Sunday, January 14, 2018

Jonathan and Kristy's update 1/08/2018

NEXT GENERATION PREPARATION

„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
1/08/2018

We had a wonderful holiday season as we particularly remembered the miraculous birth of our Savior! My parents were in the States for a week with my oldest brother and his family for Christmas, so we spent the day by ourselves, and read the passage in the Bible about Jesus’ birth. Though some do not celebrate Christmas because of its origins, I think it is still a good idea to take time and be reminded of the wonders and blessings of Christ’s birth, no matter what day it is!

There was a week or two recently when no teens showed up at church, but other weeks, we had a bunch of them come. To my amazement, one week, one of the boys who is usually terribly behaved was perfect! I didn’t hear a peep out of him the whole service. A few weeks ago, Sara was hanging out with a guy, but Mariana told us that she isn’t with him anymore. Sara came to church this past Sunday, and was very attentive and even asking questions about the lesson. Please keep praying that she will live for the Lord!

The children have been coming to the children’s classes also. This past Tuesday, there were about 20 of them!

With my parents in the States, I had the opportunity to preach a few times. It is always nice to be able to fellowship with some of the adults. We were very glad to see Lusi (Lucy), Gina’s daughter-in-law, come to one of the services recently!

The Gypsies often ask us for things, telling us how poor they are, and our hearts often want to help them. You can see in the attached pictures how “poor” they are. That is in quotes for a reason. We got to talking to some of them, and realized that most (if not all) of them have larger incomes than ours. Just with scrap metal, some of them can make over $100 in a day. Even without that, if a few of them in a household are working a job, they make more than we do. An average household there spends $900 just on cigarettes every month, and probably quite a bit on alcohol! It is no wonder that their shacks look the way they do if they spend almost their whole salary on cigarettes and beer. Anyway, I guess we are ministering to the well-off Gypsies in Romania, and we should be asking them for stuff! ;o) Sometimes I wonder what their reaction would be if I would do that!

A new year is a time to be reminded of the blessings of God in our lives, and to evaluate our goals for the future. Our main goal and focus is to serve and please the Lord in all we do. We know that God has us here ministering to the Gypsies at this time. It can be very disappointing to see just a few saved through our ministry, and many of those have turned away from God. It can also be frustrating when we teach the children and teens the basic truths of salvation month after month, and after years, they still don’t know what to respond when we ask them what sin is! It certainly is a blessing when one of them grasps a spiritual truth! We often feel like Jeremiah, who was called to preach to the rebellious Israelites. God knew they wouldn’t listen, but Jeremiah continued preaching to them, because that was what God wanted. We plan to keep on serving the Gypsies here as long as God wants us to. We do appreciate your prayers for us, and for the Gypsies to be saved and live for the Lord! As we reflect on God’s goodness and mercy to us this past year, we realize that you are a huge part of it! Thank you for your prayers and part in our ministry, and for helping to spread God’s Word to the Gypsies in Romania!

In His service,
Jonathan, Kristy, and Cory



Tuesday, January 2, 2018

Jonathan and Kristy's update 12/06/2017

NEXT GENERATION PREPARATION
„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
12/06/2017

We had our first snow fall just a few days ago! It is definitely winter here, and this seems to reflect the state of our Gypsies’ hearts. Please pray with us that God will melt the hearts of ice.

There have been a number of teens coming to the teen classes at church. They are often quite a handful (many times they are worse than the children! And I don’t mind telling them so either! Not that it helps anything!). We certainly appreciate your prayers for wisdom and grace in dealing with the teens. Sara continues to hang out with the wrong crowd, but we just keep trying to encourage her to do right. It has been a blessing to be able to talk to some of the teen guys about spiritual things.

There is a German missionary family who helps with a boys’ home here, and they visited our services. They have a real heart and burden for children. It was a blessing to have their 2 girls in our teen class. It’s amazing how well the Word gets communicated when the audience is well-behaved and listening! :o) We had a good time of fellowship with them.

