Thursday, December 22, 2011

Draw near to God and He will...

We are content to be having a quiet Christmas at home in Hungary.
We just watched “The King’s Speech” last night and enjoyed it.
We listened to Bill Hybels online about the nearness of God in our lives.
Luiza and her mother Luminitsa are making Cozonac with walnuts.
Our three boys are napping, and so are Luiza’s brother Robert and sister-in-law Gabi.
Before falling asleep Luiza and I are enjoying reading “Heaven is for Real”.

I am helping our Russian leaders finalize proposals for JESUS film projects for next year so that people in the US can raise funding for this. It is a time of winter, a time to remember the past harvest and trust God for a rich harvest to come. This short video is a great encouragement in that regard, reminding us of what God has done. Thank you for your part.

Sunday, November 27, 2011

What if He came today?

It may be at morn when the day is awaking,
when sunlight throw darkness and shadow is breaking
that Jesus will come in a moment of glory
when Jesus receives His own.

O Lord Jesus, how long, how long
Ere we shout the glad song,
"Christ returneth! Christ returneth!
Aleluia amen, Aleluia amen."

Tuesday, November 22, 2011

November

I didn’t write anything for a while  in here. The question I am getting all the time is how am I doing? I have good days and bad days. I miss my dad every single day. Some days I am smiling thinking how he would fix or help with some things and other times I am overwhelmed with sadness as I can’t pick up the phone and ask him what I need to know right away.  I miss more than ever his e-mails with insights and encouragements in our walk with the Lord.
Last week it was the first time in a long while that I went out to a meeting with other women from our ministry. I didn’t want to go initially as I am not very fond of the idea of crying in public. But Dennis encouraged me to go and I had a good time and I didn’t cried.
I am getting ready for Thanksgiving. It is a good preparation for me to think what I am thankful for. It is easy to focus on the thought of losing my dad and not to be thankful. I know that it will be a bitter sweet holiday, but there are still plenty of reasons to be thankful for. God gave me here on earth a wonderful dad who loved me and I prefer this than the alternative to have a distant, uncaring dad. The memories are sweet reminders of how much he cared about us and I am glad that I am his daughter.
The boys are fun.
 Yesterday Ryan came home and asked me ”What I will do when I will finish 12th grade?
I: you will go to college
Ryan: But the college is in America.
I: Yes, and you will go to America.
R: But what about Kevin and Nate they will still be in school?! Where will they go to school?
I: They will continue to go to school here.
R: I will go to America and you will be staying here?
I: Yes, you will go to college and Kev and Nate will stay here with us to finish school.
R: (with tears in his eyes): I don’t want to go by myself. I can’t go without you. What will I do alone there? I don’t want to go without you.
Dennis: started to explain that this is normal and other kids are doing that….
It didn’t help as Ryan started to cry by now.
I: (take him in my arms): I will not let you go. We will go with you don’t worry about this.
R: Will you come with me and stay with me too?
I: yes I will not let you alone.
Ryan gave me a big smile and said :I knew it that you will not leave me alone!
He is just 1st grade so college time is far away. I am sure that he will not want mom to come with him by then.

Kevin is echoing my words a lot now “ I wove (love) you mommy. I wove you. You are my boy”. I never was called a boy so this is my time.
Nathan is fascinating with mops, brooms and the vacuum cleaning. He is imitating me and get those things out 50 times a day. Don’t imagine that I clean that often but somehow he is getting a cute smile on his face and come with a mop in his hands. This is fun but the reverse side is that I get to put those cleaning tools back 50 times a day too.

Tuesday, November 1, 2011

One Woman’s Wrestling Match with Submission

A colleague here in Budapest has written a very interesting series of articles on womanhood. It is most applicable to married women, but I notice that other articles on the site address singleness issues.
Since it is a blog the first article comes last, so here they are in the proper order:
Part 1
Part 2
Part 3
Part 4

Sunday, October 23, 2011

Funeral for my father-in-law

For those that prayed for this weekend, thank you. We left after picking Ryan up from school on Thursday at 3:30pm, but the M0 freeway was blocked. After an hour of trying to find the next closest bridge to cross the Danube, we were in heavy traffic in the middle of Budapest. Realizing it would take another hour to even get out of the city, we gave up and headed for home exhausted. It was a rough 2 hours of time wasted on the road, but we were glad we didn't persist and start driving all night in the rain and traffic.

