June 5, 2016
Hello from Moldova,
We hope this newsletter finds all of you enjoying the beginning of a summer that is full of potential. April and May were exciting months for us- and now we are beginning summer. Summer is a very busy time for us, and we are waiting patiently for all of our camps to begin. We have children’s day camps planned for some local villages, youth camp, and many other exciting activities this summer. But, for now, we want to catch you up on the last few months.
In April, we began to get even more involved in our local International Christian Fellowship. We really enjoy having the opportunity to meet and worship in English. There is nothing like the freedom of singing His praises in your native language. Our church meets in the afternoon, so we typically do church at our house in the morning or go to a church in the city in the mornings. Brian has gotten involved in the media side of things at the International Church, just like he did for years at our home church in Alabama. Kathryn is assisting with preschool ministry and is enjoying it. In April, we also had an amazing English Team. They came and helped us paint our church and breathe new life in to the room where we pray and worship. It was just the transformation we needed. They also worked with our kids at our children’s home. They lead a short camp for kids and poured out the love of the Father on our kids. It was a blessing to behold!
One of our favorite things in April, was Nadea’s talent show. Nadea is one of our most poetic (and emotional) girls. She is always walking through the house reciting Mihai Eminescu poetry with great feeling. Her school nominated her to be a part of a nationwide talent contest called "And you can be a star". She did an amazing job, and we were beaming with pride for her! It was also great to see more Moldovan traditional dances and music. We loved getting to be there to support one of our girls. Those moments are some of our favorites…and we do our best not to be the goofy Americans. Other moments that make our hearts happy are when our girls invite us into their lives.
In April, one of the girls in the Stella’s House next door was sick and we spent time visiting her in the hospital. She is a quiet young woman, but she opened up to us about her life. Her parents died when she was young. She and her younger brother were left alone and sent to separate institutions. Her younger brother has cerebral palsy and was sent to an orphanage for children with disabilities. This sweet girl and her brother had very little time together growing up. But, she cares about him deeply. She wanted to celebrate his birthday with him and invited us to be a part of it. One rainy afternoon in April, we set out with her and her best friend (one of our girls) to celebrate her brother’s 15th
birthday. What a time we had, with cake and simple gifts. We spent an afternoon laughing and enjoying time with these three dear little souls. We felt so honored to be invited in to her story. We are now trying to help her make some important decisions for his care and education. Her brother is a kind and loving soul and we want to see him prosper. As a special education teacher, Kathryn’s heart was full. She could see all the educational, occupational, and physical needs he had. But, she could also see that he was well loved by his quiet and gentle older sister. On our way home from the village birthday celebration, we may have taken a "short cut" and ended up stuck in the mud. We had an old man yelling at us in Russian while we pushed our big blue van out of the road. Roads in Moldovan villages (and towns for that matter) are typically just plain awful. After a spring shower, they are treacherous.
After we made it out of the mud we all laughed and laughed and knew that we had just had an afternoon full of memory making.
May was a wonderful month that just flew by. Kathryn celebrated her very first Mother’s Day. The girls in our house surprised her with homemade clatite (like crepes) and fruit salad. She felt so special. Parenting and caring for the 38 girls in our care can be very challenging and tiring-but we both know every sleepless moment is worth it. In the middle of May, we celebrated our 14th wedding anniversary…with a whole day together. It was wonderful we watched two movies and walked around the city hand in hand like a couple of teenagers in love. Spring in Moldova is beautiful and walking through the capital city in all her derelict glory is our favorite thing to do. We love all the beautiful old buildings…that just need a little love and care. At the end of May, two of our precious girls graduated from high school. Brian and I had to split up to attend both programs, but we were so incredibly grateful for the opportunity. The ceremonies were very typically Moldovan-full of traditional Moldovan dancing, accordion music, and fun décor. More than anything, we were proud of our girls because we know that not every Moldovan has the opportunity to or the support to complete school beyond 9th grade. We are thankful that our girls have access to a good education. Much research shows that access to education drastically reduces the chances of a young woman being trafficked. That is our goal here, to love and guide these precious lives but also to protect them from the very real world of trafficking and exploitation that is rampant here.
As we begin June, we are taking a huge breath and preparing for the busy times ahead. We ask for your continued prayers for our girls as they finish up high stakes graduation exams and prepare for their next steps. We ask for prayers for our girls that we are starting to transition in to independent living. We ask for prayers for endurance, patience, and unwavering faith for us. Please keep Stella’s Voice in your prayers. Pray for financial breakthroughs and for every single thing that we do to glorify our Father in heaven. Thank you for constantly and continually lifting us up. Your prayers keep us going. We feel that God is with us every step….even in the dark moments…we KNOW He is there. We will be praying for you, all of our friends and family who help make this mission move forward. Without you guys, we would not be here serving God and serving these precious lives. We are thankful and there could never be enough words to truly convey our gratitude. We love you all!
With hears full of gratitude,
Brian and Kathryn Jones
Team Jones in Moldova
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