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We have lived in Romania for 16 years now. We have 6 kids.

Wednesday, December 29, 2010

Christmas

Counting our blessings. This is what we did for Christmas.

Enjoyed a visit from Uncle Gogo and Aunt Pam.


Took a walk in the snow!


Sang Happy Birthday to Jesus!


Ate Christmas M & M's!


Celebrated Zach's 12th birthday on Christmas Eve.


Opened stockings



We watched Chritmas movies.



We made gingerbread houses or I should say Pam (my sister in law) did all the work and we just joined in the fun and decorated them.

Friday, December 17, 2010

Life As It Happens in Romania.

It started snowing last week, just a little not much. Then starting Monday night it started peppering down as my dad says! I planned to go get some packages in Timisoara on Tuesday and grocery shop with Sarah and Zach. It was snowing pretty good but we decided to go anyway. It was snowing pretty good and I grew up in S.C. so I drove slowly and fortunately so did everyone else on the road. I was amazed that I did not see one fender bender or one car off in a ditch. So, we get there, get our packages and get to the mall where the grocery store is and I went to get money out of the bankomat and it told me my bank in America would not allow me to get out money. I tried 4 machines to no avail so, after a long drive in the snow to Timisoara I drove home without groceries :-(. We got the bank problem fixed. They had changed something in their computers that tagged our cards as being used in a foreign country even though we have been doing it for 9 1/2 years, they thought it was questionable activity. So, now they tagged us as living in Romania so it shouldn't happen again. Last night was our Christmas concert. Baron went out to start his van since it was cold and found it wouldn't start. He went and asked a neighbor for jumper cables and he brought his home made ones over :). We got the van pushed out and realized that the car parked on the sidewalk was blocking us from getting my car hooked up to Baron's van and we couldn't find the owner of the car. We decided that we were running out of time and pushed it back in (which is difficult b/c your feet are slipping on the ice while trying to push a big van) and just squeeze in the small van. We decided we can't always know the reasons why things like this happen but we pray that the reason for this one is that we can get to know these neighbors better and share Christ with them. Fortunately two American families come to the concert with their vans and they helped us pick up all the people for the concert. We had a lot of visitors and were excited that 5 kids from the center for handicapped kids came with a worker.
video

Saturday, December 4, 2010

Funeral

As many of you know a lady in our church died last Thursday. This was the first funeral that Baron had to completely lead. God in His sovereignty allowed Baron to preach one night of a funeral a couple weeks ago. Having that experience was a huge help to Baron. Funerals are a tough thing, when you live in a different culture you make lots of mistakes but you hate to make a mistake at a funeral, and you can't just stop and chuckle at a funeral when you make a mistake either. Baron really was nervous about saying/doing the wrong thing but I thought it went very smoothly and the family was pleased. Thankfully instead of the normal two nights of "preveghi" or a wake, they only had one Friday night and then the funeral on Saturday afternoon.

In Romania, each church has their own cemetery and you don't mix Orthodox bodies with Baptist bodies etc. So, we had always told our people not to worry (some of the old ladies often wonder where they will be buried), that they will be happy in heaven and we will worry about where to bury them. So, God opened up this door, led us to the right funeral home where the lady was a Christian and her son was the manager of an Orthodox cemetery right near our church and we were able to buy a plot there for Sora Parsida Nicola to be buried. We were also still able to conduct the whole service with no problems given by the Orthodox church.

The body is set in a very, very small "chapel" (I put it in quotations because it is not a chapel as you are envisioning it, it is a small, cold, concrete room). The casket is in the middle of the room with a bench on either side. Friday night was in the 40's. We left the kids home with Sarah. Baron preached a salvation message and one couple we specifically know that are not saved, listened to the whole message. I played the violin, we sang a few songs.

The funeral today was held outside the little chapel because there were more people today. It was much colder today, in the upper 30's. Very cold for an outside service. We dropped only Drew off at Maria's since he had a sore throat and Maria wasn't coming because she was having dizzy spells we brought the rest of the kids with us. I tried to explain to the little ones about the funeral. Nate was worried we were all going there to die. I re assured him that was not going to happen. Then I told the twins if they had any questions we would discuss them after the funeral (they tend to talk loud and say inappropriate things in public). I kept them all close to me during the service. So, we stood outside around the body while Baron spoke again, encouraging the family (some saved, some not) that Sora Parsida was happy, not suffering anymore, and in much better place. The family all stands right next to the body looking at her and crying quietly. Our church choir sang Psalm 23 and I sang, Still, My Soul, Be Still. We brought the electric keyboard for these two songs. I have never sang at a funeral before and was wondering how I would do singing outside in the cold next to a body but I just sang it to her daughter (also a church member) and God gave me strength to sing it to encourage her. Then, we follow the body (they put the lid on) to the hole. Baron says a few more words and tells the family to say their final good bye. That is when the son and daughter start waling and saying things like "oh momma, why did you have to leave me, mamma, mamma, what will I do without you..." They did this for just a few minutes (which is actually short, sometimes it can go on and on). Then right there on the spot they shovel the dirt onto the casket.

The family wanted to have a dinner after this. A dinner here for Orthodox is a good work where you put on a big dinner and allow in beggers and poor people as a good work to win brownie points for your lost loved one. We explained that Sora Parsida didn't need any "help" getting to heaven, she had accepted the finished work of Christ before she died and was assured a place in heaven already. The family understood this and it was a dinner in honor of her for her family and friends only so we approved. When we got there, Joey (whom I had kept telling to be quiet because he speaks loudly and you don't want him to say anything inappropriate) says quietly to me, "mom I need to tell you something, let me whisper it to you..." Then he comes up and whispers in my ear, "Mom, I don't want to die!" He was truly fearful, the whole thing of seeing her in the coffin and put in the ground did not set well with him. I assured him, he didn't need to worry about it right now, I explained as best I could that her earthly body was dead but she was happy in heaven with a new body.
That night after he was in bed he started crying, and saying over and over, "I don't want to die, I don't want to die." I just reassured him as best I could and told him to dream about his Christmas presents. It is really something we don't like to think about and when you go to a funeral and see the body put in the ground it does give you a sad, scared feeling. We as Christians just have to remember, that the ones who are suffering are the ones left behind.

I have been to funerals in Romania of unsaved people and they are far more depressing, this one seemed much lighter knowing she was in heaven celebrating Christmas with Jesus this year! God is good in all His ways, He was merciful and did not let her suffer long. His Spirit was with us today and kept Baron calm and focused on the task. I believe her family was truly comforted today with the service and the words spoken.

Thursday, December 2, 2010

December Arrives

We have so much to be thankful for. God is good, His mercy is evelasting, His love endures forever, He never leaves us, He always forgives, He is patient and kind with us, and the list could go on and on! We had a wonderful Thanksgiving with fellow missionary friends. The kids all behaved (another thing to be thankful for) and we had a wonderful day.

