We are so grateful to report that Miriam was discharged from the hospital after being sick for 18 days. She has bounced back amazingly well and recovered almost completely only 4 days after being out of the hospital. She's still on medication that will strengthen her digestive system and she's taking a prescription probiotic that will re-establish all those good bacteria in her gut. Other than that, she's her (mostly) happy little self again and we couldn't be more thankful to God for protecting our little girl and bringing her back to us!
Given that the last few months have been full of both expected and unexpected challenges, together with PDF's director Ebbe we made the decision to move to PDF after Miriam was released from the hospital. We felt very strongly that we just needed some peace as a family to recover from the events of the last few months, and that Miriam needed to recover properly. The day after she was discharged we packed up the car and drove over the mountains to PDF to spend the weekend there for CAMP, a annual celebration of PDF's anniversary where friends of PDF and the PDF board members and their families gather for fellowship and fun. Jerry had some responsibilities over the weekend and Ebbe wanted to introduce our family to the PDF Board of Directors. We almost didn't go because of Miriam's situation, but we are SO glad that we decided to attend CAMP together and we actually got to stay in our new house for the first time! It was the perfect place for Miriam to recover and rest and it was a relaxing weekend for all of us...except Jerry who had to preach a surprise mini-sermon on Sunday morning (he had been signed up for this, but the organizers neglected to tell him about it with all the craziness in our lives). Despite less than 24 hours to prepare, he did great and has resolved to keep a mini-sermon or two in his back pocket for future occasions like this!
At the end of the weekend we returned to Bucharest so that Jerry could attend our final language class on Monday morning and so we had some time to pack up all our things in Bucharest and order some furniture from IKEA. We spent 2 more nights at the Ionescus' home in Bucharest and headed for PDF early Tuesday morning, stopping at IKEA on the way to pick up our (giant) order. Seriously...it almost didn't all fit in the huge van we borrowed from PDF!
Thankfully we arrived at our new home on Tuesday afternoon and were met by an amazing crew of PDF staff and volunteers who not only helped us unload everything, but also came back after the girls were in bed and put together almost all of our IKEA furniture. It was a huge blessing not to have to do all that work ourselves and we felt so loved and cared for by our new friends. We even received a loaf of fresh bread on our first night from one of the families here.
It's hard to believe we've been living here at PDF for over a week now, even though in some ways it feels so much like home already. Of course we were sad to leave Bucharest and we miss our friends the Ionescus a lot! We will always be so grateful to them for having us crazy Canadians in their home and putting up with all our noise, constant laundry, and questions upon questions about the Romanian language and culture.
Our last week has been spent putting together so much IKEA furniture, unpacking all our suitcases (FINALLY!!!), and trying to make our house feel like a home with very few things and a very limited budget. We've also been whisked away to countless appointments for visa paperwork - obtaining health insurance here in Romania, being examined by a doctor here for a medical report (all 4 of us were required to do this), having our Canadian identification documents translated, and filing lots and lots and lots of paperwork. Oh, and also lots of business to do with having our car registration transferred to PDF (an incredibly long story, and an even longer process!).
We also received some fantastic news recently - we will not have to leave the country! We will be charged a fee to remain in Romania beyond the 90-day mark, but the fee will not exceed 500 lei ($160 Canadian). We were absolutely thrilled by this news, and we're so thankful that we will be able to stay here and continue settling into our home and Jerry's new role here at PDF and put our suitcases into storage for awhile! We had our photos taken for our visas yesterday and the immigration police have accepted our application and issued temporary residence permits until our visas will be issued on December 2nd. We are so relieved and so thankful, especially for the help of Felix, one of the PDF staff who works in the administrative department (He and his wife Rebeca live here at PDF). He attended almost every visa appointment with us and took care of all of the drama with our car and our health insurance, and even though his English is about as good as our Romanian we managed to develop a great friendship. He sure made the process easier for the kids by giving them lots of attention and distracting them with mint candies and they now call him "Uncle" Felix.
Thank you so much to all of you who have been praying for us. Thank you for praying for Miriam through her sickness, but thank you also for praying for us as a family over these last few months. Your prayers and support mean so much to us and we never would have survived the last few months without each of you.
We look forward to sharing more updates with you soon as we settle into our life here at PDF!
Here are some prayer requests for the month of November:
1.) Praise God that He has been so faithful in bringing us through the challenges of our immersion time and for providing for us every step of the way.
2.) Please pray for Jerry as he transitions into his new role at PDF. Pray for his relationships with the other PDF staff and for clarity and purpose as he begins this new role.
3.) Please continue to pray for our family's health. We have all been healthy for the last while since Miriam was discharged from the hospital and we're praying it stays that way!
4.) Please pray for our financial support situation. We had so many unexpected expenses from Miriam being in the hospital and now we're being faced with some more unexpected expenses to do with our car and some inspections that need to be completed before the ownership can be switched to PDF from the previous owner. Please pray for more monthly financial supporters to come forward to partner with us!
5.) Please pray for our kids as they transition to our new home and begin to make new friends. Pray that they would feel comfortable and secure here and that they would learn to communicate with the other children at PDF who don't speak English (Miriam and Eden are the only English-speaking children here).
6.) Please pray for our language learning as it continues here at PDF. We are nowhere near fluent in Romanian and our language learning is a critical part of our ministry here.