Monday, March 28, 2011

I Love Romania

This morning I read a Facebook post from our Red Page ministry coordinator Shelby Felton that brought back so many memories. Here is what she said, “Fervent knocking at door. Open door, man speaks, I don't understand. Man ‘barges’ in and takes seat at kitchen table. (ok?) Quick call to friend to translate. Turns out he's the mailman and has an envelope I need to sign for. Oh, ok. Proof of identity given, paper signed. I open door, expect man to walk out ... but wait ... he gives me a hug, double cheek kiss, and a smile and nod.”

Man I love Romania. One of the things I loved the most was their pride in relationships. All too often we as Americans get in such a hurry with our daily activities that we miss the opportunity to truly build relationships with people. Not in Romania. When our landlord would come get the rent he would come in and have a glass of water and visit. When we would purchase insurance for our car the salesman would come in our apartment, visit, drink a coke, and then do the paperwork.

People often ask me what drew us to Romania; after all I have worked in a number of countries. It obviously has to be the people. The people of Romania make what we do easy. The extra hours, long nights, stress and strain of raising financial support, all come easy when I think of the gratitude from my Romanian friends. That is the root of my passion. That is why we are so determined to build this basketball court in Susani.

Realizing the value of relationships in Romania, Red Page has committed to build a basketball court behind the House of Joy that will serve as a recruiting tool for children and their families. Starting May 13, a team from Texas and Arkansas will begin building this full length basketball court. The compilation will be Saturday, May 21, with a morning basketball camp followed by the very first Susani Invitational Youth Basketball Tournament.

House of Joy founder Ovidiu Petric describes the value of this court best: “Hundreds of children will be able to gather and play on our basketball court. They will be practicing sports while they learn the scriptures. The House of Joy will be a place for Sports and Scriptures! They can learn them together. Many kids will start running for Jesus because of this awesome opportunity they will find in Susani. We will organize sports camps to improve their skills, both with the Bible and the sport. We will also work to organize competitions with the public schools in our area right on this basketball court. Our hope is to model these competitions after the Upward Basketball programs in America. Kids will come from all 31 villages in our ministry area to learn the skills of basketball, and other sports as well. These sports will give us an audience with the children and their parents so that we can share about Jesus. In addition, we will have concerts, revivals, and festivals on our court. What a perfect place to interact with the children and youth. Everybody loves sports and these sports will allow us to form firm foundations that will lead to ending poverty in our villages.”

We know this court could not be built before we do the prep work on the grounds. In the same way we realize our ministry cannot serve 2,500 families without a little prep work. This court will allow us to build relationships, establish an identity, gain valuable trust, and recruit families to come from all 31 villages we serve to hear the gospel of Christ while having a little fun.

This week marks the final full week of our campaign to raise the $10,000 necessary to do the following:

  • Construction of a full length basketball court - $6,000
  • 100 new uniforms and basketball shoes - $2,000
  • Sporting equipment and Evangelical tools - $1,000
  • Event hosting - $1,000

As of today we have approximately $2,000 of our $10,000 goal raised. We are forever grateful to those that have made donations and pledges to assist in this great cause. As we near the finish line we ask that you consider how you might assist us in finishing strong. Aspire to new heights. Jon

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