Tuesday, September 29, 2020

Summer/Fall Update 2020

I remember roughly 18 years ago Cynthia and I attended a leadership conference at Calvary Chapel Boise. I remember trying to get to the conference that day was particularly challenging. We had our Son Kaidon at the time, who was around 18 months or I don't remember if we knew we were pregnant with Sedona yet. We were in rush to get there and upon arriving at the church Kaidon promptly threw up in the back of the car from car sickness resulting in a change of clothes the cleaning that following and showing up even more late for the conference.

Both of us were sitting through the different speakers of which all were good. But we both remember the Lord speaking directly to our situation because we are talking and praying about missions. The Speaker, said, something to effect, take your plans, your five-year plans, your ten-year plans, your retirement plans, all of those things for your life, and ask yourself is this what the Lord wants for me? Are you willing to surrender your plans, for his plans? 

We don't remember who it was that said that. But God used that greatly in our lives to challenge us to give up our plans and embrace his. If anything this last year has been a continuous reminder that surrendering to his plan is not just a single event, but a daily action. 

We spent roughly 2 months in lockdown, meaning, staying in our house, and only leaving for essential items or trips, i.e. groceries, paying bills, accompanied by a signed paper, that stated your destination, where you were coming from how long you would be out. There were checkpoints set up in different areas of our city to check if you had the right paperwork and make sure you were obeying the curfew. Lines to go into everything became the norm, it was interesting listening to the older Romanians talk about how this was just a return to what they had under communism. Even now, going into certain buildings, governments, or banks, you have to wait in a line to go in.

We switched to an online service and with only worship and teaching online. The President begged people during the Easter Holiday week to refrain from attending services or having family and friends over for a Gratar/BBQ. 


I still remember how surreal that morning was as I was driving to church. There were no people in the town, nobody walking, nobody, riding a bike, hardly any cars, all the stores were closed, parking lots were empty and all the churches were quiet.

As the weather warmed up we were lucky to have a large courtyard and built a cornhole game from leftover wood that we had and spent many afternoons after school playing games and watching the kids riding bikes in a circle or playing bike when the weather was nice. When the weather wasn't cooperating we played cards, Jenga, and introduced the kids to all of the classic 80's movies that we grew up with.






We were still hoping that our plans for the summer activities would somehow still happen only to be told that restriction would still be in place, we were excited however at the beginning of summer to not be restricted to our home and allowed to venture out. By July they had loosened the rules enough to invite people back into the church observing social distancing rules and as of September, we have started our midweek study back up with a small group meeting.

Sunday's are a mixture of different people attending physically and tuning in through our Facebook live stream. Mask's our daily part of our lives now it seems and will continue to be a part of our lives for the foreseeable future. Through it all God has been good, no one in our church has been sick through all of this and we have seen more visitors this year since meeting again than normal. 

Fall usually means our annual Women's tea but due to group size restrictions, we opted instead to celebrate a baby shower for our worship Leader's wife Diana. It was so much fun to watch the ladies of the church gather together for games and dinner to bless Diana with amazing gifts. Cynthia said everyone had a great time.








Sunday after the baby shower we had a baptism providing an opportunity for those who wanted to make a public statement of faith in Jesus. Brian had the privilege of baptizing Crina, one of the long-time employees of the after-school program with New Beginnings, and her mother. It was so exciting to hear how both of them felt like the Lord had told them it was time to be water baptized. An additional blessing for our family was both Sage and Ryley, wanted to be water baptized as well. Such an awesome weekend. 









While this year has been one of the most challenging for us with the lockdown, restrictions, and constant changes in our plans. I am constantly reminded that God is not bound by lockdowns or restrictions that his plans are never impacted and that we have to learn continuously that it is ok when things are not going how we planned. Whether it the first step of faith or our hundredth. We are constantly being pulled out of our comfort zone and stretched. God is still on the throne no matter what life throws at us and he is absolutely for us and uses us in whatever circumstance we find ourselves. Our prayer through this has been that with all of this craziness around us, people might wake up start asking questions, and genuinely start seeking answers and that they would be divinely directed to someone who would introduce them to the God who can still calm the storm, the God that still saves.


Praise report:

The baby shower was such a blessing for Diana and Ionuts as the prepare in December to welcome their first child into the world.

Thankful for those who chose to make a public statement of faith in Jesus. Praying for continued protection for them and a deep desire to grow in their faith.

Prayer requests:

Prayer for one of the couples in our church who are struggling with some property line challenges. A neighbor passed away and his son has inherited the land but is challenging the existing property lines. Prayer for wisdom and strength and clarity for all who are involved. This is still an ongoing problem for them please keep Mitica and Ildi in prayer.
 
They have also released the guidelines for the schools and depending on what county your in will depend on how the school is going to start, red zoned counties mean online-only, yellow-zoned counties mean classes. will split the week half attending the other online then vice versa. Green zoned counties mean normal school. Not sure how this is all going to work but we will see. Bistrita is labeled currently as a green zoned area so as far as we know all of the schools will be starting up normal next week. Asking for prayer for the students and the teachers and administrators this school year as it going to be different and challenging here for them.
 
