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

Saturday, December 29, 2012

The Best of 2012

I  would like to sum up the best things about this year, so here is my best of list:

Best verse:  "For I am convinced that neither death nor life (not cancer, a car accident, crime, or calamity), neither angels nor demons (not evil in the media or crazed psychopaths), neither the present nor the future (not any ...current crisis or any tragedy that may be in my future), nor any powers (not a demanding boss, a cruel dictator, or a bloodthirsty terrorist), neither height nor depth (not winning the lottery or losing my life savings), nor anything else in all creation (not a hole in the ozone, a forest fire or a hurricane, a hungry shark or a killer bee) will be able to separate us from the love of God that is in Christ Jesus our Lord (Romans 8:38-39).

Best memory: I have two, Branson with all of the Howerton family in March and Disney World in May with my parents.

Best Book: Again I have 2 One Thousand Gifts by Ann Voskamp and Book of Hope by Nancy Guthrie

Best new thing: learning to knit, thanks to my grandmother a.k.a. Marvelous Marv, and my friend Rebekah.

Best new thing that came to Romania: Subway (hey, it's the little things)

Best New Recipe: The recipe for rolls from http://thepioneerwoman.com/cooking/2007/11/pw_dinner_rolls_-_no_kneading_required/

Best blog: www.aholyexperience.com always encouraging me to move forward in my relationship with God

Best new recipe I look forward to trying in 2013: http://thepioneerwoman.com/cooking/2010/01/italian-meatball-soup/

Blog I look forward to checking out in 2013: http://www.incourage.me/

Best kind of music: Folk/Bluegrass style (what can I say, I am a country girl at heart)

Best thing that smelled good: Holiday candles I received from my sister from Bath and Body Works...I'm still burning them!

Best thing over the holidays: taking a night time walk to see the Christmas lights in a foot of snow with the family. For Christmas it was overcast and almost 50 degrees and we had piles of dirty snow left!

Best/favorite past time: Lauging and playing games with Catalin and Nadia.

Thursday, December 13, 2012

Winter Weather

We received about a foot of snow Saturday and Sunday.

 
Nate was a shepherd in his Christmas progrom Wednesday night.

Our town, Lugoj. They don't have a really efficient road cleaning crew.

Brotherly Love

Twins enjoying the snow.

Snow Ball Fight!

As you can see we have a lot of snow. We had so much we couldn't shovel our vans out to get to church Sunday morning and had to cancel church. There was no place at church to park the vans either. Only a small passage cleared for cars to drive on but you would have to park right in the middle of the road. On Monday we couldn't get either vehicle to start. One needed a new battery and the other the gas had frozen in it. We went to Timisoara Tuesday which is only 25 miles away but it took almost 2 hours to get there. We thought for sure the main roads would have been cleared but we were wrong. Nate is enjoying school so much. His teacher is very nice and he has made friends with his classmates.  Another year has come and almost gone so fast. The older I get, the faster time seems to go!

Wednesday, October 3, 2012

Funny Things

So I guess the one thing people always ask me is what is life like in Romania. It seems kind of normal to me now so sometimes I have a hard time answering this question but this week a few funny things happened that I thought you would find different and interesting.
In America, a husband can go into a flower shop and buy any amount of flowers he wants for his wife without anyone questioning him but not in Romania. In Romania, you buy an even amount of flowers if someone has died and an odd number for happy occasions. Baron went to buy me 6 roses last week and the lady could tell by looking at him it wasn't for a funeral and she said are you sure you don't want 5 or 7. Baron explained that he was American and 6 roses wasn't bad luck and it was okay for him to give me 6 roses. She regretfully fulfilled his order although she would have much rather have had him buy one less!
I am not sure what happens in a city in America if there are too many crows flying around but in Romania when there are too many, you get out your shot guns and kill them. Yes, I don't know how the recruit the men for the job but if you go to the park this week you could very well  find several armed men shooting down birds hence, it is not a good week to take the kids to the park!
Another thing I thought was really interesting was at our first of the year school meeting for Nate.  At the meeting we would be told a "rule" then after the rule was stated, the teacher or PE teacher would say, "but you do whatever you think is best." For example. The PE instructor explained the girls shouldn't wear jewelry for PE, that earrings are a risk for being ripped out but then after he explained all that he said, "but if your little girl wants to wear jewlery and you are ok with that, you do whatever you think is best."  I guess the old saying of "rules are meant to be broken" really is true!
I am very excited that Nate seems to be really enjoying school. All the kids in the class are excited to have an American who can teach them English and so they are all very kind to him. He comes home very day excited to do his tema (homework), hopefully that will last all through his school years!

Wednesday, August 22, 2012

End of the Summer...

