‘I have directed you in the way of wisdom; I have led you in upright paths’ (Prov. 4: 11)

A new year, a new beginning; what will 2023 bring our way?  Moments are precious especially to those who before their head is lifted from their pillow are filled with the uncertainty of tomorrow.  They are surrounded by walls of fear, going through life handicapped by hopelessness, ambushed by disappointment.  What a waste!  This morning I read: ‘Reality often seems to be more obstacle than opportunity, more pain than pleasure, more chaos than calm, more hurt than happiness, more tension than tenderness ….’ . I pray through small acts of kindness chaos and tensions will be replaced with calm and tenderness and that we may remove the obstacles to build opportunities and walls of a better tomorrow.

Mariana, a life filled with rejection and loss.  Many of you have adopted this precious family into your hearts and God has made a way for them.  Mariana needs a miraculous blessing.  I ask you to pray that the Lord will impact her life in unimaginable ways. Results of investigations have confirmed Mariana has another large tumour in her abdomen that must be removed immediately – surgery is scheduled for19th February. The consultant is confident the tumour can be removed. However, she with have to go through another course of chemotherapy.  Mariana has expressed her fear – please pray for peace in her troubled heart.  She fears for the future of her seven young children.  We will continue to cover all costs incurred in surgery and treatment, ensuring food and clothing for the children.

A Servant is one who serves; may we serve with humility and possess a deep love for those who must endure unending pain and sadness.

Rodica is a new patient suffering from pancreatic cancer with the suspicion of multiple metastases.  Rodica is filled with fear and unable to accept the diagnosis, holding on to a thread of hope that the consultant is incorrect in his diagnoses.  She is experiencing emotional and spiritual distress, often bursting into tears in the middle of a sentence. Her husband is ill and was recently hospitalised, which adds to her suffering and distress.

Janos has been diagnosed with prostate cancer; he lives alone with no one to care for him apart from two nephews.  Janos has built a wall of silence; it is difficult to work with this patient as he displays a very angry and unpleasant disposition.  At the beginning this was a hard wall for the Emanuel Hospice team to break through.  Janos was in total denial of his illness; the feeling of rejection and suffering caused him to reject help on any level. He would only permit one of our nurses to care for him.   Gradually, it has become apparent he needs help and he is now open to the holistic care we can provide to him.

Victor, father of three children, suffers from a rare and aggressive form of skin cancer. He already has metastasis on his lungs. Pray for his wife, who will not accept there is no cure for her husband.   This family comprises of three children, with no time for play, no time for a normal family life, the memories of childhood days are days of stress filled with the anxiety of a fearful Mum and a Dad struggling each day just to breathe. The wall of fear is a reality in many situations. 

Mihai is a young patient with larynx cancer with a tracheostomy. He lives alone in a small room inside an old building. This is ‘HOME’ to this lonely and sick young man. He does not know the joy of being surrounded with loving care – he suffers alone in silence.  Mihai is helped by his two younger sisters; their mother also suffering from breast cancer, is currently undergoing chemotherapy. They struggle financially, being in the situation of needing to provide medical care for Mihai and his mother.  Two young girls can only dream of what might have been; in the silence of night the walls of fear grow higher, as they fear life without their beloved mother and brother. 

Ioan, a patient with kidney cancer who experiences a high level of physical pain. His wife is exhausted as she lovingly cares for her beloved husband day and night.  Love is priceless, it knows no boundaries. Please pray a renewing strength may sustain this precious couple through their pain.

There are choices to be made, decisions to be reached. Days of unimaginable pain as a young mother watches her beloved Florin (14 years old), who is in a terminal condition.  It is painful for his brothers to watch him growing weaker and getting worse.  Florin is unable to walk.  He is missing the joy of simply ‘growing up’.The walls of darkness cannot be penetrated; how does a mother explain the reasons ‘why’. 

Terminal illness is no respecter of persons; young and old suffer and many suffer alone.  May they experience the richness of the Lord’s presence; may they hear faint whispers of peace.  

Better prospects?  I find this case study disturbing, in fact there is a lump in my throat as I shared this particular need with Hamilton.  Another school made contact with Casa Grace regarding one of their students. The little girl loves school and has a desire to learn.  Every morning she arrives and quietly finds a corner to ‘hide’.  This little one is scantily dressed; she does not have adequate shoes and comes without food for the day. She is hungry! Her family lives approximately one hour from Oradea. A small house consisting of two small rooms. These two rooms accommodate a grandmother (83) mother, father with health issues, three boys and three girls.  Nine sleeping in one room. The father and the oldest son work in Oradea.  Prayer changes things and we know in our hearts there is grace enough for thousands; there is room even for one more.  Pray for wisdom as we enter into this very different world and yet a world where we can be challenged by a child’s determination to learn as she perseveres with schooling.  Grandma requires ongoing care; the mother suffers with depression. May God guide us to show them the way of salvation.  

