April Newsletter

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Greetings from Romania!  Spring is here with flowers on the trees and leaves beginning to show along with the mosquitoes.  We wanted to let you know we are blessing them with blood donations!  Our friend, Sean, says people usually only share the good about overseas adventures.  So here is our effort to share the other side.  It kind of feels like Alaska with them out and about!

One of gypsy men we took through the ministry last month had a serious issue.  This week he told us how much stronger he felt with his new freedom.  God is so amazing, and it was so encouraging that He let us be a part of what He’s doing in lives at the village.

One of our board members, Bill, said we need to let you know we are working with two foundations at the village.  Caleb Foundation started the work here and is in charge of maintaining it and overseeing different ministries there.  George and Alina, from Romania, do an amazing job keeping it all together.  It can be a very tough job and discouraging at times.  We admire them so much for what they accomplish.

Empower Romania is the other foundation led by Mandy, from England.  They are gathering funds to find sponsors for four men to be trained in the workshop for 13 months.  They are looking for people who will give $50 a month to give them a small wage as they learn.  These men in turn will be able to find work or train others who enter the program later.

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They already sponsor a man who is in charge of the women’s cottage industry that is being built.  He will be going to sewing school this month to be able to come back and teach others.

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The dream is to develop cottage industries to take the village from a poverty level to being self-supporting.  Lazareni is to become a prototype for other villages that remain stuck in poverty in Romania.  Empower Romania has a vision of getting two more mobile units by the end of the summer.  One would be a place for the ladies to work in and the other will be for medical and house the dental unit we bought.  The one above is used for the kindergarten.

Please pray the government will hook the village up to the water supply from the road.  This would be a huge, vital issue that would enable the villagers to bathe, cook, and clear and have sanitary conditions.  The schools and buses don’t like having the gypsies,  and one reason is due to body odor.

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It was a blessing to have our friends, Robert and Mary here in March.  They were able to minister while they were here.  Mary held a trauma group meeting with a group of young girls from the village.  One is 12 years old and just had a baby girl.  She was abused by three men and had to drop out to school to take care of her baby that she loves.  We were told the Roma do not abort their babies.  Another girl 13 is pregnant.  The police don’t like to be bothered with the paperwork saying the gypsy girls are sexually active at a young age anyway.  With an attitude like this is it any wonder with no consequences that the young girls continue to be abused?

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With help from our friends, Bill and Becky, Jim and Linda, Loretta, Bob and Sharon, Brian and Cheryl, and Kim and Dennis, we were able to purchase a load of wood, buy a vice and a planer for the wood shop that will allow the men to make enough projects to sell while earning a small wage and being able to replace the wood.

Beni and the men are working on building a kitchen in the meeting hall.  We will send pictures next month of the stove and different kitchen items we were able to buy.  Wow!  We are incredibly blessed that God answered every last prayer we had in our hearts to do before we leave.

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For the sewing, we were able to buy a 4 x 6 ft smooth board Bob screwed down for us to have a nice place to work and cut out fabric.  We were also able to buy a storage cabinet to keep things in.  The quilts are almost finished!  Then there are more pillows along with gift cards they will embroider with with fabric insets in them.  We were able to buy fabric for more embroidered pillows and pillow forms to go inside them.

One hundred dollars was even given towards starting an orchard for the village.  It is possible to buy 100 trees for $400, so the $100 is a great start.  It will enable them to learn to plant, prune, harvest and put up fruit for the village to enrich their diets.

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The final things on our hearts was about the “Place of Prayer” at Bookafe. Opening date is scheduled for the week of the 12th of April when the dedicated room will hopefully be completed.  To begin with it will be open for 2 days a week from 5 to 7.  Bookafe has about 1,000 to 1,500 people a month go through there.  It is part of an international group started in Brazil that is a coffee house with Christian literature etc.  Bookafe turns into New Life Christian Center on Sunday mornings and feeds about 70 homeless people on Saturday mornings.  Pastor Cornel has wanted to add a place of prayer that will be advertised on the menu and TV screen in the cafe.

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Our hearts are very warm and thankful that we believe when we leave we will have accomplished the assignments God gave us to do while here.  We could never have done it without the prayers and support from everyone here and all of you.  From deep in our hearts, we ask God’s blessings to fill you with overflowing joy and to know you have made a difference and brought hope into people’s hearts.

Bob and Joan

March Newsletter

Well here we are close to the 1st of March. We have been allowed to partner with so many wonderful people since we have been here this trip. We started out on this adventure thinking we were here for the purpose of walking people through our ministry and encouraging them in how to be stronger in their walk with God. Well, it seems that was only part of God’s plan.

