Peace on earth, goodwill toward men

December?  Where has this year gone? As I try to process the fear and unrest many have encountered throughout this year and are continuing to face daily, I am reminded of the words of Deut. 31: 8 (NIV) ‘The Lord himself goes before you and will be with you; he will never leave you nor forsake you.  Do not be afraid; do not be discouraged’.  We rest in knowing we serve a God who is merciful and gracious, whose love is steadfast and whose mercies are new every morning. C.H. Spurgeon: ‘Let your gratitude compel you in everything you do for Jesus’. A new year lies before us with new opportunities. It can be the starting point of a personal journey of greater reliance upon the Giver of Life.  We need to prepare room in our hearts; we need to commence a personal experience of getting to know God is with us in every season of life.

As I commence writing this report, I identify those who are anxious, worried, heartbroken, without food, without anyone to care – the list is endless.  I pray they will come to know the love, comfort and assurance of a loving Lord who silently waits to be invited into their situation.

A few weeks ago I wrote: Lanko (12) is sinking fast, as his condition continues to deteriorate. He has tetra paresis. Each breath is now a constant struggle even with the support of an oxygen cylinder. Lanko is now fed through a feeding tube and has another tube inserted to drain the infection from his lungs. Every day is increasingly difficult for his grandmother; she herself is ill, many seasons have come and gone in her life. This is now a season of sorrow. Lanko is treasured by his grandmother; she cares for him from a heart overflowing with love. This aged lady gives and gives and gives again without complaint. There are no rainbows in her sky, no bright tomorrows. Soon the winter season will arrive; she will be left alone in the coldness of sorrow.

It is with a broken heart and deep sadness I share the news of the passing of this beloved grandson.  A few days ago, Lanko (12) passed away after years of suffering. His suffering has ended but his grandmother who loved him and cared for him since a baby is left alone with only her memories.  Lanko’s mother rejected him, not accepting the responsibility of caring for a sick baby.  The loving heart of a grandmother took him in her arms and has lovingly cared for him for twelve years.  Her days are meaningless, her heart empty, as her beloved grandson has gone.  She awakens each morning to dark and lonely days; she is in a season of deep sorrow.

Kristof (7) has relapsed for the third time. His family are devastated. The family have two younger children who have had to sacrifice the love and care of their mother as most of Kristof’s seven years have been spent in hospital.  These children have been unable to make memories with their older brother. Kristof’s memories are not filled with the laughter of normal playtime; only the fear of treatment and medication. Please think of these special children this Christmas.  This precious little boy will spend another Christmas Day in hospital. 

Daria (10) diagnosed with spinal amyotrophy has undergone a recent surgery to straighten her spine. It was a most difficult surgery followed by extreme bone pain.   Another precious little one who should be outside playing with her friends. Yet, sickness is her only companion.  Daria’s mother asks from a broken heart to whisper Daria’s name in your prayers. 

Kevin is stable and able to attend school on a regular basis.  Following his last procedure, his consultant recommended Kevin to lose weight in order to relieve the pressure on his legs and feet.  Kevin celebrated his fourteenth birthday this week and is growing into a fine young man. He has now lost weight and is feeling the benefit when walking.  Prior to his birthday, his voice suddenly changed, Robi would be proud of his young son. 

Livia is a patient recently diagnosed with breast cancer. The tumour exulcerated, causing her extreme pain. Livia has added complications owing to a metastasis which is spreading throughout her body.  Fluid retention is causing swelling, presently, one leg is causing a high level of concern. Following a recent consultation her consultant informed her of the possibility of amputation. My heart is sinking as I write. The pain, the burden, the decisions this precious lady is hiding in the corner of her heart.  She is totally alone without any family connections.  A friend has opened her home to her just now to ensure she receives food and nourishment.  In the dark nights of loneliness, the reality of a decision is crowding her troubled mind.  Please pray for this dear lady.

Marioara is a patient with colon cancer.  The cancer is causing metastasis in other vital organs, especially her lung area.  Marioara is fully dependent on a portable oxygen device. She is one of many of our patients who struggle to breathe. Her illness and the prospect of a future is creating anxiety, she suffers from panic attacks when she has an attach of dyspnoea, a sudden, severe attack of shortness of breath.  Remember Marioara. 

Elena is another one of our patients diagnosed with breast cancer.  She is still undergoing a series of chemotherapy treatments.  Elena is a widow; all of her children live abroad.  Her days are lonely. In fact, Elena has expressed the silence of loneliness is much more difficult to bear than her illness. I pray for many who long for the doorbell or the telephone to ring, just to hear another voice. Real people with a real longing just to matter to someone.  Elena’s sister and brother-in-law, neighbours try to call. These are the cold facts of reality; please remember those you know who are alone.

Elisabeth was one of the first patients I met on my first visit to Romania weeks after my marriage to Hamilton in 2012. She is lovingly cared for by her beloved husband John.  Elizabeth has undergone several surgeries for cancer. The Lord touched Elizabeth and she has been in remission.  Recently it was confirmed her cancer had returned and immediate surgery was arranged.  She has recovered well after the surgery and is undergoing a series of mild chemotherapy, which her body appears to be coping with exceptionally well. John and Elizabeth are members of Emanuel Baptist Church. On each of my home visits, John would sing a psalm, while Elizabeth would read the scriptures.  A special couple who love the Lord, in and out of season.

Suceava has been greeted with the first of the Romanian snows.  I remember as a child singing ‘Snowy flakes are falling softly clothing all the world in white’.  This was not the case on this particular morning. Many families had no firewood; there are barefooted children without adequate clothing and shoes.  Families may appear resilient, even indestructible, yet the panic was evident as families came pleading for help. Your donations made a real difference, as we were able with God’s help to show His love to many families who had no food or wood for the winter, or whose children were without clothes or shoes. Six new babies were born this month, our team in Iochebed have been assisting all six families with pampers, clothes and medication.  

Paraschiva was born close to term – at thirty-seven weeks weighing only 1.9 kilos.  This precious little one was born with a severe infection. She suffered an internal haemorrhage and was unable to breathe without intervention for the first few days.  The doctors did not expect the baby to survive.  The young parents talked to the Lord about baby Paraschiva. The Lord heard their prayers and the baby is beginning to gain weight. There are underlying concerns regarding her heart and eyesight. She will be sent for further investigations to a specialist hospital in the country. May God touch this baby girl and watch over her development.

 Delia is a mother of a five-month baby girl who recently discovered she is twelve weeks pregnant. She is feeling weak and unable to consume food owing to the extremity of her morning sickness. Pray for this young mother that the Lord will sustain her throughout her remaining weeks or pregnancy.  

Ani is a mother of a little one aged two; she too is pregnant again. Ani is mentally unprepared for another baby and is feeling most distressed at the prospect of giving birth to another little one. Ani needs our prayers to accept this little one is a gift from the Lord who will be a blessing to her.

Sorina is the mother of two children.  She came to our centre asking for our help. She was diagnosed with a disease that causes her extreme pain. Our team spent time with her offering wise counsel and direction which has helped her.  Sorina praised the Lord for His care, asking for grace during in these difficult times.

Doina is a single mom with a three-year-old girl.  Doina is deaf and mute.  They live in freezing conditions without heat. She asked if she could be considered for a furnace to help her and her little one keep warm during the winter months.  She was not turned away. A furnace was purchased and installed in order that this little family may know warmth and comfort in the place they call ‘home’.  May God bless them and touch their hearts with His love!

Our families have no foundation to build a secure future. For many, all hope of such has faded and they feel forsaken and alone. We try in love to show them and tell them that when our hope is secure, we can give thanks even in the darkness of every season.  They open their eyes each morning thinking ‘If only I knew where to go, if only, if only …’  Unanswered questions, wrestling with the consequences of wrongful choices.  Every season is the same.

Rebeca (12) is a beautiful young lady with a burning desire and an eagerness to learn the art of tailoring. However, she lives in Vascau which is ninety kilometres from Oradea. Our Vocational Training Room is meeting the needs of many families, while our waiting list exceeds fifty. Casa Grace was made aware of this situation. My team are beyond words, as arrangements were made for Rebeca and her cousin to attend a five-day intense training course during their school holidays and Dana (Supervisor) offered hospitality to the girls in her home for the five-day training session.  Earlier this month, I felt compelled in my heart to upgrade our embroidery machine. This turned into an amazing journey of faith, ending in God’s provision.  My lesson – listen to the stillness of His voice.  How blessed to have met this need and to think Rebeca can dressmake for her twelve siblings.

