‘The grass withers and the flowers fall, but the word of our God endures forever’ (Isaiah 40:8). 

‘Autumn’ speaks of vibrant colour, crisp autumn leaves crunching beneath your feet, the period prior to winter when all around is ablaze with colour.  Yet, we know that to everything there is a season, especially the seasons in our own personal lives as we reminisce how quickly life changes.  In perspective, seasons for hundreds, thousands, autumn has come suddenly, so much so, it seems quite unreal.   Vibrant colours replaced by vast blackness where the burden of pain, the pain of loss knocks loudly on their door. Our teams feel the thrust of physical sensitivity as searching eyes question ‘why’.  Terminally ill children, adults, poverty-stricken families fearing the rising economy, unwanted children simply wanting to belong, theirs is a personal storm, disrupting lives and causing chaos in trouble hearts.  ‘My peace I give to you, not as the world giveth, give I unto you.  Let not your heart be troubled, neither let it be afraid’.  (John 14: 27).   No need to fear, no storm can disrupt our lives as we have One who enters all our storms and whispers ‘peace’ to our troubled hearts.   Three words which have become so precious to me personally ‘Abide in Me’.  I find Him a great source of strength as I embrace the case studies filled with utter emptiness.  As you read, pray those named this month will also come to know the peace of abiding in the Lord.

Memories – a few short years shared with her treasured daughter Petra (15) is all that remains in the heart of a devastated mum.  Deserted by her husband she was left to raise her baby daughter totally alone.  Petra entered our care in Emanuel Hospice only two weeks ago; she passed away last weekend, Autumn came quickly to this home.  There is an older son who does not live at home. ‘Good Bye’ was the hardest word this mother ever uttered.  Life has no purpose, no meaning, her mind is in turmoil as she faces a life that will never be the same.   Pray her churning heart will be quieted and that there will be a peace within her turmoil.  

Florin (14) is sinking into depression.  His mood continues to darken owing to his condition and subsequent treatment.  He has become totally withdrawn; life is a challenge for him right now as Florin doesn’t understand the reasoning behind the tangled roads he must travel.  A young teenager with hopes, dreams and ambitions?  Florin’s parents are deeply concerned, I pray the Lord will place His hands on this young life and restore his trust in the One who created him.

Luly (54) diagnosed with cervical neoplasm is now in the terminal phase.  Luly does not know the meaning of being precious to her family, since they have no regard for her; she is alone and unloved.  Her living conditions raise concern as the place she calls home is totally unacceptable and unpractical for this dear lady. We are visiting her every day providing medical, nursing, psychological and social care. Luly benefits from the Feeding Program otherwise we fear for her nourishment and nutrition.  Emanuel Hospice Homecare Team are presently making enquiries regarding a place for her to stay where she will be warm, loved and will benefit from a higher sense of calling and total care.

Pal is suffering from bladder cancer now extended into the lower abdomen.  He is experiencing great hardship owing to faecal vomiting and bowel obstructions. He now has a nasogastric tube to assist in reducing the vomiting. Please pray for his daughter, as her father’s illness is causing her deep distress. 

Ioan has colon cancer. He struggles with deep anxiety and is fearful of the level of pain.   He is also experiencing many spiritual issues. He does believe in God, but is having trouble in accepting him as a God who cares.   He does not accept or believe the Bible, refusing to believe that God is always good.   We know his heart is troubled as Ioan always starts conversations relating to God and the Bible.  ‘Are not two sparrows…’  Pray this gentleman will come to realise the one who cares for even the tiny sparrow is concerned about him.

Gavri is paralyzed on one side resulting from a cerebrovascular attack. He has now been diagnosed with pulmonary cancer and also suffering bone metastasis causing him to experience bouts of severe pain. His beloved wife is taking care of him, but she is deeply affected with depression, anxiety and panic attacks.  Her nervous disability has increased since receiving the diagnosis regarding her husband.  Pray this elderly couple will know a close, meaningful and personal relationship with the Lord.  The Lord will come to us at any time or any place.  He is waiting.

