Tuesday 20 September 2016

Settling In

Hi friends!

We've got a great update for you today with some big news and some small news, but most importantly: good news!

This last little while has been crazy busy for us. The girls have had 2 full weeks at Romanian kindergarten, we've had 3 full weeks of language study, and we somehow fit in hours upon hours of searching for a car, as well as lots of work toward our visa application, and a little bit of fun too!

Because we don't really have another option for childcare for the girls while we're in language classes, the private kindergarten in the village where the Ionescu family lives was really our only option. It's far more expensive than we would have liked, and affording this unanticipated expense on our new missionary salary is quite a challenge. However, we are extremely satisfied with the care that the girls are receiving at the kindergarten and the attentiveness of the teachers. The girls also eat breakfast and the main meal (lunch) with the other children and the meals that the school provides are very well rounded and nutritious, which we're happy about.

We are absolutely loving our language classes so far. Our teacher is fantastic, the class is small (only 5 students!), and the quality of the lessons and material is very high. We're feeling excited about it, but at the same time also a little frustrated since we've been here for almost a month and we still don't even know quite enough Romanian to get around, order food in restaurants, or answer basic questions when people talk to us. Our vocabulary is growing quickly but we need to work a lot on growing our language skills to a functional level. We are hopeful that our language lessons will help us do this, and that we'll be able to spend our time out of the classroom practising our Romanian now that we've gotten a few big tasks out of the way this week that have been consuming almost all our time...

...like finally finding a car!! That's right, we've agreed to purchase a 7-seater Peugeot 307 sw from an American family here in Bucharest who are leaving Romania this month and moving back to the states. We are so amazed at God's plan in all of this and we're so thankful to be able to purchase this vehicle that fits the needs of our family exactly and costs exactly what we sold our vehicle for in Canada. And the communication factor was definitely a bonus!!

We actually met Michael, the American pastor, last week at his family's moving sale. We're members of a buy and sell Facebook group for English-speaking expats in Bucharest and we came across an ad for their moving sale. Naturally we went and purchased a few household items from them for our home at PDF and got to hear some of their story (they're returning to the states because their son is sick and can't receive the specific care he needs here).  It's amazing how God brings His people together during times like these so we can support one another! Please pray with us for Michael and his family, for their transition back to the US and for his son's health concerns. Please also pray for the church he planted here that is now without a pastor. God's plans are always good but they don't always make sense to us at the time. We're thankful to have met Michael during our first few weeks here! We got the car from him this week and we love it already. It's exactly what we were praying for!

We also FINALLY got fingerprinted for our visa paperwork! Romania requires a Canadian criminal record check from us to be able to process our visa and somehow this little detail slipped through the cracks before we left Canada, so we've had to work to obtain a Canadian criminal record check while we're here. This meant lots of paperwork and finding a government agency here who would take our fingerprints so we could send them to Canada. After several frustrating hours travelling from police station to police station, we found one officer who was willing to help us out! He spoke less English than we speak Romanian, so having Debora (one of the Ionescu daughters) along with us was extremely helpful (actually, it was essential!). After finally convincing the officer that we were in no way sent by or affiliated with the FBI (seriously??), he took our fingerprints and we sent them off to Canada right away to be processed!

And as if that weren't enough, we also managed a trip to IKEA for some storage bins and mattresses for the kids (they've been sharing a twin sized bed since we arrived and it just wasn't working anymore!), and we went to Therme, a crazy-huge indoor water-park just outside of Bucharest. Mary and Debora came with us and we had an absolute blast. It was exactly what we needed to take our minds off all the tasks on our to-do list and just have a little bit of fun! We'll share some of our time at Therme on our next video update.

Earlier last week we also went to Herăstrău Park here in Bucharest. We walked for hours around the lake and took the kids to a fun playground in the park for some fun (and ate ice cream, of course!).

It seems each week we're here life gets just a little easier. It's still a huge cultural struggle to live with a Romanian family, even one as amazing and kind as the Ionescus, but we feel very relieved to have gotten a few big tasks out of the way recently so we can turn our attention fully to language study. We've hired a private tutor named Lidia on top of our language class so we can really maximize our time here in Bucharest. Lidia teaches Romanian language lesson to many new missionaries here but we're her first Canadian students.

We're starting to take a good, hard look at our financial support situation and we just don't see how we're going to have enough funds to support our family and to pay for all the costs associated with our ministry.  There are so many fees and costs that come with setting up our life here, some we anticipated and some we've been surprised by. If you feel led by God to support us financially at all, you can CLICK HERE to find out more about how to do that. We would so appreciate your support!

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We have an updated prayer request list that we'll share below, and we'd love if you would pray for us and with us over the next few weeks.

Prayer Requests: 

-  Please continue to pray for Jerry's back.  He has found a great physical therapist here who is helping him a lot, but every session costs 50 euros (about $75 Canadian dollars) so we have to be very cautious about how often he goes. Please pray for healing so we don't have this expense any longer!

- Praise God that we've found a vehicle!! Please pray also for our new friend Michael from the US and his family's situation (details are above).

- Praise God that our truck sold!!! We're so thankful that it sold the day before we purchased our vehicle here. God's timing is really amazing!

- Please pray for our financial support situation! We are praising God for several one-time gifts that have made a HUGE difference for us in paying for some unexpected expenses (visa processing fees, etc.)! We are still in need of monthly supporters to help us meet our monthly financial support goal and we're still about $600/month short of our monthly support requirement. Our expenses are beginning to roll in and we're struggling quite a lot in this area.

- Please pray for the Commissionaire's Office and the RCMP in Canada to accept our fingerprints for our Canadian Criminal Record Checks! Romania won't process our visas without a Canadian Criminal record check and if we don't have visas by November 10th we'll be forced to leave the country.

- Please pray for students to sign up for the bible school at PDF this spring! There are already 3 students who are very interested in attending, and we can't run the bible school with fewer than 10 students so we're trusting God to bring the students He wants to participate in the program.

- Please pray for continued protection and provision for our children as they adjust to life in Romania, and for how they're coping emotionally with all the change in their lives and attending Kindergarten every morning. They are having a hard time with communication at school, especially with their peers and it's making developing relationships difficult for them. Pray that they will have positive attitudes as we teach them about being thankful in all circumstances despite how they're struggling. 

Thanks for reading our update! We'll have another one for you soon!

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