We are continuing our English classes at Casa Rafa (Cossa Roffa). Sometimes the kids are quite naughty (probably if they have eaten chocolate or sweets before English class!), and other times they are good. One week with the older class that I teach, almost all of the children gave me their completed English papers that I handed out. They wanted me to have something to help me remember them. :o) Those are special times that are few and far between, but I will take them anytime! Kristy has also been teaching English to Gina’s grandson and niece, as well as the daughter of one of our neighbors.

We are planning to have at least a few weeks of school (reading and writing) for some of the children in our Gypsy neighborhood who don’t go to school. Our goal is not just to teach them to read so that they can read the Bible, but also to reach their hearts for Christ.

With the Christmas season coming, we pray that people will be more open and receptive to the Gospel. It is our desire to be God’s witnesses to these Gypsies, and we are so grateful for your prayers and support that allow us to do that!

In His service,

Jonathan, Kristy, and Cory
P.S. Just as an FYI for those sending checks in December, CMC (Central Missionary Clearinghouse, which handles our support) needs to receive any checks before December 15th. So, if you want a check to process before the end of the year (for tax purposes), that is helpful to know.

http://cmcmissions.org/



Sunday, December 31, 2017

Jonathan and Kristy's update 11/07/2017

11/7/2017

The air has gotten cooler, and we are having below-freezing temperatures at night. We are so grateful to have heat in our whole house this winter!

Speaking of cold nights, last Saturday night, we had a bit of excitement. Our doorbell rang at about 2:30 a.m. and kept ringing. When I unlocked our door and went out, there was a man at our gate holding his head. He said he had had an accident right down the road and asked if I could call the emergency number (112). Apparently, he had lost his phone in the car in the accident. He was bleeding from a gash on his head, so I called 112, and invited him to come in and sit down. He told us there was another person involved in the accident, so after he sat for a minute he mentioned that he wanted to go and see how the other person was. I walked down the road with him and there was the other car with some people who were apparently coming from a wedding. Thankfully, they were all fine. What had happened was a horse was in the road, and the cars swerved to avoid it. The guy with the gash on his head lost control of his car. The ambulance came, and I think everyone was fine. God has ways of trying to get people’s attention! May we always keep our eyes on Him!

Marioara from France has gone back to France. I think they are trying to work out the details of coming back to Romania. Please pray that the Lord would bring back the Milos (Meel-oesh) family to Romania.

The other Sunday, our services went unusually well. There was a great quietness in the children’s class and in the teen class. They were very good and attentive. We praise the Lord for that! Afterwards, some teens came in and were very loud and causing trouble, but thankfully the service was finished. I couldn’t get them out of the church building, so Mariana came and got them out with some yelling and I think some ear-pulling. :o)

We often have visitors come into the teen class, or teens who haven’t been there for a long time. Some like to cause trouble, and others seem to come just to hang out and talk with one of their friends who is there. As much as is possible, when there is a moment or two of (relative) silence, I try to share the message from God’s Word with them. It is often difficult, as there are usually distractions about every 30 seconds! This past Sunday, there were several teens that came. Thankfully, after a few of the disruptive ones left, it went pretty well. I was able to talk to several of the guys afterwards, which hasn’t happened for a while. Normally, when I try to talk to them, they get obnoxious and start yelling or being vulgar. It’s helpful when I can actually have a somewhat normal conversation with them! These teens need prayer! Please pray that more would be saved, and that those who are saved would stay away from bad influences and live for the Lord. The teens seem to love music, so we try to sing a lot, and they love learning new songs too. It is encouraging to remember that the Lord uses His Word in people’s hearts, whether it is being preached or sung!

A couple weeks ago, my sister and brother-in-law, Joanna and Bruce, and their kids came for a visit from Germany. It was a wonderful blessing to spend several days with them!

This past week, there was a missions conference at the Tylers’ church. The Tylers are American missionaries, and we help with some of their services. We enjoyed the preaching and fellowship. You can see the attached picture of the missions conference.

