Monday, May 6, 2013

Painting the trees

Painting is a bit different in Romania.  I will explain; I mean you still paint with a brush and wait for it to dry and sometimes have to put on two coats, but some things that you think are universal are not.

In some peoples’ houses if you rub your hand on the wall or rub against it with your clothes you will have chalk like dust on you.  I guess the “paint” is a dust that you add water too.  I’m not sure why people use this type because no one likes getting the dust on them.  In one room of our house this is the kind of paint that was in it.  We decided to paint it to stop getting the dust on us and around the bed in the room the wall “paint” was about all rubbed off.   We painted the whole room a nice yellow and by that evening I noticed a couple spots that were pealing a bit.  I just thought we would have to do some touching up.  By the next morning about half the paint in the room was all peeled up and looked horrible.  We had to chip it all off and primer it before we did it again.  Talking of primer that is another story.

The primer here is so runny.  In the US the primer is like paint and sometimes you don’t even need to paint it if you only want white, but not here.  This primer is so watery that you put it on the wall and it looks like you took a bucket of white colored water and painted it on the wall, but some how it works.  You might have to put on a few coats though:) And after the primer is dry is looks hardly different, but it does its job and the paint works.

Neighbors house with nice painted trees and curb.  
Picture of our house non-painted
The last thing about paint is how Romanians prepare for Easter.  Now this is nothing to do with Easter the holiday really, but they set this date that they have to have certain cleaning stuff done before Easter.  They got lucky this year with a late Easter, not until May 5th.   So, part of the cleaning process is painting the trees and the curb in front of your house.   The reason they do the curb I think is to make it look nice.  It is always just a white runny paint as well that you think will not work.  They also paint the tree trunks from the ground to about 3 feet up as well.  Now, I am not exactly sure why they do this, but I have heard many things from different people as to why.  One person said so it looks nice for Easter, but I think most say it is something healthy for the trees.  Now, I would understand that if it was a special paint with pesticides or something, but when I have watched them do the painting they use the same paint for the curb and the trees.  So, my question is does the curbs need special paint to keep them healthy?  Another thing I heard once was that it keeps the bugs away or something.  Are bugs scared of white paint?  The painted trees do look kind of pretty.   In Romania most roads are lined with trees and it looks nice when they are all painted going down the road.  My mom I believe said that back in the day in America the roads were lined with trees as well, although I don’t think they were probably painted.   Last year we did not do the painting in front of our house but our neighbor did.  I guess they felt sorry for our pathetic non-painted trees and curb.   We’ll see what happens this year because we have no plans for doing it this year either. 

For the last few days a team from America has been here working with us.  They have done an incredible job.  It is funny that Sheena wrote about painting because with the team recently painted some rooms, probably what inspired her:)  The American ladies kept commenting on how the paint was so thick.   Thank you to Andreea,  Madalina, Adi, Sheena Carol and Marsha for all the hard work and everyone that donated to the project. 

Tuesday, April 9, 2013

Mother's Day

March 1st is a holiday in Romania called Martisor.  The name has something to do the old spelling of March in Romania.  They say this is the beginning of spring, but technically the first day of spring is not until March 20th.  The day is celebrated by honoring women.  Flowers or jewelry is given with ribbons of red and white.  The women are honored because spring is the season of new life of plants and animals and women bring new life to humans.  You are supposed to give gifts or flowers to all women you know.  It all seems a bit silly, but it is their tradition.  I was even told happy birthday a few times.  In Romania for all holidays they seem to say the same things, la multi ani.  Literally translated this means, to more years.  They say this for birthdays, weddings, anniversaries, new years, etc., any holiday or celebrated day.   Many know that we say happy birthday for birthdays and since they say one phrase for all I was told it a few times.  (Note to the Romanians who told me that:  I am not making fun of you, sorry, it is just interesting to Americans.  Thank you for remembering me!) 
On March 8th the women are honored again with their mother’s day.  Although I think it is not just mother’s that are honored, but all women or girls.  This day you give flowers as well and maybe other things, I have not got all the traditions down yet.  I learned this year that March 8th is International Women’s Day.  We don’t seem to celebrate that in America.
Over the 2 days I was given a few flowers, jewelry and a nice card that Kale made at preschool.  The nicest and saddest present came on March 9th when we were at one of the orphanages visiting the kids.  One boy left the room and came back with a piece of glass that flowers had been painted on.  It was really nice.  He had made it in school to give to his mother.  I was touched and heart broken that he chose to give me his mother’s present.  Three other kids then went and got their school made presents and gave them to Andreea, our friend and translator, and I.  We were truly honored.  Many of the kids there do not know their mother’s or families.  I can’t imagine life without a mother.  Although I am only a blood mother to one child I have many other kids now.  I just pray I can be half the mother my mom was.  Love you mom:)

