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A New Opportunity

The only thing more exciting than watching God work is finding that He has you right in the middle of what He is doing. It is in this place that I find myself. A short time ago I received an invitation to serve at a Christian preschool meeting the needs of orphans and at-risk children in a in a small rural community in central Romania.

 While the opportunity was inviting there were many reasons why thought it would be nearly impossible and almost foolish for me to consider it. One of my biggest concerns was funding. With the current state of our economy, I do not feel at all comfortable asking for money. So, I was prepared to decline the offer, but it seems that God has another plan. The very day that I was going to inform the ministry director that I could not accept the invitation he contacted me and said that If I paid the initial ministry fee, turned in all the paperwork and whatever money I could by August 20th , they would take care of my flight.

 So, I am moving forward in faith with my forms and fee ready to be submitted. Trusting that God will take care of my remaining financial need, and all other details necessary to make this ministry possible. I am completely confident that if this is God’s will for me there will be nothing to stop it from becoming reality.

Will you please join me in prayer as I trust God to provide for my every need financially, physically and spiritually? The total cost of this endeavor is $2,100 which I need to have paid in full by September 1st. If you are interesting in making a tax deductable contribution toward this ministry please contact me at melissa@misisonmelissa.org  for more information. Donations can also be made via paypal through the donate page.  A gift of any size would be greatly appreciated.  Thank you for your support, as together we carry the love of Jesus to children in need!

Sincerely,

 Melissa

The Value of Time

SANY0419“If you are happy and you know it clap your hands,” they sing their enthusiastic voices and off rhythm clapping drowning out the strums of the guitar. It is another Monday afternoon gathering of young people in one of Romania’s many hospitals for those with mental and physical disabilities.

Seen as helpless, inferior, and worthless in the eyes of society, many of these individuals have been “put away”, dropped off and forgotten. The world as they know it consists of little more than the daily therapy sessions and activities that take place within the four walls of this government institution. So, it is no wonder that this weekly half-hour gathering, in the company of missionaries Baron and Joyce Howerton, a time of singing and doing a simple craft, is the highlight of the week for many of these young people.  

Their faces light up as they sing one song after another. As the strums of the guitar fall silent they sit quietly and listen as the instructions for the craft of the day are explained.   Upon completing their project many walk around the room proudly displaying their work.  Before they know it the time has slipped by and another day of “school” has come to an end.  

As these children and young adults leave for the day, to return home with their families, or back to their rooms in another part of the hospital, they each give their visitors a heartfelt farewell.  Eagerly with great anticipation they ask, “Will we see you next Monday?”  It is not the lively music, or the putting together of another craft that these young people are anticipating.  They are craving time and attention of the missionaries themselves.  Who has God brought into your life that would benefit from receiving the gift of your time?  God gives us the gift of time so that we can give our time to others.

‘I tell you the truth, whatever you did for one of the least of these brothers of mine, you did for me.’ Matthew 25:40

 

The Wonder of God’s Provision

“He is your praise; he is your God, who performed for you those great and awesome wonders you saw with your own eyes.’   Deuteronomy 10:21 
 

To plant a church and to minister to the needs of abandoned children; these were the desires that were planted deep in the hearts  of Baron and Joyce Howerton as they followed God’s call  and  moved their family to the spiritually desolate  country of Romania. As years have gone by the church has been planted. Slowly, with much effort and prayer, seeds of faith are beginning to take root and grow in the lives of seeking Romanian people.
 

Sadly, while the church is growing the numbers of abandoned children in Romania are also growing and the government is becoming stricter in not allowing foreigners to offer assistance to these children. Still the Howerton’s continued to pray. They knew that if this was God’s will, then in His way and in His timing He would provide them with an open door to minister to these children.
 

The invitation came unexpectedly. One Saturday morning, as Baron and a few others from the church were passing out flyers on the streets for an evangelistic service that the church would be holding the Sunday after Easter, Baron delivered a flyer to a woman, who is the daughter of a gentleman who had attended the church in the past. The woman told Baron that she had a job in a government placement center nearby.  She invited Baron to come in and do whatever he wanted to help the kids.
 

Baron and Joyce were thrilled and eager to step through this wide open door that God had so clearly set before them.  Two days later, on Monday afternoon, they left me with their children and went to visit this facility. They returned ready to begin ministry. Over the next 3 days we brainstormed ideas as to how they could get started.  
 