Cynthia was helping some of the kid's old teachers with classroom decorations for this year and they are all very stressed about the way school is going to go this year. Please pray as the Romanian school system started this week. 

 

The church is going well. some people are coming to service and others are choosing to stay home and watch online. Just praying for people to not be fearful in all of this. But to be wise and light to those around them. On an exciting note, we are continuing to have visitors come to church in the midst of all of this. Praying for God to move in their hearts. 

 

Please pray for an older lady who has begun to come faithfully for Sunday service. She is estranged from her only daughter and her husband passed away a year ago and she is very lonely. Prayer for the church to continue to love on her and for the Lord to reveal himself to her in an amazing way.

 


Monday, April 20, 2020

Spring update 2020

As I sit down to write an update. The Romanian president has just announced another 30-day quarantine for the entire country of Romania. Everywhere you turn these days there are constant reminders that for the foreseeable future this is our present circumstance. 

If there is one thing that we are learning right now is you need to be intentional about your living. Anytime we leave the house, we have to fill out a paper physically or electronically that announces our justification for why we have left. Shopping for groceries, paying bills, going to the bank, even church on Sunday mornings has to be accounted for. 

Due to the dangers of the virus quickly escalating out of control like Italy, we have been asked to refrain from meeting in groups including church services. So all of the ministries that our church does have had to adapt. Teaching is exclusively online,  The afterschool program has been suspended. For the time being, checking in on people has moved to zoom meetings, weekly texts, and Facebook. It has been challenging trying to stay connected with everyone even in a small church, making sure that they know that they are being thought of and prayed for but also doing our part to follow the guidelines given to us for the protection of others. Being ok with not knowing what the next day or week is going to bring let alone what the summer holds and just learning to trust the Lord with our plans, in a new way. To not seek security in the day to day routine and comforts but in the Lord.

But even in the midst of this, there are opportunities to minister to neighbors who are stuck at home just like you are and talking with them over a fence, being an encouragement or helping them with something, even if it means wearing a mask and gloves and keeping your distance from each other as your work on something together. Some in the church have been able to volunteer with different non-profit organizations to take food to those who are elderly and unable to get out for shopping. Helping prepare someone's vegetable gardens so that they will have a garden this year. Still, others have given donations to help or finances so that food can be bought. There are numerous ways we have seen people in our church and city helping one another. Our live stream on Sunday mornings continues to grow as people are tuning in praying that God would meet them right where they are at.

Hristos a Inviat, Happy Easter from all of us

We just celebrated Easter for us here this last weekend. Eastern Orthodox follow a different calendar then the Catholics, so our easter is always later and can vary by up to 4-5 weeks sometimes.  It was surreal to drive to church on Easter morning and see no cars, and no people out. Even the Orthodox churches in town usually full, with people spilling out of the entryway and standing outside on the sidewalk, now completely empty a city full of silence. We were blessed with some friends who came to help with worship for our service, which was amazing because you realize how much you miss corporate worship. It's always a privilege getting to do what we get to do and I enjoy so much teaching from the Bible in any format. But we are looking forward to the time when we can gather together as a body physically to worship and praise Jesus.
City Easter morning

So quiet

Worship team preparing 

working out some final details





































If there is one thing we are learning through all of this is the importance of being intentional in everything that we do. That while this is a difficult time for all of us. God can use it to bring communities, families, and churches closer together.

Prayer Requests:

Pray for the government of Romania to make decisions in seeking to stop the spread of the Virus.

Pray for the families that are being impacted by the country lockdown. Either by being quarantined or being denied the ability to travel home for Easter.

Pray for those who struggle with Depression as being so isolated feeling during the Holiday can be extremely difficult.

Prayer for Brian as his shoulder surgery was postponed until after the state of emergency is lifted.

Prayer for divine appointments even in the midst of this to minister to people in unique ways.

Pray that God would pour his Spirit out on our city, region, and country that we would see an awakening in Romania.

Prayer for the finances of New Beginnings, giving has been low for the past year and we are
asking for the Lord to provide consistent financial partners. We are still supporting kids in the program who are now attending college along with kids in our afterschool program that works with Roma (gypsy) kids by helping them with school, meals and most importantly helping them come to know and grow in their knowledge of Jesus. If you desire to help please contact us through the email below. All of these programs are on hold currently but we rents, utilities, payroll, and taxes still have to be paid even if the programs are temporarily suspended.


If you wish to contact us 

Blog: romaniafouts.blogspot.ro

YouTube channel: Calvary Chapel Bistrita
facebook: Personal, Brian-Cynthia Fouts
                 Page: Calvary Chapel Bistrita
Twitter: @FoutsBrian, @FoutsCynthia
Instagram: bcfouts, cynthiafouts, calvarychapelbistrita


If you are interested in partnering with us financially one time or reoccurring you can use the following link. 

https://globalmission.givingfuel.com/bistrita-romania-brian-and-cynthia-fouts

or you can send a check to Calvary Global Missions 123 S. Auto Drive, Boise. ID, 83709 and make a note for Brian and Cynthia Fouts