Thursday, 6 December 2018

Information and Appreciation Evening in Winnipeg!

Hi friends,

We are currently in Winnipeg enjoying time with family, friends and supporters, and we want to tell you about an Information and Appreciation Evening we'll be hosting on January 2nd, 2019!



We arrived in Canada in mid-November and spend the first couple weeks on the West Coast (Vancouver, Victoria, and Vancouver Island) visiting Jerry's family and friends. We enjoyed our time with Jerry's family in Vancouver and Ladysmith after not having visited them for many years. It was a great time of connecting with family, getting into Jerry's beloved West Coast nature, and enjoying our favourite "Canadian" things, like Tim Hortons and fresh oysters, after being away from Canada for so long!
 






 






We also stopped by Victoria to visit Chrissie's aunt and uncle, and so Jerry could re-connect with an old friend going through a tough time.

 




We are now in Winnipeg, staying with Chrissie's parents, for the month of December. Our schedule is packed with visits with family, friends and supporters, and we hope to be able to see all of you if we can!


We will be hosting an Information and Appreciation Evening on Wednesday, January 2nd at 6:30pm at the Firehall (Riverwood Church Community) on Talbot Avenue in Winnipeg. We would LOVE to see you there! We'll be serving dessert and hot drinks, and we'll be sharing about the ministry of Torchbearers International in Romania with some musical entertainment too!


Visit https://www.facebook.com/events/925874741106037/ to RSVP to the event, or feel free to send us an email at chrissiebaker@hotmail.com to let us know you're coming! This will help us ensure there's enough food for everyone.


Hope to see you there!!!


Friday, 12 October 2018

Spring Mission Bible School Promotional Video

Hi friends!

Just a quick update for you today to share the brand new Spring Mission Bible School Promotional Video!! Chris Mainland from Torchbearers International has been working very hard on this video for us, to promote the Spring Mission Bible School online and on social media. We'd love for you to watch the video, share it when you see it on Facebook, and show it to anyone you think might be interested in attending Bible School here at PdF!

We're also looking for a male R.A. (Resident Assistant) for the upcoming Spring Mission Bible School. If you know anyone who might be interested, has the ability to lead worship, and is 24 years of age or older, please email Jerry at jerry.baker@pdf.ro.





Wednesday, 3 October 2018

We're Coming For A Visit! (Fall 2018 Update)

Hi friends,

We have another update for you today, to let you know what we've been up to so far during this fall ministry season, and to announce that we will be travelling to Canada VERY SOON in the months of November and December of this year to re-connect with family, friends, and supporters!! We can't wait to see you!!

We will be hosting an Appreciation and Information evening in WINNIPEG on WEDNESDAY, JANUARY 2nd, 2019. More information to come, but please mark your calendars!!


If you'd like to join our Facebook Group for more regular updates, request to join HERE


Ministry Update:

The summer ministry season wound down toward the end of August. Jerry spent much of the summer mentoring and managing the Summer Team Volunteers who keep PdF up and running all summer by working on the construction team, on the housekeeping team, and in the kitchen. These volunteers worked SO hard and it was a pleasure to work alongside them this summer. We said goodbye to many of the volunteers over the course of the last few weeks of August as they headed home to other cities in Romania, Germany, Austria and the UK.




Since the end of summer Jerry has finally had some breathing room and time to tackle some of the items on the mile-long to-do list that's been building up since last winter. He's been spending long days working in his office returning emails, working on schedules, adjusting the Bible School application form and process, planning for snowboard instructor training for this coming winter, booking teachers for next year's Spring Bible School and corresponding with potential volunteer staff for the R.A. (Resident Assistant) positions open for the upcoming Bible School in the spring.

One HUGE praise item is that we already have 3 students who have applied to come to Bible School next spring and we have one confirmed female RA!! We're so excited about this and thankful to God for providing so far! We are confident He will continue to provide.

Jerry has also been helping out with some of the groups who have come to PdF this fall for retreats and conferences. He has helped with running the ropes course, the big zipline, and led team building activities for school groups and companies who bring their employees for team building training. It's been a busy fall so far!




