Mardie Shares: ‘Cultivate Gratefulness’
In a recent call, Ileana, one of our respected and dear council members of the Bucharest International Church, spoke of how she has learned to cultivate gratefulness - even though all things could not be understood throughout this pandemic time.
The word cultivate implies action: a nurturing, an encouraging, a developing – it is intentional. The phraseology ‘to cultivate gratefulness’ speaks to me because, though there has been loss and much to grieve, being intentionally grateful over these last several months continues to trigger a sense of appreciation for all I do have, it then inspires, motivates and creates a more positive perspective towards any adversity.
Personally, we are grateful:
- that we have had our 1st vaccination and can hopefully anticipate a return to Romania in September.
In Bucharest, at the International Church, we are grateful:
- For the small groups that bring care to their members and have been the connecting network throughout the pandemic.
- For the Nepalese group that has begun and grown over the last several months.
- For the R10 Activity Center that has been like a lifeline to link people together.
With the Salem Churches in Spain, we are grateful:
- That it has been a year of wonderful moments of people coming to know the Lord despite the complexities, challenges, and loss of lives.
With Reaching Out Romania, we are grateful:
- For God’s daily provision of finance, strength, and grace throughout the unprecedented encounters Iana has faced throughout the year.
Time to Re-Shape
Romania has just entered the ‘green’ zone. New COVID-19 cases are reduced, many are vaccinated, medical centers are coping better, restaurants and venues are beginning to open. Once again it is time to adapt to this changing scenario. What should the priorities be? Where should the present focus be? What kind of shape should this next season have?
Following our Council meeting on the 14th we spoke of the almost overwhelming needs, questions, concerns, and opportunities for the Bucharest International Church community.
As such, we would ask you to pray with us as we enter the upcoming months:
- For wisdom and courage to administrate God’s gifts ably and appropriately.
- For a re-shaping of the leadership and ministry teams to adapt to the rhythms, needs and activities in this new context more adequately.
- For dedicated men and women to say ‘yes’ to areas of ministry responsibility.
- For the anointing of the Holy Spirit to rebuild trust, faith and dynamic.
- Continued financial provision to support a growing ministry team, for future investments, for renovations at the R10 Activity Center and potential purchase of a nearby property.
As Psalm 84:5-11 reads, so we are believing for new springs of refreshing in this next season: “Blessed are those whose strength is in you... As they go through the Valley of Baca (or place of weeping) they make it a place of springs…they go from strength to strength.”
Dan shares: Amazing, Divine Encounters
One of the amazing, divine encounters I’ve had while teaching tennis this last month, was a young woman who felt strongly impressed to get in her car, drive down a certain road, turn right at the light, go up to the end of the street, turn left, go into the parking lot, get out of the car, and go to the tennis court. That is how I met *Lia.
Her story of how God supernaturally intervened in their situation 30 years ago, highlights how God is so sovereign and connecting us with people, even in these COVID times.
At the age of 11, Lia was on a boat with her older sister and other Vietnamese. On open sea, for some 4-5 days, they thought all hope was lost and that were going to die. They feared the ‘bad’ pirates coming to rape, kill and throw their bodies into the sea. Instead, they were saved by ‘good’ pirates who said, “Give us what you have, and we will take you to Malaysia.” The pirates kept their word, and they were brought to safety. When these two girls came to Canada, they came under the care of a beloved senior pastor who shared with them the greatness of Christ’s ways. Lia, with her children, are now learning to live the Christian life.
(*Name changed for privacy)