Thank you for your prayers for us, especially as our co-workers are in the US for a couple more months. We are blessed to have you as part of our ministry!

In His service,
Jonathan, Kristy, and Cory

Central Missionary Clearinghouse website: http://cmcmissions.org/

Our field address:
Str. Mare nr. 113/A
Mosnita Veche, Timis 307287
Romania

Saturday, December 30, 2017

Jonathan and Kristy's update 10/09/2017

NEXT GENERATION PREPARATION
„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
10/09/2017

It seems like this is the time for hurricanes around the world! A couple weeks ago, we had a violent storm come through our area, and we later found out it was a hurricane. We were very fortunate to not have any damage to our house, as many people lost parts of their roofs. A large portion of our fence was damaged, but thankfully, we were able to repair it ourselves. Our shed and our old outhouse (which we were planning to take down) were destroyed, so Ion (Yone), Mariana’s husband, and their son, Alin (Ah-leen), came to take them away with their horse and wagon. At least they will be able to use some of that wood this winter. We are hoping to get a new shed built soon. God has ways of getting people to think about him (hurricanes are one of them!), and the storm gave me the opportunity to witness to our neighbor again. We are very grateful that the Lord kept us safe! Thank you for your prayers for our safety. You may never know sometimes how much we need them! See the attached pictures of some of the damage from the storm, and one of the two rainbows that appeared afterwards, reminding us of God’s promises! You can also visit Kristy's blog to see more pictures and videos: During the Storm and After the Storm.

We had a guest pastor preach at our church a few weeks ago, as he and his wife were in the area. He went around talking to all the Gypsies before the service and telling them to come. We did have several visitors come, and Pastor Remus (Remm-oos) gave a great salvation message. Please continue to pray that the Lord would work in the hearts of the Gypsies here.

Marioara, who is unsaved, came back from France again and said that she never wants to go back. They would like to all move back to Romania, get jobs, and come to church! Please pray that the Lord would work out the details of this. Ion’s (her son) little boy has to be on medication that they are not sure they can get in Romania, so that is a major issue for them. We would love to have them back in our church and serving the Lord!

Sara has been slightly more attentive during some of the teen classes, and we have had several young people come to the teen classes. Last week, two boys, Mario and Dani, were being quite rude and obnoxious before the service. We couldn’t even let them in because they were being so disruptive. Thankfully, the Lord still allows His Word to be heard despite a lot of distractions. We pray His Word will bring forth fruit in the hearts of those that hear it.

Our coworkers, the Freels, are in the US for 3 months so we have a lot more responsibilities in their absence. One issue is that there is not really anyone to guard the building outside during the services to try to keep things relatively quiet. Please pray that the Lord would give us quietness during our services so that His Word can be preached freely.

We had our last school class with the Gypsy children in our church neighborhood and are now planning to start up English classes again at Casa Roffa (Cossa Roffa). We will also be teaching Rebeca and David English every week too. We are grateful for these opportunities to build relationships and share Christ with these children.

We have some exciting news: we are expecting a new addition to our family in March! We would appreciate your prayers for Kristy and our little one during this time.

“Thank you” doesn’t seem adequate to express our gratefulness for your care, support, and prayers for us. We need God’s wisdom, grace, and strength in every moment, and appreciate so much your part in our ministry!

In His service,
Jonathan, Kristy, and Cory



Thursday, December 28, 2017

Jonathan and Kristy's update 09/09/2017

NEXT GENERATION PREPARATION
„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
9/9/2017

It is harvest time here for us, and our apple and peach trees gave us an abundant amount this year! We got just a few plums, and no pears. We are hoping, praying, and working for an abundant harvest of souls!

I recently had the opportunity to talk about the Gospel to our elderly neighbor. He complained about the other “repenters” (Christians) in the village not getting along with each other. I explained that we shouldn’t judge others, but we should judge ourselves, because we have all sinned and need God’s forgiveness. He agrees, but does not want to accept Christ. Kristy also had the opportunity to talk to him and another neighbor about our Gypsy church, and the other neighbor seemed interested in coming. One of our other neighbors, Silvia, hadn’t walked by our house for a while as she usually does. When I finally saw her the other day, she said she was sick and in the hospital. She actually talked about God, which she never really did before. Maybe the Lord is opening her heart through this sickness. We pray that God’s light will shine through us to those around us as we seek to bring them to Christ.

