This week.

Some weeks are filled with beautiful things, the sun raises each morning bringing with it expectation, and promise. Weeks where I leave sticky peanut butter kisses on my cheek, not daring to wipe away the memory of this precious season. Weeks of joy and peace in preparation for family ministry, both here and in Romania. Those weeks are wonderful, but this week was not that week. Somewhere along the path of preparing my family of five for a 2 month trip overseas, I lost sight of what matters in eternity. This was the week filled with stress from unfinished projects, unrealistic expectations, and too much to complete in the last few days before leaving. This was the week of quickly wiping sticky messes and kisses away while I turned my eyes to the mile long to-do list. This was the week where my 2 year old son began to grab my cheeks with both hands, exclaiming “wook” whenever he needed my attention, the week where I had to apologize more than I can count to my sweet children. This was the week I allowed Satan to turn my gaze from Christ back towards past hurts and disputes with my husband, creating fresh wounds and discord between us. This was the week I spoke hurtful words without thinking, and lost my temper in a shorter amount of time than usual. This was the week of weakness, of questions, of wondering why in the world the Lord has appointed me to this role. And yet, this week was the week of grace. Grace outpouring through the cracks of weakness and sin. Grace tugging gently at my heart to turn back to the big picture. Grace reminding me that there is no greater time for my family to be a target of the enemy than right now. Grace, that covered all. It took listening to a song that my family sang today at my home church for me realize that. It took my four year old running to me to whisper “Te iubesc, mommy. That means I love you,” in my ear. He has offered me grace for even this season, and I’m ready to accept it.

“Yours will be, the only Name that matters to me

The only One Whose favor I seek,  The only Name that matters to me.”

The Funeral

Elvis’ grandmother passed away this last week. This was a time of great emotional stress for his mother’s family, and himself. I am thankful for all the prayers from everyone back home. Funerals are definitely different here. I was asked to photograph the proceedings, so instead of writing only words to tell the story I will let the images do so.

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Two evenings of visitation services before the day of the funeral

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Temporary grave marker

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Daughters and sister

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The Tomiani grandparents when they were young

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The Tomiani family, pictured with all 9 daughtersIMG_0769 IMG_0777

The Sisters today–minus one who was in Italy unable to attend– IMG_0781

At the meal for the family afterwardsIMG_0793

 

Daughters, grandchildren, and great-grandchildren present (plus spouses).

There are 31 grandchildren and only two of them have children of their own. Elvis’ cousin SImona has seven, and he has two. Adrielle and Elias were the only great-grandchildren there. Although it was a hard time for the family, it was a blessing to them that we were able to be there, to remember his grandmother, and to praise God for her life eternal with Him.

“See what kind of love the Father has given to us, that we should be called children of God; and so we are. The reason why the world does not know us is that it did not know him. Beloved, we are God’s children now, and what we will be has not yet appeared; but we know that when he appears we shall be like him, because we shall see him as he is.”

Today

Today I volunteered for the first time at the Pediatric hospital in Brasov.

Today I looked for the first time into the eyes of abandoned babies. Babies I have spoken of to many, but never held, babies I have seen images of, but never watched helplessly as they lay alone enclosed in a white, metal crib. Babies, beautiful, small, and alone. Today I saw firsthand what my heart has been preparing to invest in for the past 4 years. Today I visited with Gypsy mothers, some as young as seventeen.  Today I worked as a Romanian translator for the first time. Today I made my first friend from our small village, who happened to be in the hospital during my short time there. Today I passed out toothbrushes to many mothers whose smiles were marred with the lack of teeth, and small toys to tiny hands left to their own devices for long hospital days. Today I wished many mothers that God would be with them. Today my heart was broken as I saw firsthand countless needs. Today I was mistaken for a longterm Hospital Volunteer by a nurse who grabbed me in the hallway and literally shoved a tiny bundle of a baby in my arms, barking a command. After translating her words as something to do with putting the baby in bed #13 I stared down in surprise at the tiny bundle that was suddenly thrust in my arms. He stared back with big dark eyes. After a few seconds of initial shock I began hastily walking to find bed #13, clutching him tightly. Little did I know how hard it would be leave him there once I arrived. His mother is from a nearby village and had come to visit him for a few precious moments.  Whether the nurse was so quick to pass him off because he was the son of a Garbor Gypsy, or because there was quite a bit of chaos in the hallway I don’t know, but I praise God for the tiny moment. I gave him a quick kiss on the forehead and placed him back in his crib.

Today I realized that God is big enough to provide encouragement and opportunities to serve others in countless ways, including those that aren’t specifically created with the purpose of sharing the gospel. Next week many more of those women will be there, and today because of the example one Christian woman showed in sharing her gifts with a Gypsy mother, another followed suit. A friend had asked me last week why I wanted to begin working with this ministry, as the organization is more focused on social justice than evangelism. After one day, I can’t say to what extent the Gospel is shared with these mothers, but I can say that God used it in countless ways to minister to my own heart and remind me that He is listening, and in control. That he did bring us here for a purpose, and even while that purpose is largely unknown, there are daily opportunities to serve and minister to others, doors opening through mere “social justice” that I could never have anticipated. This next week I will be visiting with the young mother from our Village. She is not a Christian. Yet praise be to God for He heard my prayers and opened a door of ministry and also gave me what I have desired, a friend, right here outside my front door. And not only a friend but an open door to know people in our village, something I had just been speaking to a friend about last week. All of this only a beginning, stemming from something so simple as a program to encourage moms of young babies in the hospital.  It’s a small world and our God is big

Not to mention that Adrielle spit a mouthful of water on my keyboard, it began messing up and changing the mapping of the keys, and today it is mysteriously repaired—just in time to type these thoughts that He knew would overflow from today.

