Saturday, December 5, 2009
Tomorrow is St. Nicolas's Day so, in the words of Wikipedia...
In Hungary and Romania children typically leave their boots on the windowsill on the evening of December 5. By next morning Nikolaus (Szent Miklós traditionally but more commonly known as Mikulás in Hungary or Moş Nicolae (Sfântul Nicolae) in Romania) leaves candy and gifts if they have been good, or a rod (Hungarian: virgács, Romanian: nuieluşǎ) if they have been bad (most kids end up getting small gifts but also a small rod). In Hungary he is often accompanied by the Krampusz, the frightening helper who is out to take away the bad ones.
Here's what the girls will wake up to tomorrow. You can't tell, but there are tiny pottery dishes tucked in there for the stuffed animals to have a tea party.
Saturday, November 28, 2009
We moved here to Bucharest from Minnesota, where we lived with my family for a year and a half. My children saw their grandparents and cousins daily. In spite of the blessings of Skype and phone calls, we still miss them and Joshua's family in Michigan intensely. Jesus left heaven, the glorious face-to-face fellowship with God the Father, to come to earth and spend His first few years here hanging out with a teenage mom and a carpenter. Our move can't even compare.
Some days I feel pulled in
I could go on and on, but you get the picture. For ever frustration, large or small, we don't have to look far in the life of Jesus to realize that He gets it. He's been here. He's lived it. And He doesn't ask anything of us that He hasn't done Himself on an infinitely larger scale in the Incarnation.
For any struggles we have with out new life in Romania there are a myriad of blessings that come with it. We are thrilled to be here, certain that this is where God wants us, and wouldn't want to be anywhere else. Next month we'll write a year in review and let you know some of the exciting opportunities that God put in our path.
Kara (for the Dunckels)
Saturday, September 5, 2009
- Praise God for the opportunity to go to Kiev, Ukraine and minister alongside a group of people from Oakridge Community Church.
- Praise God for the work that was able to be done in repairing part of the hospital that treats children affected by the Chernobyl accident.
- Praise God that no one was seriously hurt during the week of construction.
- Praise God for the connection that the young people on the team were able to make to with a number of kids at the hospital for treatment.
- Praise God for the good conversations I was able to have with the people I traveled to and from Ukraine with on a very long train ride.
- Praise God for keeping Kara, Noemi, and Isobel safe while I was away.
- Praise God for the time to reconnect and share with friends and supporters from OCC. They encouraged me and allowed me to share with them in this time of ministry.
- Pray that God will grant the hospital favor in the eyes of the government inspectors to remain open to treat these sick children.
- Pray that God will continue to use Daryl to share the gospel with the children that come to this hospital for care.
- Pray that this trip will mobilize OCC for further missions involvement.
- Pray for God’s name to be praised and more would be added to His kingdom in the city of Kiev and Ukraine as a whole.
- Pray that God would raise up Romanian believers to go and minister the Gospel in Ukraine.
Wednesday, August 5, 2009
I was looking forward to a quiet week at home, but it has turned out to be anything but. In a good way. Our days and lives are full of wonderful people here. Today the girls and I visited a Christian kindergarten for disadvantaged children run by a friend. We all had a wonderful time. I have to confess that I am one who tends to roll my eyes when people talk about going to another country and "falling in love with the children there", but these children were seriously precious. I can hardly wait to go back and see them again. I'm looking forward to volunteering there this fall. It will be a good chance to help out a great ministry, practice my toddler Romanian and give the girls exposure to Romanian language and friends. My job on today's visit was to take photos for fundraising materials, so I have tons of photos to cull through and edit. It's getting late, so tonight I am just throwing together yet another quick collage to give you some snapshots ... the brochure photos will look a little more polished, I hope.
Monday, July 27, 2009
Joshua is headed out to Kiev next week and I'm really looking forward to a quiet week at home. Living across the street from one of Bucuresti's most lovely parks keeps me from feeling trapped in the city in the summer. You can't tell we live in the most densely populated city in Europe from these pics, can you? If you look closely though, you can find a turtle:)
Joshua is really looking forward to meeting the team from Oakridge Community Church in Kiev next week to work in a children's hospital. It feels oddly normal for him to be travelling to a new country because it's just next-door (yet somehow takes 27 hours to travel by train).
