Adventure with INS-part 2

So I got a call yesterday from the police in Oradea.  Turns out that when they took my picture a couple of weeks ago, I was wearing my glasses and I’m not supposed to wear my glasses.  Their mistake, but I have to go to Oradea tonight to get my picture taken!  Oh yes! I’ve booked my train there and back and I have sleeping compartments for both ways this time.  After the picture is taken, it should only be two weeks until I get the actual card.

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Summer English Clubs

 This summer I started an English Club.  I had planned to meet with each grade once a week an hour.  Well, that schedule was thrown out the window after day one.  The first day, I had 2 girls from 5th grade and the next day, I had about 10 kids from the 4th grade.  They loved it and begged to come more. They started bringing friends and siblings!  I even have one girl who is only here for the summer because she lives in Spain during the school year!  So now, I have second graders through 6th graders all learning new vocabulary and speaking English!!    They all come Monday thru Thursday for 2 hours each day.  We learn new words, play games with the words, practice speaking, read stories, and do worksheets with puzzles. They are really enjoying it and get so disappointed when I have canceled the club for some reason.  One Mondays, we focus on English for the little kids and the older kids have a chance to study.  A few of the kids are doing extra work in workbooks at home.

I had some boys who were telling mom and dad that they were going to English Club, only to swimming in the lake….Mom and Dad weren’t happy and the boys are now coming back to English Club.

Not exactly English Club, Boys!!!

One very exciting thing is that 2 of the team members from Camp help me at English Club.   Teo and Alina became attached to the kids in Stroiesti at Camp and have decided to stay involved.  They both joined me and Ana last Sunday for out “Mid-Summer Sunday School”.  We will resume Sunday School in September.

Learning Left and Right by playing Twister!

High School

I”m really excited to report that 3 of the teens who participated in the Mentoring program this year have gotten into high school! 

Andrei is the first in his family to go to high school.  He wanted to study mechanic, but did not get into that program.  He got into the electronics program.  Andrei is really excited about going to high school.  He has gone to take placement exams and his mother has visited the school.  Andrei has a sponsor who will cover his transport to school each day, books, uniform and lunch.  Before the mentoring program and MBK and his sponsor, Andrei had no hope to go to high school.  He is at High School number 3.

Silvia, too, is the first in her family to go to high school.  She is the 8th child of the family and education was not a priority in her family.  She openly defied her parents and refused to skip school to sell cheese. Silvia knows how important education is and nothing was going to stop her.  Her older sister works in Italy and saw how difficult life was without education and she told Silvia that if she got into to high school she would help with the cost. So Silvia, after a late start and repeating grades,  finished the 8th grade. She is 16 and is starting the 9th grade.   She got into the economics program at  High School number 2 in the city center.   Silvia still needs a sponsor to help supplement the money sent by her sister.

Anca’s sister went to high school and now lives in Spain. Her family works hard and they have some money to help her go to school. Anca got into High School number 2 and will be studying languages: Romanian, English and Latin.  She is excited.   She too needs a sponsor to help her go to school without being a financial burden on the family.

Lavinia has a place in High School number 3.  We are waiting to see if she can go back to school.  It is her prayer to go back.  With all the problem her mother is giving her, it is doubtful her mother will help  her financially to go back to school.  She is 17 and just starting high school. She will need a sponsor.

Alina Gabriela decided she didn’t want to go back to school after taking a year off.  She hasn’t told me exactly why she doesn’t want to go, just that she doesn’t.

Please pray for each one of these teens as they begin their studies.  Pray that they will all have sponsors.  Pray that I am able to rent an apartment in my building for the girls to stay so that they have less of a commute and a good place to study.  Pray that these village kids adapt well in the city schools without falling into negative peer pressure. Praise the Lord for all these teens have accomplished!

