Tuesday, March 14, 2017

Jonathan and Kristy's update 03/08/17

The past few weeks have been eventful, and although times and circumstances constantly change, we are grateful to serve a God Who never changes!
We have had several teens coming to some of the teen classes at church. They aren’t always very well-behaved, but they do seem to enjoy the class. Alin (Ah-leen), Mariana’s saved son, has not been coming to church for a long time. Mariana said he wanted to come to one of the services recently, but his unsaved wife didn’t want him to and called him to her mom’s house instead. Rebeca, who a few months ago said she wanted to turn back to God, has not been to church for a while either. We went visiting in the church neighborhood, and she was hanging out with the unsaved married guy she had been hanging out with before. I told her we’ve been waiting for her to come to church. Please pray specifically for the saved young people to come to church, to grow spiritually, and to follow the Lord and His Word.
Ana (Onna), one of the older unsaved ladies who comes to church, had a scare when she could hardly breathe. She has asthma and other health problems. Her unsaved husband, Nica (Neeka), also has many health problems, and he was in the hospital. God is working in Ana’s heart, and we pray that she will understand the Gospel and receive Christ as her Savior.
Cristina, a saved lady from the village who sometimes comes to our services, had been studying with the Jehovah’s Witnesses. After several unsuccessful tries of us showing her their unbiblical, false teachings, she finally seems to be coming around. After one of our services, we got to talking about how Jesus is God and equal with God, although He is God’s Son. The Jehovah’s Witnesses say that Jesus is a god, and is less than God the Father. Cristina recognized that that is false. It is exciting to see God opening eyes to His truths!
One of the saved ladies from our church who recently got baptized, Ica (Eeka), got very sick. After a few weeks of being in the hospital in intensive care, she has gone to be with her Savior. The unsaved man she was living with, Marcel (March-el), says that he wants to get saved. God is working in his heart. I was able to preach for the adults at our service while my parents were in Israel. Afterwards, I went with Marcel to see Ica in the hospital, and had some good talks about the Gospel with him. Please pray with us that Marcel will get saved.
Our weekly English classes with the children at Casa Rafa (Cossa Roffa) have been going well. Normally the younger class I teach is better behaved. The other week, we had such a great time during our class. Afterwards, the kids wanted to sing our John 3:16 song from church, so we ended up singing a couple songs. Please enjoy the pictures of the two classes I teach.
We have an interesting twist in our fence saga. While looking around for someone to build us a fence, I found out that in order to build a fence here, one needs a TON of paperwork. I looked into it a bit, and it seems like quite a hassle. After searching through all of our house and land paperworkI found that we actually have the necessary paperwork for building a fence, praise the Lord! It is not the type of fence we were planning to have, but it would work well. Unfortunately, the people I contacted about building it gave a quote much higher than we were expecting. Thank you for your prayers for this need, and please continue to pray that the Lord would provide a good fence for us.
The children’s classes at church have been pretty random lately, sometimes with many children, sometimes with just a few, sometimes starting out with a bunch but then many of them leaving. Even so, as we faithfully share the Word with them, we pray that the children will understand God’s truths and apply them in their lives.
We are so grateful for your prayers for us and our Gypsies. Thank you for serving with us!
In His service,
Jonathan, Kristy, and Cory