Albert (10) displays a fear, a sadness. His parents divorced after his father created ongoing problems due to his alcohol addiction. Naomi (mother) is trying to keep her family together.  Albert’s sister, Renata is nineteen. They are forced to live in rented accommodation. Naomi is very encouraged by the vital food and hygiene support, the added blessing of shoes, backpacks, blankets, clothes! We live to serve and pray that through our service they will come to know the One whose love will never fail them.

Two small girls of two and four live with one step sister (10) and two brothers (12) and (14). They live in a remote village approximately one hour from Oradea. They are going through a tunnel of fear just now.  They need accommodation for seven people and had no other option but to purchase a small village house resulting in the added expense of a monthly mortgage. Calin (father) and all five children have medical problems.  Calin raised his three older children alone, as their mother abandoned her family when Ana (10) was only four weeks old. The father remarried and has two smaller children to this second marriage.   The mother of the three older children has suddenly appeared after a ten-year absence, requesting custody of all three children. The children do not know her, they have no memories of her and do not want to leave the place they call home, the place where they have found security.  Paula, as a stepmother, even though she is young, loves all five children and takes excellent care of her humble home and precious little ones. Paula makes no difference in any of the children.


The Toma family receive Christian love and attention from our dedicated teams. Medical care is provided by Emanuel Hospice who visit twice weekly and food and hygiene come from Casa Grace.  Ongoing medical expenses bring concern and added worry to the family.   Alex has been in a coma for six years. He is very thin owing to muscle wastage. His sister, who was his main carer is now unable to visit on a regular basis since now she is eagerly awaiting the birth of her first child.  This is creating added pressure and anxiety on brother and sister Toma who struggle with illness and depression since the two accidents involving Alex and his sister. The family are hurting, as weeks become months, months become years and still no change. They need our prayers.  Their daughter who had the amputation following the car accident is now eighteen and is waiting to be scheduled in Bucharest for a new prothesis.  She is filled with fear.  Dia who has just celebrated her twelfth birthday has thyroid problems causing extreme weight gain – she too fears the future.  A precious family who throughout all that life has thrown their way remain steadfast in their faith and love for the Lord.  Please remember the Toma Family.


My adopted son continues to serve with a heart of compassion.  I am thankful to the Lord for the years in Emanuel University where I watched him mature.  Andrei has embraced the challenge of service in a village church and for one so young, there are many challenges.  During the month of October, a youth ministry has commenced with ten young people in attendance during the opening service.  Ligia, who was one of my girls in the Beauty of Holiness group is a Proverbs 31 wife. She has arranged a special meeting for the women of the church, inviting village ladies to come and share together. She organised a lady to come alongside the ladies outlining how to overcome their fears.  Last Sunday, two young girls were baptised.  Andrei and Ligia have a vision and God is moving by His spirit.


November proved to be a busy month.  It became apparent that the need for shoes and filled backpacks was causing concern to many village and Roma families.  Unless a child has a personal filled backpack, they cannot attend school.  For many of these children, school is a life-line from the pressure of homelife with all its disappointments and problems. During the Harvest season, various churches held a ‘Shoe Harvest’ in their Church Foyer and to date we have transported over one thousand pairs of shoes.  During the past three weeks, over one hundred banana boxes filled with backpacks, shoeboxes, medical essentials have been transported by Tarsin Transportation. We continue therefore, to enable the Foundations of Casa Grace and Iochebed to show God’s love to children and families; also, Emanuel Hospice, who minister in love as they seek to share the Good News. An army of ladies were involved in the process and we wish to acknowledge Bethany Baptist Church; Monkstown Baptist Church; Agape Fellowship; Deaf Christian Fellowship: Ballycraigy Congregational, Carnmoney Presbyterian, Kilbride Presbyterian Churches and various schools. Threads, Ballycarry. Individual ladies also assisted: Sisters Barbara, Alison, Iris, Patsy, Margaret.


Shirley, November 28th, 2023.  42b Bernice Road, Newtownabbey, Co. Antrim, BT36 4QZ.

A cup of suffering

Alistair Begg wrote. ‘He hears the cries of the sorrowful, and He comforts them, not only in an earthly, temporal sense but also in a final, perfect, and eternal way, by offering Himself as the means of salvation to all who believe. Your King is not merely infinitely powerful; He is infinitely compassionate. And the combination of these two qualities in Him is sufficient to bring you through every sadness and grief of this world, until you stand in His presence and He wipes every tear from your eye.’

Last month I wrote informing you of a new patient:  Andreea (18) is a new cancer patient. Her condition is now terminal and she is lovingly cared for by one of her sisters. This family faces deep pain and hardship as Andreea has another sibling who is very ill; an exhausted mother takes care of her. It is a very touching situation; the family have endured hardship and suffering and are in the depths of despair. Seasons of the heart are changing rapidly in this precious family. The autumn leaves fall quickly as Mum cares for one daughter while another daughter is heartbroken, knowing she may lose both her precious daughters. Exhausted, at the close of a day, yet accepting without complaint, there is courage required as the dawn breaks for yet another new day. With all this in mind, I pray the Lord will speak words of comfort and that His peace will calm this overwhelming storm.  Sadly, Andreea passed away a few days later.  Please pray the Lord will carry this family through these days of deep, deep sadness.

Christian (13) was diagnosed with cancer one year ago. His condition is worsening. Christian is unable to function by himself, being totally dependent upon his parents.  His sister is heartbroken as she watches her brother’s condition deteriorate.  Christian suffers so much; watching her ‘little brother’ suffer has become unbearable.

Pety (17) has a rare syndrome.  He is confined to a wheelchair totally dependent upon his parents.  Recently, his father began to feel unwell, there are concerns regarding an oncological disease. This is a very precious family, who, with a quiet heart embrace the very depth of ongoing suffering.

Aurel is a patient with pancreatic cancer who also suffers from dementia. Owing to his dementia, he often displays aggressive behaviour towards his wife and daughter who lovingly care for him.  Since his cancer diagnosis has evolved, he is no longer able to walk without assistance; his dementia is making him agitated and he very often leaves the bed totally unaided.   During a recent attempt, Aurel suffered a serious fall resulting in a broken arm.  Pray for his wife and daughter; taking care of him has become a difficult call of duty.

Voichita is a patient diagnosed with breast cancer. She lives alone, dependant on a few friends and relatives to care for her. She had a son who died three years ago during the pandemic.  After suffering a stroke, her son was totally bedridden for a period of seven years. Shortly after her son’s death, her husband died too, overwhelmed by the loss of his beloved son, life had lost its meaning.  Volchita is totally alone with her memories, no husband to comfort her, no son to reassure her. Now the patient is facing her illness alone while still suffering from the sudden death of her beloved husband and son.  Loneliness is real, at times the quietness can be deafening.  Remember her.

Reghina is another patient suffering from breast cancer who also lives alone. She too is a widow. She does have one son but he lives abroad.  Her young nephew has accepted responsibility to care for his beloved aunt.   However, recently, her nephew’s wife was also diagnosed with cancer which is now making it virtually impossible to care for his wife and aunt. Reghina who is totally alone in her apartment, now has no other choice but to rely on the help of her neighbours and the Hospice team, Last night I found myself sharing with a friend about those waiting on the doorbell to ring, the telephone to ring. These are the times I wish I could do so much more and the reason shoeboxes for the elderly are being prepared and sent to these precious people who feel forgotten.  Please don’t forget them.  

Simona (25) gave birth to her third child on 12th October 2023 after suffering the trauma of three miscarriages.  Baby Parascheva was born thirty-seven weeks into her mother’s pregnancy, resulting in severe health issues.  Her birth weight was 1.9 kilos and she was unable to breathe normally. Baby Parascheva remains in intensive care, her tiny lungs are unable to provide the required level of oxygen The doctors have outlined the seriousness of her condition, stating the baby may not survive.  Decisions will have to be made, pray for sustaining grace and a calmness of heart. A miracle.

Sorina has two children aged six and two. Sorina has a low immune system and in need of nourishment as she has many ongoing health issues. She is eighteen weeks pregnant and has requested our support in prayer as she fears she may be at risk of losing this much wanted baby.  May God touch her heart, give her peace and make her trust in His power who is Lord and Sovereign above all.