With the wheels in our heads still turning that Thursday afternoon, the telephone rang…. The call came from a man who said he had ten boxes with their names on them waiting to be picked up. Baron and Joyce were perplexed. They had no idea anyone was sending anything to them, let alone 10 boxes! Those boxes were God’s answer to the question of how ministry should begin.  It was as if God said, “Begin by meeting the practical needs of these children. Here are ten boxes of children’s clothing and toys to get you started”
 

The plan was in place. On Saturday morning April 17th, with me at home watching their 3 youngest children, Baron, Joyce, and their oldest boys delivered God’s prevision to seventy-two of His otherwise abandoned children.

Ministering to Romanian Children

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 Abandoned, abused, forgotten, neglected, malnourished and unwanted, these are the themes the run through the life stories of more than 160,000 children living on the streets, in the sewers, and in hundreds of placement centers throughout the small, poor, spiritually dark country of Romania.
 
For so many of these children hope is not existent. Daily these children fight for their most basic needs to be met. Street children live in packs, scrounge for food in neighborhood dumpsters, and take shelter in open sewers. Children left to the care of the state live in overcrowded institutions, are clothed inadequately, and come away from the dinner table still feeling the pains of hunger as they are fed measly portions of bread, water, salami and cabbage.
 
Not only are these children deprived of these most basic needs of survival but, more importantly, they are deprived and starving for attention, acceptance and love. As a result of their failure to thrive, these children grow into adults who don’t know how to give and receive love, or how to become productive, responsible members of society. With 100,000 new cases of abandonment in Romania each year, this cycle of hopelessness seems endless.
 
But, amidst the darkness and despair embers of hope are burning. As faithful followers of Christ embrace God’s call to care for orphans, impacting the life of one child at a time, this cycle of abandonment, abuse and neglect can be broken. I have seen this first hand as, through the prayerful, and financial support of family, friends and the local church, I have had the privilege of traveling to Romania on several occasions to serve these children in a wide variety of settings: providing basic care to infants left abandoned in hospitals, and reaching out to children and youth attending day programs, summer camps, and vacation bible schools. While all of these experiences have been rewarding, perhaps none have been more challenging, or valuable than my most recent experience, coming alongside a missionary family spending 6 weeks home schooling a set of Romanian twins whom they are in the process of adopting.
 
Having been abandoned from birth, and having spent the first 5 years of their lives in a children’s home, Joey and Gina knew nothing of what it meant to have a healthy relationship with anyone before coming to live with this family. It took them many months to learn how to play nicely with their 4 other brothers. Coming from an environment where rules were virtually not existent, they struggle with boundaries, manners and obedience. Academically the children, now almost 6 years old, are at about the level as their 3 year-old brother.
 
Days with the twins are often long and hard. But, seeing them grow, and mature, and knowing that they are safe, warm, well fed, and unconditionally loved has made everyday worth the effort. What a privilege it is to be the voice, hands, and feet of our Lord in the lives of these children.

Prayer update form the Howerton’s

Here is the most recent prayer letter form the Howerton’s. I have enjoyed getting to know this family, learning about their ministery, and hearing their hearts for the Lord and the people of Romania. Please keep them  in your prayers.
    The Lord gives and the Lord takes away, blessed be the name of the Lord! Our old van was taken away and three months later the Lord gave us a beautiful used van. God provided through several churches a 2006 Opel nine passenger van. We are just so thankful for a van that is big enough to fit our family in it for excursions and for transporting people to and from church.
    We will be starting our outreach ministry in the open market again soon. We will have a table with free Christian literature. We pray we will have many opportunities through this to share Christ with receptive hearts.
    Please pray for the kids who come to our house for help with homework. We are thankful to have three young ladies that come and help us with this ministry. The children that come are, Ema, Calin, Ionut, and Geanina. Next year we will be adding several more children to this ministry. All of these kids come to church and hear the gospel each week. Two of the boys are in foster care and have had a rough life so far. Pray for them especially as they have some discipline issues. Our prayer is that these children will turn their hearts to truth and accept Christ and go on to be great Christian leaders of this nation. Please pray with us as we want to expand this ministry. We would love to have a building in the future for ministering to the needy kids of our community. The house next door to the church is up for sale and we just continue to pray that God would direct us and show us the next step to take. It would be a great location for the expansion of our ministry. The price of the house is 65,000 Euro. It would double the size of land that we have now. Another thing to pray about concerning the enlargement of our ministry to children is for the Louks. They are the family that is raising support to come over and team up with us and head up the ministry to children. Please pray that the rest of their support would come in quickly. They are currently at 60% of their needed support.
    We are praying for a once month meeting we have with the younger generation of Romanians. We invite unsaved people we know into our home to discuss the Bible and share with them important truths from His Word. Florin and Raluca have been coming and been very open. Pray for them to be saved soon. Florin has a new job now and told us they couldn’t come on Saturdays anymore. Pray that another time will open up for them to come and have a Bible study with us. We are also praying for Claudiu. He made a profession of faith to Christ last year but has yet to be baptized and commit himself to serving the Lord with his life.
    We ask that you continually pray for the unity of our church. It is a constant struggle for Christians to get along with each other and stay committed to encouraging the local body of believers together. We pray that Berea Baptist Church of Lugoj would shine brightly for Christ and plant seeds that will someday soon produce fruit for God’s glory. We will continue to find strength in God’s Word and not be weary in well doing but continue fighting on for the cause of Christ. We want to run the race faithfully and are honored to be in God’s service. Please pray for a special Family Day service we are having next Sunday. We pray that many of our member’s families will come to this and hear the gospel and be saved. Thank you for your prayers.
In Christ,