This year for the first time ever, we the Howertons put up our tree before Thanksgiving. I know the Romanians think we are crazy. They put theirs up the week of Christmas most wait until Christmas Eve. Some people who can't afford a tree just buy a branch to hand candy on for their kids. I have most of my Christmas shopping done. We have received many glorious packages with goodies from American and are playing Christmas music. We are blessed to have many friends and family who think of us and send us things to bring us Christmas cheer even though we are far from home! We are thankful to have many gifts to share with the needy children that we work with, many do not get a gift other then the gifts we give them.

Christmas always comes and goes so quickly. I just hope to enjoy each moment, not get impatient, not have a to do list a thousand miles long, and enjoy the true reason we celebrate, the King of kings was born. He left his throne in heaven and lived among us. I love how John puts it, "the Word became flesh and dwelt among us." That is pretty amazing to think that the Word put on skin and came down to show us how much He loves us. It is mind boggling to think of how much our Creator loves us. Lets return that love by obeying Him and pouring out that same love we have received to others!

Tuesday, November 16, 2010

November 16

Today was the big day. I didn't think I was nervous but I didn't sleep at all last night. I think it has to do with the cold I have and the tea plus medicine I took last night that made me not sleep. We arrived at the court house at 8:30 and found the room. We had no lawyer and the jurist from child protection wasn't even there (he did show up later though). There were quite a few adoption cases but we had to listen to custody cases first. There were about 12 or more custody cases where children were being removed from a home and only two parnets showed up, the rest didn't even show up to contest it. Then we watched as one young mother signed over the rights of her 8 year old child to be adopted. She probably has never had custody of him before but it was still hard for her to sign him over to be adopted by someone else. Then the judge cleared the room of everyone but adoption cases. We were number 13 on the list and she called the first 9 and none of them even were there! I was so amazed that people didn't show up for their adoption court date. When she got to case number 9 the official from child protection finally showed up. We did not pay to obtain a lawyer because it was an open and shut case and we felt we would just be wasting money. We were called up and our case was unusual in that we were the ones declaring them adoptable and adopting them (this is something that the child protection in the county the twins came from told us we were not allowed to do but they were wrong). She asked us why we were changing their names and we told her and she was pleased with our answer and even gave a pleasant smile. Not many people walk around in Romania with smiles on their faces. I try to smile and say hello to people but I get little response so I was happy to see a smile on the judges face. Then we signed a paper and that was it!
We should receive the official paper declaring them ours within 30 days. Then there is a 15 day waiting period when someone from the family can come attest it if they want to. After those 15 days, we go to the courthouse in Timisoara again and get a stamp on the paper that says irrivocable then go to the city hall in Lugoj and request new birth certificates. This could be done before Christmas if we get our paper before 30 days is up.
Our next big hurdle is figuring out the American side of things. We heard from someone today that to acquire a visa for them to enter America it will cost $400 a piece!! We have to go to Bucharest the first of January so we will make an appointment at the embassy and ask all our questions then.
On a lighter note, the court secretary I guess you would call her, she is the one who types all the papers out, well, she can't type. She just pecks it all out with her fingers and really takes quite a while. It would save the court on time if they would provide a typing class for all their court secretaries.
On another lighter night, we were behind a drivers ed car today and it said on the back: "I make abrupt and unnecessary stops." I thought that was funny.
Time for the pizza party and cookies now!

Thursday, November 11, 2010

November

I know that everyone says this but, wow, this year has really flown by! I can't believe we are coming upon Thanksgiving in just two weeks! It really is one of my most favorite times of the year. It took a while getting used to being away from family and friends in America but this is our 10th Thanksgiving/Christmas being in Romania and for quite a few of those we have had family visiting. We are blessed beyond measure! Lord willing we will be in the states celebrating with our family next fall/winter! Please pray for us as we have a lot of details to work out and a lot of money to raise for 8 plane tickets! Also, please pray as we look for someone to fill in and translate for us while we are gone. Please also continue to pray that our co workers, the Louks, support comes in soon!

We are just days away from our much anticipated court date. We know that God is in control and most of the time at the final court date everything is done and there are no kinks to work out so we are just hoping and praying that this is the case for us!

We are excited to announce that some new people are coming to church. Some who are already saved and some who aren't saved yet. Some new children also. Please intercede on behalf of the people of Romania. It is such a religious country and many people "believe" that Jesus is the Savior but they also add to what they need to do to be saved and so they are blinded to the fact that they need to trust in Jesus ALONE to be their Savior!

God is good, He is our provider. He is with us in the day to day tasks that seem menial. We are called to live a holy life set apart from the world. Pray for us as we strive to do that and bring glory to God. We pray that you also, will live a holy life set apart unto God for His service wherever you are!

Happy Thanksgiving!

Saturday, October 30, 2010

October

I am finally writing an entry for October and the month is over! The weeks are flashing by before my eyes! The weather has been beautiful and we are enjoying our school schedule of 4 weeks on and 1 week off. Our week off this time took us on a one day trip to Bear Cave. It was a beautiful drive and a nice chilly day. If you want to see pictures I posted them on Facebook.
The two oldest boys are studying the eastern hemisphere this year and we have signed up for this short program called my passport to India. Our oldest desires to be a missionary there someday. Each week we watch two short videos about what life is like in India. If you are ever tempted to complain you really should find information about life in a third world country. It will stop you in your tracks and make you sing a song of praise to God for all the wonderful blessings you have! Take for example the bathroom situation. Just today as one child was taking forever using the bathroom and another was waiting in line to use it, I was tempted to complain...I actually said, "brother, we really need to get that other bathroom fixed, this is ridiculous." Almost immediately the Lord brought to my mind something I just learned, that in Mumbai, India there are 17 toilets for every 1 million people. I quickly realized my mistake and thanked God for the working bathroom we have for the kids. Most of the things I complain about are so trivial. People all over the world live in such filth and poverty. Even a lot of people that I know here in Romania use an outhouse, don't have indoor plumbing, have only cold water, etc.
The next time you are tempted to complain about one of life's little inconveniences, do a search about India or some other poor country and you will quickly be reminded of how rich even the poorest Americans are in comparison to the rest of the world!

Wednesday, September 29, 2010

BIG, WONDERFUL, EXCITING, MIRACULOUS NEWS

If you can't tell by the title of this blog entry...I'm a little excited! Why you ask....let me share it with you...WE RECEIVED OUR FINAL ADOPTION COURT DATE! Our experience with the court system in Oradea was s...l...o...w... so I assumed it would be the same here in Timis county. Baron finally received our adoption file completed just a little under two weeks ago. We hoped to hear something within 30 days but it took about 4 or 5 months to get a court date in Oradea. I expected when we did get our court date it wouldn't be until sometime early next year. When we received our custody court date in October of 2008, it wasn't until Jan, 2009. But, in less then two weeks after putting our file in at the court house we received a court date for NOVEMBER 16...2010!!!! Yes, that is just under two months away! We are excited. The twins don't understand the bigness of it because they feel they are already part of our family. Joey asked..."do I get my blue passport now?"
We called our social worker to give her the news and asked if we could bring all the kids to the courthouse...no just Baron and I should come. The judge will ask us a few questions and hopefully that will be that. They will be official Howertons!
What a wonderful Thanksgiving we will have celebrating the newest additions to the Howerton family! God is good.

