Thursday, March 31, 2011

Ruth Moms - Tea & Sponge Painting

"God made us special as mothers.  He gave us hearts to love children."  With those words we began the Ruth Moms tea on Wednesday.  The ladies from the Knollwood Baptist team assisted in serving tea and cakes to the moms as they made their way into the new library at the Ruth School.  After a getting-to-know-you activity Sue Miller shared from her heart about her relationship with her daughter and grandson.  To mark the beginning of spring in Bucharest we sponge painted clay flower pots in bright spring colors.  The moms laughed and talked as the time flew by.  At the end of the hour Annie Kendall offered a word of encouragement on the important role a mom plays in her child's education.  Each mom was given a little goodie bag with items to help tell stories to their children and a ribbon reminding them they are "winners" as moms.

Thank you for praying for this activity.  We had hoped for 15 moms, planned for 21, and had 24 to attend.  I promised the moms we would meet again and I would plan for 50 so they needed to invite the other moms to come.  Praise to God for answered prayers!

Wednesday, March 30, 2011

Teaching Teachers

Annie Kendall showing how to use new materials
Ruth School teachers with Knollwood Baptist team
Teaching teachers...not an easy task.  The experienced teachers on the Knollwood Baptist Church team spent a couple of hours this past Tuesday offering encouragement and information on learning styles to the Ruth School teaching staff.  It was amazing to hear the interaction as the teachers shared about their classes, their challenges, and their dreams.  There was an instant connection between the two groups because of their shared love of education.  The Knollwood team not only shared the information they also demonstrated new techniques and allowed the teachers some hands-on time.  At the end of the time each Ruth School teacher was given a star because they are truly "stars".  We give thanks to God for dedicated teachers.

Monday, March 28, 2011

Let the Games Begin!

The torch arrives

The Knollwood team with kids
 The Olympic games officially opened at the Ruth School today!  The excitement in the air was electric as the 1st and 2nd graders came to the sports room with their team bandanas tied around the neck.  The Olympic anthem rang out as the teams representing China (location of the last games), Great Britian (site of the next Olympics), Romania (host country), and the USA (home of the "officials") paraded around, as the Olympic flag was presented, and finally as the Olympic flame circled the room.

After the opening ceremonies the teams were divided and competed in relay games such as bean bag toss, hula hoop pass, running sideways, and others.  Cheers were loud and lessons of respect with good sportsmanship were taught.

Tomorrow the 3rd and 4th graders will compete with the other grades following the next two days.  During lunch on Thursday the closing ceremonies will be held with the "atheletes" receiving a gold medal.  We will feast on hot dogs and cookies!  Hoo-rah!  Check back for updates.

Saturday, March 26, 2011

God vs The Bad Guys

I recently got a packet of thank yous from some of the students at the International Christian School of Budapest where I spent a week as Dr T, Mad Scientist in the Mad About Jesus Laboratory, as part of the school's Spiritual Emphasis Week.  (For more info and pictures - look in Feb blogs)  It was fun to read what the students remembered and liked.  I wanted to share one that made me smile and realize God was at work that week with a message for the kids.  "Dear Dr T, Thank you for showing us the elaphant tooth paste.  That was awesome!!  And thank you for showing how strong God is and how weak the bad guys are. Thank you very much.  Your friend, Parker"

Tuesday, March 22, 2011

Adding Color...

Project Ruth moved their offices last year from the building connected to Providence Baptist Church to the actual Ruth School building.  They have more space and lots of white wall.  This past week we added a little color with a collection of pictures from the school.  We also have added a map of the world for supporters to mark where they are from.  Our goal is to see how many countries we can tag.  Come see us!

Saturday, March 19, 2011

The March 2011 Class

Gypsy Smith Class, March 2011
The week ended strong with high enthusiasm and an eagerness to take their new knowledge back to their places of service.  The goodbyes were lingering since the fellowship had been good and the men knew the next class wouldn't be held until October.  (With more seasonal employment available in the summer and fall, we don't have classes so the men can work.)  This week's session was the first to be held in the new Ruth School library and it was agreed that the extra room and comfort was worth the 10 minute walk from the dormitory.

Join us in praising God for a good week of studies.  Thank him for dedicated church leaders who made the effort to come.  Thank him for the two teachers who took personal time and money to travel here for teaching.  Thank him for the many people who work behind the scenes - the cooks, the cleaners, the grocery shoppers, the office support - to make this week possible.  Praise God for His Goodness!

Wednesday, March 16, 2011

GSS - midweek

Dr Doug Bryan teaching at the Gypsy Smith School.

Tuesday, March 15, 2011

Happy 6 Months!

Today marks the 6th month anniversary of our move to Bucharest.  Where did the time go?  I've gotten accustomed to getting on the elevator and praying it makes it to the 6th floor.  It seems normal to look out our window and see nothing but block buildings.  I don't even notice the numerous stray dogs lazing around in the park.  "Buna ziua" (good day) rolls off my tongue as well as "pace" (the greeting given at church). 

Most articles you read on cultural adjustment say the first six months are the honeymoon period.  Everything is exciting and new.  I think that's right.  They say reality hits in the months following.  Ralph and I are hoping to skip that phase thanks to good friends here that help in any way possible.  And good friends and family in the States that do the same.

So Happy Anniversary to Us!

