Monday, August 11, 2014

Our latest Prayer Update

Back to Bucharest!

In answer to many prayers over the last year we are delighted to announce that we all have tickets and passports in hand to return to Romania August 25th!  We are in the midst of packing, last-minute experiences for the kids, and preparing to say good goodbyes.  While the wait has felt long at times, looking back we are amazed by the many opportunities the Lord gave us in the last year for growth, training, partnership development, and family.

Summer Update
God worked in a wonderful way over the summer as we met with individuals and churches to share the ministry God has given us.  We spent the last two months in Michigan and were overwhelmed by the kindness and generosity of our church family there.  We had the privilege of sharing with the kids at the South Church VBS in June where we spent 5 days sharing about Romania, why we should all care about missions, how someone becomes a missionary, and how we are encouraging Romanians to become missionaries.   It is our prayer that some of the 300 children we spoke to will one day become missionaries themselves.

September Birthday
Next month Bucharest celebrates its 555th anniversary! We love our city and desire to see God’s Kingdom bringing transformation to the 3 million residents. Here’s how you can be involved! Together with our city team we’re asking God to raise up 555 people to pray for Bucharest each day of September. We know that the foundation of revival is prayer, and are convinced our prayers will bring hope and new life to this needy city. 
Our team’s goal of 555 intercessors is ambitious and will require a lot of help. We are eager for you to pray with us and ask you to invite others to pray.
If you will be one of the 555, please send a quick reply to let us know and you’ll receive our calendar with prayer points for each day of the month.
Jeremiah 29:7a “Seek the welfare of the city where I have sent you”
Bucharest's new 555 monument in Piata Victoriei.

Friday, August 8, 2014

Spring Update

In the interest of keeping in sequence, if not up-to-date, here is the prayer update we sent out this June...
In our last update we mentioned the rapid decline in the health of Joshua's father. On the morning of May 12th Raymond Dunckel met his Savior in heaven. We are so thankful he is no longer in pain and discomfort, that Joshua was able to say his goodbyes, and that we were in the States when it happened. We had already reserved housing to spend June and July in Michigan, which is another example of God's perfect timing this year. This enables us to be near Joshua's mother as she begins the next season of her life.

 When we left Bucharest last summer the ReachGlobal team was launching a refuge for trafficked women in Bucharest. When we joined the ReachGlobal team this year we were excited for the opportunity for Kara to become involved in this ministry upon our return. Since we have been in the U. S. the shelter has grown in its impact and scope. Last month its director was recognized by the U. S. government for its work in combating human trafficking! In the words of our team leader...

 "Each year the US government chooses 10 heroes worldwide to recognize for their accomplishments in the battle against human trafficking. This year Monica Boseff, our director at Open Door Shelter was chosen! Joe Biden was in Bucharest last week and gave Moni the award. She insisted on receiving it in the name of all our staff at the clinic. She had the opportunity to spend an hour with Jill Biden and introduce her to three of the young ladies living at the shelter. Everyone was in tears as they talked of their past and God's amazing work in their lives. Later at the ceremony, Moni explained that these young women are the true heroes, fighting to overcome the trauma of their past to reintegrate as healthy members of Romanian society. We are thrilled to see signs of blossoming spirituality in the life of our beneficiaries." 

 Coming up... 

 We have settled into the South Church mission house in Lansing for the next several weeks. We'll be working on partnership development with churches and individuals. Please be in prayer for a few key meetings with churches this month as we recruit new ministry partners. In the middle of the month Joshua will be heading back to Minnesota for a week of training in "Multiplying Churches Globally." This is the last training session on the schedule before we leave for Romania. When this is completed we have only to wait on God to provide the funding we need to return. We are currently at 83% of our monthly support requirement. It is exciting to be getting closer to the finish line, passing milestones along the way back to Romania. Anders sat still for his first passport photo last week and soon will officially have the cutest passport in the family.

 June launches the VBS season and we are honored to be the Vacation Bible School missionaries for South Church. We'll have opportunities each day to share with the children why missions is important and how they can pray for Romania. Since we are living next door, it will be both fun and convenient. Thank you for your prayers for our family and our ministry. This has been a year in which we have seen God at work more clearly than ever before, and this is a result of united prayer on our behalf.

 Grace & Peace,
Joshua & Kara Dunckel (and Noemi, Isobel & Anders, too!)

