Sunday, January 14 we will be commissioning the Texas Mission team. Pray for them to be prepared and we will all together send them out.
Summer Ministry!We had team of 11 here from July 22 – Aug. 2, they represented 4 churches from Alberta and BC. We did VBS in 4 more villages and saw around 200 children attend. We had a great time playing games like “Where’s Waldo”, doing crafts and hearing about God’s Everlasting Love through skits & bible stories. We enjoyed hearing messages and testimonies from the team that came from Canada and seeing the impact these messages had on the children and youth. One of the team members on this trip was a distant relative of Gloria’s – Thanks for coming along and sharing God’s word Josh Arnold – great to meet you. And of course we loved the Canada vs Romania soccer game!
Vern & Tamas have been busy at the camp preparing the ground & pouring cement for the retaining wall by the existing building. Work has begun on the “Old Farm House” - windows & doors have been removed and they are getting the inside walls ready for stucco. This is going to be an excellent building for staff to live on the property. It's important for us to get this done soon as the camp is getting busier and busier with work and groups.
Camp Falcon Rock was rented to two groups this summer through the Hungarian Baptist Convention. It was great to hear the laughter of children at the camp and to see lives impacted by God using this place already. The groups meant a lot of work for Gloria & Tunde as they had to clean and wash bed linen and get the camp turned around.
We have a lot of building projects on the go right now. Please pray with us that the permits for the water, sewage & cabins will arrive soon so that we can have more camps next summer. If we are able to get these projects done then we will be able to publicly open the doors of Camp Falcon Rock and run our own programs next summer!
We are looking forward to having our children with us this fall. Nathan, Stacey, Cache & Mabel arrive here on Sept. 3. They will be in the village with us until the 11th then Nathan & Stacey go off touring to Greece & Italy. Cache & Mabel will hang out with Papa & Grammie until Sept 30 when we will fly with them to Denmark to meet up with their mom & dad. We are looking forward to spending time with our family in Denmark—we haven’t been there since 1995 so will be fun to reconnect.
Nathan & Stacey fly home on Oct. 6 & we fly back to Romania on Oct. 7. We have a few days to get ready for Michael, Katrina & Jack who will arrive on Oct. 12. They will be here in the village for one week then they are off touring also. Darn, they said they are not leaving Jack with us!!!!! September & October will be busy months but so looking forward to showing our kids the village life & meeting all our friends here in Szentkiraly.
We were able to pick Blackberries at the camp – a new experience for us. They are sure yummy but very nasty to pick, we have the scratches to prove it. Gloria was able to make some jam, syrup, muffins and a very yummy blackberry cobbler.
It is amazing that we now live in a country that moves a little slower than Central Alberta, but the time goes by just as fast. Wasn’t it just May!?! Ecc.3:1 says everything has its time. When we look back and see the teens, the children and the leadership here this verse makes a lot of sense. You can see it in the response of the people that are eager to hear the good news as well as it in the love that is shared with these children and adults.
Thanks everyone for allowing us to be witnesses to God’s Love for Romania.
What do workers gain from their toil? I have seen the burden God has laid on the human race. He has made everything beautiful in its time. He has also set eternity in the human heart; yet no one can fathom what God has done from beginning to end. I know that there is nothing better for people than to be happy and to do good while they live. That each of them may eat and drink, and find satisfaction in all their toil-this is the gift of God. I know that everything God does will endure forever; nothing can be added to it and nothing taken from it. God does it so that people will fear him. Whatever is has already been, and what will be has been before; and God will call the past to account. Ecclesiastes 3:9-15
Till next time –
Vern & Gloria
Or do you show contempt for the riches of his kindness, tolerance and patience, not realizing that God’s kindness leads you toward repentance? Romans 2:4
When we are unaccustomed to thinking about God in terms of his character, specifically his benevolence and grace, we can easily be led to believe that his patience with us reflects a lack of resolve. Perhaps resolve is too harsh a word; seriousness and intention to judge would be a better statement of our interpretation of God’s patience.
