Thursday, November 23, 2006

Giving Thanks in Moldova

So fun, we began the day early with a logon to the internet to find out how long to cook the turkey. Oh! This is one day I miss my Better Homes and Garden Cook book! It has a perfect little chart, but the website I logged onto had temps in Fahrenheit and Celsius . . . and the little number gage for a gas oven! How useful for me – not that the oven in our apartment has this number thing, it has only on and off and lots of area between the two. So, your guess is as good as mine! The stove downstairs has the numbers on its oven dial so I could compare location of the numbers with how much to turn on the dial.

Then Stephanie and Renia started working. I think Stephanie is the “dish-slave" because she kept the dishes totally washed. Renia and I did quite a few as well, but Stephanie, when she had a moment she didn’t know what to do, she washed dishes. Stephanie’s mom, you did a great job raising this girl! Stephanie and Renia peeled apples for the apple pie. Yes, no thanksgiving is complete without the apple pie, pumpkin pie, and pecan pie. The interesting thing is that I could find no pumpkins in Moldova, and so Mike and Myra saved the day with canned pumpkin from the states! All our pies are square, or oblong, none are round. While they peeled, I made pie crusts. Not the same process for me as in the states, but I am the only cook who doesn’t say, “I usually buy the pre-made crusts from the store. . .” although, when I hear that from Myra, I don’t worry. She is the best cook in the world – I think! Sorry mom!
Then they peeled potatoes for ten people. That’s a good amount of potatoes. Then it was time for the turkey to be prepared for the oven. Actually, Ron had to prepare the pan for the oven. It was just a tiny bit too large, but he fixed that. The pan isn’t as pretty but is as good as it was in the beginning. So, I washed the bird, buttered and salted the bird, used paprika on him (for color, you know) and I used a bit of Greek seasoning. I hope it wasn’t a sacrilege to all you good cooks, but finding all the spices I recognize is sometimes more work than I want.

When we finished all that, we lit the oven in the other kitchen downstairs and Stephanie will study her Romanian and watch the pies bake. I hope she pays attention. Then I started to make the green bean casserole. This is a totally American dish. Mike and Myra brought us French Fried Onions and cream of mushroom soup! And Sue had sent me two cans of soup (I saved them for a special day – this was it!). This is such a great day! And it’s only noon! Dinner is at 5-6. We are having fun!

As time for this dinner came closer, life got busy! Brandy was in the kitchen creating her southern brand of turkey dressing, Stephanie was mashing potatoes, Myra (who is a saint) was making sure the rest of the guests got what they needed and was heating her sweet potato casserole, and I was overseeing the whole thing! That kitchen gets smaller and smaller but it was great fun. Brandy provided the football game for Mike, Ron and Lilian. The American men were teaching this Moldovan guy the finer points of American football. The game was a college game from Georgia. The meal was delicious, loud and fun and the fellowship continued until eleven or so. Thanksgiving in Moldova was not unlike Thanksgiving in America. A lot of work, a lot of food, and wonderful people and wonderful times! We all gave thanks, but most evident was that even though we were not home, none of us were “alone” on this great holiday. God, the creator of all, had provided family half way around the world to show that His family is not bound by borders or oceans.

One thing I think about a lot is that the first thanksgiving was a cross-cultural experience with a ragtag bunch of Christians from England and some natives (those wise and experienced in the culture) getting together to celebrate that they had so much to thank God for. Life, health, sustenance and each other. Today we are a few ragtag Christians getting together to celebrate thankfulness together in a cross-cultural experience. None of us are in a familiar place, none of us have the same background; but what we have in common is Jesus Christ and the fact that we are thankful that he is always with us! Like the first Thanksgiving, we thank God.

Tuesday, November 21, 2006

A few dinner guests

Here in Chisinau, our apartment is a busy place. We had dinner for Aniko to say goodbye, she has furlough for the next three months and all these others appeared. Well, not appeared, I think we invited them!

Aniko is from Hungary and will be spending time at home with her family and in the states with friends. She has been the contact person for the international Global Action people and we had the majority of them over as well. In the picture you see Ron, Brandy (USA), Aniko, me, Stephanie(USA) and Renia (Poland). Those missing are Esther (Austria), Claudia (Switzerland), and Dana (Romania). So the reality is that we didn’t invite all the GA people over, just those local on the base.

The idea of nine people here for a meal is a bit overwhelming, not that I do all the work, Brandy and Stephanie know their way around my kitchen better than I do. But please pray that Thanksgiving is a good time and that we can buy a turkey in the market! Yeah, I think last count for Thanksgiving is 14 or more! It grows daily! That’s a lot of potatoes to mash – thanks to Stephanie I won’t be doing it!


