‘Loving, Step by Step’.

Concluding a study book on women of the Bible, I was captured by the challenge of their motivation and dedication to serve.  They were women the Lord shaped for a purpose; women whose priority was love.  I thought of the countless lives for whom ordinary moments are fast failing and yet I am secure, sheltered in a love that will never end.  As I closed the book, I quietly asked the Lord to make love my priority, to help me lift the clouds, to help me calm a troubled spirit, to have patience when perhaps it all becomes overwhelming.

This month, you will find my update somewhat different. My focus – my colleagues in Romania where each day is greeted with the testing of mountain peaks of tragedy, pain and sadness. They face days where trials are so deep rooted, where mountains refuse to move.  Yet, they continue to bring comfort to outstretched hands.

This month you will hear from Marinela (Director of Emanuel Hospice) Estera, (Social Worker) and Adriana (Psychologist).  Moving on to Gabi (Iochebed) followed by Pastor Andrei (Sofronea) and finally Monika (Director of Casa Grace).  Pray as they have surrendered their lives to serve, they will be aware that as they rest in the Lord, they will know godly wisdom throughout everything they do.

MARINELA. Greetings and much love from me and the Emanuel Hospice team, dear Shirley.

We are well, through God’s grace both regarding family and the work of Emanuel Hospice.  We continue our mission to provide palliative care, with now three home care teams built around one doctor (one is a specialist pediatric team, two are adult teams). The ongoing work of our building project continues. We are presently in the planning stages for the interior of the new Hospice Centre. We regard you as one of our team and thank the Lord for the ongoing interest and input of Tell Romania.

ESTERA: My role is offering support to the patient and family, advising awareness of local services in order to obtain unspecified social rights. I also provide material or financial support for patients and families who have insufficient income to cover minimum needs. (Food, Hygiene, Medical Expenses).  I offer support to children and adolescents diagnosed with life-threatening and life-limiting conditions, as well as for bereaved children and their families, guiding children how to process and accept their hospital experiences, offering support during difficult medical procedures.  I provide emotional and spiritual support to help patients and families deal with questions and concerns about the meaning of life, suffering or death. My role also involves organizing recreational camps for children diagnosed with life-threatening and life-limiting conditions, as well as bereavement camps for children who have lost a parent or a sibling.

I am writing here concerning the need for one of our patients. Bogdi is a twenty-one-year-old boy diagnosed with muscular dystrophy. His mum asked if we could help with a special wet chair for bathing use.  The one Bogdi has been using is very deteriorated. They are facing many challenges to adjust to his ‘comfort’.  As he is becoming older, things are increasingly difficult.  (Shirley – Finance was transferred to Estera immediately in order to purchase a new chair.)  

ADRIANA: My role as a psychologist is to offer psycho-emotional support for the patient and their loved ones, when needed.  Often, when children are involved, therapy is offered according to the suitability of their age range, i.e., play therapy, art therapy, or just focusing on developing a close and honest relationship, especially with teenagers. Bereavement support for family members losing a loved one in our care is ongoing.  The pain of loss is real.

A case in which prayer is needed is a young patient namely Diana, (I wrote of her last month). She has kidney cancer and metastasis on her spine. I started therapy with her oldest daughter, who is a teenager. Besides coping with her mother’s illness, she is in a critical stage at school, facing admission to high school. She has many exams to pass, which add to the constant pressure she is facing. Her mother is feeling helpless, unable to be supportive. Her husband is overwhelmed with the number of responsibilities crowding his mind.  The whole team needs wisdom to approach this case in a sensible and loving way, as the entire family is affected.

GABI: As a team of three ladies, we have been serving for twenty years in Suceava. Every day we face different challenges, cases that touch our hearts where we want to get involved more so that every woman, family or child receives help from God.

In recent years the people we encounter are from the gypsy community (Romani community).  Many girls from as young as thirteen plus, come for pregnancy tests and pregnancy counselling. Once their pregnancy is confirmed, we schedule them for a medical consultation and ultrasound test. If there are difficult cases where further tests are a requirement, we finance accordingly.  We provide information surrounding pregnancy, hygiene and pregnancy alimentation. We are trying to advise them to attend school to obtain an education rather than seek an abortion. With your help, we distribute backpacks and shoes. When the women go to hospital to give birth, we give them a birth package which contains- diapers, newborn clothes, hygiene products, blankets for the baby, socks and hats and we help them in the first years of the baby’s life. On may occasions we purchase medicines for the children who are sick, food, dried milk for the babies and wood to bring warmth in the winter

I wish to bring to your attention the case of a client who gave birth to her second baby in January. Her name is Dorina and she is facing difficult times. She lived in a garage owned by a relative. Unfortunately, last month she had to leave the garage and was forced to go with her two children to her parents’ house. It is an exceptionally small house and it is totally overcrowded.  She is barely managing financially; her husband went abroad to work and save money to build a home of their own.  Dorina wants to have at least one room so she can move there with her children. She asked for our help in prayer because at this moment, she doesn’t see any solution to have a room of her own. We encouraged her and prayed for her. I know we are counting on God’s help and He can make the impossible possible. Let us support Dorina so she can see the great miracles that God in His infinite kindness will make for her!

