Seek After God’s Dream

Recently Terry and I were able to visit Spain to check out a possible ministry partnership.   Pastor Marcos Cespedes is the director of Esperanza Para El Corazon, Hope For The Heart ministry in Tomares Spain.  He and his wife Delmis are Cuban missionaries who planted a church a little more than a year ago.  Their deep desire is to plant churches where people will have a life changing encounter with Christ.  Spain is one of the least evangelized nations in Europe with less that three percent considering faith to be one of their three most important values.  Less than 0.02% of Spaniards are evangelical Christians.  While visiting Spain we met with researcher Max Alvarez.  He found that there are more than 1,700 villages or towns in Spain with a population greater than 2,500 persons without a single evangelical church.  Here is a link to his research.  Several of the towns on his list have a population of more than 10,000 persons!

While in Tomares, Spain, Pastor Marcos invited us to consider serving with him and his leadership team to reach Spaniards by strengthening and planting churches.  As Spanish speakers, Terry and I really enjoyed visiting the church in Spain.  It was great to speak in a familiar language.  The people and leaders of Esperanza Para El Corazon were very welcoming and warm.  Please join us in praying for this new church plant.  Here is a link to the church’s Facebook page where you can see their most current prayer needs.  The church is still in a developmental stage and Spaniards are very difficult to reach with the Gospel.  It is very popular in Spain to proclaim that you are an Atheist or Agnostic.  

We were also able to visit Pastor Marius Mezin at Harvest Metanoia Braila in Romania.  Pastor Marius has a huge pastoral heart for his congregation and his fellow pastors in Romania and Moldova.  He has a vision for likeminded pastors working together to plant churches and to care for one another.  If we are reassigned to serve in Braila, I would help him with this task, along with discipleship and leadership development within his church. 

Pastor Marius gave us some great advice.  He said, “God crushes our dreams so that our single dream is to be like Jesus.”   We don’t come to God to fulfill our dreams.  We draw near to him so that as we become like Jesus, we can understand his dream for us.  

Phil. 3:11 says, “Indeed, I count everything as loss because of the surpassing worth of knowing Christ Jesus my Lord.”

Terry and I enjoyed the hospitality of Pastor Marius and his leadership team.  Please pray that we would each draw close to the Lord and know him more deeply.

Last week we visited Pastor Doru Hriscu at Harvest Targu Mures.  He has an excellent leadership team.  His church is feeling the growing pains of a new church plant that is growing faster than it can develop leaders and ministries.  Pastor Doru invited us to consider serving in Targu Mures to help him with multiplying leaders and multiplying ministries.  They have many potential leaders and ministries they would like to start but only have two staff members: the Senior Pastor and the Worship Pastor.  

One of my favorite stories about Harvest Targu Mures is that on the morning of their first worship service while their worship pastor was helping to give birth to the church, his wife was in labor giving birth to their first child.  I had a chance to get a photo of the whole family the Sunday we were there.  

Please continue to pray for our family.  Please pray that we would each draw close to the Lord, that he would reveal Himself and His dream, and that we would walk in obedience to Him.  Pray specifically that God would show us if His dream for us includes relocating and serving in one of the three churches mentioned above. 

Please pray for us as we prepare for Lydia’s wedding – in two days – in Romania! 

Mike

Closing the First Chapter

Our time in Arad is coming to an end, but we are looking forward to what God has for us next.  Even now as we say goodbye to Arad, Romania, God is opening doors for us to serve in another Romanian city, Spain or Uganda.

During the last six months Mike has trained Razvan Mihalcea to work along side him in the training center.

Razvan Mihalcea

After four months of hard work on May 20th six men graduated from the training center. Adi Bobora, Cipri Cociuba, Laurentiu Dasanu, Narcis Panc, and Mihayi Andrus are hard at work training their leaders to transition their churches in Romania, England, Italy and Germany. Christian Marit is working with a core group of people from Timisoara who have been attending Harvest Arad to plant a church in Timisoara, Romania. Please pray for them that the Lord would give them wisdom, guidance and supply all their needs as they seek to build his church in their cities and raise up disciples for his glory.

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What will we miss about Arad, Romania? We have enjoyed walking, biking and jogging along the trail by the river.  Beautiful flowers of every color are in bloom from March until late October. The park is full of young and old playing, sliding, swinging or just talking. By far, what we have enjoyed and will miss the most are the people of Arad who have become our friends.

 

So what is next for us?

We are about to take part in our first Romanian wedding as our daughter Lydia marries Dani Szanto next month here in Arad.

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Our children will join us to take part in and celebrate this event. We covet your prayers, not only for them as they start their new life together, but also for us.

Please pray for us that the Lord will direct and equip us for the journey ahead.   Pray that God would give us discernment and wisdom as we begin to visit a few of the possible new ministry locations.  Recently we were able to visit a possible ministry location in Spain and will go visit Braila, Romania this week.  We’ll share more about that in the next blog!

