Hope for today BUT what of tomorrow?’

This year, let us dissolve all our hopes into a SINGLE HOPE, to know Christ and be found in Him.
May this be the year to desire a radically transformed, deeper, truer, knowing Christ as our ALL SUFFICIENT ONE’ (Elisabeth Elliot)

A new year, 2019 gone forever with only memories remaining.   Three hundred and sixty-five days passed so quickly, circumstances changed our perspective and influenced our thoughts.  Many remember cherished conversations that will be no more and yet knew their loss was replaced with an allocated portion of God’s illimitable grace.  At times we find it difficult to hide our feelings yet we have a calmness of soul to know that our Heavenly Father is sensitive to everything concerning us.  The Lord understands when we struggle with the ‘if’s’ and ‘why’s’ and invites us to take our inward thoughts and leave them at his feet.  These are tiny stepping stones of blessing as we tread softly into another year knowing his road is not a road of disappointment.  I came across a notebook belonging to my darling Mum.  She was obviously studying ‘Mary of Bethany’, Mum’s focus was how often Mary sat at the feet of Jesus.  I pray as we enter 2020, we will devote our lives for another year and remain at his feet.

What of tomorrow?

Spreadsheet looking impressive, outlining commitments, projects for 2020, still I question ‘But what of Tomorrow?’  The Bread of Life for dying patients; bread without scarceness for the hungry; health for the weak; hundreds of children, babies in need of love;  Cighid.  These are desert places, wildernesses of broken, unloved and forgotten lives.  I ask the Lord to walk with me, overtake the path of my remaining days, help me replace the fear of hearts entering the twilight shadows of endless night with the glory of his presence. To pierce the hardest of hearts in love and telling them of a greater love.  ‘But what of Tomorrow?’ Everything is achievable by faith and whatever life may bring as one of old I quote: ‘My Hope is in God’.  D L Moody penned: ‘If God is your partner, make your plans BIG!’  I go forward into 2020, the smallest gift I can give is love. I give this willingly and with all of my heart, placing the resources necessary into Higher Hands.

I think of the dedicated teams of Emanuel Hospice, Casa Grace, Iochebed, Cighid, Orphanage Centre and I say to them in the words of Andrew Murray ‘Strengthen yourself in the Omnipotence of God.  Do not say, ‘Is God able?’ Say, rather, ‘God is able.’ ‘May they individually know the presence, the blessing of the Lord each morning as they rise to face another day of service and challenge.

My mind was in turmoil for a few days and no matter how hard I tried I could not release the tension overwhelming me.  Two precious children within the Hospice care occupied every waking moment.  So much so, I wrote to Estera expressing my concern.

Dami is unconscious, his parents and siblings are devastated as they watch helplessly by his bed.  There is no future course of treatment or surgery possible as his brain tumour continues to grow rapidly.  I have met Dami’s family and immediately felt the love of this God centred home.  There is an obvious bond between the parents and children, a loving home where both parents offer protection, friendship, discipline, all the skills and ability to ensure their children grow within the confines of a loving family. Their pain is real and life is shattered just now, please remember them in these days of uncertainty.

Ella’s condition has deteriorated, she has seventeen different forms of diagnoses related to her rare form of cancer and is now in hospital.  She is unable to walk, unable to eat as the food will not remain in her stomach.  During Estera’s visit, Ella was so cold she was blowing her hair dryer over her body for warmth.  Ella would require a bone marrow transplant but with the current weakness of her body the doctors are using caution. Ella’s Mum, Angelina has known a lifetime of sorrow as both her children have the same rare form of cancer; the heart of this mother is broken as she is now alone with this burden having lost her husband   It is difficult for the medical team to reach a final decision regarding an accurate prognosis – please pray for the medical team as they reach a forthcoming solution.

The elderly continue to suffer.  Mircea, a gentleman of sixty-eight years, diagnosed with Laryngeal cancer (malignancy of the larynx).  He recently lost his eyesight and is unable to walk.  His days are filled with quietness, loneliness.  One of many.  The Musak family who mourn the loss of a husband and father who was suffering from an aggressive form of cancer.  The pain is overwhelming for his three children especially Eszter (10) who has become withdrawn, suffering in silence.  Difficult for the heart of a mother who also has her own pain.  My treasures Catalina, Magdalena, Elizabeth, to name but three, need to feel my love and your prayers.  Sharing also the gospel is our goal and many need to know the Lord.