ANDREI: The month of May in Romania began with the celebration of Christ’s death and the resurrection, reminding us about the importance of sharing the Gospel with those around us. It has been a personal blessing speaking to several individuals and to invite them to come to Christ. We continue to work with children and teenagers in Sofronea and with children at Ferma Church. We are blessed to see children responding with joy, showing interest in the Gospel.  However, our heart is sad that no one answers the call of the Gospel. Please pray for us. As a young pastor I pray for wisdom to know the right words that will create thoughts of eternal security.  I pray for courage to preach the message the Lord places on my heart and the energy to continue the ministry here where God has called us to serve.

Please pray for Paul and Alina, a couple who are coming to our church. Paul is unsaved and lately God has shaken their lives in a very powerful manner. We pray that God will speak to Paul’s heart that through these challenges he may come to know the One whose Kingdom is unshakable.

MONIKA:  After graduating, I worked as a loan officer at a Christian nonprofit organisation for two years.   My role involved offering advice to ladies wishing to start their own business, witnessing of the One who could change every circumstance and make everything new.  A former professor of Emanuel University commenced working for Euro Evangelism (now known as TEN) approached me regarding serving at CASA Grace.  I prayed, asking the Lord for godly wisdom.  I look back on that day twenty years past in October 2023.   

My prayer was, and is now, to bring His light into the lives of those who are going through hard and sad days, being close to them, supporting them at all levels. In order to see many lives changed, encouraged and lifted up by the Lord.  I am involved in the daily activities, meeting the beneficiaries, encouraging and guiding our team of caring professionals.  I maintain regular contact with the friends of CASA Grace seeking to be close to each one who is in need of support, by praying for them, visiting them, giving them the bread of life, guiding them to the best medical treatment they require, sourcing a suitable school, the right workplace. I am thankful for the journey with CASA Grace and I can witness that He loves and is close to the hungry, the abandoned and does not forget precious children and adults, and he wants to bring salvation, restoration and joy in each precious baby, child, teenager, young adult, parents and grandparents.  I’m also very thankful for the team I can call family, CASA Grace, who work on a daily basis, prayer warriors who are ready to keep their hands up in each battle we are in, as the spiritual battle is ongoing. It is also encouraging to witness that His grace is sufficient for all of us and has the power to transform and restore each broken life. I’m blessed to be part of this work, and I want to serve with all of my strength as long as He allows me. 

We would like to give thanks for your support for Roxana, a six-year-old girl and Ioana, five years old. The food and all the essential products mean Love for them. They need to continuously be lifted in our prayers; Roxana is a very clever and sensible girl, but she is very sad as she sees the changes in their situation and circumstances.  They lived abroad with their parents for a few years, working hard to buy a small house in their native village; we still don’t know what happened… both girls were abandoned by their mother.  She doesn’t keep in touch with them.  They are totally forgotten.  A difficult transition surrounding their father.  After a few months of medical treatment, it is obvious that his mind and behaviour is dangerous for the girls, and that this man should be permanently in residential care.   Roxana and Ioana’s grandfather, is taking care of him, as he continuously wants to end his life and sadly, he is in a world of his own, unable to communicate with the people around him. The grandmother is working full time, in order to have an income for the whole family. They are also in the process of adopting Roxana and Ioana.  But what future is there for these two young girls with elderly grandparents?  We bow our hearts in thanks that the grandparents have come to know the Lord.

Undetected circumstances, unknown days, fires of sorrow, we safely leave in Higher Hands. The Psalmist penned in Psalm 95:4 ‘In one hand He holds deep caves and caverns, in the other hand grasps the high mountains ….. His hand sculpted Earth’. (The Message).

Love is the greatest gift we can give.  May we all be reminded of our calling.

Shirley, May 28, 2024

42B Bernice Road, Craigarogan. Co. Antrim. BT36 4QZ.

 I never cease to give thanks to the Lord for His goodness in engineering circumstances just when needed.  Last weekend, sixteen banana boxes were sent to Romania to meet urgent needs, with a further consignment waiting to leave this weekend.  HE IS ABLE.