Monday, March 13, 2017

Jonathan and Kristy's update 02/07/17


This is an election year here in Romania, and unfortunately, the socialist party won the vote. During the middle of the night, they passed a bill making it unpunishable to take up to about $48,000. This was done to exempt certain politicians from having legal action taken against their corrupt deeds. There have been many protests in the larger cities in Romania, and they have been the largest protests since the fall of communism. We hope and pray that the Lord will change the hearts of those leading our country that they will make wise decisions and lead our country in a good direction.
In our last prayer letter, we mentioned how random the young people are, and how we just never know what they will do or say from one minute to the next. We are grateful that several teens have been coming to the teen classes lately! This past Sunday, there were ten, and they were fairly well-behaved. After we were finished with the class, I said that we could sing another song if they wanted to, and they did. They continued to want to keep singing, and we must have sung about 10 songs! We are praying that these truths that they sang will remain in their minds and work in their hearts.
Gina, one of our saved ladies, asked us to pray for her son, Adi (Oddy), and his wife, Lusi. They have not been coming to church, and we trust that the Lord will work in their hearts and bring them back to Him. Gina’s unsaved husband, Ion (Yone), has not come to our church services in years. However, he has just started studying with some Jehovah’s Witnesses that come to their house. Gina has tried to show Ion how their doctrine is not according to the Bible, and we are praying that Ion will understand the true Gospel and receive Christ as His Savior.
The other week during my children’s class, all but 3 children left the class. Thankfully, the ones that stayed were attentive and learned! During a later children’s class, about 12 children came, and all but 2 left! So many times while working with the Gypsies, the phrase from the Bible comes to my mind: they are “as sheep without a shepherd.” They wander here and there, following their feelings, lusts, and desires, and they need God’s grace and leading in their lives. Please pray for spiritual maturity in our saved Gypsies, that they will follow the Lord faithfully.
Among other news, it is that time of year when we have to pay our government mandated health insurance here. Although it is cheap compared to US insurance, it has about doubled in price in the past 3 years. Unfortunately, paying for health insurance here is a long, complicated nightmare. First, we have to go to the health insurance office to the information desk to see what paperwork we need. Then we have to go to the finance office with the necessary paperwork and pay for the insurance. When we went to pay, it took us over 3 hours from the time we left the house to the time we got back! We attempted to go to the health insurance office with our receipt and renew the health insurance (which is the next step in the long, complicated process), but by the time we got there about 11 a.m., they had already given out all of their 110 numbers for the day . . . by 8:10 a.m.! They don’t even open until 8:15! So, we will have to go another day to the health insurance office, probably very early, just to get a number to get in hopefully before 1:30 p.m. when they close.
Our property has been surveyed, and I contacted a few people about building us a fence. We are hoping someone will come soon to measure and give us a quote. Thank you for praying for this need, and please continue praying. There continue to be more thefts in our area, some with chainlink-type fences being cut by the thieves. We have a small, temporary chainlink fence around part of our property, and are very grateful for the Lord’s protection and safety.
Thank you for your interest and part in our work among the Gypsies. We are encouraged and blessed to have you behind us!
In His service,
Jonathan, Kristy, and Cory

Sunday, March 12, 2017

Jonathan and Kristy's update 01/16/17

It is incredible how fast 2017 has arrived! It doesn’t seem possible that a whole year has gone by since last January, but it is comforting to remember how the Lord worked and was with us in all that we did.
We spent the New Year with my sister, Joanna White, and her family in Germany. We had a wonderful few days together and were blessed to be able to spend time with them. As missionaries, it is a rare thing to be able to spend time with relatives. It is nice that we are somewhat “close” to Joanna and Bruce and can spend time with them a few times a year.
It is sad sometimes to see how random the young people are. You just never know what they will do or say from one day to the next. A couple months ago, Rebeca had expressed a desire to come back to the Lord, and yet she has only come to church twice since then. She did come to one of the services while we were in Germany. Sara and a young girl named Mioara (Mee-wara) came to one of the teen classes a few weeks ago. Mioara is rather slow, and very rarely pays any attention to the lessons. This was the case during the teen class; however, Sara said that Mioara wanted to get saved. I doubted Mioara understood much if anything about salvation, or that she genuinely wanted to make a decision for the Lord, since she wasn’t even paying attention. I told her to keep coming and learning from the Bible so that she could understand these things. Sara said she would explain things to her, and I am glad for Sara’s zeal. Speaking of random, we do get new teens that come every once in a while, and we’re always glad for those that are hearing God’s Word.
A couple weeks ago, right before we were going to start our teen class, I noticed the chimney in the teen room was burning. Needless to say, this caused quite the excitement, and took over an hour to completely put out the fire. Part of the ceiling of the teen room was destroyed, and some repairs will have to be made; but we are grateful the building didn’t burn down!
After one of the services the other week, Gina, one of the saved ladies, invited us to her house. We had a lovely time visiting, and of course, she had to feed us. :o) Cory was excited to play with Gina’s grandson, and we were grateful for the time we could spend with them. Often these informal times are the most beneficial for discipleship. It is a blessing to see the Lord working and teaching through these informal times we spend together.
We plan to have our property surveyed in order to have someone come measure to give us a quote for a fence. There have been more robberies in our area at houses with metal wire or chainlink fences being cut, so we will be looking at sturdier options. Praise the Lord, someone gave some money towards a fence for us, and we trust the Lord will continue to provide.
The children were not particularly paying attention during the children’s class on Sunday. However, one little boy, Leo (one of the cutest kids ever), was sitting very nicely, and sometimes even with a smile on his face. He was absolutely adorable, but I wasn’t sure if he was understanding much, as he is pretty little and doesn’t usually talk. At the end of the lesson, I played a review game with the children, and Leo seemed to know the answers to the questions better than anyone! I had hardly ever heard him talk before, and he was spouting off answers! Needless to say, he made my day. :o)
Although the people we minister to can be very random and unpredictable, we are so glad to know that you are always praying for us. Thank you for your part in our lives and ministry!
In His service,
Jonathan, Kristy, and Cory
P.S. Enjoy the picture of our time in Germany. :o)