Ion (Yone) and his mother Marioara (I’m not even going to try to write that pronunciation!), who came to our church many years ago, came back to Romania from France for a few days. Ion is saved. He said he wants to come back to Romania to stay, and obey God and come to church. That was encouraging to hear, and it was good to see them. Please pray that Ion and his family will come back and follow the Lord.

Sara has been slightly more attentive during some of the teen classes, but continues to hang out with people she shouldn’t. A boy was hanging all over her the other day, and last week she was out walking with another teen boy. Please pray that Sara would give her life to the Lord. She has missed church and our school classes a few times. Several teens have been coming to the teen classes, but most of them end up leaving before we’re done. Sometimes that is actually helpful, as they can be very disruptive. Some of the boys were being rude, making vulgar gestures, yelling, and hitting. We need wisdom, grace, and patience in these situations, and appreciate your prayers for this.

After one of our services the other week, Mariana invited us over to her house for a meal. She said she had been wanting to do this for some time, and we were happy to accept her invitation. :o) We enjoyed the food and had wonderful fellowship.

Many children continue to come to the children’s church classes. The other week, I had over 20 of them, and although they weren’t very well-behaved, they were somewhat attentive and knew answers to the lesson questions at the end. That is always encouraging!

I was able to preach to the adults the other week, as my dad was in Armenia on a missions trip. It is always a blessing to talk with our people and encourage each other in the Lord.

The school classes continue to be well-attended. Last week, some kids were outside making lots of noise, banging on doors and windows. It was distracting, and we would appreciate your prayers that this would stop. This week’s school was much better, and the kids were good.

Please continue to pray that God will give us wisdom in each situation, and that we will be a testimony for Him and follow His leading. We continue to be humbled and honored by your support and prayers for us and the Gypsies!

In His service,
Jonathan, Kristy, and Cory

Tuesday, December 26, 2017

Jonathan and Kristy's update 08/08/2017

NEXT GENERATION PREPARATION
„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
08/08/2017

Greetings from hot Romania! While the first part of our summer weather was pleasant, this past month has been extremely hot for weeks on end. We cancelled our school class last week because it was 105 degrees!

A few weeks ago, our mayor went out to the Gypsy neighborhood and explained that there are 32 houses built there illegally (including our church building). These houses were built on private land. Some are built over the town water pipes, and others are too close to power lines. In the next 2 years, the mayor is planning to have new houses built (for those that cannot re-build), and destroy all the illegal houses. He will not be rebuilding for those that continue to cause problems of disturbing the peace, or allow their horses to roam around the village, or commit other crimes. We are glad something is being done about the situation, as no one could get legal paperwork because their houses do not have legal contracts. After talking with the mayor, we found out that he is willing to allow us to have a piece of land for our church building, but most likely wouldn’t build a building. We will see what happens.

The teens continue to try our patience. One boy, Valerica, who has been coming to the services occasionally, is often very rude and obnoxious. Last week, he had his phone out and was playing music on it. I asked him several times to put it away, but when I finally told him he would have to leave if he didn’t, then he put it away. Halfway through the teen class, he got it out again and started playing music on it. I told him to leave, and then of course he said he wouldn’t do it again. I kept the phone by me for the rest of the class. Codru (Code-ru), another young boy who is known for his horrible behavior, recently got in a fight. He got hit in the jaw so badly that he broke his jaw and some teeth, and had to be hospitalized. We thought maybe that would teach him to be better-behaved, but unfortunately, he is the same. Sara continues to skip church, and we hear she has been smoking. She is doing poorly in school, doesn’t pay attention during church, and hangs out with girls she shouldn’t be spending time with. Truly, only God can make a lasting change in these people’s hearts and lives through Jesus. Please pray for the young people to turn to the Lord and serve Him.