Baron Howerton

Your prayers appreciated

Please pray for the Howerton family & Melissa

Dear Friends,

 

As I prepare for my departure on Monday afternoon, here is a brief list of some of the specific ways that you can partner with me through prayer. Thank you in advance for your vital partnership in this ministry through the time you spend prayer.

 

Travel March 15th -16th

 

  • Smooth and safe travel – through airports and in flight. ( I should be in Romania by 5:30 AM CST Tuesday morning)

     

  • Physical stamina International travel can be quite hard on me. This time particularly I will have to deal with the “spring forward” time change, as well as the time changes that occur between here and Europe.

 

Ministry March 17th– April 29th

 

  • For my family while I am gone

     

  • Communication with family would be easy and free from technical difficulties

 

  • Health and safety during ministry and in all in country travel

     

  • Creativity and patience in teaching

     

  • Flexibility in all circumstances

     

  • Peace of Mind- trusting in the sovereignty of God in times of trial.

     

  • I would be an encouragement to all those I encounter

     

  • God would provide opportunities for me to reconnect with and encourage good friends

     

  • For the well-being of all the institutionalized children and adults that I will have the opportunity to minister to.

     

  • That I would have an open mind and be ready to step into new surroundings and ministry opportunities.

     

  • That my focus would stay centered on Christ at all times

 

  • God would be glorified in all things

     

    Returning Home April 29th -30th

     

    Returning home is difficult process on a number of fronts. Please pray for:

     

  • Smooth and Safe travel

     

  • Physical strength during the extensive travel –  I will be leaving Romania at 6:00am on April 30th Romania time. ( 11:00 PM April 29th CST) I have an 8 hour and 40 minute layover in Munich. My flight will depart Munich at 3:40 pm. The flight to Chicago is 9 hours and 40 minuets. I will arrive in Chicago at 6:20 PM CST on Friday, April 30th

 

  • That I would be able to rest and be without pain.

     

  • Jet lag

     

  • Smooth transition back into American culture and home life- (this is often not a quick adjustment.).

 

Only by His Grace,

Melissa

 

 

 

 

 

The winds of change

Dear Ministry Partners,

 

It has been said that the only thing constant in life is change. In the world of international ministry change often happens on very short notice. These sudden changes require that a person be both flexible and creative in unfamiliar, and often uncomfortable circumstances. While at the time such circumstances can be overwhelming, they also provide opportunities for us to see God’s hand at work so clearly in the details.

 

As I embark on another adventure in ministry to the people of Romania, I am certain that this experience will be present me with many opportunities to be creative, flexible and patient in the midst of change. In fact, one such an opportunity has already presented itself.

 

Today I was informed by a notice form United airline, that under now baggage regulations I am only allowed to check one bag weighting 50 lb, and I am allowed 1 20lb carry on bag. Due to the length of my stay and the nature of the ministry that I will be undertaking, I am in need of a second piece of luggage for ministry materials. Would you please pray that the Lord would provide me with the funds needed to cover this cost? This change in the midst of other expenses leaves me with a $400 deficit.

 

If you would like to make a contribution toward this need please make the donation in my name, and mail it to Melissa Melvin 13298 N. 3400 East Rd. Chatsworth, IL 6092l.

 

Also please pray for physical strength as my layover coming home has now been changed to 8 hours and 40 Minutes. Thank you for your prayers and support.

