Monday, July 9, 2007

goodbye again...

ooo man...

i just got done saying goodbye to Doina and Costy.

the past three days have flown by and i can't believe that in 6 hrs i will be leaving for the airport.

we have spent most of our time the past days back at the park just spending time together, laughing a lot, talking a lot...

Saturday James flew in and we went to pick him up from the airport. then Saturday night there was a Christian concert at Costy's church that we all went to.

yesterday after church Viorica cooked lunch for Costy, Doina, James, Tony, Ionica, and I. it was so much fun being with Tony and Ionica again--even though we can't speak many words to each other--just like before somehow we manage to communicate.

thank you for your prayers so very much--the Lord is in control. He has calmed my heart over the past few days and given me moments with these dear girls that i will never forget.

I am sorry I can't write much more--I have to go try to get some sleep.

please pray for my flights tomorrow--i fly out of Romania at 6 am and almost 24 hrs and four planes later i will arrive in Dallas :) pray that none of the flights are delayed because then i mostly likely won't get home...well tomorrow at least.

my bags are packed along with about 10 crepes filled with finetti, 4 snidel(basically chicken fried steak romanian style), 4 pieces of cake bread, a whole circle of cheese...o dear...well at least i won't have to spend any money on food tomorrow :)

signing out of Romania again...maybe not for the last time--God only knows :)

much much love

Saturday, July 7, 2007

He is worthy.

"I love you, Lord, my strength

The Lord is my rock and my fortress and my deliverer,

My God, my rock, in whom I take refuge,

my shield, and the horn of my salvation, my stronghold.

I call upon the Lord, who is worthy to be praised,

and I am saved from my enemies."

Psalm 18: 1-2


I am going to be honest. The past three days have been hard. full of lots of emotions...anger, sadness, frustration, lonliness...

I don't know why I am here.

but as my dear friend Juliette reminded me...I am here in Faith.

and according to scripture that means that i don't see what God is doing i might not ever know the answer to the question why...but I am called to trust him and have faith--

"Now faith is being sure of what we hope for and certain of what we do not see. "Heb. 11:1

I don't know exactly how to explain everything that is going on...but I wanted to ask for your prayers. more than anything right now I want to be on a plane home...and i never thought i would type that.

so we went to the mountain: Costy, Doina, Ionica, Niki, and I and well. basically anything that could have gone wrong --did. was so hard for me to love. the last thing i wanted to do was be patient, self-less, kind, generous, joyful, etc. but even in the midst of all of this God is Faithful. Costy, Doina, and I had conversations and moments together that I will treasure forever and I pray that the Lord is working in their hearts and minds. I pray He is changing them, just like He is changing me.

i knew before coming that the only thing on my agenda was to love. period. love them. anyone i came in contact with. and so i want to ask you to pray for me to stop looking at Emily and what she is doing, but remember that Jesus has called us to BE. to Be love. to love Him and to love people.

here are some pics from the trip:

me and the driver Mr. Niki

costy and I on one of the smallest streets in all of Europe :)

yesterday the girls and I went to the store because I wanted to buy some things for the orphanage...and then we decided to go to the park/lake.

after sitting by the lake for a while we decided to rent a boat and go rowing :) I praise God for giving us Joy and laughter. I want you to know that even though I feel very attacked by the devil and many problems are facing me--God is faithful to allow my time with Costy and Doina to be full of love and conversations and questions and goodness :)

here are some pics and videos from the lake...enjoy!

the beauty of My Father...

rowing lesson #2

rowing lesson #3

last night i got to go to Friday night church with Costy, and it was so good. so refreshing to be with other believers praising God. and even though i am very lonely...He is near. He is all i need and is faithful to use His people and His word to comfort and strengthen me.

He is worthy to be praised. worthy for me to be uncomfortable. worthy for me to feel lonely. worthy for me to be selfless when that is the last thing i feel like doing. worthy for me to praise him even when i honestly don't feel Him at all at times.