KEVIN:  The update on Kevin is positive.  Surgery went according to plan. It is proposed he will be discharged from the hospital in France this weekend.  The surgeon who performed the surgery is anxious to supervise Kevin’s progress and recovery.  This will warrant further trips to France.  We wish to thank you all for your love for ‘Our Kevin’ throughout the years and for your prayers and continued support.   Gabi knows you are praying for them as a family.

How does one explain that you can start again?  The mysteries of life cause many to face life with a forced smile.  Hearts have become hardened as young teenage girls search for someone to care.   Many would exchange their broken lives simply for a new beginning.  The ladies passing through Iochebed search for comfort, assurance, love, security.  Perhaps they have loved and lost and long for that little something they feel they have missed, where circumstances of life have passed them by.  Thank you for your love and support in showing that God’s love is an infinite love and that life is eternal.  Pray they will come to know the Lord.

Andreia (22) is mother to a little girl aged four.  Within days, Andreia will give birth to a baby boy. She is having issues with the father of the baby and has threatened that she will leave the baby in the hospital if he will not accept his responsibility in raising the child.  The father of the baby is only twenty and does not have stable employment; therefore, there are weeks without finance.  He lives with his mother who also has a young child aged two and as a family they face many financial difficulties especially during the rising economy in Suceava. May the Lord speak clearly to Andreia. I think of passion for my orphans and abandoned babies and pray this precious little one will know the loving arms of ‘Mummy’ and be cradled close to her heart.  Pray Andreia will make a wise decision.

Mândra (28) is a mother of 9 children (12, 10, 9, 8, 7, 6, 3, 2 and 1 year 3 months). On 12th October Mandra gave birth to twin boys at thirty-five weeks after a difficult pregnancy.  One of the babies required oxygen after birth and the other baby was born with a distorted leg. Mandra is thankful everything went well at the birth because there were many risks incurred owing to her heart and kidney issues.  The babies remain in hospital as they are still ill.  Remember, Mandra is only twenty-eight with eleven children.  

Iuliana Mihaela (28) has four children (eight, seven, five and twenty-two months). She is now twenty-nine weeks pregnant with twins.  Twenty-eight years of age with six children.  This news was received with shock, but being faithful, they decided to accept every child as a gift from God.  However, as a family of eight they will be unable to manage the expenses and are facing financial difficulties. The consultations and the morphological echography were expensive. She asked us to pray for the babies because there is a difference in their development- the boy is one month ahead of the girl. May God be with this family and help the babies to develop properly.

Alexandra is a mother of three children (four, three and sixteen months). Alexandra is in hospital with her youngest child, a baby girl, Giulia. She has been suffering from convulsions although no fever accompanies these attacks. The doctors are unable to reach a solution and have referred the little one for a RMN (CT scan) scheduled this week. We pray the Lord will touch little Giulia and bring the importance of faith, patience and wisdom to Alexandra in raising her children!

Compiling my blog month after month, I find myself entering into what seems to be the dark hours of lives absorbed by turbulence.  They lack comfort in their darkest hour; there is no one to dry their tears, no one to feel the weight of the heavy chains that bind them. ‘Would I be able to endure such hardship?’.   We need to pray that all our families engulfed by the blackness of night, where they feel it will never pass, will come to know our Heavenly Father who sees every tear even before it falls, who feels their pain and with outstretched arms says ‘Come’.  As we read through the book of Mark, we cannot fail to capture the depth of compassion displayed by our loving Heavenly Father.  Compassion means to love, to help, to care and to show it.  Bethany Baptist Church, Bangor; Monkstown Baptist Church and Agape Fellowship, Belfast has all displayed love for others.  Shoeboxes ranging from small children to the elderly have been prepared by Monkstown B.C. (Natalia Montgomery) and Agape Fellowship. (Carol Foster).  Bethany B.C. Knit and Knatter (Marion Morrow) catered for babies and children with their famous knitted dolls and knitted garments. Ballycarry Knitting Group (Daphne and Mavis) assorted knitted garments.  Sisters Alison, Barbara, Iris, Eileen stretching hands of love to others; Sisters Patsy and Sheila knitting beautiful cardigans for the orphans.   The attention to detail is amazing.  Approximately one hundred banana boxes have been taken to the Tarsin company (Dunsilly) by one of our directors, Allan Hopper.  It makes such a difference to choose to love.  