In addition to all the other tasks on Jerry's plate, fall is the season when he sets aside time for Romanian language learning. Because of scheduling conflicts Jerry won't be travelling to Bucharest this year to take another 2-week language course like he did last year. Instead, he has secured an online tutor from the same language school who will do two online lessons per week for the fall season with Jerry via Skype. This means his language learning can be more flexible and that he won't be away from Chrissie and the girls for an extended period of time. Thankfully, Jerry enjoys being in his little office - he's spending lots of time in there lately!!


Another reason Jerry isn't able to take the two-week language course he did last year is because we have made plans to travel to Canada for a visit in November and December of this year! We will be heading to Vancouver and Winnipeg to re-connect with family, friends, and supporters for about 1 1/2 months before returning to Romania at the beginning of January for the busy winter ski and snowboard camp season. We look forward to seeing as many of you as possible while we are in Canada in just a few short months!


Family Update:

Our family has certainly welcomed fall after a very busy spring and summer. We said goodbye to Mary in August (she stayed with us for one and a half months this summer to help with the kids) and we had a few quiet weeks as a family before the beginning of school. During this time we took a few days away from PdF during the first week of September and drove a few hours to the Sighisoara area to visit a few fortified churches in Viscri and Archita and to see the old city of Sighisoara.







We also wanted to re-connect with a few of the gypsy families Jerry met during the Bible School this year in the town of Archita. We ended up getting stranded in a rainstorm at one of the family's homes as we were bringing them some bags of food and they showed so much kindness and hospitality to us, wrapping us in towels and starting a fire in their little soba (an old wood stove), giving us flowers from their garden and some homemade plum jam. Please pray for Georgiana, her husband Ionut and their little ones Maia and Iosif. They live in a tiny one room house with his parents with no indoor heating or plumbing, and it was such a joy to visit them, hear about their life, and pray with them. We plan to visit them again soon!


We also drove over the Transfagarasan highway for the first time (a huge bucket-list item for us!) and visited Bucharest for a fun day of swimming at a water park there (and a quick visit to Ikea, of course!).






The girls began a new year of school on the 17th of September and they have had a great first few weeks. They are attending a new school this year in a different village and they are enjoying their new teachers and classmates. They wear uniforms every day, which is fun for them, and they are settling well into their new routine. Attending this school means very early mornings and a lot more driving for Chrissie, thanks to the extensive construction project happening on the only road between PdF and the village where the girls' new school is located, but having the girls in this new loving and nurturing environment has been so worth it. They're excited to go to school each morning and always have smiles on their faces when we pick them up at the end of the day.




Miriam's teacher is Gabriela and Eden's teacher is Alina. Please pray for these two women as they work hard to teach the students all year, for wisdom and guidance as they lead. We are so thankful for both Gabriela and Alina!



We've also adopted a stray kitten who the girls affectionately called "Kenny" before we took him to the vet and learned that "he" was actually a "she" whose name is now "Kenna".  She lives outside and enjoys eating the scraps from our plates, playing with the girls, and catching mice. It's been fun for all of us to have a pet again.



The girls have also enjoyed spending time with Rachel from the USA once per week this fall. She is one of the Bible School students from last year who has stayed at PdF to work as a volunteer for one year. She is working 60% as a babysitter/nanny for the families at PdF and 40% on the housekeeping team. This has been a challenging role for her, and Chrissie has been working with her a lot each week in a mentorship role as Rachel adjusts to working with families from 4 different cultures. She has lots of questions and Chrissie is helping her navigate some challenging situations. Chrissie is also responsible for making Rachel's schedule each week and serving as the point-person for Rachel's job with the families. Rachel has already been a big help to the overwhelmed moms at PdF and it's been great having her help in our family. 