‘There’s a wideness in God’s mercy, Like the wideness of the sea;

There’s a kindness in His justice, which is more than liberty’.

Please pray they will come by the way of the cross through the simplicity of our love in offering food and hygiene.  Lord, in showing your love, may we never make your love too narrow by our own false limits. You gave your all.  

Levente and Susanna are parents of one daughter and two sons. During the latter part of 2022, we were approached by one of the high schools situated in Oradea to support one pupil and her family. The girl studies hard, determined to obtain good grades to support her family. The parents purchased a small property in much need of renovation and repair; they are struggling with all the expenses. When Casa Grace commenced their support, offering food and hygiene, they were amazed that someone cared. But then we know as I have already shared that there is grace enough for thousands who do not know. How will they know unless we tell them? Shortly after receiving our care they started to visit the church where Monika and her family attend.  They were received and welcomed with open arms. The pastor is a personal friend of ‘the Moore’s’ and has a heart for the lost; he has been visiting this precious family. Monika has requested our support in prayer as the father has recently been diagnosed with the final stage of cancer; there is no treatment available.  At times we may feel our offering is too small, our service insignificant; but it is all about ‘touching lives’

The love of God is broader that the measure of our mind;

And the heart of the eternal is most wonderfully kind’.

May the richness of God’s grace surround them, may the awareness of His presence cover them in their times of fear.  May they come to know God’s mercy and healing in His precious blood.

Hamilton has been drawn to write a book on the 23rd Psalm. Throughout differing stages of life, Psalm 23 has been our source of hope in the light of the changing scenes of time.  The Lord as ‘MY’ Shepherd invites me to be still, that in the quietness of His presence, he can restore our souls.

‘Was there ever kinder shepherd, half so gentle, half so sweet.

As the Saviour who would have us, Come and gather at His feet?’

The Kingdom Kid’s programme.  Dora continues with a love and passion for the disabled, down syndrome and abandoned babies. The children attending the centre receive personal therapy now hosted in Adam’s Room, a room personally designed and equipped by us where these precious gems experience love and security through the art of play.   

The Vocational Training Room continues under the direction of Dana assisted by Berta and Stefan. The ladies study modules with a determination to succeed.  Coffee Break is special, as here, God’s word is shared together with God’s Bounty.  May God use all our words and indeed our small acts of kindness to bring the knowledge and the awareness that people need the Lord.  May our students be encouraged as they discover the secrets of tailoring! 

Dark clouds bring elements of night; the thunder of poverty gathers with a forceful wind.   Love and trust have disappeared only to be replaced with a pressure so great that lives are continuously crushed by the storm.  Hearts beat with fear and the walls of security are falling down.  We are so thankful our witness in Iochebed is known as a place where peace can be found.  Clients have received food, clothing, shoes.  Stoves and wood have been purchased where needed with medical tests, treatments all financed.  Our doors remain open and there is a welcome for all.

Alina (39) is a mother to four children.  She came to Iochebed requesting a pregnancy test – the result was positive (eight weeks pregnant).  The test results brought panic, Alina confessed she was unhappy and confused. She left our counselling session undecided, assuring our team she would inform us of her final decision.  May the Lord guide this lady in her choice and guide her in wisdom.  

Carmen (17) a very young seventeen-year-old, came to our centre in Suceava suspecting she was pregnant.  We arranged for a test which confirmed Carmen was six weeks pregnant; she was devastated.   We informed her that life is precious, a gift from God.  I ask you to pray that she will make a choice to keep her baby knowing that love knows no boundaries.

Lavinia (23 is pregnant.  She is in total shock and expressed deep concern regarding her other health issues as owing to the pregnancy all medication has been terminated during the term of the pregnancy.  We pray for peace of mind and a safe delivery.

Adriana (38) came to Iochebed wanting to share her story. A mother of a sixteen-year-old daughter whom she raised totally alone.  Last year, Adriana suffered a miscarriage.  She is now in her eighteenth week of pregnancy and will give birth to a baby boy.  The team at Iochebed have shown love and compassion in their counselling sessions.  May God help her to give birth to a healthy baby and have the family she desires!  We have been faithful in our service and pray Adriana will benefit from our witness. 

Too many have plumbed the depths of failure where tears and struggles are part of everyday life, where many look into an unknown future.  ~A quote from Elisabeth Elliot: 

‘Where does your security lie? Is God your refuge, your hiding place, your stronghold, your shepherd, your counsellor, your friend, your redeemer, your saviour, your guide? If He is, you don’t need to search any further for security’. 

As we embrace 2023, may we desire to know the Lord in a more intimate way.  May we take time not just to read His word, but to meditate upon it, to be still before Him and to listen for His voice.  May our walk, our talk influence others to know and love the One who becomes increasingly precious to us day by day.

Shirley, January 28, 2023.