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!


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. 


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.


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.

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