. We went on a beautiful hike just the 4 of us a couple of weekends ago and it was a much-needed time of refreshment. The opportunities to get into nature here are endless and the kids are really enjoying learning how to hike and climb.

Hiking in Piatra Craiului

Learning how to rock climb in Piatra Craiului

Even though this season has been busy, the girls have enjoyed spending time at the PdF center with the bible school students. We've made a habit of enjoying meals with the students as much as we can and almost every week we've hosted a small group of students for Family Group at our home. We've enjoyed getting to know the students more deeply as we enjoy dinner together and showing them what it's like to live as a Canadian family in Romania.

Chrissie's shoulder is continuing to heal nicely and we have managed to avoid any more viruses since the beginning of Bible School which is a huge answer to prayer. We also continue to attend church in Brasov at Biserica Harvest Metanoia and help out at the evening services at Izvorul Vietii in Rasnov. Jerry has enjoyed playing soccer on Tuesday evenings in Rasnov and going climbing at the climbing gym in Brasov with a group of guys from PdF and Chrissie is a part of a Women's Bible Study with a group of women from a church in the town of Codlea as well as a prayer and share group with the female PdF staff and staff wives.

Jerry will attend the Torchbearers International Staff Conference in England for a week at the end of June and Chrissie will stay here at PdF with the girls. This trip will be another big challenge for our family since Jerry will fly to England the day after the bible school ends, but we are looking forward to taking a week or two of vacation in July before Jerry's next busy season begins at the end of July with the summer sports and outdoor camps.

Prayer Requests

Please pray:

1. For stamina for our family to finish this bible school well; for times when we can connect as a family despite the busy schedule of this ministry season.

2. For the Bible School students; that they would have direction for their lives after Bible School and that they would finish the program well.

3. For students and teachers for next year's Bible School.

4. For the upcoming summer ministry season with many camps and programs (that many kids would come, hear the gospel, and put their faith in Jesus - that the staff and volunteers would have strength and endurance for the summer).

5. For Jerry's trip to England in June to be a great time of learning and connecting with other Torchbearers International staff.

6. For our children as they continue to struggle with language learning and communicating with their peers.

7. For our own language learning; that our Romanian language skills would continue to grow and for many opportunities to practice speaking.

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Bible School Begins!

Hi friends!

We just wanted to share a quick update to let you know that we're in the middle of the first week of the Spring Mission Bible School here at PDF!!!

There are 11 students participating in the Bible School that will run for the next 3 months: 4 Romanian students, 1 student from Switzerland, 1 student from Canada, 2 students from the USA and 3 students from Germany. We've loved getting to know the students this week and we're very excited to see what God will do in the lives of the students over their time at PDF this spring.

Thank you so much for all your support and prayers for us and the ministry at PdF. We look forward to sharing more about the bible school with you as it unfolds over the coming weeks.

Here's a short list of prayer requests until our next update (coming soon!):

- Please pray for our family's physical health. We've been dealing with colds, ear infections, and the stomach flu again and we need all the energy we can get during this very busy ministry season. Please pray for complete healing and strong immune systems for all of us, as well as for the rest of the PdF staff and their families.

- Please pray for the local outreach opportunities the students will be participating in; that they'd be meaningful and effective and that the students would be able to build relationships with some of the Romanian people they meet.

- Please pray for the Easter outreach event in Rasnov on Saturday, April 15th. The bible school is partnering with Izvorul Vieții, the church plant we're a part of in Rasnov, to put on a children's program in the park in Rasnov for local families with the hopes of connecting them to the local church.

- Please pray for the language and cultural barriers at the bible school. With such a diverse group of students and staff there are challenges with communication, especially when understanding the lectures that will be given in English some weeks, and in Romanian or German other weeks (with translation). Please pray for clarity and understanding for everyone involved.

If you'd like to make a financial donation to our ministry, click here.     

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A Broken Humerus Isn't So Humorous (The Baker Family's Winter 2017 Newsletter)

Hi friends,

We had hoped to be bringing you our latest newsletter at the end of January with a bit of a different feel than past letters but the events of the last 2 months have continued to challenge us in unexpected ways. We're so thankful to be bringing you this update at the beginning of March in a much different place than how we began this year! January and February were full of both old and new challenges which is the reason we haven't been able to keep up with regular newsletters.  That's not to say the last 2 months haven't been good - we've really enjoyed all the snow PDF got this winter and Jerry was very busy with the ski camps over these last two months and preparing for the bible school that begins in one month!! Miriam continues to enjoy kindergarten here and our relationships with our friends and fellow PDF staff are deepening in a way we're so thankful for. But unfortunately we've been dealing with yet another big health-related challenge.