Friday, March 29, 2013

seeking a goat

Last week a friend of ours here asked us to come over because she wanted to talk to us about a phone call she had got the night before.  She said he had received a call about her husband’s brother’s family.   Apparently, her husband as 8 brothers and I think he is the only one that is a Christian.  Many of the other siblings have real problems including problems with the law and alcoholism.  Our friend had learned that the brother has taken off and left his wife and three kids ages 9, 2 and 9 months.  She talked about how they were really poor and he was not working and now he left and they are all alone without someone to take care of them.  We decided we wanted to go visit them and bring them some items.  The talked about the best way to help the family.  The wife attends church and is a Christian, but I guess the husband that ran away does not attend and always says I will Sunday, but when Sunday comes he will not go.  Our friend teared up talking about how blessed she is to have what she has.  Last fall all her chickens died and she said she believes it was because she did not give enough to people in need last year.  She is very generous. 
 Eli suggested we buy them some chickens so they could get eggs frequently and have some meat occasionally.  Then next suggestion was to buy them a goat so they could have milk for the kids.  The next step was finding chickens or a goat.  Our friend knew someone who sells chickens for a good price, but they live about 45 minutes away.  We decided to look for a goat.  The family lives near a hill and forest and the goat could graze for most of its food.  You see lots of shepherds in Romania year round with their herds in the grassy fields.  We made plans to go visit the family in two days and started collecting items to bring.  Our friend called her husband who works on farm in another town and asks him to ask about a goat while she called and asked everyone she knew that has goats if we could buy one.  We found one person who would sell us all of his herd, around 15, but not just one.   The morning we were going to go we still had not found a goat.  Our friend had talked to someone who lives in the same town as the family and they had a goat that was not yet producing milk that they would sell.  We left this as an option and headed to another nearby town that has a large farmer’s market type sale with animals to look.  When we got there we quickly found out that we had came on the wrong day.  There was no sale that morning so we headed back to Babadag and asked a couple other neighbors if they would sell one of their goats.  I guess this is the birthing period of the goats, and they are easy to care for so no one wanted to sell one.   Who knew that in a county full of goats it would be so hard to buy one.  We decided we would just buy the young goat in the town; eventually it will produce milk.    

We loaded the car with clothes, canned and bought foods, school supplies, blankets, flour, a chicken that our friend gave them and a bag of corn for the goat.  We got lost very shortly in the town looking for the house, but soon found it.  It was a two-room house with no electricity or indoor water.  Only about 50% of people in Romania have indoor plumbing I’ve heard.   The husband was there so I guess he come back.  We unloaded the car and when we got in the house I think the first thing our friend asked him was, “why don’t you go to church?” Romanians are very direct.  We played with the kids a bit then headed to get the goat.  The person selling the goat lived about 2 blocks away so it was a quick walk over.  The family selling the goat was a Christian family with probably 5 young cute kids.  We stayed and talked with them a bit then paid for the goat and left.   Back at the house we stayed for probably an hour playing, talking and encouraging the family.  Our friend talked to them about reading the Bible and the importance of getting a job and caring for the family.  The oldest boy is in second grade and has not learned to read yet.  I guess he does not always go to school for different reasons. 
We were happy to help out this family and hope to continue to visit them, helping and encouraging them as needed.   We pray for God to also show us more families that we can help out.  

