Winter 2018 Recap and Update

Hello friends!

It's hard to believe that January and February have passed us by and it's already the end of March! We have an update for you today all about the ski camps that happened at PdF this winter, as well as an update about the upcoming Spring Mission Bible School starting next week!



We know it's been too long since we shared an update with you all - please know that we think about all of you often and regularly thank God for each of you, our supporters and our friends. If our updates are few and far between it's only because we're so busy doing God's work here in Romania. There have been so many weeks this winter where we have been overwhelmed with all the work needing to be done here and we've been falling into bed late at night completely exhausted, but also so thankful that God has us here in Romania doing His work. 

Ministry Update:

Jerry has spent the last several months working on what seems to be endless behind-the-scenes Bible School preparation. We had several students apply for the Bible School in November and December, so Jerry was busy communicating with students, reviewing applications, and contacting references. He also continued planning the program, communicating with and booking teachers from all over the world to come and speak at the school, preparing for his own week of teaching, and planning each week of the Bible School program in-depth - everything from meals to devotional times, to local outreach and outreach prep times, and of course the 3 big program challenges, the Outdoor Team Challenge, the Cultural Encounter Challenge, and the Mission Outreach Challenge. This year Jerry is solely responsible for planning and leading the Outdoor Team Challenge and the Mission Outreach Challenge, both of which require a ton of careful planning in advance and are a lot of responsibility for him to lead alone. There is so much that goes into planning this 11-week program and Jerry's to-do lists seem to be never-ending!

Currently, there are 9 students who have applied and been accepted to the Spring Mission Bible School and a few more who will be attending for Taste-and-See weeks (students who attend parts of the program only). We are so excited about this, and so thankful for each and every student God has led to this program. Please continue to pray for God to prepare the hearts of the students who plan to come.




Jerry also planned and led a Snowboard Instructors Training weekend for the PdF snowboard instructors in December. He taught and trained 4 new Snowboard Instructors to be able to teach beginning snowboarders, so many of this year's ski camps had 2 snowboard groups (Jerry teaches the intermediate and advanced groups and another trained volunteer instructor teaches the beginners). There were over 40 snowboarders at the Ski Camps this winter and Jerry instructed for 5 of the camps. This was exciting for Jerry to see the snowboarding program expanding here at PdF - almost all of the ski camps have been at maximum capacity, bringing up to 54 participants at a time. We're praising God for how He is blessing this ministry and we're excited to see how God will continue to expand the ministry of the ski camps here at PdF.

We had a visitor from Riverwood Church Community, our church in Canada, at the end of January. Cole works at the church and flew all the way to Romania to shoot some update videos for us and help PdF film footage for some upcoming promotional videos and a fundraising video for PdF's new construction project. We enjoyed having Cole here and showing him around Brasov and we really appreciate his help. We spent the week filming with him, which was very tiring but totally worth it! We're excited to have new video content for next year's Ski Camp promotional video as well as other promotional videos for the PdF programs and fundraising activities. Here's a couple cool shots of Jerry that Cole captured while they filmed on the mountain for the day:





In December, Chrissie had the opportunity to speak at the Women's Advent Event at Biserica Harvest Metanoia Brasov, our church in Brasov. It was a beautiful event for the women of the church to bring their friends and colleagues who aren't Christians, and it was a privilege for Chrissie to share the hope of Jesus with these women, many of whom come from challenging situations and lead difficult lives where their faith is challenged daily. She was also invited to speak at another women's event at a church in the city of Ploiesti at the beginning of March and enjoyed meeting the women there and sharing the hope of Jesus with them.



Chrissie will also be leading the girls Prayer and Share group during the Bible School every Friday morning. This will be a place where the female students gather and share what God is doing in their lives and pray for one another. This will be a wonderful opportunity for Chrissie to build relationships with the female students and share wisdom from God's word with them, from the perspective of a missionary wife.

This month marked the arrival of the volunteer RAs (Resident Assistants) for the Bible School. Andy (from Switzerland) and Marianna (from the Ukraine) will be spending the next several months at PdF working with Jerry to run the day-to-day activities of the Bible School, focusing on developing relationships with the students and providing one-on-one mentorship. They will also be helping Jerry prepare for the larger components of the program, like the Outdoor Challenge, the Mission Outreach Challenge, and the Cultural Encounter Challenge, and plan weekly group outreaches. Andy is very into the outdoors and mountain sports, so we're excited for what he will bring to the program. Marianna has been working with a ministry in another part of Romania for the last few years, so she will be helpful for the students and be able to provide some translation and help with the worship teams. Please pray for Andy and Marianna as they prepare to come and serve here at PdF, and also for Marianna's health as she has some health and nutrition challenges because of her Lyme disease.



