Wednesday 28 September 2022

Summer and Fall 2022 Update

 Hi friends!

We've arrived back in Romania after more than 2 months away from home - here's our end-of-summer and beginning-of-fall update with details about our time at the Torchbearers International Staff Conference in the UK, our time in Canada, and what's coming up for us in the next few months here in Romania!

Ministry Update:

Bible School ended in mid-June and we said goodbye to the 9 students who completed the program. It was a blessed spring Bible School semester, and we're thankful for the deep relationships we were able to build with the students and for the work God did in their lives. 

A few days after Bible School ended we headed as a family to the International Staff Conference at Capernwray Hall just outside Carnforth, England. Several others from PdF also attended the conference, along with many staff from almost every Torchbearers International centre all over the world. 

The main conference speakers were Peter Reid (the Torchbearers International Director) and Charles Price (a long-time Torchbearers teacher and leader and formerly a pastor of a large Toronto church). The conference theme was "Closer" which is based on this verse from Hebrews 2:1 "Therefore we must pay much closer attention to what we have heard, lest we drift away from it."

Peter and Charles taught on basic spiritual principles like Christ in us, idolatry, unity, feeding your faith, etc. God used their teaching to refresh us spiritually and remind us of why we serve. We are so thankful for this week. 

We'd love to share with you some of our most memorable take-aways from the conference:

  • Circumstances are incidental to the life of Christ within us.
  • The Christian life is not difficult, it is impossible apart from Christ in us.
  • The greatest blessing that God can give to a man is the knowledge of his own destitution. - Oswald Chambers
  • One of the most common substitutes for abiding in Christ is abiding in other Christians.
  • Reading books about the Bible and listening to teaching is like watching other people eat and expecting to be satisfied. This is why our personal time with God and in the Word is so important.
  • "I'm not reading to get through the Bible. I'm reading for the Bible to get through me!" - Peter Reid
  • To be sent means 2 things: somebody else initiates their activity in your life, and someone else is responsible for that which they initiate. 
  • Our success in ministry will be measured by our obedience, not by our numbers.
Whenever we return to Canada Jerry's time is almost always consumed with administrative tasks as his job is one that follows him wherever he goes. However, this summer was different - thanks to Christina, the Bible School assistant and registrar. While we were spending time re-connecting with family, friends, and supporters, Christina was busily answering emails from prospective students and their parents, sifting through applications for the Bible School, and completing a lot of other administrative tasks that would have otherwise fallen on Jerry's plate. We are so thankful Christina was able to carry this load so that Jerry could focus on rest and family, and use his work time this summer to focus on preparing for his upcoming lecture series this fall on the book of John.

Bible School started this week and we are so thankful to have welcomed 18 students from Canada, the US, Germany, the Netherlands, Australia, Kenya, Serbia, and Romania! 

We're very excited to see what God will do in this group of students this fall, and we're looking forward to getting to know them and serving them as they commit these months to the study of God's word.

Krystal, one of the students from the Fall and Spring semesters last year, joined us a few weeks ago here at PdF to serve as the female RA for this 2022-2023 year. We got to know her very well last year (Chrissie was her mentor) and so we are thrilled to have her back! We're so thankful she stepped forward in faith - she is very dedicated and hard working, and having grown up as a missionary kid in Costa Rica, she has a lot to offer the students and she's a great addition to the team. 

We're also looking forward to having Jonathan and Leanna Bird (and 2 of their teenage children) from Canada here at PdF starting next week! They will serve as one-year volunteers and will be joining the Bible School team alongside Jerry, Christina and Krystal. 

In other PdF news, while we were away for the summer PdF hired a new chef since Cipri (PdF's cook for the last 9+ years) and Irina Mittelstadt announced that they will leave PdF this fall and move on to another ministry position connected with a local church in the area. 

Chef Robert, his wife Fivi and their daughter Lea have come to live at PdF from Brasov as Robert takes over the role of head chef in the PdF kitchen. We are very excited that they have joined the staff team and we look forward to Robert's delicious meals whenever we eat at the centre with the Bible School students this fall. Please pray for their family as they settle in here at PdF and as Robert gets used to his new role here.

As you probably already know, we sent several shipments of aid to Ukraine in the spring and Jerry even travelled to Ukraine in March to deliver one of these shipments with a team from PdF. We are being asked to ship more aid to a ministry in the hardest hit areas of Ukraine in partnership with OM Romania, but our funds are extremely limited. If you feel led to donate to our Ukraine fund, please use the links below. We appreciate every dollar given, and 100% of the funds raised go directly to supporting Ukrainian refugees or war-affected Ukrainians in Ukraine. Donations are eligible for a tax receipt.