Tuesday, September 21, 2010

Kids Club

This is Ana, Andrea, Adina, and Claudia.




This is Alin. I believe he is 12 years old.




Gabi is to the far left. He is 11. Sebi is 14. He told Baron that he accepted Christ and that he wants to be a preacher!





Nicu is in the blue sweat suit. He is 10 and has had a rough life. He is a very needy boy. Alin is on the otherside of Zach. He is Zach's buddy, they went to camp together. He told Baron after camp that he received Christ in his heart. Costica is the other boy in the picture. He also told Baron that he received Christ. Please pray that these 3 boys will continue to come to kids club and grow in their relationship with Christ.

Wednesday, September 8, 2010

Religious Freedom in Romania

What does religious freedom mean to you? To me it means being able to choose your religion and go to church where you want and get batpized where you want. In Romania, if a child is in the system the law states that they can not choose to "change their religion" until they are 16. That means any orphan or abandoned child, or child that has been abused and removed from their home cannot choose to be baptized at any church because they were baptized as babies in the Orthodox Church. Now, as babies did they have a choice, no, they were forced to become an Orthodox. It doesn't matter that most people who claim to be Orthodox don't go to church. The Orthodox church is not going into to try to minister to these kids but they do not have the freedom to choose a different religion until they are 16.
Baron went to talk to the director at the state run home today about a club for the kids who went to camp this summer and he got a lecture from the director. The director pointed out the law and said these kids came back from camp wanting to "change their religion" and be baptized. He told Baron, that he was breaking the law if he let these kids come to a place where they were pushed into "changing their religion". Baron at that point thought our ministry to these kids was over but praise God that wasn't the end. It is exciting to know that these kids came back from camp excited about what they learned and sharing that they had made decisions to follow Christ.
We are happy that we will be allowed to pick up these 13 kids ages 10-14 and have a club with them each Saturday. We will teach them English, do a Bible study, feed them, and play games with them. We will stress to them that they need to learn how to follow God from the Bible but not go back to the orphanage saying they wanted to get baptized or they will not be allowed to come anymore. We will tell them that we can teach them about God's way and baptism and they can make the choice of baptism when they are 16. We will let them know that no one can stop them from making a decisison to follow Christ and live for Him.
We praise God that these young people will know that true freedom comes in Christ. Please pray that they will understand what it truly means to repend and turn from a life of sin to Christ. Please pray that the Bible/English Club will train these children to follow after Christ no matter what obstacles lie in their way.

Thursday, August 26, 2010

Encouraging Words

I have had the little devotional book Streams in the Desert for quite a few years now and it continues to encourage me. Yesterday's reading was just what I needed.
From the beginning of the summer I have been restless. Four years is a long time without a furlough and knowing we have to wait another year for a furlough was really pulling me down. I was thinking that I didn't know how I would make it another year without a break and really discouraged and having a pity party. Then through the Lord's Word I started to realize that I was living in defeat and started claiming His promises that are mine, I CAN do all things through Christ, His grace IS sufficient for me, those who wait on the Lord SHALL renew their strength. Little by little I came out of the pity party and yesterday's reading just reminded me its not about where I am but it's about the proper perspective. The verse was Job 28:14, "It is not in me."

I reworded the first part of the reading to fit my situtation:
I think if I could just get away, take a vacation, have a break, go to America, everything would be better. It would calm my restless heart. But no matter where I would go, be it the Smokey Mountains of N.C. or the beautiful beaches of S.C., the sea and the mountain would say, "It is not in me!"

"What I really need is the deep ocean of God's love and the high mountains of His truth within me. His wisdom has depths and heights that neither the ocean nor the mountains could contain and that couldnot be compared with jewels, gold, or precious stones. Christ is wisdom and He is our deepest need. Our inner restlesness can only be pacified by the revelation of His eternal friendship and love for us.

...my Home is God, and sheltered there, God meets the trials of my earthly life, God compasses me round from storm and strife, God takes the burden of my daily care. O Wondrous Place. O Home divinely fair!"


So, as you can see, it is not a break or vacation that I need. It's not even American soil or a rest. What I need is to realize that everything I need is in Christ. He is my hope, my strength, my joy, my all and I need nothing else! If you are restless or homesick today look to God, he is your home!

Saturday, August 14, 2010

Camp Update

Baron just brought the last group of campers back home today! There were two teen boys from a private orphanage and six from a state run facility. He also brought back our new school teacher, Sarah Trahan. She will be teaching the three youngest this year.
Several of the kids made decisions at camp this past week. We took a total of 18 kids from the state run facility to camp this summer. Our prayer now is to be able to bring some of them to church. We can't bring them all, our vehicle only holds 10. It's hardnot being able to have to pick and choose which kids you minister to because you don't have enough help, enough space, or enough transportation. Our biggest prayer request is that the director will allow them to come to church. If this is not a possibility we will consider doing a Bible club for these kids on Saturday but we would love to get them in church. Pray that god would give us wisdom and that He would send more laboreres into the harvest field of Lugoj, Romania!

Wednesday, August 11, 2010

Reasons to Praise God.

1. The first and most obvious reason...His free gift of salvation He provided through His son Jesus for me.
2. My husband.
3. My sweet children, all so different.
4. My family (parents, in laws, siblings, this also includes dearest Rebekah)
5. His Word, it gives truth, encouragement, guidance, light, strength, courage etc.
6. He left the Comforter to convict us, to encourage us, to walk along with us in this life and guide us.
7. Prayer, I have the most precious gift of being able to call upon the God who created the universe at any time and He is available to me!
8. My house. God provided this gift for a measly $28,000 and it is paid for and worth much more just 9 years later! It is a true blessing (I could go on and on about this one but I won't)
9. Prayer time with a handful of sweet and faithful Christians every Wednesday.
10. Our family has been to visit us many times, even my grandma has been twice. She got her passport for the first time at the ripe young age of 84.
11. The changing of seasons. I enjoy the new life of spring, the fun of summer, the beauty and coolness of fall, the holiday season that comes with winter.
12. The internet :-), it is a blessing keeping in touch with family and friends who are so far away!
13. People who pray and give so that we can be here.
14. Tabara Bucuria...Camp Joy
15. How God provided a new van for us.
16. How He provided the money for my plane ticket in February to be with my mom during her open heart surgery.
17. I praise God because His grace IS sufficient for me.
18. I praise Him because I CAN do ALL things through Christ who strengthens me...even when those things seem impossible!
19. He provided a teacher for the twins this year.
20. The two newest additions to our family...Lord willing will be official Howertons by the end of this year!