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A big blessing has been spending a lot of time working at the gypsy village of Lazareni.   You can see from some of the pictures that we have been able to help with a wood shop to teach men a trade that will give them hope in finding work and learn to make a living using their skills. With the help of many of you, we have been able to buy some really nice tools. They are just getting to the place where they can make different wood projects that they can sell at markets. In this way they can pay for the material they use and make a little money while learning.

The wood is a little hard to work with for furniture. We have only been able to find rough sawn lumber. It takes a lot of shaving with the table saw and using the belt sanders to get it usable. We hope to get some help getting a planer to make this step easier. Before we leave this time, we would like to supply the wood shop with an ample supply of wood to stack in the shop. Then it can be drying and give them a start in making an income.   An example is the picnic table you see in the picture. It costs roughly 150 lei which amounts to $39. Try that in the states! That includes wood, stain, varnish, belt sanders, and screws. Then we hope to be able to sell them for 300-400 lei ($75 to $100).   This would allow money to replace materials and give them some income.   We are looking for a planer, vise, and a biscuit machine to joint wood together.

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Now about the ladies and one of the men who love to sew.  Finally after trying many different forms of knitting, sewing etc. we have found what they really love and have a talent for. It is embroidery. So far they have made pillows, and they are now embroidering squares that our friends Robin and Arnies Arts and Crafts have sent us in a box filled with wonderful craft items. With these squares, we bought bright colors of fabric.   They are going to make beautiful hand sewn quilts to sell. I can’t tell you how excited they are now. They didn’t even want to take a break for lunch. (And they don’t have a lot of food, so it’s always a great thing when we make them lunch!)   Here you have really poor people without even running water, and they are laughing and singing as we sew.   It’s like this month brought a turn around and a bundle of new hope and excitement with the reality that they can actually earn money and improve their lives and the lives of their children.

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A Valentine Party for the kids was a fun highlight in February. The children enjoyed egg salad sandwiches , and over 100 pretty decorated Valentine cookies with juice. It was so much fun, because our gypsy sewing group decorated with hearts and balloons we brought with us.

If you could only see the difference that love makes in their faces. When love touched their lives, they were filled with songs and thankfulness and know how to give it away to others also. If you could hear some of the stories of how they were raised and the trauma and pain they endured, you would be amazed like we are at how sweet and kind they are having gone through so much.   Sean and Adina, a young couple we have been training to take people in the village through healing of their hearts, have started adult classes to teach a group of them in the village to read and write. One of the men came back to the woodshop to show Bob his writing and how proud he was of it. Hope is abounding in the village and wonderful transformations are flourishing.

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Another activity we really enjoy is being with and being able encourage the Romanian young adults we love so much. For Valentines we also cooked up some French dishes and decorated our apartment up with candles and hearts and invited 3 young in love couples over for a romantic dinner by candlelight.

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Some other fantastic news is about the dental unit we got for the village, because their teeth are so bad. When the dentist in town came, we found out we are missing two connecting parts we will try and get in the next few weeks. BUT…the great news is that Cornel was in Brazil where the international Bookafes have headquarters. A lady dentist told him she is willing to come to Romania and work in the village for up to 3 months to fix people’s teeth. What an amazing answer to prayer! Instead of a town dentist coming once a month, we will have someone there enough time to really make a fabulous difference in people’s teeth and general health.

They will be starting to fix a kitchen in one of the buildings where they have fixed up an assembly room where they can have meetings and Bible studies and church. Our dream is to buy a stove and get enough basic equipment like large pots and baking dishes etc. to make it operable. We found a stove we can buy for about $250 that would be awesome. You use it with bottled gas.   So we have a lot of dreams with not a lot of money to see them come to pass. BUT…God is good and he is bringing people like the dentist here. We are praying and hoping God will put it in people’s hearts to help make these dreams become reality.   If you could pray with us to be able to get the tools and wood and the kitchen items we need to get it up and running and to become self supporting, that would be awesome!

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New Life Church continues to feed the hungry at Bookafe every Saturday morning, and we got our turn again in February. We cooked up a huge pot of taco soup with rice and cheese.  Adina was making the tea, Bob grating cheese, and Sean and I cooking up the soup.  So you can see this month has been a busy one for us. Busy but so rewarding!