Ionela is a young teenager of eighteen. She is pregnant and after facing a miscarriage last year is fearful, she may lose this baby also. We, at Iocebed, have assisted with the finance for the required medical tests and recommended treatment. May the Lord become real and personal to this venerable young lady.

Claudia is a single mother with two adorable little girls of nine and six.  Claudia is broken in spirit and broken in heart.  Living in the depths of poverty, Claudia was offered the opportunity of a three-month contract abroad.  Social Services have taken her girls into their care, with Claudia now facing a legal battle to bring her beloved daughters back home.  The date of the court proceedings has been set; the trial will be also a trial of a mother’s heart.  Claudia has paid a high price in order to purchase a loaf of bread.  Choices we make out of love can bring pain.

Alexandra (17) is in her final year in high school.  She and her sister Ema (16) commute two hours to and from Oradea each day. The support from our feeding programmes makes it possible for the girls to have the opportunity to receive an education. We offer food, hygiene, clothing, and our shoe harvest and backpacks have been a blessing to so many families.  But we need to go further. Their mother who suffers from various health issues is now mentally and physically strong enough to work part time taking care of an elderly lady.  Their father has undergone a series of chemotherapy and radiotherapy treatments.  This precious family need our support in prayer, as after invasive investigations it would appear their beloved father is now living his final days on this earthly scene of time. As we care for their day-to-day needs, may they see the love of God displayed through even the smallest detail.

Alexa (19) is learning well at university; her aim is to excel in her studies of graphic design as she has full responsibility to care for her grandparents and her mother who suffers from a disability.  The family live together on the outskirts of Oradea in a one-bedroom house. Many young teenagers enjoy the space of their own bedroom; for this family, one-bedroom sleeps four people.  Pray as we serve in love that they will enquire of the One who provides, who cares, whose love is deeper than any sea. 

Iasmina (17) is now in her last year at high school. She had many health problems as a child and teenager but it didn’t stop her burning desire to learn well and receive an education. Transport is virtually non-existent in her village yet in her determination to succeed, transport can always be found.  lasmina is very weak and introverted, she does not enjoy the blessing of friendships.  Recently, her mother had to undergo life-saving surgery and this has left its mark of fear and uncertainty, she has anxious thoughts regarding her future.  This young teenager should be free of care – please remember her.

I cannot explain why so many of my precious patients, families, children suffer such pain.  Each monthly journal of my heart continues to be filled with pain, sorrow, grief, suffering.  It breaks my heart writing of the realities of those I have come to love.  But, this one thing I know is that whatever is in the cup the Lord has given into my hand to drink, I sip with a quiet heart.  I have no explanation, nor can I give one as to why many must walk such paths of suffering.  Not one of us is a stranger to suffering in one form or another and so we must remember those whose lives know nothing of the softness of love, only the hardship of pain. Please pray many will find the One whom they can trust in every situation.  May they hear the softness of His voice saying: ‘Come, let us walk this path together’.

As I conclude a much shorter report, ‘Thank you’ for your prayers.  Last week, I felt I was facing the ‘unknown’.  Looking back, I trace the hand of God in every aspect of my surgery.  A period of six weeks convalescence is required, but it is even in the midst of our pain, we come to know the Lord in a different format. The apostle Paul tells us to give thanks in everything. It is not the experiences of our lives that change us, it is our response. 

Sincerely, Shirley, Wednesday, October 25, 2023



‘Never did His love begin and never can it cease.  It is from eternity and shall be to eternity’. (C.H. SPURGEON).

Autumn in my heart is a season of sadness.  I watch the leaves fall; their season of beauty has ended yet the breadth of sprawling roots firmly established over a long period of time determine their growth will remain. For a few of our Hospice patients their season of beauty is fading and may soon end.  The devotion of my colleagues as they faithfully plant deep roots of assurance, of peace and rest, assures our patients that the Lord is and will be with them in every season and that every circumstance is known to Him.  The storms of life will not overwhelm them.  Pray for my colleagues as they speak words of comfort.  Let us always be sensitive to our conscience and minister in love.  Loving God is loving one another.

Erika, a young patient with a melanoma and multiple metastasis is a very special young lady who hides the scars of her illness behind a smile.  She is finding it difficult to breathe as her lungs are impacted as a result of the progression of her illness. From the outward appearance Erika looks young and healthy, one would be unable to recognise how gravely ill she really is. With such bravery she is in complete control of her own pain management, although due to differing medications it can be complicated.  Most days are spent working in her garden; she operates a flower shop from her home, selling fresh flowers from her own garden. In this way she can assist her grandmother to finance food, medication, as she too is very ill.  During the first visit of our homecare team, Erika shared with us that she is on a spiritual journey, trying to find something, someone that will give her hope. We pray her searching will end as she meets the one who will walk every step of life’s journey with her.

Dorin, a patient with colon cancer, has undergone five consecutive surgeries during recent months. As a result, he is very weak and becoming extremely frail. Still, in the midst of all of this, Dorin has faith that he will recover and return to his normal life.  Our team requires Godly wisdom in speaking with him as they endeavour to tell him the way of salvation. But also, in maintaining hope in spite of his terminal illness.

Raluca is the daughter of a patient we lost a few months ago. This precious young lady has lost both her parents through cancer, Raluca is now totally alone with no close family remaining except for one aunt and a cousin who are also fighting breast cancer. Raluca is overwhelmed by loneliness, dealing with suicidal thoughts and feelings of hopelessness. May she hear a still small whisper ‘take my hand, you are loved’ and find everlasting peace.

Love holds everything and everybody together’ (Col 3: 14) NLV.

Florica is suffering from lung cancer. Due to this recent diagnosis, she has now moved to the home of her daughter as she is in need of constant care. Florica shared with us that she has never been ill throughout her entire lifetime; now the thought of not being in control of personal matters, or to be able to manage things by herself, is daunting.  The prospect of death is a reality and making her very anxious and agitated. Her daughter told us that often she is walking through the house at night, restless, unable to sleep, fearful of tomorrow and what the future may bring. May she as Raluca, hold out her hand to the One who knows everything about her and who loves her unconditionally.   The Word of God is filled with stories of love, yet this broken world is dying from a lack of love.

Andreea (18) is a new cancer patient.  Her condition is now terminal and she is lovingly cared for by one of her sisters.   This family faces deep pain and hardship as Andreea has another sibling who is very ill; an exhausted mother takes care of her.   It is a very touching situation; the family have endured hardship and suffering and are in the depths of despair.  Seasons of the heart are changing rapidly in this precious family.  The autumn leaves fall quickly as Mum cares for one daughter while another daughter cares for her beloved sister. Andreea is deteriorating rapidly.  This mother’s heart must be broken, knowing she may lose both her precious daughters.  Exhausted, at the close of a day, yet accepting without complaint, there is courage required as the dawn breaks for yet another new day.  With all this in mind, I pray the Lord will speak words of comfort and that His peace will calm this overwhelming storm. ‘The steadfast love of the Lord never ceases; His mercies never come to an end; they are new every morning; great is your faithfulness’.  (Lamentations3: 23).

Ismael has been in our care for many years. He has undergone multiple bowel surgeries during his young life. The family live in a small town but within the Roma community. As their family grew, it was evident the season of change had arrived. During one of their mission trips, our work team extended their one storey, one room home by building a ‘loft’ in order to facilitate their growing family.  But one ‘dark eyed toddler’ entered my heart – Ismael.   I have watched him grow and mature into a fine young student.  His weight loss is a cause for concern; he also has an ongoing worry and struggles with his colostomy bags. He was one of the children who attended our Hospice camp recently. It was his first time he was able to attend. Estera was overjoyed as she watched him play as a normal child should during their recreational time.  Presently, we are sourcing appropriate medical items suitable for Ismael. 

Ianko (14) is sinking fast, as his condition continues to deteriorate.  He has tetra paresis. Each breath is now a constant struggle even with the support of an oxygen cylinder.  Lanko is now fed through a feeding tube and has another tube inserted to drain the infection from his lungs.  Every day is increasingly difficult for his grandmother; she herself is ill, many seasons have come and gone in her life, this is now a season of sorrow.  Lanko is treasured by his grandmother; she cares with him from a heart overflowing with love. This aged lady gives and gives and gives again without complaint.  There are no rainbows in her sky, no bright tomorrows. Soon the winter season will arrive; she will be left alone in the coldness of sorrow.

Many think their situations are hopeless.  Nothing is impossible with our God. May these precious patients, young and old, their families, our team, know a peace that passes all understanding. 

