Romanian Field Updates
 

 

Romania Field Updates

Intro #1  Here I Am

Intro #2  Here I Go

Update #1  You there, me Romania.

Update #2  Ro-maniac

Update #3  Immersed in Ministries

Update #4  Urgent... Back Injury

Update #5  From the Land of the Living

Update #6  Saturated for God  

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Intro #1

November 12, 1998

Greetings in the name of Christ,

My name is Richard Kyle. My home church is Columbiana Nazarene (Ohio) and I am a Licensed Minister on the Akron District. After graduating from Mt. Vernon Nazarene College, I was a Youth Pastor for 2 1/2 years in Clermont, Florida. I recently moved back to Ohio to prepare for an eight month volunteer ministry in Romania.

While at MVNC, I spent a semester in Romania working with orphans and geriatric patients while working on my minor in Cross-cultural Ministry. I found the needs to be tremendous in this former communist country.

This trip, I'll be going as a "Nazarene In Voluntary Service". My position will be Associate Pastor of Spiritual Life. My service will be to the many volunteers, students, translators, and missionaries. This is an exciting opportunity for me to be in Transylvania, Romania helping the Faithful to minister effectively to street children, teens, and families of this medieval town in Central Romania.

This is a crucial time for the church to reach out to this under-privileged area of the world. Understandably, the church in Romania cannot afford to pay me any salary. Therefore, I've chosen to volunteer trusting that God will led caring people to help with the expenses. As well, I've learned from other missionary trips that your prayers are extremely important for a successful ministry.

I realize there are a multitude of worthwhile causes to support. I simply ask that you prayerfully consider how God would have your church to be involved in Romania. I know God will bless as you follow His lead in being involved. Please use the support card and return envelope I have enclosed for your convenience. I would eagerly accept an invitation to speak in any capacity at your church.

**All donations count toward the 10% missionary giving credit for your church as arranged

through Church of the Nazarene Headquarters, Kansas City, MO.

Make checks payable: ,Treasurer (marked: "Richard Kyle--Romania")

Set apart for Him,

 Richard Kyle II

Email: Use this address to send mail to RKyle2 via hotmail. Because web crawlers snag addresses for spam lists, this is no longer a direct link.

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Intro #2

I will be going on a mission trip to Romania in January. Most of you should have received a letter explaining the details, but I wanted to take a moment to personally share with about this great opportunity.

Picture Eastern Europe, Russia to the east, Yugoslavia and Hungary to the west and Romania in the middle. RomaniaÖ What comes to mind when you hear the country of Romania mentioned?

Maybe you think of gymnasts like Nadia ComaniciÖ maybe communism and the dictator Nicolea Ceacescu. Maybe you saw on television some of the orphans and the kennel-like conditions where they lived. Maybe youíve heard stories about the 10,000 street children and what they must do to survive.

Certainly, youíve heard about an area in central Romania called Transylvania. This is precisely where I will be going to live Ėin a well preserved medieval town in the Carpathian mountain range. An area once controlled by Vlad Tepes. Since he would throw people off the castle wall and impale them on the spikes below, he was also known as Vlad the Impaler. You might know him as Dracula, or as the Romanians say, Dracul, which means "the devil".

Shining in the midst of this out-of-the-way corner of the earth, is the work of the Church of the Nazarene. Our full-time missionary in central Romania also serves as professor for a semester-long ministries/studies program. In fact, back in 1993, I was a part of the very first semester-long group of students to go to Romania. I completed my college minor in Cross-cultural ministry while ministering in an orphanage and a death hospital for the elderly. I found the needs to be tremendous in this former communist country.

I studied the Romanian language while there, but never thought Iíd have another chance to use it while living in Romania! As I have followed Godís lead this past four months, He has opened the door for me to volunteer in Transylvania for eight months as an Associate Pastor. I am scheduled to leave the third week of January. My concentration will be to work with the college students and missionary team in the areas of team building, spiritual encouragement, and student guidance. I will also work with Romanian teenagers at the coffeehouse ministry and establish an outreach to young adults through teaching conversational English.