He is worthy.

thank you for your prayers. i love you,


Tuesday, July 3, 2007

Joy :)

romania is hot. very very hot.

maybe it was this hot in sevilla but i didn't realize it....i don't know if i remember being this hot in a long time...

sooo yesterday constanta and doina met me at around 11 in the morning and we headed to Santa Maria together. the feeling of being back there is unexplainable. the girls running up to me screaming my name--i honestly didn't think they would remember me... after i unattached them from my legs and arms Constanta decided it would be a good idea to have a bible study time together with the young girls--side note: if anyone knows of how to get children teaching materials in other languages(romanian) please let me know, i am searching the internet as well--but Costy desperately needs more materials

during the bible study i didn't really do much...can't really speak the language...:) so i just held them and tried my best not to distract the girls and make them listen to Costy. She is an amazing teacher! the girls look up to her so much and you can see how they run to her for everything.

afterwards Doina, Costy, and I headed to a park to meet up with the missionary team from California and a group from Costy's church to help pass out flyers about the concert on Saturday night. The team set up and performed their songs and dramas in the middle of the park...welllll until the police came and told us we had to leave...seems to be some law against loud music in the park or something--honestly they were more upset that we were promoting christianity than anything else

but I had a chance to meet so many people that night--Costy's church, "Mustard Seed", has a sort of foundation that is in a building connected to the church. this foundation serves as a sort of half-way house for orphans to live in between the time they leave the orphanage and get on their feet by themselves. it is through this foundation that the missionary team from Cali came. Teresa is a woman who we met during January--she has served here for almost two was great talking with her again--hearing more of her stories and receiving advise from her. I also got to talk with a few other people from the group and from her church which was so encouraging!

I don't have much time so here are some pics from monday :) and a couple of videos...enjoy!

here are the links to the videos :)

...and today i went to Pinnochio to see Tony and Ionica and play with all the kids!
Viorica and I bought lots and lots of soft pretzels on our way so we could give the kids. honestly the orphanage has gone from bad to worse...I took some pics but the director spotted me and i think because i was by myself she thought i was maybe with a newspaper or something...but anyways she took my camera away. I explained with her that i could delete the pictures and then I could have my camera it all worked out but i wish i had my pictures. Viorica and I gathered some of the kids and went outside to their 'playground' which in america would be referred to as a dump yard...maybe not even that-- we gave the kids some jump ropes and coloring papers. Viorica read to them the story of creation in Genesis 1, while they colored pictures of trees and animals. i spent the next couple of hours playing hand clapping games and jump rope and teaching the kids songs!

then i saw a bus pull up and a mission team came and did skits and dramas! during this i got to snap a few pics with the kids :)

sooo here are some pics from today...

constanta and I walking home...:)

after pinnochio Costy, Doina, and I walked around the city for a while and then headed back to Viorica's for dinner.

today all the girls at Santa Maria left to go camping for a vacation sort of thing for a week and so Niki and Viorica decided that we would take a trip to see Dracula Castle and spend the night in the mountains! (maybe it will be cooler there) Costy, Doina, Ionica, and I are all going! I am so excited! mostly because i know they just need to get away from here, they need a break from their life for a few days.

ha and i asked Niki how long it takes to get there...possibly 8 hrs in a car....this is going to be very interesting...riding in a car in Romania with Niki and Ionica in the front for 8 hrs....say some prayers :)

Sunday, July 1, 2007

His steadfast love.

I will recount the steadfast love of the Lord, the praises of the Lord, according to all that the Lord has granted us, and the great goodness to the house of Israel that he has granted them according to the abundance of HIS steadfast love.
(Isaiah 63:7)

sometimes words don't possess meaning. or the right meaning. or enough meaning. i don't know but right now i have no clue what to write.

His love is overwhelming. it is uncomprehensible. i can't begin to describe it. His love.

never thought i would be writing on this blog again.

I arrived here in Romania at about 1a.m. this morning. Viorica and Niki were there to greet me with open arms! Viorica and I held hands the whole way to the car laughing and talking about what has happened in our lives since our last time together.

