Wednesday, December 10, 2014

marshmallow update

The link for the marshmallow recipe in the previous post was not working properly. It should be fixed now. If not, you can try accessing it here:

Tuesday, December 9, 2014

toasting marshmallows

Q: What's better than toasting marshmallows?

A: Toasting homemade marshmallows!

Q: What's better than toasting homemade marshmallows??

A: Toasting homemade marshmallows in your own wood stove!

Ahhh... a little bit of heaven.  Sticky, gooey, sweetness.  Yum...

Wednesday, December 3, 2014

a visit from Uncle Earl

Two weeks ago we had a special visit from my great-uncle.  He was in Romania for a week with his son, who was working in a city a few hours from here.  On Wednesday while his son was at work, Uncle Earl was able to pay us a visit.  We had a wonderful time of fellowship with him, exchanging pictures and chatting.  He told us lots of stories, too, about when he and my grandpa were growing up.  We hope you can come again, Uncle Earl!

Monday, December 1, 2014


We generally think of this time as one in which we remember the pilgrims, thank the Lord for His blessings, and eat.  :)  This year, the meanings of those things were brought fresh to my mind.

Like the pilgrims of old, I also moved to a new home, a new county, a new hemisphere.  In fact, I took almost the exact opposite trip they did, going from west to east and by plane instead of ship.  Similarly, I have 'survived' my first year and have so very much to be thankful for.  While the pilgrims invited native Americans to their feast, I am surrounded by Romanians, who likewise have a culture, language, and customs different from those I was previously accustomed to.  But they have taken me in and welcomed me, even though I'm not one of them.  They help me and are a blessing, too.  Many of the early Americans wanted to reach the native Americans with the gospel, which is also our purpose in being in this foreign land.  How great a God we serve that we can spend a day remembering His goodness to us and thanking Him for all the ways He's blessed us.

I  neglected to take any pictures, but we spent this Thanksgiving with a few other missionary families and one Romanian friend.  We ate, laughed, played games, ate some more, and just had a nice time of fellowship together.  What a blessing to have other missionary families here with whom we can fellowship and celebrate our American Thanksgiving!

Sunday, November 2, 2014

Jonathan and Kristy's October Update

„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
Although the weather was comfortably warm a few weeks ago, it has become decidedly fall-ish now. We have started making fires in our wood stoves, as the temperatures get to freezing and below at night. We are very thankful that the Lord recently allowed us to get a source of heat for our bathroom. It is nice to shower without freezing! :o)
Some of the teens have been coming to the teen classes at church. Rafi (Roffy), Ionel (Yone-ell), and Rebeca (all saved teens) came a few weeks ago, and Rebeca and Ionel have been coming somewhat regularly. One evening when I was teaching the children’s class at church, Ionel and Rebeca came in. I let them stay (even though they’re not kids :o)), and after the lesson, everyone wanted to sing. So, we sang for probably 20 minutes, and talked and had fellowship. It was a nice time. Please pray that the Lord would give us wisdom to minister effectively.
Ion (Yone), Mariana’s unsaved husband, did great reading for the reading lessons we had the beginning of October. We have not had them for a few weeks though, because he was admitted to the hospital for testing. They found a spot on his lungs, and he is being treated at the hospital. We went to visit him and talked to him for a while. He said that when he was having all the testing done, he prayed to God. I have never heard him say anything like this before, and I believe the Lord is working on his heart. Please pray for Ion’s salvation.
We have started teaching English classes at an after school program here in the village. It is operated through an association (Casa Rafa) and run by a Christian woman, Livia. Many of the Gypsy children and teens that come to our services, as well as other children and teens from the village, also go to Casa Rafa. Livia has a heart for the Gypsies, and it has been a blessing to start this new adventure. It is a great ministry opportunity, and we have gotten to know a lot of the children and teens from the area. We will also be doing counseling with the teens at Casa Rafa. Please pray for us in this new ministry.
My parents were able to go to Germany for a quick visit to my sister and brother-in-law, Joanna and Bruce White, and their four children. Kristy and I took care of things here, and while I preached, Kristy taught the children’s class with Rebeca’s assistance. It was the first time for Kristy to teach in Romanian, and the Lord graciously allowed the children to be well-behaved that evening.
The children’s classes are often quite a challenge. Many of these children have no discipline, and do not go to school, so they are not used to sitting in a class and listening. Others know what they are supposed to do, but choose to be obnoxious. We have been having trouble with children banging on the windows of the church building outside, and running quickly in and out of the building to cause disruptions. The other night, some of the younger guys from the village actually picked up my parents’ car and turned it while we were in the service. Many times, as we are leaving, several kids will grab onto the car making it difficult to leave without hurting someone. We are often at a loss of what to do in these types of situations. Telling them what to do or what not to do often just seems to fall on deaf ears. Please pray that we would have wisdom, and that the Lord would work in the hearts of the Gypsies in Mosnita Veche.
We would also appreciate your prayers for our health and safety. We have been having some minor health issues for several weeks and are trying to get them resolved.
If any of you are interested in more updates about our personal and day-to-day lives here, you can visit Kristy’s blog: and sign up to receive her updates by email.
Thank you so much for your prayers and your part in the Lord’s work among the Gypsies in Romania!
Serving Him,
Jonathan and Kristy Heisey