Friday, May 2, 2014

Working and Waiting

If the Lord Jehovah makes us wait, let us do so with our whole hearts; for blessed are all they that wait for Him.  He is worth waiting for. - Charles Spurgeon

In this season of transition we are often asked when we are returning to Romania.  The answer is: as soon as possible!  We are keenly aware of people, places, and opportunities we are missing.  Some of our schedule for this year is dictated by training we need to complete before we return to Romania.  The biggest hurdle to our return is the financial support required before we will receive clearance to head back to Bucharest.  This season requires us both to work and to wait, which sounds much simpler than it actually is.  However, in the working and waiting we are seeing God's hand at work in fresh ways.

God is using our empty apartment...
A young unmarried couple started attending our teammates' Bible study when they were convicted through their exploration of God's Word.  When they decided to stop living together one of them needed a new place to live.  Enter our apartment...
We have an apartment in Bucharest where our books, clothes, wedding pictures, books, toys, and more books are stored in a bedroom, awaiting our return.  It is a two minute walk from the workplace of the young woman from Bible study.  This spring she moved in to our place to room with our new ReachGlobal teammate.  We are so thankful to have our apartment become a step of obedience to God for this young couple.
Isobel in front of our apartment building

God is caring for our family...

When we are in Romania the thing that sometimes tugs, sometimes yanks our hearts towards home is family.  Since our return to the US we have witnessed the steady decline in the health of Joshua's father.  He is in the hospital as I write and his situation changes daily. While, many days, we wish we were able to be back in Romania already, we are so thankful to be able to be with Joshua's family for this time.  In this season of waiting on God, it is encouraging to see some of the purpose in His timing

Joshua's father turning 85 last summer

God is working in our absence...
Meanwhile, in Romania, exciting things are taking place.  Our team is fighting human trafficking with a safe house for trafficked women.  Because of the impact of the first house, as well as Romanian laws about housing minors, a second safe house for younger victims of trafficking is being planned.
Bucharest is a bustling metropolis where you can find a mix of languages and cultures.  The most diverse area of the city is a market called Dragonul Rosu {Red Dragon}.  A prayer group has begun meeting weekly to pray for the spread of the Gospel among the community there.  When Muslim friends stop by to join in, the meeting becomes a Bible study.  We look forward to meeting and praying with them at our return.

Grace & Peace,
Joshua & Kara Dunckel
(and Noemi, Isobel & Anders, too!)

Moving Forward

Last year was a year of big changes for our family.  Anders' birth in September was one of the best changes you can get.  However, this year we are also enjoying another great change.  We are now officially missionaries serving with ReachGlobal instead of One Challenge.  We have good friends on the One Challenge team in Bucharest and look forward to seeing them when we return to Bucharest. However, as far as ministry fit is concerned, ReachGlobal is where we see God's place for us.  There are many benefits to this transition, and we'll list the biggest ones for you.

1. Ministry Focus.  With OC our ministry was headed more and more in the direction of MK (missionary kid) education.  While we are so very thankful for the staff at the Christian school and the ministry they have had to our children, we know the reason we came to Romania was not to work in the school, but to mobilize Romanian missionaries.

2. Healthy ministry.  ReachGlobal is committed to "healthy people living in healthy teams equipping healthy leaders in order to multiply healthy churches."  We have seen this playing out in their team culture on the field and already have seen its benefits for us personally.  The enemy does not want missionaries to survive, thrive, or be effective, so we need to be intentional about taking steps to be healthy and keep our ministry healthy.  It does not just happen.

3. Seasoned colleagues.  Our new team leaders are a couple who have been mentoring us over the last couple years.  They have been working in Romania for nearly 20 years and possess a wealth of experience and wisdom which we value highly.

A few facts about ReachGlobal...

  • ReachGlobal is the missions arm of the EFCA (Evangelical Free Church of America). 

  • They have been sending missionaries for about a hundred years.

  • Their ministry vision is to to impact 100 million people with the gospel over ten years.

  • ReachGlobal's ministry strategy is "Develop. Empower. Release."  This fits in well with missions mobilization as we develop Romanian believers who are interested in missions, empower with the tools needed for ministry, and release them into cross-cultural ministry.  We also want to develop a missions vision within the Romanian church, empower it to greater involvement in the Great Commission, and release it to do these things in a distinctly Romanian way.

With a new organization comes a new budget.  We are required to be at 100% of our monthly support before returning to Romania.  The next few months will be filled with personal and professional development as well as ministry partnership development.  Please pray with us for God to prepare churches and individuals to financially partner with us in this ministry.  We are praying that God would allow us to return to Romania this July. We have already seen Him moving in wonderful ways.

Grace & Peace,
Joshua & Kara Dunckel
(and Noemi, Isobel & Anders, too!)

Aaaaand, we're back! On the blog, that is.

Let's pretend we haven't neglected this space for the past two years, dust it off, and get a fresh start.  I'll start by posting our most recent prayer updates and plan to keep it current from there.