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!

Friday, September 12, 2014

cherries, peaches, plums, and apples

One of the things our yard is blessed with is lots of fruit trees!  There are four little sour cherry trees in our yard.  Technically only three of them are on our property, but since we haven't put up a new fence yet marking the boundary lines, and since the neighbor doesn't really want them, we helped ourselves to the fourth tree, too.

in bloom
getting ripe!
We not only made cherry pies, we also enjoyed eating them fresh and freezing them for future use.  My father-in-law was especially grateful for the ones we shared with them, too.  :)  Yum!

We also have two peach trees - one small and one big.  Aren't the blossoms beautiful?

These two trees have yielded quite a number of white peaches so far this summer.  They're not the prettiest peaches you've ever seen, but they have great flavor, a light fuzz, and are easy to pit.  We've frozen a couple of gallon-sized bags of them already, and there are still more on the trees.

We also have two plum trees.  We had a third one, but half of it came down in a storm earlier this summer.  It was right outside the back door, too, which wasn't very convenient, so we just decided to take it down since there wasn't much left to it anyway.  Although we didn't get an abundance of plums this year, normally the trees are laden with them.  (I'm afraid I didn't get a picture of the fruit... the blossoms will have to suffice this year!)

We also have an apple tree and a pear tree.  The pear tree is rather small and is kind of shadowed by the big peach tree, so it is not producing very much.  There are a few pears on it, though, which will hopefully be ripe in another few days.  Unfortunately, a frost killed all but five of the apples, and only one of those lasted very long.  It finally fell off a month or so ago.  We did try a bite of it, and though it wasn't ripe yet, it was still good.  Hopefully next year the tree will have a better yield.

Tuesday, September 9, 2014

three cheers for garlic!

Back in July I wrote about gathering the bunches of garlic that had grown up in our yard.  We picked them, braided them, and hung them in our shed, and after nearly two months, the bulbs were finally dry and ready to be stored.  

I cut off all the stems, trimmed the roots, and ended up with a beautiful pile of garlic!

Okay, so the basket did have a couple of small onions in it, too...  :)

It was a lot of fun to harvest and dry our own garlic, but we probably won't do it again.  Fresh, home-grown garlic is so cheap here that it really isn't worth our time to plant it again.  But it was fun to do this year, since we had it growing in our yard anyway.


Sunday, September 7, 2014

Saturday, September 6, 2014


Last week there was a fire next door.  It was a planned fire, but a fire nonetheless.  Here the villagers will often burn their fields after they have harvested their crops.  Earlier this year this field behind our neighbors' house was full of golden wheat.  Last week it was a raging fire.

the field on June 21st

I took these pictures from the kitchen window.  You can see how close the fire was to us!  Our property ends at the tall grasses, and our lawn was thankfully short enough that the fire wasn't tempted to come into our yard.  However, Geta did have to go over and beat out a little that was beginning to kindle the grasses on the property behind ours.  I was a little nervous... just about the time they started burning, the wind picked up and was blowing quite strongly.  But the Lord took care of everything.  I am glad that it's over for another year, though!

Thursday, September 4, 2014

Wednesday, September 3, 2014

welcome! (part 5)

I never did finish showing you around our house.  There is just one finished room left to show: the bedroom!


how the previous owner had it

This little wood stove heats the room up in no time!

The quilt was a wedding gift from my
coworkers at The Quilt Company.  We love it!
The afghan was a wedding present from my aunt.
It matches our house beautifully!
We love the underside of our quilt, too!
It has great colors for the summer.

We have one other room on the main floor that is not yet finished.  Someday we hope to make it a guestroom so that you can come visit!  :)  The exterior is almost completed...  Lord-willing, I will post pictures of it soon!

Tuesday, September 2, 2014

Jonathan and Kristy's August Prayer Letter


August has brought beautiful weather to Mosnita (Moesh-neetsa), and there have been plenty of opportunities for having church services outside, as well as walking around and visiting with people.

Ion (Yone), Mariana’s unsaved husband, seems to be enjoying reading a bit more than he had. He doesn’t have much motivation to learn, as he doesn’t really see what he could be reading. But I hope that he will get saved soon, and be able to read the Bible! The reading classes are often a time when we can sit and chat and even talk about spiritual things. Please pray that God will work in Ion’s heart.

A few teens have been coming to the church services. Larisa, my younger sister, was able to talk to one of the teen girls in depth about salvation. She and her mother seem open, but are afraid to get saved because of what others might say or do to them. Please pray for Mirabela and Steaua (Ste-owwa). Kristy was able to teach one of the teen classes this month, as there were just girls. Please pray for us as we try to reach out to these young people.

One evening, we had a Romanian pastor and his wife come to our service. Brother Remus (Reh-moose) had an excellent message, and many people came to that service and heard the Word.

The Gypsies here have been hearing the Gospel preached to them clearly, not just at church, but also from us going to them and talking to them. A few months ago, we started praying daily for each one in that area of the village by name. The Lord is working, trying to break their hardened hearts and get their attention. A day or two after my dad talked very directly about salvation to Michi (Mickey, the village drunk), he basically lost his mind and went crazy. He was in a mental hospital for several days, but is now back home and seems to be OK. Gicu (Gee-cu), who often came to the reading classes, got very upset at Lili (Mariana’s daughter whom he lives with). We are still not sure why he was upset, but it was nothing major in any case. He beat her so badly that he broke one of her ribs which ruptured her spleen. She had to have emergency surgery and have her spleen removed. They have four little children. Lili made a profession of faith many years ago, but never really showed any fruit. Please pray for Lili and Gicu.

Occasionally, Rebeca, one of the saved teen girls, will spend time with Larisa, and they will come to our house to visit. With the nice weather, the other day, we were able to ride our bikes with them to the forest behind our house. We hope that spending time like this with them will help strengthen our relationships and allow us to minister more effectively.

Some missionary friends of ours from Serbia are here visiting for a few days. We celebrated my 29th birthday (August 31st) with them, and have been enjoying fellowship with them. Also, a few weeks ago, we were able to spend a few days with my parents, and Aunt and cousin from the States. We visited two castles several hours away, and it was a nice time of refreshment.

On Thursday, my dad will leave for a three week missions trip to India. Also on Thursday, our co-workers, the Freels, will be leaving to go to the States for a few months on furlough. Please pray for the Lord’s help as I will be preaching for my dad, and we will have many extra responsibilities.

Thank you so much for your prayers and for your part in the Lord’s work among the Gypsies in Romania!

Serving Him,
Jonathan and Kristy Heisey

P.S. Enjoy the attached picture of Rebeca and Larisa on our trip to the forest!