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
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
Church of the Nazarene Headquarters, Kansas City, MO.
checks payable: ,Treasurer (marked: "Richard
Set apart for
Richard Kyle II
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
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
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
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
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
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.
You there, me Romania.
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
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 email@example.com 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
Grace and peace to you,
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
* 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
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
Immersed in Ministries
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
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
Sundays-- Play harmonica and
participate in worship services.
Mondays-- Work on publicity
and participate in Monthly Day of Prayer, English Service, or Romans
Wednesdays-- Lead Bible Study
for young adults.
Thursdays-- Attend music
practice and prayer.
Thursdays-- Lead Youth Group
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,
P.S. Keep sending updates on
what is happening with you. I enjoy hearing any and all news.
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,
My prayer reflections from the PSALMS
(quoted from the New Living Translation)
Teach me your ways, O Lord,
That I may
live according to your truth!
Grant me purity of heart,
I may honor you.
With all my heart I will praise you, O
Lord my God.
I will give glory to your name forever,
your love for me is very great.
You have rescued me...
I waited patiently for the Lord to help
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
steadied me as I walked along.
He has given me a new song to sing,
hymn of praise to our God.
The Lord is my shepherd;
everything I need.
He lets me rest in green meadows;
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
Your rod and Your staff
protect and comfort me.
AMEN, Glory to God
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
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
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
* 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
* 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
* 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,
P.S. Don't forget, I love to hear news from
(:-) (:-) (:-) (:-) (:-) (:-) (:-) (:-)
(:-) (:-) (:-)
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
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
** 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
** 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,