June 2020

The New Look

After strict lock-down measures in Romania and most people living confined within small, city apartments, government permission is now allowing a loosening of the restrictions.

The open courtyard, at what we familiarly refer to as ‘R10’ because of its street address, is now appreciated more than ever. The Bucharest International Church community can gather once again in the outdoor space. It may look different with protocols for safety in place and a reduction in permitted numbers - but the relationships and an occasion to worship together again are valued even more!

Courtyard Gathering: Getting ready for Pentecost Sunday
with the 1st Communion Service after 3 months

The New Way

The technological mediums now allow us the variety of tools to communication across the nations. And, if you are like us, Zoom and Skype and Messenger have become our working-normal as multiple times throughout the last weeks we have connected with friends, family, colleagues and those with whom we are in a spiritual parenting relationship.

The PAOC General Conference that we were to attend in Halifax on our return trip from Bucharest to Vancouver in May was, instead, an event of over 1000 people – all, virtually together, on-line. Our bi-annual Bucharest Church council meeting was held with four members distanced and masked around tables in Bucharest while Dan and I joined by Skype from Surrey. Unfortunately, we could not virtually enjoy what looked like a delicious chicken meal served at the end of the 3-hour session!

Mardie was invited to speak with the ladies’ group in the Salem Church in Cordoba, Southern Spain.
Again, Zoom was the way to connect!

The New Opportunities

With more people at home, greater time flexibility, less travel constraint and technologies downloaded, new opportunities have opened up. For instance:

  • Guest speakers from England and America, ‘’On-Line’’ were invited to speak to the Young Adult group in Bucharest to broaden their horizons
  • A men’s group in Bucharest now meets for a weekly morning, difficult to previously co-ordinate
  • PAOC Global workers from around the world meet via Zoom Connection each Friday with Murray Cornelius, our mission director
  • Dan and I have been able to log in to hear the Sunday services filmed in Bucharest and Spain
  • Dan was invited to record a Spanish message for the use of a Mexican/Latin congregation in nearby Langley, using Mardie’s phone for the visuals.

Creative Alternatives

In Bucharest, a young man, age 42 passed away in a non-related Covid-19 death. Though a chronic condition, it was still shocking and unexpected. Even with the Covid-19 restrictions there, the Bucharest church community ‘’came together’’ in so many creative ways to help the family and loved ones in their time of loss.

Mardie shares: A Gift of Time

Though initially, at the start of the COVID-19 pandemic with the lock-downs and restrictions, I went through a time of shock and grieving. I mourned the many losses suffered: having to return to Canada from Bucharest without completing the purposes for which we had travelled there in early March, not flying to Madrid to care for our grandchildren while Mark and Kim exchanged with us in Bucharest to teach some workshops, and here in North America, not being able to cross the border to see our other two children living in Seattle and LA.

However, after a few weeks I came to realize that we had also been granted a rare ‘gift of time’. Time to be centered in one location, to live a slower pace, time for thought and meditation, time to form some new habits, to set some new priorities, to re-evaluate what is worthy of significance.

With the Cordoba ladies I shared a verse from Psalm 90:12Teach me to number my days, that I may gain a heart of wisdom.” It is my prayer, going forward, as we return once again to a more accelerated pace, to apply the wisdom gained from the ‘gift of time’ we received; to be appreciative of the gift of life that we still have while others may have been less fortunate.


  • For oneness of heart and vision as the Ministry Team of the Bucharest International Church find the ways to effectively minister to the church and community.
  • For confidence and renewed strength for the pastors and leaders of the Salem churches in Spain to bring a message of hope to a country that has been so tragically affected by the pandemic with 27,000+ deaths due to COVID-19 in a country whose size can fit twice into British Columbia.