Greetings in Christ’s name! We have had a busy month. Here are some highlights:
Church Plant in Maroshévíz
Three weeks ago, and for the first time, our church officially planted another church! This church has been a small Bible study group for several years (technically, one could argue that they have been a church the whole time). But now that they have an official building, they are recognized by the Hungarian Baptist Association. Many people from our church in Gyergyó attended the grand opening service, along with the Maroshévíz church’s 20 members. Pray with us that God grows this tiny church, that it would thrive, and reach all of Maroshévíz for Christ!
Diving Food There, Ukrainians Back
Two weeks ago, I (Jacob) joined another Stoneworks International missionary to assist Ukrainian refugees. We purchased multiple shopping carts worth of food and loaded the food into our cars, and drove to Verești and Suceava near the Ukrainian border. We unloaded the food at a refugee shelter in Verești as well as food for a local church in Suceava serving refugees.
On the drive back, we brought 8 Ukrainians (3 mothers and 5 children) to Transylvania, to live at a home in Sighișoara, about two hours away from where we live. They had just escaped from an eastern part of Ukraine, close to Donetsk. The women are all married and their husbands have been drafted into fighting. In our car that we have been blessed with through ministry funds, I (Jacob) was able to drive one of these moms and her 3 and 4 year old sons to their new shelter. The refugees didn’t speak English, and we don’t speak Ukrainian! But thankfully our organization’s director (who speaks Russian) is staying at the home in Sighișoara. He and his wife were able to give the refugees a warm welcome and minister to them in a common language. The Ukrainians are choosing to stay in Sighișoara until the war ends, and then return to their homes in Ukraine.
Jacob and other volunteers with Ukrainian refugees.
In the mean time, please pray that they will be moved to put their faith in Christ as they hear the Gospel at this home. Please also pray that their husbands will be safe as they fight the war.
Family Trip to Sighișoara Shelter for Ukrainians
Last week, our whole family drove to Sighișoara and stayed for a few days. The Ukrainian children were struggling with boredom since they aren’t in school. The moms expressed that their biggest need is toys, so we bought a sack full of indoor and outdoor toys for them to use and the moms will distribute them gradually to their children.
Vika, Ukrainian refugee, holding our son JT.
The women were very polite and appreciative of everything. They took very good care of this home and talked often with each other and seemed to be close friends. Genevieve even made fast friends with the little girl there. It warmed our heart to see Genevieve love people in her own way too.
Karina with the Ukrainian moms, having a play date with the kids.
These Ukrainian families are from Eastern Ukraine and had to leave their husbands and fathers. Every man of fighting age is legally required to stay in Ukraine. They dearly want to return home, but one husband said, ‘if you come here, you and the kids will just stay in a cold, wet basement. Stay where you are.” Though they are grateful and smiling in these pictures, their situation is tragic and full of confusion and pain. Millions are going through the same anguish.
Genevieve playing with her new Ukrainian friend.
Sighișoara-area Hungarian-speaking Roma
We also spent time at two Roma (Gypsy) Hungarian-speaking villages near Sighișoara. I (Karina) translated during a food distribution for 40 families and we prayed for them as they shared prayer requests with us.
These villages were quite impoverished, but the other Stoneworks missionary in Sighișoara had built relationships with these communities and local churches for several years now. We stopped at one point and shared hot dogs with the people and prayed with them. One woman revealed that she was violently beaten years ago, forgave her attackers, and dedicated her life to Christ! On Sunday, I translated at a church and got to share my testimony as well.
Karina sharing her testimony and later translating the sermon into Hungarian for the Hungarian-speaking Roma congregation.
We were encouraged by this trip and honored that we could serve together as a family.
Message from a Ukrainian Dad
A few days ago, I (Karina) received this kind message from Dima, a father who had sent his wife and two teenage daughters to safety in Romania from Ukraine while he was drafted into the war effort. I knew Dima from a mutual friend who had been a missionary in Ukraine and helped his family find safe housing near the border when they first crossed two months ago when the hostilities began. I was grateful that I could help just through my phone and connections with others. Here is Dima’s message:
Hello Karina, I would like to inform you that God has given me a great opportunity to reunite with my family. We are all together in Bucharest now. You were the first person abroad who I could totally trust. Thank you for your help and assistance during that period of time!
Please take a moment to pray with us for the requests below:
- Pray for the Ukrainian Refugees in Sighișoara to give their lives to Christ.
- Pray for a speedy process in getting Josiah’s American passport.
- God’s grace and wisdom for us in interacting with the lost.
- Peace in Eastern Europe, but for people to also realize their deep need for Christ in the face of economic and political hardships.