Since at this very moment, my 17 yr old daughter is in India right now on a mission trip, I thought it’d be cool to highlight a missionary couple that we are somewhat connected with.
We’re connected because:
- Our church helps support them
- My youngest son chose them as his missionaries to pray for through AWANA
After reading our discussion, if you’d like to learn more about them you can email them at email@example.com. Info on how to donate is after the Interview.
Did you or Doug grow up thinking you wanted to be missionaries?
No. I was raised in a family that didn’t believe in God. Doug was 41 when He received Jesus Christ and I was 38. From the time we first received Christ, we felt a call on our lives to missions. (Even though I had no idea whatsoever as to what that meant!) We met when we each started attending a little country community church. We married when I was 41 and Doug was 44.
I married the first time, when I was 18 years old. I didn’t get married in a church because I didn’t want to be a hypocrite. At that time, I didn’t want God in my life or my marriage, and that is exactly what I got: a Godless life and marriage. After 20 years in an emotionally and physically abusive marriage, I felt like I was dying from the inside out and that if I stayed any longer that I would not survive, either from my ex-husband, or from my own hand. It was the darkest point in my life. But God had a plan for my life. He saved me. I finally understood what Christ Jesus did on the cross for me; I understood He forgave my sins.
Then I realized that if He forgave all of my sins, that I also had to forgive myself for having had an abortion when I was 17 years old. That was very difficult, but very healing. And then the Lord put on my heart, that I also had to forgive my ex-husband, or I wouldn’t be able to heal and my kids wouldn’t be able to heal either.
Those were difficult and challenging years, but they taught me how to rely on the Lord, because I really didn’t have anyone else. (How would I have ever imagined then that the Lord would use all of that as my missionary training!?!!) And I learned how to trust the Lord and His word, the Bible, which is a very practical book for living life.
So, when I married Doug, I wanted God in my life and in my marriage- and that is exactly what I have!!! And it is great!!!
How did you get connected with International Messengers?
God’s leading through prayer. I’ve learned not to push to make things happen on my own, but to pray and be sensitive to the Lord’s leading. We spent time in concentrated prayer, and the Lord brought the connections to us. We drove out to Montana to meet Bob Rasmussen, the founder of IM. Doug and I were the first people accepted to IM’s missionary training center in Libby, Montana. We received our acceptance letter on our first wedding anniversary. We went to the IM training center in January of 1998 and came to Romania in June of that year. We had our second anniversary and each one since in Romania! This summer we will have been married for 14 years.
How many people are living at the home right now or at any given time?
Although it fluctuates, we usually have between 15 and 21 moms and children living here at any given time. Plus Doug and I have an apartment on one end of the care home building, and we usually will have one or two other American volunteers living here as well.
Right now, the only other volunteer we have serving with us here is a young woman in her 20’s, who was born in Romania and was adopted by a family we knew from Montana, when we went to the IM training center. She received Christ and felt led to come back to Romania and serve Him here with us at the care home!
The moms and children currently living in the care home total 17, plus one of our moms is pregnant and due to have a little girl in the next couple of weeks, so that will bring us up to 18. We have a part time cook, who once was a care home mom till she married a man in the village. When she is working here, she brings her three children with her. They are part of the care home family!
The River of Life Foundation employs 6 Romanian full time staff people, and 3 part time staff people. (One of the full time staff people is a pastor we hired to live and work in a village church plant we have in another Romanian village) We operate the care home 24 hours a day, 7 days a week and 365 days a year.
We do many outreaches as well. Every Wednesday, we have an elderly day center, in which we bring elderly from our village here for a day of fellowship, encouragement, sharing in God’s Word, singing, and lunch.
We have Sunday worship services here every Sunday for the Moms and children of the care home, and people of the village. Some Romanian friends come here and teach a Sunday school for the children and teens that come.
We also have special evangelistic events throughout the year that we invite the people in the village to. The week before Easter this past spring, 100 people in the village, (including 25 adults and 75 children) came to a program we had one evening.
Also on the care home property we have a camp facility, which houses about fifty people overnight. Throughout the year we host short term teams, and host youth camps, including one or two evangelistic aviation camps per year.
Where does your support come from: individuals, churches, organizations?
Our donations come primarily from individuals and churches.
How often do you get to come back to the States to have a "rest" from the Care Home?
We don’t really see it that way. We don’t go to the States to get a rest from the care home.
God has given us work here in Romania and we feel He has given us family here too. But we also have work in the States and family there, too. When we go to the States, it is very rare that it is just to be with our family. We usually spend the bulk of our time there, traveling and speaking at supporting churches and groups, which is something Doug and I really enjoy doing. We have a life and people we dearly love on both continents. We have learned to pace ourselves as best we can within the context of a very busy life.
