I have had several ask what Kat and Brian are up to and so I thought I would share their March newsletter and let them tell you in first person.
Here in Moldova, we have celebrated the coming of spring….in theory, not in reality. We still have snow in the forecast this week. However, March 1st is the official first day of spring here. It is a time when people share little treasures called Martisor’s (martzishores). The Martisor is tied in to an old legend about a dragon kidnapping the fairy of spring which meant a long winter. A young knight went to fight the dragon to free the fairy. To commemorate his battle, everyone gives red and white ribbons with various designs and they are worn until the last day of March when they are then put on a fruit tree to encourage its growth. It is a very interesting tradition, but I will wear my lovely martisor until the end of March, just like everyone else
We are getting ahead of ourselves and telling you all about March, when we haven’t shared February’s joys with you This February, we completed our third term of Romanian classes, and Brian and I feel more and more confident with the language every day. I am sure we have the grammar of a five year old, but luckily we are surrounded with 50 girls who do not mind helping and correcting us. We love our Romanian teacher and our classmates. The class has been an excellent opportunity for us to meet new people and make new friends, and we are thankful for that. Please continue to pray for our language acquisition skills. Moldovans speak very quickly and use a lot of slang and a mix of Romanian and Russian which makes for some interesting conversations.
February started with us beginning to plan a trip to the U.S. to visit and do fundraising. We hope to be in Alabama sometime this fall. We have been watching ticket prices every day. Airline tickets are so expensive and it is such a huge percentage of our savings that, while we are excited to go for a visit, we are not excited about the plane tickets. But, God is faithful and every situation like this presents us with more opportunities to just trust Him and lean in to Him for all that we need!
February saw the end of our 12 week study on biblical love with the girls. It culminated with Brian and I being interviewed at church one Sunday and with Brian leading Youth the following Friday. Brian and I had a lot of fun sharing about the differences between girls and boys. Then Brian shared a short message about the kind of love we should have for each other as Christians. He seasoned it with humor and truth and it was amazing. I am so thankful for the way he models Christ’s love to me every single day!
During February we had the opportunity to visit several orphanages that we had never visited before. One of them, was for children with disabilities. I actually found the phone number for this orphanage on a blog by a Peace Corps volunteer here in Moldova and decided to call. The director there is young and excited about helping make a better life for all of her students. She and I talked at length (in Romanian-yay!) about the students and about my background as a Special Education Teacher. Her workers are desperate to do the best they can for the students. This attitude is NOT the norm here in Moldova. Most of the workers we have come in contact with or with whom our girls were around, are physically or emotionally abusive of the children in their care. This woman was a breath of fresh air! She and I have planned some teacher trainings and professional development that I will lead for her workers! I am so excited. Brian and I will be going to minister to these sweet children each week and our girls will be joining us and teaching art classes, cutting hair, and just loving on these children who have been cast aside by their families.
I wish you could see how beautiful our girls and guys are when they are in the middle of doing His work. It is breath taking. They love serving the least of these. In fact, Valentine’s Day, Brian and several of our girls drove to the garbage dump in our village and served salad, plov (a wonderful dish of rice and chicken), hot tea, and homemade heart shaped cookies to the people who live there. Yes, there are people living at the landfills in Moldova. They weigh on Brian’s heart and the girls knew that he wanted to minister to them so they loaded him up and off they went to serve. After serving, they still had some food left. They meant they were not going home until the hungry were fed. They drove to three different villages and provided food for families in need. The girls have since decided that they will feed these families they encountered at least once a week. In addition to school work and house work, they take the time to prepare large amounts of food to share with the hungry and disenfranchised. Many of our girls and guys remember living life in these same circumstances. Every single day we are thankful for the work that God has called us to here. Some days it is difficult, because we are working with a house (or three) full of teenagers. But the difficult moments are growing us…aking us stronger where we need to be stronger…and softer where we need to be softer. February really was a month of love for us. It was a month filled with heart to heart chats and girls opening up and sharing their life stories with us. Every day we are earning their trust and earning the trust of these girls is a treasure. Pray that we never tire of doing His work here…pray that on the nights when we are exhausted from a day of physical labor and we here a knock on our door at 11:00 that God gives us the energy we need to be a listening ear and a gentle hug. Pray that God guides us in mentoring and guiding these beautiful young people.
This month we ask you to pray specifically for God’s hand in every detail of planning our trip to America. Pray that we find the most affordable plane tickets, that we can find a car to drive or borrow while we are there, and that God just blesses every moment with family, friends, and churches. We also ask you to pray for us as we begin the search for a car. We have been hindered in our ability to visit orphanages and minister with our girls and guys because we do not have a car. We want to be able to take them with us and minister alongside of them. This is a big step as we have been very dependent on others and on public transportation here. It is a big financial step as well. We will be adding fuel costs and other auto related costs to the mix of our monthly financials. We know God wants us to continue to put down roots here, and part of that is purchasing a car. Please pray with us. We need a lot of His guidance-buying a car here is very different. We are so thankful to have friends and partners in prayer and in ministry and we know that NONE of this work that God has called us to do would be possible without your support! We are incredibly grateful!
With hearts full of gratitude,
Brian and Kathryn Jones
Team Jones in Moldova