In this hustling world where many are measured by their ‘achievements’ in life, we encounter those who simply fall short of what they feel is expected of them in order to be accepted. Lives engulfed by a feeling of worthlessness, enslaved by a wasted life filled with wrong decisions, resulting in tragic consequences.  They found no loyalty in the love they chose, yet they hope against hopelessness their seasons will change. Our faithful team in Iochebed tell of a love that is beyond all, a love that will never leave or forsake. Still, the season of hurt remains, it is still winter in many broken hearts.  The look on the faces of little children as young mothers come asking for food and basic essentials; these little ones are hungry!  Where is the spring, summer?  The autumn leaves fall throughout the year followed by a harsh and relentless winter. We welcome those who come, telling them they are loved, loved with a love beyond all.  A bewildered look follows as they whisper ‘But who am I, really, even me?’.  God’s love is limitless and remains, yes, even in our failures. The hymnwriter penned so truly: ‘The love of God is greater far, than tongue or pen can ever tell, It goes beyond …’

Alina (23) is fearful as she anticipates the birth of her child next month. Her joy is overshadowed by the fear of giving birth naturally. During a recent consultation with her obstetrician, she inquired regarding the possibility of a caesarean section; this was not an option.  Please pray Alina will find peace and accept the benefits of a natural pregnancy/ birth, may she gain strength and confidence which will enable her to welcome her gift of life into her longing arms.   

Georgiana.  I have written about this case study on many occasions.  Georgina has two young children; her husband was under house arrest, but is now serving the remainder of his sentence in prison.  A lonely and distraught figure appeared in the doorway of Iochebed where Gabi welcomed Georgina and her children with open arms and a hot cuppa. She was clearly in a state of panic and came pleading for help.  She was asked to leave the house of her husband’s parents.  She and her children have returned temporarily to her father’s home but this is ‘temporary’. Gabi spoke lovingly to her, assuring her we will assist during this period when she is striving to exist from day to day. Our feeding programme will supply food and hygiene, baby clothing, pampers, dried milk. Certainly, winter in Georgina’s heart, help us breathe fresh air into this season of dearth when all the leaves are falling, help us counsel her in such a way her strivings will cease.

Maria Tabita (18) is twenty weeks pregnant.  A young teenager worn out, struggling to understand ‘why me?’ A young life that should be filled with the joys of spring is gripped by fear of her future.  Maria Tabita is unable to attend a hospital as her identity card has expired, resulting in the fact that no consultations, scans, medical tests etc. can take place.  Her parents have distanced themselves from their daughter owing to her decision to abandon school and move in with her boyfriend.  Annie Johnson Flint wrote a poem ‘The Double Clasp’ Verse 1:

The Saviour’s hand – how close its hold. That none can loosen, non can break,

No powers of heaven or earth or hell. That loving clasp can ever shake’.

This young lady needs to place her hand into the hands of the Lord who can intervene in this situation, mending the brokenness of relationships, the healing hurts, bringing restoration, resolving the identity papers. Many bridges seem to have fallen; pray for our faithful team in Iochebed as they repair and built brokenness. 

Gabi writesWe are so grateful for the honour of serving together.  I thank the Lord for every person who has opened their heart to the pro-life ministry in Suceava, helping families to have a better life, helping sick children and parents who are overwhelmed by their inability to provide a decent life for their families. This month, we helped many families with school items, enabling children to attend school. My dear ones from far away, thank you for your kindness and for your choice to be part of God’s story we write every day in Iochebed.

I Cor 7: 32 ‘I want you to be without care’.  Yet our team in Casa Grace deal with case studies on a daily basis who know nothing else but the anxiety of poverty.  Many living in shelters for the homeless with no prospects of a little corner to call ‘home’.

The summer season has ended in Romania with September 11th hailing the first day of school.  One of the most difficult situations for single parents is a child without appropriate clothing, shoes, backpacks filled with stationery also a small sandwich box containing sandwiches.  Without these ‘essentials’ a child cannot attend school.  This is applicable from Kindergarten to Grammar school education.  Many of our Roma children love to learn but more importantly they want to be accepted.   Speaking with Monika today, her words to me and I repeat:

Sister Shirley, this would not happen without your Feeding Programme, the hygiene products we purchase and your allowance for packed lunches are a must.  It is not only the warm meals and clean clothes you make possible, it is also the evidence of God’s love.  May the Lord bless all who support you in this ministry, the Feeding Programme, filling backpacks, providing shoes’.

How can we not care, how can we not remove the struggle of mental anguish?

Samuel (12) lives in a small village with his mother, sister, grandmother and aunt. His father abandoned his children when they were babies, leaving his wife to care and provide for the family. His aunt works as a cleaner, his beloved grandmother is totally paralysed, requiring twenty-four-hour care.  Samuel’s mother has full responsibility for her mother and is her sole carer.  It is tiring and indeed difficult to provide twenty-four-hour care when you have two children to support and ensure homework is completed every evening. Samuel’s behaviour is exemplary and he displays a desire to excel in his studies.  The family attend a local church, Samuel confided in Monika during camp he is thinking about salvation.  Being Samuel’s first time in Casa Grace camp, we identified his sadness as he expressed his sorrow in lacking a father’s love, questioning why he abandoned him.  He is filled with anxiety as he watches his beloved mother try to find resources sufficient for each day.  And yet, as a team, we were encouraged to see that he is really searching for the Lord.  I pray the love and care you give to them in supporting our Feeding Programme will bring them closer to the realisation others care and Samuel will come to know his Heavenly Father.

Gabi (11) is extremely intelligent with impeccable manners.  He speaks English fluently and has attained excellent grades in school. Unfortunately, he was born with a dislocation in both hips, also excessive brain fluids, his condition was not diagnosed until it was too late for treatment. He is very attached to his mother who has experienced great sadness in her life.  Her husband died of cancer when Gabi was young. She herself is ill and has suffered deep depression which resulted in a dependence on alcohol. The wider family try to support Gabi and his mother as they are in need of care and protection.  Gabi would not receive nutritional food to nourish his frail body without our Feeding Programme.  Your faithful monthly support is placing food on their table.  It grieves us that his mother is not open to learn the story of Jesus and His love. She recently received a diagnosis of liver cancer and is presently undergoing investigations to assess the stage of her cancer.  A lot for an eleven-year-old boy to process ‘Who will care for me?  Who will want me?  Will I be alone?’  There is something special about the word ‘touch’.  To touch with compassion, with empathy is to speak peace to troubled hearts through seasons of darkness.  

Natalia accompanied by her two children travel many miles to Casa Grace to receive from our Feeding Programme.  We are unable to visit with them in their home as neighbours ask where and how do you receive food packages?  One can identify the fear in their eyes as they receive from our hand.  The family are far removed from God, yet were content to send their two youngest children to Casa camp. They are humbled by our support, as it provides food on their empty table and sandwiches for their five children to take to school. This case study came to our attention through the schools the children attend.  All the children behave well with the exception of their daughter.  The five children comprise of one daughter and four boys who all suffer from various disorders.  Our team at Casa Grace are in the very early stage of processing and identifying the problems of the oldest boy (15) who, it would appear, suffers from autism. The Lord is able to take negative lives and turn them around in order to make something beautiful.  May all our families remove the dark threads from their tapestry of life and sew silver and gold to make ‘something beautiful’.

As I conclude this journal of my heart, I am deeply moved and humbled by your support enabling the continuance of our three Feeding Programmes.  While in many parts of the world others have nothing and their store houses are empty, because of you, we can offer hot soup to the elderly, a small packed lunch for children to take to school. Much of the ministry of our Lord was around a table or feeding multitudes on a mountainside.  Jesus said: ‘I am the bread of life.  Whoever comes to me will never go hungry, and whoever believes in me will never be thirsty’ (John 6: 34) NIV.

As Spurgeon said, ‘Let gratitude be awakened; let humility be deepened; let love be quickened’.

Shirley, September 26, 2023      42B Bernice Road, Co. Antrim. BT36 4QZ

His Lamp Am I

His lamp am I, to shine where He shall say,
And lamps are not for sunny rooms,
Nor for the light of day.
And as sometimes a flame we find,
Clear, shining through the night,
So bright we do not see the lamp,
But only see the light;
So may I shine – His light the flame,
That men may glorify His name.