Jenn, its crazy how familiar it all looks. as we were driving so many memories were running through my head. it feels so normal for me to be here so natural--which i really hard to explain

sleep and food was basically all i could think about. the food problem was cured very quickly with a chicken sandwhich AND non other than our beloved fresh crepes and finetti :)

I got in bed around 3a.m.

at about 8:30 I woke up to Doina and Constanta knocking at my door and wrapping their arms around, excitement, peace, overwhelming love, compassion, happiness--does not begin to describe.

they told me i had about 10 minutes to get ready for church and so i threw on some clothes and we ate breakfast together and then hand in hand headed for the metro. it felt like nothing had changed. except the amount of love between the three of us. we only have to look into each other's eyes to know what the other is thinking.

we speak in three languages. my mind is so confused right now. i'm saying Hola! Cha faci! adios! how are you? Vale! cuplacere! gracias! Constanta and Doina have had to stop me while speaking spanish about 10 times today..because i forget that i dont' have to speak spanish here.

we got to the church a little late but as i entered i realized it was jam packed full of people. and the speaker was speaking in english! come to find out there is a team here from california on a mission trip. about 17 are staying here for two weeks working through/with Constanta's church. so the whole service was either translated into english or the speaker was speaking in english! ahhhmazing :)there were about 3 pastors from the states and they all had their turn to share/sing.

during the random spurts of praise as i was standing listening to the mix of english and romanian words fill the air--all bringing glory to God..i thought in my head..i could be home here.

its the same feeling i felt when i spent time at Emilio's house in Sevilla with 4 other believers until 4 in the morning singing praise songs in spanish....i could be home here

here in the midst of people who love Him. who have realized their depravity. their utter nothingness and have decided to become vulnerable and fall in love with the one who chose to pour His love on us. i feel at home.

church ended about 2pm :)

after church Constanta, Doina, and I started home. ahhhh there is no way for me to describe how refreshing how incredible it was to spend the day walking around the city with them. we went to Santa Maria first for a little while. i walked into the hall and Caitalina ran towards me shouting Emily!!!! we stayed there for a while just talking and hanging out with the girls...we walked a lot and took a lot of buses and finally about 5 pm got back to Viorica's.

we ate dinner together and decided what the plan is for the rest of the week.

this weekend the mission team and constanta's church is putting on a big concert Saturday night. so tomorrow night we are going to go with them to the park and help pass out flyers. wednesday i am going with Constanta with a foundation called "Children to love" to another orphanage, mostly all little kids, and we are going to spend the day there.


sometimes the bible comes alive to me.

and phrases like...
"many are the plans in the mind of a man, but it is the purpose of the Lord that will stand" (proverbs 19:21)


"my thoughts are not your thoughts, neither are your ways my ways, declares the Lord, For as the heavens are higher than the earth so are my ways higher than your ways and my thoughts higher than your thoughts."(Isaiah 55:9)

they are more than just words when they start to describe your life.

over the past couple of years of my life i feel like i have said a million times in my head or heart "who am I? and whose life am i living? is this reeeeally me?"

and as i was reading in matthew on the plane out of Italy early this morning...this thought was crossing my mind yet again.....and the words of Jesus suddenly resonated in my heart within a verse that i have heard my whole life came alive to me.

"Whoever finds his life will lose it, and whoever loses his life for my sake will find it." (matt.10:39)

this isn't my life. this isn't me living. i honestly feel so out of the picture sometimes it scares me. as if i was living inside of someone else's body.

but now it makes sense. what Jesus said and what i've heard my whole life makes sense. and most people would say well yea thats not that hard to figure out. well it was for me. and it still is for me. is in this weird feeling of not living that i feel the most alive.

irony at its best.

the moments when i feel like screaming "somebody pinch me!!" because i feel like its not really me doing the action or experiencing whatever it is i'm experiencing. i love those moments.

i am having to fully run on faith right now. rely fully on the Love of my God to pour out of me. and i love it because i don't feel alive....yet i feel like i'm actually living.



letters do not do justice. words can not even pretend to proclaim what is in my heart.

i love you all very much!

and i am glad to be back..eating crepes, listening to the bird chriping, and looking forward for tomorrow because i have no idea what it is going to bring...

jenn i miss you. wish you were here with me. everyone misses you very much

Friday, January 12, 2007

We are HOME!

