If you found this part of our webpage, you must be a real detective and we thank you for your interest in our family and the ministry work going on in Romania! After several months of trying to update both our website, our Facebook page, and write a monthly newsletter, we realized that we can't hope to do all three well, while also focusing our time in the classroom. Moving forward we hope to streamline this process and do it well by updating all of you in near real time by solely posting updates using our facebook page at the following link. We will still update the main webpage periodically, but the happenings on will appear more frequently on our facebook page. To be redirected there please click on the image below.
February 2018 Update
Sorry we've been so quiet lately...
After getting back into the swing of things in January, we realized that it has been a while since we last provided any sort of informal update outside of a newsletter.
So what's new?
It's just stuff... Right?
Earlier this month we were fortunate to be able to skype with our prayer team back home in between services. Many of whom we hadn’t had a chance to speak with face-to-face since October. One of the many things our prayer team has been in prayer over on our behalf was the delivery of our container. The day before we left we packed up what few household goods we decided to keep to make up our home and sent them off by boat to Romania. Initially the container was to arrive just before December. Then it was pushed back one week. Then two, three and so on. By the time we were told it would arrive during Christmas break, we were delighted as we would have at least one free week to unpack things before classes resumed at BCA.
First off, let me tell you, we know it is just, “stuff” and it is true that we shouldn’t set our sights on Earthly things. However, when each member in your family is living out of only two suit cases each for an extended period, it can weigh on you. You feel like a cartoon character wearing the same clothes over and over again. You need silverware, so you can eat, you long for pots and pans so you can cook, and you NEED towels… Blankets, pillows and thicker winter coats too, but towels... Now it is 100% true that you can get most of these essentials at the local store, however, not everyone speaks your native tongue, which means what would have been a quick 15-minute trip to the supermarket back home, has turned into a much longer trip. When your only mode of transportation is a smaller size 4-passenger Uber, you tend to have to make multiple trips.
With that stage set, let me tell you how we saw God in our selfishness. First off, there were a great deal of many other things going on during this period. God saw our entire family’s Visa paperwork accepted all in one day. We were able to secure a residence just a short walk from our school. The day our container arrived in country, everything that could happen seemed to happen. It started when customs asked us to get a notarized declaration about the nature of our home goods and why we had moved to Romania. Normally this could have taken several days, but on that same day we managed to secure a translator and even though the notary office was closed because of the holiday, a few employees had agreed to stop in that day to meet someone else who ended up not showing up. As they were on their way out the door, they agreed to help us out. Things were looking up! While our team leader and I waited, we received a call that a pipe in our ceiling had begun leaking, causing damage to the living room. As soon as the document was complete we raced home. Not only had a crew shown up to do a final install of the kitchen our home was initially lacking, but a plumber was here within two hours to make the necessary repairs. Our house was a construction nightmare the entire evening, so we were very thankful for God’s timing that the container had not arrived as there was absolutely no available room to store anything.
Fast forward a few more days and the container was stuck in holiday storage limbo. We could care less about the kid’s toys, the movie collection, or the pots and pans by this point, but we had a significant stockpile of needed medical supplies and no way to get at them. This forced us to leave our comfort zone and venture out to a local medical supply company we probably wouldn’t have looked for otherwise. Thankfully God has provided us with a few wise Romanian friends who put us on the right path and we were able to find a place that will work well for some of these needs moving forward in the future.