Tuesday, August 10, 2010

August

This week the last group of kids are at camp. Ages 13-16. Last week we had VBS with over 50 in attendance. I know that I have not posted updates on the second week of camp or on VBS but I hope to...sometime...in the future! If not, we will for sure send out a prayer letter with updates. This entry is to post a poem written by our 11 year old son, Zachary.

"The GREATEST NEWS EVER"
One very cold spring night,
Was a baby in a bed of corn,
And in a shepherds field came a light so bright;
And an angel saying, "Jesus Christ is born!"

One very bright spring day,
Jesus teached and taught,
He healed the sick and those in dismay;
Loving and compassionate, Jesus never fought.

One very cold spring night,
Was our Lord locked in chains;
And on Calvary was a mournful light;
And our Lord was whipped with canes.

One very cold spring night,
our Lord was stripped and cursed,
And was nailed upon a cross but without fright,
And Mary Magdelene on watching into tears was burst.

One very bright spring day,
Three women saw Christ's empty tomb;
An angel said, "Please do not dismay,
For Christ is risen, not in this dark room."

When the news of Jesus spread,
God's secret was unveiled;
Jesus Christ loves all, put it in your head.
I hope the Good News is fully revealed!

Wednesday, July 21, 2010

Camp Pictures

The girls!



This is Bogdan, he is 7 and has lived in the same private children's home as Marius since he was a baby.


This is Flavius. He is 7. He was taken from his home two years ago and lives in a state run facility.




Gianina, Spencer, and Ema. Ema comes to church with his grandma who cares for him. He lives in a two room apartment with his grandma, grandpa, sister, mom, dad, and uncle. His parents are both mentally handicapped. Ema starts 3rd grade this fall. He has improved much in reading and math. His sister, Loredana, will start 1st grade this fall.


This is Gianina. She is 10 and lives just up the street from us. She and her 5 year old sister come to church. They live in one room with their mom and 4 dogs. She comes to our house for help with school work.


Here are all 12 of the kids that went to the first week of camp.




This is Marius. He comes from a private children's home in a village not too far from us. He is 7. We met him first when he was almost 4. This is his first year of going to camp. He is a sweet, energetic, stinker! When he was born, his birth mom did not even name him. She put down a false name for herself so when she left the hospital without him they couldn't track her down. The mayor of the town he was born in gave him a name. Please pray for Marius, that he would know his Heavenly Father loves him and that he would some day receive a family.

First Week of Camp Ages 7-9

The first week of camp went smoothly. Baron took 12 kids and an educator from the state run home. I will try to make a long story short. When we first went to the director about taking these kids to camp it was no problem, he was happy to have some kids be able to go to camp. Baron was upfront about the program and let him know there were teaching times from God's word...he said no problem, we like our kids to learn morals. A month later we find out that they want to send an educator each week with the kids because the kids can't go anywhere without an authorized person. The camp was not thrilled with this as it is a Christian camp and they didn't want an educator coming up there and smoking or causing problems or telling the kids they didn't have to participate in certain activities. So, the first week a lady that we know well said she would go and then if she came back and gave a good report to the director the rest of the kids could go without an educator. We finally were told the truth about why they wanted an educator to go, one of the workers is the daughter of an Orthodox priest and she found out the kids were going to go to a Christian camp and she raised stink and said we aren't allowed proselytize. They don't want kids making decisions to "join another religion" through baptism until they are 18 (it is that way for most religions here including the Baptist Union and a lot of Penticostals...kids are "saved" under their parents religion until they can decide for themselves at the age of 18). Baron explained to him that we would not be forcing anyone to be baptized in our church, especially these very little children. So, the first week went without any problems, the educator was very pleased with the program and came back with a good report so the kids all got to go with Baron this week. The kids this week are ages 10-13, some of these kids have come from very bad backgrounds and in return they put forth a toughness that is hard to break through. Please pray for these kids that after camp we will still be able to minister to them through Bible studies and activities for them.

Wednesday, June 23, 2010

Adoption Update.

We just got the phone call from our social worker that we received Joey's paper that says the adoption is open! Woo Hoo!! We go and turn in our file with all our paper work in it Friday. Please Pray that we get assigned a court date in a timely manner! We would love to have all of this done and have them be official Howertons! The last time we waited for a court date it was months and months and months before we got one...let's hope and pray that Timis county judges give out court dates quicker then Bihor county! Miracles can happen. This will be such a huge sigh of relief to have this behind us!

Tuesday, June 22, 2010

Flowers

I just love flowers and gardens. I have always looked longingly at garden magazines. I have potted plants and flowers and hanging flowers in my courtyard under my grapvines but have always found that sitting in a beautiful rose garden brings such pleasure and beauty.




These are a few of the recent pictures that have inspired me lately. I began to realize I have the space for this garden. It was full of junk, old windows, glass, and old roof tile from when we tore down an old building in our yard. I kept pestering Baron asking him to find someone to haul away all this junk. Then I kept talking of my dream of some day having a rose garden and showing him pictures. Then he decided this was a good thing to do with this space and tore down the old fence on one side and took measurements and went to a man in a village that is a carpenter. He went with his measurments of what we need for a picket fence, gate, and arbor so now I will save up through the winter and Lord willing next spring we will paint and put up our fence!



This is the site of my future cottage garden. It will have a white picket fence around it with an arbor and a gate to keep the animals and children out and it will have climbing roses growing up the arbor. There are lots of beautiful climbing roses to be found here. A lady from our church loves to grow roses and she will get me some starts from people so I won't have to buy so many unless they just don't take! I already have about 4 rose bushes. My first years here I had no idea about flowers (still don't know a lot) and my rose bushes were under the grape vines so they were really weak. We finally wised up and moved them to a sunny spot last year and they are doing much better now.



I am so thankful for the house and yard God gave us. It is such a peaceful haven to have a private courtyard to come home after being out and about in a different culture.



When we were in Barcelona we visited an old monestary that was so quiet and peaceful. I really look forward in the next few years to working on this project and having a quiet peaceful place to spend time meditating on God's Word...of course it will only be quiet as long as the kids are still sleeping!