Jerry's birthday was the 28th of January and to celebrate we decided to drop the kids off with friends for the day and spend some time as a couple on the mountain going skiing and snowboarding. We've only had a few hours away from the kids as a couple in the last 6 months and a day on the mountain sounded heavenly to us, that is until Chrissie took a tumble and ended up fracturing her shoulder about halfway through the day.

LEFT: our chairlift ride right before Chrissie's fall  RIGHT: the only other photo we have from the day, a selfie in the state hospital ER that we texted to Chrissie's parents

Spending the afternoon at the public hospital emergency room wasn't exactly what we had in mind, but as always God provided for us with doctors and nurses that spoke English, short waiting times, not a single medical bill after a few x-rays and a CT scan (emergency medical care in Romania is free for the first 72 hours at the public hospitals), and our wonderful friends Doug and Camelia (church planters we're working with in Rasnov) who not only watched our girls all day but also fed us dinner and brought over three meals in Chrissie's most painful days. Chrissie spent the first week in a ton of pain and discomfort but after a visit to a private orthopedic surgeon for a proper shoulder brace and a prescription for stronger painkillers, she began doing much better. We're so thankful for the medical care we have access to here and for dear friends who can help us with translation at appointments when necessary. Our dear friend Adela (the wife of Tihi, one of the staff members here who works with Jerry) has not only been our Romanian tutor twice per week since we moved to PDF, she's also accompanied us on many errands and doctors visits to help us with translation and navigating the health care system here. She's been such a great friend to us and we're so thankful for our friendship with them.

Eden distracting Adela from her translation work

We also know so many of you have been praying for us over the last few months, and our new church family in Brasov has also been praying for us. Even in the midst of yet another difficult situation, God is faithful and loving and He is meeting all our needs in ways we never expected. Chrissie was out of commission for about 3 weeks so this presented a huge challenge for our family, especially since these were 3 of the weeks where Jerry was to work as a snowboard instructor for the ski camps at PDF. We somehow survived this stressful time (Chrissie got her brace off last week and is recovering very well!) and we are so thankful for how God sustained us during these weeks. We would really appreciate your continued prayers as her shoulder continues to heal.

Here's an update from Jerry about the winter ski camps:

Even though I really enjoy snowboarding I went into this winter ministry season with a few concerns. The first concern was how I could possibly connect with Romanians in a meaningful way. I'm still not fluent in their language and I still have much to learn about their culture. My second concern was regarding the fact that I was scheduled to be one of the main teachers for the evening lectures. Most of you realize how far out of my comfort zone (and natural gifting) this is, however I was totally surprised at how things actually went. In the teenager camp, for whatever reason, the teens really liked me! They enjoyed speaking English (many spoke fluently). Some even felt comfortable enough to open up and share some of their personal and spiritual concerns with me and I was able to encourage and pray for them. In the OSCEB and Adults camps I was also amazed at how quickly connections were made with the people in my snowboard groups. Many were intrigued by the fact that I came from Canada to live in Romania. This opened up the door to share my personal testimony with a few of the participants. At least two participants actually said to me "I'm really glad that you've come to Romania." I was so humbled by this and even though I'm unaware of exactly why they said it I have concluded that God must be using me in a way that I'm unaware of and I am content with that.

The evening teaching sessions were also a humbling experience for me. I worked very hard to scrape together enough words to fill a forty-minute session from Ezekiel 36:26-27 on the topic of "spirit". Somehow during the sermons I felt God's peace and power working through me and it seemed as though the people were listening. It helped that what I was teaching was being translated which gave me an extra moment to think about what I'd say next! At the end of each camp, students get the chance to reflect and share about how their time went and a number of times participants commented on how much they enjoyed my teaching time. I'm so thankful that God used me to speak into the lives of these young people.

I must say that, as challenging as things have been for us here in Romania, it has really been so worth it to see that God is really using us here. I really believe that God has prepared us to be here. This is exactly where God wants us to be. He made us, shaped us, equipped us, and sent us to be used by him here at this exact location and time; and that is an amazing feeling. It really is the most fulfilling thing in the world to be doing what pleases Him most. It is not easy at times because of the opposition we face spiritually, as well as the fears that have to be faced as well as practical struggles, but it is so worth it. For this reason we also are so thankful to you guys for the important role you play in our ministry here. You are supporting us financially, morally, and spiritually, even when you may not feel like it or understand what we are doing over here. Please know that we appreciate you and that your support is eternally relevant.

