Friday, December 31, 2010
Wednesday, December 29, 2010
Friday, December 24, 2010
Thursday, December 16, 2010
Tuesday, December 14, 2010
Thank you for praying for our resident permits. We turned in all of our paperwork today and everything was accepted without a problem. Now we wait... Please pray all will go smoothly and we will receive long term permits.
Saturday, December 11, 2010
The Providence Ladies' Christmas Fellowship was a huge success! How did we know? The Ladies had such a good time that even after they were finished with their candy wreaths they sat around talking and snacking. The clock ticked on but no one seemed in a hurry to leave. It was a relaxing time of being together as women, making new friends, and reflecting on God's Gift given to us at Christmas.
Take a look at the pictures and see the women as they sat around the tables making their wreaths. Every 20 minutes a bell sounded and you had to move to new spot to sit by someone different. There were also 6 Santa hats with little gifts underneath them. We drew a name and the lucky person got to chose a hat with a surprise. Christmas music filled the air along with the aroma of oranges and cinnamon. As are reminder of being loved by God, a sweet aroma to Him, the ladies also took home a natural ornament made from oranges, cinnamon, and cloves.
God blessed us and our time together. Joyful Christmas!
Thursday, December 9, 2010
"It's Beginning To Look A Lot Like Christmas..." The young students may not know the words to the American Christmas song but they know the feeling. The 1st grade crafted Santa Hats to add Christmas cheer to their room with their bright red and gold tree. The 2nd graders studiously applied sequins to their paper trees to make ornaments to decorate their windows. It was a fun time and I learned a few new Romanian words as the little ones tried to express their joy. Yes, it's beginning to look a lot like Christmas...
Tuesday, December 7, 2010
Thursday, December 2, 2010
December 1st marked our 16th year with the Cooperative Baptist Fellowship living among the Roma. When we think back on those days of living in a little village with two small children we are grateful for the prayer support we felt. After 15 years of life in Hungary we could see God's hand in so many ways as the Hungarians and Roma alike began to lead in the ministry, preaching, teaching, and starting churches. Our calling to be among the Roma led us to transition from Hungary to Romania. We remain grateful for your prayers through this time too. We are thankful that it has not been as difficult as that first move to Hungary.
At this time of year, many of you make an extra gift to the CBF Offering for Global Missions. During this economic downturn, your gift, while sacrificial on your part, has the potential to have more impact on not just our ministry but also the lives of the people CBF field personnel minister among who live at the margins around the world.
Please consider making an online gift now through CBF’s secure giving site, or you can mail your gift to Cooperative Baptist Fellowship, P.O. Box 101699, Atlanta, Ga., 30392. Be sure to indicate “CBF Offering for Global Missions” in the memo line.
May God richly bless you, your church, your family and all the ways you are using your passion to participate in God’s mission. We are grateful for your continued support and look forward to being a part of God's work in Romania. Come and join us!
Wednesday, December 1, 2010
Sunday, November 28, 2010
I admit I do buck the trend a little though. This weekend I got out our decorations and spread the Christmas cheer throughout our small apartment. It was a challenge - I collect nativity sets and to find places for them all I had to get creative. I hung a star with lights on our living room window and when it gets dark here (4:30-5:00) it is a bright beacon on this street of tall buildings. We will wait to decorate our main tree until Amy & Josh arrive mid-December. That's a tradition.
Joyfully beginning the season of celebrating Christ's birth!
Wednesday, November 24, 2010
During this Thanksgiving season we give thanks for many things. Tuesday we were grateful for shoes! At the Ruth School we distributed all kinds of shoes to the students. The atmosphere was festive as the kids tried on the different shoes and bagged up 2-3 pairs to take home. It was fun to see the girls try on the sparkly, glittery shoes while the boys went straight for the athletic styles. It was heartwarming to see some of the students select small sized shoes for siblings at home and ask if they could select a pair of adult sized ones for their mothers. They were eager to share.
