‘Love suffers long and is kind; love …’ 1 Cor. 13:4
During my years in Strathearn Grammar School, one of my favourite school productions was ‘Oliver’. Many are aware of the theme song sung by a very young Oliver: ‘Where is Love?’ Dreaming, searching, longing to hear that one familiar voice or feel the softness of her motherly touch. He longed to belong, to mean something to someone. ‘Where is Love?’
I ask this question each time I visit the unloved and forgotten; yes, my tears flow in secret as I try to ponder ‘why’? But then I find in my broken moments I have Jesus. Robert Murray M’Cheyne penned: ‘A believer longs after God, to come into his presence, to feel his love, to feel near to him in secret, to feel in the crowd that he is nearer than all the creatures…’ The call to love is a personal choice, one we can choose or decline. How blessed to live in a home filled with love. Not so for places I am called to serve, I encounter tears of brokenness, disappointment, tears of simply longing to belong. You may not be able to accompany me as I leave for my beloved family in Romania but your love can give me the much-needed strength for each day; each patient, child, family, the beggar on the street all differ, individual personalities with different needs. Answer the call of love by setting aside a special time each day to remember them. ‘If we make our goal to live a life of compassion and unconditional love, then the world will indeed become a garden where all kinds of flowers can bloom and grow.’ Dr. Elisabeth Kubler-Ross.
Heavy dark storm clouds are hovering over my dear Sister Simona, the rains of grief are unimaginable as she walks a deep valley of intense pain. ‘Mummy, where is my baby sister Alexandra? asks little Deborah (2). A young Pentecostal family who love the Lord and serve in the Church, whose hearts are broken. Sister Simona gave birth to little Ishmael during my last visit in June – two adorable little girls love their new baby brother but do not understand where their baby sister has gone. I arrive in Oradea on Wednesday, 2nd October, Estera and I have planned to visit to this humble home on the Friday. As we share together, may the dark shadows lift and may Simona know that even though her heart is broken that the LORD is her Shepherd and as he has charged himself with her care, she is safe in his fold.
A beautiful little boy only three (Kristof) diagnosed with Leukaemia. His young mother of twenty has another little girl aged one year old. Please pray for this young mother who has to travel many miles to Timisoara during Kristof’s chemotherapy. The call of love demands sacrifice at times.
Narcis is a precious little boy whose father died from cancer four years ago. Narcis attended the Hospice Summer Camp where it became evident to the team he so needed to be loved. Although living with his step father and brothers, he still longs for his father. Again I ask that you would remember me as I visit this family that through the constant love and care of our Godly team, Narcis will no longer question in his heart ‘Where is Love?’ but in the unexpected things see the Love of God in action.
A new programme for bereaved and sick children is an extra road I will travel this mission trip. Little ones who have known joy, now sorrow, their special moments with Mummy or Daddy gone forever and they wonder in the quietness of night ‘Where is Love?’ Will I find it tomorrow? Help me fulfil a wish, ease troubled minds. I know I will meet insurmountable difficulties and wonder can I take the pressure of this added responsibility? Psalm 59: 10 ‘My God with his loving kindness shall come to meet me at every corner’. Help me put food on their table, light on their path and joy in sad little hearts. The rents of time can soon be mended but it will take time – yours and mine!
Eva (50) diagnosed with a brain tumour is very weak. The burdens of each day outweigh days of pleasant memories. She feels her prayers remain unanswered and needs reassurance. Please pray a place can be found for her to live during the freezing Romanian winter months as she can no longer remain at home and needs to be safe and warm.
My friend Barbara reminded me that even when we have God’s calling, we still need friends to help when the weight of it all becomes too much. I thank the Lord for the many friends who have been sent to me, whose commitment is unending and whose passion is unlimited. In I Samuel 17: 47 we read: ‘The battle is the Lord’s’. There can be no defeat when all the planning and responsibility belongs to him. Queen Victoria said: ‘We are not interested in the possibilities of defeat. They do not exist!’ I go with a new determination; I am on my final countdown – days to go!
O Jesus, I have promised to serve Thee to the end;
Be Thou forever near me, my Master and my Friend;
I shall not fear the battle if Thou art by my side,
Nor wander from the pathway if Thou wilt be my Guide.