Adventures with INS–Romanian Style

In May, all of  my paperwork was submitted to the Ministry of Health in Bucharest to renew my residency permit.  The Ministry of Health is in the middle of…let’s just say “transition.”  And informed us, that they have not issued any visa renewals since November 2009.  I was told to wait and not worry; there would be no fines and no one would deport me.  But at the same time, they said don’t leave the country because I might not be able to get back in on an expired permit.  So I waited and didn’t worry. And didn’t make any plans to leave Romania..not that I want to leave.

Then, I received a phone call saying  that the police in Oradea are looking for me! My visa expired in June…3 weeks ago and they wanted to see me.  After some calls back and forth to Bucharest and Oradea, I had to go to Oradea.  Turns out, the police in Oradea are saying I don’t need the forms from Bucharest because of the “transition” there and Bucharest is saying that I shouldn’t be harassed by the police  or have to pay a fine.

So Tuesday morning, I got the call to go to Oradea and I needed to meet with the police  face to face Wednesday morning.  Tuesday night, I got on the night train to Oradea with a transfer in Cluj at 4 am.  I was able to get a sleeping compartment.  Turns out, sleeping on a train is like sleeping during an earthquake…pretty much useless, but at least I got to stretch out and get a bit of rest.  The connecting train was late, so I got into Oradea just before 10am.  After the all important coffee, Mihaela and I with 3-year-old Dena, started off to get my permit.  After pictures, the post office, a wire transfer  to the government accounts at the bank that had moved since last year, we got to the police.  The officer turned out to be lovely and had a 4-year-old little girl, so Dena being with us gave us a bonus. She did not make me pay the threatened fine, but said that I may have to pay for it when I come to pick up my card in August.

So I was able to catch the Wednesday night train back to Suceava. That’s 20+ hours on trains to stay in Oradea for less 6 hours!   unfortunately, there were no bed available for the return trip and I was stuck in a compartment with 4 others.  I arrived in Suceava at 4am and took a taxi home.  Being 4 am, the hot water was turned off in the building, so I just washed my face and went to bed.  What an adventure.

I will go back in August to pick up my card.  I plan of booking the sleeping compartment ahead of time…trust me!

Pets

I got a cat.  Before you scream, just wait…..she was so tiny and the kids outside were so rough with her and there are big mean cats outside, too! I just wanted to keep her until she was big enoug h to defend herself.   Her name is Izzy and I love having her with me.  When I was at camp, she stayed with some neighbors.  And then last weekend, when I was out-of-town, I left her with Diana and Bogdan.  Well, Izzy, the most well behaved cat in the universe, has a new home.  Diana and family totally fell in love with her and were eager to keep her.  It’s for the best since I am out-of-town most weekends this summer.   Olga loves the fact she’s little box trained…something unheard of for village cats and she is so clean.  She brought the family so much entertainment over the weekend!  And now Izzy has chickens to play with!

Diana and her new friend, Izzy.

You remember how Bogdan was working with the sheep in order to get a new horse for the family.  Well, in June, he got his horse.  Apparently, this huge animal is so gentle and the family will not sell the horse with Vasile, his father, leaves to work in Portugal this fall.  Bogdan can climb on to the horse with no help or saddle etc. Amazing!

Boy and his Horse

Lavinia

Lavinia isn’t from Stroiesti.  She is actually from another village, but her brother married a girl from Stroiesti.  Because there was space for a teen girl at camp, Lavinia came to camp.   I really liked Lavinia and admired her courage.  You see she has a problem with her legs and has spent a lot of time in the hospital recently.  Lavinia wants to join us at Sunday School and be part of a Bible study.