But wait, I’m not done…
This is probably where we saw God’s most direct intervention yet. Now I will admit that when I was younger like many new Christians, I would try to barter with God in prayer. “Now God, if you do just this one thing, I promise I’ll do my best… I’ll read my Bible everyday and volunteer my time as much as you need…” At some point I think we’ve all said something along these lines. I’d like to think that God has a sense of humor and laughs a little as he teaches us how to be humble. After another week of holiday storage limbo, our container sitting in some port two hours away was beginning to cost us by the day. Finally, the shipping company responsible for transporting everything made the decision to move the container to the Customs Office near us in Bucharest. I was to meet the company broker the next day at 8:00am to finish the formalities at the Customs Office. This turned into a 10-hour ordeal. It was determined that on top of the cost of shipping, we would need to pay a 20% tax on our items for brining them into the country… The customs officials figured this to be somewhere near $2,500.00. Disgruntled, angry and upset, I set off to the bank to make a wire transfer from the last of our savings to pay the fee. On my 30-minute walk to the bank I received another phone call from the broker. “Mr. Maynard, sorry but there was a miscalculation…” Great, we weren’t going to have to pay that much. Right? “No, I’m sorry, but we also forgot to charge you a tax for the cost of shipping, so it will be another $1,500.00 more than the price we quoted you. Please let us know when the transfer has been made so we can get your container released.”
WHAT! So now on top of the hefty cost of shipping our trinkets over here, I was going to have to pay another $4,000 fee? I can promise you that I don’t think I have every had such an angry prayer walk anywhere, ever, up until this point. I prayed in thankfulness that we knew God had been taking care of us all this time. We want to be good stewards of the resources God has blessed us with. This was not an effective way to spend those resources… I prayed in anger that I would see some good come from all of this. I wish the stupid thing would have sank to the bottom of the ocean. I let it go and prayed that I wouldn’t allow this to bother me, overcome me and let me become bitter with the new county we call home.
As I closed in on the bank, I received yet another phone call. “Mr. Maynard, please stop. Don’t make the payment yet. We think there may be a solution.” The solution ended up being that we could make an appeal to the Chief of Customs in Bucharest to forgive the VAT Tax since we were moving into the country and not selling anything we brought with us. The letter wouldn’t be able to be looked at until the next day, but if granted we might not owe anything other than a small fee for keeping the driver an extra day. We agreed and the next morning received news that the Tax had been waived and that once paperwork was complete that afternoon, everything would arrive to our door.
It is true. The items that filled that container is just stuff. Stuff that we have come to think we need. Some things we truly did! Other items, not so much. But the stuff in the container isn’t the importance of this story. The importance for me is the response to prayer. Sometimes we think our prayers fall on deaf ears. Sometimes we simply pray without expecting God to respond. This is one of many instances since our arrival where I can firmly tell you that God it at work. He oversees the timing of things. He speaks through language barriers, he overcomes obstacles. Most importantly, he responds. Sometimes that response can be silence. Other times, like this, it is in ways you might not expect.
Many reasons to be thankful!
We are at BCA! (Mid-November 2017)
Mid October 2017
Ever wish that there was more time in the day?
A few weeks back we shared with many of you that we were fortunate enough to sell our home prior to our departure. Furthermore, we were fortunate that another missionary couple heading back to the mission field in Kenya, were kind enough to let us use their home for the remainder of our time before we head off to Romania.
This week our kids said goodbye to the house that was the only home they've ever known. There were a few tears on moving day, but everyone has begun settling in and beginning a new routine as the school year begins.
We are so very thankful to those of you who continue to pray with us and for the individuals who provided meals, helped us sort, pack, move and even offered to pet-sit our fish.
Please pray with us that God will continue to touch the hearts of those who He has called to partner with us in this ministry as we close in on the last of our needed monthly support.
Things are moving quickly and so are we... After finely tuning our budget once more with our team in Bucharest, along with increased commitments from financial partners, we are happy to report we are now at 86% of our monthly need to begin serving in Romania.
As a true testimony of God's hand in all of this, earlier last week we signed paperwork to sell our home. The official closing date is September 1st. On that day, a new family will begin occupying the house that we have made our home for the last 9 years. Yesterday at church we shared our need for a temporary residence for the remainder of our stay in the U.S. and before we even had a chance to find our seats, another missionary family offered us their home to us during that time. They will be returning to the mission field this week and their home will be available to us the day we need to move out. God is good!