We got up at 3am, loaded the kids, and started driving again. This time everything was clear, the kids were asleep, and we made good progress. Luiza counted that we went through 64 villages on this two-lane road (reducing our speed to 50km in each one), but still we made record time (11 hours in all).  The return trip was even better. We got up at 4:30am and left at 5:45am Sunday morning, taking a different route near Cluj, very windy roads, but less villages, and less trucks (perhaps because of the windy mountain roads). We made the return in 10 hours and the kids slept most of the way.

The funeral went well. It was great to be able to comfort my mother-in-law, and Luiza. I met some new relatives. The boys seemed to process their grandfather's death pretty well. Ryan (age 6) got to help the gravediggers in wheeling the casket across the cemetery. He liked that a lot. Ryan said, "So it is kind of like a birthday for Bunicu, starting his new life in heaven." Kevin (age 3) said, "Isn't Bunicu going to come home with us? Why are we leaving him here (buried in the graveyard)?" Usually there are no children present at funerals. They try to shelter kids from death.

 It was a beautiful service, but an hour long in the cold room. It seemed like a good balance of expressing grief and condolences, and acknowledging that Stefan has entered a much better life. Over 100 people from church attended. There were piles of flowers on evergreen wreaths.  During the service the casket was open, and Luiza pulled back the vale so that we could see Stefan's face. She also went up and caressed his face, to remember it (her first time to touch a dead body).  The most emotional part for me was when they lowered the casket down into the 2 meter hole. It was so deep I could barely see a piece of the casket. The hole is a little deeper than normal I was told, to allow for another family member to be buried in the same location within 7 years if necessary. Then according to custom, family and friends throw in a few handfuls of dirt before the grave workers fill in the hole. Luiza said throwing in the dirt gave her a suffocating feeling, as she realized that her dad can't breath there, making the goodbye final.

Luiza explained that an Orthodox funeral in Romania is quite different. There is a lot of crying, in fact people are paid to come and cry. The priest tries to make it as emotional as possible. In one funeral she attended the priest had collected personal information about each relationship of people there, and said goodbyes for the dead person to each one in a personalized way. For example, "And Suzie says goodbye to her father Christy, tell him that I'm sorry I didn't listen to his advice and study harder in school." Luiza says it was awful, like pouring more gas on the fire of grief.

Tuesday, October 18, 2011

The Bible is full of contradictions

...at least until you understand it.
Consider these instructions regarding spiritual growth and maturity:
Peter writes "like newborn babes, long for the pure milk of the word, that by it you may grow in respect to salvation" (1 Peter 2:1)
Then James says "Let not many of you become teachers my brethren, knowing that as such we shall incur a stricter judgment." (James 3:1)

Now consider Hebrews 5:12-13
"For though by this time you ought to be teachers, you have need again for someone to teach you the elementary principles of the oracles of God, and you have come to need milk and not solid food. For everyone who partakes only of milk is not accustomed to the word of righteousness, for he is a babe."
So do we want to be like babes or not? Should we be teachers or not? The Bible is full of contradictions!

Answer:
Everyone enters this life as a baby. There are some things that babies do that are to be commended. One of these is how they love milk. This morning our one year old started crying at 6:40am, which meant that he wanted to be held and he wanted breakfast. The spiritual lesson is that feeding on God's word should be my first priority too. Nursing is also his habit before bed, and my habit should also be to end the day meditating on God's word, rather than the news or a movie.

Now our baby is also eating solid food, but there is something about milk from mom that he loves and is willing to search for and insist on.  In the same way we move on from spiritual milk to other deeper issues, but we should not tire of simple truth.  Even at my age I still like milk on my cereal. Notice the warning is about someone who takes only milk.

Now about teachers, there are some whose main role in the body of Christ is teaching, but we all can teach and should teach. Teaching is actually an important driver of spiritual growth that is missing for most Christians today. Since most churches are structured around a professional pastor who preaches a professional sermon, the average believer in Jesus is taught that spiritual growth comes from listening and learning. Not true! Being a disciple requires a lot more than just learning.

