Karina is expected to give birth to Josiah any day now! We are in the big city of Constanta, to access a good hospital. Constanta is Romanian speaking, and no one understands Hungarian! While here, Jacob is staying busy helping a local church and missionaries with renovations and other physical work (installing electric lines, painting, etc), and Karina is getting her head in ‘birth mode.’ Please pray for a healthy birth, for nursing to go well, and for safe travels back to Gyergyó, about 8 hours away.
Romania and Russia
Russia demanded that Romania be excluded from NATO over rising tensions with Ukraine. Thankfully, NATO refused. There is a NATO military base not far from us, and more troops are arriving in Romania from other countries daily. The Black Sea, which is by Constanta, where we are staying, is vital to Russian geo-political interests (Romania, Ukraine, and Russia all share the Black Sea and Romania borders Ukraine). Some missionaries from Ukraine are considering evacuating to Romania, as well as other neighboring countries. Please keep these missionaries and their ministries in your prayers, as well as the political leaders.
If Russia cuts off natural gas to Romania, it would be devastating during winter. Today the temperature in Gyergyó is -13 °C, and it will only get colder! Please pray that Romanians have gas for the winter.
Karina’s Reflections on Gyergyo
Szia! This is Karina, and I wanted to share a little about my experience here in Gyergyo. You probably remember, I’ve served in Gyergyo in 2016-2019 to help out with English Evangelism summer camps, as well as a handful of times when I would have vacation days while living in Hungary. This included a trip right before Easter and over Christmas as well. In short, I’ve been able witness the growth of this little church plant!
Being in Gyergyo is unlike any other place in the world I’ve been. You can witness people marked by God working in their lives, but also… when He’s not present in their lives. I’ve been privileged to witness first-hand people’s journey to Christ in our little church plant. For example, I vividly remember when one married couple came to church for the first time back in 2016. They looked absolutely petrified to be at our church, since it is not the mainstream Catholic church. They were fearful of their reputation, and the risk of being ostracized in the community for having attended. I greeted them and they could barely maintain their eye contact. They looked uncomfortable the entire time and left abruptly after church ended. But they were hungry to know more about Christ and fought their uncomfortable feelings. Over the years, I’ve seen their faith blossom. Fast forward to today, this family is now an integral part of the church and on fire for Christ!
There are so many more examples. For me, it’s been eye-opening to witness a church grow deeper over time. I only had snapshots before, but God’s work in the lives of the people here is so evident, even when it would only be for short “bursts” at a time. I’m so grateful to be able to see the “growing deeper to bear more fruit” on a daily basis now that we live Gyergyo. And we are looking forward to evangelizing more disciples and planting more churches across Szekeylfold!
A “+” in front of a door written with chalk. This time of year, the Priest visits each home to give a blessing and collect offerings to the church. A “+” means you welcomed the priest (and probably gave money) and a “-” means you did not. A “-” sign is a mark of shame in Székely culture, especially in smaller villages/communities.
Jacob’s Language Learning
in addition to Karina’s help, Jacob found two language helpers who can commit to 2hrs a day. This is great, but only half of what we’d like. Jacob wants to go deep in language learning now to be more useful to ministry sooner: “the sooner I am fluent, the sooner I can evangelize and disciple on a deep level.” We praise God for advancement (everyone at church is impressed with Jacob’s ‘toddler-level’ Hungarian). But we are also thankful for the opportunity to witness to Jacob’s two language helpers. Neither are believers, and so each lesson is not just a class, but a chance to share the Gospel and the Love of Christ. What better opportunity than sharing 2hrs every weekday? And Jacob is looking forward to a more advanced language level soon when classes can be centered around stories in the Bible.
- Karina’s labor and birthing process, and for a healthy baby boy.
- God’s grace and wisdom for us in interacting with the lost.
- More availability from language helpers for Jacob learning Hungarian.
- Peace in Eastern Europe, but for people to also realize their deep need for Christ in the face of possible economic and political hardships.