Monday, November 29, 2010

Everything IS bigger in Texas!

What a joy it has been to have Ovidiu and Adina in our home this past week. God truly blessed us with a wonderful time of food, fun, fellowship, and promotion of our ministry. I asked Ovidiu to take a few seconds out of his busy schedule to share with you about his first week in America. I hope you enjoy - Jon

This past week we were filled with lots of “firsts” because Adina and I visit America for the first time. I had the privilege to start this visit with no other state but TEXAS. Everything is bigger in Texas! Large cars, large buildings, large stadiums, large cups of coke (“buckets” as Adina would call them), large steaks (beef steaks are my favorite).

Texas (268,581 sq mi / 696,241 km2) is almost three times the size of my country Romania (92,043 sq mi / 238,391 km2). Many times Romania was covered by the love of the people of Texas. There is still room for Romania in the heart of the people of Texas. I have experienced this in the last seven days since we are here. Almost everybody smiles and asks you “how are you doing?” Texans drive very different than Romanians! The food is amazing. Most important of all, the people that I have met love the Lord. We encountered people from different churches that used to be involved in Romania several years ago.

What makes Texas big is its love for God. Texas sent missionaries all over the world to give the people the good news that God saves. That shows that it could include a whole world in its heart not just a country. In the last five years many churches and organizations focused on other areas of the world with different needs. Missionary organizations and families of missionaries withdrew from southeastern Europe.

God brought on our way several people and churches that want to refocus on Europe, Romania though the needs are maybe a little different here than in other parts of Asia, Africa or South America. On this international context of missions, God burdens the hearts of some churches to continue to come to Romania. Some are from Texas, some from other places.

Texas is large enough to engulf Romania in showing God’s love. Texas in large enough to love and “adopt” the thousands of orphans that our country has, is large enough to evangelize the 20,000,000 people that do not know Christ as Lord and Savior. Texas is large enough to plant churches in the 1,600 villages in Romania without an evangelical church, is large enough to focus on the 30 villages we target in Susani area. Texas is large enough to reach the 2,800 children and youths in all these villages, is large enough to build the House of Joy Community Center in Susani. Texas is large enough to help the poor families with 8-12 children that live in our villages around Susani. Texas is large enough to show God’s love to the world and if God wants to show it to Romania, too.

This is an opportunity to be challenged to know the spiritual and physical realities of Romania and to be challenged to come back or to come for the first time in a mission trip or in a partnership in the vision God has for this country using us in western side of the country.
In God’s economy not the number of people makes sense or the large number of things or the size of their possessions. What He cares for is the heart of man. He is always looking at the heart of man.

May God’s love give you a big heart that would include Romania in it, too. God bless, Ovidiu Petric

Monday, November 22, 2010

God, Family, Romania

I was blessed to worship at Pioneer Drive Baptist Church in Abilene on Sunday. It was a joy to hear my dear friend Dr. Stan Allcorn preach, but this Sunday was especially special because Red Page’s ministry partner, my best friend Ovidiu Patrick was given a chance to speak for a few minutes in each service. This was Ovidiu’s first time to America and his first time to speak in an American church. For 10 years Ovidiu and Adina have hosted me and hundreds of Americans in their home and church. How fulfilling it was to finally return the favor.

For whatever reason, I was able to spend some time in reflection during church. Maybe it was the emotion of having a dear friend share his gratitude with a partner church or maybe it was hearing the same sermon on “Thanksgiving” four times! Whatever the reason I had a chance to reflect upon my life and think of the things I’m most grateful.

Without a doubt I’m most thankful for my salvation. I know it sounds so cliché, but without Jesus Christ all other things in my life would be irrelevant and likely non-existent. I’m thankful I was adopted into a home that exposed me to this salvation and modeled Christian values on a daily basis. I’m thankful that I’m given the chance each day to live out this salvation. I’m especially grateful that I live in a country that allows me to live out this salvation.

Only my Aggie friends can understand my next statement. I remember thinking the day I received my Aggie ring that no other day could beat this day. I know it is just a ring! Sorry it is just an Aggie thing. However, my wedding day proved me wrong, as well as the day my children were born. I’m so thankful for my family. God has truly blessed me.

In 1999 God changed my life by introducing me to a world beyond the U.S. borders. It was then I fell in love with Romania. Since that time I’ve visited more times than I can count. Kacee and I were blessed to call Romania our home in 2005 and 2006. Now God has opened the door for Red Page our new ministry designed to end rural poverty in Romania. I’m thankful for the opportunity.

As Ovidiu, Adina, and I drove from Abilene to Lubbock I realized how thankful I should be and how much I take all these things above for granted. Ovidiu reminded me how little I praise God through prayer. We spent the last 45 miles of our trip lifting prayers to the Lord. I’m thankful I have a friend that reminds me how thankful I should be. I especially thankful that I can spend this week of thanksgiving with that friend!

Last but certainly not least I’m thankful for you. I don’t know your situation. I don’t know why you are reading this blog. Maybe you are a former trip participant. Maybe you are family. Maybe you are a friend. Maybe you are just a random person checking out this sight. Regardless I’m thankful you took the time to spend a few minutes with me. My hope is that you will spend many more; hopefully in Romania! Happy Thanksgiving! Aspire to new heights.