Even though it doesn't feel like it...it's 100 degrees today...summer is ending. I know that soon we will be starting fires to keep the house warm and soon we will be counting down the days until Christmas. I actually love  every season. I love when the crisp coolness of fall chases away the heat of summer and I love the first snowfall of winter especially if it is in time for Christmas. I am learning to enjoy each season of life. It is not an easy lesson to learn, some seasons of life aren't fun but God brings all the seasons of life for our good so I want to learn to enjoy his gifts even the ones that seem difficult.
We looked forward for so many years to having coworkers. I believe we met them actually 5 years ago and begin to count down the days when we would have helpers along side us. For some reason though, God has other plans. We can't always understand his ways but then again I wouldn't expect my little mind to be able to wrap around all that God does in the universe and so I am not angry at God for changing our plans, a little sad, yes. Due to health issues the Louks are unable to stay in Romania. They leave tomorrow morning very early. They have been packing and cleaning their apartment. We are learning that God wants us to completely depend on him. We are learning that our plans are not always God's plans. We are learning that God is good and always has our best interest and His glory in mind. So, how can we complain when this is for His glory? We complain because we get our minds off His glory and onto ourselves and our own wants. We do know two things that the Louks coming was for, they were a great fill in for our time away in the states. If they hadn't come we wouldn't have been able to go away on a furlough. They also introduced us to a great mission board, Biblical Ministries Worldwide. We took part in BMW's conference in Germany recently and were so refreshed and blessed by the preaching, discussion groups, and fellowship with other missionaries all over Europe. Our children met and played with other missionary kids, something that doesn't happen very often. It was such a relaxed setting and we would have never gone to this if the Louks hadn't come to Romania. We don't know what God has for our future or who he has but we know that he has called us to be in Romania and reach out to orphans. We will proceed and ask that you pray for us. We are still waiting for the director of the orphanage to send us the contract to sign to volunteer, then she has to send it on to Timisoara to be signed but we are hopeful that this will open the door for further outreach to abandoned kids. Pray for the situation with children in Romania. The orphanages are in much better condition then they used to be but there are just as many children being raised by the government today as there were 22 years ago under communism. It is a vicious cycle that has no easy answers. Pray that God would raise up Christian Romanians to foster and/or adopt. That He would raise up government officials who would be concerned about the future of Romania and concerned about these children who grow up with many difficulties. Pray for our church, that God would burden their hearts for the abandoned children of Romania and that we would be willing to give up our time to love these children and show them the Father loves them. We look forward with hope because our hope is in God and not in governments or people.

Sunday, July 1, 2012

The New Room

Beginning of Construction
After: Green Walls, Pink accessories
The new light
Before: We had this door removed and moved the wall back.
After: Where the door used to be, now a nice spot was created for her closet.
Before: This is her old bed, we created a little more space in her room by taking out this door to the outside of the house and moving the wall back to be even.
After: the new to us bed from IKEA. We wanted to go to Budapest to get her a new bed at IKEA but we found one in the paper right here in Lugoj!

Thursday, June 14, 2012

Our Gina

Our daughter Gina, she has an infectious smile. She has an independent spirit. She loves to be in charge. She can't wait to be a mother. She came to live with us at the age of 5. She officially became a Howerton at the age of 6 1/2. She is the only girl amongst 5 brothers. We made a little room for her when she came to us. I was thrilled with and she was thrilled with it. It has a door to the outside in it and. The wall comes in and takes out precious space because they added stairs on the outside so you could get into the door. Today begins the work. The man is here to tear down the door and tear down the wall to make it a little more spacious in her room. She has had water leak in and down the wall and had water spots. The roof is fixed now so her room will also get a fresh coat of girlie colored paint, pinks, lavenders, and greens. We will lower the roof and put in a new light (the previous light was a paper lantern that is now ripped) maybe a little girlie chandalier. We will take a trip to IKEA in Budapest and get her a loft bed. Sometimes a little girl needs to be treated like a princess.
We have been back in Romania for two weeks now. We are continuing to work through school. Please pray for the twins especially. We are really working at getting them comfortable with reading and school work. We are praying about sending Nate (youngest) to a private school next year so the twins don't feel they are in competition with their little brother. Another benefit to that would be helping Nate learn Romanian again. He seems to have forgotten it and has been unable to communicate with his Romanian grandma which makes her sad. Pray for us to have courage to do this...it's not easy sending your baby off to school!

Saturday, June 2, 2012

Romania

We arrived in Romania on Thursday, May 31. We are experiencing a bit of jet lag but are thankful that our flight over was uneventful! All our luggage got here and we walked out of the aiport without having to open one bag! We are going to bed late and sleeping late, but we should be on schedule within a few days. We had pizza tonight, the kids were excited to have Romanian pizza for the first time in 10 months! They were sad to leave family behind but they perked up as soon as they saw all their toys, their own beds, and their rooms! It just takes time to re adjust but God's grace sees us through every time! So thankful for the faithfulness of God. Keep us in your prayers. We pray for wisdom for our future ministry here that God would lead and we would follow Him in all things. We have about a month left of school and the kids aren't excited about doing school through June but we took off a lot of days! Spencer turns 12 this Tuesday and a week later our baby Nate turns 6. They are growing up so quickly!