Mihaela is only twenty years of age and has three very young children. A little boy of three, a little girl of twenty-two months and a baby girl of six months – three little steps and stairs. Mihaela met her husband when she was only fifteen. Last year they came to know the Lord Jesus as their personal Saviour and were baptised. Shortly afterward her young husband was diagnosed with blood clots on his brain, and he was hospitalised for a period of time. Because he has been unable to work, they can barely afford to eat. This needy family will receive from the Iochebed Feeding Programme; clothes for the children will be supplied and medical bills covered. A beautiful young Christian girl, young in her faith with so much need, yet testifying that her faith in the Lord Jesus has brought peace to her heart. Last month we shared the situation of Sister Vali. We wish to extend our thanks to the brother who donated £200 towards the purchasing of a new stove. The village churches are also trying to fundraise. Togetherness!
£20,000 is required each year specifically for the Feeding Programme(s), Casa Grace, Emanuel Hospice and Iochebed, I do have moments of fear when I feel myself wavering. It is in these times I need to quietly remind myself that our love must be poured out as a river; we must be seen as a place of refuge, repair and at times even though the thorn may prick and wound, once we see the beauty of the Rose, we know that if the battle is the Lord’s, the resources will come and will prove all-sufficient. Shirley, isn’t your hand clasped tighter now? This morning I read: ‘He that goeth aside to sit quietly in the secret place with the Most High, will find him coming over so close that this man shall be lodging under the very shadow of the Almighty’. Psalm 91: 1 (Free trans). My father taught elocution and as I write I can remember clearly one poem entitled: ‘If Jesus came to your house, I wonder what you would do?’.
As I read the unending case files that continue to come, I trace lives filled with human misery and degradation. Lives filled with shame, humiliation, lack of self-respect and vast disappointment. They come feeling insignificant as others pass by, they long for a listening ear and a hopeful future. Normally the parent or parents are young; facing eviction, without food. In one new case the father and mother are in their mid-thirties. Although both parents work, their income is £120 monthly! The sons are mentally retarded and attend a special needs school. They are not a Christian family and clearly need the Lord. We pray as we have accepted this family into the Casa Grace Feeding Programme that they will come to know the Lord. That their failures, fears will have a future.
It is not the time to rest, we must finish the work. You may not know the full blast of winter or feel the woe of a troubled mind. Some must go and some must stay but together we are one. Will you continue to mend the nets with me? I never cease to marvel that the God I serve cares and understands the ‘ALL’ things of my heart. My friend Heather, The Wardrobe, Ballyclare, always inquiring about the work, always expressing genuine interest has placed her love in action. For the third time in succession a supply of new clothing is being sent to Romania. ‘Heather, where are these to go?’ I ask. ‘Shirley, wherever they are needed most’. These are my moments of elation.
Fyffes banana boxes packed to perfection all waiting to leave the shores of Northern Ireland bringing warmth and love to cold and lonely hearts. Friends who have lovingly purchased new items for the various projects, outfits for the abandoned babies, new clothing for Pro-Life ages 2-5. My silent companion continues to walk with me as do many others, I am never alone.
I never walk alone, in stormy weather,
When winds of trouble sweep about my head;
I know I’m safe, because we are together,
And ’round me His protecting love is spread.
- for individual patients please refer to ‘How’s Your Heart’ blog.
- Sister Ecaterina and her elderly husband struggle alone day by day.
- Stefan (11) diagnosed with Spastic Tetra Paresis (1.5) stone in weight.
- Natanael (12) carcinoma – waiting surgery, at present undergoing radiotherapy and chemotherapy.
- Desperately poor families barely able to survive.
Blogs will arrive weekly during my mission trip updating you on the various works incorporating Dr. Moore’s preaching in Churches, Radio ministry, involvement in the Masters and new PhD school; also, with the theology students of Emanuel University and the International Conference.
‘Remember, you are not a tree, that can live or stand alone. You are only a branch. And it is only while you abide in Christ, as the branch in the vine, that you will flourish or even live’, (Robert Murray M’Cheyne).
Shirley, 21 September, 2019