There are two distinct ways you can help me at this point:

One is by praying, the other is by financial support.

Since the church in Romania cannot afford to pay me any salary, I've chosen to volunteer trusting that God will led caring people to help with the expenses. I will be considered a "Nazarene In Voluntary Service".

There are two ways you can support this ministry financially:

1. By making a monthly pledge.

2. By giving a one-time gift. (Note: I am not asking you take your tithe away from the church.)

And certainly, Iíll need your prayer support. I've learned from other missionary trips that your prayers are extremely important for a successful ministry.

There are two ways you can support this ministry in prayer:

1. By committing to personally pray either on a regular schedule, or as often as God brings me to your mind.

2. By asking others to pray (i.e., Sunday School class, relatives, co-workers).

This holiday season there are many worthwhile causes to support. I simply ask that you prayerfully consider how God would have you to be involved in Romania. I know God will bless as you follow His lead in being involved I want you to know that I am thankful for Pastor Gary and the people in this church and the way many of you helped shape my spiritual life thus far. You are part of my spiritual family, and as I minister in Romania, I want you to know that I go as an extension of you.

 

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Update #1

 

Subject:   You there, me Romania.

Hello,

I made it here just fine. The plane ride was no problem and the food was good. Customs waved my friend Elizabeth and me through and we found our contact at the airport within five minutes. The drive to Central Romania took four hours, but we had a good time with the other volunteers who came to meet us. One of the volunteers is a friend that was in Bucharest with me five years ago, so we had fun catching up. My back is feeling quite good considering the way I slept on the plane and carried my luggage. Thank you to those that prayed for this.

I will be setting aside a couple hours each day to study language, thankfully I still understand many Romanian words. It looks like I'll be doing some graphic design work for the different ministries. I don't know how much or to what extent, but I do love to design. I may even work on a web page for them. I will also be teaching some English classes. Even though many Romanians speak English, there are many more that are very eager to learn. This will be a good way to make contact with people. Plus, I'll be working in the areas of youth & young adult ministry. Looks like I'll also do a little repair work on some cars and a little with building.

Let me tell you a little about where I am staying. It is within the walls of the ancient medieval city of Sighisoara, just a three-minute walk from the house where Dracula was born. This is a nice town where the people seem laid-back and peaceful. The bells on the Romania Orthodox churches echo about town. The house where I am staying is 400 years old! It is quite cute and quaint. If this were an American motel though, most people wouldn't pay more than $10 per night for these accommodations.

A bread oven that is made of stone (and is converted to gas) heats the house during the day. It is still used for making bread and making coffee. Since standards are different here, it is acceptable to have no heat at night because the gas might leak and kill me (or worse yet, blow-up the house). The bathroom and kitchen are across the courtyard. There is no hot water yet, but it is being fixed in a few days. At least the temperature hasn't dropped below 35 degrees yet. This seems a lot like camping to me! Good thing I like camping. The furniture is old too. I asked the landlady how old the marble topped bureau was and she said, "Not too old, it was made in the late 1800s."

I'll write more in the future as I get more into ministry here. You should be able to write to me here by hitting "reply". Pleases send some type of greeting. The email address is rkyle2@enc.elsig.ro and I'll be checking it a couple times per week. If you'd like to send me a picture, you can send email to my other account at Use this address to send mail to RKyle2 via hotmail. Because web crawlers snag addresses for spam lists, this is no longer a direct link..

Grace and peace to you,

Richard Kyle

*************


                                                       
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Update #2

 

Subject:  Ro-maniac

I wanted to tell you a little about the atmosphere of the Church here. The Church of the Nazarene has a good standing in the community and with the other churches. The church also shares ministry efforts with Eastern Nazarene College in Boston. ENC provides a great "hands-on" opportunity for college students, many of whom have never been out of the States, to come for a semester of ministry and study.

