Thursday, August 14, 2014

New Beginnings

We will start by apologizing that it has been so long since our last post. We have had our hands full with our new little blessing from God.  On May 6, 2014 God added to the Lorona family a healthy 8lb 4oz baby boy Benaiah Aurel Lorona (who happened to come 3 weeks early like his sister who came 2 weeks early.) His first name means Yahweh has built and comes from the Old Testament.  Benaiah was one of King David’s mighty men of valour. He is known for many things such as killing a lion in a snowy pit and being a great warrior but also for being a faithful, loyal and reliable man of God.  These are some attributes we hope to instill in our son as he grows up. That he would be a great warrior for Christ in the spiritual realm and that he would be a faithful, loyal and reliable man of God. We decided to give him a Romanian middle name since he was born here.  Aurel means gold and it is a name that comes from this region of Romania because in the past there was a lot of gold mined here.  We also wanted to give him something that would always remind him of where he comes from no matter where he goes in life.

We have had a lot of changes in the last three months.  It has not all been easy but God has been giving us the strength to press through it. Two of our team members have moved back to the states.  Matt had been here one year and Amy had been here from the beginning (almost two and half years). It was very bitter sweet for us to see them go.  We could clearly see that God was moving them on to different works and was closing the doors for them here.  It was amazing to see what God did in and through them in their time here.  Both of them drastically changed and we can confidently say that the light of Christ shines more brightly through both of them.  It was also heart breaking to see them leave because they had become a part of our family and we will greatly miss them.   Although Amy is the same age as us she was like a daughter to us and like a sister to Kylie.  We all love her in that way and we will always be eternally grateful for the time we got to spend with her. Even though our family grew to four, with Amy gone, it feels like we are missing one.
As people move on God has opened new doors for us as He frees up time that we were spending investing and discipling our team. First obviously being our new boy who consumes a lot of time and energy and has a knack for keeping his mom and dad up during the night (but he is worth it, he is pretty cute).

Matt has continued to invest in the community at our church.  He is one of the teaching leaders who preaches every month and leads a men’s bible study once a week. He has also been blessed with a position of influence at the church as one of the leaders helping to stir the church to be more active in their faith and to begin discipling the people in their lives. 

We also put on a Soccer camp in the gypsie village our church serves in called Lazeren.  We tried to focus on a teenage group of boys that we have not been able to reach in the past.  None of them go to school, church or any other event that we put on in the village. Many of them have never been to school and have no education or ability to read, write etc.  So their opportunities in life are very few and far between. They are heavily influenced by the older generation who are not doing much. We were not sure how many would show up because they can be very unpredictable but we were happily surprised to see 20-25 of them show up. We made a field to play on in a pasture where livestock graze with some wood poles and some spray paint. We would play for a few hours and when they were all worn out we would share some lunch with them along with some inspiring Bible stories and they ate both right up. By then end of the week we could see a change happening in some of the hearts of the boys and when we asked if they were interested in growing closer to God almost all them raised their hands.  When we asked if they wanted us to come on a weekly basis to teach them about God and how to live according to His commands they were all extremely excited.  So from now on we will be meeting with them every Friday night. We are expecting to see God do something glorious and draw out a Joshua generation to lead their people to God’s will.

Just so you all know God has used each of you to do an amazing work in our lives out here to provide the means to press forward. So as we move on we do it with you into the great works that He has prepared for us. So as one season ends and a new one begins we hope to continue on with your loving financial and spiritual support.

Sunday, May 4, 2014

Lots of Changes

Well let's see, where to begin???