Their expectations are minimal; covetousness plays no part. When we pray ‘Give us this day our daily bread’, do we think of those who search in desperation for just enough for today, a lamp lit path as they continue to walk aimlessly their path of darkness. Fear is real, burdens of the unknown passed down from generation to generation. Life has been unkind bringing change for both young and old. Life holds no purpose; they are tormented by the past. The elderly is tired of fighting for survival; the young, already scarred, become objective, developing behavioural problems, children entering adolescence prematurely and alone. The unexpected is frightening and many have simply given up. Ordinary people with extraordinary circumstances, forgotten people without hope. As you read the background to my case studies, pray that the transforming grace of our gracious and compassionate Lord will be present throughout every season. We need to link our hearts with the broken.

Many of our Roma girls avoid or hide the truth; they feel ashamed of their shortcomings even failures. D.L. Moody wrote: ‘Our greatest fear should not be of failure, but of succeeding at something that doesn’t really matter’.

Greetings from Iochebed:
Dear Sister Shirley, we are so glad to be serving together, we want everything we do to be for His glory. We are so thankful for His love and care, we see His work in the lives of our clients, we help them through God’s power that was manifested through you…together we work in God’s ministry, may all the praise, all the glory be to the Lord. We praise the Lord for the five healthy babies born this month, we pray they will develop and that their parents raise them well, so that they can grow and know Jesus Christ as Lord and Saviour. May God bless you and reward you for everything you have done for these people in need. We are together in this ministry.

No day is ever ordinary in Iochebed; hurts never go away, one becomes resilient and conditioned to life as it is. My colleagues are kind, gentle as they listen to backgrounds of brokenness, faithfully and patiently making known the path of life (Psalm 16: 11).  

Daniel and Ani are the parents of four children. They shared with Gabi that they wanted to change their lifestyle. Our prayers for transformation in those who knock the door of Iochobed is seeing small beginnings. Daniel and Ani surrendered their lives to the Lord. In January of this year they were married, officially legalising their relationship. On Sunday, August 20th they were baptised in one of our local churches. The old has passed away, the new has come. All the praise and glory be to God who moved their hearts!

Valentina (37) has four healthy children; sadly, she lost a five-month child born with a serious malformation. During her fourth pregnancy Valentina was diagnosed with Hepatitis B. She is seventeen weeks pregnant with her fifth child, family and friends are recommending the possibility of an abortion. Valentina is fearful regarding her pregnancy; she does not want to have an abortion. May her heart be redirected towards the Lord’s greatness in creation. Nothing is impossible to God; we pray Valentina’s faith will be strengthened and that she may give birth to a healthy baby

Mia (21) has an adorable one-year-old baby girl. It has just been confirmed she is pregnant again. Mia needs support as during her first pregnancy she encountered many health issues, making it difficult to maintain a normal pregnancy. Difficult days for Mia; we pray she will rest in the nearness of the Lord who will carry her through these remaining months. 

Denisa (20) is a young mother who gave birth prematurely to her second baby – a baby girl (34 weeks) weighing only 1.8 kilos. This precious little one struggled to breathe and was quickly moved to specialist oxygen unit. Denisa was distraught when she had to leave her baby behind on her own discharge from hospital, but now understands the baby must remain in the specialist nursery unit until she attains the appropriate weight and can breathe unassisted, in order to be discharged. The little one was unable to be fed properly as her tiny body kept rejecting the milk. We pray Denisa will find peace turning to the One who formed this precious gift of life.

Casa Grace Summer Camp: 
The mountain retreat was ‘hidden’ at the bottom of a five-kilometre dirt road. Children stared in amazement at the perfection of the cloud formation in a sea of blue sky as the coach transported them to the centre nestled at the bottom of overwhelming mountain peaks. ‘Hidden Work’ perhaps as my colleagues showed love by small tokens of kindness. As night fell, exhausted little ones were covered with blankets of love. The theme this year was: ‘Rescued by Jesus’. ‘Where there is injury’, yes, we had naughty children who were very violent towards one another, their inner anger was real and personal where caution had to be displayed during such episodes. The team felt broken as they watched the tiny ones in particular parade their anger. My two words ‘BUT GOD’ saw the ‘hidden work’. Week one came to an end with Sebi (8) one of the naughtiest children asking the Lord Jesus into His life. The final day arrived; the change in Sebi was amazing. ‘Please tell me, how can I sort my anger without fighting with my fists’. This has been his way of survival. Sebi needs our prayers now more than ever before.

Dan (11) longs for a father figure as his father committed suicide. He is a good boy but filled with anger and resentment, questioning God ‘Why My Dad?’ Although only eleven, Dan displays a strong character, at times is loud and disrespectful. He loves his Mum and accompaniers her to church every week. Hidden work? Methinks not, on the third night of camp, Dan too asked the Lord Jesus in His life, the change during the remainder of his time in camp was amazing as where once was injury there was a calmness, a joy and an overwhelming peace on his troubled little face. But he has to return home!  
Circumstances surrounding our desperately poor families are already included on God’s curriculum but they should also be part of our agenda. Darkness becomes personalised, they literally search for daily bread, a small portion of food would be enough. Your faithful support has cultivated a seed of trust, without our monthly food and hygiene support many would go hungry. Your act of kindness is a source of nourishment to them.

Alina, is a young lady with three children. She never had the opportunity to attend school and is unable to read or write. Occasionally she will find work as a cleaning lady. Alina is forced to live in a state-run shelter for the homeless where I visited many times. Her husband was an alcoholic; his violence was displayed to her and his children. Her two youngest children attended our summer camp – a life-changing five days. Tears flowed as they boarded the coach at the end of their five days. An overcrowded homeless shelter is somewhat different to a mountain retreat filled with love and a lovely soft bed.

Anto (6) suffers from anxiety. He continually searches for love and simply wants to belong to someone to be accepted and genuinely loved. The only smile during summer camp was during fun time. For a single moment Anto mattered to someone. This breaks my heart. Anto commences school in September; without our monthly support he would not have sandwiches to take to school. Aunty Barbara was God’s messenger sending him a filled backpack otherwise he would have been rejected. Hidden work? I repeat, methinks not.

Ale (9) is close to his sister. She will soon become a teenager but her mind is tortured with sorrow and sadness. She is totally withdrawn and lives in a quiet world of make believe. We ask you to pray for Ale and his sister who struggle with who and where they are. They are without purpose, security, but more importantly, love. Their mother recently started to attend a local Baptist Church where her cold heart was challenged. She asked the Lord Jesus into her heart and has since been baptised. You ask: How? This single mother was warmed in her heart to receive monthly food and hygiene from ‘strangers’, questioning when we delivered: ‘Why are these people doing this? Why do they care?’ The answer is simple: We give out of a love that gave all for us. This lady too never had the opportunity to attend school and is unable to read or write. But she can listen and listens intensely as the Word of God is being read.  

Tabita has two children: Maya (7) and Alex (9). Tabita’s husband deserted her and his two children, leaving them totally desolate. She suffers from serious health issues and has no finance to have investigations, treatment etc. Her disability is debilitating and she can only work part time. Although physically unable to work, she has no choice as she needs to provide for her two young children. Both children behave impeccably; they know they are different in appearance but long to be accepted by the other children. Alex and Maya through lack of nourishment are exceptionally thin and very pale; they are unable to sleep. Your monthly support is vital; it is their lifeline as they are unable to pay rent. If they did not receive from our food and hygiene programme, they would go hungry. 

How much is enough? Our children and families are unknown to you, you will never meet them. Yet your love and support enables us to form a bond of trust, friendship, encouragement and restoration. Food and hygiene programmes for our three foundations, Medical Assistance, Kingdom Kids Therapy Programme, Vocational Training Room, reaching lives through the art of sewing. I must stop, I am homesick for my home in my beloved Romania. 

I do not know, nor can I say, ‘I know’ the pain many are going through. I can say from my own personal experience, it was in the depth of deep suffering I learned to know the Lord in the midst of my pain of loss. All of us need to linger long in His beautiful presence where we behold astounding beauty, gain the assurance that the Lord is with us throughout all our earthly journey.

Grief Camp in Emanuel Hospice is a time when one learns that suffering is never for nothing. Many have suffered, many continue to suffer. ‘It is in these very situations which are so painful, having what you don’t want, wanting with all your heart something that you don’t have, that thanksgiving can prepare the way for God to show us His Salvation’. (Elisabeth Elliot).

Kevin and his mother joined us in Grief Camp. Gabi shared her pain of losing Robi so suddenly and Kevin expressed his sadness in growing up without his dad. I smile as I remember Robi and Kevin singing a duet; small things, insignificant happenings are all part of our memories.

