The fall Gypsy Smith School for Church Leaders session began on Monday. Dr Roy DeBrand and Dr Andy Tooze, both from North Carolina, were the leaders. The sessions were lively with discussions as the Roma leaders continued their quest to learn to serve their churches as best they can. The group was small because the weather was unseasonably warm. This means the men have more opportunities to work and they have to take advantage of that. Often the work they find in the fall must get their families through the winter. It was hard to be disappointed in a small number for class when we knew it meant a better life for others.
Carolyn DeBrand journeyed to Bucharest with her husband. (Carolyn & Roy are good friends. Roy officiated at our daughter's wedding.) Carolyn is a gifted artist and we put her to work. She went into our newest class, Zero (in between kindergarten and first grade), and taught them the basics of drawing. Carolyn also spent time with the Naomi ladies showing them how to make a bag from a place mat and how to make hair bows. The ladies giggled like schoolgirls with the hair ornaments!
One of our newest endeavors at Project Ruth is trying to help the older students as they transition from the Ruth School into high school. So we have begun building relationships with these students to help identify their needs. Carolyn helped by offering two sessions of hair bow making for the girls. They had a blast. With the gift of a smiley face sticker she spoke on "God Loves a Cheerful Giver." She emphasized that while most people think that means giving money or material possessions, we really have so much more we can give that is free. She listed smiles, friendship, love, a helping hand - just to name a few. A timely message for middle school girls.