Personal Note: “Our Happiness is in God!”
Just over two months ago young Gadiel was born to our dear friends in Romania, Radu and Ioana. Gadiel’s name means ‘my happiness is in God’. Radu is a resident in neurological surgery; Ioana a music academy graduate. Last year Radu suffered a heart-related incident and was not sure he could continue his demanding career path that is his life passion. When we spoke with them just a few days ago, both had tested positive for COVID and were in quarantine – though with mild symptoms and rapidly improving. How good to be reminded each time they look at their son, that, through both difficult and pleasant times, their happiness is not found in their circumstances, but is found in God.
Going forward into 2021 we see a glimmer of light at the end of the very obscure and extended tunnel we have been walking through. We still need to persevere and continue to work from Canada until the countries in which we minister have greater stability and medical capacity and the people we work with have a broader freedom to develop ministry activities and have relational interactions. For sure, it is a test of patience and we remind ourselves as well that ‘our happiness is in God!’
Bucharest International Church:
God is God of Every Season.
In a recent conversation with Pastor Cristi, coordinating pastor of BIC, he spoke these true-to-life words: “God is God of every season. This is a tough season, a season for testing our faith. Do we really believe that God is good, for example? It causes us to look at the Bible with deeper understanding; to know that God is faithful at all times. Though difficult at the outset, good is in the outcome; though the winter ground appears to be dormant, the planted seeds are sprouting under the ground.”
Good things are still happening!
- A young Nepalese family recently relocated to Bucharest and, though their restaurant business has been closed due to the various lock-downs, they are having good response as they reach out to other Nepalese in the community.
- Small-group activities and Bible studies, rehearsals for worship and recording of the messages continue to take place at the R10 Activity Center.
- During the Christmas season many stepped up to help distribute food and gift packages around the city and bring support to those with greater need.
- Olya, with the help of her father and funds given to them, filled their car with donated supplies and drove a 1400 km winter journey to the war-torn area of Eastern Ukraine to bring relief to a town where numerous houses had caught on fire.
- Each activity takes more preparation, requires more thought, more care, and takes more energy to achieve the same result. Pray for the strength and well-being of all team members and a heart of understanding and compassion as they face challenges together.
Iana Matei, Director of Reaching Out Romania
“Attacked from inside, from outside, from everywhere. I am a child of God; it is God’s program, it is His work. Jesus set me free and I am blessed when I go out and blessed when I come in. No weapon formed against me will prosper,” are Iana’s expressed thoughts as she continues to battle both personal and work-related conflicts.
- The Ministry of Labour is attempting to fabricate a file against Iana. Two girls in Child Protection care were asked by the director to give a statement that Iana was exploiting them for money. Though threatened with lost privileges, the girls said, “Absolutely not,” and refused to sign, stating that they couldn’t say something that wasn’t true. Another NGO director was furious when she heard of this pretense, saying, “How far can the Ministry go? Instead of trying to fix things, they have ‘kicked back’ at those who are trying to make a difference.”
- At present, there are 6 girls in the shelter with another arriving this week. The girls were so thankful for the special Christmas meal and activities and New Year’s celebration.
- Though the girls are still not able to travel and attend church at this time, an Asian woman comes to the shelter, interacts with the girls and shares Biblical values and thoughts in a way in which they can connect.
- The fabricated attempts to discredit Iana and her work will dissolve.
- A court decision made in December will be overturned and 14-year old Daria will be placed in a safe environment. This month Iana will draw media attention to the fact that Child Protection is not working in the best interests of the recovering victims of human trafficking. In December Child Protection won the case to have Daria returned to her former foster mother. The boy next-door, who trafficked her just over a year previously, has served his 2-year sentence with suspension and is now back in that same neighbourhood.
- Rest and ‘Shalom’ peace for Iana as she fights many battles on behalf of the girls and her own family. Iana says, “Every morning I count my blessings, every night I count my blessings. His Word is a light. He is so personal in time of need.”
Spain: New Church Plant Possibilities in 2 Communities
Even amid Covid challenges, the Salem church in Bilbao, northeast Spain, is reaching out to establish home groups and preaching points that will lead to new church plants. Pastor Jesus Giraldo told us that two locations have opened up; one of these already has an established base with two families.
Abundance to supply the lack:
The words of Paul to the church in Corinth found in 2 Corinthians 8:14 are very appropriate right now for Ponferrada: “At this time, their abundance also may supply your lack.’’
Much needed support right now is appreciated by the Salem church in Ponferrada, northwestern Spain, as they are in leadership transition. Help is being sent to them from the leadership teams in Madrid, Bilbao, and, as well as, from nearby Aviles.