Friday, November 19, 2010
Wednesday, November 17, 2010
Monday, November 15, 2010
Simple gifts. That’s what the gifts in the CBF Gift Catalog are. But these simple gifts — clean water, a book, a meal, a warm blanket — can change the lives of people around the world. Each gift in the CBF Gift Catalog represents a contribution to the life-changing ministries of the Fellowship. When you give, you are helping meet physical and spiritual needs in the name of Jesus Christ. Like most people, you probably purchase gifts for loved ones during the year. This year, let some of those gifts change lives by giving through the CBF Gift Catalog. Your loved ones will know you care about them and about people in need around the world. Order online now! (Click on the dark brown script and it will take you to the site to help you choose your gifts)
Friday, November 12, 2010
Fast forward in time to last Wednesday night in Edenton, NC. Kelly Rhodes, associate minister at First Baptist Church, gathered her group of 8-12 year olds around her lap top. At the designated time she called us on SKYPE. (I will add it was 7PM in NC but 2AM in Romania. We are committed to growing the next generation of believers!) Through the miracle of the internet we were able to see the kids and they us. They listened to our story and then asked questions. It was fun to hear of their interest in what life is like in Romania and Hungary and what life is like for Roma kids their age.
The formats change but the message is still the same: "...You will be my witnesses in Jerusalem, and in all Judea, and Samaria and to the ends of the earth" Acts 1:7
Tuesday, November 9, 2010
Saturday, November 6, 2010
Join us in celebrating!
And be warned I am sure there will be future blog entries about helping a daughter plan the wedding of her dreams when living a l-o-n-g distance apart. I'm excited to begin!
Thursday, November 4, 2010
CBF's Offering for Global Missions (OGM), is traditionally, in Baptist churches, encouraged during the Thanksgiving and Christmas seasons. This year's offering material features our Gypsy Team members, Dianne and Shane McNary. If you would like to know more take a look at: http://www.thefellowship.info/ogm Here you will find ways to access materials with leadership guides, clip art, posters, and bulletin inserts. These are all great ways to make your congregations aware of how the love of Christ is being shared and ways you can help through praying, giving, and serving. The offering is a large part of what enables the McNarys, our team, and other CBF field personnel to live and minister among the most neglected of this world. Thank you for considering a gift.
Sunday, October 31, 2010
Anne de Vries: "It's great to teach these brothers. They are highly motivated to receive, know their Bible well and demonstrate a strong interest in theology and church history. Their singing is very impressive, as are the moments of prayer that we may experience together. It is a great privilege to work here. "
Teun van der Leer: "Wednesday we spent a short visit to the Baptist Seminary here in Bucharest (more than 200 students) and Thursday night we visited, along with the students, a service in Biserica Baptista Christina Provindentia in Bucharest, where we of course had to preach ourselves and share greetings from the Netherlands."
Join us in praising God and thanking Him for this opportunity to teach and learn. Thank Him for the dedicated leaders that made the journey and took the time to be in Bucharest this week. Thank Him for calling our two teachers to come as well. Praise God for this week of blessing.
quotes from Baptist Union website: http://www.baptisten.nl
Wednesday, October 27, 2010
"Dude, have you heard a crazy American lady lives here?"
"Yeah, man, she screeches and waves her arms like a wild woman to scare us off."
"I know. It's good for a laugh that's why I keep coming back."
I have to come up with a new plan because my current one is obviously NOT working. Enjoying life in Bucharest....
Monday, October 25, 2010
Please pray this week for the Gypsy Smith Leadership Training session being held October 25-29. We are expecting about 25 Roma (Gypsy) leaders from across Romania and Moldova. Our instructors for the week at Teun van der Leer and Anne de Vries from The Baptist Union of The Netherlands. Pray for Alex, the GSS Coordinator, as he translates the morning and afternoon sessions, asking God to make his mind work quickly and to give him energy. Pray for the instructors to be led by the Spirit to present the lessons the leaders most need to hear. Pray for the leaders to soak in the information and began to see how they can use it with their own congregations/ministries. Pray for a Spirit of fellowship to prevail during the week. As the week comes to an end pray for safe travels for the students and teachers as they return to their fields of service. Praise God for this wonderful opportunity to share His word.