Wednesday, June 16, 2010

Children

A child is a curly dimpled lunatic. ~Ralph Waldo Emerson




A little girl is sugar and spice and everything nice - especially when she's taking a nap. ~Author Unknown





Before I got married I had six theories about bringing up children; now I have six children, and no theories. ~John Wilmot





I love to play hide and seek with my kid, but some days my goal is to find a hiding place where he can't find me until after high school. ~Author Unknown


My mom used to say it doesn't matter how many kids you have... because one kid'll take up 100% of your time so more kids can't possibly take up more than 100% of your time. ~Karen Brown


Tuesday, June 15, 2010

Handicapped Kids

The Romanian government has reduced the salaries of all government employees, hospital workers, children's home workers, teachers, they have even cut funds to state run facilities. Normally orphans get to go on some sort of summer excursion be it the ocean or camp or whatever. We go once a week to a center for handicapped kids and do a craft and sing with them. This summer they have no prospect of doing anything special, there are no funds for them. Now, I should tell you that the parlament did vote to increase their own pay but all others received pay cuts...they cut the pensions of already very poor elderly people, they cut the funding of children's homes and so on. We really desire to help these handicapped kids be able to have 10 days of camp at the end of August. It would cost $5 a day per child. They want to take 25 kids...if anyone out there has some extra money that they don't know what to do with these kids sure would appreciate being able to have something to look forward to this summer rather then just sitting around in their hot building with nothing to do. Please let us know if you would like to help sponser this excursion for handicapped kids.

Streams In The Desert

I have a little devotional book called Streams in the Desert that my sister gave me years ago. I have read it through several times and continue to be blessed and encouraged by the daily readings. This poem is from the June 2nd reading:

Take heart, O weary, burdened one, bowed down
Beneath your cross;
Remember that your greatest gain may come
Through greatest loss.
Your life is nobler for a sacrifice,
And more divine.
Acres of blooms are crushed to make a drop
Of perfume fine.

Because of storms that lash the ocean waves,
the waters there
Keep purer than if the heavens o'erhead
Were always fair.
The brightest banner of the skies floats not
At noonday warm;
The rainbow follows after thuderclouds,
And after storm.

Monday, June 14, 2010

June

It's June! Summer is here! Just last week I was drinking hot chocolate at Starbucks to try and get warm and now the second week of June I am sitting in front of a fan and drinking ice cold water. There is only one way to survive this heat without an air conditioner...eat lots of ice cream!
We had two birthdays this month, Spencer turned 10 and Nate, our baby, turned 4. We are officially out of the baby stage in our house and that phase comes with mixed emotions for me!


Nate is still very much the "baby" of the family and I am trying very hard not to baby him too much and to not let him be a brat :).



The past four years in many ways has seem to go by very slow. It's hard to believe it's been four years since we were home for a furlough. We do hope to be able to take one next year. Even though I was home for a short visit last summer and an even shorter one in February it isn't the same as a long term trip with your family. We are all looking forward to being in the states again and Joey and Gina are greatly looking forward to their first trip ever!



We will be taking kids to camp starting next month. Baron went today to visit a lady and get her permission to take her 10 year old daughter to camp. She comes to church on a regular basis and she comes to our house for tutoring. Gianina's mom gave permission for her to go but then asked Baron, "What will I do with Patricia while she is gone, she will just cry all week and I will have to take her to the hospital because she will be so sick from crying." (Patricia is Gianina's 4 year old sister) I don't think Baron quite knew what to say :-).

Wednesday, May 19, 2010

Camp

It's time to start raising money for camp again! We have about 35 kids we want to take this year. Some from our church but mostly kids who have been abandoned or taken from their home for various reasons and have very little hope of ever going back. The cost of a week at Camp Joy is $50. If you would like to send a child to camp please contact us.

What Adoption Means to the Twins

We had a visit from our social worker and the child psychologist last Thursday. We have all this paper work to put together again and turn in to receive a final court date. So, the twins new the ladies were here concerning them and they kept asking, "Is it almost done then?" I would say yes but then at the end of the visit I realized they thought when these ladies leave our house they would be Howertons! When they left Joey hollered out, "Is that it, are we Howertons, do we have blue passaports" (no I didn't misspell passports, that is how Joey says it). He asks almost daily if he is a Howerton yet. It's hard to explain to a 6 year old that we consider you a Howerton but that is not your offical name yet and it is also very important to him to have a blue passport but that won't come until our visit to the states, Lord willing next year. Gina is more independent and hard to read. She doesn't really ask questions about it, maybe to her she already is part of the family but Joey seems to realize that all of this is very important. It is also very important to him to have a blue passport like the rest of the family. He desires to be an American so badly! When we first got the twins Romanian passports last year so we could go to Vienna, Austria with them they were estatic! Joey always request to see his passport and always wants to show it to people. It was such a huge deal for him especially. But now he wants a blue one, his red one isn't good enough anymore :-). He wants to be like us.
We are close to having our paper work completed and then we turn in our file and wait some more. You would think by now I would be good at waiting but I'm not.

Thursday, May 13, 2010

Barcelona

Thursday in Barcelona was sunny and cool. We went to a very quiet and peaceful monestary that was founded in 1326. We enjoyed riding the tour bus that you can hop on and off around town and visit different places. We enjoyed eating without 6 children. We are used to cutting up their food and telling them to be quiet and chew with your mouth closed so it was quite nice just sitting down and eating!
Friday, we walked a lot and looked in shops and just relaxed. Went and sat on the beach of the Mediterranean Sea. It was so relaxing. Then on our last day, Saturday, we took a boat ride on the Mediterranean Sea which was so lovely. We then went back to the apartment we stayed at, got our luggage, walked through the crowds to the subway and got on...if you remember our last anniversary trip to Rome, Baron got pick pocketed on the subway so we were so careful this time but on our way to the airport with all our luggage we were prime target and Baron let his guard down and put his wallet in his back pocket. We were crowded by a group getting on the subway and they got his wallet. Our instinct when he knew his wallet was gone was to jump of the subway because the guy that stole it in Rome ran off so we thought we could catch him that way but we realized too late it was the group of people that had been acting really strange and they actually stayed on the subway. Right there in the subway station Baron called the bank and thankfully we cancelled all our cards before they had a chance to use any of them. They did get away with 90 Euro and Baron's DL, and permanent residency card but we are trying to be thankful because it could have been much worse. We actually believe they may have gotten in my purse too because my makeup bag was missing from my purse. We are so thankful they got that instead because that left me with a bank card so we could access our bank account still. We decided to go to the police station at the airport to fill out the report so we headed to the airport bus and to our surprise when we got there the driver told us the airport was "clos-ed"...we thought he was joking with us but we didn't think it was very funny seeing as how we had just had our wallet stolen! There were a lot of other people standing around though and when we found someone who spoke English sure enough, the airport was clos-ed due to the volcanic ash from Iceland! The airport closed around 4 p.m. Saturday and opened back up early Sunday morning but we missed our flight. We flew Wizz Air which is a discount company so there is no Wizz Air office at the airport and no one there can help you...that is the price you pay flying discount...if there is a problem you are in trouble! So, we were fortunate enough to be able to go back to the same apartment we stayed in and she let us have it for half price because she felt sorry for us! Baron called Ionita back in Romania and asked him to call all our church people and to go to church to wait for anyone who might come to let them know why there was no service. The Tylers fortunatley agreed to just keep the kids a while longer :-). We got up early Sunday morning and decided just to head to the airport in hopes we could get a flight. We then found out there is no Wizz Air office there and tried in vane to get ahold of the airline and put about 20 euro into the phone and kept being put on hold. We did find out there were two options, flying out Sunday night to a city in Romania but we would arrive in the middle of the night and there was no train to Lugoj until the next day or flying to Budapest, Hungary on Monday morning. Thankfully our good friends the Tylers said they would be willing to pick us up in Budapest. After 6 hours in the airport we realized we weren't getting out that day and we got a hotel close to the airport for the night. Then from the hotel we finally got a hold of Wizz Air and were put on the Budapest flight for the next morning. We enjoyed dinner at a Pizzarea that Sunday night ( it was a really weird Sunday for us). We got up and the airport shuttle took us at 7:15 to the airport. The flight was scheduled to take off at 8:55 a.m. When we arrived at the gate it said estimated take off was 11:30 a.m. So we sat at the gate and around noon someone came to the gate and gave us all free snack voutures and told us they had no idea when the plane was actually coming. The plane finally did come around 1:30 and we got out around 2 p.m. We arrived in Budapest at 4:30 p.m. and then had a 4 1/2 hour drive home. We stopped to pick up the kids and finally at 11 p.m. Monday night we arrived home! What a memorable ending to a wonderful anniversary trip!