The church employs about ten Romanian staff members. They work along side the volunteers and missionaries to cook, provide building maintenance and construction, lead the children's programs, organize food and clothes distribution, and translate for the team. It is so encouraging to see Romanians leading a program like Kid's Club, which provides food and spiritual instruction four times a week for over 100 kids each day. Most of these children spend a lot of time on the streets and smell a lot like an outside dog that has not been bathed. Their hygiene is quite lacking. Often I've seen them with their grimy fingers in their mouths. It is easy not to want to touch them. That is, until one or two children excitedly grab your hand and hold tightly for want of a little attention. And, how can one refuse an awful smelling child that wants to sit close to you because you smiled lovingly at them? It does a heart good to know that Jesus cares that I care for these children of His and that so many others do much more for them than I do. I wish the westerners that provide food, finances, clothes, and games for this program could see first hand the difference their support makes!

So far, my role has been quite varied. I have been involved in "planning meetings" for the direction of the two youth groups here, the formation of a young adult Bible Study, and the possibilities of an English language class. I preach this Sunday in the morning service, and occasionally lead morning devotions for the Romanian staff and American volunteers. When the college students come I will help lead an English service (Bible study) on Monday nights. In a couple of weeks, I will assume leadership of one of the youth groups.

I sure am glad I spent the money I received from selling my car to buy a laptop computer. I'll use my laptop to: Create publicity work for our monthly Day of Prayer, compose a hand-out with directions for the Family Center, help design a home page for the Computer/Learning Center, and make an interactive page of youth outreach ministries that can be put on each computer in the Learning Center for the local teenagers to read.

**PRAYER REQUESTS:

* That my laptop will be protected from theft. There has been quite a problem with thieves in this area.

* That I will absorb the language better. It is a temptation to rely on English, rather than work on studying Romanian.

* That God will give me wisdom and spiritual sensitivity as I minister among the staff, team, and Romanian people.

* That the Romanian plumbers can figure out how to get hot water in my outside bathroom! Hot water will be a blessing, but I'm pretty sure the water will freeze on the floor when it cools after a shower since the outside temperature is about 25 degrees. We shall see!

* That I will continue to be healthy and God will continue to give me intestinal fortitude!  {:-)

In Christ's love,

Richard Kyle II

P.S. Feel free to email me any questions you have or just let me know what is going on in your corner of the world. I'll do my best to answer promptly. Please don't forward jokes or stories, as I am not always able to read them.

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Update #3

 

Subject:  Immersed in Ministries

Hello again,

It has been a while since Update #2. I wanted to become more immersed in the various ministries so I could give a more accurate report of my responsibilities. My first month here has been splendid. It snowed some each day for the first three weeks. A white blanket transformed this town into a medieval wonderland. The morning sun slips above the rolling hillside to first illuminate the Transylvanian citadel where I live, then the pastel-colored buildings surrounding the old city. It is a delight to walk around in this quaint small town.

Recently it has been warmer and a lot of the snow has melted. I recognize now that the snow was a blessing in disguise. Since itís disappearance, the melting snow has brought mud and has exposed the poor condition of the roads. Packed snow still remains as solid ice. This makes many pathways for me a comedy sketch waiting to happen!

I am so thankful for the many encouraging emails that remind me of your prayers for the ministry here and for me. This is something I donít take for granted, and I know this is a true matter of prayer for many of you. I just finished reading the book "Fresh Wind, Fresh Fire" by the pastor of The Brooklyn Tabernacle. In it, he talks about how we need to make prayer a central point of all we do personally and collectively. He argues that we should not expect to see great results from our "token" prayers. But rather, we need to cry out to God from our deepest desires. And, from a sense of being that realizes that prayer for Godís will is the foundational work of the Christian. While reading the book, I kept saying to God, "Yes, this is how I want to be!" But when it comes to putting desires to practice, I admit I often lack discipline. Knowing that, God used a circumstance to help me.