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Sincerely,

Terry

Cristos a inviat! Christ has risen!

What an amazing truth that the One who created the universe, who created you and me, who came to earth to live among us and to die for our sins was raised from the dead three days later! We rejoice because we serve the living Savior our Lord Jesus Christ! We remember and celebrate this wonderful news each year.

But you may be thinking, “Wait a minute, wasn’t Easter last week?” Romania celebrates Easter according to the Eastern Orthodox calendar which is April 7th this year.  As Americans in Romania it means that we celebrate Easter twice this year! 

Not only are we celebrating Easter, but we are also celebrating the birth of Vertical church Kiev.  On March 25th we had the awesome privilege of attending their first service in the Ukraine.  One month earlier Mark Boys, Brad Whitla, Ken Henley, Mike and I visited Kiev to do some last minute training and encouragement in helping them prepare for this momentous occasion.  Over 80 adults and 40 children were a part of their first service.  We are praising God for all He is doing in Kiev, praying that they would have favor with all the people of this great city and that the Lord would add to their number day by day those who are being saved, as in the first church in Acts 2.  Please join us in praying that the Lord would save and raise up many disciples in Kiev who worship Him for who He is and all He has done!  

Continue to pray for the 6 men and their families currently in the Training Center, that the Lord would equip and prepare them to go and make disciples who worship Him in Romania, England, Italy and Germany!

Happy Easter from the Kijowski’s!

Terry

Spring in Arad

Spring has come to Arad! Just like back in Chicago it means one week it could be snowing and the next week flowers blooming, trees budding and the grass turning green with rain in the daily forecast. No matter what the weather one thing is sure, people enjoy the outdoors in Arad just like they do in Chicago.

Six men have now completed half of the Training Center, which began two months ago. Laurentiu Dasanu and his wife Maria Rosaria will transition the two churches he has planted in Italy to Vertical Churches.  Ciprian Cociuba, an anesthesiologist who planted a house church in Yeovil, England, along with his wife, Veronica and 2 children, intend to transition this church into a Vertical Church and have a vision to plant more churches in England.  Adrian Bobora, pastor of Emanuel Baptist Church in Sigheta Marmatiei, Romania, along with his wife Rebeca and 2 children, plan to transition this church into a Vertical Church.  Christian Marit, along with his wife Lacrima and 3 children, leaders in Flame of Worship Church who started a ministry called The Ark to build up the body of Christ in Alba Iulia, are planning to start a Vertical Church in Romania, but are unsure of the location as yet. Finally, two courageous young men will transition two of the three churches Beniamin Podut started in Germany.  Narcis Panc, single with a great passion for the Lord moved to Karlsruhe, Germany and began attending Beniamin’s church, is preparing to transition this church into a Vertical Church.  Mihayi Andrus, a talented youth pastor and worship leader, along with his wife Ionela and their 8 month old son, felt called to leave Ireland to transition the church which Beniamin started in Schweinfurt, Germany.

What do these six men have in common?  First, they have a great passion for the Lord and feel called to be pastors.  Second, they have embraced the vision of building Vertical Churches to raise up disciples who worship the Lord for his glory.  Finally, they all speak Romanian and will start or transition Romanian-speaking churches.  This is a great challenge especially for those who live in a country where the people speak a different language.  Pray for wisdom and guidance for these men and their families as they train to build Vertical Churches to reach not only Romanian-speaking people, but also those in the surrounding communities where they live.

Terry

 

Remembering 2017

“The Lord is gracious and merciful, slow to anger and abounding in steadfast love.  The Lord is good to all, and his mercy is over all that he has made.  All your works shall give thanks to you, O Lord, and all your saints shall bless you!  They shall speak of the glory of your kingdom and tell of your power, to make known to the children of man your mighty deeds, and the glorious splendor of your kingdom.”  Psalm 145:8-12