Saturday, October 23, 2010
Thursday, October 21, 2010
**Interested? We're looking for a team of 4-6 women to come to Bucharest and teach sewing to girls of the Ruth School and a group of women from the surrounding neighborhood. This would be a great outreach opportunity and a useful skill for the ladies to learn. Contact us for more details if you are interested.
Monday, October 18, 2010
(Click on the "x" to get rid of the animal cartoon in the picture box & read titles)
We're celebrating one month in Romania! We have learned to enjoy the delicious pastries (a little too much!), find our way to Project Ruth and the Baptist church, figure out how to buy groceries, admire the beautiful churches, and be impressed by the friendliness of the Romanian people - so many speak great English.
Life in a large apartment building has been an adjustment. For three weeks we were cool since the building wide heat was not turned on. The big "switch on" came last week and now, despite having our radiators off, we have to have the windows open. During this time there was no hot water, only barely warm at best. We have yet to see neighbors on our floor but have grown to be "greeting" acquaintances with others on different floors. Ralph has become friends with the door men, practicing the Romanian he has learned. Up and down in a very small elevator makes carrying in groceries a big task. I am excited about the kitchen that has a huge oven with an electronic dial - no more wooden spoons in the door!
We're just beginning to learn Romanian. It has the usual language challenges of different sounds and combination letters. How do I conjugate this verb or that verb? Romanians are very gracious and patient when we attempt to speak.
We're also just beginning to see what direction to take with the Roma ministry. The Project Ruth staff have been very helpful. The Ruth School students are in full swing for the academic year. Where to jump in?
Thank you for praying for us. Please continue to ask God to give us wisdom and direction. One month and anticipating many more!
Saturday, October 16, 2010
Fall is in the air in Bucharest. The daily temperatures are cool and clouds hang low in the sky. Can winter be far behind? With that in mind, Project Ruth distributed brand new sweatshirts to all the students Friday. Thanks to generous donations from the United Kingdom we were able to haul boxes of school shirts to the classrooms and give each student a warm, cozy sweatshirt to wear on those cold, blistery days of winter.
Jesus said, "...I needed clothes and you clothed me..."
Thursday, October 14, 2010
Jesus said,"...For I was hungry and you gave me something to eat..."
Monday, October 11, 2010
When the newest Project Ruth ministry, the Day Center, opened two weeks ago, these women eagerly brought their own children to the class. They wanted them to have the Ruth School experience.
Project Ruth showing God's love through education and now fostering the next generation...
Friday, October 8, 2010
Thursday, October 7, 2010
Read the articles and please consider how you might be a part of God's mission among the Roma through praying, giving, and volunteering.
Wednesday, October 6, 2010
Tim Hasty from Aiken, SC, and a supporter of Project Ruth, was visiting and he was our honored guest. (Tim took this picture so he is not in it.) Our other guests were our new Romanian partners and friends, Sorin (pastor & seminary professor), Cami (pharmacist & Oti's wife), Oti (pastor, seminary professor, Union president), and Mishi (Project Ruth executive director). We had a great time.
Did I mention the menu was Hungarian? Goulash! I guess one of my next goals is to learn a few Romanian dishes.
Tuesday, October 5, 2010
"My name is Tammy. What is yours?"
Our formal language learning began last night. Within the first 10 minutes I discovered I had to unlearn Hungarian as I tired to repeatedly pronounce everything with Magyar phonetics. Mona, our teacher, was very patient to repeat and repeat the sounds. I fear my mix of "Southern" and Hungarian may drive her to the brink!