Application of truth comes first. About this the three chapters quoted above all agree. "He (Jesus) became to all those who obey Him the source of eternal salvation." (Hebrews 5:9) "But prove yourselves doers of the word, and not merely hearers who delude themselves." (James 1:22) Non-disciples "...stumble because they are disobedient to the word..." (1 Peter 2:8) You can not ingest spiritual truth and be indifferent, either you obey and do it, or you suffer the spiritual consequences: "dull of hearing", "delude themselves", "unbelief".

So if you are struggling with belief, try the remedy of daily feeding on the word, asking God to teach you, and look for how to immediately obey what you learn. There are several places where we see that God is able to teach us directly, especially using His word. (John 6:45, Psalm 32:8)

After obeying truth we are able to teach, and "ought to be teachers". But who can we teach?
"The things that you have heard from me in the presence of many witnesses, entrust these to faithful men who will be able to teach others also." (2 Tim 2:2) We see that part of learning is to teach others also, but it says "men". What about women?

I find it fascinating that a woman of low reputation who had known Jesus only minutes was already teaching men in her city. "And from that city many of the Samaritans believed in Him because of the word of the woman who testified, 'He told me all the things that I have done.'" (John 4:39)

Look at a famous passage on spiritual gifts. In Ephesians 4:7-16 Paul writes that Christ gave teachers and other specialists to equip each one of us for service. "Then we will no longer be infants... Instead, speaking the truth in love, we will grow to become in every respect the mature body of him who is the head, that is, Christ." (4:14-15) Notice the connection between "speaking the truth in love" and "we will grow". If we don't want to be infants, we must find ways to speak truth as we learn it, this reinforces our learning and our faith.

Wednesday, September 21, 2011

2 months

I missed updating our blog. I didn’t feel like do it. I feel that my life changed dramatically in the last 2 months. The last entry in my blog was couple of days before my parents left. They were here with us when my dad started to be very sleepy. We notice after 1 week a slight left foot dragging. The first doctor here said it is just a virus but as he didn’t improve in 5 days we thought that it is better to go home to be able to investigate better in their own language. I was concerned that my dad had a stroke which was what the doctors in Romania said. He went to hospital got better and he was released home.

Two weeks later he suddenly got worse, couldn’t move his left arm and foot. Got back to the hospital and the doctors were puzzled why he is worse now. More investigation was done but none could bring the answers. Then a second MRI showed a brain tumor of 4 cm that wasn’t there 3 weeks before. We were puzzled and very discouraged when we went to see 4 neurosurgeons and all said the same thing. It is not possible to have a surgery because it is at the basal nuclei the tumor. Not even  a biopsy and because it seems a fast growing tumor “we think it is malign”.  Today it is 1 month since we heard about his tumor. He declined fast..unable to sit, unable to walk, unable to eat this evening or drink… I am in shock as the rest of my family. I am not sure what tomorrow is holding…Please just pray for us...

Here is Nathan 1 year birthday. I went to visit my parents at the beginning of this month.  Here is a picture with my dear dad and Nate.

Sunday, July 17, 2011

Summer with 3 boys

A lot of people from here asked me Why I didn’t go with Dennis to the US? How am I doing here by myself with 3 kids? Isn’t hard? Wasn’t better to go with him?
I think I answered those question many, many times these past 5 weeks? So I decided to post here my answers.

I went to US just before Nathan was born. We stayed in 13 houses in 10 weeks. It was very hard. I never unpack. We just scrambled through he clothes and when you couldn’t find them well you start packing again. It was exhausting for me and the kids. We were on the move every week at least once which made so hard to connect with people in one place. 
Also Dennis’s parents health doesn’t allow them to have so much noise. We have 3 boys and they are healthy, normal, energetic boys who need plenty of time to run and play to burn all that extra energy. Trying to keep them quiet in a room or at the meals to sit down for 1 hour or longer surrounded by people in their 70 or 80 it is not a realistic option. 
Also I know that it is easier for Dennis to focus on his parents if he doesn’t need to take care of us. Also made it easier to meet with ministry partners, speak in churches. To try to get 3 kids in the car in the morning and to arrive at the church at least half hour earlier to be ready for your talk and without any frustration that one kids couldn’t find his blue car, the other doesn’t want to wear sandals and you couldn’t find the baby sippy cup -it seems a dream.
Also on my side was easier- keeping the boys here with the same routine, having time to play with them, going  to different places not in hurry, having time to talk and enjoy a more relaxed summer was worthy. My parents also came but they needed to leave earlier as my dad got sick.
So how do I do being here with 3 kids? I think we had a lot of fun. It wasn’t easy as the boys are still small almost 6, almost 3 and 9 month. They still need help with food, clothes, baths, going to bed. But we enjoyed a lot of time together. I was looking forward to be with them as summer is relaxing with no school and no deadlines. We went to library every week, we read on average 15 books/week, we played soccer, we wrestled, we splashed with water, we had picnics, we went to playgrounds, we meet with friends, we went shopping from food to hardware stores (at least I had 2 future men with me so I wasn’t like a woman lost in a wrong store), we went to mall in a super hot day, we played games, watch some movies, and the highlight for the boys was a trip to the Budapest Zoo.