Wednesday, July 15, 2009
Romania just might be the most welcoming country to move to, as a foreigner. The people here are so incredibly patient and encouraging. That said, language and culture acquisition is still hard work. God has placed a lot of Romanians in our lives who are a great blessing to us in this process and I am so thankful for them! Today I met with a young mother in the park, who only speaks Romanian and I was so excited because, for the most part, I could understand her. She was really patient while I laboriously strung my words together into sentences. Even more exciting to me is the fact that she is someone who I can be a blessing to now, even with the limitation of my linguistic abilities ... or lack thereof. I'm farther down the road of motherhood and have the deep resources of a great God to draw on. She is home alone with a young baby most of the time and spending time with her in the park is something I can do with my children around. I have received so much here that I'm looking forward to being able to pour out grace as well.
Saturday, July 4, 2009
# of Visas we have in hand: 2
# of ice-cream cones bought to appease children tired of waiting at the visa office: approximately 6, but who's counting
# of visits to the visa office before they actually give us cards for Noemi and Isobel: anybody's guess
# of months before we get to turn around and do this all over again: 10.5
That said, it's totally worth it to be here in Romania.
Sunday, June 28, 2009
Sunday, June 21, 2009
- Joshua was able to pick up his Visa last week and the girls and I should receive ours on Monday!
- I had a great afternoon out with some sweet friends on Saturday. They showed me around downtown Bucuresti, waited patiently while I shopped for kids books in Romanian. There was ice cream, there was music and dancing in the park (folk music festival), it was a perfect afternoon. Adela took me with her to visit a mother in the hospital with her premature baby - a tiny doll of a boy. I was able to pray with them, which was really a blessing to me.
- Our grammar teacher is on vacation this week, but we should start meeting with a language helper for practice in conversation. Joshua might also be able to use some of the free time to take a day trip or two out of Bucuresti.
- Thanks to a generous tax refund we are buying a dryer this week! Some friends are selling theirs before they move back to the States and we are buying it. This may seem like a strange thing to be excited about, but I spend so much time hanging up laundry and tripping on the drying rack that I'm really looking forward to it. Now I'll have more time to post here:)
Friday, June 12, 2009
Friday, May 29, 2009
Most of our lives are currently spent in language study, either formal or informal. Isobel is my little guinea pig. I find myself repeating every word or phrase when I'm talking to a baby, so with Isobel I just repeat what I've said in Romanian, if I know how. I get practice and she gets some language exposure. So yesterday when Isobel saw Noemi with water bottle and wanted a drink she said 'apa' (Romanian for water) instead of the usual point-and-yell technique. We were so proud! Her first complete word is a Romanian word.
Saturday, May 23, 2009
Thursday, May 21, 2009
Monday, May 18, 2009
Tomorrow we (hopefully) submit our visa papers. Please pray that all goes well, all our papers are in order, and the applications are processed quickly. Every time we have an appointment or do any paperwork for our visa process Noemi asks me about it. By now she's used to it so she explains it to me ... "we have to [go to such and such an office] because we have to stay in Romania ... we have to." God has brought us here and I trust Him to keep us here as long as He can use us.
Thursday, May 14, 2009
Wednesday, May 6, 2009
Thursday, April 30, 2009
Hristos a inviat! Christ is Risen!
We enjoyed celebrating our first Easter in Romania. I appreciate how Christ centered the Easter traditions are here. It is also interesting that Easter is a more important holiday than Christmas here. We watched the city shut down for two days to celebrate.
In order to lengthen our legal stay in the country until our visa papers were processed we needed to travel outside Romanian this month. We chose a quick and easy trip across the border to the town of Rousse,Bulgaria. We enjoyed the family time and the girls enjoyed exploring ancient
castle ruins and riding the train.
A Church Home!
Almost three weeks ago we decided to settle down at a Baptist church in our neighborhood. Since then we have seen the start of many new friendships and we are looking forward to watching them grow. As a PK whose church has always been the center of her social life, I'm pretty excited. There is even a children's program for Noemi to attend! I spend Sunday mornings up in the mothers' room with other mothers of wiggly babies. It is probably my best language learning opportunity of the whole week.
The church is strong and growing. It is easy to see and hear from people how God is at work there.
