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