Monday, March 14, 2011

Gypsy Smith Leadership Training - March 2011

The March session of the Gypsy Smith Leadership Training School (GSS) began today with 19 church leaders from around Romania.  This group is the first to meet in the Ruth School's new library and media room.  The room is spacious, well lit, and equipped with a projector and white board.  It is a great space for teaching and learning.  We are grateful for God's provision.

This session the men are being taught by Wesley Craig, Missions pastor at Baptist Temple in San Antonio, TX and Doug Bryan, Assistant Provost for Academic Services at Gardner Webb University, Boiling Springs, NC.  Wesley's name may sound familiar because he and his wife Susan, served on the Project Ruth staff for three years through CBF's Global Service Corps.  It was like coming home as they reacquainted themselves with the city and greeted old friends at Providence Baptist Church and the Ruth School.  For Doug, this is a first time experience of being in Romania.  But one he is quickly adapting to as we show him the city and introduce him to not only the Romanian culture but the Roma (Gypsy) culture as well.

The week has started off great with sunny, warm weather and students eager to learn.  Pray for the remaining days to be fruitful and blessed.

**Photo: Wesley Craig beginning the day.

Thursday, March 10, 2011

The Loss Of A Friend

On March 9th Project Ruth and all of its friends and supporters said farewell to a dear friend. Vasile Moceanu passed away from cancer on that day. Many will remember him as the first face they met upon arriving in Bucharest as he worked as the official driver for Project Ruth for many years. Every team of volunteers and every GSS/TCM teacher had the privilege of meeting this humble servant of God. A skilled driver with a detailed knowledge of the streets of Bucharest Morceanu safely delivered all such visitors to their many destinations. Although he spoke little English visitors were warmly welcomed by Moceanu with a handshake or kiss on the cheek.

Moceanu was a delight to the children of the Ruth School. He regularly delivered lunch to the children attending Obed Day Center and his pockets often held pieces of candy for the Roma children. While he waited in the van for staff or visitors to complete their errands you would often find Moceanu reading his Bible. He was recognized in his family and his church for his steadfast belief in God. His faith stood firmly throughout his final days and he was a strong witness of God’s love to the many friends and church family who gathered at his bedside daily.

The Project Ruth family grieves the loss of our dear friend but rejoices that he has found wholeness and peace and complete joy in the presence of God our Father.

Wednesday, March 9, 2011

Lenten Devotions

Today is Ash Wednesday and in the Christian church we begin the Lenten season.  It is a time of preparing hearts, minds, and souls for the celebration of Easter.  During Lent we meditate on the journey Christ took to the cross and why.  I recommend the web site as an outstanding guide of devotions during this time.

Celebrated Not Traded

Yesterday, March 8th, was International Women's Day.  It's not a day generally celebrated in the USA but in Europe it is a day to recognize the women in your life.  The flower shops are overflowing with flowers wrapped in cellophane and ribbon ready for purchase by men and boys.  Tables pop up on street corners for the same reason.  It is a day to celebrate and make women and girls feel special.

As I sat yesterday having my morning tea watching CNN, the international version, I was startled to see the special report they were doing on sex slavery in Romania.  They concentrated on two brothers who would go into small villages which are very economically depressed with few job opportunities and offer young ladies an opportunity to move to a western European country for work to make good money.  The young ladies would then find themselves enslaved, forced to prostitute themselves, raped, drugged, beaten into submission, lost to their families.  The brothers are now in jail but they were only two of many that make money by preying on poor families with daughters.  In an interview with the mother of the brothers she said they did no wrong they were only trying to make a living.  What?!?!  In response to their investigations CNN is launching a new effort called CNN Freedom Fighters to combat modern day slavery.

Join me in helping to make others aware and in praying for ways to help.   Let's Celebrate Not Trade.

Tuesday, March 8, 2011

Gypsy Team Meeting

Our team usually meets twice a year - once electronically through the miracle of web-conferencing and once face to face.  Since we all live in Europe we can take advantage of cut-rate European airlines and going during the off-season.  This past week we, along with families, gathered in Palermo, Italy for 4 days.  We were joined by our Team Coordinator, Becky Smith and CBF's new Member Care Coordinator, Tere Canzoneri.

We spent our time reporting on what was happening in the Romany (Gypsy) ministries in our areas.  We planned strategy for continuing to share the Good News.  We networked and shared stories.  We took turns praying for each other and giving devotional thoughts.  We shared meals and enjoyed spending time together.  It was a great time and I think we were all refreshed.

Tuesday, March 1, 2011

Happy Spring!

Today, March 1, marks the beginning of the celebration of Spring in Romania.  It is called Mărțișor.  The name is the diminutive of marț, the old folk name for March (Martie, in modern Romanian), and literally means "little" or "dear March".

Mărțișor and marţ are  names for the red and white string, from which usually hangs a small decoration, and it is given to others on the 1st day of March.  Giving this decoration is an old custom, and it is believed that the one who wears the red and white string will be powerful and healthy for the year to come. It is also a symbol of the coming spring. Usually, men give this to women who wear it pinned to their blouses for the first 12 days March.   In modern times, the Mărțișor has become more of a symbol of friendship and love, appreciation and respect.  (information & picture from Wikipedia)

Personal note:  We may be celebrating spring but the temps are well below freezing with snow on the ground and more falling today.  I, Tammy, went to an outdoor Martisor market yesterday at the Peasant's Museum.  I was amazed at all the beautiful ribbons and decorations made by craftsmen from around the country.