Monday, October 10, 2016

Taking a Step of Faith...

October 10, 2016

Dear Friends,

It is with a mixture of sadness and anticipation that we announce our resignation from CBF.  We will continue to serve in Romania until December 15, 2016.  At that time, we will transition to NC to begin six months of OFA, culminating in the 2017 CBF General Assembly. 

The US Government says we are too young to retire so we will be looking for employment that honors God and makes use of our talents and experiences.  We look toward that future with anticipation and ask for your prayers that God will lead us in that process.

Our resignation comes due to several factors with the most compelling being the cumulative separation from family over the near 22 years of service with CBF.  Our parents have experienced aging and health issues and the distance has prevented us from assisting our siblings in their care.  We have a grandson who turned two in August and we want to be a part of his young life.  We will settle in the Triad area of NC (Greensboro, Winston-Salem, High Point).

Our sadness comes from leaving several things dear to us:

1.    The Romany people to whom we dedicated these past 22 years. 

2.    Project Ruth – the Ruth School students and Staff, the Gypsy Smith School students and diverse faculty and the Naomi Center with the women Tammy has come to love.

3.    Our Romanian and Hungarian friends who welcomed us into their families and their churches and their countries.

We wish to express deep appreciation for our families, friends, and the many individuals and groups and churches that have supported us through these many years.  Your prayers have been felt, your gifts to CBF’s Offering for Global Missions and our projects have impacted our ministries and your love for us has sustained us throughout.  We are deeply grateful for all of you!  Please continue to support Global Missions!

Our passion for missions and specifically Project Ruth, continues into the future.  We encourage you to continue to impact the ongoing ministry here through student scholarships, special gifts, sending and participating in teams.  We will certainly do so!

We pray God’s richest blessings upon you!

With much fondness for each of you,

Ralph and Tammy

Monday, May 23, 2016

Going to the Chapel...

 Our friend, Gabi, got married twice in the same week.  How does that happen?  In Romania couples go to the government center of their sector of the city for the civil, legal ceremony. This is a happy occasion with flowers and well wishes.  Next many couples will have a ceremony at church where they say their vows before God and many of their friends.  Then there is usually a multi course dinner of celebration with games, entertainment, lots of food, and pictures.  It is fun and an occasion not to be missed.  We enjoyed every minute.
Living cross culturally, meaning we live in a cultural that is different from one in which we were raised, has been something we've enjoyed.  And certainly one we have felt called to do.  It has had it challenges too.  We realized early in our time in Europe the best way to learn about a new culture was by being present.  Living day in and day out among the people we want to know.  We need to be there life events - their births, deaths, weddings, birthdays, graduations.  We have been blessed to be present for many of these occasions.  We are grateful to those that support CBF's Offering for Global Missions which enables us to be here.  And Gabi & Iulian we wish you many, many happy days and years ahead!

Wednesday, January 20, 2016

Other Duties as Assigned...

Friends, Cadance Tyler and Katrina Brooks,
sent by Virginia Baptists, help in the kitchen
CBF Heartland coordinator emeritus,
Harold Phillips, washing bowls.
 "Sister, sister, I know you!"  I heard these words this summer as we served with a team in a small village in northeast Romania.  The young man was waving at me from the driver's seat of a van.  He said, "Yes, I do know you.  You're the dishwasher at the Ruth School."  It took a moment for me to understand.  Me? Dishwasher?  What?  Then recognition came as I realized this young church leader attends our Gypsy Smith Leadership School (GSS).  Three times a year these young leaders come for a week of classes.  While at the school we house them and feed them.  It's a busy time in the kitchen as they cook lunch for 200 Ruth School students,  provide three meals a day for 25 GSS students, make sandwiches for 30 afterschool kids, and fix snack bags for the 50 sports program participants.  During these weeks I help out by washing dishes.  Gladly, I, along with others at Project Ruth, rework our days to do what has to be done to serve the community. 
    At the bottom of any good job description one usually finds a sentence similar to "And other duties as assigned."  As CBF field personnel ministering in Romania it's a regular occurrence to do the unexpected, unanticipated, or unplanned.  Wonderful interruptions in ministry that allow us opportunities to serve God in unusual ways.  So when the young man said, "You're the dishwasher..."  My reply? "That's me!"