We have started volunteering in the worship ministry at our church, Biserica Harvest Metanoia Brasov. It is an added challenge for us, given the long drive to Brasov and the time commitment, but we are excited to be serving in this way whenever Jerry's PdF schedule allows, and we're excited about joining the worship team community at the church.



Lastly, we thought we'd include a copy of Jerry's Year-at-a-Glance schedule for you, so you're able to see what he's up to any time of the year. If you'd like to open or download it for easier viewing, CLICK HERE



Family Update:

Over the last few months it has finally begun to feel like we have hit our stride with life here in Romania. Of course we still face the daily challenges that come with living out of your home country, but those challenges are becoming easier (or maybe we're just getting used to them!?) as our command of the Romanian language gets better and we're learning more about how people do life here. 

December was an interesting month for us, ending with 3 of the 4 of us sick with mild coughs and colds. The girls managed to participate in their school's Christmas concert in December which was very fun, despite their colds. They sang Christmas songs in German and Romanian and we were, once again, surprised by how they were able to sing along with their peers despite the language barrier.





We made the decision to stay home for the Christmas holidays, instead of travelling to Rasa (in the south of Romania) to visit Reinhard and Darcey Neufeld and John and Doris Storey and help with their Christmas outreach ministry. We went to Rasa as a family last year and it was an amazing experience for us, in addition to being able to spend Christmas with fellow Canadian missionaries here in Romania. But because of the cold virus that hit us in December we decided to stay home and have a quiet Christmas together, just the 4 of us, and focus on getting well and resting after a hectic fall season, knowing the New Year would once again bring many ministry challenges and we'd need our health to be in good shape. We felt the pull of the Holy Spirit toward rest and we're so thankful we obeyed. The week between Christmas and New Years was probably the most restful week we've had since leaving Canada more than a year and a half ago; we slept in, ate homemade blueberry pancakes, watched movies, went skating, went hiking, played games, and went on bike rides (since we had no snow until mid-January). It was a sweet, sweet time and we are so thankful for the time we had together, just the 4 of us, and we're thankful that this time of rest helped us stay pretty healthy for the rest of the winter season.

Jerry was incredibly busy in January and February with ski camps and during this time Chrissie and the girls enjoyed their daily routine - the girls have continued attending the German/Romanian Kindergarten in Rașnov every morning which gives Chrissie time to take care of the household responsibilities, run errands, meet with other women for discipleship and prayer, and work on her food blog. She has also been establishing a relationship with a single mom from Rașnov who comes to our house once per week to help Chrissie with some housework while Chrissie cooks for their family. It serves as a great opportunity for Chrissie to practice speaking in Romanian each week and we're so glad to be able to help this woman support her 2 young daughters and provide healthy meals for their family when they're not able to buy food.

We continue to be involved at Biserica Harvest Metanoia Brasov (Harvest Church in Brasov) and we've been attending a small group every Monday night since September. It's a huge challenge for us to attend small group regularly because of Jerry's ministry schedule, and because it's a long drive to Brasov and we don't often have a babysitter, but we're so thankful for the friendship we're developing with the other members of the small group and for how supportive they've been to us as we've gotten to know them. They've been very forgiving to us for our "caveman" Romanian skills as we try to participate in the meetings (all in the Romanian language), and we've experienced real, sacrificial love from these new friends and we're so thankful to know them and to be doing life alongside them. The theme of this ministry year at Harvest is 'Niciodata Singur' which means 'Never Alone', and this idea has become very meaningful to us in our situation as missionaries living here in Romania. We are the outsiders here, the ones who are different and strange, and this church has accepted us and welcomed us with open arms, helping us in times of need and coming alongside us in prayer and support of our ministry at PdF. Our relationships with the people of Biserica Harvest Metanoia Brasov have truly made us feel like we're never alone, and we're so thankful for this!

Our German neighbours, Michi and Stefan Sailer, returned from their 4 month furlough in Germany after Christmas and it has been wonderful to have them back. Chrissie and Michi are great friends and their boys and our girls get along beautifully so the kids have also enjoyed having their friends back. Since the weather was so mild this winter we spent a lot of time playing outside, riding bikes, and playing in the snow (for the few weeks we had snow!).