I am 37 weeks pregnant now and patiently awaiting the arrival of our baby boy. This pregnancy has been far more difficult than my pregnancy with Kylie. I've been in a lot more pain this go round, some times it's so bad that just walking around the house is too much, but most days are not so bad. I started taking some magnesium pills and they have helped tremendously. So with that and just making sure to take it easy and move slowly I've figured out how to enjoy this pregnancy. It's also been different since we live in Romania and doctors and the whole medical system is just very different than what I'm used to. I'm learning it's not just about asking questions, but asking the right questions! It's hard for me only because I'm the kind of person who loves to have all the details...and that's not really an option, so I've been learning to trust the Lord first and foremost and not be so quick to put all my trust in people and answers to my questions. It's hard but very good at the same time. The Lord has blessed me with a great doctor and I'm really thankful for her! The church we are a part of has a gypsie village they do ministry in and my doctor, after discovering we are missionaries, decided to help the women and children in the village by giving them exams and covering all the costs for the tests and medicines needed. Not to mention she has helped several women on the side for free! This is huge! In Romania, Romanians do not like gypsies and the gypsies never get good medical treatment ever. So God is really working in EVERY area of our lives!

Matt has been doing very well also. He has been given the opportunity to help manage the cafe that is run and owned by our church (it's also where we have church on Sundays). There was even some remodelling he and the team got to do which is right up his alley! I feel like he has really been given an opportunity to thrive in his natural giftings and his spiritual gifitings at the same time which has been a real blessing for him. Because Matt has been helping to manage the cafe he has been given the opportunity to disciple the staff. The vision for the cafe is that it would be a place of evangelism and discipliship and it hasn't really been able to be that yet. It's just a small part of a bigger picture as the cafe is a model of how we want to plant churches throughout Romania and other parts of Europe. Also he and Sean have been leading a Bible study with some men from the church. It started out that they were going to teach one friend of ours how to study the Bible inductively and then as some of the other guys heard about it they wanted to come too. So praise the Lord, now they meet every Friday morning! It's great because no one is really taught here how to study the Bible...unless you go to a seminary or Bible college. That was a pretty awesome thing God has done. Oh and one of the guys from the Bible study has started a Bible study with some of the homeless our church has been reaching out to. Another thing our church out here is trying to do is create a business that could start employing the gypsies in the village of Lazaren because it is very hard for gypsies to get jobs which is part of the reason they can't break free from the negative way people see them. They turn to unfavourable means of acquiring finances since there aren't really any legitimate ways for them to earn an income.

There have been some big changes...since two of our team members are heading home (one is already state side) and the other leaves in July, we decided to move out of the house we have all called home for the last 2 years. It was a huge blessing for all of us, but far too big and too expensive for us to stay there minus 2 people so we have all found new living arrangements. I am happy to say that Matt, Kylie and I are living in our own apartment in a commi block in a part of town I prayed to live in 2 years ago ha ha! The Lord may not always answer us exactly when we want, but He is ALWAYS faithful! The place the Lord provided for us is perfect. A 3 bedroom, 2 bathroom apartment and it is very big for Romanian standards. Because of communism (hence the name commi block) apartments are basically all the same sizes and layouts and from what I understand the other apartments in our block are not as big as ours. Its in a quiet area with lots of places for Kylie to play outside, grass and several nice parks very close by. It's on the bottom level (which was also an answered prayer as many blocks do not have elevators). It's everything we were praying for and more! I thought it would be hard to go from a big house with a huge yard to an apartment but actually it's been better for us. There are tons of kids Kylie's age in our block and the blocks next to us which is great because until now she hasn't really gotten to be around kids her age. So there's a lot more socializing and practising our Romanian for the both of us! It's really great! Plus, Matt and I have been married for almost 5 years and have only lived alone for 1 of those it's definitely nice to have our own family space! We cherish all the times we've spent living with people and the close community we've been able to experience, but it's also nice to be able to set things up the way we want I said...just have our own space. I'm truly thankful and super excited to embark on this new time in our lives!

And lastly we would love to ask for your help and support! Moving and having a baby are expensive adventures :) We are also trying to buy a newer more reliable family car. When we first moved here we bought two team cars. They are both pretty old...well one was so old it is no longer working and the other...we're just not sure how much longer it will last. As a team we have continued to put money into the car to keep it running but it would probably be wise to just purchase a newer car so that we don't have to worry about it breaking down on us unexpectedly.