Monday, March 18, 2013


It all started with a cookie recipe.

Back in June of 2010 Eli and I worked at Camp of the Good Shepherd in Louisville, NE before we moved to Romania.  Penny Burkum was the cook for a couple of the camps and I helped her.  She had this amazing chocolate chip cookie recipe that made one of the most amazing homemade cookies I had ever had. Now I have baked a lot of cookies of all flavors in my life, but they never seem to turn out good.  They always are flat and get crunchy very quickly…please help if you got any solutions for this.  After making this amazing recipe a few times I am convinced that it is not recipe that makes the cookies amazing, but the person baking them.  There is just something about Penny and the love she put in them that was just amazing. 

Happy Birthday (in English) A birthday cake for one the kids. 
Anyways, I have always enjoyed baking and wanted to make the amazing cookies in Romania as well.  I remember the first time we went to the store here and I looked at the baking section with all the different supplies and different names; I almost cried.  It was not going to be as easy as it was the US where I could read the packages and knew what each product did.  It didn’t take too long though to figure out things and I was baking up a storm.  The mixes of all sorts are not common here either, so everything is from scratch.  I miss my cake mixes whenever I want.  Last year I had many people bring me some and it was so nice.  I have found some good from scratch cake recipes thought that turn out good.  It seemed like everything made the first time here turned out bad, but somehow I think I have the hang of it and am having good results.  The new oven last year helped out a lot as well.

The first time we had a team from the US come over was after we had lived here just two weeks if I remember right.  I wanted to try my hand at the amazing chocolate chip cookies. They turned out ok, but again I have never been a great cookie baker and although I’ve had more experience from when I was a kid baking I still do not produce amazing bakery quality products. Cookies that are as common as hamburgers and apple pie in America are not common here.  You can now find cookies to buy at the store that are a lot like chips ahoy, but finding soft bakery style cookies is rare.  Every time I bake “normal American” baked items I get tons of comments about how they are so good or if I invented them.   Many Romanians think I am this amazing baker; let me tell you it is a real boost for the self-esteem!   After that first time I think I gave out the recipe to two of the Romanian translators that were here with the team.   Maybe a month later I made the cookies again for a family and they wanted the recipe.  A simple chocolate chip cookie recipe is all new here!  I have given out this recipe many times as well as others.  Oreo brownies are a favorite as well…just brownies with crumbled Oreos in the batter and scattered on top.

Each week we go visit two orphanages and we bring them some kind of dessert treat each time.  We also have a youth group at the house once a week that I try to make treats for as well.  I make a variety of treats: all sorts of cookies, brownies, rice crispy treats, cupcakes, muffins, etc.  They love it and I enjoy doing it, sometimes they even fight over who got the most cookies.  The kids are very thin, so we like to try to fatten them up a bit.  At one of the orphanages we bring them milk as well to eat with their treats each week.  This year I’ve added making birthday cakes for the kids.  They usually do not get a cake at the orphanage.  This might mean a lot of cakes because we work with a lot of kids, maybe just one a month for those who have a birthday that month.    I’ve made several pies for friends and neighbors as well.  They have something they call a pie, but it is nothing like our pies.  Just rolled up dough with filling more like a tortilla or crape with filling.    One reason I think the different treats are liked so much is the amount of sugar in them.  Their desserts generally do not seem to be as sweet and who doesn’t like more sugar!

For months I’ve thought off and on that it would be neat to come up with some kind of devotion or something to give out with a recipe when people ask, then ask them to pass it along as well if they give the recipe to someone else.  I know one gal that has given the chocolate chip recipe to her neighbor.   If you have any ideas please let me know.  