Today. I guess I could simply say that I volunteered in a hospital.  Yet even while typing that my heart cries in revolt. Today was day number one of many. Today was enough.

Rest for the weary…

It’s been a little over a week since we moved to Crizbav, a whirlwind week full of craziness and errands, and projects, and cleaning! We found evidence of past winter visitors–the small scurrying kind–and had a big ordeal to clean out the downstairs from their generous leftovers.

In other news, Elvis will soon be proficient amateur plumber after living here. The plumbing has led us on an interesting adventure of leaks–leaks–and more leaks. However, after one week of this sort of thing we have only two or three smallish leaks as of this morning. And we have hot water as long as we build a fire in the furnace every three days or so–praise the Lord!  Speaking of leaks–we had some rain and discovered that the leaking is not only limited to the pipes! The windows, although rustic and lovely, are true to their rustic nature and need some ample silicone surgery. :)

All that to say–we have had a good week of settling in. We are “almost” unpacked, and are slowly working throughout the house on different cleaning projects. Yesterday Elvis and his dad built a giant dog pen for the guard dogs, so we can now have a little more peace of mind when Adrielle is out of sight for a few minutes. :) Also, we do not have internet at the house yet, so we are able to check email and such when we come into town. Hopefully we can find a reasonable provider within the next week.

I just have to say…The Lord is very faithful in every detail. And although this period of transition has come with “growing pains.” It has been full of small joys and affirmation that He does in fact want us right where we are–namely: In this tiny little village of Crizbav, nestled in the Carpathian mountains, looking to Him for our next steps.

Next week we will hopefully be working in the kitchen! 

p.s. Elias has a double ear infection–but has been feeling better since we started a round of antibiotics–please pray that this sort of thing stays away henceforth! 

 

Meanwhile, in Codlea…

Well it has been a few weeks now–things are going much better. Both kiddos are over the initial illness for the most part and are sleeping through most of the night! We are hopefully getting our car back tomorrow and will be able to move and get settled in at the home in Crizbav around thursday of this week!

Meanwhile, here’s how we have been keeping the little’s busy in a house with little to no baby/children “stuff”

You do what you can.  ;)

Arrival in Romania

Hello all! Well after looking at the previous post it has been a while since we have updated this blog, obviously! BabyO number two arrived September 18th, you know him as Elias Daniel! He is seven months now and a precious, chubby boy.
And not only that, but we are in Romania as of three days ago, for the next 5 and a half months! We will be working on the Gateway Kidz Home, hopefully bringing it near completion. We will also begin volunteering with another organization in Brasov that specializes in ministering to abandoned babies in the Hospital. in fact, go here to read about all of our trip goals/prayer needs if you want!

All of that to say, we are here in romania, and if you want to know what NOT to do when traveling with an infant and toddler, just ask me because i probably did it. Despite my lack of packing/traveling foresight and wisdom the kids did great and were troopers. We left Dallas at 7 pm and arrived the next evening at 11:50, then drove 3 hours to arrive at our destination around 4 am. Now we just need to switch their days and nights back to normal…they say kids need about a day to adjust for every hour of time difference. That would be 8 days. Bless them.
Do be praying for them though, they are both sickly with some congestion mess and I am hoping it doesn’t turn into bronchitis. We may have to venture to the doctor here (gulp) if little man’s cough doesn’t get better! Oh and it is definitely springtime here :)

Elvis' mom's garden

Elvis’ mom’s gardenCherry Blossoms Cherry Blossoms IMG_8309IMG_8327IMG_8108 IMG_8104

Home is truly where the heart is.

We are finally back in Conway, Arkansas.

It’s so odd being in this trans-atlantic transition. Aside from the obvious change of moving across the world, there are countless emotional and mental changes that while not obvious to an observer, are sometimes painfully obvious to the individual. I have been warned of these in missions classes, in missions books, and by missionaries. Now it is time to live them. The biggest one is that eventually you begin to “lose home.” You begin in your home country and make the first step to move away. You have lost your first home and start to acclimate to another. Then when you re-enter your home country you have all sorts of expectations about “going home” only to have them dashed because home doesn’t stay in a freeze frame while you are away. Life happens. Change happens. Then you decide in your mind that the foreign country must really be home only to discover upon returning that it has changed as well. It is in this way that “home” is lost.

While all of this is true, and I am only beginning to taste the bittersweetness of the journey, I have also been encouraged that it is possible to pack your heart and home in a suitcase that is as mobile as your family. All this to say, my home is with my husband and my daughter, be it in Crizbav Romania, Fort Smith, Arkansas, Mesquite, Texas, or Conway.

And the Lord is faithful in all of those places. So here’s to keeping my heart mobile this next year, as we prepare to continue the transition to wherever He leads.