We've continued with our small group this fall as a part of our church, Biserica Harvest Metanoia Brasov. Our group became really large toward the end of last year, and so our group multiplied into two smaller groups so it's possible to invite others from the community to join. We're now in a group with our friends Alex and Anca and their 2-year-old daughter, the group leader Cristi and his wife Raluca (missing from the photo below) and their three young boys, and two single women Elena and Rodica. It's our turn to host small group next Monday evening, and since it falls on Canadian Thanksgiving we'll be sharing our Canadian Thanksgiving meal with our small group, complete with turkey and pumpkin pie!


We've also continued leading worship at church as often as we are able (usually around once a month), and we've continued to be involved with the church plant in Rasnov, Izvorul Vietii helping with leading worship whenever we can.



Needs and Prayer Requests

We are so thankful for each and every one of you who is financially supporting us and our ministry here in Romania. Looking down the road at the remainder of 2018 and 2019, we have a few financial needs that are upcoming. 

Our current Romanian Visas expire in November and so we will be responsible for renewing them before we return for our visit to Canada. The costs associated with this will likely be more than $1000 CAD

We need to rent a car and car seats for some of the Vancouver portion of our trip to Canada this year, which will cost between $600-$800 CAD.

If you'd like to make a financial donation to help us with these costs, please click here.

In addition to our family's needs, Chrissie has continued her relationship with Dana from Rasnov and her two daughters, Alexia and Adina. Dana is really struggling right now with many personal and financial problems and it's sometimes hard to know the best way to help her. Currently, she needs money for her children's school fees (300 lei) and at least 200 lei for eyeglasses for herself. After many years of searching for a job, Dana was hired by a factory in Brasov but has been unable to work now for several weeks because her eyesight is too bad to see the parts she was assembling. She has lost her job until she can get glasses, but the cost is far too high for her. 

The door to Dana's apartment no longer functions properly so they have had many things stolen from them recently. Jerry has been tasked with fixing her door this week and we will try to help replace some of the stolen items, mainly the children's shoes and coats.

We plan to take her to the city to get an eye exam and glasses as soon as we can, and Chrissie will be in contact with the teachers at school regarding the fees, in hopes that the children will still be allowed to go to school even though the fees for books and supplies haven't been paid. If you would like to help in any way with the financial burden Dana is facing, please send Chrissie an email (chrissiebaker@hotmail.com). Dana needs about $165 Canadian dollars in total for these needs. Please pray for Dana and her girls, to continue depending on God through their struggles and for wisdom to make good decisions for herself and her daughters.




Please pray with us:

- to praise and thank God for His provision for us to be able to return to Canada for a visit this year!

- that He would continue to provide for other costs that arise regarding our trip to Canada.

- that our time in Canada would be restorative and restful, and be a time of relationship building with family, friends, and supporters.

- that the VISA renewal process would be resolved before we return to Canada for our visit, and not too expensive. And that the Romanian government would offer us a long VISA this time (at least 5 years).

- to praise and thank God for providing a wonderful school for our children where they are loved, where they are safe, and where they are cared for each day.

- that God would continue to sustain Gabriela and Alina, our children's teachers, and give them wisdom and strength to teach our girls each day.

- that God would use this fall season to give us rest and lot of preparation time for the busy ministry seasons ahead.

- that God would bring a male R.A. for Bible School who is perfectly suited for the position, and is able to lead worship from the guitar or piano.

- that God would continue to draw new students to PdF for the Spring Bible School in 2019; that He would be preparing the group of students even now.



If you'd like to join our Facebook Group for more regular updates, request to join HERE


If you'd like to become a member of our Prayer Network and receive more regular prayer requests via email or Facebook Messenger, please send Jerry an email (jerry.baker@pdf.ro). 


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


If you'd like to sign up for our email newsletter to receive an alert each time we share an update, please sign up using this form:


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Monday, 30 July 2018

Mid-Summer 2018 Update

Hi friends!

We're bringing you a mid-summer update today with LOTS of new photos, an update on our summer ministry activities, and a family update!





MINISTRY UPDATE:

First of all, Thank You! Thank you to all of you who support us monthly, with one-time donations, with prayer, and with friendship from afar. We think of you all often and thank God for your faithfulness to Him in partnering with us in this ministry in Romania. We're so thankful for each and every one of you who stand with us in ministry, who faithfully give and who faithfully pray for us and for PdF. We couldn't do this without you, and we want you to know how much God is using you in our lives and in the lives of the people we work with here in Romania!