Tuesday, May 11, 2010

Day #1 in Barelona.

Day One in Barelona. Right away we could see the beauty of Barcelona. We stopped and had a donut and coffee/hot chocolate for breakfast...yes it was chilly enough that hot chocolate was yummy. Then we walked a little further and spotted...

So we had breakfast number two which was even better then the first one! It was a little overcast and drizzling rain but by noon it cleared up and was just chilly. We took the tour bus around town and even made it to Toys R Us and got the summer birthday boys a gift (toys in Romania are soo expensive).


Barcelona, we found was a quiet city. We stayed right near the beach in the Barceloneta area and it was very quiet. We loved it and thought it was a beautiful city.

Wednesday, April 21, 2010

God Is Trustworthy

I am reading and doing the Bible study that goes along with the book, Trusting God by Jerry Bridges. The last assignment to do for the first day was to journal about God's hand in your life so you could look back during hard times and be encouraged when you see how God has worked in the past. So, I journaled about three things from our past.

Several years ago we were still paying off the new church building. We had received money for half of it and borrowed the other half. Just before the rate of the dollar drop, an annonymous donor paid off the $20,000 debt that we owed. Just a few short months after that the rate of the dollar dropped drastically and we lost about 30% of our income and would not have been able to keep up with the payments on the church property. God is trustworthy and looks after His children!

Last December our old white van burned up. We transported people to and from church with it and took kids to camp every summer. It was a very old van. Our family vehicle only had seats for 4 kids so we were always either taking the old van with no seat belts or the new van and putting two kids to a seat. Baron had been pondering lately which vehicle to get rid of but he really didn't want to get rid of the old van. We just kept discussing it but never made a decision. God made the decision for us! The white van burned up and was beyond repair. In just three months enough money was donated to buy a much newer van that also seats our whole family and has seat belts. The van is much better then what we imagined or dreamed. God always blesses His children even when they aren't looking for it!

When we were moving to Romania almost 9 years ago now, I asked God to give us a house. We had two boys at the time and I struggled with the thought of living in an apartment. Little did I know that just 8 years later we would have six kids! Baron's parents came to Romania to house hunt for us. They found a house near the center of town for $28,000 with a nice big courtyard and plenty of space for a growing family. Just a year after we bought the house, housing prices went through the roof and we could have not afforded to buy a house. Our house now could sell for many times more than we bought it for. We saw our house for the first time the day we moved in! I didn't get to pick out my dream house but God picked out a dream house for me...much better than I could have ever dreamed!! God is trustworthy and brings about things more wonderful then we could ever hope for!

The most recent story is this: We have known all along we wanted to work with abandoned children but our first priority was starting a church. Our partners that are coming to Romania (Lord willing this year) will be a big part in this ministry to children. We have sought out many different opportunities but it seemd doors always closed on us. It is much harder now to minister in state run homes, they do not seem to welcome foreigners in any more. Baron was out visiting this past Saturday and he ran into a family we have known for years. In fact, the dad used to come to our church and then quit coming. They are a friendly family and always enjoyed when we visited them. Well, the daughter is now working at a state run home in a village very near us and she said they would love for us to come and help them out. We met with the director of the place just last Monday and he welcomed any help we could give them. They are individual apartments that house about 14 kids each with educators who work shifts. There are a total of 72 kids that live here and a majority of them will never be adoptable but they will also never go back to their families. Then Tuesday we received 10 boxes of children's clothing from a ministry in the states. Saturday, we get to go out and personally hand out all the toys and clothes to these children. God always has a plan for His children and brings it about in His timing!

Friday, April 16, 2010

Another Police story...plus an adoption update!

Where to start...I guess at the beginning of the day. We started out for Timisoara. We were taking Gina to Timisoara for some special time together for her birthday which is next Thursday. We were on a two lane side road and in our lane cars are always parked...we are used to this, the no parking signs are ignored and the police never ticket so people continue to park in the street. We have always been able to still fit down the street though but today a car was parked several feet away from the curb so their wasn't a lot of room and Baron was zipping through (he thinks he is invinsible when he drives) and he is talking to me when ping...we crash mirrors with the passing car...not just any car but a jandarmeria car...what is that you ask, well that is what you would call the police better known as the "brute squad." So, Baron stops and goes back, our sideview mirrow is cracked but still attached and still works. The police guys are a bit ticked at first because Baron didn't stop right away and they thought he was driving off. Anyway, Baron asks them if they are going to write a ticket for the car parked in the no parking lane and he says that's not his department. Baron then asks well, lets file this and my insurance will pay for the damage to your car...the police man proceeds to say if we demand to call the traffic police and go to court that they will take Baron's liscence (this is the second time Baron has had an accident and the romanian police threaten to take his liscense if he files his insurance!). So, they finally agreed that it would cost around 100 Ron to fix the mirror (about $30) so Baron gives it to him and that is the end of that. This whole time I thought Baron was getting a steep ticket and who knows what else so I was very relieved to find out we were only put out $30! Baron just can't seem to stay away from the Romanian police :).
Well, we finally get to Timisoara and we decide to stop by the child protective services and see how the adoption was going and the social worker there looked very happy as she conveyed the news that our file was awaiting a final stamp from the judge to show the twins were ours and it is irrivocale and they are adoptable. Then we will take all our paper work to the court and they will be ours...just one court date!! Other Americans have experienced so many court dates and call backs we just assumed that would happen to us too but it looks as if in just a few short months we could be having our final court date and officially introduce you to two new Howertons!!! Isn't that exciting??

Finally, little fun encouragements...Today as we were grocery shopping, my little eye spotted:



That's right, Oreos have arrived in Romania!!!

The Many Faces of Nate!

