Paul & Tanya Gerike - NAB Missionaries – Bucharest Romania

 

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May Update - Ukraine Refugee Ministry and More!

We continue to be busy over here with refugee ministry! We are sorry we have not been giving more frequent updates. Each day is jammed packed with tasks to do and unexpected tasks that continue to come up throughout the day! Flexibility has been key in this season.

Currently we still have 9 refugees at the camp with us. We still have 8 of the Nigerian students who were studying in Odessa as well as one young lady who fled Ukraine and was sleeping in a Polish train station when we got connected with her. Over the past month we have also had a number of families come through the camp. With those coming to the camp we have been providing them with a safe place to stay, food to eat, buying basic necessity items, and leading bible studies with them to help care for them emotionally and spiritually in this difficult time. Along with this, since the beginning of this war, Paul and I along with the team at Camp Falcon Rock have become connected with a network of local NGOs/foundations who have been working together to transport and place refugees as they come in based on group size and which border they cross — this has been on top of those coming to camp.

One other way we have been helping with the Ukrainian refugee crisis is by going into the Ukraine with relief goods for IDP shelters that have popped up in Western Ukraine. The Hungarian Baptist Convention of Romania, who we work with, has been partnering with their sister conference in Western Ukraine. These sister churches have been setting up IDP centers to host those fleeing war areas but not wanting to leave Ukraine. The people we have connected with in Ukraine are actually some of the pastors we met on a trip into the Ukraine 4 years ago. They are currently overseeing 18 IDP centres totalling 1,000 people combined. Because of all of your generosity toward the NAB World Relief Fund. We have been able to drive across the border into Ukraine to bring these churches resources to help them look after those in their care. Tomorrow we will be heading back into the Ukraine with another convoy of special relief goods. Please be praying for us as we head into the country. Every other time we have gone in, we have had vehicle issues leading up to the trip and right after the trip, but have been safe while in country. With this trip tomorrow, we are again facing vehicle issues. We know that our battle is not against flesh and blood but against the rulers and principalities of the spiritual world. We are praying for the Lord to continue to intervene in these distractions and that his kingdom work will continue in the name of Jesus!

As the work load has been heavy here, we were blessed to be able to host a mission team from Whitecourt Baptist/Mayerthorpe Baptist/Unity Baptist in April. This team was originally suppose to come in 2021 to help with construction but the trip had to be postponed due to covid. As the war Ukraine began, we assumed the team would not want to come. However, as we prayed and discerned together with this team, we all sensed the Lord’s leading. This came as an incredible provision for our team on the ground as we have been working beyond our capacity for the past few months. This team was able to help with construction at the camp, construction at our field house (more on that later), and with the on-going refugee ministry. One impactful aspect of the team was all of the young people on it. These young people connected quickly with our youth from the villages as well as the young student refugees at the camp. We hosted a couple of youth events while the team was here and it was powerful to see young people from all over the world worshipping together, sharing testimonies, and building relationships with one another.

As I mentioned earlier, we are currently developing a missionary housing complex! This is an exciting project for us as it will provide a place for missionaries to establish roots here in Romania (ie. rootsinromania ;) ). We bought a piece of land just 5 mins away from the camp! This property will become home to the Bergman family as well as Elsie Lewandowski (more on her later!). This has been an answer to a pray we didn’t even know we had! Already we can see how much this property will benefit the ministry here and support the missionaries working with the NAB field and Camp Falcon Rock. The goal is to renovate the existing house on property to suit the Bergman’s family and to assemble a mobile modular house for Elsie next to the Bergman house. There is a lot of work to be done but we are hoping that both the Bergmans and Elsie will be able to settle into their new home by the end of this summer.

Elsie Lewandowski has officially made it to the field! Elsie served as an NAB missionary assisting missionary families with their homeschool education in the Philippines, Nigeria, as well as Cameroon. Elsie joining our team was again, an answer to a prayer that we didn’t even know we had! Elsie’s time in Cameroon was coming to an end and in the midst of that transition process a connection was made with the Romania field and the Bergman family. Elsie has already proved to be such a valuable member of the team — she was sharing at youth group and church just days after her arrival in Romania. We are so pleased to have her join our team!

Some familiar faces stopped by Romania this past month. Vern and Gloria jumped on a plane 3 weeks ago in order to come help us out in this busy season. Oh how we have missed them! It was such a sweet reunion for Paul and I with them in the airport and to say it has been helpful to have them back at the camp would be an understatement. Gloria jumped right back into helping with camp operations — a huge need as we have been hosting refugees —and Vern jumped right back into his backhoe and has been helping with the field house development project. These two are servants through and through and we have been greatly blessed to host them for the past 3 weeks!

One final story… A light in the midst of this darkness happened at the end of March. One of the refugees at the camp, a young woman from Nigeria, moved to Odessa to study medicine along with a couple of her siblings. In the midst of establishing her new life in Ukraine, she got connected with a church plant aimed at serving international students in Odessa. Over the past year as she connected with this church and the pastor, she felt called to get baptized. The baptism was all lined up to happen at the beginning of March, but of course it needed to be canceled. She quickly fled Odessa to Moldova and eventually made it to Camp Falcon Rock. As the camp team worked with her and kept in contact with her pastor from the international church in Odessa, an opportunity came up. Her pastor was able to come to Romania and perform the baptism at Camp Falcon Rock! This was a beautiful moment — a light in the midst of the darkness. This young lady shared her testimony, as well as a powerful poem about what God has done and is doing in her life. Her siblings and friends staying at Camp Falcon Rock led some Nigerian worship songs as she publicly confessed her devotion to Jesus as her Lord.

 

Thank you for continuing to pray for us! Your love and care is felt and so appreciated by us!

 

Tanya and Paul

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