We shared our last update 3 weeks before the end of Bible School in June. Over the last 3 weeks of Bible School the students completed the Outdoor Team Challenge, a multi-day trek into the mountains where they learned survival skills and were stretched to their physical and mental limits by the hiking and mountain biking challenges. It was an amazing time of growth for the students and one of the highlights of the Bible School for Jerry, as he comes alive in an outdoor leadership setting. He led the students on the multi-day hike, led worship on the ukelele and taught the students about leadership. 










It's hard to believe that "just another day at the office" means views like this, but Jerry's sure not complaining!!




During the last 2 weeks of Bible school we had the pleasure of hosting Chris Mainland and his father-in-law Wayde, a professional photographer from the USA. Chris works for Torchbearers International as their photographer/videographer and so he and Wayde followed the students around for a few weeks to capture some amazing photos and videos PdF can use for Social Media and the promotion of the programs here. Chris is producing a formal promotional video for both the Spring Mission Bible School and the brand new Ascent Wilderness Bible School program beginning in Fall 2019. These videos will include interviews with Jerry, Ebbe (PdF's director), and several students. We'll be sure to share those with you when they're available, since Jerry stars in both.



Chris brought his drone to Romania, of course, so he was able to capture some amazing footage from above PdF. The photo below is an arial view of PdF, minus the big crane currently operating behind the main building in the middle of the photo (Chris Photoshopped the crane out of the photo!). Our home is the closer half of the white and brown duplex in the foreground of the photo. 


**Many of the photos in this post were taken by Chris and Wayde for the purpose of furthering the ministry of PdF, so credit goes to them.  If you're interested, you can find Chris' work HERE and Wayde's HERE. **


The last few weeks of Bible School included final lectures, the students wrapped up their local outreaches, and they spent time seeking God about their future plans. The final weeks were also packed with lots of fun and outdoor activities, as well as the students' final evaluations and final meetings with their mentors.











Since Bible School ended, Jerry has been busy working with the Summer Team volunteers - he and Chrissie lead weekly Bible Studies with all the volunteers and serve as support for the volunteers during their time at PdF. 





Jerry shared a post on PdF's Instagram account showing off just some of the Summer Team volunteers and all their hard work to keep PdF up and running. (And if you're not following PdF on Instagram, you should!!)






Jerry helped lead the Max Bike mountain biking camp, which wrapped up last week. It was a very rainy week, which meant lots of mud on the trails, but it was still an enjoyable and challenging week for all the participants. Jerry had a great time getting to know the participants, several of whom come from Romanian Orthodox families and have never been to church. It was a great opportunity for him to share the hope of Jesus with them, as he preached a few sermons about Forgiveness during the camp.










Jerry's next camp, the Outdoor Challenge, begins this week. The participants will have the opportunity to use the ropes course, go mountain biking, climbing, caving, repelling, and on a multi-day hike into the mountains. Outdoor Challenge is a "light" version of PdF's Survival camp, for participants who enjoy the outdoors but want a less-intense experience. One of Jerry's responsibilities for Outdoor Challenge is to plan the Adventure Race for the final day of the camp. 





FAMILY UPDATE:

When Bible School ended our family breathed a big sigh of relief. Of course we were sad to see Bible School end, and we do miss the students we got to know so well, but spring has become our toughest and most demanding season and it is always a challenge to thrive as a family during the busy spring ministry season.  As we mentioned in our last update, this spring was particularly challenging and so we knew we needed some time after Bible School to re-group and spend time as a family of 4. Because of the demands of Bible School, we had almost no dedicated family time during the three-month program, which took a big toll on the kids and on Chrissie, who essentially single-parented for three months and assisted Jerry with the Bible School whenever she could.

Since we live on PdF's campus it's very difficult to have time off without actually getting away, so we knew that leaving PdF for a few days was exactly what we needed.

