Sunday, October 31, 2010

Gypsy Smith Leadership Training - October Session

Romanian, Dutch, English, Romani (Gypsy), a bit of German, and Hungarian - what a mixture of languages! At times during this week of the October session at the Gypsy Smith Leadership Training all could be heard. Seventeen Roma leaders gathered to learn about Baptist History and the Holy Spirit in Scripture. Our instructors for the week were from The Netherlands where Baptists just celebrated 400 years of history from their beginnings in Amsterdam. Teun van der Leer is the Rector at the Baptist Seminary and Anne de Vries is a staff member of the Baptist Union. The teachers had this to say about their week with the Roma leaders:

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:

Wednesday, October 27, 2010

Unwelcome, Uninvited Guests

We live on the 6th floor of a 7 floor building. We are surrounded by buildings just as tall. The pigeons fly from ledge to ledge looking for food or a place to rest. I do not like them resting outside my window because of what they leave behind! These two pigeons are saying,

"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

Two Prayer Requests

Prayer Supporters: Please pray for the Ruth School director, Viktoria, or better known to those that have served at Project Ruth as Tita. Tita will have surgery on Tuesday, Oct 26th, to treat cancer. Ask the Great Physician to guide the doctors and medical staff. Ask the Great Comforter to be present with her and give Tita a peace that comes from faith in God. Pray for good results. Pray for a quick recovery. Ask God to keep his hand upon Tita and for that to be overtly felt by her, her friends, and her family.

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

M-m-m-m Chocolate Sauce!

Five minutes before guests were due Ralph and I, relaxing in the living room, smelt something burning. Then in what seemed like slow motion the smoke began to roll in. I had forgotten the chocolate sauce on the stove! M-m-m-m looks yummy! Luckily our guests were friends and gracious about the yucky smell throughout our apartment. I wonder what the neighbors were thinking as we opened the door to let the smoke roll out to the stairwell? Those crazy Americans!

Thursday, October 21, 2010

Sewing? - Say It Isn't So!

** This blog entry is dedicated to my mom, Velma Tucker Foster, with an honorable mention to my Bernie High School Home Economics teacher, Gay Newton Fears (now Gay Newton-Tanner).

Recently while at the Ruth School I saw a little room full of sewing machines. My mind went into overdrive as I remembered the quilting outreach I had attended in Budapest last year. At that time I thought Quilting Clubs among the Roma women just wouldn't work because of the lack of machines. When I saw all those sewing machines I could envision lots of ways to use them. As I began to talk out loud, almost incomprehensible with the words coming out so fast, Mishi, Project Ruth's Executive Director, was instantly on board. The staff has a dream of offering sewing lessons to the girls of the school. One problem - I hate to sew!

My mother is an accomplished seamstress. She made my sister and me beautiful clothes when we lived at home. We had awesome Halloween costumes. She can make just about anything. Mom worked hard to pass this skill on to me. I was NOT a willing pupil. In high school I took the obligatory Home Economics classes (girls took Home Ec, boys took Agriculture and Shop) where Mrs Fears tried to follow-up on my mom's efforts. I was still NOT a willing pupil. I was sure I could live my life and not ever have to sew. WRONG!

God has a great sense of humor. I have spent the last two days taking each sewing machine, cleaning it (they've been sitting for several years), attempting to see if it works, and if not, what can be done to fix it. We're tossing ideas around of how we can use these machines among the older students and as an outreach opportunity with the Roma community. This is surely an example of how God takes talents and skills you have and uses them for His Glory. Me, sewing? My mom is enjoying this immensely!

**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

Romania - 1 Month...

(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

Sweatshirts for Everyone!

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

Lunch Time at Ruth School

Hot Meal - Every Day Guaranteed! We popped in at the Ruth School recently and the students were enjoying their lunch. Looked Italian to me - pasta with a tomato/meat sauce. The Ruth School provides a hot meal daily - for many of the students it is the only meal they get.

Jesus said,"...For I was hungry and you gave me something to eat..."

Monday, October 11, 2010

Serving the 2nd Generation...

The Ruth School officially began to serve the Roma of the Ferentari neighborhood of Bucharest in 1993. The goal was to make a difference in the loves of Gypsies through education. In those first classes were the two women pictured at the right.

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

Stories of the Roma

"Colorful But Colorblind, Roma Beyond Stereotypes" is the name of the online posting that gives great information about the Roma of eastern Europe. Take a look at: It is very informative.

Thursday, October 7, 2010

"fellowship!" features Roma Ministry

The current issue (Oct/Nov) of CBF's publication "fellowship!" is on-line. Take a look at! The feature article is on the ministry of Dianne and Shane McNary in Slovakia. It is very informative of the wonderful things God is doing through them among the Romany. There are also two other articles on the Dom Gypsies located in the Middle East and the Banjara Gypsies located in India.

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

First Guests...

Now we begin a series of "firsts" since our arrival in Bucharest. Tuesday night we had our first dinner guests. The living room, kitchen, bathrooms, and hallway were ready! The two guest rooms? Well let's just say we have a few more boxes to unpack yet.

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

Language Learning

"Numele meu este Tammy. Care este numele tau?"
"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

It's the Little Things...

Celebrate with us - the Blinds men came! We live on the 6th floor of a 9 story building surrounded by equally tall buildings. Our windows had no shades, blinds, or curtains. At night we could clearly see into the windows of the apartments across the street so we figured they could see us too. Knowing the days of sunshine are long in the summer we opted to have blinds put in.

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...