Saturday, March 11, 2017

Jonathan and Kristy's update 12/7/16

„But God hath chosen the foolish things of the world to confound the wise; and God hath chosen the weak things of the world to confound the things which are mighty;” I Corinthians 1:27
The past few weeks have been eventful with ups and downs typical of Gypsy ministry. We have to rejoice during the up times, and during the down times too, knowing that God is still working!
It is difficult to get the teens to come to church, but we have had some coming recently. A few weeks ago before church, we saw Rebeca, but she didn’t come to church. Sara has been coming faithfully, and Angelo, an unsaved boy who lives across the street from the church, has come a few times too. Radu (Roddu), an unsaved boy who has only come a few times, also came a few weeks ago. Rebeca did come to one of the teen classes. She complained of being bored all the time, because all she has to do is school; and yet she hardly comes to church. Some teens aren’t very bright. :o) Please pray that these young people that are saved will live for the Lord and obey Him.
We often have a nice time of fellowship with the adults after the services. Talking about all the latest happenings in their lives, listening to their struggles, and encouraging them in their Christian walk strengthens our relationships. Normally with Gypsies, structured and planned discipleship times don’t work. Discipleship usually happens in our normal day-to-day conversations with them. Of course, we are grateful for their encouragement to us also, as they build us up in the faith. How encouraging when they grasp spiritual truths and encourage us with them!
It was great to see Adi (Oddy) and Lusi come to church the other week with their little Emanuel. Ica (Eeka) also comes now and then. Please pray for faithfulness and spiritual growth in our fellow Gypsy brothers and sisters.
We are glad to see the children coming to the services. The other week, I had to send some of the boys out for disrupting our class, but those that stayed were very good. I walked a few of the little girls home a couple times, as they were scared to go home in the dark past a big dog that often bites. That is understandable! Thankfully, we didn’t come across the dog. :o) I am often pleasantly surprised to see some of the children correctly answer questions at the end of my lessons – children who usually don’t know the answers! Praise the Lord for His Word getting into their minds! We pray His Word will reach their hearts too and change their lives.
The English classes at Casa Rafa (Roffa) have been better than ever lately. I have only been teaching one of the two groups of children at a time, and that seems to work much better than having the two groups together. It is exciting to see them learn and remember the things being taught! We’re grateful for the opportunity to get involved with these children.
Recently, we found out that we are obligated by law to fence in our property. Thankfully, this doesn’t seem to be strictly enforced for the most part, but it is something we could get in trouble for, as we only have a temporary chainlink fence on just part of our property. Please pray that the Lord would quickly provide a good fence for our property.
Thanksgiving was a wonderful day, and we have so much to be thankful for! We spent the day eating, playing games, and fellowshipping with our co-workers and two other missionary girls.
Last week, we had the pleasure of having Kristy’s mom and sister, Michelle, come from the States for a visit! We are so excited to be able to spend this time with them, and are making the most of our short time together. Please enjoy the attached picture.
We appreciate you and your prayers for us and the Lord’s work here. May God bless you as you serve Him!
In His service,
Jonathan, Kristy, and Cory

Thursday, March 9, 2017

Jonathan and Kristy's update 11/8/16

Oops... I guess it's been a little while since I posted our prayer letters!  I will be catching up with them over the next few days.  Stay tuned!