 

Trusting in Our God  Details,

 

Melissa

 

The clock is winding down

It is hard to believe that I am just 2 weeks away from departing for Romania. Thank you all for your prayers and finical support. Your generosity is overwhelming. I thank God for each of you, and this partnership that we share in ministering to the people of Romania.

I am in the process of tying up many of the loose ends that I must take care of before I leave. This week I will be meeting with a number of my physicians, and making necessary phone calls to ensure that everything is in place with medicines, health insurance, and special requests for the airline. I will also be purchasing the remainder of the necessary materials for ministry.

I would appreciate your prayers in this final preparation stage. There are many things for me to keep track of. I am finding that preparing for 6 weeks abroad while dealing with a chronic condition is quite a challenge. But, I am confident that the Lord will get me through this endeavor. He is faithful and will provide for my every need. Please pray for my health and strength. Also, pray for wisdom and creativity in ministry planning, and for the remainder of my financial need to be met. I am still in need of approximately $200. I look forward keeping you up to date from Romania. May God bless you all!

Sincerely,

Melissa

Will you partner with me in Romania?

Dear Friends,

From ministering to orphans and at risk children, to reaching out to unwed mothers, and taking part in a summer English camp, I have seen God do some remarkable things in the lives of the people of Romania. In each of my experiences I have had the opportunity to meet new people and build friendships that have lasted through the years.

This past November, while on a trip ministering to orphaned children in Oradea, I had the privilege of meeting a missionary family who pastors a church in a small town. This couple has 6 children, all of whom they are home schooling. While meeting with them I learned that they were looking for someone to come to Romania to assist them in teaching their three youngest children preschool and Kindergarten. After much prayer and consideration, I have made the decision to come alongside them in this way to help them finish out the school year.

I am set to depart from O’Hare airport on Monday, March 15th I will return to the states on Friday, April 30th. This six week opportunity will not only give me that chance to come along side this family but it will also provide me with the opportunity to reconnect with, and encourage other missionaries that I have had the privilege of working alongside in the past. I will also have the opportunity to spend some time working with children affected by disabilities living in a group home.

In order to make this trip a reality I need a firm foundation to stand on. One constructed of the prayer and financial support of friends like you. In order to cover the cost of this endeavor I am seeking 40 financial partners who would be willing to commit $20.00 . This $800.00 will cover the cost of my flight, and in country transportation for the duration of my stay. ( A gift of any amount would be very much appreciated.)

If you would like to partner with me in this way, please make checks payable to Melissa Melvin,and mail them to Melissa Melvin* 13298 N 3400 East Road *Chatsworth, IL 60921. Donations can also be made on line via pay pal, or with a credit card by visiting www.missionmelissa.org Please have all donations to me by no later than Wednesday, March 10, 2010. Your prayers are of the highest importance to this endeavor and would be greatly appreciated.

If you have any questions please feel free to contact me through email melissa@missionmelissa.org. Thank you for considering how you can partner with me in bringing encouragement to missionaries and hope to the people of Romania.

Sincerely,

 

Melissa Melvin

Responding to God’s Grace

Nothing speaks more clearly of the unmerited favor of the Lord in my life, than receiving a loving invitation from Him to be His hands and feet to some of the world’s most desperate of children orphans. Oh the joy of walking the halls of children’s hospitals going from one room to another, embracing the heart of children left abandoned.

What excitement is experienced when arriving at a placement center to spend the day engaging forgotten children in conversation, fun, and games. How satisfying at the end of the day to know that these children, whether they realize it or not, have been shown the love of the Father who will never abandon them.

Waves of God’s grace have never overwhelmed me more than when standing beside the cribs of children severely crippled by the affects of Cerebral Palsy. To hear her moan as she endures the pain of involuntary muscle spasms. To watch his lags stiffen as his clothes are being changed. I can relate to it all, my heart aches, and I wonder why it has to be this way.

What makes me so different from these children? Here they are having been left to suffer and ultimately to die, having never been given the chance to experience the care and nourishment of a loving family. It seems completely unfair that theses beautiful children have been left unwanted. And here I stand affected by the same disability, yet fully mentally, physically, and emotionally nourished.

There is no way to answer the question of why such suffering has to take place. But, this burning question carries with it a call of deep responsibility. A call to sacrifice and surrender. A call to use my time, talents, treasures, and the limitations that the Lord has allowed me to posses in ways that honors Him and touches the lives of seeking suffering people for eternity. I pray that I will heed His call and respond with obedience no matter the cost. Where is God calling you to implement His gift of grace? Will you follow His voice?