Nate is always talking about the fact that he is "cute and chubby" then he proceeds to show us his happy face, his mad face, his brat face, his sad face, his sleepy face, his baby face and whatever else kind of face he can make...so here I have posted the many faces of Nate, enjoy!


















Saturday, April 10, 2010

Neighbors

I haven't been keeping up with blogging like I used to. Maybe it's because I don't think that many people read this blog or maybe it's because we are winding down on the first year of having two more children and having two more children that you didn't raise from infancy is a HUGE challenge, let me say that again a HUGE challenge! We have spent this last year trying to teach a set of 5 year olds, the basics of being in a family, listening skills, taking responsibility for your actions, not "forgetting" all the time, table manners, and we still spend a lot of time teaching that just because a new person enters our home doesn't mean you start using your manipulation skills all over again! We have also had to remind them that you don't just walk up and start hugging people you never met and sit in their laps and act as though you have known them forever. We have seen many improvements and the kids English skills have grown by leaps and bounds but we still have our struggles.

I actually started this entry to tell you what I think is an interesting story. It is typical of our life here in Romania. If someone here thinks you are doing something wrong or need to change the way you are doing something, they don't hesitate to tell you and then they keep telling you if you don't do what they "strongly suggested" that you should do. For instance, we have a dog, Buster. He likes to go back in the yard and sit at our neighbor's fence. Our neighbor who keeps his dogs chained all day has taking a liking to Buster and puts his hand through the fence to pet Buster and he feels that the collar we have on Buster is too tight. So, a while ago he let us know it was too tight and we being good neighbors loosened the collar. Well, that didn't satisfy him, once again the other day he sent Zach in to tell us that Buster was getting fatter and the collar we have on him is just too tight. We felt his collar and could slip two fingers between the collar and Buster so we left it as it was. He noticed that we left the collar on so he came by and rang the bell and told me personally..."Now I have told you this before but I am telling you again because I feel sorry for your dog, please take off that collar it is too tight, if you don't have another collar I'll give you one but please take it off." I wanted to tell him to go home and mind his own business but I didn't, I just said thank you. (this is the same man who keeps his dogs chained up all day long) So, I told Baron what he said and again we checked and there is plenty of room between the collar and Buster but my husband being the good man that he is decided instead of making a mountain out of a mole hill and loosing a chance to be a good testimony and witness to our neighbor that we should just take the collar off...at first I didn't agree and thought why in the world should we give in and take it off. Baron lovingly told me it is just as easy to take the collar off as it is to leave it on. So, he won and the collar is off. We live in an intrusive society. Everyone is always telling us to put more clothes on our kids, give them more food, don't let them walk around the house bare foot in the winter... and so on. People don't hesitate to ask us how much we paid for our house or our car. We could get defensive and get offended and tell them off but then part of being a missionary is integrating into their society. We didn't come here to make them into mini Americans, we came here to share Jesus love with them and what good would it do to tell them that Jesus loves them if we are always yelling at them to mind their own business? Don't get me wrong, I still get annoyed at times having people think I can't take care of my own family but I don't give in to the desire to tell them off. It is very tempting to do but our purpose for being here is to live like Christ and keep the peace as much as it is in our power to do so. It is interesting living in a different country with a different culture and a set of different rules. There are days when I wish I could just live an easy life in a country that is comfortable to me but most days I realize that I prefer the life in Romania to the rat race life of America.

Wednesday, March 17, 2010

March 17

This selection is taken from Streams in the Desert by L.B. Cowman

Stay there until I tell you. (Matthew 2:13)

I'll stay where You've put me; I will, dear Lord,
Though I wanted so badly to go;
I was eager to march with the 'rank and file,'
Yes, I wanted to lead them, You know.
I planned to keep step to the music loud,
To cheer when the banner unfurled,
To cheer when the banner unfurled,
To stand in the midst of the fight straight and proud,
But I'll stay where You've put me.

I'll stay where You've put me; I'll work, dear Lord,
Though the field be narrow and small,
And the ground be neglected, and stones lie thick,
And there seems to be no life at all.
The field is Your won, only give me the seed,
I'll sow it with never a fear;
I'll till the dry soil while I wait for the rain,
And rejoice when the green blades appear;
I'll work where You've put me.

I'll stay where You've put me; I will, dear Lord;
I'll bear the day's burden and heat,
Always trusting You fully; when sunset has com
I'll lay stalks of grain at Your feet.
And then, when my earth work is ended and done,
In the light of eternity's glow;
Life's record all closed, I surely will find
It was better to stay than to go;
I'll stay where You've put me.



O restless heart-beating against the prison bars of your circumstances and longing for a wider realm of usefulness-allow God to direct all your days. Patience and trust, even in the midst of the monotony of your daily routine, will be the best preparation to courageously handle the stress and strain of a greater opportunity, which God may someday send.

Thursday, March 11, 2010

Putting Old Things Behind us...

I want to share the whole van story. Back before December we knew we needed a new vehicle but we also new we couldn't take out a loan on a car and were wondering what to do...Baron thought of selling our newer, nicer van the Sharon. It is very nice but only has seats for 4 kids so we always pack the kids in there. The white van was good for transporting people to and from church because Baron could really pack people in there but it was an 87 and really was on its last leg. Baron couldn't decide, he really didn't want to get rid of the Ford and was indecisive about what to do. Then, its as if God decided for us, it was time for the white van to go. The first of December Baron was at Bible study and the white van went up in smoke. It total loss. It was not an anxiety causing event because it was a sign to us that God was making the decision for us as to which car to get rid of! The only problem was replacing it. We didn't have the money and we could not borrow. We sent out a prayer request and within one week one church had given $10,000 towards a new vehicle. By January we knew that two other churches and were going to give and an individual gave $1,000. Baron looked and looked but was not finding anything. We decided that even though vehicles outside the country are better kept and drive on better roads the taxes to bring one in would just be too expensive so we decided to stay in Romania. Baron found 4 vans to go look at about two weeks ago he called his mechanic to ask him to go with him.






Jon told Baron he would go with him but he also just found out a friend of his is selling his 2006 Opal and it is well cared for. Baron went to see it and new that God had brought us this van. It is in beautiful condition and well cared for. The vans he was going to look at were all older and had more miles on them. We had the money wired and now as of yesterday, we are the proud owners of a van that is much better then anything we imagined we would get.
We realize it isn't really our van, it belongs to God as does everything else. The Lord takes away and sometimes after taking something away He replaces it with something even better!