Every few months or so we set aside some family time, head into the old city of Brasov and walk the cobblestone streets, let the kids chase pigeons and grab a coffee. It's such a relaxing place to stroll around and experience the "European" culture here in Romania and we enjoy visiting the old city very much. We spend so much time far away from the city (PdF is 6km from the nearest town) and so it's nice to experience the city life again every now and then.



Now that spring is here we're enjoying the warmer weather, going for lots of walks and bike rides, and jumping in puddles on rainy days. We've finally found a ballet class for the girls in Brasov with an excellent instructor, so they're enjoying being ballerinas again and doing something active while working on their language skills (the class is taught in Romanian). It's also a great opportunity for them to interact with other little girls their age.




Fundraising:

We are coming up on the end of our second year in Romania, which means a trip to Canada at the end of 2018 is in our sights. It's important for us to travel to Canada every few years to visit family, friends, and our church, and re-connect with our faithful ministry supporters. We're so thankful to have the opportunity to travel to Canada for this purpose, but we need to raise a significant amount of money to fund our trip (around $6000 CAD). If you feel led by God to help us fund this trip back to Canada, please click the link below to make a one-time donation.

Also, our current Romanian Visas expire in November 2018 and so we will be responsible for renewing them before we return for our visit to Canada. The costs associated with this are approximately $1500 CAD. 

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

Please pray:

- That God would prepare the hearts of the Bible School students who will attend the Spring Mission Bible School this year.

- For our continued health and safety for the Bible School season, for our family, the students and all the staff.

- For Andy and Marianna, the Bible School RAs (Resident Assistants) who will serve at the Bible School this year; for high levels of energy and high capacity to serve the students attending Bible School.

- For continued wisdom and patience for us as we navigate the Romanian culture and language on a daily basis.

- For our Romanian language skills to continue developing quickly and that we'd have many more opportunities to grow our language skills.

- That God would continue to equip our children with all the patience and skills they need to thrive at school and at play; that our children would continue to grow in their faith and love for Jesus. 

- For our children to sleep well at night so we all wake up rested in the morning and ready to do the work of the Lord with lots of energy!


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.       



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Merry Christmas Greetings (December Update)

Hi friends!

Rather than a written update this month, we thought we'd record a short video message for you. You can watch it below, check it out on Facebook in our Facebook group, or watch it on our YouTube channel.

Merry Christmas everyone! We love you and miss you, and we're so thankful for your faithful support!!

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

A quick message regarding year-end giving: financial gifts made online before December 31st at 11:59 pm will be included in your 2017 tax receipt. In 2018 the Great Commission Foundation (our sending organization) is consolidating tax receipts so donors will now receive one receipt at the beginning of the new year with donations listed to claim at tax time. 

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). 





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October 2017 Update

Hi friends,

A big hello to all you supporters and friends who read our updates, pray for us regularly, and support us in our ministry here in Romania! We're so grateful for your friendship and your support and today we're sharing our October update with you to let you know what we've been up to so far this fall and to share a little bit of what the upcoming months will look like. We'll also share about some of our upcoming needs and prayer requests.


Ministry Update

September is typically the beginning of PdF's slower season - there are a some retreats and conferences PdF hosts in the fall but the staff largely enjoys an opportunity to take a bit of a break from the crazy busy summer camps and catch up on office work, take some time out for family, and plan together for the coming ministry year. 

Jerry spent much of September beginning to plan for the Spring 2018 Bible School. He's been busy booking teachers for next year's bible school and will soon be arranging their travel and schedules. He's already fielding emails and calls from prospective students and he will be meeting with other PdF staff regarding logistics for the bible school (planning for meals, transportation, etc.), and recruiting some volunteer support staff to serve as RAs (resident assistants who will live with the students and serve as mentors) during the bible school in the spring. He's established another bi-weekly prayer meeting on Wednesday evenings for any PdF staff or volunteers who are interested in joining together to pray for the upcoming Spring 2018 Bible School and the PdF ministries in general. We would invite you to pray along with us on Wednesdays for the Bible School and the ministries at PdF. If you're interested in receiving a list of prayer requests twice a month, please contact Jerry at jerry.baker@pdf.ro. Jerry will also be doing a week of teaching at the Bible School this year, so he will be spending much of his time preparing for this teaching.

Since our neighbours and fellow PdF staff Stefan and Michi Sailer are in Germany this fall connecting with their supporters and family, Jerry has taken over the leadership of the high ropes course while Stefan is away. Jerry has served as the ropes course manager for the retreats and camps since mid-August, leading groups through the ropes course, doing the safety instruction and leading the debriefs and team building times. 