Friday, October 24, 2014

culture shock

It's this nebulous thing that we've all heard of, but many never experience.

It's... the shock... of... being... in a new culture... right?

Well, that's only partly true.  It can happen to those moving to new lands or those moving to other parts of their own country.  The shock comes from the confusion, the unfamiliar, the change in what is normal.

And it hit me a couple months ago.

Not everyone experiences culture shock in the same way.  It can manifest itself in a whole host of symptoms: depression, anger, homesickness, allergies, sicknesses, fear, loneliness, missing the old and hating the new, or even hating the old and loving the new.  Any of these symptoms, and many more, can come crashing down on a person as the shock of living in a new place begins to gnaw on the person's spirit.

And they did.

Even though I've been through culture shock in the past, it took me a little while to figure out what was going on.  Something just wasn't right.  Frustration and loneliness ruled as I listened to conversations I could only partly understand.  Fear would come upon me at even the thought of having to be with those I couldn't fully communicate with.  New allergies hit me as summer rolled into fall, and my normally resilient self came down with a couple of bugs.  It seemed like tears were always threatening to come.  One evening I buried my head on my husband's shoulder and begged him not to leave me alone with the Gypsy kids ever, ever again.  (He had only been gone 5 minutes that afternoon.)  And I was obsessing about wanting to plant some flowers - I needed something to control.

But finally it dawned on me that life really wasn't so bad; I was only in the middle of culture shock.  God was still the same God, and He would give me grace to get through it.  It wouldn't be too long until I would be back to myself again.  The realization didn't overcome the shock, but it did make it much easier to deal with.

All in all, it only lasted maybe 6 weeks or so.  I still don't understand everything that goes on around me, but I am understanding more and more.  I still have a fear of speaking when other Americans are present (something I am working on overcoming), but in general the thought of speaking doesn't bother me, and I enjoy being with our Romanian and Gypsy friends.  I never did cry, but still, the tears don't threaten nearly as often now.  And I do enjoy being with the Gypsy kids... at least, most of the time.  In fact, last week, in a fit of boldness (or stupidity), I told my husband that I would teach the kids' class this past Tuesday night.  In Romanian.  :-O  He had to preach, and there was no one else to teach the kids.  We could have had them in with the adults, but I really felt like the Lord wanted me to step out by faith and trust Him to carry me through the evening.  Rebeca helped me, and it went well, thank the Lord.  If it hadn't, I just might have gone back into shock and told my husband never to let me volunteer to teach again!  But even if I had, God would still be good and would have given me the grace I needed to help me through the difficulties.

And the flowers?  Well, I'm not obsessing over them any more.  I realized that my obsession was in fact my flesh's hidden way of trying to take control of my life away from the One who had it all along.  I didn't need to plant flowers; I needed to rest in the Lord's control.  After that realization, every time I thought about needing to have some flowers to care for, God would remind me that He had everything in control - I just needed to trust Him.

And actually, He did give me some flowers anyway.  I love them and am looking forward to hopefully planting some others next year.  He is so very good to me.

there are a few random yellow petals on this one

We meant to get the same color.  They looked like they were the same color before the flowers opened, and the man we bought them from purposely gave us these two because they were the same color.  Oh well.  We originally wanted red, but I like them both so much now that I can't decide which I would have chosen.

