When I was in Transylvania the summer before last, visiting our partner church in Alsoboldogfalva, I took some photographs of the repairs that were desperately needed on their 200 year old church. Stucco was crumbling on the outside walls and steeple, the metal steeple roof needed work, and so forth.
Last week my friend and colleague, Rev. Biro Mihaly, sent photographs of renovation work in progress . Scaffolding goes from the ground to the top of the steeple. He included photos that show the new roof, the new stucco siding. I have the before pictures, he sent the during and after pictures.
What the photos don’t show is the big smile and genuine appreciation they feel. It’s clearly there in the words of his letter. He wrote, in part:
My Dear Friend Frank: At first, I am sorry because I am writing a little late.
I hope you can understand us, but we have a lot of work in the field.
I want to say thank you again for the money. Now we can pay for the church reparation. We say thank you to God, to you again, to your congregation, for your help.
We got the packages, too. The children were very happy. I know it is not easy to send packages like that to us, but I have a thought: if it will be possible for you, would you send packages to us for Christmas for the children. (Like: pen, pencil, pencil-box.) What your children can collect for our children. But just say if it is too much work for you.
Next year we will have our Confirmation Service (for our young people.) I want to ask you something: in the next year by when do you want to come here? If you want to be here for this ceremony, please write to us, when you will come and we will make this ceremony when you can be here.
I send best wishes and good health to you, your family and your congregation.
Your friend, Mihaly
I got this letter the Friday before Thanksgiving, when we were planning our Thanksgiving Family Service. I read the letter and asked people to bring things to send to our Partner Church children. I did some shopping with money you gave to the Ministers’ Discretionary Fund. Thank you for that!
Packages are now ready to be shipped to Alsoboldogfalva. It’s a perfect way for us to enter this special season of giving. After all, that’s what it’s all about.
I hope you will find ways to make this a special season. We will be collecting gifts for the children of inmates again this year. If you weren’t able to participate in the Partner Church effort, there will be other opportunities.
I hope this letter finds you in good health and spirits.