Thank you all for praying for us and being an important part of what we are seeing come together here. We don’t have an address here to get mail, but we love to receive emails. Bill and Becky Herb are taking care of our mail and FTCM finances in Seattle.   FTCM 4104 Beach Dr. SW #3 Seattle WA 98116

Many Blessings, Bob and Joan

Teodora

Theodora (Romania)

I was praying for a long time for someone like Bob and Joan to come into my life, not just because of who they are but how God can be seen in them.Have you ever wanted to see God’s love in a more tangible way? There was a divine love transfered through them in my life.God sent them in a moment of real desperate time and needed help.I don t think I will ever forget any of the ways they took time to explain the process of Gods healing and restoration and it is so practical and usefull.It s like a tattoo of Gods word in my mind that will remain and I can always look and remind myself of who I am and what the trurh of God says. I have the printed sheets they wrote about the truth og God and the lies of satan . It was so easy for me to believe the lies of Satan for such a long time but just undestanding the truth of God it set me free. I am forever free. I will believe the truth of God about who I am in Christ. There was a complete, blessed and powerful encounter and I am forever thankfull because it really shaped my tomorrow. My today is diffrent because I choose to be honest and let God show me the truth about every aspect of my life. I believe every family,every church, every person should experience the freedom of talking to someone about their life and then watch the miracles of God.Through people like Bob and Joan who understood their calling and followed His heart I encourage you to step up in faith and think about your life, look for the freedom you can have in Christ and embrace the truth of His word.If you can don t miss the chance to recieve healing and freedom.I hope you are inspired and encouraged Be blessed

February Newsletter

Greetings from Romania.

This month was wonderful.  New Life Church started its 21 day Daniel Fast with Prayer Meetings each night that were very well attended.  It showed us how serious the people are to move forward with the Lord.

We did have a Birthday Party for 4 people who all had birthdays within about 10 days of each other.  It was great fun.

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The next very exciting event was Jess Parker coming and holding meetings from Sunday thru the next Sunday.  The Holy Spirit was there in power and freedom for many people.  We haven’t heard of one person who wasn’t touched by the Lord through the meetings.  In addition, he ministered to many people one on one who found freedom.  After being with him, we had to admire how he doesn’t give up until the enemy does!

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We also went out to Lazreni with Jess one day where he taught and then prayed for people there one on one including the little children.

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We also started taking our first gypsy through the ministry and have some more lined up to take through this week and continue doing this until we leave.  We have been training a couple who go out to the village with us.  They are doing a fine job and getting ready to do it on their own when we leave.

After Jess left, we had a group over that has been working with us to talk about the meetings and pray for each other and where we go from here.  Pastor Cornel and his wife, Cami, were also here.  We will start having training meetings soon to get ready to open the Place of Prayer at Bookafe to offer Deliverance, Prayer Ministry, and practical help to those in need of it.

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Every Saturday morning, they feed about 50 people who come to there from the street or shelters and visit with them, pray for them, and offer help with resumes and other things to help them move forward in their lives.  This week is our turn to help.  Then the day after, Sunday, we will set up and take down after church, so the cafe is ready to open again.

We will try and get some pictures this Saturday, so you can see what it’s like to put on next months Newsletter.

Another exciting thing that has happened is our friend Robin at Arnies Arts and Crafts in Houghton Lake, Michigan are sending us a box full of embroidery supplies and designs.  This will help us to teach the young girls and ladies who want to learn how to do embroidery.  Plus we have some ideas of how to use them to earn money for the village.  I will be stating out there this week or early next week with them.  I think they will love all the colors and doing this.

Without everyones help and prayers we wouldn’t be able to do all these things in the village and in Oradea.  A multitude of thanks go to all of you!

So that’s the news for now.  Until March!!!

Be very blessed with love and joy,

Bob and Joan

January Newsletter

Greetings once again from Romania.  December was awesome!

We had some fun gatherings for fellowship with the young adults encouraging and praying for each other and just having fun together.

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We spent time at the gypsy village cooking and knitting and making things in the woodshop.

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Then came the big Christmas party at the village.  Sean and Adina delighted the children wearing the new clown suits.  What fun the kids had decorating cookies that we baked.  The adults also had fun decorating them to take home.  This is the first time they ever decorated cookies, so it was a treat to watch them do it.

Next came the program with the little Romanian angels being so cute.  Everyone sang, and we had a puppet play and treats and a chicken and potato salad dinner for all the village children that came to the party.

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You can see the Christmas tree Bob made for us!  Everyone that came to visit put their name on an ornament.  New Years Eve some of the young adults came by with a cake, and we walked up the street by the River to watch the fireworks.