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As 2017 has come to an end and the new year begins, I find myself looking back in awe at what the Lord has done. So much happened to us!  We moved into a small house from our mini-mansion on Lawndale in Chicago.  Mike moved to Arad, Romania on Valentine’s Day. Elizabeth and I followed a month later.  Just before moving we received a phone call that the woman who Elizabeth rear ended in November 2016 is suing, and the case is still pending today.  Mike has been working in the training center for ten months and enjoying his new role.  I was summoned for jury duty twice and was excused only by a letter from the training center in Romania.  We watched our son Mike’s senior recital from Romania at 3:30 am, enjoying selections from classical to gospel to rock.  We enjoyed our first family vacation in Europe in the Transylvanian mountains in Romania.  After 6 months of car troubles, we are finally driving a VW cross polo that suits our needs well.  Elizabeth graduated from high school and moved back to Chicago.  To both my dismay and joy, I found myself an empty nester.  In one unforgettable week, Elizabeth moved away to start college, Lydia lost a car window from a tree branch in a storm, and Matthew burned down the garage along with his old Honda CRX.  The Lord turned our crisis into a blessing by providing a beautiful new garage, new tools and supplies, and a new used car.  The following week, after numerous phone calls from Romania to Chicago, we found a locksmith to open the Pilot after Matthew locked the keys in it.  We arrived back in Chicago on November 20th to celebrate Thanksgiving and Christmas with family.  Thankfully, we were able to work at the Lawndale Christian Health Center for 5 weeks during our visit.  We attended Matthew’s senior recital that truly was a time of worship to the Lord.  Mike fixed the bathroom shower after he found that the water would not turn off.  Finally, on December 15th, another unforgettable day in the Kijowski family, we attended our boys graduation from North Park University and celebrated Lydia and Dani’s engagement.  We are amazed at all the Lord has brought us through in 1 year.  It has been full of challenging trials, as well as great blessings, but through it all He has been with us guiding us.  He is faithful to bring us through whatever trials and blessings come our way.   We are learning how to trust Him with our children, with our finances and with our future.  One final blessing in 2017 is that the Lord has provided all our financial support for the next year to continue the work in Romania!  We do not know what other challenges, surprises or blessings the new year 2018 will bring, but we are sure of one thing, the Lord will be with us.

It is our prayer that whatever the new year brings you, that you will join with us to say:

“Oh give thanks to the Lord; call upon his name; make known his deeds among the peoples!  Sing to him, sing praises to him; tell of all his wondrous works!  Glory in his holy name; let the hearts of those who seek the Lord rejoice!  Seek the Lord and his strength; seek his presence continually!  Remember the wondrous works that he has done, his miracles and the judgments he uttered.”  Psalm 105:1-5

Happy New Year!

Terry

Give Thanks to the Lord

Psalm 92:1-2 tells us “it is good to give thanks to the Lord, to sing praises to his name, O Most High; to declare his steadfast love in the morning, and his faithfulness by night.”

For Christians all around the world the month of November is dedicated to remembering and giving thanks to the Lord for all He has done.  What blessings and answered prayers have you seen in your life over this past year?  For what are you thankful?

 

We are thankful for the Lord calling us to Romania and those who sacrificially support us.  We are thankful to work among a humble people dedicated to serving the Lord!  We are grateful to take part in Harvest Arad’s Fall Festival as we made and sold french fries to raise funds for the building.  We are thankful for the opportunity to serve in the nursery where a universal language is spoken by all.  Yes, even fathers serve in the nursery in Arad!  We are thankful that the Lord demonstrated his faithfulnes and great power by continually watching over our children in Chicago while we serve in Romania.  We are thankful for a new garage and a reliable car.  Most recently, we are thankful for the two work groups who gave their time, energy, talents and resources to building the church in Arad. We greatly appreciate the men of Harvest Palos and Racine Bible Church who hung drywall.

Finally, we are thankful for the opportunity to return to Chicago to spend time with family and celebrate all that the Lord has done in our lives over the past year.

Our hope and prayer is that you will “give thanks to the Lord, call upon his name; make known his deeds among the peoples! Sing to him, sing praises to him; tell of all his wondrous works! Glory in his holy name; let the heart of those who seek the Lord rejoice! Seek the Lord and his strength; seek his presence continually! Remember the wondrous works that he has done, his miracles, and the judgements he uttered.”  Psalm 105:1-5

Mike and Terry

Summer’s Final Days

Summer has come to an end and it was full of unexpected surprises!

 

 

We participated in two Romanian youth camps and saw God at work in powerful ways.  In the first camp more than 200 high school and young adult students spent a week in the mountains in Harghita, Romania.  Each day was filled with fun games, crafts, challenges, karate classes, mountain climbing, and amazing messages about depending on Jesus our rock with powerful worship to our Lord.  We saw over 150 students either rededicate their lives to the Lord or become Christians for the first time.  Many shed tears of repentance and joy as we experienced the Lord at work changing lives.  In the second camp 66 students ages 6-11 years old spent a week learning about Daniel’s uncompromising faith in God while playing water games, soccer, dodge ball, crafts, and yes, even a shaving cream contest! Can you recognize Jenn VanderVeen, our own from Harvest Palos, among the contestants?  What a joy it was to shepherd such young hearts in the ways of the Lord!

Elizabeth, our youngest, started college at Olivet Nazarene University.  Her roommate, Kylee, is a missionary kid who lived in Africa.  Pray for wisdom and guidance as she learns to navigate college life and tries to discern what her focus should be as she is interested in art, psychology, education and music.