While on a weekend trip to Budapest, Hungary to renew my Romanian visa, I became very ill on the train. I had stomach and intestinal cramps that became more severe as the night dragged on. I took some Ammonium AD, but by the time we arrived in Budapest, I could barely find comfort. I sat in a restaurant just outside the train station, unable to walk to find lodging. My two friends and I prayed for Godís touch and within ten minutes, the pain was gone completely! God took away my pain and in forty-five minutes, we had found nice accommodations. Then, not long after getting situated in our rooms, the pain returned--only this time with force. I was thankful for my earlier respite from the pain and felt great as we looked around for lodging, but now the sharp, cutting pain was back. I fought the discomfort for about an hour. I prayed. My friends prayed. I prayed some more. Still, the pain became so bad that the only position that was remotely bearable was on the floor, legs crossed, hunched over. I had thought to myself that if the pain continues or worsens, I would need to go to the hospital.

My friends needed to return to the train station to meet another friend who was arriving. After they left, I spent some time crying out to God. I poured out my deepest feelings and deepest confidence in God. As I was praying, I became more and more tired. Remarkably, I was able to lie down and I felt a peaceful ease. In a few moments, I was sound asleep. Two hours later, my friends returned and I awoke completely free of pain, with no trace of discomfort. I went to the Budapest Church of the Nazarene and even ate Hungarian Goulash later that night! I learned that while God always desires for us to have communication with Him, there are times that God wants us to place our trust in Him and cry out to Him. It is in this way that He may be free to work in the delicate areas or conditions that are present in our lives. I thank God for the lessons He continues to teach me.

Let me tell you about the ministries that I am involved with here. Hopefully this will give you insight as to where your prayers can be directed. In my next update, I will share more specifics of how God is working in individualís lives through the ministries here. For the time being, I want you to know that your help--prayerfully and financially--makes me an extension of you by your faithfulness to God. Keep up the good work there, as I shall here in Romania.

My ministry responsibilities continue to expand as to fill most of each weekday and most hours of the morning and evenings. In other words, Saturdays and most afternoons are free. Though, this time is usually taken up by various tasks such as: Teaching basic computer and word-processing skills, study time, developing publicity (web pages and handouts), e-mail, and shopping for bread and other necessities. I also am taking a Bible class on Romans, and attending language class three times per week.

Other areas of ministries I am involved in:

Sundays-- Play harmonica and participate in worship services.

Mondays-- Work on publicity and participate in Monthly Day of Prayer, English Service, or Romans class.

Tuesdays-- Teach conversational English.

Wednesdays-- Lead Bible Study for young adults.

Thursdays-- Attend music practice and prayer.

Thursdays-- Lead Youth Group #2.

Fridays-- Participate in Youth Group activities or fundraisers.

Saturdays-- Try to rest a bit.

Periodically-- Help with Kidís Club (a four-day-per-week food and evangelistic ministry to more than 270 kids); plan for summer youth outreach teams; attend meetings (for Church Board, Youth Council, Staff, or Team); perform local church treasurer duties; lead morning devotions and prayer for about 20 staff, volunteers, students and missionaries; preach (twice monthly) for either Sunday morning church or Monday English service; mingle at Coffeehouse with young adults and teenagers; chauffeur church attendees, youth, and orphan children (to hospital); andÖ generally be available wherever I am needed.

If you would like to learn miscellaneous information about Romania, please visit my web site and go to my LINKS Page. The web page address is: http://romania.faithweb.com.

Guided by the Masterís hand,

Richard Kyle

P.S. Keep sending updates on what is happening with you. I enjoy hearing any and all news.

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Update #4

 

Subject:  Urgent Update

Dear friends,

Many of you know about the intermittent troubles Iíve had with my lower back. For the two months Iíve been here, I have had no trace of soreness. That is until I pushed our missionaryís stalled car from the roadway. After we secured the car, we hitchhiked the one-hour ride back to Sighisoara. Being jammed in a small car on bad roads weakened my back further. Iíve lived with the soreness before, so I wasnít too concerned at that point. Well, one day last week I was getting ready to go to a leadership seminar which I had a part in leading. As I reached to pick up my belt from the couch I heard two or three cracks and immediately felt tremendous pain. It was like I was hit with a metal bat and I dropped to my knees, rolled once, then screamed in pain. After about five minutes, I was able to lean on the couch while on my knees. I prayed and I know God helped me because I found the strength to unlock my front door. I knew, should the pain worsen, I would be too hurt to unlock it later. When I returned to the living room, my back gave out completely and I experienced the worse burning, cutting pain Iíve ever felt. Face down on a dirty unfinished wooden floor, I was unable to move without immense pain.