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January 1 – 3 we went up to the mountains and did some teaching about FTCM with the church leadership group and had a wonderful time bonding together.

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We are looking forward to Jess Parker coming this month to do some teaching/ministry.  Right now New Life Christian Center is on a Daniel fast which will end with Jess coming.  Everyone is excited to see what God has in store for us in 2015.  Our prayer is that you all will have the best year ever with God blessing you as we all go forward into this new season.

Our love and prayers,

Bob and Joan

December Newsletter

DECEMBER NEWSLETTER FROM ROMANIA

It’s hard to believe it’s already December. The dental unit arrived safely, and things will be readied to use it soon. A special thanks goes to those who gave to this project.

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It seems like every day is busy with something.  Our latest project was making a library out of several thousand books that had been donated over the years to Salem Church. Bob built some shelves, and they bought some. He put a couch and some furniture in the room. Now it is a cozy place to read, pray or have a small meeting.

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Things are in the works for Christmas events. We will be visiting 2 schools with Salem Church to do a program. There are boxes to get ready for the gypsy children out at the village for Christmas. We will have a little party for the children, and see if we can round up a couple people to use the clown suits we have.  We always try and take out fresh oranges or bananas and also use the ladies baking projects for an after school snack for the kids.

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An exciting accomplishment is that Ben has completed the new woodshop (in the old building), and it is now being used. The Lord blessed us to buy some tools and our friend Sally gave money for some more to help add to what they already had.  In the past, the men didn’t have any experience working with wood and tools.  Bob made some patterns for a few wood projects the men will produce to sell.

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Other projects have included teaching knitting. The sewing is continuing with a young lady from Oradea teaching. There is a lady who came from England that is teaching them to crochet this week. I hope to keep the knitting and crocheting going on after they leave.

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We will be adding two new links to our website in the very near future. One is for Empower Romania which is heading up some of the projects in the Village. The second is with Abolishion. Leanne Rhodes is the person in charge of that ministry. It deals with the human trafficking in Romania. What an eye opener and fabulous job she is doing getting things ready to build a shelter for the women here is town.

We thank you for your prayers and support. It is an amazing blessing to be here and watch what the Lord is doing through His people.

Many blessings on you all and may this Christmas season be filled with wonderful memories for you and your loved ones.

Bob and Joan

Newsletter November

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NOVEMBER NEWSLETTER

October was full of activity for us here in Romania. We’ve taken 25 people through FTC. At the end of the month, we had 60 people that came to our two night teaching and activation on Hearing From God at Bookafe. So far we’ve had really good feedback from both. We are doing it again here at Salem on November 8th.

The director at the orphanage doesn’t trust Americans and makes it difficult to do more than a one time visit taking treats. Instead we found an open door to go to the gypsy village of Lazarine. Lazarine is about 30 minutes by car from where we live. We found we can make an impact there where the need is so very great. The first visit to check it out we took over 100 bananas for the kids along with some chips and a bag of candy. About 110 children and around 400 adults live in the village.

It’s very sad to see all the bad teeth at the village. We saw a young man with his jaw so swollen from a tooth ache that it hurt just to look at it. . A dentist from town volunteered to help out if we had a portable dental unit he could use there. Brian Matthews raised the money from business associates to buy it, and it is already ordered.  We hope to have it in use by the end of November.

Two different groups have a vision to transform the village from one that is dependent on a very small subsidy from the government to one that is self-supporting with trades and cottage industry type items they can sell. Bob helped put the windows in a building that will become the woodshop. Joan had fun teaching the ladies to use a few sewing machines that were donated, and we’ll add knitting items to the list of crafts next month.

Other news is that Bookafe (New Life Church) wants our help starting a Healing Room. Pastor Cornel and his wife Cami are also going to start training to do FTC in the near future along with two others we have already started to train.

I will tell you cooking here can be challenging about ingredients. Imagine when I thought I had bought what looked like beef only to discover it was baby horsemeat! Thank you, Jesus, I hadn’t cooked it yet and gladly gave it away!

We are very blessed to be here and that God is allowing us to see so many fine young adults with incredible potential moving forward into God’s destiny for them.

Please know how much we value you praying for us. (Especially to not get sick from the gypsy village which is not very clean and has no running water. The nearest well is 2.5 km away!) A huge thank you to our Friends who talk on Skype and email with us. Sometimes we feel pretty lonely and it helps us feel connected.  We hope to have our web page up and running in the next week.

Many blessings on you all,

Bob and Joan