Which do you like better?  The red or the purple?

Tuesday, October 21, 2014

pounds of pumpkin

While Jonathan and I were at the piata* a couple weeks ago, we walked by a lady selling bags of fresh, already-shredded pumpkin.  Each bag was 1 kilogram (about 2 pounds) and cost a whopping 2 lei - around 60 cents.  We bought all that she had shredded, which was about 12 pounds, and brought it home to freeze.  (Did I mention that it's already shredded?!?)  All I have to do is thaw a bag, pop it in the blender with a few other ingredients, and voila! - a fresh, pumpkin pie all ready to be baked!

12 pounds of freshly shredded pumpkin

Okay, so I have to make a crust, too.  But the recipe I use makes enough for 3 crusts, so I often have those in the freezer, too.  :)  We'll be able to eat pumpkin for quite a while!  Yum!!


Friday, October 17, 2014

dust bowl 2014

It was rumored that our street was going to be paved sometime this year.  This was wonderful news, as unless there had been a good rain within the past day or two, any time a vehicle went by our house, dust would poof up behind it.  Thankfully, most vehicles didn't move too quickly since the road was dirt and deeply rutted.  But over time, our windows and house exterior would get incredibly dusty, making it pretty pointless to wash them, as within a short time they would be coated once again.

However, a couple weeks ago, stones were laid on our road.  It wasn't paved, but at least there would be no more swerving and bouncing along on our road once the pavement stopped!  Little did we know that instead of having poofs of dust behind the vehicles, there would now be clouds of it!  Small clouds if a car is going by; billows of dust if it's a truck.

our yard when it's clear...
...and after a car goes by
Our coworkers are on furlough for a few months, and they graciously are allowing us to use their car while they're gone.  Now, since they smoothed our road, Jonathan has to wipe off the car nearly every time we use it, because of all the dust that collects on it.  If we're outside and hear a vehicle coming, we have to quickly run in or else be overtaken by a cloud of dust.  Everything is coated from the grass to the mailbox to the windows.  Since the wind generally blows towards our house from the road, we tried parking the car in the field across the street; however the neighbor lady told us that it would likely get broken into if we kept it over there.  So it's back in our driveway, lovely shades of brown mingled in with the red.

since yesterday
the mailbox on our gate
BUT!  We are *hoping* that with the presidential elections coming up soon that our road might get paved.  Often the candidates will do these types of things in order to sway voters.  We can't vote... but maybe if we mention it to someone at the primarie*... maybe, just maybe, our road will get paved sooner rather than later.

Or maybe not.  Perhaps we'll just have to pray for frequent rains.  Or try watering the road.

the pavement stops just a few feet before our house
*town hall

Tuesday, October 14, 2014

fall excursions

Lari spent Wednesday afternoon with us while my in-laws ran some errands.  It was such a beautiful day that we decided to make a visit to Parcul Dendrologic.  (For more pictures from the last time we visited, click here.)

I'm not sure how this happened, but this branch
somehow grew to be a part of both trees.
There was a lovely maple tree there
which had dropped some of it's leaves.

This tower apparently used to be someone's home.
It's empty, but you can walk through it.
I'd hate to have to be the one
to climb to the roof...

from the second story window
We had wanted to invite Rebeca to go along with us, since she and Lari have been after us for a few weeks to take them on an excursion.  But she was unable to go with us.  So, since Saturday was another beautiful day and she was free, we went back.  (It's only a couple villages down the road.)

We had a lovely time with them and couldn't have asked for a nicer day.  Hopefully our nice weather will continue for a little while longer!

Saturday, October 11, 2014

look what my husband got me!

I was going to wait to take pictures until they were in full bloom, but I just couldn't.  I was praying that I would be able to get some, and yesterday while we were at the piata,* we bought these from a very nice gentleman.

I'm so excited to have them!