Today I'm off to speak to everyone (I know the cashiers at the local store will be thrilled. NOT!) and use my phrases of "Good day", "How are you?", "I am fine", - well you get the jest of what we learned the first night. Please add us to your prayer list as we tackle this new language. Ask God to give us, especially me, open minds. Now, I'm off to greet the world!
Saturday, October 2, 2010
The Blinds men came and installed vertical blinds on most of our windows. This meant we no longer had to prop a mattress across the glass. The best part was they came with their own vacuum so as they drilled it sucked up the dust! It is truly the little things in life that make one smile...
Thursday, September 30, 2010
Please pray for their teacher as she prepares and teaches. Pray for the students to have open minds and be eager to learn. Pray for the needed funds to have the preschool as a continual program - to purchase supplies, food, and provide for the teacher. Pray for the safety of the children. Pray for the mission of Project Ruth, making a difference in the lives of Roma children. Pray that through education the cycles of poverty can be broken and that Christ will be seen.
Wednesday, September 29, 2010
Monday, September 20, 2010
A crew from the local church was on hand to help unload and soon we were crowded into our little apartment with a sea of boxes. The unpacking has begun and we are slowly making finding spots of things.
We appreciate your prayer support as this transition continues...
Wednesday, September 15, 2010
Sunday, September 12, 2010
Thursday, September 9, 2010
When we began our ministry here over 15 years ago we ask God to bring us along side others to partner with. As time passed these four men crossed paths with Ralph. With each having his own set of strengths they began to work together from their love of God and devotion to seeing the Roma come to know Him. They became the committee that oversaw the Roma ministry among Baptists, the sounding board for ideas, the counselors for problems, the accountants for offerings, the trainers for Roma leaders, the providers for the basic needs of many families, and so many more things. These five guys worked together for several years through the ups and downs of ministry. We feel blessed to have served with them.
Last week we had the opportunity to gather with the Five Guys and their wives for a farewell dinner. It was a chance to think back over the years and look how far God has led the Roma mission work. It was also a great opportunity for Ralph and the Guys to express their thanks for each other's dedication to the ministry. Thanks Guys! We thank God for each of you!
Picture Left to Right: Balint Kovacs, Vince Lovas; Ralph Stocks; Tivadar Szegedi; Jozsef Csuhai
Monday, September 6, 2010
Saturday, September 4, 2010
We saw 10 apartments in two days. Some were laughable with lime green walls and 24 outlets in the living room (it had been a computer business office). I learned quickly not to judge the "books by their covers." By Friday afternoon we had made our choice. The above pictures are of the outside of the building (our apartment is the 3rd set of windows counting down from the top) and the kitchen (yes, it's orange). I will post other pictures of the inside once we are moved in because right now they are just plain white rooms with wood floors.
Thank you for praying for us to find the right place. We feel it is perfect with space to have guests; in the center of Bucharest yet, off the main street enough not to be noisy; near public transportation; a bath and a half; modern kitchen; and an easy-going landlord.
Now we return to Budapest and finish packing. We hope to move our things on September 15th. Please continue to pray for us and the ministry among the Roma of Romania. Please ask God to guide us.
Tuesday, August 31, 2010
Picture: Ralph with his Mom viewing Budapest from a Danube River boat
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For a long time now Ralph has traveled with Hungarian pastor, Tivadar Szegedi, to Szatmarcseke the last weekend of the month. They go to counsel, offer encouragement, take supplies, and assist the Roma church members with whatever they can.
This past weekend Ralph and Tivadar made their way to Szatmarcseke as they always do with Tivadar's wife's homemade pogacsa (tiny bisquits), sack lunches, and bottled drinks. It was a busy weekend as they spent time visiting around the area. The Szatmarcseke church members gave Ralph a warm send-off and presented him with a gift to remember those many trips. They assured him he was always welcome back.
Praise the Lord for the growing Roma Baptist Church in Szatmarcseke and the members who worship there. We will miss being a part of their fellowship.
Sunday, August 29, 2010
August 20th is a national holiday in Hungary. The first Sunday after the 20th the Hungarian Baptist Union holds an all day meeting at their camp in the village of Tahi. This year was no exception and the weather was perfect for such an occasion.