„But God hath chosen the foolish things of the world to confound the wise; and God hath chosen the weak things of the world to confound the things which are mighty;” I Corinthians 1:27
It is so encouraging to remember that through the blessings and trials of the work here, there are people all over the world praying for us. When we don’t see God working in our Gypsies (but we know He is), it is refreshing to think that people are praying for them. Thank you for your prayers!
It was encouraging to see Lusi come to church a few times. Adi also came the other week! Praise the Lord! Thank you for praying for them.
I was able to preach to the adults a couple weeks ago, and also at a fellow missionary’s church in the city. The message was on Christ’s suffering and crucifixion. It is humbling to be reminded of the great sacrifice He made for us. May we always be ready to follow Him, even if it means suffering!
There have been a pretty good number of children coming to the children’s classes. Many continue to leave after a short while, and although that is a disruption, it is encouraging to see those that stay and want to learn. Sometimes it surprises me when they know so many answers to questions at the end of a lesson, even hard questions! How exciting to see them learning from God’s Word!
One of the teen boys that was coming to the school classes, Angelo, started coming to our teen classes. We praise the Lord for this! Sara continues to come as well, although she has been hanging out with some teen girls in the neighborhood that are not a good influence for her. Please pray that Sara would “walk with the wise” and stay away from those that draw her away from the Lord. The teens seem to enjoy talking and goofing around after the church service (what else is new?!). :o) Romica (Rome-eeka), an older teen boy, came for the first time in a while towards the end of one of our teen classes. It was good to be able to talk to him, and I hope he will keep coming. Rebeca came to church a couple weeks ago, and was friendly with us, which was nice. She asked for prayer that she would get back to God. This was an answer to prayer! Unfortunately, she has not been to church since. Please pray that Rebeca will obey the Lord and stay close to Him.
The children at our English classes at Casa Rafa have been doing very well. It’s encouraging to see them learning and remembering the things they’ve learned! Please pray that we would have wisdom as we teach, and as we minister to the children and teens.
We had our last school class for a few months, and it was good to see the faithful ones come and put their brains to work. We decided to stop the school classes during these cold months, as we use all three rooms in the church building for school, and we are short on time and fire wood to start fires every week for that. We are grateful for all that they have learned!
It was a blessing to have my sister and brother-in-law, Joanna and Bruce White, and their family come from Germany for a visit for a few days. It is always wonderful to spend time with family!
There have been quite a number of thefts in our area recently. We are grateful that the Lord has protected us. We have a small, temporary chainlink fence around just part of our property, and we would ask you to please pray with us that the Lord would allow us to have a proper fence built for our property.Everyone here has a fence around their property, and we believe  it is a good safety measure.
We appreciate all your prayers for us and the Lord’s work here. May God bless you as you serve Him and take part in this ministry to the Gypsies!
In His service,
Jonathan, Kristy, and Cory

Tuesday, October 11, 2016

Jonathan and Kristy's update 10/9/2016

„But God hath chosen the foolish things of the world to confound the wise; and God hath chosen the weak things of the world to confound the things which are mighty;” I Corinthians 1:27
Sometimes it amazes me how much gets packed into one month of our lives. Thank you for your part in God’s work among the Romanian Gypsies!
The most difficult age for people to live for the Lord seems to be the teen years. Very few teens have been coming to our services, but we are grateful for those that come! It seems whenever I see a group of them and go over to talk to them or invite them to church, they disperse. It’s almost comical, although it’s sad at the same time. Sara continues to come faithfully, so that is encouraging. Two girls came who hadn’t come for a while. Although they didn’t really pay attention, I’m glad they came. We heard that Rebeca is in a relationship with an older guy who is known for being a “bad boy.” This guy already has a wife and child, but he apparently likes Rebeca. We believe this is the reason for Rebeca’s distance, and for her ignoring us. Please pray that the Lord would get ahold of her heart.
After being beaten by her “man” and harassed by the neighbors, Ica (Eeka) decided she had had enough. She went back to her home village. However, she returned after a few weeks, saying that she felt bad for her man, Marcel (March-ell). The two are not married, so in that sense, it was better that she had left. Now that she is back, she is dealing with the typical issues of being made fun of for getting baptized and becoming a “repenter,” as well as children throwing rocks and bricks at their house. Thankfully, she is feeling a little better, but please pray for strength and steadfastness for Ica as she deals with oppression from the unsaved. Please also pray that Marcel would receive Christ as his Savior. We have talked at length with Marcel about the Gospel and know that the Lord is working.
The children continue to amaze, and disappoint us. Often, most of the children leave the children’s class at church before the lesson even starts. Thankfully, the ones who stay are usually very attentive, and answer review questions at the end of the lessons. After one of the classes, a few of the girls wanted to sing a Christian chorus that they knew. The children often want to help hold the songs we sing, or help with the lesson pictures. It’s great when they are involved (as long as they behave :o) ), as they tend to not leave! During my lesson about Jesus being condemned to death, three of the girls were very tender hearing about His suffering. They were anxious to hear the rest of the story of how He was crucified. The next week when I taught about the crucifixion, they were not quite as thrilled, but it was good to see them thinking somewhat seriously about the lesson. Please continue to pray that the Lord would work in the hearts of the children!
Lusi did come to one of the services recently, but Adi (Oddy) has not. Gina, Adi’s mother, said to pray for Adi and Lusi that they will think about the Lord.
The school classes have had fewer attending recently, but it’s often easier to handle fewer of them. It is so exciting seeing them learn the letters, and to see some of them reading! What an amazing gift God has given us to be able to read His Word!
We appreciate all your prayers for us and the Lord’s work here. May God bless you as you serve Him and take part in this ministry to the Gypsies!
In His service,
Jonathan, Kristy, and Cory