Everyone juggles work, family, obligations and responsibilities. That is what every mom has to do, isn’t it? To find time for herself, at times, in the midst of the busyness of the day and pouring herself out for her family, those she loves.
I’m a people orientated person, and so the times I am most at rest, is when I am with my kids (here or in the States), grandkids, husband, and friends, just hanging out together. I’m pressured by tasks that require deadlines, or tasks that pile up faster than I can get to and hang over my head, stressing me out. That puts pressure on me and those are the things I try and delegate! But unfortunately I usually can’t delegate too much of that away!
How does a ministry such as this handle the recession we're having here in the US?
We were in the states, in 2008 when the economic crisis hit. And the verses the Lord had given us to speak on, before all that went down, was 2 Kings 4:1-7. The creditors were going to take the widows’ sons into slavery to pay her debts. We’ve met a lot of people out of work, or worried about losing their jobs or home, in this economy, but I have yet to hear about creditors taking people’s kids into slavery to pay off their debts. She went to the man of God, Elisha for help, and he told her to gather all the vessels she could then go into a room, her and her sons and start pouring the little bit of oil she had into those jars. By faith, she gathered a lot of jars, and by faith she poured, and poured and poured. The oil stopped flowing when the last vessel was filled. She couldn’t test it out, do a little, see what would happen and go and get some more vessels, if it worked. Then, instead of just doing whatever she wanted to do with the oil, she went again to the man of God, Elisha and inquired as to what to do next. He told her to give the oil to pay off her debts and creditors and for her and her sons to live off the rest.
That is a picture of the kind of faith I learned, after my divorce, when I first received Christ, and was learning what it was to be a Christian, trying to work and raise two teenage boys and heal emotionally. God taught me how to live and walk day to day, trusting in His provision.
I learned that when I was a single mom, and then when Doug and I got married, the Lord called us out of our jobs and into full time ministry. Another step of faith. When we came to Romania we encountered many more steps of faith!! Then when we started the care home work and had workers depending on the wages our ministry provided that was another step of faith. There were many times when we were working on the reconstruction of the care home that we had to tell our workers in the beginning of the week that we had no money to pay them at the end of the week, and they were free to find work elsewhere. But they stayed and kept working anyway, and the Lord always provided their pay. When we would doubt, the Lord seemed to say to us, “do you really think it is too hard for Me to provide for you and these workers, too!??!!!” But it stretched us, and the Lord continues to find new and creative ways to stretch our faith!!!
About the economy, Americans have a very hard time relating with a world view. It is a worldwide recession. I remember when I was a kid, we had a regional economy. If one part of the country the economy was weak, people moved to another area where the economy was stronger. But over the years, we became a global economy, with each country dependant on one another.
I saw a very good DVD the Demographic Bomb, which is a sequel to another DVD called Demographic Winter: Decline of the Human Family. Check out their website at www.DemographicWinter.com it is an amazing documentary about the roll demographics have on the world economy. When we are fruitful and multiply as God commanded us to do, economies grow and are healthy, but over the last 30 to 40 years or so, there has been a global push to limit population control, through pushing contraception, abortion and even forced sterilization in many parts of the world. The result is that many nations now have a seriously declining birthrate. The only reason we haven’t felt the worst effects from that yet is because we have an elderly population that is living longer, but in a few more years, the world will be in a major crisis because never before in the history of the world will there be more older people and so few younger ones taking their place.
Anyway, I don’t think the economy is going to get better in the long run, but that the economy will be one of the main reasons why Americans will agree to go into a One World government.
I’m not a prophet, nor do I pretend to be. And I certainly don’t have all the answers, or hardly any. But I do know Who does!!! And He is who I intend to serve and follow no matter what is going on with the economy! The Lord has a huge harvest to bring in- in good economic times and in bad, and we don’t feel that He is planning to stop His work because of the economy!!!
We think it is time for all of us who are Spirit led Christians to seek more intensely than ever before, the Lord’s will and to be obedient and do His will, instead of our own. Jesus Christ is the head over His church, which is the Body of Christ. We need to make His priorities our own.
Did I tell you Ryan may end up at your Care Home when he's older? *grin*
We had a team here a few years ago that was an AWANA MIT team. (Missionary In Training) Will he be coming with a group like that???
Well, he’s only 7 so I have no idea how he’ll get there! =)
If you would like to donate (tax deductable) funds to this ministry, please send a check made out to International Messengers, but on a separate piece of paper note that you would like your donation to go to the River of Life Care Home's ministry account.
Their mailing address is:
PO Box 618
Clear Lake, IA, 50428-0618
Thank you Doug and Roberta for serving the Lord and loving on these people! I appreciate the time you took out of your busy lives to share with me about your ministry.