We are HOME! We made it home after an 11 hr plane ride last night around 9:30! We hugged and loved on our parents and then headed back to the Crouse house only to find ms. blaire and ms. juliette sitting in my living room!!!! What a precious surprise they were!

We were able to share stories, laugh and finally hit the sack at 2:00AM. Em and I had been up for well over 25 hours :).

Emily & her family just left and I had some time to upload pictures! I wanted to give you my yahoo photo website for you to enjoy. So far two albulms are of Romania - but I have a few more pictures to get.

Love you all. Thanks for all of your prayers. We got home and had already received emails from our precious romanian friends. God has been so good to us!

Keep checking the blog because we may update in the coming months!


Monday, January 8, 2007

We're leaving on a jet plane...

Hi! I just sat down to write one last time from this little wooden corner desk in the Duta apartment!

We are excited because tonight we have been able to hang out with Doina & Constansa - a trip to the "mall" for some last minute things, coffee and ice cream (2x) haha - we were able to buy some computer items for Doina (James you should be excited ;) ) - she didnt want a bag (well the one she sort of wanted was just like one she had) so we bought some blank CD's, headphones and a USB cord. Hope that is okay!

We also got manicures with Viorica today and Emily got her hair done. She looked beautiful! A great way to finish our trip! Mom - my nails are long! You will be impressed :).

We are hoping that Doina & Constansa will spend the night with us until 4 in the morning (when we head for the airport!)

Emily and I are feeling a little bit better (health wise) so we are praying it is a lot better tomorrow when we leave!

As most of you know, Emily and I head to Paris tomorrow for a day and a 1/2. We had a lay over there anyway and dad suggested that we just stay a day or so to "detox." Pray that Emily and I would be able to do just that. To gather our thoughts about this trip and to relax a little bit. On the plane we are hoping to put together a "chronological schedule" of all that happened here - so pray that we can remember all the little details :).

We are excited because we got the recipe for our favorite food here & we want to fix it for all of you when we recap our stories for you!

Thank you for your prayers, your tears, your love , the deep care you have poured onto us and for walking hand-in-hand with us through the trip! You have been used in mighty, mighty ways!

We love you! We will see you soon!
Jenn & Emily

Sunday, January 7, 2007

ahhh it is getting hard to think about leaving--not as much leaving as saying goodbye to the people we have a close relationship with

Yesterday after the pinochio experience we headed to Santa Maria to hang out with the girls :)

We played cards (we taught them 'go fish' and 'speed' ! ) and sang and danced~ The atmosphere at Santa Maria is very much like a summer camp feeling--all the girls run in and out of the rooms, they share clothes, etc.

Then we got a group of about 6 of the older girls and headed downtown to eat pizza together. Jenn and I made a notebook for each girl. Inside we wrote them a letter and put a printed out a 'Read your Bible in a Year' outline for them to follow. In Constanta's we put a sort of devotional about Beauty and what it means to be beautiful in the Lord's eyes for her to talk to all the girls about.

So after pizza we came back to the orphanage and went to Constanta and Doina's room. It actually ended up just being Jenn, Constanta, Doina, Andrea, and me in the room. I know that God was sovereign over the people who ended up staying for the sort of prayer and bible study time.

We gave them their notebooks, shared scripture together, and shared the gospel story again. At the end we held hands and prayed together. I couldn't stop the tears...I honestly don't know how to explain to you how I am feeling. These girls have changed my life forever--if we didn't come to impact them, they have for sure impacted Jenn and I.

crazy to think that we have only been here a little over a week--it feels like a year ago I left and came. God has done so much spiritually even though naturally speaking we haven't been here long at all.