It is an amazing place. I went by myself with 3 kids and Ryan and Kevin walked all day form 11 am till 7 pm. They enjoyed a lot and didn’t want to leave. They close at 7.30pm. We saw so many animals, birds, butterflies, insects, snakes etc. Here are some pictures for you to enjoy.





Sunday, July 10, 2011

4th of July


July 4th passed different for us here than for Dennis who is in US. Ryan was in a bad mood as he pleaded with me for a whole week that we should go to the US for America’s birthday. He wanted to go to a parade and here it is no parade. One of the American couple had us over together with other 50 people. It was nice and even Ryan didn’t want to go anywhere and told me as we arrived there that this is boring,  he had a great time and had a hard time leaving at the end. We ate, talked, played games and sang songs. The pictures show his mood change.
I missed Dennis the most on that day. Not because I had 3 kids to watch as people were so gracious and helped all the time. Some watched Kevin as they were watching their own children, others took the boys to bathroom as I was busy feeding the baby, some hold the baby so I could participate in the games for parent-child, one dad even played in one game with Ryan so I can play with Kevin in the same game. Both boys wanted to play but I was the only parent for both so it was not possible.
I missed to share the day with him, and laugh and hold his hand and just be together. And of course to help me get there. I got lost as usually and took us a good 35 minutes to find that place.
Ryan said on the way there:”I wish daddy was here with us. I wish we could go together to the parade in Ashland. If he was here he will know the way and not driving in circles”. 

 





Sunday, July 3, 2011

Happy Birthday Buni!

On June 30th we had the joy to celebrate Buni (Grandma)’s Birthday. Ryan was the most excited about her birthday. He asked me couple of day before how old Buni is. I told that she will be 60, 10 times his age. He said: “Wow that is some age I think. When you (mom) will be 60 you will be a grandma too and you will come and visit me. I will be a dad and that time too.” Anyway on the 30th morning I told Ryan that we should say to Buni Happy Birthday when she is coming in the kitchen. Ryan told that Buni is still 59 she is not 60 yet. How come I asked? “She is still 59 till she is blowing the candles from the cake. When you blow the candles from the cake than you change your age but not before.” So till lunch when I planed to have the cake she was still 59.
We went to a Mall with my parents and the boys enjoyed the water fountain. He boys helped to pick some flowers… “golden said Ryan… like Buni age”.” The pink and white one are for little girls but that ones are for real people”.
Buni blowed the candles, not 60 pieces as Ryan wanted so she indeed turned 60. Happy Birthday dear Buni! Happy Birthday and may the Lord give you many, many more happy years my dear mom!



Friday, July 1, 2011

Weeks of sickness

We still have more than 2 weeks till Dennis come back. It seems he is gone for a LONG LONG time. I miss him a lot. I miss his smile, his laugh, his hugs, his companion throughout the days. The boys are missing him a lot and I can see Nathan is missing him deeply. Yesterday at the pool he saw a man tall and dark hair like Dennis so he crawled to him and hang on his arm. When he turned he realized was not daddy so he let him go but his face dropped.
We kept busy here.
I took Ryan to swimming lessons. He was very good and tried his best. He never complained that he doesn’t want to go back. But yesterday he told me “I am glad that this is the last time”.
I am not sure what he learned as the teacher didn’t speak English and he was with other 12-15 hungarian kids. The interesting part was that I took Ryan to the dressing room and I never could go to see what he was doing in the swimming class. Parents are not allow to step in the pool room. So all the parents said goodbyes to their children in the dressing room and one of the pool employees come and take all of them to the class and after 1 hour they will bring your child back. You don’t even have a chance to talk with the teacher.  I am glad that is over too. We will try to do some swimming on our own when the weather is turning back to summer. It is 56F right now, windy and rainy.