My visits with young Damian were always precious to me, he was such a special boy. Robbed of his sight owing to his brain tumour he would shout, ‘I know it is you Sister Shirley, I smell your perfume’. His three siblings, Alexandra, Pria, and Marco benefited from the therapeutic activities in Grief Camp. Their young hearts are still broken, they miss their brother so much. Their faith in the Lord has eased the pain of longing and brokenness.

Please continue to pray for Ianko (14) diagnosed with tetraparesis. As you remember, he had a brother in our care who passed away some years ago. Now he too is in the terminal phase; his grandmother is exhausted. He is a beloved grandson; it is heartbreaking for her to watch him deteriorating every day. Grandma’s tears are real, pray for her.

Alex Toma has been very much on my heart; his family are struggling as they watch his frail body deteriorate every day. Year after year he lies unconscious, oblivious to everything around him. The family have suffered such chaos yet remain steadfast in the everlasting peace in the everlasting arms of love. Many years of hope seem to be fading just now.  

Bogdi is our patient with muscular dystrophy; his mother has been quite unwell lately, causing her to go through a series of investigations. Her main concern and agony of heart is that she would be unable to care for Bogdi if her health fails. She requested prayer.

Delia (16) diagnosed with a brain tumour, also benefiting from the feeding programme, needs our prayers. Her condition is deteriorating. She has four siblings who are living with the family who witness her pain day by day. Hospice children with an overflowing cup of pain, sorrow and suffering. We are not there; we do the next thing, we pray for them.

Aurelia, mother of five children, three under eighteen; her husband died two years ago. Seven months ago she was diagnosed with breast cancer. This week she will have her last round of chemotherapy; she will then have a mastectomy. The children are very anxious, as they fear they will lose their beloved mother. Aurelia is determined to fight with the illness for the sake of her five children.

Zsoltan is the father of five children, recently diagnosed with colon cancer. Unfortunately, the tumour has spread to the abdomen; therefore, surgery is not an option. He has made inquiries regarding the possibility of chemotherapy. He agonises over the youngest of his girls as she has serious development issues caused by family trauma. This family have not been adrift from suffering; they witnessed one of their sisters dying in an extremely distressing manner.

Janos is a patient with stomach cancer who lives alone. His wife died from cancer eight years ago. Janos and his wife never had children; a very kind neighbour takes care of his day-to-day needs. He has one sister who lives in another city, she would visit periodically. Janos can only tolerate liquid food and feeds himself through a gastrostomy system.

Another month, another blog and yes, I am broken inside. Those who know me well, know writing my prayer requests month by month leaves me feeling helpless. I confess, at times I cannot understand why there is so much pain, suffering and poverty. But this one thing I do know, my first step to accepting these situations is turning the key of faith in my heart. Will you open the key of your heart with me?

Love keeps me walking on

Shirley, August 30,2023
42B Bernice Road, Co. Antrim. BT36 4QZ

‘Loving away the hurt’

* used with the artist’s permission

The Fires of Sorrow are real, a personal journey of struggle. Throughout their lifetime many feel the pressure of that raging war within, days when they long for peace.  As I write, I find myself questioning yet again: ‘Am I prepared to set aside my own private personal struggle hidden within the secret corners of my heart, for the sake of others?  My case studies cry out for consolation, lives torn apart by grief. Real people longing for someone, something to ease the pain within their broken heart, minds burned out in need of restoration, the desperately poor who feed on the husks around them, the elderly, whose strength is almost gone, hiding their problems behind a faint smile.    Yes, I am questioning my heart: ‘Am I the one who can build a bridge of love, listen with an understanding heart and underpin their burdens?’ The forsaken, the lonely, the crying child without a home, the hungry, the lost need to know of the One who came because He loved them. Together we can tell them of the One who can mend the broken heart, restore relationships and rebuild a bridge of hope.   ‘Then He put His hands on his eyes again and made him look up.  And he was restored and saw everyone clearly’ Mark 8: 25. 

Young and old experience anguish and despair, dark shadows of loss.  How can I begin to interpret the sorrow in the heart of our darling Paula (11).  Everything may look the same but nothing will ever be the same again. ‘Mummy’ has gone.   

Paula’s mum died one week ago after fighting a long battle with cancer. She has no siblings and there was a very special bond between Paula and her treasured mum.  She knew her mum would not recover.  One morning, prior to her passing, Paula cradled her mum and gently hugged her, whispering softly, ‘I love you mummy; I will always love you’.   The pain of these words, uncertain of who will care for her in sickness, attend to her scraped knee, cook her favourite meal, laundry …. Who will love away Paula’s hurt, who will show they care?

Recently, we took into our care a sweet little girl of four years of age diagnosed with a rare syndrome (AGS syndrome). She is fed through a gastrostomy and is only able to communicate through signs. She has two older siblings who are deeply affected by their younger sister’s illness. Her older sister is involved in her care as the father is working abroad.  There was no employment to be found in Romania and he had to make the heart-rendering decision to leave his family to find employment in another country in order to provide for them.  No daddy to read her a bedtime story or a special kiss ‘Goodnight’ for Daddy’s girl.  Who will love away this little darling’s hurt?

Kristof (7) has now been admitted to hospital for chemotherapy. He has two younger siblings at home. The family live in the depths of poverty, their darkness is black and yet they hide the scars of life behind a smile of thankfulness.  Who would love us enough to provide food on our table or would love us enough to show they care?  The family are very grateful each time we provide food for them. Will you love away the hurt of little Kristof – chemotherapy is frightening for one so young who is too sick to play with his friends.

In the everydayness of life, we can get caught up in so many practicalities, my alone time with the Lord is ‘mine’ – a special time when I can really ‘talk’ to Him and where He reminds me that I always must make time for others, including those for whom each minute of each day is a strain.  I am drawn to my dear friend Elizabeth who has fought a long battle with cancer.  My visits in their small humble home are engraved in my heart, where John would read the Scriptures and Elisabeth would sing.  On occasions, a few of our patients enter remission – Elizabeth was one of them.  Her cancer returned resulting in immediate surgery.  She is now at home where she is under the loving care of our medical team.  My colleague Adriana is overseeing her care on a daily basis.  Our Hospice team certainly love away all fear.

Two other precious patients who were also in remission and who are now in a critical condition.  Margareta was diagnosed with colon cancer ten years ago, during this time she had a colostomy and was cancer free for a few years.  Following a recent consultation and investigations a malignant tumour has been located in her abdomen, resulting in immediate surgery.  Margareta is experiencing extreme pain during this recovery period.   Her husband is very discouraged her remission ended in this manner, as their children are unable to assist them.  Their son-in-law who lives in another city also suffers from cancer.   

Elena, another patient who relapsed, was diagnosed with breast cancer approximately four years ago.  She entered the care of our Hospice team as the chemotherapy brought her condition to a very critical state. The oncologist changed her treatment and her illness was under control until recently. The tumour has become ulcerated, resulting in the patient’s condition reaching an acute stage.   Elena has no one to comfort her in her pain, no one to calm her fears as her beloved husband died as a result from Covid.  Her only son is trying to care for his mother.  Who will love away Elena’s pain?

Nicolae (51) entered our care two weeks ago diagnosed with a brain tumour. He and his beloved wife expressed their burning desire to be baptised together, inviting our team to witness their baptism.  The decision was not taken lightly as they believed in their hearts if they followed the Lord in this way, the Lord would graciously touch Nicolae.  Our team continue to care for Nicolae and see evidence that the Lord is working in the hearts of this precious couple who have placed their future in the One who loves them most. Pray with us that their faith will remain steadfast even if Nicolae’s condition deteriorates.  Nicolae is stable at present; however, his illness can become more aggressive at any time.

Florica is a patient suffering from pulmonary cancer with metastasis situated all over her abdomen especially the lower part.  Due to the tumours, she is confined to an armchair where she remains throughout the day and also sleeps in it at night.  This precious sister is fully dependant on an oxygen machine … she has no quality of life; her days are filled with pain and she is discouraged within.  Florica has one desire: ‘I want my suffering to end’.  Who will love away her hurt?  ‘Bow down your ear, O Lord, hear me; for I am poor and needy.  Preserve my life, for I am holy; You are my God; save Your servant who trusts in You!  Be merciful to me, O Lord, for I cry to You all day long’.  Psalm 86: 1-3.

