Dear Family and Friends,
I can’t remember a time when I was so happy for a year-end, but I am especially grateful now, for lessons learned and battles won in 2020, and for the strong assurance that GOD IS in charge. In the last three months we experienced periods of lock down in different parts of Romania, a scary number of COVID-19 cases, and the reality of it being not only “out there,” but in and around our home. I (Ana) contracted the virus and struggled awhile, but praise God I didn’t need hospitalization, and Voicu remained healthy the whole time. We’ve learned to treasure each moment and each person, as several people in our community and church family lost this battle in the ICU.
We surely appreciated a real family Christmas, with Christina visiting from the US and John visiting from half an hour away. We weren’t sure it would work out to be together due to various travel restrictions, but it did! Our spiritual daughters, Aurelia, Petruta and Loredana, were with us as well. They wanted to talk and play board games non-stop, and it was nice being together after lockdown.
The last three months we continued teaching primarily online. God helped us strengthen relationships during this difficult time. Shop classes had to stop but English continued, proving quite valuable not only for our junior high and high school students, but also for the four ladies who use it at work. I was able to help them meet school requirements, and not only that, but also encourage them during some critical moments. We had opportunities to read scripture together and discussed many timely topics.
With schools being online since October, there are major challenges, especially for kids from poor families who lack adequate equipment or necessary parental support.
It was a real joy to surprise twin sisters Ana and Sonia with a new laptop computer for Christmas. We’ve known them since they were born, and they come from a rather large family. Their older sister Maria was also our pupil, and now she has her own family and has remained a dear friend. Ana and Sonia are hard-working 9th grade students, and quite active in our youth group.
We had a few moments of the Lord’s confirmation this past year… but this one instance speaks for itself. Dr. Marilena Vasile, whom we’ve supported since she came to our city back in 2006, is a dear friend and sister in Christ. After graduation from medical school she specialized in family practice, and instead of pursuing a prosperous career in Sibiu chose to return to her native city of Calarasi, to care for the most destitute in the southern region. We’ve watched her serve as an example of integrity and professional excellence among colleagues, doing her best to visit patients and save lives without the latest technology or medicine, not even owning a vehicle.
A couple of dear saints from Alliance and Columbus donated funds for a car, which ended up a very memorable Christmas gift. We rejoiced with her, marveling at God’s perfect ways and timing. Her “Thank you” was best expressed in tears of gratitude!
Recently we visited the home of a single mom with three daughters. Their deep appreciation was visible, and perhaps not so much for the gifts but for taking the time to really listen to their life story, for loving them in a way they could relate to.
THANK YOU for being present in our lives and in the lives of many others around the world, with your prayers and with loving, generous hearts. Christ’s Kingdom work far exceeds our limits and imaginations.
I will leave you with what has been a very uplifting verse in 2020, which may be the most wonderful COMMAND for the coming 2021: Joshua 1:9, “This is my command – be strong and courageous! Do not be afraid or discouraged. For the Lord, your God is with you wherever you go.”
Voicu and Ana
Christina and John