Monday, May 28, 2012

I thought it was time to update the look of the blog. We have been so blessed to have some wonderful family pictures taken. It is hard to grasp that we have been here 9 months and our time is just about up. We leave on Wednesday to head back to Romania. Alot of thoughts flood my mind as we get ready to head back home. It is not easy to put into words what you feel when half your heart is in one place and the other half in another. We have been blessed by the fellowship and encouraging words from many of you. We have been blessed to see many of you and heard how you have been praying for us. The Lord is good and faithful. He who begun the good work will fulfill it and see us through until the work he has for us to do is finished. I think it is harder to leave now knowing that our parents won't be coming to visit due to physical weaknesses. You always wonder when you will see them again. Our hearts are heavy as we think of some dear friends who we just saw on Sunday. They have to face the dark road of cancer. Praise the Lord for His grace. Praise the Lord for the joy of fellowship we had with them and their family even though they are facing this difficult trial. Praise the Lord that we don't have to make this journey alone, He walks with us even down the darkest and most difficult roads. We ask for prayer for wisdom. We don't know exactly where the Lord is leading us in regards to an orphan ministry but we do know he wants us to minister to the orphans. Pray for our family as we transition back into life in Romania. We want to be a blessing and point others to Christ. Pray for our children that their hearts will turn to Christ. Pray for those who are still lost in darkness that they may come to the light of our Savior and know his peace and love and forgiveness. Pray that the Lord leads a national to our ministry who desires to be a pastor so Baron can start training him.

Wednesday, May 23, 2012

Fun Vacation

I uploaded these pictures backwards so we'll start with the last day: Thursday we made a visit to Daytona Beach on our way home to Greenville, S.C. The kids have always flown over the ocean, we thought it would be fun for them to see it up close. Joey always yelled, "the ocean!!" when we crossed over a lake so he now knows just how big the ocean is!
Wednesday, we spent the whole day at Magic Kingdom! It was a magical experience. I enjoyed sharing with my kids something I really enjoyed as a child!
Tuesday and half a day Monday we went to Sea World. The kids loved getting soaked by the whales and they even have quite a few good rides there!

Monday, April 23, 2012

Twins Birthday

We celebrated the twins birthday a couple weeks before their actual birthday. They turned 8 on April 22. We had a great time with pin the tail on the donkey, relay races, and a favorite was wheelchair races!
This was their first birthday in America. They were so excited. We are still awaiting the infamous blue passports. We have had a few issues with getting them but we are praying that before 90 days is up (and we loose our money that we paid for them) that all the papers are in order and everything sent in and the passports issued. I don't think they will be done before we head back to Romania, they will be disappointed to have to travel back with their Romanian ones!
We leave at the end of this week to head back to South Carolina. Pray for our kids, it will be difficult saying good bye to their cousins...they've formed relationships with them and it will be hard to leave.

Easter

We had a wonderful Easter with Baron's family. We all went to church together. This is my favorite cousin picture: ages 4, 5, 6, 7, 7, 8, 9, 9, 11, 11, 13, 13, 15, 17, and 8 months!
So thankful for the time we have had with family and getting to know cousins that we hadn't seen in 5 years, some we had never met!

Family Fun in Branson

We have had a great time out here in Missouri. We arrived in March and after just a few days we headed out to a week long family trip with Baron's family to Branson, MO. We went to Lambert's Cafe, home of the throwed rolls, yes they do actually throw the rolls at you. We were all spread out and Joey and his cousin Campbell actually kept putting their hands up to catch rolls and ended up with about 15 rolls to take in a take out box! We then went on to Branson.
We had fun hiking and going to the fish hatchery. The highlight was 2 days at Silver Dollar City. Our two oldest road rollar coasters for the first time. Spencer loved them Zach wasn't so sure he loved them but he kept going on them because that is what you do when you are 13, you go on the rides even if you don't like them! We bought the video of them riding the coaster called Wild Fire and posted it on Facebook, that is a fun video to watch!

Saturday, March 3, 2012

Update

I just don't feel as if I have much to say, that is how boring life in America is :-)I decided it was time for an update on the blog. We have had an exciting fun time and although it is still about 3 months before we return to Romania we are on the down hill of our time here. We have applied for the twins passports. They are thrilled and can not wait to receive blue "passaports". That is what Joey used to call them, he just says passports now. The kids are all asking when we return to Romania and are ready to go home.
We head out to Missouri on Wednesday for 8 weeks. We had a marvelous time of fellowship this past week at Calvary Baptist Church in Simpsonville, S.C. They made us feel so welcome and at home and encouraged us with their fellowship at the missions conference. We are truly blessed to have so many wonderful churches behind us.
I have learned to knit since Christmas. I also want to learn to crochet. I have enjoyed making scarves and hope to be able to pass on knitting to others in Romania.
The kids have grown. We have had trouble keeping up with school and will probably be doing school through at least part of the summer.
Pray for us as we continue to travel and prepare to head back. While we look forward to getting home, we still have to say good bye to a lot of friends and family and that is the most difficult part. Thank you for your prayers.