Friday, September 9, 2016

Jonathan and Kristy's update September 8, 2016


The last few weeks have been typical of Gypsy ministry with ups and downs. We are grateful for each day the Lord gives us to serve!

Thank you for praying for the children’s classes. They continue to be well-attended, though often some leave before the class is over. Dani (Donny) left the other week with some other boys, but Codru came and he was actually very good. Last Sunday, there were a ton of kids, and they were pretty good for as many as there were. We hope God will continue to teach them His truths through us.

Around 22 children have been coming to the weekly school times. Although they were a little more hyper during class this week and there were some interruptions, they have been very well-behaved overall. We thank the Lord for all that they are learning, and ask you to please pray with us that they will learn well. Reading is the most important focus in our school times, as we want them to be able to read the Word of God. We also do writing and numbers with them too.

A few weeks ago, we got a call from our neighbors (who are believers) that a group from a church in Germany was staying with them for a few days, and was interested in doing a program with the Gypsy children. So, we had some songs, games, and a Biblical lesson in the church neighborhood, and we enjoyed seeing this group’s willingness to serve. Some of those from the group came to church with us the following Sunday and gave some encouraging testimonies.

We had a good time at the baby dedication for Adi (Oddy) and Lusi’s little boy. In the end, close to 100 people came. A Romanian pastor friend of ours preached, and their family and ours did some special music. Praise the Lord for Adi and Lusi’s testimony to raise their son for Him!

The other week when we went to the church building to do school with the children, we started talking to Ica (Eeka), who recently got saved. She was not feeling well, and explained in tears that she ran out of medicines, and didn’t have any money even for food, much less medicine. She did not ask us for anything though, which is rare for the Gypsies. Thankfully, we and our co-workers were able to get some of her medicines. The Lord has allowed a lot of trials in her life. We were planning a baptism for this week (on Tuesday), so we talked with her about getting baptized, as well as to Sara, Adi, and Lusi. Adi and Lusi didn’t think they wanted to get baptized at this time, Sara was not sure, but Ica indicated that she wanted to. My sister, Larisa, made sure of her salvation at camp recently, so she wanted to get baptized. When the day of the baptism came, it was encouraging to see Adi come to the service, although he didn’t want to get baptized. Lusi didn’t come, Sara did not want to get baptized, and Ica was feeling terrible, so she was at home. I was rather discouraged that it seemed no one except Larisa was getting baptized, but also very glad that she was getting baptized! When we walked to the baptistry (which was next to the church) to do the baptism, Ica started walking over with us. She began crying, and we thought she just was feeling terrible, and she probably was, but she just said that she really wanted to get baptized! Praise the Lord! You can see the attached pictures of the baptism. It was good to see Rebeca come to that service. There were probably at least 100 onlookers to witness 2 of God’s children showing their salvation testimony and their desire to follow Him!

Thank you for your prayers for us and the Lord’s work here. May the Lord bless your part in this ministry to the Gypsies!

In His service,
Jonathan, Kristy, and Cory