Last week, I was able to visit her a couple times and she really wanted me and Ana to speak to her doctor because her mother doesn’t understand the doctor.  I wasn’t really sure why, but agreed. Turns out, Lavinia got diagnosed with MS when she was 7 (she is 17 now) and mother did nothing for 10 years to get her daughter treatment. Well, now , the mother wants her daughter declared permanently handicapped so she can get the money. Lavinia and the doctor think she can improve.  Last year, Lavinia went to another city for tests and her mother caused so many problems that the doctors couldn’t do all the tests. The doctor wants her to go back to for more tests and has asked for my help.  The plan is for her to get out of the hospital on Friday and Monday we will go to Iasi for the test.  This poor girl just wants to get better and go back to school.  Her mother wants her to stay at home and collect a check. 

Please pray, that the mother will grant permission for me to take Lavinia to the doctor in Iasi for the test and she will support or at least stay silent about getting her daughter help.  Pray for healing for this wonderful girl.

A reflection on camp

Camp is over.  And although, it was the most challenging camp ever, I miss it already.  We took the kids back home on Sunday morning, and I found that after 10 days of being surrounded by short ones and friends and other leaders, I was lonely.  Now, don’t get me wrong, it is great sleeping in my own bed and having hot showers, but I miss camp and all the people there.   

One of the unexpected blessings of the camp was a group of 17 children and 3 leaders from an orphanage in a village north of Suceava.  Two of the leaders are Christian, but because of their positions and government regulations they are not able to speak about their faith.  The most they are able to do is have the children say the “Our Father” at meal times.  Well, I did not know this when I was asked by the camp director if the kids could sit in on our lessons.  This was an added burden that the team really didn’t need, but I felt I really couldn’t say no.  They had no lessons planned for their kids and how were my kids going to deal with being in lessons with the other kids weren’t.  I explained that I didn’t have enough crafts for their kids, but they could come to our lessons and participate in the music and games.  As the days unfolded, I learned that this was the first time the kids, ranging in age from 9-21, had ever hear any of the songs we sang and it was the first time they learned Bible stories and memorized Bible verses.  The kids from the orphanage competed with each other in earning points for verses, review questions and serving each other.  All the kids from both the orphanage and Stroiesti worked together and played together.  We integrated teams and everyone cheered each other on.  Some times it was girls against the boys and other times, the orphanage verses the village.  The kids from the orphanage really enjoyed the lessons and learning the songs and soon they were calling requests for Rebecca to play on the guitar, including Kum-ba-ya…all 10 verses! 

         

  

As I said before I didn’t have enough crafts for all the children at camp, so the kids from the orphanage would go out of the gym while we did craft.  Well, one afternoon I realized, the teens had not done one of their crafts. This was the only craft that was duplicate for the teens and kids.  It was a simple craft: making a beaded necklace (or name tag holder) and I had enough for all the kids to do it.  I let their leader know and they kids were thrilled to join us.  

  

  A very special blessing came when we did the lesson of Esther…Estera…the good folks at New Harvest Church had sent a ton of crafts and one of those crafts was decorating gold crowns.  They had sent 24 crowns, well, I knew I had 26 kids scheduled for camp and that the boys probably wouldn’t like to make princess crowns, so I brought with me the 18 wooden snakes they had sent, for the boys.  I don’t know why I brought all the projects with me.  I knew the exact number of kids coming to camp, but I did.  All together, Stroiesti and the orphanage, there were 23 girls and 18 boys.  Each child was able to do their project and it turned out to be everyone’s favorite project.  It was a God thing…that’s what it was.   

              

The kids from the orphanage left a day before us with tears and goodbyes.  But also with an invitation to visit them.  I spoke with director and he wants me to visit them and continue to share with his kids about the Bible and about Jesus. Ana and another leader want to come with me. The children from the orphanage were a special blessing to us all.   We talked about having our kids meet again.  Please pray that we are able to do this; I’m very much looking forward to continuing the relationship with children and between them and my kids from Stroiesti.  I believe God brought us all together for a reason and His reasons are always good.   

The whole group

 

Despite horrible weather and the bridge being out, despite wet, smelly clothes and shoes, and being stuck in the gym, it was a good camp.  And I’ve already started planning for next year….anyone want to join us for camp next year?