Merry Christmas and Happy New Year friends and family! We hope you had a wonderful holiday celebrating the Good News with your loved ones. We are so grateful to have the opportunity to share about Jesus Christ here in Romania because of your faithful partnership. We pray that the Lord would bless you in this new year!
There is much to share about as I just looked back to find my last update and realized my November update never made it out—sorry!! Usually, when winter comes the village slows down a bit. Due to the weather, this year has proved to be quite different as people are still trying to wrap up harvest and prepare their lands for spring time planting. As I am writing this Paul and Vern are outside in our backyard burning and turning our field so we can plant a big garden in the spring. With harvest still trying to wrap up, the annual winter butchering of pigs and chickens, the many Christmas church celebrations, and two new Canadians moving in, life has been busy in the village.
We are so pleased to announce that Vern and Gloria Wagner have moved into our village of Szentkiraly!! They arrived November 28th to their new home. We spent the first couple of weeks getting them settled into the old Pastors parsonage house and running all around Romania looking for house furnishings. In no time, Vern was up at the camp working with Tamas to get the existing building winterized and ready for some winter rentals. Gloria was also quick to jump into the preparations for the holiday season joining me in baking with the ladies and preparing the Christmas programs and events. The four of us joined in some of the winter butchering as we bought and butchered our own pig, chickens and even a Christmas turkey. It was quite the cultural experience, which led to some incredibly tasty Christmas meals! It has been a blessing for us to have some more Canadians here as we were able to start up some Canadian traditions like hockey night in Romania, Christmas turkey dinner, and a New Years eve rib dinner!
As for our ongoing ministry, the last two months were pretty full. In November we helped lead a training conference for the YFC Romania staff to build their skills in event planning and leading as well as organizational systems. Paul continued with preaching, though this year during Christmas he had a lighter load only preaching 8 times over the 2 week celebration ;) I continued with English class and hosted a Christmas party for the kid and teen classes. I took this opportunity to share about Jesus as the light of the world looking at the significance of the star that appeared above Bethlehem and tying it into our VBS message this past summer. Again, this was a unique opportunity to share the Gospel with kids/teens that do not attend the Baptist church yet come to English. We finished the night with the teens watching the movie “Elf” in English, which none of them had seen and they LOVED it!
For youth group, we did a number of activities these past months including a serving night in helping prepare the Wagner’s home and a Christmas potluck dinner. I was given the responsibility to create and lead the Christmas Eve program. It was a neat opportunity to think and pray through how best to communicate the Good News in a creative way that would translate well into Hungarian and the culture itself. The kids and teens did well in memorizing their lines for the play (which was lots of scripture passages) and they did a great job presenting the story of the Gospel stringing together the Old and New Testaments. This Christmas break we challenged our teens to lead a kids Christmas program. We worked with them in brainstorming ideas for the program and then released it into their hands to lead. They did an incredible job! They came up with the theme of Jesus being the best Christmas gift. They made fun Santa party hats for all the kids, they led some funny ice breaker games, created a nativity craft, wrote a puppet show and even shared a teaching with the kids. We were so impressed and proud to see them lead in this way! It was especially encouraging to see two of our young teen boys Obed and Beni have the courage to share the teaching. This was a big step for them to think through a message for the kids--they were quite nervous about it. But they did an incredible job in making their teaching engaging and powerful!
As Paul and I have been looking back at this year, we can’t help but feel that the years are getting fuller and busier. We are praising God for this! It would be easy to feel tired by it all, but we are feeling extremely encouraged by what God is doing here in Romania and the ministry opportunities He is inviting us into. God continues to open our eyes to the ways He is moving here and the ways He is opening doors to do His work for His Kingdom! We are so grateful that you allow us to be here to do this. We are grateful for your prayers as they continue to be a huge encouragement to us. Thank you for your involvement in this life changing, Kingdom building ministry! We truly hope you know the impact that you are making on us, and the people of Romania.
Tanya & Paul