Wednesday, October 1, 2014

Jonathan and Kristy's September Prayer Letter

„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
Thank you for all of your prayers for us this past month! It was a busy month with extra responsibilities for us, as I was preaching for my dad while he was in India teaching at some Bible institutes. Our co-workers left for a reporting trip to the States the beginning of September, so we are taking care of some of their responsibilities also. Please pray that the Lord would give us the needed strength and wisdom, especially in the absence of our helpers. We are already very much looking forward to our co-workers coming back the beginning of December!
Ion (Yone), Mariana’s unsaved husband, has been losing a lot of weight recently, and has been sick also. This has affected the reading classes somewhat. The other week, we went to have reading class with him, and he was not feeling well. We just stayed and chatted for a while with him and Mariana. I believe the Lord is working in his heart and trying to get his attention through this sickness. He does not stay at church for the preaching very much anymore. However, he did stay when I preached while my dad was gone, as for some reason he particularly likes when I preach. :o)  Many times after the church services, we have a time when we ask and answer questions or discuss things. It is informal, but it’s a great opportunity for discipleship, as well as spiritual growth. During one of these times, we were discussing the second coming of Christ and the saved ladies were telling Ion that he needed to be saved soon, but he quickly turned the conversation off of himself. Please pray that God will convict Ion, and that he will be saved.
Several weeks ago, I was talking to one of the boys in our neighborhood who takes care of a herd of goats. I asked him if we could buy some milk, and he started bringing it to our door regularly. I talked with a man with him that I’m assuming is his father, and we have gotten to know several of the children that help with the goats. We thank the Lord for these opportunities to reach out to those around us and be a testimony for the Lord.
Although the attendence was a bit low at church while my dad was in India, we did have some visitors. We asked Mariana and Gina, two saved ladies from the church, to help out with the children’s classes while he was gone. They did a great job, and it was a good opportunity for them to serve.
After one of the services a few weeks ago, Peggy, who used to occasionally come to our services, was talking to my mom and said that she wanted to be saved. She was shown clearly the Gospel, and prayed to receive Christ as her Savior. She has avoided coming to church since then, even after saying she was going to come. So, we are not sure of her sincerity, but we pray that the Lord will work in her heart.
We had an activity for the teens and children this month, and several came to that. When we arrived at the church building, there was a lovely pile of animal innards on the ground. We often arrive at church to find clothes hanging to dry on the church fence, garbage on the ground, and other various “gifts;” however animals innards was a first. :o) The activity went pretty well, except towards the end, when several of the young people started fighting, arguing, and not playing the games nicely. Just a few of the teens have come to the services recently, and we would appreciate your prayers for them.
The children’s classes have been pretty well-attended for the most part, although the children have not been particularly well-behaved. It is often very difficult to get one single truth across to them. While asking review questions after a lesson about the end of David’s life, I asked what kind of man David was. One of the boys answered, “Old. With a mustache.” :o)
We appreciate so much your prayers and your part in the Lord’s work among the Gypsies in Romania!
Serving Him,
Jonathan and Kristy Heisey

Saturday, September 20, 2014

as American as... pumpkin pie!

Earlier this week we bought a butternut-type squash so that we could make a pumpkin pie.  I cooked the squash on Monday, and Tuesday set about to make the pie.  Despite the fact that I was short an egg for the filling, the pie turned out beautifully.  A little goopier, perhaps - it's texture was a little more like pumpkin pudding than pumpkin pie - but still beautiful and delicious.

The next day Jonathan's sister and her friend came over for a visit.  I mentioned to Jonathan that I should serve them some of the pie when they got here.  And that is when I found out the awful truth: Romanians don't use pumpkin that way!  They would think a pumpkin pie to be quite a strange thing.  Indeed, not only do they not use pumpkins in their sweets, but they also really don't make pie.  Well, not pie as we think of it, anyway.

How sad.  A whole country that's never eaten a slice of pumpkin pie!?!  Surely I must start a trend and start handing out free slices of pie along with a recipe!

But that was not the only sad news I received this week.

Me: Do they have apple cider here??
Jonathan: No.  They have apple juice, but they don't make cider.

No apple cider AND no pumpkin pie??  How have these people survived the last 5000 autumns?!?

But I am discovering that, in some ways, autumn really is quite different here, and in other ways it's very much the same.  Trees shed their leaves, but they don't turn colors like they do in the States.  The sky is overcast and there's a nip in the air, but there's no smell of crunchy leaves being burned or decaying on the ground.  Perhaps there will be a particular smell as fall grows into winter, but we shall see.

However, right now there are corn husks everywhere!  In fields, strewn across the road or yard, and loaded into wagons are lots of corn husks.  The harvesting is going on, and this autumn sign is so nice to see.

