‘A Prescription of Darkness’

‘There is no pit so deep, that God’s love is not deeper still.’ (Corrie Ten Boom).

  Days passed, I simply couldn’t settle to put pen to paper, my heart was heavy, I felt troubled as I thought of those who are trapped in what appears to be an endless season of poverty, the weakness disease brings and the cruel sting of parting.  Waves of darkness sweep over them, engulfing them in the trauma of an emotional journey. The pit of darkness is deep, there is no place to run, nowhere to hide.  These are the devastating realities of those the Lord sends our way.

A young mother torn between love and sacrifice.  Two sick children where the cost of medication leaves a meagre amount for food; the family would know the pangs of hunger without the aid of our Feeding Programme.   A Roma village based seventy kilometres from Oradea where poverty is causing them to slip deeper into a pit of darkness.  My dear friend Berta and her friend Carmen spend Saturday baking fresh bread for the families, setting off early the following Sunday to minister in this village of darkness.  The gospel is shared as they eat together. Later, over one hundred children attend the Sunday School.  ‘A pair of shoes.’  Two young mothers travel over ninety kilometres to attend our sewing class; one young lady has eleven children, the other lady, eight.  Nineteen children in total!  During coffee break they shared the need of shoes for all of their children but a choice would have to be made owing to lack of finances. Nineteen pairs of searching eyes wondering ‘is it me?’  We were able to escort them to our shoe department – nineteen pairs of shoes were lovingly chosen – indeed a gift from God’s hand. Our actions can touch those who search and long for a miracle.  Our harvest of shoes is still yielding a harvest of hope.

Pastor Andrei continues to extinguish tapers of doubt.  A village situated close to Sofronea is home to many Roma people.  A disused building, formerly the communist party farm, offers a facility of flats to many families.   Andrei writes: Please pray for the Church at the Farm. Last Sunday we celebrated thirty years of Baptist witness. Approximately eighty people combining of children, teenagers and adults came to our special open-air anniversary service.  Please pray for those who heard the Gospel and for the poverty-stricken families living on the farm that in their darkness the Lord will shine the truth of His love.

Quietness is real and at times the silence is deafening.  Many sit alone, afraid of quietness.  In the quiet moments we can hear our heart beat, we hear our voice of conscience and many sit in fear of the unknown.  Our call to serve those emotionally drained can come in differing forms where we need to remove the shades of disappointment and the dark shadows of fear.  All work we do for the Lord is meaningful in its time and purpose.  

Estera shares:  BOGDI continues to need your prayers. He is a young man of twenty-two years who has been diagnosed with muscular dystrophy. His mother has requested prayer for him as their situation is extremely difficult.  Bogdi is now in a period of his life where he desires to be independent and lead a normal life, but he is totally dependent upon his mother for almost everything he needs, including feeding. Additionally, his mother has health issues which adds further complications.  She has lovingly and willingly sacrificed everything in order to care for her beloved son.

ELENA (10) has been diagnosed with spinal amyotrophy. She is confined to a wheelchair and only has partial use of her hands.  Lately she has undergone multiple surgeries to her spine as well as her hips and is now recovering. Elena is a very intelligent little girl and when able, attends school. She has a strong desire to be able to do things by herself, leaving her mum anxious, as she needs to protect Elena from any form of injury.

MADALINA (8) has down syndrome and suffers from diabetes. She is one of five siblings; her family struggle with the reality of overwhelming poverty. Her parents love and care for her, facing many challenges on a daily basis.  Fortunately, our feeding program provides them with food on a monthly basis, for which they are extremely grateful.

Suffering can be a lonely journey for both young and old. Our terminal patients know the pain of ultimate loneliness living in a life overcast by gloom where the passing clouds are bereft of rain in a dry and barren land.  

Adriana shares: DIANA is a young patient suffering from kidney cancer with metastasis on her spine.  Three weeks ago, the metastasis on her spine caused her to be paralyzed from her waist down. The only option of hope is in the form of expensive surgery where there are no guarantees of success.  Diana has two young daughters, who are her main reason for living and she is willing to face the darkness of this storm.  She is also aware that there might not be a positive ending on this earth for her but holds on to her hope in God and in His promise that she has a home prepared in Heaven.

LAURA. Last month, I shared this particular case with you.  Laura, who has gallbladder issues, is now at home. In the short period of one month, she has had to undergo a series of six surgeries.  The darkness of suffering has caused sleepless nights, as the surgeons are unable to locate the root causing the infection within her organs. The surgery procedure highlighted that her colon was highly infected.  The only resolution was to insert a colostomy.  Laura is now facing new ways for her body to function.  A traumatic and unexpected experience.

ADINA has been diagnosed with cervix cancer. She recently underwent surgery for a total hysterectomy, unfortunately the prognosis is negative. It is expected that her health will decline rapidly within the next consecutive weeks.  Adina is aware the she may die soon, and is at peace.  Her husband however, is heartbroken and unable to accept this. He is greatly affected and is receiving medication in order to calm the inner fear of the reality ahead.  He needs our prayers, as do the entire family during the heavy mist of suffering.  

The dark clouds continue to gather for our beloved patients. The prescription of darkness digs deeper into their pit of hopelessness.  

THANK YOU’ to Ballee Presbyterian Church Afternoon Fellowship who embraced our ‘CHANGE A LIFE’ project.  Six banana boxes were lovingly and thoughtfully prepared with love and amazing attention to detail.  Little faces will light up with a smile.  Bless you for caring for our terminally ill children.