Jerry also helped plan and lead a German program for at-risk youth at PdF in September - the youth came from Germany, Romania and Luxembourg with their government support workers to participate in team building activities and wilderness adventure activities led by Jerry and a few of the other German-speaking staff at PdF. Jerry even had an opportunity to share his own story with the youth, which was a highlight of the program. 



Jerry also serves as the mentor for the male German volunteers who are working at PdF for one year. He has enjoyed getting to know them and spending time with them. 

At the beginning of October we travelled to Schladming, Austria to visit the Torchbearer's International centre there (Tauernhof) so Jerry could speak to their group of 80 Fall Bible School students on the topic of knowing God's will for your life, and give a presentation about PdF's Spring Bible School in the hopes of recruiting students for PdF and raising awareness about the ministry of PdF. We both attended Tauernhof 15 years ago and we have many close friends and supporters who live in the area, so we were thrilled to make the trip and connect with everyone again. We're also so very thankful to Chrissie's parents for flying us all to Austria for the week. We never could have afforded the trip on our own and we enjoyed sharing a week with them in Austria. 


Jerry met Tauernhof's Bible School Principal David Hines at the Torchbearer's International Staff Conference in England in June and so we spent some time connecting with David and his wife Deborah and their children while we were in Schladming. Jerry and David's jobs are very similar and since we work in the same organization we have much in common. It was wonderful to share stories and advice with one another and be a support to each other in the struggles of cross cultural ministry and running a Bible School. Please pray for the Hines family as they serve God in Austria and work hard to connect with local families and establish their life there. 


Right after we returned from Austria was the annual CAMP conference at PdF (CAMP stands for Conferența Anualâ de Mulțumire și Planificare, or Annual Conference of Thanksgiving and Planning). This was a very busy weekend for us since Jerry was involved with leading worship in Romanian for the sessions (Chrissie helped with this), giving presentations about the Bible School, attending the PdF Board of Directors meeting, leading a Sunday morning meditation, leading activities, and even helping out in the kitchen!! It was a wonderful time of celebration of what God has done at PdF over the last year and we all enjoyed re-connecting with friends who came for the weekend conference. 


Jerry has also spent many hours this fall in language study. We've been able to get a decent handle on the basics of the Romanian language which helps us in social situations and when we're grocery shopping, etc. but for Jerry to be effective in his position at Pdf he needs to become fluent in Romanian. It's a constant struggle for him as many staff meetings and Bible studies are all conducted in Romanian and he needs to find a way to understand and keep up. We're preparing for Jerry to take a 2-week language course in Bucharest in November in order to develop his Romanian language skills further. Please pray for his language development and that it would be financially possible for him to take this language course in November.

In November Jerry will be working hard to get many of the details for Bible School finalized. The winter is very busy for us with Ski and Snowboard Instructor Training in December (Jerry will be developing and leading the Snowboard Instructor Training program this winter), Christmas retreats at PdF in late-December, and Ski/Snowboard Camps almost every week for the months of January and February, which will keep Jerry very busy!! Please pray for our health (especially for Jerry) so that he is able to instruct at all the camps. 


Family Update

This September for us saw the girls returning to kindergarten in Rasnov (they attend a German kindergarten class 5 mornings per week), which was both challenging for all of us and a welcome return to a routine after the summer. The girls' language skills are improving slowly but steadily and they're both more adventurous with using German and Romanian words at school. Miriam especially is understanding a lot of German, which is exciting. We're praying God will prepare her for her first year of real school here next year in the German education stream, but for this year she'll enjoy one more year in the same German kindergarten class as her sister Eden. 


The girls regularly have misunderstandings with other children at school and struggle to communicate with their peers. This has been a challenge especially for Eden. Please pray for their language skills to develop quickly this year so they'll be able to make friends and fit in with their peers a little better, handling the challenges of school with grace, understanding, and wisdom beyond their years.

Chrissie's parents flew to Romania at the beginning of October for a visit and we have been enjoying our time with them. They flew us to Austria with them for a week so Jerry could speak at Tauernhof and so we could visit friends and supporters and spend time together as a family away from PdF. We had a wonderful week of hiking, seeing sights in Vienna and Salzburg, enjoying delicious Austrian food, and visiting dear friends we haven't seen in several years. 




Our friends Joel and Tanja graciously allowed us all to stay in their guest apartment and we had a great time with them and their boys.