Wednesday, February 24, 2010

February

Winter normally kind of goes by like a snail but this winter has passed quickly. I am thankful for that, after Christmas can be rather depressing, with no sun and bad weather and the kids cooped up inside all the time. We are thankful for a new and rather big and modern play place at the mall in Timisoara. We have made weekly trips there on Friday and dropped the kids off to play for two hours while we go down stairs to the Auchen and grocery shop. Whoever knew grocery shopping could be considered a nice break!
I found out on Thursday, February 4th that my mom needed a triple bypass. The thought never even entered my head that I would go to the states until Saturday when I talked to my brother. I got off the phone with him and told Baron that my brother was thinking he might try to go be an encouragement to mom. So, Baron being the wonderful husband that he is told me to check on ticket prices. So, Saturday evening the 6th about an hour later I had booked a ticket to the states. I was to leave on Wednesday the 10th. My head was kind of swirling! Wednesday came and we got to the Timisoara airport only to find out my flight to Munich had been canceled due to bad weather in Munich. They booked me on a flight the next day but my connection was so tight I was sure I wouldn't make it so we went back and asked if they thought any other flights to Munich would go out on Wed. They told us there was one more schedule flight to Munich and that if it did there was plenty of room on it so we hung out in Timisoara and went back to the airport a few hours later and I caught a flight out and stayed with a friend there. She had noticed on FB that I was going to be flying through Munich and sent me a message telling me she lived only about 10 minutes from the aiport and to call her if I got stuck there. There was a lot of snow there and it continued to snow all night and into Thursday. I arrived and stood in the ticket line for about two hours. I kept looking at the flight board and over half the flights were saying cancelled or delayed. I was one of the lucky few that day that got out of Munich. We got on the plane and sat there for 3 hours waiting for the machine to come de-ice us. The piolet told us we were one of the last flights out that day before the airport shut down. After 12 hours on the plane I finally arrived in Charlotte Thursday evening. that evening mom did her preop stuff and took her pills, I went to bed at 7 pm and around 9 p.m. I heard a commotion...mom's surgeon had called and had to cancel her surgery due to an emergency. He would do it Monday morning instead of Friday. That was tough news for my mom, the waiting was the worse part. I did enjoy having the weekend to spend with my family.
Another blessing was, Baron sent me an email telling me that one of our supporting churches was paying for my trip to America! God continues to shower down his blessings on us!
We woke up at 4 a.m. Monday morning which wasn't hard for me b/c I was still jetlagged. We arrived at the hospital at 5:30 A.M. and they finally took her to surgery around 9. Now I must let it be known that our experience at St. Francis hospital was a wonderful one. Every step of the way there was a wonderful staff member to answer questions and just give encouraging words. The operating waiting room receptionest, the nurse who was with mom in surgery, the ICU nurses, and the step down nurses were all so kind. We really do appreciate the care she received at St. Francis and her surgeon did a wonderful job and is a very kind man. Mom spent Monday night in the ICU on the ventilator and by the time we saw her Tuesday morning she was breathing on her own and sitting up in a chair and had a lot more color to her. She moved to a room on the step down cardiac floor at noon on Tuesday. She went home on Saturday. I had to leave before she went home but I was so thankful that I could be with her and stay with her at the hospital a few days before I had to leave. I am so thankful that my wonderful husband didn't bat an eyelash but told me to go and that he would hold the fort down. He continued homeschooling the kids, nursed them through chicken pox, wrote his sermons in the evenings after the kids were in bed, and did some laundry. He didn't have to do much cooking thanks to Maria who came from church to do a lot of cooking for him and the kids.
So, that is a run down of my whirlwind trip to the states. It hardly even feels like I was there now! My mom continues to improve and I'm thankful for that.

Sunday, January 24, 2010

A Teacher/Assistant

I decided to just write it out once here to make things easier. We are looking for someone to come short term (for a year) or longer to help out with homeschooling. If you wanted to stay longer than a year we could set you up with Romanian classes and you could become even more involved with the children's ministry with the Romanian children. We have six children ages 11 to 3 1/2...next year they will be in 6th grade, 5th grade, 2nd grade, and 3 in Kindergarten. Whoever came would be mostly doing the 3 in Kindergarten. I plan on ordering my curriculum from Starfall. There would be plenty of room for adding to this program. The twins will be 6 and Nate 4. The twins still don't know English perfectly so that is why we are doing K5 another year with them. Joey is a very loving boy, loves to snuggle and love on people. Gina is very outspoken and creative. Nate is the baby of the family and is a big stinker (all my fault) but cute none the less :). I am only able to do school with them about an hour right now and they really need a full morning schedule to help them catch up. If you are interested in coming I would share more details with you about their learning styles etc.
Other ministries to be involved in: crafts with handicapped kids, crafts for church kids, possibly teaching/tutoring Romanian kids in English. It would be a big plus if you were musically talented but not a requirement.
If you came short term you could stay in our guest house which is in our court yard not attached to our house. Bedroom/sitting room/bathroom. You would eat meals with us. You would need to go home for Christmas b/c we are HOPING that a lot of family are coming for Christmas and we would need the space. You would eat all your meals with us. If you were coming longer term you would need to raise some support and live in an apartment.
You need to be a flexible person who isn't easily upset when plans go arry (b/c they go arry often here). You need to be a person who can adapt in another country and accept some things just b/c that is the way it is and not try to change everyone to be like Americans (very tempting to do at times). You need to be able to communicate your feelings so we know how to better help you (a hard one for me too). You need to love the Lord and desire to serve Him by serving others!

Saturday, January 16, 2010

Feelings about adopting out of birth order.

When we decided that God would have us adopt we had never researched adoption or talked with others and didn't know that to some, adopting out of birth order is a big no no. I think God had us remain ignorant of it because the children he had for us didn't fit in our birth order as they should :). There are challenges to adopting children who have been raised in a children's home...even if they were loved and well cared for there. Our twins never had consistancy, they would love someone and then that person would leave and someone else would come. Their life involved adapting with different people and attaching to whoever would look at them.

I think our biggest problem with the birth order thing would be this: Our youngest, Nate, is like the baby of the family and still at 3 1/2 gets treated like the baby. The twins see this baby/mom relationship and I think they struggle with this...especially Joey. He will often ask me, "mom, how come I wasn't your baby? I want to be your baby." All I can do is hug him and tell him I love him and that I am glad he is mine now. That is our biggest challenge with adopting out of birth order.

Considering our twins were raised in a children's home for the first 5 years of their lives they are quite spoiled. I am always amazed here in Romania to find how spoiled even the poor kids are. I think part of the problem is when you have a children's home you want to give all you can to these kids including material possessions. The twins always expect us to buy them something when we are out in a store. We would love to buy them things but we don't always indulge in their desires. We don't want them to think just because they want something means they should receive it. Here is a funny story. We took a trip to Timisoara, took the kids out to eat and to play at the play place and Joey started complaining about wanting something else. We told him he needed to have a thankful heart and he came back with this: "oh, I am thankful, I'm thankful I have a family." It was difficult to continue reprimanding him after that!

They have been with us permanently for about 9 months. We have a lot of good days and some bad days. They have settled into family life nicely and are trying really hard to obey and follow the house rules. They are doing better at accepting no for an answer then they did in the beginning. We love them and look forward to them receiving our last name. Please pray that the adoption moves in a timely manner. We hope to be home for a furlough the fall/winter of 2011.