The fierce winds of Storm Brendan hit Northern Ireland this week and many faced floods, storm damage, electricity cuts. My thoughts as I stayed indoors safe and warm went to the small village homes where there are no roads, only pools of water, no running water, no electricity, twigs burning, bringing heat for a short time and in fact also cook a small morsel of food for many hungry little mouths.  Paula (24) three babies, no home.  Her husband went to Germany to find work.   He has decided to remain in Germany alone and disown his wife and children.  The shock was too much for her to bear and she is ill with many complications.  Our team in Iochebed offered spiritual and emotional support, food and dried milk for the babies.  Without your commitment I would not be able to maintain the Feeding Programmes, and babies, children and families would remain hungry, walking the cold streets of Romania searching for food.

Another family within the care of Casa Grace.  A single father with five children.  I remember visiting this room and that is what it is – a room within a social block of apartments, communal washroom for many families, no running water.   Hungry eyes searching my face, a father desperate for hope, a solution in his life of despair. The father was raised in an Orphanage and has lost two wives.  They have no money and although assisted by social services, he was unable to pay the rental due in December.   Countless people face life without food, grateful for a morsel of hot soup available to the homeless.  Five hungry children surrounded by empty cupboards.  Christmas Day would certainly not be  ‘A Merry Christmas’ for this family.  The team from Casa Grace brought gifts for the children and from the Feeding Programme we were able to provide food and pay the December rental from our crisis fund.   How long can this family survive in these present circumstances?  How long before this father reaches breaking point.  Please pray through the witness, love and care of the Casa team this father may know the reality of a living hope filling his heart with the knowledge that a new and living hope will provide strength and sustain grace for each day.

The word hope I take for faith; and indeed, hope is nothing else but the constancy of faith. (John Calvin)

I am filled with knots of difficulty regarding the projections of 2020. I now turn the matter over to the Lord knowing as in the past he has his chosen ones to walk with me.  Problems only become tangled when we hold on with our own hands instead of releasing them into hands that will untangle and provide.

‘These My Little Ones’.  Working with children, adults with disabilities involves love, patience until even after months, weeks, hours or working, a glimmer of light appears.  Dora has devoted her life to these marginalised children, children with disabilities and children from poverty-stricken families within the Casa Grace Feeding Programme.  Each mission trip I spend quality time with Dora and the children watching them play in the room provided by Tell Romania.  We are praying about expanding our work into another area of children with disorders and on my return early March I will visit these Orphanages with Dora.    

Three Feeding Programmes, Orphan, Disabled, Down Syndrome Children, Abandoned Babies, Cighid Adult Orphans, still there is more.  What shall I do?  How many years do I have?  Retirement?  I may not see the end in sight but God already knows how he will continue his plans and the purpose of his providence.  C H Spurgeon penned: ‘All the mysterious arrangements of providence work for our good’.

‘Do you not know? Have you not heard? The LORD is the everlasting God, the Creator of the ends of the earth. He will not grow tired or weary, and his understanding no one can fathom. He gives strength to the weary and increases the power of the weak. Even youths grow tired and weary, and young men stumble and fall; but those who hope in the LORD will renew their strength. They will soar on wings like eagles; they will run and not grow weary; they will walk and not be faint’.
Isaiah 40:28-31.

I concluded my previous blog stating: ‘There is always garner in the grain’.   A granary is really a storehouse filled with threshed grain.  Sufficient food for the dark and chilling days of winter.  It is winter permanently in many homes I visit.  Hundreds facing the reality of eternity; streets filled with homeless men and women and yes, teenagers without identity; children longing for love.  Bethsaida (from Hebrew/Aramaic) means house of fish.  Will you throw out your net with me to ensure we have food, we have grain in our granary. 

Let’s go fishing

Shirley, January 16, 2020

N B: We return to our beloved Romania on Tuesday, MARCH 10TH, 2020

P.S. Just minutes after this was posted I received this message from Estera

Dear Shirley, 
Damian’s father called me today to tell me that he passed away. He has seen the Lord s face. What a joy for him! How sad for the family! 
Thank you so much for all the support for this precious family!