Since Dennis left we got one sickness after the other.  Nathan was sick. He got a rash on his body. As my parents were here I decided to take him to the doctor as I didn’t want to contaminate everybody else. I thought that he has the fifth disease (one of the childhood illness). Ryan got it from the school and had it in the last weeks of school. I went to the doctor (the one who saw Ryan when he was sick) and she told me no Nathan has just an allergic reaction. To what? She didn’t know. We stopped all the solids and went back to nursing exclusively. Somehow the same night Nathan got stomach flu. So I didn’t sleep all night trying not “to paint” our carpet. The bad part was that my parents got the bug. I decided to do something fun for the boys on Sunday afternoon as my parents were feeling bad. We decided to go for a picnic, to fly a kite and then for an ice cream treat . I took all 3 boys and headed for a hill. Thank the Lord that I decided to go closer not on far away drive. We arrived, started to  hike and Kevin was telling me that he wants to go back home because he needs a bathroom . We tried to fly a kite but it was no wind anymore, so I told Ryan lets go back to the car. Kevin is very pale by now but he wants to go and walk more. So we decided to walk till a little meadow . We just arrived and Kevin is collapsing on the ground . I just turned for a second thinking to put Nathan down in the grass too, when Kevin is starting to throw up.  So we stayed a little longer there as I didn’t want to clean the car. Ryan is sad now because our plans for the evening are all “messed up”. I drove home as fast as I could praying that Kevin will not have any accidents in the car. Ryan is quite emotional by now, he is upset but he is also fearful. (He got scared seeing little Nathan throwing up. “Mom he is so small. Please don’t let him die. Please do something for him”)
We got Kevin in bed with a bucket near by, and then I had a date with Ryan. We went up on the balcony and had a little of “daddy ice cream”. (“We still saved some for you Dennis”).

Of course Nathan has the fifth disease. He got the red checks and the lacy rash. And guess what…Kevin is getting it too now. The rash can last for 3 weeks so just before Dennis is coming back we will be over it.

Wednesday, June 15, 2011

At the airport


We took Dennis to airport this morning. The boys were so much fun. Kevin wanted to go with daddy. Ryan wanted to go just to see daddy’s airplane. We arrived home after a little adventure. First I remember that you pay the parking at a booth as you exit the parking area. Wrong! You should pay it at an automatic booth before. Great! Even that on that machine it is written than it take any bills it doesn’t take anything of a higher value of $2. People were so nice with me as I was scrambling to my wallet to find smaller bills, or it was just the sight of me with a baby on my hip and another one holding my dress and the third one asking me “what is wrong mommy?”. Anyway I managed to pay, get out and here is the funny part: 2 signs for M0 the freeway I need to take back but they go in different direction and how I suppose to know which exit is mine!?!? And of course I took the wrong MO direction and guess what… I ended up again at the airport.
Ryan is talking in the back seat “Wow, we are already back! Why we came back so fast? Where are we going mommy?”
This time I took the right exit and we arrived home fine. Of course Ryan wanted to know at what time daddy is flying. “11am” Ryan was telling us that he hopes daddy is flying over our house so we can see his airplane. We went outside and looked at the sky for 10 minutes at 11 am but we didn’t see any airplane. Ryan got an explanation: “ I am guessing he is not flying over our house. And I know why! Because that would be the wrong direction. He need to fly to Germany so this way is not Germany”. With this explanation we went inside and everybody seemed happy even they missed to wave goodbye to daddy as they planned.
Of course now I am in charge to tell Ryan at what time daddy is flying from Germany. And I have another assignment tonight from Ryan. “We need to have dinner at the same time daddy is having dinner in the airplane, so we can all eat in the same time” This one is quite hard for me to figure out so I am guessing at 6pm is right time.
Missing Dennis’ lots even he is gone just for few hours.