Saturday, May 31, 2008

Rast Recap

As I mentioned before, our time in Rast was excellent. We got there via a five hour drive south through Romania and Rast is just about as far south and west as you can get. On the way we followed the Danube, and across the river we saw both Serbia, and Bulgaria.

New Rast (in all of it's horizontal splendor) is an interesting place...
Two years ago, Old Rast was flooded out by about three feet of standing water that didn't go away for three long weeks. After this, the government helped the people build a new town 3km away and they called it New Rast. So nothing in this town is older than two years.

Sunday's baptisms were a real treat. Eight new believers in this small community decided to make this outward declaration of what has happened to their insides. Two nearby churches cancelled their services so that more people could be there for these first baptisms ever in New Rast.

We stuck around for four days after the baptisms to do some more work on the new children's ministry building (see the video below!) and we were able to get quite a bit done... We finished the wood on the roof, wrapped the roof with Tyvek, and then nailed on the supports for the metal roofing that will come later. Talk about suntans... it was pretty stinkin' hot.

We came back to the Halvarsons for one day to shower and rest a little before today's sports tournament.

Speaking of which...
Today (Saturday) we spent all day playing soccer and volleyball up at the conference and retreat center that is run by this minisrty. It was a big sports tournament to raise money for the sports ministry that is sending a team to Albania this year. Teams came from as much as two hours away and it was a lot of fun. Our hodge-podge team of Americans and a few others made it into the semi-finals in volleyball but got trounced by the team in first place from Timişoara. Boo. And now Will has gone to bed (as illustrated here) and it's time for me to sleep too.

Tomorrow we go to two church services in two different towns (Dimaşna and Sadova Nou) and then it sounds like we'll spend most of our last week here back in Maciova! We'll get to help Pastor Marius to add another room onto his two room house so that they're not so cramped when the new baby arrives and I'm sure we'll be spending more time with the kids. Our Maciova guys were at the tournament today and they'll be thrilled to hear we're coming back for a couple days.

All righty... G'night!

A Little Rain from throughwaters on Vimeo.

Friday, May 30, 2008


Here's a quick update we filmed in Rast. More news to come later.

Update from Rast from throughwaters on Vimeo.

Thursday, May 29, 2008

Machiova Photos

The internet went *kaput* just before we left for Rast, so I wasn't able to post these photos from before. Now we're back from Rast and have a day to rest a little tomorrow before a big sports tournament on Saturday that we'll help host.

So tomorrow you'll hear how good Rast was, but tonight you get our photos from last week in the gypsy colony of Maciova.

[Will and Cosmin tearing it up]

[The little guys stuck with the bongos while the older ones begged for lessons on the drum kit. I was able to oblige with what I knew.]

[Will directing the local brass band rehearsal]

[Maciova by night in all of its one-street and fifty houses glory]

[Rediculocute on the steps of the church]

[Transcribing and then transposing a gypsy song for Pastor Marius' brass band]

[The kids playing in from of the church]

[Pastor Marius and his son Andrei on our way to the little store for ice cream]

[Will sharing his testimony and preaching on Colossians 3 for the Wednesday evening church service]

[Cherries were a big part of our time in Maciova. They grow everywhere and are delicious indeed.]

[I found some flowers on the ground...]

[...because they fell from this bush!]

Thursday, May 22, 2008

Leaving for Rast.

We're back from Maciova at the Halvarson's house in Oţelu Roşu and leave tomorrow afternoon for a village called Rast near the southern border. The missions team from Iowa spent a week there just before Will and I arrived in Romania and the church there is baptizing new believers this Sunday. We get to be there for the baptisms and then stay for four or five days when we expect to work on the children's ministry building that the Iowa team built and probably spend a goodly amount of time with the kids there.

There's a pile of photos from Maciova that I'll upload in the morning, but for now here's a couple more traveling videos. Do enjoy!

London Bridge from throughwaters on Vimeo.

Fountain from throughwaters on Vimeo.

First assignment: Maciova

After only one night at Arne and Carolyn's home in Otelu Rosu (ot-seh-loo row-shoe) we heard the next moning that we might be going to a gypsy colony called Maciova (Macho-vah). Mere hours later we arrived and it's really a wonderful place. We're being hosted by the pastor, Marius, who was trained in the Halvarson's seminary and they've been very hospitable. The first afternoon we walked the length of the colony (one street, ~50 houses) and then saw the church that they've renovated. It's normal to take a rest in the heat of the afternoon, so after the sun got lower in the sky we got to play soccer with some of the kids from the villiage and then had an impromptu church service for the youth.
[Will sharing his testimony at the first youth service]

Will and I each shared our testimonies for the 15 kids that came and then we played a few worship songs that they knew the Romanian words for. It's clear that these kids are looking up to us a lot, so it's been fun to spend time with them playing games, teaching music lessons, working in the yard around the church, and watching a little soccer on TV.

[Assessing the condition of one of the church's clarinets]

Last night there was a more official church service and some of the women from the colony came. Will and I got to share our testimonies and music again. And then three of the oldest guys came over to Marius' house to watch soccer until late.