And even though we have no cider to spice, we did enjoy a lovely cup of tea this afternoon to take off the autumn chill.  It's time to pull out the sweaters!

Oh, and Lari and her friend did enjoy the pumpkin pie.  Maybe I can change the course of Romanian baking...

Tuesday, September 16, 2014

equal blessings

Some people might think that living in a new country would be difficult.  And indeed it can be.  No place this side of Heaven is completely perfect; there are going to be advantages and disadvantages to any place, whether city, village, one's home country, or a foreign country.  But there are a couple places that are about as close to perfect as one can get on this earth: Pittsburgh and Mosnita Veche!

Pittsburgh was my home for 16 years, and I loved it.  I have been to many places all over the world, and people would sometimes ask me which was my favorite.  And as wonderful and unique as each place was, my answer always had to be: Pittsburgh!

But this post is not about my previous home; it's about my new home in Mosnita Veche.  And while completely different in almost every aspect from Pittsburgh, it is also a wonderful place to live.

Pittsburgh was a city full of hills and mountains, rivers and forests.  The village of Mosnita is flat.  Really flat.  Farmland and fields abound.  The Timis and Bega Rivers flow by about 10 miles from here, and on a clear day you can see the Western Carpathian Mountains way off in the distance.  I miss the mountains sometimes, so am very glad for every chance to see them.  The flats, though, have their advantages, too: huge rainbows, beautiful sunsets and sunrises, and storms moving across the plains can only be seen where there is nothing to obstruct the view.  Each day brings beautiful and new sights to behold.

One of the reasons I loved Pittsburgh is because that is where my family was.  As the saying goes, there really is no place like home!  But now when I think of 'home,' our little house in Mosnita is what comes to my mind.  I do miss my family, but it is also wonderful to have my own home and family here.  And now in addition to my family in the United States, I have acquired even more family here in Romania and in other parts of Europe!

There are definite advantages to living in a city.  There were several large grocery stores all within a few minutes' drive from my home.  Here in the village there are no grocery stores.  There are a few convenience-type stores, but they rarely have anything worth buying besides perhaps bananas or a pint of fresh cream.  However, about once a week we venture into the city to do some shopping at the piata.  There we can buy fresh fruits and vegetables, eggs, raw milk, and cheese from the locals.  You can't get much better than that!

There are other things that I sometimes miss living here in Mosnita, but for each one, God has provided an equal blessing.

Some people think I'm crazy, but one thing I often miss is driving.  Driving an automatic, that is.  We don't have a car, but even if we did, it would more-than-likely be a stick shift, which I am in the process of learning how to drive (we'll see if I like it as well as driving an automatic...).  But whether I was cruising down the highway at 70 mph, or just driving around town with a nice breeze blowing in my window, I have always missed driving when I have been overseas.

But I have also enjoyed being able to use my bike more and learning to use the bus system.  On weekdays there are a number of buses back and forth to town, and it is an easy as well as very reasonable option.  Taxis and trams once in the city are also generally easy to use and are not terribly expensive.

Another thing I miss is my church.  The preaching, of course, was the best, and I loved the abundance of singing, as well as the opportunities to play for the congregational singing.  The people in my church were also my second family.  But like I said, there are equal blessings here!  While I often am unable to communicate extensively, our church people here are also becoming my family; I have enjoyed hearing the different preachers here and learning new songs; and at the Romanian church we go to on Sunday mornings, I sometimes accompany the choir, assist at their monthly practices, or play for the service if the regular pianist is not able to.  And I get to listen to my husband teach or preach each week.  It doesn't get much better than that.

Another thing that is different is, of course, the language!  While I'm far from fluent, I am enjoying finally being able to communicate on a small level with those around me.  Visiting with the neighbors, getting help from store clerks, and fellowshipping with those at church are challenging at times, but also exciting as I practice using the things I've learned.  It can be frustrating when I don't always understand what's being said around me, especially if I'm in a group of people or if there is a lot of background noise.  But those times when I'm able to communicate one-on-one with a helpful partner who's willing to speak slowly and clearly and give me assistance when I need it is, indeed, a blessing.  And to top it all off, I have a husband who speaks Romanian like a native, so I can always get any help I need from him!