This morning we went to church with Viorica, Nikki, Doina, Madalina, Ionica, Tony, Jenn, and I. (Jenn's random story that brought her joy: there was a guest speaker who gave the sermon and guess what? Though he spoke RO, he could not give an entire sermon with it - so he gave the sermon in english and there was a translator!!! Em and I were exhausted from only 4 hrs of sleep so listening to a 2 hr service in RO was quite the daunting task. As we both fought to keep our eyes open - i prayed that God would bring some english our way. Then - all of a sudden the man opened his mouth and emily and i bright eyed turned our heads and smiled! God is so good! I was actually able to stay awake then! haha. )

Afterwards we headed to McDonalds again. :)

I held hands with Ionica and Tony on the way to McDonalds--they had many conversations in Romanian with me in the middle not understanding any of it. However, every now and then Tony would look up at me and say, "Big Mac...Fanta...French Fries"--in that standard American voice. Just through those words we communicated! crazy huh--although I did find out that he doesn't like pepsi but he LOVES sprite and fanta! ...maybe my romanian is getting better!

After McDonalds Jenn and I wanted to go to pinocchio and give the two little brothers (we wrote about them yesterday) happy meals! The problem is that we were only with Ionica and Tony--both don't speak english--and we had never been there without Viorica and Nikki. Doina did not want to come with us, in all honesty she was too scared to go. Like I said before this place is an animal house. Regardless, Jenn and I decided to pray and go! I knew that Jesus was protecting us and His angels were around us.

So after riding a few buses we finally arrived at Pinocchio. As we were walking on the street by the entrance a few 10 yr old boys came out of the gate. Jenn was holding Tony's hand and the boys began to kick and punch Tony. Right there before our eyes we saw what happens probably more than once a day to the kids who live there. One of the boys got a pretty good punch in--Tony's face turned bright red and he started crying. It was a very surreal scene--I mean Jenn was holding his hand and this happened. I can't imagine what happens behind closed doors.

Needless to say this did not help calm our nerves...
We entered the orphanage, praying to get passed the guards without talking (since you know, we don't speak RO).
We did--we just walked right in. We ran up the stairs looking for our two friends from the day before. We found them and then led them to their room, trying to not let anyone notice us. We hid the happy meals in our jackets because if the other kids saw them there was a chance that they would either beat up the two brothers or come after Jenn and I.
...I can't really call their room a bedroom... there was a couch that looked as if two giant dogs had torn it apart...there was trash all over the place...the door was broken off of the hidges...

So we pulled out the food and gave it to them! ahh the relief of finally getting it in there hands!
I really wanted to stay and watch them eat it so that I knew that the other kids would not have taken it, but Jenn and I decided to leave as quickly and quietly as possible. I prayed that even if they didn't get to eat the food, that God would simply use the fact that Jenn and I came to give it to them, to hug them, to kiss them--and that through that they might know they are loved and cared for.

So here we are typing on the computer--so don't worry we are alive ;)

Tonight we went to Constanta's church again--it is very encouraging to go into a church and from the first moment feel at home though we were thousands of miles away. The people there loved us incredibly even though some of them didn't know our language. I believe the Lord provided this community of believers as a constant source of the body of Christ during our time here in Romania.

After church it was just Constanta, Doina, Jenn, and I. I was thankful the Lord allowed us to spend this last night in Romania together with the girls who we are the closest to. We went to McDonalds (yes 2 times in one day...). ahhh I am so thankful--the Lord blesses our time together so obviously!

So tomorrow we are packing up--going to buy a few more things for the girls--and tomorrow night we head to Santa Maria to say goodbye.

Please pray for us. Tommorrow is going to be hard. I dont want you to think that we are ready to pack up our bags and move here (although I have had that thought a few times). It is just the Lord has blessed our time with these people so significantly--and we are sad to leave them.

Also pray because Jenn and I are getting sick. symptoms: cough, really sore throat, achy body, achy joints, and really just physically exhausted. We are getting a chance to sleep in tomorrow--Praise the Lord! He knew we needed it! pray that even though we are feeling awful that we are still able to encourage the girls and fully communicate with them the things the Lord has laid on our hearts.

I love you very much--thanks mom and dad for calling me tonight--it was an answered prayer :)

thank you for your prayers!