There are many heartaches deep within the hearts of many; the weight they carry is heavy, the need of comfort is real.  The Lord will never give strength today for tomorrow, or indeed for this next hour.  Of this one thing I am sure, the Lord will give strength for the strain and anxiety of each second of each minute. They must know, we must tell them, ‘Jesus cares.

Our word is our bond; we speak in love praying our words will be planted as a seed and grow.  The team in Iochebed continue to speak words in love, sharing Godly counsel with those who come.  Some seed may fall on hard ground where growth can be disappointing, but then again some may fall on soft and fertile ground, ready for growth.  The Lord has been blessing our small team in Iochebed.  Gabi, Mihaela and Loredana have been sowing seeds in lives scarred by hidden wounds of rejection and disappointment.  The team shared with us their joy in the safe arrival of fourteen babies born during this month. They wish to express their love and thanks to those who support the work of Iochebed.  Many ladies and young girls continue to walk a desert road. 

Denis is an adorable little boy of eleven months.  Sadly, he was born with glaucoma, he has no sight in one eye with only 20% vision in the other.  Surgery has been scheduled late July where a specialist team will attempt to raise the percentage from 20% to 50% vision in the one eye. Baby Denis has already undergone surgery for the eye that is not functional. Unfortunately, there were serious issues warranting another intervention the following day.  This precious little bundle of joy is suffering extreme pain and discomfort since the second surgery.  His young mother is distraught and fearful of this next surgery.  May the Lord gather this little one in His arms and touch his eyes, removing all pain and causing Denis to have perfect vision. I pray his young mother will come to know the healer of shattered hearts.

Cosmina is a young mother having two children aged two and an adorable baby girl aged eleven months. Cosmina came to Iochebed searching, reaching out to us in the depth of her despair, searching for peace in her moments of hardship.  Her baby was admitted to hospital suffering from pneumonia. This tiny bundle remains unwell and requires ongoing treatment.  The medication is not a luxury, but is essential if the baby is to make a full recovery. Cosmina quietly asked for our help to finance the treatment for her baby.  Real days of pain, real lives with nowhere to turn.  Sadness fills many hearts, furrowed brows, faces who know only trouble.  Who else is going to carry their trouble?  Through your commitment, we can show them the way to ‘trust and not be afraid’.

Simida (25) was nearing the time of her confinement.  She came asking for our support in prayer as she was overwhelmed with fear owing to her many health issues.  Her young heart was filled with despair knowing the possibility of the complications incurred.  The family of Iochebed prayed together. As she left a small smile assured us peace had entered her young heart. The Lord intervened and despite her many health issues a healthy baby boy was born.  We give thanks to the Lord who indeed is the God of miracles.  This man called Jesus can dispel all fears, whisper peace to a churning heart, refresh burned out minds and destroyed lives.  The mysteries of life can be faced with a confident smile, a quiet heart of trust.  He is the One who can love all the hurt away with just one touch.

Sorina is a young mother with two children aged six and two years.  In addition, she is pregnant with her third child. Sorina has miscarried two babies in recent years, with the result that the news of this pregnancy is having a physical and mental effect on her.  The burning fires of sorrow burn deeply and Sorina fears she is going to lose this baby also.  Let us pray as the baby develops, her heart will know peace and that she will place a quiet trust in the One who is the creator of life.

The power to ‘Change’, the determination to ‘Go On’, the longing for a life filled with meaning in order to leave behind failed relationships, injustices, where life seems so unfair.  Cups are empty, lives are empty as they come to Casa ‘The House of Grace’ searching for a purpose, where life has a meaning.

Our dedicated team at Casa Grace take time to listen and to show love in action.  This morning as we spoke on the telephone, Monika shared regarding one of our beneficiaries, a lady from the Roma community who lives twenty kilometres outside Oradea.

The lady came to Casa with tears in her eyes, sharing that after Casa Grace started to support them, she questioned why some people gave money to help them in the hard moments of their life.  Both of her children attend High School and University resulting in extra finance in travelling to and from Oradea.  A few months ago, she began noticing a significant weight loss.   Monika acted immediately as this lady already suffers from glaucoma and is nearly blind.  Her husband, who works in construction, has serious heart problems. Blood tests and RMN show no reason for her weight loss.  Each day is a daily struggle to find food sufficient for the day.  Her heart is so overwhelmed by your support of food and hygiene that she and her family have started to attend the local Hungarian Baptist Church.  The power of the gospel can change lives. 

The cup of life can only hold so much – many long for it to overflow with love, joy, peace, contentment, goodness and, yes, moving forward.  Monika and I chat regularly by telephone concerning our families.  Let me share a few of Monika’s thoughts as she writes:     

My mind is filled with faces of young children, teenagers, young adults, who are living in families who are unable to provide much-needed food. Each month when I buy the food and hygiene packages funded by Tell Romania, I give thanks for all the supporters who show love and continuously pray for the families God directs us to support.

The monthly food and hygiene packages is not showing that someone cares for them but more importantly that the Lord cares for them. The families have one thing in common, having children attending kindergarten and/or school. These children carry the sadness of broken families, lack of resources, marginalized in school – but your love and investment in them make them to feel loved and blessed and see the ONE who is ready to save them. 

Doroteea (14) is the oldest child in the family. She lives with her parents and eight brothers and sisters. They live in a village many kilometres from Oradea.  Both parents are hardworking, yet are unable to provide the essential food to feed eleven each day.  Two of her brothers have health issues requiring treatment, adding extra cost to the family.  Doroteea is very responsible and learning well in school – because of your support she has the chance to have more time to learn, more importantly, she doesn’t have to go to bed hungry now. She is seeking for God; we would like to ask your prayers for her to find HIM who provides. 

Abel (6) lives with his grandmother, as his mother abandoned both of her baby sons.   Abel is in the care of grandma together with his older brother Petru (7). Both of them are very introverted as they still remember the violent behaviour of their father and mother. We visit them, taking vital food and hygiene packages.   Their eyes search our eyes as they slowly come closer and closer.  There is a fear of becoming close to anyone who may leave them.  May your support open their hearts to know that Jesus loves them.  Who will love away the hurt of Abel and Petru?

Klara (14) and Aniko (16) come from a family who do not follow the proper procedure of hygiene.  They live in conditions totally indescribable. May they both continue to perform well in school and find Him who can give hope and life.

Iasmina (17) needs to feel loved.  A lonely and insecure young teenager.   May she be encouraged by your continued support for her, enabling her to go to school and have daily bread – may her heart be opened to accept the plan of salvation we set before her.

Robert suffers from severe heart problems and is undergoing treatment.  He is learning well in university.  Next year will be his final year.  May he also feel God’s love, care and plan of salvation for him.  

Who will love away the hurt from lives that are falling apart; children who hide behind a closed-door longing for love – even a ‘hug’; Broken hearts where life will never be the same; the elderly who sit alone in the darkness of despair and question why life seems so unfair; Sir Alexander Patterson penned: ‘Make us Masters of ourselves that we may be the servants of others. Thank you for serving with me, your sense of responsibility in acknowledging that others need to know we care.  Many crumble beneath the crushing weight of day-to-day living, let us love away their hurt and replace their fear and misgivings with the courage to go on.  Our assignment is to reach out and touch ‘EVEN ONE’.

Shirley, July 27, 2023  42B Bernice Road, Co. Antrim. BT36 4QZ

*credit image:    eviantart – Sangeeta1995      instagram -Sangeetacs_art      YouTube -Sangeeta CS

‘Life’s Moments’

‘Nothing can exhaust our determination to serve men for His sake’.   (Biddy Chambers)

‘Nothing … can exhaust our determination to serve men for His sake’. Reading this statement, it became clear that in every aspect of my service, whether great or small, I must love the nobodies of this world and in doing so, my service must always bring a sense of the Lord Jesus into all I say or do. I speak only of myself and my own personal commitment to a broken world.  My ‘Things to Do’ list is rather lengthy at present – I find myself overwhelmed at times when reading through the case studies. The music of God’s presence dispels all feelings of inadequacy. God’s timing is always perfect as during my forced period of convalescence, a spiritual surgery took place where I learned to give the remnants of my day over to the Lord and wait for the problem to unravel as His will unfolds before me.  We all need to be ministered to but there is so much joy in serving precious souls starved of love and for whom there is no goal in life, only survival.   ‘Whatever is in the cup that God is offering to me, whether it be pain and sorrow and suffering and grief along with the many more joys, I’m willing to take it because I trust Him’.  (Elisabeth Elliot)

Many of you will remember reading of two darling brothers suffering from Tetraparesis.  You will recall the older brother died leaving the younger brother traumatised by his loss. Two little boys had one desire, simply to be loved. Abandoned by their mother because of their progressing illness, the wider family wanted to place the young boys in to a state orphanage.  Their elderly grandmother was heartbroken and took the two little boys raising them as her own. Lanko (11) is now in the terminal phase of his illness; he is very weak and his grandmother is totally exhausted mentally and physically watching him grow weaker day by day.  She fears the loneliness of life without her precious grandson, having poured herself out in love for him, life will never be the same. One light had gone out, the other light is growing dim.  Soon there will be no light in her dark days of loneliness.