This summer we had the opportunity to serve at the local mental hospital with some of the members of our small group.  One women introduced herself as “Hillary Clinton” though in person she doesn’t even resemble what she looks like on TV!  🙂  Here are some drawings that the residents made of their favorite vacation.

Finally, a few days ago the bulldozer demolished our burnt down garage in Chicago.   What a long hard task it was for our boys to sift through all the rubble identifying and taking photos of all the items which burnt down in the garage!  Our yard looked like a war zone.  Our boys told Mike yesterday that they got him a new garage for his birthday!

Yesterday our mechanic here in Arad told us that he may have a car for us!  We’ll give you an update as soon as we find out.  Thank you for praying and supporting us as we learn to adjust to Romanian culture and language.

Mike and Terry Kijowski

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Summer Blessings and Surprises

In early August we sent Lydia and Elizabeth back to Chicago. Mike and Matthew returned 2 weeks earlier from their visit to Romania. For the first time in more than 25 years, we found ourselves alone. Empty nesters!? I cried on and off the next day as I realized that stage in my life, with my kids close around me had come to an end. But to my surprise I realized that the Lord has given Mike and me this special gift of time to rebuild and strengthen our marriage that has been worn down through our commitments to our kids, work and serving at church. We thank the Lord for his faithfulness in providing for all our needs, even those we don’t realize we have.

 

At midnight last night, my cell phone rang. Matthew had tried to call me, but he didn’t answer as I tried to call him back. Of course, I began to worry as I tried to contact both Lydia and Mike to no avail. About twenty minutes later, Mike texted me that the garage burnt down and that I should call Matthew. Though it seemed like an eternity, it was only one minute later I received the next text from Mike, “Matthew is ok dog ok truck ok house ok gate ok. Driving home.” Matthew was almost finished welding a piece to the floor inside his 1986 Honda Civic CRX when he heard a fire underneath the car. Fortunately he got out of the garage, but unfortunately, the car he had been restoring for the past 2 years is gone along with the garage and all the other things inside it. We are thankful that Matthew is unharmed, but sad that his car, the garage and all that was in it is gone. It was one week ago Mike shared his favorite verse with our kids from Romans 8:28 “And we know that for those who love God all things work together for good for those who are called according to his purpose.” Little did we know that one week later the Lord would test our faith in His promise. Pray for the Lord’s hand in the cleanup and rebuilding process.

Terry

Summertime Travel

It has been almost four months since my mom and I arrived in Romania, and almost five for my dad. We have been learning how to communicate with people with the little Romanian we know, how to cook with different ingredients and cooking appliances, and basically, how to act like Romanians. Here are some of the more recent highlights since we moved:

My dad ran his first half marathon in Europe!

In Romania, many sidewalks extend to the curb and are used as parking spaces for cars. When we went to the mall in Timisoara and couldn’t find a parking spot, my dad parked halfway onto the sidewalk… like a good Romanian!

Even if the sidewalk doesn’t extend to the curb, there is still a possibly that someone will park a car on it… This is the view of our sidewalk from our apartment window.

My siblings, Lydia, Mike, and Matthew, arrived in Romania two weeks ago! Our plan was to spend the day in Budapest after they flew in at 10 am. After a long and tiring turn of events, they arrived almost 12 hours late. We spent a few hours exploring Budapest (and waiting at KFC, checking the web for the status of their plane) before they arrived. Thank God all of our luggage was found and delivered!

We visited Brasov, Romania, this past weekend. Our family was joined by two Romanians: Dani, Lydia’s boyfriend, and Michael, Mike and Matthew’s friend from North Park University.

We stayed in two apartments down a small corridor… the parking lot was also very small!

During our visit to Brasov, we drove an hour away to Peles Castle.

We also visited Bran Castle and the city of Sighisoara.

We discovered that in Sighisoara, there is a point at which no trumpets are allowed… and you’re encouraged to throw them out in the the garbage conveniently placed by the sign!

Just kidding! But you really can misunderstand street signs; this is actually telling people to not honk their car horns. On Sunday, we attended the Harvest church in Brasov, and afterwards Matthew gave their piano player Beni a short lesson in playing gospel.

Even after living in Romania the past few months, we are still settling in. We just bought a pan to make pancakes on!

Something that might surprise you: water fountains in the park by our apartment don’t have buttons to turn them on – they just stay on!

This week, I attended my last flute and language lessons before I return to Chicago in August. Mike and Matthew will leave for Chicago this Sunday, and Lydia and I follow two weeks later. During those two weeks, my parents, Lydia, and I will go to the Harvest youth camp, and then my parents and I will go to the Harvest children’s camp. Once I return to Chicago, I will not have quite two weeks to settle in before moving into the dorms of Olivet Nazarene University. Yup, I’m starting college. Please keep my family and me in your prayers as we travel and experience more transitions.

-Elizabeth