Thanks to Europe's cheap airlines, we were able to spend a few days in Greece together before the beginning of the summer programs - just the 4 of us. Thankfully, Greece is only a short drive or flight from Romania, which made it an easy trip. It was a wonderful time of rest for us and the kids to focus on each other and on just having fun as a family of 4 again. 

 







Our time by the sea was life-giving, and we came home refreshed and ready for the busy summer ministry season! While Jerry has been busy with camps, Chrissie and the kids have been trying to enjoy the few sunny days we've had this summer. Unfortunately it's been a rainy summer so far, but we're trying to keep a positive attitude about it all.

The kids have enjoyed going on short hikes in the forest, picking flowers, riding bikes, playing at the playground, and enjoying their time with the kids of the other PdF staff.





All the staff wives with young children (there are 5 of us) decided we should have a weekly bible story time for the young kids this summer, so Tuesday mornings have been set aside as a Sunday School time. Whoever hosts the gathering teaches the Bible Story and plans an activity in that family's language, so we've been learning in German, Romanian and English! It's been a nice time for the children and also for the moms to have a reason to come together every week during the busy summer. There are 15 kids among the families at PdF, so it's always a fun (and busy!) morning!






Rachel, one of the Bible School students from the USA, has stayed in Romania and joined the PdF volunteer team with a one-year commitment. One of her roles will be to support the housekeeping staff with cleaning, but her main role will be to support the PdF staff families with young children with babysitting! She spends one day per week with each of the 5 families to give the mom assistance with the kids and to enable the moms to go to medical or other appointments, run errands, etc. It's already been a life-changing help for many of the families, since we all live in Romania as missionaries away from the support of family and friends - we're so thankful to have Rachel here this year! Of course the girls love her - she bakes cookies with them, they do crafts, go for walks, and just have fun.

       


We've also had Mary from Bucharest living with us since mid-July and she'll stay with us for the rest of the summer as our nanny. This will enable Chrissie to get extra work done around the house and on her food blog, as well as work alongside Jerry with the Summer Team volunteers, taking over the work with the Summer Team volunteers while Jerry is busy with camps. It's been a blessing to have Mary living with us again, and the girls love spending time with her. It's also good for Mary to live with our family, as she doesn't have many positive Christian influences in her life other than her family - she and Chrissie spend lots of time together, and Chrissie has become a mentor for her. 


We celebrated Miriam's 6th birthday last week with a fun princess party! We invited all our PdF friends, some friends from Rasnov and from our church in Brasov, so we had quite a crowd!! Everyone enjoyed themselves, and Miriam felt very loved and celebrated.








PRAYER REQUESTS:


Please pray with us:

- And thank God for a successful Bible School season and a great start to the summer programs! Over 30 kids started a relationship with Jesus Christ at the Junior High Camp in July! Praise be to God!!

- And thank God for a good, solid rest time after Bible School and for the renewed strength and energy we've experienced because of it.

- That God would continue to use this summer season to strengthen our family and give us lots of good fellowship with one another; that we would have a safe and healthy summer full of fun and ministry.

- That God would continue to provide for our family financially through monthly donations and bring a few more monthly donors into this ministry - Thanks be to God for His provision!

- That God would lead us as we prepare for our visit to Canada at the end of 2018.

- That God would bring the RAs He wants to PdF for Bible School next Spring, and that God would be preparing them for this work, even now.

-That God would bring the students He wants to PdF for the upcoming Spring 2019 Bible School, and that God would be preparing them and working in their hearts already.

-That God would bring more high-energy, skilled staff to PdF to help bear the burden of the ministry here. Please pray for the current staff who all have high workloads and are feeling overwhelmed.

-That God would continue to provide for the construction project here at PdF as the construction team builds a new dorm building to house guests and students.


If you'd like to join our Facebook Group for more regular updates, request to join HERE.


If you'd like to become a member of our Prayer Network and receive more regular prayer requests via email or Facebook Messenger, please send Jerry an email (jerry.baker@pdf.ro). 




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



If you'd like to sign up for our email newsletter to receive an alert each time we share an update, please sign up using this form:


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