For many in the natural world, the fact that God has yet to judge them lends credence to their belief that He will not. For those inside of the family of God, patience can be interpreted as tolerance. Both interpretations are equally fallacious as God is neither tolerant or unjust. The missing component in both of these misinterpretations of the patience of God is the finite time span in which most people’s thinking resides, in contrast to the pre and post-existent manner in which God sees history.
History only has a beginning and ending point in human terms. We are given the story of our origin in the garden and a preview of the conclusion of history in John’s Apocalypse. Because of the span of time that passes between these two terminus, human beings tend to think in much smaller spans. Because God has not ended the world and passed judgment in the lifetime of our grandparents or parents or even ourselves thus far, we cannot envision the reality that it may happen at any time.
From the perspective of God, history has no beginning and ending as he has always existed and will always exist. His patience with his beloved creation spans much more than three lifetimes as we see it. Because our minds naturally drift to our favorite subject—ourselves-- we pass this infinite patience through the filter of what we would like it to mean, either tolerance or the withholding releasing of judgment.
Considering Romans 2:4 in the course of Holy Week (an interesting twist of the language since every week is holy week) brings a fresh perspective to both the idea and the verse. God evidences his unmatched love and care for humanity in the giving of a Savior. The Savior suffers and pays the penalty due from us and makes the free offer to apply this sacrifice to our lives through faith. This does away with the false belief in tolerance as God clearly does not “just look the other way.” The serious of judgment and its inevitability are also highlighted in the fact that the perfectly just God requires the perfectly spotless sacrifice. If judgment were to be permanently delayed, no such sacrifice would be necessary.
What is on display is the fullness of God’s love and his desire (2 Peter 3:9) that none should perish. His withholding of immediate judgment and even the multi-generation patience that God shows has as its goal our repentance. While the Bible is clear that it will not be withheld indefinitely, neither are we told the moment in which that judgment will be consummated. We must act on God’s kindness, repent and put our full faith in the finished work of Jesus Christ. This is the only appropriate response to the riches of his kindness.
Grace and peace to you.
Roman Road 6
Furthermore, since they did not think it worthwhile to retain the knowledge of God, He gave them over to a depraved mind, to do what ought not to be done. Romans 1:28
Despite our protestations to the contrary, we human beings want what we want. We invest a lot of energy in trying to be less selfish, or at least appearing to be less self-interested. Sooner or later, however, the reality of who we are comes to the surface. Our greatest desire is for our greatest desire.
On its surface, this doesn’t appear to be a negative trait. And if we are pure in heart and consider the greater good when evaluating our own interests then the probability of a positive outcome is measurably higher. But let’s not fool ourselves; we are not pure in heart and our idea of the greater good takes self into account before other.
This is what Paul has in mind as we begin to walk down the Roman Road. He makes a simple case for our greatest desires to be guided by the will of God rather then our natural self-satisfaction. Without diving into a deep theological morass he makes the case that what can be known about the natural order is self-evident to all people. To put this another way, we can evaluate what is proper according to the natural order and therefore judge when our desires are not in alignment with that order.
It’s here that the awful reality of accountability before God strikes our hearts. If we cannot claim to be ignorant of the way in which God intends for things to be then we will only be left with two choices, align with God’s will or our self-will. The consequence of this decision is clear as well.
When we choose and elevate and exercise our desires contrary to the plain evidence of God’s order and will, the possibility that we will find ourselves in a dangerous position increase exponentially. That dangerous position — that horrific position — is that God may turn us over to our desires. Paul makes this awful proclamation three times in the span of four verses and it catches us off guard. The omnipotent God who could force us to toe the line instead appears to throw up his hands and say “have at it!” Enjoy your desire and the consequence of that choice.
“Not fair”, we exclaim. We want the product of our selfish desire without the consequence but this is contrary to the evidence all around us that Paul has pointed to. You can’t have one without the other. It has never happened and it never will since it contradicts the created order.
The direction of our will sets the foundation for the gospel that Paul unfolds as we walk further down the road together. God does not force us to accept his will in place of our own. He makes the superiority of his ways evident to all. He makes the extent of his love for all transparent. He gives evidence to his desire in Jesus. Then God says choose. This call to choose is put in human language by Moses (Deuteronomy 30:19); “choose life.” Not choosing life can result in nothing but death.
Grace and peace to you.