Hello everyone! This Summer has been a good but challenging one. Like I mentioned in our last update, there has been a Hepatitis A outbreak here in Valeni; in the area that we minister in. Mostly all the kids in the area have had it and been in the hospital for treatment. Because of this virus a lot of our summer plans with kids and youth had to be postponed or cancelled since we didn’t want to be responsible for spreading the virus. It’s actually been in the more recent weeks that we’ve been able to start up our regular kids ministry here in Valeni. It’s great to feel like we’re almost on the other side of this virus but still pray against any further spreading!
Because it’s been a while since we last sent out an update it seems like ages ago since certain things happened. I figured it would be good to give a quick summary of the past several weeks. Since we decided to postpone the Valeni kids outreach till mid to late August we took the opportunity to take our family beach trip while we had the chance. We camped for three nights at the Black Sea along with some friends. It was so great getting to camp and enjoy God’s Creation for a few days.
After our time away we tried to get back into the swing of things but with some of the teenagers getting sick we couldn’t really have our regular weekly time together.Instead we just went up on Saturdays to check on people and also helped some of them a couple times with harvesting small orange berries called Catina. These berries are very popular in Romania and every year a lot of people go into the forests to find and harvest them so they can sell them. Catina bushes are very spiky plants and have to have all the thorns cut off the branches before you can pick the berries. Families have been harvesting them for weeks as it’s a good way for them to make a little bit of extra cash. Though it was disappointing not being able to meet with the teenagers for a few weeks we still had a good time sitting around and talking with people as we helped them with Catina.
A few weeks ago; Steve, Josh, and myself put together a hiking trip for the guys that have been apart of the youth group in Ciorani. We went up north to a beautiful place called Muntele Roșu(Red Mountain). We took a 6 hour hike up along the ridge of the mountain which was such a great time with the guys. We were physically drained by the end of it but it was a sweet time of fellowship with each other. This upcoming Saturday we are doing a similar trip with some of the boys here in Valeni which I’m looking forward to.
This past Tuesday Ruth had a girls meeting with the girls from Ciorani and Valeni. It is a blessing to have the space to do these kinds of things now. Our friend Jackie who has been staying with us had the opportunity to share with the girls from Isaiah. Though I wasn’t there, all the girls seemed to really enjoy the time they had together and said the study went really well. It was also a bitter sweet time as it was Patrana’s(Ruth’s Romanian Sister) last day in Romania before heading off to Bible School in Hungry. We are all really excited that she is able to go but she will be missed these next few months.
In our last update I mentioned that the Pastor from Hanover was coming with his wife to drop off a car that someone has given us. The plans for them to come in August ended up falling through but now Steve and I get the opportunity to go and visit the church there in Germany and bring the car back to Romania. We are leaving on the 8thand I am really excited to spend time with some dear friends there! It will be so great for Ruth and I to have this car as it will really enable us to do more and be more flexible in the ministry here. It’s so surreal when God provides something like a car; even though He provided one for us when we lived in Ireland. There are those things in life that seem big to us but in perspective of who God is; they’re nothing to compare. In my reading of 2 Chronicles I was reminded of how God is eagerly looking to show Himself strong on behalf of those that seek Him and trust Him(See 2 Chronicles 16:9). We serve a great God who delights to show Himself strong and it is a joy to see Him work.
Ruth and I continue to do well here. It’s been good to have our friend Jackie here with us and it’s been great to have the extra fellowship. The Summer has gone past quickly and it will be a bummer to see her heading back home in a couple weeks. It is always such a blessing to have good friends that want to be an encouragement to us. Know that all you who pray for us, support us finacially, or write us messages(or send voxers) are a very big encouragement to us. It communicates to us that we aren’t alone here in Romania and that God is encouraging us to press on through all the hard or discouraging times. Know that we love you all and are very thankful for you.
Aden and Ruth Knepper