During our year-long sojourn in Romania, August 2013 – July 2014 we posted a lot of blogs. Everything was new and exciting and we wanted to share all that we were experiencing with our friends at home. Now we find ourselves back in Sighisoara for our second four-month stay since that first year; and we have settled into the routines of life here. We still enjoy the view of the citadel, the old buildings, tile roofs, listening to the church bells ringing, our daily walks to wherever we need to go. But they are part of the everyday for us; it feels normal, ordinary, like we belong here.
Of course we’re still working at learning the Romanian language, but that will never end! We see people on the street that we know almost every time we walk through town. We know where things are in the grocery store, and Jay knows every store in town that carries woodworking supplies (or doesn’t).
Speaking of woodworking, it’s time for an update. The Tâmplăria Tigmandru (Tigmandru woodshop) has been active again since Jan. 14 when we arrived this year. Jay and three men in the Tigmandru village work every afternoon from 1-5 p.m. We have just posted a Facebook page HERE.
The Facebook page is in Romanian, so most of you won’t be able to read it, but you can look at the pictures of the things that have been made. We’ve been promoting this Facebook page here in Romania, as that is where we will hopefully continue to get orders. Since we put up the page we’ve already had two requests for pricing for projects.
One of the current projects is making small trivets out of cherry wood with an inset of a tile designed by 20th century Anabaptists and made in the village of Corund. The interesting related story to the tiles is that historically the design is similar to Saxon and Hungarian art of the 15th c. We showed the tiles to a Saxon and he immediately said, “Saxon art”. We did the same to a Romanian and he said, “Hungarian art”. Anabaptists were in this area 500 years ago and were noted for their pottery. We are making these for the store of Mark the Spoonman and are also selling them in the House on the Rock International Café.
The most challenging aspect in the shop is finding materials and keeping the table saw working. It broke again for the third time, but thankfully the parts are available locally. Dried wood and plywood are nowhere to be found. We have two projects that need both. The pine we use is so wet that after gluing two boards together they just fall apart because the glue doesn’t hold. The trivets are a good project because they are small. It remains to be seen what will happen to the larger bookcase and table that we made. One of the advantages of coming back repeatedly is that Jay has built a network of people who can provide wood and repair the tools, etc. Jay says, “I think some people are recognizing that we make a good product. It takes time but the end result is worth it. The guys take extreme care to be exact and I’m not going to complain about that.”
Sheri finds joy in her work in Tigmandru with the kids’ club two afternoons a week. She works with Roxana (a young woman who leads the work of the club) to plan craft activities and they also spend time together in language learning – both English and Romanian. Sheri is always trying to find new Romanian children’s songs to sing with the children, which is part of the kids’ club each time they meet. She is happy to be working with Diana (talented teen who plays guitar) since Jay is no longer available during the time the club meets. The best part of kids’ club of course are the children and now that communicating with them is a bit easier, it’s a lot of fun.
Sheri is also spending time each week working with staff at the Veritas Family Center. One day’s work involved making 90 muffins for a Mother’s Day event (March 8 here in Romania); another day was spent as the receptionist; a couple of days were spent in leadership team meetings (in Romanian), but most days involve computer work, updating the Veritas website, and working at fundraising activities.
We are spending two evenings a week with choirs and also sing (and play) with the worship team at Sighisoara Nazarene Church on Sundays. Monday night’s adult choir of 20 is singing works by Mozart, Mendelssohn, and Telemann. After the start with one male singer, we now have a balanced group. A concert will be given on May 8 which will also include the children’s choir. This choir of 17 meets on Wed. nights. The children are ages 8-12 and were auditioned to get into the group. The main criteria was being able to match pitches! The children are singing Romanian, English, Hebrew and Swahili songs.
Our lives are rich with friendships and activities that make up our days. So even though we haven’t been very faithful in posting to this blog site, we haven’t forgotten you, our friends and family. We continue to be grateful for technology that allows us to stay connected through Facebook chat, email, and Magic Jack phone calls. And we are grateful that we know God is with us through the ordinary everyday activities as well as in the challenging moments when we realize, once again, that we are foreigners, and always will be, even though we also feel at home.
We look forward to sharing with many of you in person during June, July and August when we’ll back in the U.S. In the meantime, please continue to keep us in your prayers.
P.S. We continue to welcome contributions to the woodshop. Money is being used to pay salaries to the workers until the shop becomes self-sustaining. Your gift is tax deductible and you can give online HERE.