As we look over the last year and the incredible changes that have taken place in our lives we are amazed at the goodness of God. We've been in language study for most of the past year, so talking about what we have done would amount to a boring jumble of articles, nouns, tenses, cases ... but don't fall asleep yet. We're not talking about those things. We'd rather write about what God has done over the last 12 months. It's way more exciting.
January: He brought our family of four and all our luggage safely from frigid Minneapolis to (relatively) balmy Bucharest. He gave us a warm welcome and lots of help from our team. He made children's bodies in wonderful ways so that, in spite of moving half-way around the world in a day, they can recalibrate and eventually stop waking up in the middle of the night to play...for hours.
February: He provided us with our home -- a perfect fit for our family -- after only two weeks of apartment hunting. He gave us a landlady who would be the girls' Romanian grandmother if she lived in Bucharest. But she doesn't, so they're not getting too spoiled. He also provided our Romanian language teacher, who has been an immense help to us in so many ways.
March: As our family adjusted to our language study schedule God gave us an amazing babysitter which allowed me to study. Since she found a 'real' job she had remained a dear friend.
April: 'Harul' means 'grace' in Romanian. It is also the name of the church God led us to last April. The people of Harul have truly been gracious to us. We are thankful for our friends there and for the pastors who shepherd their flock with truth and love.
May: We both passed our 3 month language assessment. Considering how clumsy our tongues felt at the time, it had to have been a work of God.
June: We have been joking for years about vacationing on the Black Sea, and finally, in June, we were able to spend a weekend there with a friend. It should have felt surreal to see it finally happening, but it just felt right. God brought us exactly where He wants us ... and it just happens to be a 6 hour train ride from the beach.
July: He gave Josh an opportunity to attend the wedding of some friends from church. Not only was Josh able to celebrate with our friends, he was also able to ride several hours to and from the wedding with one of our pastors and his wife. They had such a good time getting to know each other.
August: God gave Josh an opportunity to spend a week with a missions team from our Minnesota church to help a struggling children's hospital in Kiev. God gave Kara a much-needed week at home with her girls.
September: Kara's father came to visit. We cleared our schedules and enjoyed a quiet week in town with him. We were amazed at the generous gifts sent with him by Oakridge Community Church. We now have children's tylenol to get us through the winter. Thank you, Lord!
October: We met our future teammates from Brazil when they came on a vision trip. We are excited to see what God will do in and through them in Romania.
November: Our first Thanksgiving in Romania! We had so many things to thank God for this year. Just making the list for this letter was difficult because of all we had to leave out. God has been so kind. It doesn't fit on the page.
December: Our first Christmas in Romania. As you read in our last letter, this year we have a fresh understanding of Jesus' Incarnation.
Grace & Peace,