This year around 800 people attended, bringing chairs, blankets, and picnic lunches. The Union leadership asked Ralph to attend and to say a few words, knowing we would soon relocate to Bucharest. It was a perfect opportunity because the keynote preacher for the afternoon was Oti Bunaciu - the director of the ministry we will partner with in Romania!
As Ralph got up to speak he remarked it was intimidating for an American to speak Hungarian in front of so many native speakers! He did a fantastic job! He spoke about God's mercy being enough to see us through all of life - II Corinthians 12:9. Jozsi Csuhai, who has ministered closely with Ralph came forward to commend him and offer words of encouragement. The Union presented Ralph with a piece of Hungarian pottery to remember our time here.
It was a wonderful opportunity to see minister partners and to say good-bye to friends. We enjoyed the day and the fellowship. The Hungarian Baptist Union has been very supportive of the Roma ministry and we are thankful they have caught the vision so the ministry moves forward. Praise be to God!
(picture: Oti is on left in background)
Wednesday, August 25, 2010
Saturday, August 21, 2010
Paris, France (CNN) -- Some of the Roma deported from France said Friday they plan to return as soon as possible. They flew Thursday to Romania on a French flight, the first of several scheduled to take Roma out of France in the coming days.
The French government says the deportations are part of a crackdown on illegal immigration. They follow the government's dismantling in the past three weeks of 51 Roma camps that it called illegal.
"Over there, they were giving us food, money ... salary. Life is much better out there -- happier," Mariana Serban, a mother of four, told Romania's Realitatea TV. She told the reporter she did not work in France, and smiled when the reporter pointed out France would not give them any more money. "That's what they say now, but they will give us money again," Serban said.
Serban's oldest son, Alexandru, 12, spoke in French as he told the TV station, "It's much better in France. I'm here now for a visit, and I will leave again. I'm staying here for two days only."
The Thursday flight carried 79 Roma out of the country, French officials said. Friday's flight, due to land in the Romanian city of Timisoara in the afternoon, had 132 Roma aboard, according to the office of Valentin Mocanu, Romania's secretary of state for Roma integration.
French officials earlier said the third flight would happen Saturday, but the Romanian Foreign Ministry said it would take place August 26 and carry 159 Roma. The ministry said there will also be two flights next month, carrying 27 Roma from France to Romania.
France offered 300 euros ($384) to each Roma adult and 100 euros ($128) to each Roma child who accepted the offer for a "voluntary return."
The comments by the returning Roma may dash any French hopes that they will resume their former lives in Romania. "They will go and meet their parents and other relatives, and after that they will return to France, I'm telling you," Adrian Edu, an expert on Roma issues with the Bucharest City Hall, told PRO TV.
Roma are a group of people who live mainly in southern and eastern Europe, often in poverty. Commonly referred to as Gypsies, they tend to live in camps, caravans, or informal settlements and have been the target of persecution throughout history.
Romanian President Traian Basescu said in a statement Thursday that his country would try to find a solution to the French situation. "We understand the problems Roma camps create around French cities, and we will work with France to find suitable solutions," he said.
Roma from Romania and Bulgaria are allowed free passage into France if they are European Union citizens. After that, however, they must find work, start studies, or find some other way of becoming established in France or risk deportation. The French government said those Roma being deported this week have overstayed the three-month limit.
Two Romanian secretaries of state plan to be in Paris on August 30 to discuss the integration of Roma populations, the French Foreign Ministry said. It said Paris favors the social integration of the Roma in Romania.
Mocanu's office said local authorities try to integrate the returning Roma into the workforce, offering jobs to those who come back. Roma are not obligated to accept the job offers, however, and most of the time they don't, resulting in their return to the country from where they came, the office said.
CNN's Sarah Goddard in Paris, France, and Journalist Cosmin Stan in Bucharest, Romania, contributed to this report.