Brother Allan Hopper collected TWO ADULT HOISTS donated in memory of a beloved wife.  The hoists have now arrived in Romania are have been delivered to two terminally ill patients in Oradea.  A ‘Change of Life’ for those families also.

Motherhood is special forming a bond of precious memories. Many of our young mothers have choices to make, struggles to face, the fear of illness, each day brings another obstacle.  Iochebed offer love, counselling and practical help but more importantly, we pray for the Holy Spirit to impact these young mothers causing them to make a new beginning.  

Gabi’s update:  REBECA (29) is mother to a two-year-old boy, she is presently twenty-one weeks into her second pregnancy. Last September, Rebeca embraced the grief of a miscarriage and is now overwhelmed by fear and stress.  Her consultant has informed her that the growth of the baby is delayed and has recommended immediate tests for thrombophilia.  The Lord can touch this little one that development will be normal.

AYAN is the four-week baby boy of Carmen who is only eighteen. The little one developed a cold which infected his lungs. The baby was admitted into hospital, to be later discharged with a recommended treatment of antibiotics.  Carmen had no money to purchase the prescribed medicines and nebulizer, she came to us in distress asking for our help.  We pray the Lord will speak to Carmen and change her young life as she cares for baby Ayan.

MIA has two young children and came to us asking for our help in prayer. Mia is feeling ill and extremely weak after the birth of her baby, her body aches with pain and she is experiencing spells of dizziness.   Mia has tried (unsuccessfully) to make an appointment with her GP, but nothing was available.  We encouraged her to attend the local hospital.  After various tests etc stomach issues have been identified, she has now been referred to a specialist where new investigations, scans etc will take place.  Please pray for Mia, that God will heal her, so she can raise her children!

ANI has five young children and has asked us to pray for her; she is pregnant with her sixth child.  Last year, she suffered a miscarriage and is filled with the fear of losing this baby.   May God help her defeat this fear and may she give birth to a healthy baby!

Fear chases away sleep, offers no comfort, minds trying to find answers in their dilemma.  We have all experienced lonely periods where we wrestled with our doubts, fears, sorrows.  With a quiet heart, may we listen for God’s whispers of comfort, peace and assurance.  

Monika’s update:  LEONARDO is struggling with school studies and absenting himself from school on a regular basis. When attending school he is often without lunch. His teachers were so concerned they contacted Casa Grace. He is a sad, withdrawn young boy unable to interact with his school friends. Leonard was abandoned by his mother and has been reared by elderly grandparents who are rearing their great grandson, Marius (9) who was also abandoned in the hospital by his mother.  The father of Marius will not accept responsibility for him, as he was born with mental disability. He refuses to acknowledge any contact. Sister Terezia (grandmother) loves the boys unconditionally and makes no difference between them.  She is trying to be a Godly example within the confines of their humble Roma home.   She is praying the Lord will save her entire family.  Sadly, the Roma village know only the depth of deep poverty and are steeped in darkness.   Her strength is failing as she is required to care for all of her children, grandchildren, great grandchildren and her beloved husband who is suffering from pulmonary cancer.  He refuses to come under supervision and continues to consume alcohol and nicotine.  They live in a social apartment with minimal and unacceptable conditions.  Each visit displays such a depth of darkness on all levels.  Sister Shirley, may the fresh bread, food and hygiene parcels, the shoes, backpacks, prayer support also bring the light of salvation to these precious lives.  They are lost, they need the Lord.  Sister Terezia carries a heavy cross and yet continues to smile. To see her leave the Casa Grace office with food, shoes, backpacks …… we give thanks to the Lord.

ALIZ AND HER FAMILY are a Christian family, the father is Nigerian, and they have three boys below the age of eight.  They live in a rented apartment and all three children are in school and kindergarten.  The father works in construction. Sadness entered their lives when Aliz started to have some medical issues, the boys also were very sick resulting in Aliz stopping work.  They are now totally dependent on the father’s salary, sadly his earnings do not meet all the expenses related to the family and medical expenses. There are no relatives who can assist them through these valley experiences and they are very thankful for your presence in their lives. May your love bring strength assuring them others care.

Each month, our prayer update speaks of unwanted and unexpected circumstances where our families, patients and beloved children know the heartache of personal suffering.  We cannot offer a fast formula, there is only One who can ease the pain, mend brokenness and speak the words, ‘Peace Be Still’.    As we embrace each new day, this moment in time matters, we can make it count for the Lord.

In His Rich Grace, Shirley, April 28, 2024. (42B Bernice Road. BT36 4QZ)

AN UPDATE FROM HAMILTON:  Tell Romania is actively assisting in other aspects of need throughout Romania. Ongoing support for the online provision in Emanuel Christian University of their Data base (£2,400 per year since 2020); updating Emanuel University Library (this year £1,500); publication of the Journal, Semanatorul, The Sower, (£350 per edition). Translations of two of my books on the Pastoral Epistles and Galatians continue to be printed in to Romanian, Hungarian, Ukrainian and Russian. Regarding recent publications launched in the UK, 500 copies of ‘Hallelujah, What a Saviour’ and ‘To My Little Children’ (a commentary on 1 John) were donated to Romanian Pastors. Revival Movement received a donation of 1,000 books for circulation throughout the world.  Two further books are currently with UK printers. 

Shirley and I value your prayers; pray we will be used of the Lord in our attempts to show God’s love and to lay a firm foundation in Bible ministry across the world – serving in deed and in truth.