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Happy Fall Everyone!
We hope you are enjoying the beauty of fall whether that means bright sun, rainy days, or like our hometown of Edmonton, snow and freezing temperatures! Here in Romania, fall has kicked off in big ways as we’ve joined in for the yearly harvest. We were quite excited, though exhausted, from picking our potatoes, peppers, onions, and carrots, but it’s given us great insight and respect for how hard everyone works in our village as our garden was about 1/5 the size of most!
Our summer finished up well! We had the opportunity to be in 5 different villages, running two day programs and seeing 300 more kids, youth and adults. These programs began with the arrival of 15 people from Brenvtiew Baptist Church from Calgary, Canada, who worked alongside of us to reach all of these villages. The Lord also provided three Romanian nationals on this team who now live in Canada and attend Brentview. Even though they came from Canada, these three team members were originally from Romania and spoke either Hungarian, Romanian, or both. This was the first time this has ever happened and it was a God send. We had been invited into a village where we had 20 children from a Romanian orphanage join us. Most of our programs, children and translators speak Hungarian but when we had 20 Romanian children show up, we were able to lean on these three to translate specifically for these 20 children. We will never forget that moment when we looked out and saw English, Romanian, and Hungarian being spoken by the children. It was a beautiful picture of the body of Christ and the Kingdom. To us it was a glimpse of what Camp Falcon Rock will soon be!
As Brentview made the long trip back to Canada we joined them as we had been invited to speak at Camp Caroline for their high school camp. This past summer the camp had been inviting their campers to support the ministry at Camp Falcon Rock and some staff and campers even shaved their heads to keep their promise for their fundraising challenge. I’m sure parents were pleased with these efforts! We both spoke 12 times in total to the staff and campers about where meaning is found. Solomon says life is ‘meaningless,’ yet Christ says, ‘I have come to bring life and life to the full.’ We focused on these two ideas the entire week and it was encouraging to see youth respond to Jesus and commit/recommit their lives to him.
In September we were invited by the Hungarian Baptist Seminary to run a two-week English intensive course at the camp property! This was extremely exciting for a number of reasons. One, this is a great partnership for the camp to do practical ministry that will directly affect the church mission in Romania. The seminary has made it mandatory that all its students must learn English as it allows for more global mission relationships and partnerships as well as most of the Christian material they can access is in English. The seminary also wanted to open up the class to outside individuals, which led to two other young men joining the program. The second reason this was exciting was because it was the first on-the-property-program that we’ve been able to run!! This was an exciting “first” of many for the camp. The two weeks went by fast, yet they were full of learning and growing, both with English and our faith.
Another ministry opportunity has come up in leading the youth group in our village as the youth leader just had a baby. We were delighted to support her, the church, and the youth in this way. We have started to meet with these youth every week and are so impressed with their desire to grow in their faith. In September we had a VBS party with the youth to celebrate their hard work as volunteers! We spent some time debriefing the summer and sharing stories. At the beginning of the summer, we had emphasized the importance of being poured into while you are pouring out and gave them the task to write down any people or experiences they felt called to pray for and any scripture or things God was speaking to them during the summer. We were blown away by their maturity and engagement with this task. As they committed to pursuing God, God had clearly been working through them and speaking to them.
Right now, camp development is kicking off in big ways. Tamas is applying for individual project permits so we can begin the water/sewage/electrical infrastructure this fall. We are also finishing up the existing building renovations by adding a girls’ washroom/bathhouse, the boiler room, and a hallway to connect the existing building to these new additions. Construction is taking over at the camp, which is why we are praising God and so excited to share with you that Vern and Gloria have reached their fundraising support level!! This means they will be moving to Romania at the end of November to begin on-the-ground ministry. We have already laid out the extensive project list for them, which will be sure to keep them more than busy for this next season!
As always, we continue to appreciate your support, prayer, and love. We hope each and every one of you is experiencing God’s love and encouragement in your lives—He is faithful and good!!
Paul and Tanya Gericke