“Therefore I tell you, do not worry about your life, what you will eat or drink; or about your body, what you will wear. Is not life more than food, and the body more than clothes? Look at the
birds of the air; they do not sow or reap or store away in barns, and yet your heavenly Father feeds them. Are you not much more valuable than they? Can any one of you by worrying add a single hour
to your life?”
We have arrived at training! Today we started day three of our pre-field orientation (or PFO) training. Everyone in our family has been relatively excited about "Going to college" for these next two weeks, but it has been met with a little exhaustion by everyone. Our devotion this morning as well as the talks we engaged in on "transitions" were all a bit of a pill to swallow, but were things we needed to hear. At a few points, I (Lewis) found myself questioning why we would would even continue to think about doing this, just hearing about all of the difficulties that still lie ahead. By the afternoon, all of that parental doubt turned more into confirmation when we heard from a panel of TCK's (Third Culture Kids) who all shared their difficulties, but when asked if they would choose to still take this same path if it were up to them, all of them confirmed with a big YES, that they would. While we are away at training, updating our website regularly may prove a little bit difficult with limited time in the evenings. We will however be updating our facebook page every other day or so during this time, to catch up family and friends on how things are going. If you're reading this, you might be interested in that. Please feel free to check it out at https://www.facebook.com/maynardsinmissions/. Once we return home from training, we will continue to post updates on both, but for the time being, please visit Facebook to stay more up-to-date.
With our spring sports season finally coming to a close and with our family on the eve of leaving for our pre-field orientation training on Third Culture Kids next week, we wanted to provide an update on ministry support.
My counterpart today is our youngest son, Joey. He wasn't feeling well this morning and we had some great friends coming over to help clean our house as we get it ready to put on the market. While I'm 99% certain whatever is making Joey, sick has less to do with a virus or bug and is more so related to his unique health condition, we didn't want to chance getting any other little one’s sick. So, he and I have isolated ourselves in the corner of our favorite local coffee shop with lots of sanitary wipes and a bucket just in case.
First and foremost, we want to start by thanking you for your support. Even if it is only stopping by our website from time-to-time to periodically check on our updates, it truly is a blessing to know that we have so many people praying over us, giving of their time and partnering with us as we prepare to serve at BCA. Last week a few individuals joined our financial support team helping us reach 65% of our monthly financial support need. With just about two months before school staff begin reporting, we find ourselves slightly concerned about when we will be able to begin serving, but still trusting in God's timing. To that end, if you have been on the fence about possibly committing to joining our team financially, let's chat! Also, if you know someone who may be interested in the work God is seeing accomplished in Romania, please feel free to share our information. We would love the opportunity to share more with anyone who has an interest in this region or a heart for missions.
Sometime near the end of May...
We are now almost half way into our 100% in 100 days campaign. We had a few opportunities to share with a few small groups and one church in early May. Then came spring training... With our commitment to Cub Scouts ending, both Micah and Joey decided that they wanted to play Baseball / T-Ball. Wanting to keep things as consistent and normal as possible prior to our whirlwind summer of training, packing and (fingers crossed) moving, we agreed. Craving a little schedule consistency, myself, I was a little concerned that life was taking too much time away from our mission work. Despite everything, God has been faithful in opening doors and continuing to help us develop partners in our upcoming ministry at Bucharest Christian Academy (BCA). After sitting down last week and reevaluating the financial side of things, we have seen our on-going monthly support commitment increase to 60%. We are thankful for everyone who have joined our team both in prayer and financial gifts. We are continually humbled that God has shown us this opportunity to serve Him, fellow missionaries and the youth of BCA.
With the opportunity to share with several groups over the last two weeks about what God is seeing accomplished in Bucharest by missionaries, while also sharing our personal testimony, we have seen God's faithfullness. We have reached 55% of our monthly support need to begin serving this Fall!
We know that we still have a long way to go, but we continue to trust in His timing. We have felt a lot of personal encouragement over the past few weeks by individuals who have read over our most recent print newsletter, as well as those in attendance at The Chapel's Mission Minded Sunday on 4/30/2017. Thank you again for all of those who have chosen to partner with us both financially and in prayer for this ministry.