Here are some of our expenses:
Moving costs: about 1,100 dollars
Having a baby: will be around 1,500 dollars (it sort of depends on how the labour and delivery go. Here you buy like a birthing package which you pay for after you have the baby. I may end up having to have a c-section, which is the most expensive, and the 1,500 dollars is roughly what that would cost)
Newer car: around 6,000 dollars

If you would like to donate ANY amount of money to help us out with any of these expenses we would certainly be thankful! Here is where you can donate a one time gift or support us monthly: Click HERE to financially support us
We also appreciate ALL of your prayers for us during this time of transition as well! Please pray for wisdom for us as our team is in a new season of transition and this is the first time since we moved here that we have not all lived together under one roof! Please pray for a smooth delivery with nurses who speak English and that this little guy would come soon! :)

Tuesday, December 24, 2013

Looking Forward To The New Year And A New Season In Life

Well...It's been quite a while since our last blog. For those of you who don't know, we were in the States for about 3 months visiting with friends, family and enjoying some time off. It was a rough year with lots of new adjustments so the vacation was much needed. We have been back in Romania for about 1 month now and we are so happy to be back! We really missed life in Romania and are ready to get back into ministry!

It has taken some time to get adjusted...Kylie was sick before we came back and was sick for what seemed like forever, then Matt got sick, then we were all fine for about a week then Kylie got sick again and I got sick. So now after about a month of being sick and just trying to get back into a new routine...I think we're finally back on track.

Some things have changed since we've gotten back but we are confident in God's leading in all of it. For now we will no longer be serving in the gypsy village of Sabolciu. The Lord gives and He takes away. Just as sudden as the opportunity to serve there was handed to us...the Lord shut the door on us serving there. It was sad of course, because we had invested so much time and energy there but ultimately we want to be sensitive to the Holy Spirit and His leading and we as a team all believe that for now, the Lord is leading us in another direction. We still hope to visit there to see the friends we made and just to stop in and say hi but will no longer be doing ministry there.

But as one door closes another door opens as they say...the church we have been serving at has a gypsy village that they serve at and they are in need of volunteers to help serve. It makes sense to begin serving with them there since we have really been trying to meet needs and serve as much as we can there.

In this new year I definitely see the Lord moving and changing things up a we are just trying to hold on to our hats and follow His leading. We want to serve more in our church and with them serve more in the community. It's not always common for christians to evangelize so we really want to begin to do that more. It's just hard because everyone here knows about Jesus so we need some wisdom on how to approach evangelism and the importance of a relationship with Jesus that is personal not just religious. We also want to start reaching out to the youth of Oradea as it seems they have been sort of going under the radar.

And not too mention I'm having a baby!! Ha ha! That will certainly be new! And just in case you didn't know, It's a BOY! YAY! We are soooo thrilled! We plan to have the baby here in Oradea because we feel it's very important for us to share our lives with our friends and church family here. Family is very important and having a baby is a very intimate thing and we are blessed to get to share it with our new friends and family here in Oradea. People have been surprised that we would choose to have our baby here but this is our home now so of course we would have our baby here.

So to sum it all up, our vacation was great, and much needed to help us refocus and get rejuvenated for all the changes that will be coming in this new year. We both came back feeling so refreshed, closer to the Lord and ready to hit the ground running. Plus it was nice to be away from Romania because absence makes the heart grow fonder. And that was really true for me. I missed Oradea...which is something I wasn't sure would happen just because adjusting was so difficult for me. But getting away I was able to get a better perspective and I think that Matt and I realized just how precious our time here has been and will be. This is where God has us and even though sometimes we struggle, there really is no place else we would rather be.

