Happy Easter to everyone! Christ is Risen!
We’ve had a full past week celebrating Easter in the village churches. Again, Hungarians love to spend these celebrations in the church so we had services twice a day for 4 days! Paul had many opportunities to preach and we also were able to lead some worship together. During the 4-day celebration we were a part of another baptism!! Two young brothers were baptized on Easter Monday and our 60 person church grew to 150 people that day to celebrate their decision. It was a 3 hour service of preaching, worship, brass band music, a mens choir, testimonies and of course the baptism itself! After, the whole church was invited for lunch. We always love these opportunities to share a meal with our church as well as with people from the nearby villages. It was a special time for us! We also had the opportunity this month to travel to many other churches to preach for Evangelistic meetings, Palm Sunday and other church services. In total Paul preached over 13 times this month in 6 different villages!
This past month we were able to connect with Youth For Christ (YFC) Romania again to lead them in some training during their staff retreat. Paul and I taught on the purpose of mission teams and how to lead and receive them well. We were humbled by the opportunity to teach them on this topic, as we have just in this last year been able to learn more about receiving and leading mission teams. We also knew that Romanian’s already do such an incredible job at hosting mission teams through their delicious meals and focusing on building relationships. We took this opportunity to dig into the deeper purpose of mission teams and work through some of the cultural tensions that can arise.
We did an exercise where they had to turn a giant rope into a square in 10 minutes while everyone was blindfolded. The game was impossible to complete! The second time one person was not blindfolded but we threw in some challenges like including me in the game--a non-Romanian speaker. They were able to complete the task in just 3 mins! This game showed the important relationship between the local leaders and mission teams. Everyone knows the objective is to make a square (preach the Gospel), but local leaders are the ones with the blindfolds off and need to lead, the mission teams are the ones with the blindfolds on, the hands there to serve and support them. Our time with YFC Romania was an encouragement for Paul and I to work with local partners and we were able to end our time in powerful worship and prayer.
On March 16th there was another court hearing about one of the permits we are working towards getting to start more development at the camp. The hearing went very well and there were no complications! Thanks for all your prayers for this. We will hear the judges decision any day now which we hope will be our permit papers in the mail! We've been working hard with our local architects to finalize drawings so once our permit comes we can begin work quickly.
On a personal note, this past month we received some hard news from home. Paul’s older brother Geoff has been diagnosed with Mesothelioma, which is a rare cancer that exists in the pleural lining of his right lung. It is also present in one lymph node in his chest. The treatments Geoff will most likely be facing will be chemotherapy, a very invasive surgery, and radiation. Geoff is 34 years old, married and has two young daughters. It has been difficult to process what the journey ahead will be as this cancer is extremely aggressive. Yet, in the midst of this we have seen God’s hand and have full faith that He is a good God who can do miracles. There has already been a huge community that has come around Geoff to support him and the family through words of encouragement, prayer, finances, resources, and more. He has been able to get tests done quickly and meet with some the best doctors in all of Canada to sort out a treatment plan. So we praise God for these provisions. We also praise God that Paul had already been planning a quick trip to America in April. Paul is beginning his Masters at Sioux Falls seminary and needed to fly out for a week of seminars. After Paul finishes his week there he will fly home to spend some time with his brother and family. Please pray with us for healing in Geoff’s body, for good doctors and medical staff, for clarity and discernment in deciding the treatment plan, for peace and comfort for Geoff, his wife Lindsay, his daughters and the rest of the family.
Thank you for being incredible supports and encouragements to Paul and I. We feel the affects of your prayers and we are grateful to have this huge community around us!
Tanya and Paul