Sometimes in our own efforts to raise the support necessary to begin serving in Bucharest later this year, we tend to focus a little inwardly on our support goals. During these times it takes continuous effort to remind ourselves why we are going to serve in the first place. We look at this in a few different lights. First and foremost, we are going to serve God; using the gifts and talents he has placed within us to accomplish his work by ministering and teaching TCK's or Third Culture Kids at Bucharest Christian Academy. Secondly, we are joining a team engaged in several different ministries that have an impact both in and outside the city. As time allows we look forward to being able to assist in these various ministries. Aside from this we see ourselves as also serving the missionary families God has called to the field to see his work accomplished. One such family that we will be joining in the field later this year are the Heflins. Matt and Becca will be working with victims of human trafficking in the city. I encourage you to learn a little bit more about their ministry from their webpage at http://theheflins.com/.
When speaking to his disciples Jesus said, "... Truly I tell you, if you have faith as small as a mustard seed, you can say to this mountain, 'Move from here to there,' and it will move. Nothing will be impossible for you."
Even having faith the size of a mustard seed can be hard... Sometimes we make mountains out of mole hills. But then sometimes there really are mountains and other assorted obstacles in our way and we need to trust God's wisdom and timing. God is and has b...een faithful! Over the last three months He has seen support for our ministry grow by over 30%. We currently find ourselves at 51% of our monthly support needed to begin serving in Bucharest this fall. Because of this we were able to sign up for our upcoming training this summer. Our next goal is to be 100% fully funded by July 31st. If not already, would you please prayerfully consider joining our monthly support team? If we can gain just 100 more supporters at $40 per month, we will reach our goal and find ourselves able to begin serving at BCA in August of this year! We use this amount only as an example. The truth is every dollar helps!
Since the beginning of the year we have been blessed to see financial growth in our ministry account. This began with a spaghetti fundraiser dinner in January and has continued with monthly and special gifts throughout February and March. We are thankful that many of the small groups within our own home church have given us the opportunity to share about the work we will be doing later this year and that individuals and families have made the choice to join us as financial partners as a result. God’s work is evident. We are convinced that there is nothing we can say to convince anyone to partner with us, but that it is God pulling on their heart-strings to join His mission.
As we continue to reach out to churches it becomes apparent that the need throughout the world is great. Many churches are already committed to supporting missionaries on a long-term basis and others simply do not have the financial means available to do so at this time. We are thankful however to have been able to develop prayer partners with a number of churches along the way.
Thank you to the individuals and supporting churches who have committed to support us monthly as we look to serve in God's mission for Bucharest. At present, we have 48% of the monthly support committed to begin serving in missions full time. Fundraising efforts have helped us raise 49.4% of the funds necessary for our family to complete our training this summer and make the move to Romania.
Looking back over the past month, we're are overwhelmingly thankful for the amount of support we've seen. This began at our spaghetti fundraiser dinner with people not only coming to the dinner but also with individuals donating time in the kitchen either the night of the dinner, or with preparation of baked goods to sell. To be honest at 5:30pm I was worried that not many people would show. By 5:45, I was getting out more chairs and tables because we needed the space. In all we had a little over 250 people join us not only for a dinner, but as a chance to hear about what we hope to be doing in Romania by this year's end.
We were also blessed with the addition of a few individual monthly supporters from this night as well. While the majority of our current support base is from family, friends and our home church, we are moving forward with our desire to reach out to others. When you know someone personally, it's a little easier to ask for support. (Just a little) But when you don't know someone at all and you ask them to consider monthly support, it's something else entirely. The one thing I personally have to get over is that I am not asking individuals to support me, or our family. I am asking them to support God's mission in Romania; that we happen to be a part of.
