Saturday, September 15, 2018

Blessed is the Dead-End Town

Blessed are the dead-end towns,
The places where beggars and mothers walk the same streets,
Where the man in designer clothes passes the man with no legs.

Blessed are the busy streets,
Where gypsies walk in colorful, glimmering skirts,
After girls in stained sweaters and torn pants pass unnoticed.

Blessed are the broken paving stones,
Across which people short and tall, rich
And poor, make their way, with no children or many.

Blessed is the dead-end town,
Where everyone who couldn't leave stays,
For this town has everything to gain.

Thursday, September 13, 2018

End of Summer Newsletter

Dear friends, family, and supporters:

Due to my having a blog, I have not been writing proper newsletters but now I understand how necessary it is to have a consistent way of keeping all my supporters informed. I hope you will bear with me as I figure out how to share everything that is happening with all of you.

I returned to Romania the last week of July, in time for language school. This was my third year attending, and I began and completed the B1 level over those two weeks. I succeeded in obtaining my certificate and I also walked away with a few good friends. I have already heard from Romanian friends that I am speaking Romanian better. It must have been all that practice with genitive and dative pronouns. Anyway, I am glad I attended while I was able to do so. I understand what a privilege it was to have that experience again.

When I arrived back in Piatra Neamț, I was able to focus on ministry and on obtaining my visa. I found the place where I could have documents translated, and I began to have each document translated and legalized.

In August, I helped out at a VBS at my church. I played with the kids, a handful of whom I knew from previous work with the orphanage. We had games, a message, and crafts. I helped clean up afterwards and then I attended a meeting for summer camp, for which I was to be a leader. I would also be participating in skits! The camp's theme this year was to be the will of God.

August was a full month. My friend Bas, who I met in Sibiu at language school, came to visit Piatra Neamt and we went on a few adventures. We took the Telegondola to the top of the mountain, we hiked down, we made our way to the lake, and I took Bas to church one evening. He wished he was staying in Piatra longer, but he plans to return.

Immediately after walking Bas to the bus station early on a Monday morning, I met up with my church to head to camp. Camp was an exciting, busy, and encouraging experience. Our days were full, for those of us on the leaders' team, and we worked hard to give the campers an immersive five days in our theme, the will of God. We had games, two small group Bible studies a day, apart from the main sessions in the gym, of which there were also two a day. We held our altar call on Wednesday, so that those who came forward would have more camp time after they gave their lives to Jesus, rather than sending them off on Friday night. And we did have several students talk to leaders that Wednesday night, which was such an answer to prayer.

We had been preparing for this camp for months, and seeing it become a success was wonderful. It is my prayer that the truths of God's love and all the blessings of a life lived for God will continue to soak into the hearts and minds of our young people. Camp is only a small chunk of the year, and I pray that the larger chunk of life for these teens will be lived with renewed hope.

A few days after I returned from camp, I was off again--this time to a YWAM Romania conference. I was seeking to meet people, make connections, and learn about evangelism from the speaker. And I did meet a lot of people, even making a few friends, and I learned about the necessity of evangelism. I also got to experience some great times of worship, during which God ministered to my soul and refreshed me. I think we all need worship that lets us catch a little bit more of a glimpse of the face of God. I left the conference with a renewed spirit, and even managed to flag down my bus before it left without me.

I submitted my visa paperwork to my church, and so now I pray and wait. Daily life is pretty normal. I'm still managing our social media presence. I've been tutoring Vasile in English whenever his work schedule will allow it. Last night I cooked fried chicken, a salad, and fried zucchini, and I only needed a little bit of help from Nadia and Joe. Next time I can do it all on my own, but man, who thought frying chicken would take so long.

I'm still living with Tante Lenuța here in Piatra Neamț. One of our girls is now living with us, after another girl moved out. I pay rent for the girl and myself, and I pick up household products when I can. I typically do my own cooking at home, but Tante Lenuța does love to make sure I eat and sometimes she cooks platters worth of food, so I'll indulge in her creations a little now and then.

I've also been tutoring one of our boys in English, since he has plans to do some traveling. He's made a lot of progress, and I'll see if he has memorized his Bible verse this week, the last verse of 1 Corinthians 13. He's able to read the whole chapter on his own and understand it.

All in all, this end of summer season has been a blessing, and in this place of looking back to the past, anticipating the future, and enjoying the present, I have so much to thank God for. And I thank God for all of you, who have enabled me not only to do the task at hand but to look ahead for what is yet to come, and that is so encouraging. So thank you, friends.

Much love,
Katie Hofer