I knew the team and staff would be wondering why I wasnít at the training seminar, so I prayed that someone would think to check to see if everything was alright with me. An hour and a half passed before Elizabeth walked through my unlocked door to find me immobile. I was sure I needed medical help and asked her to return to the seminar to have one of the Romanians call an ambulance. They have socialized medicine here and since this is a poor country, the system isnít all that efficient. When they called the hospital, they were told it was too expensive to have the ambulance come for me, but the doctor would see me if I was brought in by car. By now, I was on the floor unmoved for more than two hours. Whether I went to the hospital by car or ambulance, I wasnít sure how I could possibly be moved without the maddening pain returning. My friends put a mattress next to me and I slowly moved to it for a bit more comfort.

A retired doctor in the neighborhood was located and he wrote a prescription for a couple of pain relievers and muscle relaxers. He left a morphine-type pill if the pain was still too great after a few hours. I took the pill. But the pain was so great, it barely helped. Another friend arranged for his family doctor to come to the house and give me a couple injections to relieve the pain and inflammation.

After six days, I am recovering quite well. I have seen three doctors and have taken a bucket of different medications in a variety of different ways: topically, orally, rectally and by injections. I have been trusting in the prayers offered in faith by many good people who care about my well being. I was really surprised that nearly thirty different visitors came to the house to encourage me. I am so thankful for the people who cooked, cleaned, and did a variety of little things to help me this last week. It certainly was difficult in the beginning when I even needed someoneís assistance to change positions. The hardest part, other than the pain, was the extreme amount of concentration it took to evaluate every muscle movement and the consequence it might have on my lower back as I changed positions.

I am now able to lay down without back pain, although my knees, arms and ribs ache from laying on my stomach and side for so many days. However, I believe thatís not a bad trade-off! I can sit for a while, but it is not a very good position for me. I am able to walk okay with a walker and can now walk freely to my outside bathroom.

This injury has cause me to think about the motorcycle accident I had nearly thirteen years ago. Now, as then, it is strange after an injury to depend on others to care for even the simple needs of living--such as filling prescriptions, cleaning the waste bucket, giving injections, providing food, arranging my bed, and communicating with the doctors. Since I have no telephone, Iím surprised things have gone so smoothly. I think back to the time of my motorcycle accident and despite my then new commitment to trust my life to Christ, I had a strong confidence that God was in control. This time I have had a similar trust, a deep sense that all will be okay--even if my future health or mobility is uncertain. The peculiar thing this time is that I felt no specific abiding or "extra touch" of God. Despite all the pain, I simply had an ordinary assurance that these present circumstances could not supersede my belief that God loves me and wants to care for me despite any condition in which I might find myself. I learned that the things of life are not nearly as important as an individual (personal) commitment to a life lived in obedience to His master plan. I must add that since my pain has decreased and mobility has increased in the last two days, my spirits have lifted to a new level. I have a renewed appreciation for the person God has helped me to become and the various ways that he has blessed me.

Yesterday, I made the trip to a neighboring town that has a German-funded, western type hospital. The doctor said the X-rays show a deformed backbone (or possibly misaligned vertebrae) and I should be admitted for four or five days. A specialist will come from yet another town to give his opinion. In the meantime, I will undergo simple massage and physical therapy.

Please pray for me during this time. It seems like I am improving quite regularly, but it is tough wondering if Iíll move the wrong way and my back will crack again, sending me to the ground in pain. If this hospital visit and staying in Romania isnít favorable for my recovery, my options are to go to a western country (like Austria, or Switzerland), or to return to America for treatment. I am confident that things will progress just fine here. Please pray for my healing, but also pray that I have wisdom to make to right decision at the right time.