As I read through case studies this month ranging from terminally ill, physically and mentally disabled children, orphans, displaced and poverty-stricken families, I felt totally helpless.  How I longed to, as it were, switch on a light inside their darkness, to bring beauty, to bring a glow to a sad face, wrinkled with the cares of many years of struggle.  Walking around (as I do when I am overwhelmed) the words of a Gaither song came to mind:

I’m going to live the way He wants me to live,
I’m going to give until there’s just no more to give,
I’m going to love, love ‘til there’s just no more love,
I could never, never out-love the Lord.

I cannot change circumstances or relate to such hardship but I can pour myself into others who are hurting and in need of love and comfort.  I can bring a little joy into their suffering.   Annamarie (48) is only able to work part-time owing to a severe leg condition.  A young disabled mother with the responsibility of earning an income to care for her daughter (Alexandra 19), her mother (Berta, 69) and her grandmother (Elisabetta 93) The living conditions are exceptionally poor, in fact, unacceptable; but they are thankful for a place to call home.  Alexandra is encouraged by her teachers from the high school and from our support in Casa Grace. She is now a student at the university in Budapest. She takes the basic provisions from home as she is without resources to purchase food.  We realise that even though she was admitted without taxes it will still be difficult during the first semester to pay for accommodation and transport will be a challenge.   Alexandra is willing to work part-time to assist with her expenses.  The support of Tell Romania does not only place food in empty cupboards but it is real evidence of a faithful God who will provide.   Even with our assistance, these days are characterised by problems owing to the economic hardships throughout Romania.   These four ladies express their appreciation and thanks for the food and hygiene support during the past months.   Pray their faith will be restored and that they will be strengthened and encouraged as they wait for their ‘due season’.

Only forty-three yet feeling ninety-three.  The trials of life have built a wall of rocks around this lady who has nothing to show for her forty-three years, without any form of security and in fear of what lies ahead.  Lulianaapproached our team at Casa Grace; owing to medical issues and a very disorganised lifestyle she confessed that life was without meaning.   Luliana can only afford to rent one room.  Her one room has no bathroom or kitchen facilities but is home to six people, yes, six people forced to live in unsanitary conditions. Luliana has a daughter Cristina (25) with two little boys who are mentally disabled. Christina lost her young husband to cancer when she was pregnant with their second son.  David (6) and Carlos (5) have mental delays; we are in the process of having an evaluation carried out.  Her younger daughter Rebecca (12) suffers from heart and kidney issues. She is highly respected by her teachers in school who try to ensure she has food for each day as many days Rebecca is without lunch.  Ioan (38) is a brother of Luliana and he too is severely disabled with mental delays.  Young adults, children bereft of health, soundness of mind, food, clothing, even shelter with still the snows of a Romanian winter yet to come.  Methinks: I am surrounded by beautiful autumn leaves whose beauty soon will fade only to be replaced by the beautiful colours of the Delphinium, Hydrangea, Magnolia and Calla Lily or the textural plants of Olive branches, Maple and Eucalyptus, reminding us that to everything there is a season and all things pass.  Let’s make today matter to someone, let’s hold out an Olive branch of kindness.

I end by quoting George Muller: 

In the greatest difficulties, in the heaviest trials, in the deepest poverty and necessities, He has never failed me; but because I was enabled by His grace to trust Him, He has always appeared for my help. I delight in speaking well of His name.

Shirley, October 27, 2022

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