[The kids playing soccer at school]

Today is our third day here and we're not sure when we might be leaving... Probably tomorrow if we're going to get to Rast in time for the baptisms on Sunday (It's ~7hrs away near the southern border). We're expecting Arne to call with the plan to come pick us up once he knows. But until then, we've got more music lessons to give this afternoon and another youth meeting tonight!
[These two women heard us playing and wanted to sing us a song. The song they sang was a song of praise in the gypsy language.]

[Plumb knackered at the farmer's market in Caransebes.]

[Will helping to make lunch with Andrei at Marius' house.]

Monday, May 19, 2008

We've arrived!

We're finally here and it's quite a relief.

Three hours in New York, two days in London, seven hours in Bergamo, Italy, and one crazy night in Arad, Romania. All followed up with a train ride through Romania down to Timisoara where we met up with Arne Halvarson, the missionary we'll be working with for this next month. Good gracious. God is good.

[Taking London by storm]

Arriving in Arad was the part that had me most concerned, but God came through in a pretty amazing way. We arrived at 8pm and had a whole list of difficulties ahead of us: the airport was a little way from town and we didn't know how to get there, we had less then an hour of daylight, we hadn't eaten, we didn't have a place to stay, and we hadn't exchanged money so we couldn't pay for anything. Oh, and we don't speak Romanian. So we did a lot of praying and I know that you did, too.

When we landed in Arad we struck up a conversation with a couple of Americans who were also on our flight. It turns out that one of them is the nephew of an American missionary here in Romania and that he was picking them up from the airport. So when he arrived to pick them up he invited us to come along and he'd take us to the same hotel where these three other americans wouuld be staying. But along the way we stopped by his apartment, met his family, and they fed us dinner. Then he drove us through town and showed us where we needed to go the next day and then to the hotel and even exchanged money for us so that we could pay for the hotel in the morning. So every need was met and we were very much grateful for his hospitality.

[Ryan from the US and the missionary that took such good care of us]

The next day (Sunday) we had to get to the other side of town, find a train station, and take an hour long train ride south to Timisoara. So we set off on foot and after asking directions a half dozen times we managed to sequester a map and enough information to get us on the electric tram which led to the train station which would get us to Timisoara!

[Getting through Arad]

A couple hours later we were sitting in a train car with two very friendly university students who had a lot of fun talking with us and even shared some of their strawberries. When we arrived in Timisoara, one of them, Andreea offered to show us how to get to the town center (where we would later meet up with Arne) and she did just that... buying our bus tickets, knowing which bus line, where to get on, where to get off, and which direction to walk. (Will concluded that it felt like cheating because she made it so easy for us when London and Bergamo had been so much more confusing on our own.) So when we got to the town center we treated her to ice cream as a thank you and then said goodbye.

[Our two new friends from the train]

Arne showed up a little later with a team of 15 from Iowa as they were just finishing a week long mission trip where they built a children's ministry building in a small village and it was wonderful to hear them bubble over with excitement for how wonderful it was to work with the kids, there, and how much they enjoyed their time there.

[The Iowa team getting a group photo in the central plaza of Timisoara]

I'm writing now from the Halvarson's home an hour and forty minutes from Timisoara but although we've made it this far we still don't really know what this next month will bring. The one thing we have heard about what we'll be doing is that there's a baptism happening at that village where the Iowa team spent their week and we should be able to be there for that next Sunday. It's a seven hour drive from here so we'll likely leave on Saturday and then stay for a couple days to do some more work on the building that the Iowa team built. Tonight we met half of the traveling worship team that will be playing there next week and we jammed in the back yard for a couple hours tonight. There might be opportunity to play with them next Sunday. We'll see. Pretty much everything and the kitchen sink is up in the air right now but what I'm sure of is that it's wonderful to be here, God has big plans for this month, and I'm looking forward to seeing how he's going to work.

It has already begun.

Our new prayer request is for our allergies. Neither of us have had them act up for a couple years while at home but the pollen-packed hills have our nasal passages flowing like the Danube.

There'll be more photos soon if all goes well and you should definitely check out this video:

Gundac Rap from throughwaters on Vimeo.

Friday, May 16, 2008

Halfway there.

We've made it to London and we're enjoying talking with people on the streets. We have a bus to catch back to the airport tonight and then tomorrow morning we're off to Romania via Italy.

Please pray that we catch our bus, make our flights, and find a place to stay that first night (Saturday) in Romania as the missionaries aren't in town until Sunday evening.

Monday, May 12, 2008

To Romania!

Will Hughes and I are packing tonight for our next big adventure...
We're going to Romania for a mission trip!

We'll be partnering with a missionary couple there (Arne and Carolyn Halverson) and spending time in villages up in the mountains outside of Timişoara where the church planting movement has been so strong that pastors are overworked and under trained. We hope to work with established pastors as well as help at the satellite seminary where new pastors are being trained.

We leave tomorrow and I'm more than a little excited!

I'll be in touch through the blog as we're there. We expect to have electricity and internet access about once a week.