In His love and care,

Richard Kyle

****************

My prayer reflections from the PSALMS

(quoted from the New Living Translation)

Psalm 86:11-13a

Teach me your ways, O Lord,
That I may live according to your truth!
Grant me purity of heart,
That I may honor you.

With all my heart I will praise you, O Lord my God.
I will give glory to your name forever,
For your love for me is very great.
You have rescued me... 

Psalm 40:1-3

I waited patiently for the Lord to help me,
and he turned to me and heard my cry.

He lifted me out of the pit of despair,
out of the mud and the mire.

He set my feet on solid ground
and steadied me as I walked along.

He has given me a new song to sing,
a hymn of praise to our God.

Psalm 23:1-4

The Lord is my shepherd;
I have everything I need.
He lets me rest in green meadows;
he leads me beside peaceful streams.

He renews my strength.
He guides me along right paths,
bringing honor to his name.

Even when I walk
through the dark valley of death,
I will not be afraid,
for You are close beside me.
Your rod and Your staff
protect and comfort me.

AMEN, Glory to God

 

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Update #5

Subject:  From the Land of the Living

My Dear Friends,

I am so thankful for the multitude of prayers spoken on account of my back injury. I was consoled to know that you talked to God on my behalf.

What I thought the doctors termed as herniated disks were actually slipped disks. The disks slipped from their place and aggravated the nerves with horrendous results. It is hard to believe that two weeks have drifted by, but things are going remarkably well.

Today, I exist with no disk pain! Thanks be to God. Things were rough for a while and now my lower back muscles occasionally feel a bit tight, but no real problems! It is nice to be out walking in the fresh air.

Please continue to pray for my sustained health. God taught me more than I can express to you. My faith was exercised and my spiritual lungs breathe the life of renewed strength.

Concerning the ministry here, it is not easy to gauge productivity. And, I don't feel that we necessarily should feel obligated to show X, Y and Z results. I say this only because I still want you to pray for:

* Kid's Club that feeds, encourages, and teaches the Bible to nearly 300 kids. (Remember the staff and volunteers who work with all the details of the program.)

* The new work we are beginning with elderly and shut-ins. (The economy and meager pensions are very trying for these people.)

* The local church ministries. (Sunday services have been Christ centered and I lead a Bible study for young adults.)

* The two Youth Groups and those of us ministering among young people. (We are seeing great insight and application of the spiritual truths being taught--especially in the Baragan Group.)

* The food distribution and social work with families. (It is not uncommon to see ten to fourteen people live in one to three tiny rooms. Trust me when I say you would not believe just how some people survive. Mothers offer 13-year-old daughters as prostitutes; babies are locked in institutions. I personally do not have television, radio, hot water, adequate electricity, or decent cooking conditions. I'd like to kick back and read the newspaper, a magazine, or a new book. I'd like to shower more often, and regularly enjoy machine washed clothes. But when I see my conditions in comparison to some others, how can I be anything but thankful and at peace in all situations. I have opportunities ahead of me; some people simply do not. I will probably not experience poverty, diseases, or malnutrition; many of these people will.)

* The babies in the Orphanage/Children's Hospital. (While they have food and medicine and safe surroundings, they lack the love and attention necessary to develop normally. Pray for those that minister and work with these "abandoned souls".)

* This organization of volunteers, staff, and missionaries. (We need wisdom with program creativity, administrative decisions, and spiritual sensitivity. Pray that we as leaders may be able to serve God by developing the right personal caring ministry among the organization members. Especially difficult are the inevitable personnel changes. In fact, by the time I leave on July 21st, there will be eight people who will have left with no new staff of volunteers in sight--yet.)

Resting in God's care,

Richard Kyle

P.S. Don't forget, I love to hear news from YOU. (:-)

(:-) (:-) (:-) (:-) (:-) (:-) (:-) (:-) (:-) (:-) (:-)

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Update #6

Subject:  Saturated for God

There is an area of Sighisoara called Baragan. In America we would call this place "the projects," here it is called housing blocs. This is where you can find three families sharing a one bedroom apartment, where old gypsy women and dirty-faced children regularly sort through the trash containers looking for food or something they can sell. Youíd be amazed at how many children there are running around outside, playing in dirt lots littered with paper and broken glass, and playing kids games in the street. Baragan is where I work with one of the two youth groups we have in Sighisoara.