While we were in Hungary, Ron found EVERY phone booth and did his ‘superman’ impersonation. However, this time Brandy got into the act and pretended to keep him in.

Tuesday, November 14, 2006

Mystery Meat

So. . . we are home in Chişinău and very glad to be here. Every trip over the border is an adventure, but this time we had traveled/waited for more than thirty hours, I was tired and didn't care. That's a good way to cross a border! (By the way it was also uneventful)

Anyway, we slept well but we had a few errands to run. But Brandy and I planned to invite Emily over for dinner for her birthday so I wisely remembered to take meat out of the freezer for dinner so it would be defrosted. I knew I didn't have much left, but remembered a quick trip to Metro just before we left when I bought pork. I assumed the meat I took out was pork, planned the meal accordingly - pork chops with apples. Well, it was half pork and half beef. I didn't buy beef. Either a gift was left in my freezer in my locked apartment or my last purchase from Metro was not just pork! Only in Moldova would you buy a tray of mystery meat and get beef for the price of pork!

By the way. . . beef with apples is also good!

Monday, November 06, 2006

Being in Hungary is a joy. This is a beautiful place, God is blessing us with great teaching and fantastic fellowship. We thought we would give you a small picture of where we are, enjoy this with us!

Thursday, November 02, 2006

What do you want with Jesus?

We read this morning in Bible Study that Jesus asked two specific questions. In context, they are easy to pass over. The first question, found in John 1:38, "What do you want" and the second in Luke 18:41, where Jesus askes, "What do you want me to do for you?"

I have thought through the answer, it is that I want to follow Jesus, to do what He leads me to do. Then the one thing I want to ask Jesus to do is open my spiritual eyes so that I can see Him clearly and myself dimly.

How about you? What do you want from Jesus? What do you want Him to do for you?

Good bye great friend!

I am reminded that life is short - very short. It only seems like yesterday that I met Gena at a ladies retreat and she held me close and showed me the unconditional love of Jesus in such a real, physical way. Her acceptance of who I was and encouragement that I was a great addition to God's family was so needed. I can only pray that I will grow old like Gena and never fail to portray the joy of Jesus like she did.

I remember another time. . . Gena sitting in the orphanage crying for the children. Her heart was broken for them, yet as hard as it was, she went back!

Gena was always willing to take the risk for Jesus and may we all learn from her awesome example!

Thank you Jesus for Gena and enjoy her for me, Okay?

Our trip to Hungary

We are presently in Hungary, and want to tell you how we arrived here. It is always interesting to travel in Europe. Trains are usually dependable, cheap, but never “normal” for Americans. Our conductor spoke English, had cute hair and appeared to enjoy the many girls in our group – he was very courteous and attentive. He was Italian; spoke English, Italian (we assume), German, and Romanian.

We also met an American boy on the train. Jordan Martin from Bonney Lake Washington. Yes, we traveled more than half way around the world to meet a boy from home. He was a student in Germany who was traveling around Europe to meet all of his 34 European penpals. He was a writer and someday if you see a horror story by Jordan Martin, please don’t look for the strange meeting with a mixed nationality team to be referring to us. And Jordan, if you find this blog, please don’t use us in your book! But the book is bound to be very good. He is a good storyteller!

God was with us on this trip. The late train could have been a bad thing, but it gave us an hour to be who we are. Brandy, Claudia, and I began to sing (we were bored) and I only know one Romanian song. Din El, Prin El, Şi Pentru El (In Him, through Him, and for Him- the only way we can exist) and then they all continued to sing children’s songs. We were shortly surrounded by gypsy children who were supposed to be begging. Dana (from Romania) did a short children’s program for the children, Brandy gathered some food for them, and we got on our train knowing that Jesus was proclaimed and honored!

At the train station I met a couple who were traveling on their way home and shared Jesus with them. They wondered about our obviously multi-national group! As I shared what we do in Moldova I was able to share the heart of why we are there. Helping the poor is nice, but mostly we want to share our faith, our God and our peace.

It seems to me that there is no way to communicate well how things happen. I cannot believe they happen “by chance” it’s actually easier to realize that they happen by design. God planned for our children’s program, God planned that some unloved, dirty children would hear about love and grace, God planned that we would meet a boy from home who was hungry for someone to talk with and God planned that we would come to Hungary for a conference that would totally refresh us!

Now for the best thing about the late train? None of us took into account that there was the “fall back” time change and so we arrived on time in Hungary!

Here in Hungary we are staying in a beautiful town at a lovely conference center and at the church, where we have our classes and meals, there is a special gift from God. Wireless internet. Hence the wandering into the world of blogging. For those of you who moved away from dial up. . . sigh. Those of us from Moldova had forgotten that internet could be So FAST! We are the ones who come early and stay late.

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