Are you a member of our FACEBOOK GROUP? Request to join our group for more regular updates, videos and photos of our ministry here in Romania!

Aside from Chrissie's fractured shoulder, dealing with sinus infections for the month of January, and the craziness of the ski camps we've really enjoyed the winter here at PDF. It's been so mild (we're used to winters in Winnipeg, so this was a welcome change!) and we've gotten lots of snow which is great for the ski camps. We've been taking full advantage of the snow and great weather and spending lots of time outside with the girls going sledding and playing in the snow. Jerry even taught both girls to ski this winter, which was so much fun!


To celebrate winter winding down, we spent a nice afternoon in Brasov old town after church a few weeks ago and the girls really enjoyed walking along the cobblestone streets and chasing the pigeons (one of Jerry's favourite pastimes in European cities). We're in full-on Spring mode here now after a short but eventful winter - the snow has melted and the days are getting longer and we are counting down the days until PDF's first bible school begins on April 3rd!

When we arrived in Romania in August it really did not seem possible that the bible school would be starting this spring. There were no students enrolled and no teachers scheduled. But once we finally moved into our home at PDF things finally started to take shape. One thing that we believed helped a lot was the Wednesday night prayer nights that Jerry felt called to start. Every two weeks we've been gathering as a staff, to sing a few songs together and pray about issues concerning the bible school and it's been amazing to see many of the prayer items being answered! We've currently accepted 10 students into the program and have all 9 teaching slots filled! Since the ski camps are over, Jerry is now devoting his time to corresponding with the students and teachers, and holding planning meetings to figure out all the major and minor details involved with the 11 weeks of bible school ahead of us. We really don't know how it will all be done within the next 3 weeks before the bible school begins, but we are confident that God will continue working through Jerry and accomplish everything that is required for this new ministry. How wonderful that He can use our inadequacies for the display of His glory!

We also wanted to take the opportunity to thank you all again so much for your financial support of our ministry here in Romania. We are thrilled and so thankful for a few new monthly supporters who have come forward to partner with us. We are continuing to pray for several new one-time donors to help with some of our ministry expenses. There are a few items we'd love to be able to purchase and donate to PDF this year .

Here are some of our upcoming ministry project expenses:

- Jerry's upcoming trip to England in June for the Torchbearer International Ministry Conference
- An electric keyboard for PDF for the staff and students leading worship at the daily lectures and weekend services
- A few new (or gently used) snowboards, boots and helmets for next year's ski camps

If you're interested in helping us with any of these things, please email us. We want you to know that when you make a donation to our ministry here in Romania your donation triples when converted to Romanian Lei - $20 becomes 60 lei, $100 becomes 300 lei, and in many cases items are half or one-third of the price they are in Canada, which stretches our Canadian dollar considerably.

Are you a member of our FACEBOOK GROUP? Request to join our group for more regular updates, videos and photos of our ministry here in Romania!

Prayer requests:

1.) Please pray for the Bible School that begins on April 3 and runs until the end of June. This will be the busiest 3 months of our year as Jerry is filling the role of Bible School Co-ordinator and we'll be serving as 'house parents' to the incoming students. Pray for Jerry as he completes all the planning and preparations for the Bible School, that the details would come together and everything would be prepared.

2.) Please pray for the incoming Bible School students. We have 10 students registered to attend, plus several more who are interested or plan to apply. Please pray that God would prepare the hearts of the students who are planning to come and that He would bring in even more students, especially students from Romania.

3.) Please pray for Chrissie's shoulder to heal quickly and completely. She is enjoying life with 2 arms again but continues to have pain daily, especially when driving and carrying heaving things (like the kids or grocery bags).

4.) Please continue to pray for our financial support situation. God has continued to provide for our family through your financial support and we're so thankful to have a few new monthly support partners. Please pray for several new one-time donors to help pay for some of our ministry projects (mentioned above).

5.) Please continue to pray for our daughters. They are becoming more and more settled in their new life here, but their relationships with peers are always a challenge because of the language barrier.  Please pray for their language development and praise God for providing one English-speaking friend in Rasnov for the girls!