For CANADIANS: to donate please visit

**Please choose “Torchbearers Romania Ukraine Relief” as the designation.**

For AMERICANS: please visit to donate

**Please choose “Torchbearers Romania Ukraine Relief” as the designation.**

Family Update:

After a busy and stressful school year, we were all very excited to attend the Torchbearers International Staff Conference as a family in June. We knew it would be a refreshing time for us, and it was!

Because of the pandemic the conference was a year overdue. The girls attended the kids' sessions during the conference with Will and Sue, a wonderful couple who run the organization SportsReach in the UK. Together with their volunteer team they pulled off an amazing action-packed kids program with daily Bible lessons, games, lots of different sports, bonfires, swimming, and even a field trip to a local farm and legendary ice cream shop where the kids ate ice cream cones the size of their heads!

Connecting with other kids from all over the world whose parents also work at Torchbearers Centres was an invaluable experience for our girls. They spent time with many other native-English-speaking kids who are also third-culture kids (children growing up in another country outside their own family's culture), and it was cool to watch them be able to identify with these children in such a unique way. 

The girls also enjoyed the Beehive, Capernwray Hall's snack and sweets shop, where Gabi Reid (Peter Reid's wife) took them on the last day and let them pick out some treats!

While the kids were at their daily sessions the adults gathered for worship and teaching. The daily teaching was simple yet profoundly impactful - full of the reminders we needed to leave the conference feeling spiritually renewed on both a ministry and personal level.

At the conference Chrissie had the opportunity to reconnect with Paul and Kelly Platillero, the director and his wife from Rio Vida in Spain from when Chrissie attended as a student in 2002. 

And just being at Capernwray Hall was such a gift - the atmosphere was so quiet and peaceful, and the centre is so beautiful with lots of places to sit and enjoy the quiet, study, read, pray, or enjoy a meaningful conversation with someone. 

While at the conference we had the opportunity to hike to the Cautley Spout Waterfall (an excursion organized through the conference) and it was a wonderful day in the beautiful English countryside. 

Before and after our time at the conference we took the opportunity to travel around the UK a little. We spent a couple of days in and around London and Windsor, and we even took a train up to Scotland for a few days. We walked and hiked a lot and took the opportunity for some slow days in the countryside, exploring some of the most beautiful landscapes we've ever seen. 

Thankfully our girls are pro travellers by now, so trips like this are fairy simple and a lot of fun for us as a family!

After our time in the UK we headed over to Vancouver, BC where we spent some time re-connecting with Jerry's family. We hadn't seen them since 2018, so it was a long-overdue visit. We enjoyed our time with them in Vancouver and on Vancouver Island, and we took a few days alone for some solitude and rest, and so Jerry could introduce our girls to some places special to him, from his childhood. We hiked, rested, went body boarding in the Pacific ocean, and spent these days re-grouping as a family after an overwhelming year. 

After our time in B.C. we flew to Winnipeg to reconnect with family, friends, supporters and our home church, Riverwood Church Community. We spent just over a month in Winnipeg and stayed with Chrissie's parents. The girls especially enjoyed re-connecting and spending time with their grandparents, cousins, aunts and uncles, and friends (we enjoyed it too!).

We celebrated Miriam's 10th birthday in Winnipeg with family, and it was a blessed day of celebration for everyone.

And we even got to visit the lake so Jerry could teach the girls how to fish (although with the number of fish they caught - 3 each- we wondered who was teaching whom!?). It's safe to say everyone had a blast!


While we were in Winnipeg our hearts were especially warmed by all of you who joined us at our Romanian gratar (barbecue) in August - it was SO special for us to share some of our favourite Romanian food with you, to share about the ministry, and to see so many of you in person - to share hugs and tears and laughter together. What a privilege it is for us to have so many amazing people in our corner cheering us on and standing beside us in prayer and support. We don't say it enough - we are SO thankful for each and every one of you.

We attended church services at Riverwood while we were in Winnipeg and it was amazing to be back "home" with our Canadian church family. They surrounded us in love and prayer and sent us off to continue serving here in Romania. We are so thankful for their love, support and friendship. 

We arrived back in Romania in the first week of September with just a few days to get over jet lag and prepare for back-to-school. We also had to visit the immigration police less than 24 hours after we landed in Romania because our visas were about to expire (it's always a good idea to avoid deportation!). Thankfully they approved the visa extension for another two years and because Romanians are extremely kind and sympathetic to children, they whisked us to the front of the line ahead of everyone who had been waiting for hours already. We were in and out of the immigration office in less thank an hour, which was a HUGE blessing for us and our very jet-lagged kids!

The girls went back to school a few days after we got back and they've been enjoying their classes so far. It's been an adjustment for them to speak Romanian at school again after speaking English all summer in the UK and Canada, but they're getting back into the groove again after a few weeks of school. 