Another highlight of our time in Austria was re-connecting with the family Chrissie worked for as an Au Pair back in 2002-2003. The girls she worked with are all grown up now and it was so nice to see the family again and enjoy a meal together with her Austrian sister, Anja and Anja's mom Traudi.


We've also joined a small group at our church, Biserica Harvest Metanoia Brasov, this fall. We have felt the need to become more connected to the local people here, and Harvest Church has been so supportive of us since we started attending a year ago. We've enjoyed getting to know the pastor and his wife, Cristi and Simona Cherechean, and they have become our dear friends and have walked with us through some very challenging situations this year, faithfully praying for our family and ministry here at PdF. 


Our small group meets on Monday evenings and while it is a HUGE challenge for us to even attend with Jerry's crazy ministry schedule, the 45 minute drive to Brasov, the financial hit of paying a babysitter once a week, and on top of all that the language barrier, we have felt SO supported and loved by the people in our small group and already they are becoming our friends. We're so humbled by how earnestly our Romanian friends live out Jesus' call to discipleship and how earnestly they seek to be Jesus to one another in a hurting world. It's truly inspiring and something our hearts have been greatly impacted by. 

We're receiving more and more opportunities to use our Romanian language skills all the time and so they are growing, albeit slowly. We still feel like beginners, speaking what we affectionately call "Caveman Romanian", but it's nice to be able to communicate basic information and understand what people are saying to us.  Chrissie is getting to know a Romanian woman from Rasnov named Dana who has two young children just older than ours. Dana lives a very difficult life and she is a new Christian, and so it has been Chrissie's joy to minister to her and her girls and to work to develop a friendship with her despite the language barrier. Please pray for Dana as she struggles to find work and provide for her daughters.

This week marks one year since we moved from Bucharest into our home here at PdF. It's been such a reminder of God's faithfulness to our family. He has provided a wonderful home for us and we are still so thankful each day for our comfortable home and how He knows just what we need even before we ask Him! 


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. We're also thankful to be able to share with you all that our current financial support is at 85%. Because we're required to pay Canadian taxes and fees to the Great Commission Foundation (our missionary sending organization who processes our donations), purchase expensive health insurance required for our family to live in Romania, pay fees associated with our Visa here in Romania and other foreign country-related costs, our income is still slightly below the amount required for our living expenses. We are praying for an increase in our monthly support and one-time donations to help cover these expenses, but mostly we are just praising God for His faithfulness to us. Thank you from the bottom of our hearts to each of you who sacrifice monthly to help provide for our family's needs. We appreciate each and every one of you so much.

Looking down the road at the remainder of 2017 and 2018, we have a few financial needs that are upcoming. First, Jerry needs to be able to take another Romanian language course, which costs about 230 euros ($345 Canadian dollars), plus the cost of transportation, and renting a room in Bucharest for two weeks while he studies. The course takes place in mid-November (one month from now) and as it stands right now we do not have the funds for this. If you feel led by God to support us in this way we would appreciate it so much. 

Second, it is our plan to return to Winnipeg and the Vancouver area (Jerry's hometown) in the fall of 2018 to re-connect with family, friends and supporters, to speak at churches and to hold a few fundraising events for our ministry here in Romania. As it stands right now, we have no funds with which to buy airline tickets or finance our trip back to Canada, and so we're praying for God to provide for our family in that way. 

Third, our current Romanian Visas expire in November 2018 and so we will be responsible for renewing them before we return for our visit to Canada. The costs associated with this are between $1000 and $2000 CAD. 

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


Prayer Requests


Please pray:

- and thank God for a wonderful fall season and refreshing time with Chrissie's parents this October.

- and thank God for a successful CAMP weekend this month!

- For God to raise up some new monthly and one-time supporters for our ministry here in Romania so we're able to cover all our living expenses. 

- For safety for the upcoming ski camps, both for the staff and instructors and for the participants.

- For wisdom and an extra dose of patience for us as we continue to navigate the Romanian culture.

- For Bible School students to apply for the Spring Bible School. We are praying for God to bring 20 students this year!

- For health for our family during these fall and winter seasons; that we'd avoid ear infections and bronchitis this year, and any other illness that would interfere with ministry.

- For our Romanian language skills to develop quickly and that we'd have many opportunities to grow our language skills.

- That God would continue to equip our children with all the patience and skills they need to thrive at school; that our children would continue to grow in their faith and love for Jesus. 




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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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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