Monday, July 22, 2013

Quick Update On My Health Issues

Thank you all for all your prayers and support! The past few months have certainly been trying to say the least BUT I finally have good news!
Just to recap:  part of my frustrations were because I was getting so many different answers about why I was in pain, and why I was fatigued. First the Dr said I had no infection but there was inflammation because of the cold weather we were having unexpectedly. Then another Dr told me I may have an infection but would have to wait a week to get antibiotics and the pain was because I had a cyst...then the next time I saw her she said I did have an infection and I had two cysts. One was dangerous and filled with blood but the other seemed to not be an issue. So she put me on antibiotics and anti inflammatories and basically told me I just had to sort of wait it out. This was a little challenging because at this point I had been in pretty intense pain for about 2 months. The pain coupled with extreme feelings of fatigue and exhaustion made doing any activity extremely challenging.
After a few weeks on the medicine I began feeling better until I eventually felt like myself again. And at my last visit with her the dangerous cyst filled with blood was gone! There is still another cyst on the other ovary which she doesn't seemed to be concerned about (thank God) but she wants me to come back in for another check up just to keep an eye on it. In fact I am going to try to make another appointment with her for either this week or next so I will make sure to give an update when I get one. Also she doesn't seem to think there should be any problems with us conceiving in the future...but for that one I suppose only time will tell :)
Seriously, thank you to everyone who prayed for me...I felt it! Your prayers helped me make it through and incredibly difficult situation that tested me in many ways. It means a lot to know that there are people who care and are praying for me, my family and this team...thank you!

Wednesday, June 5, 2013

Trust is Hard

The past few months have been good. Lots of changes and transitions as we welcomed two new team members and said goodbye to another. We also had several visitors come and stay with us which is always fun! We've been getting more involved with our church Viața Noua which has been great for us and hopefully a blessing for them. It's been nice for me personally to be establishing deeper relationships with the women there and Matt and the guys got to go on a men's hike with the men from church. There is a great need there for people to serve so there have been lots of opportunities for us to step in and get really connected. It's been really great!

In some other, more personal news, I have not been doing so well. I've been feeling out of sorts for about a month. I've been feeling very fatigued and tired as well as getting dizzy when I've been doing pretty normal tasks. I thought maybe it was allergies...we thought perhaps I was pregnant...then about a week ago I started having pain in my lower abdomen and after 3 days it kept getting worst. So we decided to go to the hospital because I knew something wasn't right. After an exam and an ultrasound the doctor told me I have a cyst on my left ovary ( it's still small, around 2cm I think) and I have some sort of inflammaion in my fallopian tubes on the left side which is causing me pain. So he gave me some antibiotics and an anti inflammatory for the inand I had to get blood work done to see if the cyst is cancerous and if the inflammation is from a bacterial infection. He said that the cyst isn't bad, but it's not good either and that he may put me on a birth control pill (which is supposed to help shrink the cyst). I don't really want to go on a hormonal birth control pill so I will have to see if there are any other options. And as for the infection in my fallopian tubes...well that's not so good either...

(Okay so I started writing the top portion a week ago but didnt finish and now have some new information.) After some blood work the dr said that I do not have a bacterial infection in my Fallopian tubes but that the inflammation was probably caused by the cold...which seems odd to me but my Romanian friends say this is a very common thing here in Romania. I've been off the antibiotics and the anti inflammatory for 4 days now and still feel terrible. I'm still having pain in my lower abdomen (mostly on the right side where ther is inflammation) and i feel absolutly exhausted all the time still so today I'm going to go to another dr to get a second opinion. The dr was reccommended by a friend from church and she really likes her dr so hopefully I can get some answers and figure out what the deal is.

I'm really struggling with all of this since Matt and I would really like to have more children one day. Everything I can find online about inflammation of Fallopian tubes says that it's bacterial and cause infertility if not treated promptly...and since I've been feeling bad for a month now and have had pain for about 2 weeks...I'm getting a little nervous. Plus it's just hard because medicine and drs in Romania are very different than what I am accustomed to and it's hard to be having these issues and be so far from home and the familiar. However I will say that it is causing me to trust in The Lord more than I've had to for a while. I know that He is with me in this and I daily sense Him calming my fears...but it's still hard. Please for us as its been hard for Matt also. It's hard for him to see me feel so awful and feel so out of control about it all. Not too mention he's been cooking meals, doing laundry, and watching Kylie on top of all his other responsibilities! He is truly amazing and I'm so thankful for him! Please pray for healing and wisdom and good doctors etc and for us to continue to rely on The Lord for strength trusting that he works all things for the good of those who love Him!