Monday, November 15, 2010

Technology Today

My father-in-law sent me an email the other day about a lady whom she referred to as “grandma.” This email went on to list all the things that had changed since grandma was born. There were things like color television, satellite radio, cell phones, etc. She also talked about how the cost of gas, milk, coke, and movies had gone up. She concluded the email by saying, “By the way, Grandma is 59!” I took a minute to ponder all of these changes the last 60 years. It’s hard to believe.

Well today I took a trip down memory lane. I was charged with driving our work pick-up. About three minutes into the drive I realized this pick-up only had A.M. radio. Holy Cow! I went from XM Radio in my car to a six hour round trip drive in a pick-up with only A.M. radio. Needless-to-say I chose silence over A.M. radio! Honestly it wasn’t too bad a drive. Silence does the body good!

Back to this technology thing though. Modern technology has made it so easy to communicate half-way around the world. With e-mail, Skype, and international calling plans the world is just seconds away. I’m amazed at how easy it is for me to travel across the ocean and still remain in contact with my customers. Granted I may field a few calls at 3:00 A.M., but it is still very easy to travel these days. I don’t know if you’ve noticed where I’m going with this or not but I’m attempting to squash one of your many excuses for not going on a mission trip! The world is now at our finger tips and the mission field is closer than ever before. This can no longer serve as a valid excuse for not serving.

We are in the process of adding a “mission trip” link on our website. I hope you will click on and find a trip that fits you. We would love to have you join us. And yes, you can join us and not miss a beat with work!

As you pray about joining us on a trip, I hope you will take a minute to lift up Ovidiu and Adina in your prayers. After 10 years of anticipation they will depart Thursday morning for the US. We are totally ecstatic, as I know they are as well, about their three weeks in America. Pray they will have an easy transition. Pray for the number of meetings we will have with potential donors and ministry partners. Pray for the future of our ministry. Hopefully we will see many of you real soon. Aspire to new heights.

Sunday, November 7, 2010

Orphan Sunday. How about Orphan Everyday?

This morning I made a special point to say a prayer for the hundreds of orphans in the U.S., Russia, Romania, Latvia, Guatemala, Mexico, Honduras, and Kenya that have touched my life the past 10 years. As I finished my prayer I felt a tug on my heart, obviously from the Holy Spirit, asking me why I need a “special day” to lift these beautiful children up in prayer. In the same light, why do we have to set aside one Sunday as “Orphan Sunday?” Yes I understand the need to draw attention to the enormous needs; however, what if we focused the same attention every Sunday, or even better, everyday? If we made the same effort 365 days a year we might not have the need for a focus day.

However, since today is Orphan Sunday I thought I’d end with a very thought provoking interview. Several years ago I was honored to meet a 25 year old orphan graduate by the name of Valentine. He had lived in the orphanage since he was 10 months old. While sharing lunch with Valentine, a fellow trip participant and Moody Broadcaster Dave Jolly interviewed him.

Dave Jolly: What was it like growing up in an orphanage?

Valentine: Life was very hard in the orphanage. The bigger kids make the rules in the orphanage. They tell the younger ones what to do and what not to do. I was forced to do things I did not want to do and I was beaten numerous times.

Dave: When did you first remember things changing?

Valentine: Up until the age of 17 I did not know what it was like to be loved. This changed when an American team visited my orphanage. At first it was very strange for me. I had lived my life in a certain way but this team showed me something different. They showed me what love was. I asked the Americans what made them so happy. They told me about Jesus. This is what made the difference in their lives. I wanted to feel the way they did. From that day on my life changed. It was something very good for me. I told this to all of my friends in the orphanage. Many denied it but many wanted to know more about it. I taught them about Jesus and it made a difference in their lives too.

Dave: How do you view hope?

Valentine: My life with Jesus is different. I can feel joy and I’m happy. It is a big difference from how I lived in the past and how I live now. I now have a purpose in my life.

Dave: As someone that grew up and graduated from an orphanage what do you think all orphans need?

Valentine: I’m thinking of me when I was their age. They need to be loved. They live in a place where no one cares about them. They are not shown love. They need someone to show them love.

Dave: Upon my return I will be sharing your story with other Americans. Is there anything you would like me to tell them?

Valentine: Pray that God will send people to the orphanage to make a difference in their life like the American team did in my life. This is my prayer request.

In his most recent book on prayer Phillip Yancey warns that “Unanswered prayers pose an especially serious threat to the faith of trusting children.” In a world full of pain, suffering, and an endless search for love, prayer may be all these children have. I don’t know about you, but I lose sleep at night thinking about the thousands, if not millions of children that are praying for help. Jesus himself said in Matthew’s gospel, “Let the little children come to me, and do not hinder them, for the kingdom of heaven belongs to such as these.” If we are not helping answer these prayers, then maybe, just maybe, we are hindering them from coming to know Him. So, I pose the question to you. What can we do to help answer these prayers?

If you have an interest in working in an orphanage or if you want to travel to Romania to work with at-risk children shoot me an email at If nothing else, lift up a prayer for Valentine and the 150 million orphans around the world. Aspire to new heights.