We had our VBS a few weeks ago, and were very grateful to have a few days of slightly cooler weather for that. Handing out invitations beforehand gave us, as well as Gina, one of our church ladies, chances to witness. The majority of these Gypsies don’t seem to really think or care much about their lives. They just live from day to day doing what they feel like. When confronted with the Gospel, they either simply refuse or make excuses not to put their trust in Christ. Please pray with us that God would work in the Gypsies’ hearts and save them! The children were terrible for the first night of VBS, but the next two nights were much better. I gave the children the opportunity to say the memory verse afterwards, and although many probably forgot about it, one young boy, Mario, did say it, which was encouraging. Attached is a picture of one of the nights of VBS. Only about half of the children are in the picture.

Although there are disappointments in our ministry, it is always encouraging to remember that you are praying for us! Thank you for all of your prayers for us and the Gypsies!

In His service,
Jonathan, Kristy, and Cory

Saturday, December 23, 2017

Jonathan and Kristy's update 07/11/2017

I'm a little behind in posting our updates...  I will be catching up on them over the next few days.

NEXT GENERATION PREPARATION
„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
07/11/2017

God is always good, and He is always working whether we see it or not. We often don’t understand what He is doing, but we can trust, knowing that He is always working and is always doing what is best. It seems that when God works and people reject His conviction in their lives, they become hardened, more rebellious, and irrational. Many of the Gypsies in our Gypsy neighborhood have become this way. Things have gotten a lot worse in the past year or so, with a lot of animosity towards us. My phone was stolen a few weeks ago at church, and although we don’t know who stole it, by God’s grace, we recovered it. Ion (Yone), Mariana’s husband, spread the word that the police could track my phone and find out who stole it. I don’t know that that’s possible, but it did get results! :o) A short while later, the phone was found on the ground outside the church building.

Speaking of Ion, he has come to a few services recently. We continue to pray fervently for his salvation, and ask that you do the same.

A few weeks ago, several teens came to the teen class, but all of them ended up leaving. Several of them said they were bored and just left. Yet when I see them hanging around outside and ask how they are, they say they are bored. I guess they like being bored outside better than being bored listening to God’s Word. Shortly after the service started, Mariana left. She called Sara so Sara left the teen class. After the service, there was quite the commotion at Mariana’s house, and the police were coming as we were leaving. We found out later that someone said Sara and an older boy had been intimate. That’s why the police came. Thankfully, it turned out not to be true. However, Sara is not living for the Lord and often skips church. Please pray for Sara to surrender to the Lord. A few weeks ago, no teens showed up for teen class. Another time, Nelu, an unsaved boy came for the service, and afterwards, a young guy, Rafi (Roffy) came. Rafi made a profession of faith years ago. We had a nice time talking to them afterwards. Last Sunday, two came in to the teen class and left after about 10 seconds. Please pray for the teens in our Gypsy neighborhood!

In the warmer weather, we often hold services outside. This gives the advantage of those around hearing the Gospel being preached, but it does have the disadvantage of many distractions. One week, a drunk walked by a few times carrying a large stereo playing loud music. You can see the attached picture. Ministry with the Gypsies is never dull!

On a positive note, Lusi (Lucy) has come a few times, which is encouraging, and we have been having visitors come as well. One of them is a drunk from the village named Michi (Micky). Please pray for Michi’s salvation. We had a guest preacher, who is an American missionary to Bulgaria, come a couple weeks ago, and many came and heard the preaching. Mariana made some “sarmale” (cabbage rolls) for us to enjoy with the American missionary and some men he had brought from his church in Bulgaria. It was an enjoyable time of fellowship, and we were blessed by Mariana’s kindness.

We had a very good and well-attended first week of school with the Gypsy children! We pray that they will continue to be well-behaved and learn to read and write.

We appreciate your prayers for us and the people we are ministering to, and pray that the Lord will bless you for your part in this work!

In His service,
Jonathan, Kristy, and Cory