A cup of suffering

Alistair Begg wrote. ‘He hears the cries of the sorrowful, and He comforts them, not only in an earthly, temporal sense but also in a final, perfect, and eternal way, by offering Himself as the means of salvation to all who believe. Your King is not merely infinitely powerful; He is infinitely compassionate. And the combination of these two qualities in Him is sufficient to bring you through every sadness and grief of this world, until you stand in His presence and He wipes every tear from your eye.’

Last month I wrote informing you of a new patient:  Andreea (18) is a new cancer patient. Her condition is now terminal and she is lovingly cared for by one of her sisters. This family faces deep pain and hardship as Andreea has another sibling who is very ill; an exhausted mother takes care of her. It is a very touching situation; the family have endured hardship and suffering and are in the depths of despair. Seasons of the heart are changing rapidly in this precious family. The autumn leaves fall quickly as Mum cares for one daughter while another daughter is heartbroken, knowing she may lose both her precious daughters. Exhausted, at the close of a day, yet accepting without complaint, there is courage required as the dawn breaks for yet another new day. With all this in mind, I pray the Lord will speak words of comfort and that His peace will calm this overwhelming storm.  Sadly, Andreea passed away a few days later.  Please pray the Lord will carry this family through these days of deep, deep sadness.

Christian (13) was diagnosed with cancer one year ago. His condition is worsening. Christian is unable to function by himself, being totally dependent upon his parents.  His sister is heartbroken as she watches her brother’s condition deteriorate.  Christian suffers so much; watching her ‘little brother’ suffer has become unbearable.

Pety (17) has a rare syndrome.  He is confined to a wheelchair totally dependent upon his parents.  Recently, his father began to feel unwell, there are concerns regarding an oncological disease. This is a very precious family, who, with a quiet heart embrace the very depth of ongoing suffering.

Aurel is a patient with pancreatic cancer who also suffers from dementia. Owing to his dementia, he often displays aggressive behaviour towards his wife and daughter who lovingly care for him.  Since his cancer diagnosis has evolved, he is no longer able to walk without assistance; his dementia is making him agitated and he very often leaves the bed totally unaided.   During a recent attempt, Aurel suffered a serious fall resulting in a broken arm.  Pray for his wife and daughter; taking care of him has become a difficult call of duty.

Voichita is a patient diagnosed with breast cancer. She lives alone, dependant on a few friends and relatives to care for her. She had a son who died three years ago during the pandemic.  After suffering a stroke, her son was totally bedridden for a period of seven years. Shortly after her son’s death, her husband died too, overwhelmed by the loss of his beloved son, life had lost its meaning.  Volchita is totally alone with her memories, no husband to comfort her, no son to reassure her. Now the patient is facing her illness alone while still suffering from the sudden death of her beloved husband and son.  Loneliness is real, at times the quietness can be deafening.  Remember her.

Reghina is another patient suffering from breast cancer who also lives alone. She too is a widow. She does have one son but he lives abroad.  Her young nephew has accepted responsibility to care for his beloved aunt.   However, recently, her nephew’s wife was also diagnosed with cancer which is now making it virtually impossible to care for his wife and aunt. Reghina who is totally alone in her apartment, now has no other choice but to rely on the help of her neighbours and the Hospice team, Last night I found myself sharing with a friend about those waiting on the doorbell to ring, the telephone to ring. These are the times I wish I could do so much more and the reason shoeboxes for the elderly are being prepared and sent to these precious people who feel forgotten.  Please don’t forget them.  

Simona (25) gave birth to her third child on 12th October 2023 after suffering the trauma of three miscarriages.  Baby Parascheva was born thirty-seven weeks into her mother’s pregnancy, resulting in severe health issues.  Her birth weight was 1.9 kilos and she was unable to breathe normally. Baby Parascheva remains in intensive care, her tiny lungs are unable to provide the required level of oxygen The doctors have outlined the seriousness of her condition, stating the baby may not survive.  Decisions will have to be made, pray for sustaining grace and a calmness of heart. A miracle.

Sorina has two children aged six and two. Sorina has a low immune system and in need of nourishment as she has many ongoing health issues. She is eighteen weeks pregnant and has requested our support in prayer as she fears she may be at risk of losing this much wanted baby.  May God touch her heart, give her peace and make her trust in His power who is Lord and Sovereign above all.

Ionela is a young teenager of eighteen. She is pregnant and after facing a miscarriage last year is fearful, she may lose this baby also. We, at Iocebed, have assisted with the finance for the required medical tests and recommended treatment. May the Lord become real and personal to this venerable young lady.

Claudia is a single mother with two adorable little girls of nine and six.  Claudia is broken in spirit and broken in heart.  Living in the depths of poverty, Claudia was offered the opportunity of a three-month contract abroad.  Social Services have taken her girls into their care, with Claudia now facing a legal battle to bring her beloved daughters back home.  The date of the court proceedings has been set; the trial will be also a trial of a mother’s heart.  Claudia has paid a high price in order to purchase a loaf of bread.  Choices we make out of love can bring pain.

Alexandra (17) is in her final year in high school.  She and her sister Ema (16) commute two hours to and from Oradea each day. The support from our feeding programmes makes it possible for the girls to have the opportunity to receive an education. We offer food, hygiene, clothing, and our shoe harvest and backpacks have been a blessing to so many families.  But we need to go further. Their mother who suffers from various health issues is now mentally and physically strong enough to work part time taking care of an elderly lady.  Their father has undergone a series of chemotherapy and radiotherapy treatments.  This precious family need our support in prayer, as after invasive investigations it would appear their beloved father is now living his final days on this earthly scene of time. As we care for their day-to-day needs, may they see the love of God displayed through even the smallest detail.

Alexa (19) is learning well at university; her aim is to excel in her studies of graphic design as she has full responsibility to care for her grandparents and her mother who suffers from a disability.  The family live together on the outskirts of Oradea in a one-bedroom house. Many young teenagers enjoy the space of their own bedroom; for this family, one-bedroom sleeps four people.  Pray as we serve in love that they will enquire of the One who provides, who cares, whose love is deeper than any sea. 

Iasmina (17) is now in her last year at high school. She had many health problems as a child and teenager but it didn’t stop her burning desire to learn well and receive an education. Transport is virtually non-existent in her village yet in her determination to succeed, transport can always be found.  lasmina is very weak and introverted, she does not enjoy the blessing of friendships.  Recently, her mother had to undergo life-saving surgery and this has left its mark of fear and uncertainty, she has anxious thoughts regarding her future.  This young teenager should be free of care – please remember her.

I cannot explain why so many of my precious patients, families, children suffer such pain.  Each monthly journal of my heart continues to be filled with pain, sorrow, grief, suffering.  It breaks my heart writing of the realities of those I have come to love.  But, this one thing I know is that whatever is in the cup the Lord has given into my hand to drink, I sip with a quiet heart.  I have no explanation, nor can I give one as to why many must walk such paths of suffering.  Not one of us is a stranger to suffering in one form or another and so we must remember those whose lives know nothing of the softness of love, only the hardship of pain. Please pray many will find the One whom they can trust in every situation.  May they hear the softness of His voice saying: ‘Come, let us walk this path together’.

As I conclude a much shorter report, ‘Thank you’ for your prayers.  Last week, I felt I was facing the ‘unknown’.  Looking back, I trace the hand of God in every aspect of my surgery.  A period of six weeks convalescence is required, but it is even in the midst of our pain, we come to know the Lord in a different format. The apostle Paul tells us to give thanks in everything. It is not the experiences of our lives that change us, it is our response. 

Sincerely, Shirley, Wednesday, October 25, 2023