In other news, we're excited to report that we finally have paving stones outside our house at PdF! The construction team, together with many of the staff, installed the paving stones around the staff houses so the 4 staff families living in the 2 staff duplexes (including us) finally have a more completed outdoor space! We've all had gravel patios since the staff houses have been built, but it's sure nice to have the space finished and clean. We're already enjoying the last warm days outdoors on our patio and we're looking forward to hosting Fall Bible School students for bonfires and get-togethers outdoors. 

And some even better news - after struggling through the last school year with 3+ hours of driving every day just to get the kids to and from school, we were presented with an opportunity to hire a children's transport company to take over the kids' school transportation along with two other families in our area. To those of you in North America this might seem strange but here in Romania parents are responsible for their children's school transportation and school buses aren't really a thing (except in the movies, as most of our European friends would say). Because we share the transport cost with 2 other families in the surrounding towns whose kids also go to school in Brasov, we will pay less for the transport company than we were paying for our gas every week to drive the kids ourselves! This option not only saves us 3+ hours per day of driving time, but it also saves us money. What an answer to prayer!!

In the month of September we also enjoyed celebrating the weddings of Abigail & Dani, and Amelia & Jonathan at PdF. These 4 are on staff here (Abigail is the housekeeping coordinator, Dani works on the construction and maintenance team, Amelia works in programs, and Jonathan is the outdoor ministries coordinator). Amelia and Abigail are sisters from the US who attended the Spring Mission Bible School in 2019 and stayed at Pdf as volunteers, and eventually staff. Chrissie and Ana made their wedding cakes.


As we look forward to a busy fall with the Bible School we are so thankful for how God hears the cry of our hearts and answers our prayers, even when it seems impossible to us. We're thankful for how He lifts our burdens, provides for us, and walks with us each day. 
Thank you for praying along with us and for supporting us as we serve the Lord here. You are such a blessing to our family!

Prayer Requests:

Please join us in thanking God for:
  1. a safe and successful trip to Canada this summer; that God gave us rest. 
  2. His financial provision. We have our immediate needs met each month and we're so thankful to God for His provision.  
  3. Christina, the Bible School Registrar. We are thankful for how Christina taking on a big administrative load has helped Jerry and our family.
  4. Krystal, the RA for 2022-2023. We're so thankful for her servant heart and positive attitude. We are looking forward to a great year serving with her!
  5. Safety and peace in Romania. We are so thankful Romania is a safe and peaceful country in the midst of what's happening in Ukraine to the north of us.
  6. A positive start to the school year for our children. They are doing well in school so far this year, despite all the challenges of a second language and cultural barriers at school. 
  7. Transportation for our kids to and from school. We are SO thankful for this blessing!

Please join us in praying for:

  1. God to send the right students to register for the upcoming Bible School semesters in 2023.
  2. Jonathan and Leanna Bird and their kids; that their transition to Romania for this year would be smooth, and that they would quickly find their place here at PdF as we serve together. 
  3. Chef Robert, Fivi and Lea as they settle in at PdF and as Robert takes on the head chef role at PdF. 
  4. our marriage and family; that we would continue to work towards prioritizing our marriage over our work, and that we would make time to communicate and nurture our marriage even in the midst of a very overwhelming ministry schedule.
  5. Our children; that God would continue drawing them closer to Himself every day, that they would learn to see that God's way is the best way, and that nothing this world has to offer will ever satisfy. That they would experience Jesus' love each day.
  6. Our girls' education; that they would continue to grow in their Romanian language skills, English, and Mathematics. That they wouldn't be influenced in a negative way by the things they see and hear at school.
  7. Miriam. Please pray for us as parents to have wisdom to parent her through the mental health challenges she's experiencing. Please pray for her struggles at school, especially with learning Math and Romanian. 
  8. Continued health and protection for our family from sickness and injury.
  9. Safety. Please pray for safety for Jerry, the staff, participants and students for all the PdF programs.
  10. Chrissie's health. Pray for healing in Chrissie's brain and body, and for a diagnosis regarding her vertigo and other symptoms.
  11. Staff relationships at PdF.  Please pray for peace among the staff, for heaps and heaps of understanding and love despite the cultural differences, and for us all to learn to serve one another better, being considerate of one another. Also, for healing in places where there has been hurt, and for wisdom for us to know how to manage difficult interpersonal conflicts and challenging issues over cultural barriers.
  12. The people of Ukraine who are affected by this horrible war.
  13. The two Ukrainian refugee families we have gotten to know - Alyona and Ruslan, and Vova and Tania. 
  14. For future Ukrainian humanitarian aid shipments - that God would provide the funds and the time, and the means. 

Please consider donating toward our work to support Ukrainian refugees in Romania and the Ukrainian people in Ukraine with humanitarian aid.

For CANADIANS: to donate please visit

**Please choose “Torchbearers Romania Ukraine Relief” as the designation.**

For AMERICANS: please visit to donate

**Please choose “Torchbearers Romania Ukraine Relief” as the designation.**

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