Tuesday, July 24, 2012

There is much to write about.  Some people have suggested a video blog but I have a face for writing so I will stick to it.  Maybe I can prepare a script and my beautiful bride can read it for a video blog.  

I hope you all enjoy the post.  We feel very supported Here in Romania and I hope that you are praying for us and the area.  God is not done with Tulcea county in fact I believe He is preparing straight roads to salvation. I want to tell you about my new friend Ji Ji and where he works Here in Romania.  He is a Romanian missionary that moved to a forgotten about village that was a mining town. I wrote about it a couple of blogs ago.  

Singing at Mina
The cave/mine
Last week I went with a couple of friends including two FGCI summer interns Jenny and Katlyn to drop off some clothes.  One boy saw us and told us that he would go and get the other kids.  WE had not planned on a Bible lesson or anything but we figured if that boy was going to get some kids we would not waste the opportunity.  We went inside and ate and drank with Ji Ji.  He kept repeating, 'I am so happy you are here.' I think he is very lonely. Ji-Ji is awesome. The more he talked the better he got.  When we were done there was 12 kids ready to hangout with us.  Geogiana led music, Andreea led a game and the Interns led a lesson about David and Goliath.  It was awesome.  When we finished (we had to go to Zebil) the kids asked when we would be back.  We returned the following Sunday except this time there was almost 20 kids.  They took us to what they called a cave but it is actually an old mine.  Then we sang praise songs, I gave the message and the interns helped the kids do a craft.  The work in Mina leaves me with two thoughts that I would like to share with you.  

1) Do you know in Luke 10 when Jesus sent out the disciples.  I always wondered how did they start preaching and evangelizing?  There wasn't a church to preach in or to feel safe in.  In Mina there is a small church plant a far cry from the well established churches that we are used to and run all kinds of programs out of.  I learned that you don't need power point, guitars, coffee, doughnuts etc.  You need some space and a Bible.  (don't get me wrong the powerpoints, guitars and coffee are not evil but very helpful) When we go to these towns we pray hard for God to open doors and He does.  I understand what the disciples meant in Luke 10 when they returned with joy.  God has opened doors. I hope that all the doors being opened translates into watching Satan fall from heaven like lightning.  Most of what we do it just show up and see what God will do.  We take advantage of what He gives us. 

2)  Where are all the men?  Maybe it is not as big as deal as I think but I can't help but think it.  I have spent the last four weeks doing ministry with a fantastic group of people and nearly all of them were women.  The girls were great, hard working and I would not trade them for anyone but where are the guys. I got tired of hearing from Romanian strangers, 'How come there is one guy and four girls?' I think all the kids we work with would benefit from good male role models.  Most of the men that they see are not good examples.  Men where are you?  I think God is working on bring some guys together here I am thankful to have Paul, Ji-Ji and a new friend Stephan however we are few and far between.   Please pray God will send more men to work.  

We had camp at our house for all the kids we work with there was 30 people here for two weeks.  It was wild. Imagine running a church camp out of your house for two weeks.  The kids struggle with much.  I can't write much because of safety reasons. We are fighting an uphill battle against the deception of this world.  Before the camp we had a team of Americans arrive. They were AWESOME!! We are so thankful for Erin, Danica, Kelsie, Bria and Jim.  Blessings too you all.  

The latest 112 group
I wish I could write more about this next village but for security purposes that is not possible.  This village we will call Salina.  Talk about a struggle between the Creator and the prince of air.  We spent three days in this village and it was like a game of Risk toward the end when people take and lose whole continents.  We saw God work in HUGE ways and satan fight back the entire time we were there.  If you would like to know more about this town and who is there please email me.  
She runs good now.  Just got it back today

The Interns and our Romanian friends teaching English
Finally Dessy our car blew a head gasket.  Why does this always happen to me?   I have included other random pictures.  Please let me know what you want to see or hear.  There is much more to write about. Teaching English is a big help to the kids.  Teaching kids english by making brownies is a big help to me.  Teach away teachers teach away.