We want to thank each and every one of you in attendance from the bottom of our heart. The outpouring of love and support we felt from this event speaks volumes. "Therefore encourage one another and build each other up, just as in fact you are doing." - 1 Thessalonians 5:11
We would also like to thank the following businesses and individuals for their support for this event as well.
Anyone that knows us, knows that we have a heart for kids. For me (Lewis) that is because I think kids are just easier to relate to and get along with. Homework battles with our own children excluded of course...
We have been a family involved in Cub Scouting for several years now. I am entering my third years as the leader for Micah's Bear Den. Over the years I've learned that EVERYTHING takes a lot of planning and execution usually goes nowhere near as well as it does on paper. I keep reminding myself though that kids are very forgiving, where adults maybe tend to judge a little more harshly. Which brings me to today's blog. We are currently knee deep in the throws of planning our annual Fall campout. This is the one task our Den must carry out for the Pack this year; so of course we want to do it well. I am thankful for the many parents in our Den who have stepped up to volunteer to either help prepare food, or lead a game. I really could not manage to pull any of this off without them. In my preparation for the Firebowl portion of this event, I found a little gem of a story that I think perfectly captures where we are currently at with our mission. The story is called "Stone Soup", and you can read it and my thoughts below.
A weary, poor traveller arrived in a small village. He had no food or money and had not eaten in days. The one thing he
did have was a cooking pot that he used on those rare occasions when he had something to cook. He built a small cooking fire, placed his pot on it, and poured in some water. When a few villagers
asked what he was doing, he replied that he was making Stone Soup which was an ancient tasty recipe passed down to him from his ancestors. He then dropped in a smooth, round stone he had in his
pocket into the pot. As the soup warmed, the traveller told the villagers stories of his travels and the exciting things he'd seen. He tasted his soup and said it was coming along nicely, but a bit
of salt would bring out the flavor. One curious villager went into her home and returned with some salt for the soup. A few more villagers walking by stopped to see what was going on when they heard
the traveller speaking. The traveller told more stories and said that a couple carrots or onion would be a nice addition to the already delicious soup. So, another villager figured he could give a
few carrots and retrieved them from his cellar. This continued on with the traveller casually asking for onions, seasoning, a bit of meat, celery, potatos to bring out the full potential of the
soup. Finally, the soup was ready and everyone enjoyed the tasty meal prepared for them from just a stone, and a few other
The moral of this story is that working together, with each of us contributing a bit, we can be successful! Often it is easy to get others to support a project (or mission) if that project is underway and appearing successful. It's harder trying to convince people to commit when the project has not yet started. As we are still in the infancy of our mission, it is often easy to be discouraged when we don't achieve goals we've set out for ourselves using the timeline we're working from. Throughout the financial support raising process though, we have continued to pray for patience and that all would be done in His timing. It's hard to be still... That said, we continue to find ourselves encouraged by on-going supporters and from a few special (and unexpected) gifts over the last few months. I would love track down these individuals, give them a hug and thank them all for their encouragement to our family. In all honesty though, I'm a little socially awkward and not much of a hugger... Though we find ourselves still far from our target goal, we also find ourselves excited by opportunities coming up that allow us to share with other churches and inidividuals that are considering joining our support team.
If you are reading this, I ask that you simply say a quick prayer on our behalf for safety with travel, and encouragement as we share our vision and story with others. Like the traveller (and hopefully this blog and our mission), sometimes our stories can have a larger impact on more than just ourselves.
On August 5th, 2015 I set out on a plan create a website/blog that may interest those who are considering partnering with us in missions. I had no idea what to write to get started. We were so far away from a "planned departure date". (We hadn't even selected a school to serve at yet...) After being abandoned for nearly a year, I felt it only fair to share this original post to the blog page of our newly formed website. Try not to judge too harshly. These were just my initial thoughts on what I might share if someone were to ask us about why we wanted to become missionaries. While I can't promise many more updates to this blog prior to reaching the field, what I can do is share my thoughts and a bit of our journey that got us to the point we are at today.
The beginning of our tale in HIS plan...