Monday, March 30, 2009
Last month we enjoyed our first trip to the beautiful mountains of Romania for our team retreat. We enjoyed getting to know our teammates, learning more about their ministries, and studying the Bible together.
Life is now settling down to its new ‘normal’. We are studying Romanian language and culture in and out of the classroom. Kara’s current favorite language learning method is watching Sesame Street in Romanian. Noemi and Isobel have no objections to this practice. We have been blessed with an experienced language teacher with a heart for serving missionaries. Our babysitter is also a blessing, kind and gentle with our children and very helpful with our language learning.
Outside of language study, Joshua has been attending a Kairos course at the OC office. Kairos is a missions education course that our team is sharing with churches around Romania. Attending the course gives us perspective on what OC is currently involved in as we look forward to our future ministry after language study. On Sundays we are attending a variety of churches around Bucharest before we choose a church and settle down.
- Successful language study
- Wisdom in choosing a church
- Healthy adjustment for our children
Sunday, March 22, 2009
This week we will take our first trip out of Bucharest and into the beautiful mountains of Romania. We have an OC team retreat in Sibiu. There will be snow. I would be more excited about this if I hadn't just moved from Minnesota. Snow aside, we are looking forward to seeing more of Romania and to getting to know our teammates.
Friday, March 13, 2009
- We travelled in rush hour on a packed train and I couldn't get off at the stop I needed because there were too many people between my stroller and the door. Everyone in the general vicinity was aware of my plight (probably because Isobel was shouting at the top of her lungs). When we reached the next stop people pushed back the crowd getting off the train, the crowd getting on the train, and lifted my stroller off the train for me. I'm not sure whether to chalk this up as an act of kindness or an act of desperation to escape the volume of Isobel's voice.
- A man helped me carry Isobel in her stroller up the stairs.
- A different man helped me lift Isobel in her stroller over the gate to exit the Metro and offered to help me with (more) stairs.
-On the way home Noemi was staring at the bag of an older woman because it was filled with soft pretzels ... so the woman gave Noemi a pretzel.
- A man offered his seat to Noemi on the train.
- A sweet older woman volunteered to walk Noemi off the train so I could steer the stroller and then walked Noemi up the stairs so I could carry the stroller. She was unaware of our newly perfected system of holding onto the scarf hanging from the stroller:)
- My babysitter volunteered to stay late this afternoon when she saw how busy we were.
I have been overwhelmed with the kindness of strangers lately, not so much because I can't carry a stroller up the stairs, but because it is an enourmous help with language learning. I can't learn to speak unless there's someone to speak with.
Sunday, March 8, 2009
Saturday, February 28, 2009
Thursday, February 19, 2009
Saturday, February 14, 2009
9. Parks, parks everywhere.
8. Nicer subway trains than Chicago!
7. Flower shops on (almost) every corner
6. Shoarma (our new favorite fast food)
5. Our landlady, Mina
4. Our teammates
3. Our apartment
2. Green grass and growing flowers in February
1. The warm, friendly Romanian people
Friday, January 30, 2009
Thank God for safe travel! God gave our family (and our luggage) a safe trip to Bucharest a week before I sat down to write this letter. He also provided many kind strangers to give us a hand with bags and car seats as we traipsed up and down the aisles of three different planes.
Thank God for our team! I cannot begin to list the number of ways they have served us this week. They arranged temporary housing for us before our arrival and stocked the kitchen with groceries and the living room with toys. When our children woke up hungry and rowdy in the middle of the night I didn’t have to rummage in boxes for snacks and toys. Meals were prepared for our first week. Teammates watched our children for hours this week while we hunted for an apartment. Another teammate doubled as a real estate agent for us, spending hours setting up appointments for us to see apartments and driving us all over the city. We have been richly blessed and can’t wait to find ways we can serve them also.
Thank God for our children! Noemi and Isobel have been so resilient in the course of this move. We took Noemi to the park in Bucharest the other day and she made a friend, in spite of her language barrier. Isobel managed to navigate the shift in time zones and cut two molars at the same time. She’s quite the multi-tasker.
Thank God for a home! God provided a hospitable apartment for our family after just a few days of searching. We are so excited to be able to settle into our new home and begin language study.
Kara (for the Dunckels)