‘The world is crumbling beneath our feet’. ‘Nothing is normal these days’. ‘Will there ever be an answer?’
Expressions from hearts overwhelmed by immeasurable pressure, the unwelcome darkness overtaking their tiny glimmer of hope that perhaps today will be different. They can only see glimpses of unresolved answers to the unsettled questions hidden in the secret corners of their heart. ‘ What if …? Will today bring a breakthrough?’ The distraught mother wandering the empty streets in search of food; the beggar whose hope of finding even a crumb in the garbage bin remains hungry for another day; the elderly widow trying to work her small plot, hoping her one hen will provide lunch; the homeless covered in damp cardboard, shivering, stretched beyond limit, with no place to drop anchor. Their vision is impaired, there is no beauty in their world.
Dr. John Baillie penned: “Forbid that I should walk through Thy beautiful world with unseeing eyes’. One moment is all I ask, one moment of silent prayer for lives enslaved by poverty and without hope. They do not want our pity, they need our compassion. Perhaps our love will not be returned, but our outstretched hand could be the one moment they have been waiting for. Their personal miracle that someone cared.
‘SUCEAVA’ is under total quarantine, as they have the highest number of infected people and fatalities related to COVID-19 in the country. The peak has yet to come. At least one hundred and eighty-one medical workers (including forty-three doctors) are infected within the local hospital. Over one hundred infected nurses remain at home, with the hospital lacking medical workers. Shortage of medical supplies result in patients being prioritised as to who has the most need. One cannot comprehend the impact this has on patients inside and outside the hospital. Suceava is a closed city with no entry or exit; this state of emergency will be reviewed on 15th May. Owing to a number of resignations, the hospital is now under military rule. Gabi and her team (Iochebed) continue to work from home, supporting clients by telephone consultations. Gabi travelled through the empty streets of Suceava to open the centre as new mothers needed dried milk for their new born babies, food and clothing for their children and mothers in waiting needing a birth pack which we also provide.
As I looked at the little faces of the babies born during this time of crisis, tears filled my eyes. Unashamedly I bowed my head in thanksgiving that we can be involved in this amazing work which recognises life is precious, life is God given. Women face hardship and poverty, young teenage girls bereft of home and family, Roma men unable to find work during these days of crisis. They tremble with the pain of no money, no food.
The noise of hail stones hitting my window just now caused me to look up. The skies were dark and overcast and yet in one corner I could see a faint rainbow. I thought of those without a rainbow who were locked within their heart, hope has been stripped away by cruel circumstance and darkness is their only form of sunlight. The home call of the Director of the Regional Baptist Association and other pastors has created fear in many churches. Pastor Catalin Croitor was one of the first Romanian students to enter the Irish Baptist College in the early nineties. He resided in the College, Sandown Road, Belfast and was affectionally known as one of ‘Daddy’s Boys’ as he joined the Moore family every Sunday for lunch. A close bond has remained for many years. Catalin, now pastor of Bethlehem Baptist Church, Suceava, has known the loss of a young man (42) within his own church family; also there are village homes where COVID-19 has taken a loved one. He and his wife Paula minister to the sick and share the Word of God. We cannot control what is occurring but there is One who can calm the raging storms if we ‘Be Still’ and know that He is God.
- Pray for wisdom and guidance to know how best to help the vulnerable
- Pray for doctors, nurses, medical teams in hospitals
- Pray for pastors, their wives to be guided by the lord in all decision and actions.
Scars from the war of the pandemic sweeping throughout the world has caused isolation and separation. My beloved Oradea, my patients, children, families and of course, my Dora waiting patiently for my knock. How I miss what has become the joy of my heart. Emanuel Hospice continue to minister to the terminally ill. Love and care override restrictions and the fear of infection. This week the number who have lost their battle to cancer is fifty. The team work under tremendous pressure. We commend each member into higher hands, knowing each step will be guided and each breath guarded.
Yesterday it was announced junior schools would recommence in September. Senior pupils will resume on 2nd June until the end of July when all examinations will be completed. Casa Grace had to cancel Summer Camp this year as hospitality/hostels will be the last to open. Dora misses our Kingdom Kids (orphans, down syndrome, disabled, abandoned babies) Neli, Berta, Marilena wait permission to visit the growing number of needy families who are affected by COVID-19. Families within our two-year programme urgently need basic medication for diabetes, heart related problems – there is need everywhere. Dana is longing to recommence her vital contact with village ladies who attend the Vocational Training classes. Pray the team will be covered and protected as families continue to come, especially those travelling from outlying villages.
My three foundations, Emanuel Hospice, Casa Grace, Iochebed all serve with a tender heart. They feel the sadness, dry the tears of those who come desperate for supplies, medication. These are difficult days with total lockdown, no employment and yet rent must be paid or they face eviction. The cost of basic food has doubled (e.g., bread, flour, potatoes, grains, pasta …) How will I respond?
‘Eternal Father of my soul, let my first thought today be of you, let my first impulse be to worship you, let my first word be your Name, let my first action be to kneel before you in prayer’ (Dr. John Baillie).
Shirley, April 30, 2020