‘And they brought young children to him, that he should touch them…Suffer the little children to come unto me, and forbid them not.’ (Mark 10: 13-14)
‘But the very hairs of your head are all numbered.’ (Psalm 139: 13-18)
Only days in my beloved Romania and yet the pain I feel, the suffering I encounter, is unreal. Who am I? What am I? My love, my time, should not be limited but given freely to the frail elderly within days, hours of eternity, the tiny baby, toddler so sick, a faint smile is even an effort. Oh, that my heart would be a harbour of safety for ‘my neighbour’ a place of shelter shielding from the strong blast of adversity that blows. This morning as I mediated on the ‘Love of God’ I bowed my head in shame as I thought of my shortcomings, his unconditional love that is mine until my final day. To love may cost but it’s worth it all if my neighbour will come to prove in the days of testing, trial, love will be impelled only by the best motive. I Cor 13: 13 …’but the greatest of these is love’. The longing of my heart is to serve him, in days of uncertainty and disappointment I need to know this too is by divine appointment, a higher authority has made my choice.
There are many forms and expressions of love. The bond of friendship is a gift from the Master’s hand. A long day of travel (Tuesday) and humanly speaking ‘The Moore’s’ were a little tired but more so hungry. My heart missed a beat arriving at Emanuel University (very late in the evening) to the aroma of a freshly cooked chicken sitting on the step of our student room. I knew immediately who had left it there. My dear friend Monika.
‘Is that the front door bell?’ As I opened a beautiful smile hidden behind a bunch of ‘pink’ flowers stood before me. ‘I cannot believe you are finally here’ said my friend Estera. We exchanged our tokens of friendship when suddenly I remembered. ‘Oops I should now call you Dr. Estera’. ‘No I will always be your Estera’. The union shared by friends is a priceless gift; how can I fail to recognise such humility and tenderness. Our hands are clasped in service with the teams of Casa Grace and Emanuel Hospice.
Entering an area of uncultivated ground, housing many Roma families, I could actually feel the suspicious glances of the elderly, hear the laughs of the dark eyed little ones running inquisitively towards the car. Simona, the mother of baby Alexandra hugged me, her long dark hair covering her face to hide her tears. Mihai (her husband) had just returned from the forest, he had been able to borrow a horse and cart, collecting wood from the falling trees to keep his precious family warm. They have no money for winter fuel and with a new born baby, two adorable little girls, his love in action spoke volumes. ‘Sit please, sorry the bed is broken’ yes, a very humble home, yet filled with a warmth outweighing their pain; baby Alexandra was loved, if only a borrowed love for a short time. As we clasped our hands in prayer, the heart of this young mother softly said through her tears that she gave her precious darling back to a higher love. So poor they had to borrow the money for the funeral expenses but rich in so many other ways. I was surrounded by an Immeasurable love. My friend Sheila from Ballyclare asked me to take a card of sympathy having known the pain incurred in the loss of a child. Estera translated and even though separated by many miles, our love was kindled and enhanced by a heart of compassion who didn’t forget to care.
Love deeper than any sea must flow through a side ward in Timisoari where Nathanael (13) advanced cancer, diagnosed with Carcinoma, lies very sick. His parents are going through a valley of unbearable pain.
Stefan (11) with Spastic Tetra Paresis (1.5 stone); his younger brother has just received the same diagnosis. No mother, yet the love of an elderly grandmother physically unable to care for these two very sick little boys, in love keeps her promise to never leave them. One look at their little faces when her presence fills the room, soothes and calms their little hearts of fearfulness.
‘But the very hairs of your head are all numbered.’ My thoughts turn to Alexandru (late eighties) suffering with terminal cancer. During his younger years employed as a member of the Secret Police during the communist regime. He is open to hear the Word of God. As the team care, comfort and minister to these precious people, pray they will not only hear but receive the Word of God.
As I watch Hamilton ‘At Home’ teaching, lecturing, writing I see the darkness of last year now filled with a new light. This can only speak to my heart of an over-coming love. At present he is in discussions regarding the translation into Russian of the Pastoral Epistles with a view to publishing. Next week he will participate in the Masters Programme, focusing later in the month on the International Conference. Tomorrow evening it will be our joy to attend the Opening Service of Thanksgiving in Emanuel Baptist Church. The potential of hundreds of young people … methinks would Hamilton be young again? To everything there is a time, a season.
My remaining weeks are filled every day visiting patients and families not forgetting opening the many boxes Alison is sending on a weekly basis for urgent needs only as requested. Although exhausted after travelling I was compelled by love to go to the centre to see my babies. Dora and Mihai were waiting for Monika and me and it thrilled my heart as we played with the children in Adam’s Room, the door kept knocking. So many Therapists with their patients whether orphan, down syndrome, abandoned wanting to use our room. I was reminded of the harvest of joy the Lord brings to his children. I felt so lowly in heart and so thankful for the privilege in being a small part of the team of Casa Grace. Impacting precious little bundles of joy who just love to be cuddled. Papers have been submitted to approve my visit to Cighid next Thursday; pray the Lord will continue to open our hands to hold with love.
Remember the patients of Emanuel Hospice, elderly and infant. The needy families of Casa Grace. The Orphan, Disabled, Down Syndrome children and the Abandoned Babies. Sister Gabi who heads the work of Iochebed in Suceava.
I will sign off now feeling your prayerful support, knowing in the obvious obstacles, impossibilities, darkness, his love is hidden in my heart.
Let us together be a torch of light.
Shirley, 05 October, 2019