It isnít any wonder that our outreach in this area has the potential to draw more children than we can effectively minister to. In fact, the youth group grew to the point where we had 46 people in an apartment living room smaller than most any American living room. We split the group into Jr. High and Sr. High and gave each their own night. Presently we have about 30 of the younger kids that come on Tuesdays and 15 of the Sr. High come on Thursdays. The things that limit us now are lack of space and lack of workers. When I think of two outdoor "concerts" we had here that drew enthusiastic groups of 300 and 500 people, I wonder why there is not even a single church in this area of nearly ten thousand people. I am reminded of the Scripture in Matthew, chapter nine where Jesus "felt great pity for the crowds that came, because their problems were so great and they didnít know where to go for help. They were like sheep without a shepherd. He said to his disciples, ĎThe harvest is so great, but the workers are so few. So pray to the Lord who is in charge of the harvest; ask him to send out more workers for his fields.í" Please pray for our efforts to reach some of the young people of Baragan. Pray for me and those that labor with me that God may strengthen us as we seek to serve.

I also wanted to tell you about a new ministry endeavor we have recently taken on. There was a group of students here for two weeks from the States and I was in charge of coordinating their ministry outreach and work projects.

We found a guy from England that was involved in the ideal project to combine ministry and work. So we joined him in a village outside of town building emergency housing for homeless gypsy families and offering a small feeding program. Some of these families live under bridges or in abandoned buildings (until the police find out). Or, they rotate from relative to relative, crammed in tiny one or two room houses. Some even live in the woods and construct makeshift tents made from plastic shopping bags, twigs, and scrap wood.

Going to the village I found a gypsy subculture within the Romanian culture. And more than that, I discovered there are even separate cultures among the gypsy clans. Alcoholism is common and this causes many fights within families and among neighbors. But even without alcohol as a factor, there would still be fights between the different types of gypsies that live side by side. Most Romanians have a deep prejudice toward the gypsies. It is much worse than the race relations in America between blacks and whites. When this is not said outright, it is communicated by looks of disgust and arrogant body language. Women in general have a subordinate position in Romanian culture, but a gypsy woman (in the opinion of many) is close in position to a dog. These are the people for whom we build rough 8 foot by 12 foot houses.

For you to get a picture of these buildings, I can best describe them as "glorified clubhouses" similar to those that American children build for recreation. They will be heated in the winter by a small woodburneróif the family can find wood. Iíve seen some families in stone houses burn their window frames for heat. (They donít stop to consider that more cold air or snow can get in through the plastic that they use to replace the window.) Notice I didnít mention tap water, toilets, electricity, baths, cooking facilities, toys or even diapers for the children. They have none. But now they can happily say, "We have a house." Here is my prayer request: Pray that the husbands donít beat their wives and make them sleep on the ground outside of the house. And, that they donít take apart the houses we built in order to sell the wood.

To those of you who have been following my updates...

** After nearly four months, I finally got hot water in my house. Unfortunately, now that the owners have provided hot water, they feel they should raise the rent to $100 per month. This is terribly expensive by Romanian standards, but because I am a Westerner they feel I should pay the increase. Because of this I will be moving somewhere else less expensive for June and July.

** I will not be going to Albania during June to help with the Kosovo refugee relief. I very much wanted to go and help any way I could (and the church had an opening). But a couple days before I needed to make a decision, my father was in a motorcycle accident. It seemed best for me to stay in Romania to see how he would heal (in case I needed to return home). While his injuries were not life threatening in themselves, he is diabetic and his recovery was in question. I am happy to say, at this moment he is healing more quickly than expected. Praise God.

Submitted to God,

Focused on Christ,

Encouraged by the Spirit,

Richard Kyle
                      

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Revised: August 15, 2001

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