Fabi (21) diagnosed with Epidermolysis Bullosa was stable until recently. The dawn of each new day brings added sadness to this young life as she struggles with infections which are most unpleasant and painful. These infections cover her body with open wounds.  Fabi is a normal twenty-one-year-old girl dreaming of finding happiness, but her days are somewhat different as her illness makes her totally exhausted.  Her mind is crowded with thoughts of a lost life.  Please hold her close in your heart. 

Ismael (13) has been diagnosed with Congenital Megacolon.  The dreams of this young teenager have been shattered.  Ismael is struggling to retain food. Concern is growing regarding the amount of weight he is shedding.  He too has to cope with a rare form of infection, which clearly is affecting his state of mind.  A thirteen-year-old boy who is overwhelmed with illness needs to know love that is real and lasting.  Ismael’s young heart is filled with a blackness, he is living in a desert of fear.  Whisper his name.

Throughout our lifetime we have all experienced hard times, situations we cannot explain and for such receive no explanation.  Yet we know to develop our walk of faith we need to keep walking our path of suffering in order to learn the depth of God’s love, especially in and through our suffering.  Emanuel Hospice Homecare team are constantly battling the fires of deep sorrow.  One lady is going through the flames of a burning furnace.  Ana (42) has a diagnosis of Colon Neoplasm, also bone, brain and liver metastases. Her current condition is extremely severe. She is totally bedridden, yet remains conscious. She has one daughter (11).  Before the birth of her daughter, Ana worked as a social worker, then made a decision to be a stay-at-home mum to invest in her daughter’s future.  Relations within the family are excellent, with her husband is totally committed to the care and comfort of his beloved wife. However, the little girl has become more attached to her father. Ana feels sad that her daughter has distanced herself emotionally from her. She worries her imminent death will affect her family and is trying to prepare them for that moment. These are indeed burning fires of sorrow.

Flavius (55) was diagnosed six months ago with a diagnosis of Gastric Neoplasm. He is married and lives with his wife. Flavius has not been neglectful of his ongoing problem having had several tests during past years. However, the doctors did not diagnose the disease until it had worsened and was in a critical stage.  Flavius has expressed his disappointment, failing to understand why the doctors did not reach a correct diagnosis at a time when his disease was not so severe and possibly treatable.  He feels the doctors have failed him and he is distraught.  His mother was also diagnosed with cancer.  Her records remain within the Hospice archives.  

Paul (68) was diagnosed with Cerebral Metastases with an unspecified starting point. He lived alone but since his health continues to deteriorate, he decided to live with his sister in her home.   One morning, his brother-in-law found Paul lying unconscious on the floor of their home. A decision had to be made immediately regarding the safety of Paul. His current state of health is deteriorating rapidly, Paul has been admitted into a state hospital specialist care facility where twenty-four-hour care is in place.  Real people, real families, young lives filled with disappointment, the elderly longing for comfort.  May the heart of our Heavenly Father who is filled with compassion reach out to all those searching from a hungry heart to be loved and to feel secure.  May all our Hospice patients know they are loved with an everlasting love. All they need to do is ‘ask, seek and they will find’.

Let me take you to Suceava where many young ladies and young girls walk a pathway to a land of no tomorrow. Young lives filled with grief and tears; Young lives defeated and falling apart, please take one young girl on your heart that in the midst of their inner pain they will come to know the Lord.  I pray as you read you will learn to love the unlovable and reach the unreachable.  There are epiphanies to be drawn on searching horizons, beauty beyond compare.  How will they know unless we tell them, show them that His love covers all we need?

Tabita is a young fifteen-year-old girl who is twenty-seven weeks pregnant. Her parents divorced and Tabita entered into an abusive relationship with a nineteen-year-old boy.  Her education was the sum total of four years. After that, she left school in order to care for her three siblings. Her mother suffers from an acute form of diabetes.  This young fifteen-year-old has known only tears, loss and a constant path of suffering. Serious decisions need to be reached regarding her future.  She has made a decision to leave this abusive relationship and has returned to her family home. A sick mother, four children and a baby – they will not be able to provide food, clothing, pay utility bills for five people and the expense of a baby.  Suffering does not have to be for nothing. Pray with me that Tabita may come to know the love of the Lord in the safe birth of her baby and His sustaining grace day by day for this destitute family.

Simona (25) has two children.  However, she made a decision to leave the father of her children and is now married to another man.  Simona is twenty-one weeks pregnant with her third child and has suffered three miscarriages; her one desire is to carry this baby full term.  Unfortunately, there are signs all is not well; Simona is currently receiving treatment.  May the Lord speak peace to this troubled heart.

Gabi is a mother of two children who gave birth three months ago to a healthy baby girl. During a consultation with a paediatrician, it was confirmed there is an issue with one of the baby’s hips.  Gabi has asked for our support in prayer, asking the Lord to touch and heal her little darling.

Cristina gave birth to a baby boy through a Caesarean section owing to complications regarding the positioning of the baby.  Cristina is aware the Lord brought her through this surgery and has asked us to pray with her that there will be no further complications.

Rebeca has two children and gave birth in March to a baby boy called Lancu Matei. She has an autoimmune disease which affects her organs.  Rebeca has now been admitted to the hospital in Iasi for further investigations.  We have supported her with everything related to her pregnancy and will continue to offer support as required.  Presently the urgent need is dried milk without lactose; friends visiting her, brought dried milk and other items.  Rebeca is aware of the touch of the Lord in her life and for the kindness the Lord has shown to her through the work of Iochebed.   Gabi writes: ‘We are deeply moved and extend our heartfelt thanks to those of you who have chosen to support the outstanding work of Iochebed.  Rebeca is only one of hundreds who come searching for love’.  God’s love comes in many different ways.

I want to turn our attention to one of ‘Life’s Moments’ which occurred six years ago.   Sometimes, situations are so painful we would rather not remember them and yet some of my most treasured gifts in life have also involved me embracing suffering such as I have never known.  It was as if it were only yesterday my friend and colleague Dora took me to the abandoned baby wing in the orphanage centre. Many years and I mean many years have passed. C.S. Lewis said: ‘God whispers to us in our pleasures, speaks in our conscience, but shouts in our pain, it is His megaphone to rouse a deaf world’.  Isa was abandoned by her mother after giving birth in the local Maternity Hospital.  Child Protection placed her in our abandoned baby wing.  She was diagnosed as suffering from Hydrocephaly Operated Syndrome with other complications.  Following surgery, a brain malformation was confirmed.  My dear friend Dora has been working with Isa since she was six months old.  During our ‘play times’ with the abandoned babies, Isa was always different.  She was funny, curious and insisted on disassembling all the toys or trying to escape from her cot.   In time, Dora taught her to walk without fear of falling.  Her progress was slow but positive, it has taken years of love, passion and patience to change the destiny of this little treasure.  I smile now, remembering special times as Monika, Dora and I played and taught therapy to these children left without hope.  On my last visit and ‘cuddle time’ with Isa, it was evident she was beginning to speak a little, have the ability to feed herself, define the difference between feelings.  A big step lay ahead … it was now time for kindergarten.    During these six years, Monika, Dora and I have been praying in our prayer trio that the Lord would find a placement for her in a Christian home.  Isa had to watch all her friends go into foster care as she was left behind.  Isa is now seven, still different, but oh, still so lovable.  The depth of this journey has brought me to know that from the deepest suffering of hopelessness, there is a faithful God.  Years have passed but God’s placement is perfect.  Isa is now reunited with two of her friends Maria and Boby and has joined them as their new foster sister in a loving Christian Home.  Our precious Isa has the one thing she longed for – a Mummy and a Daddy who love her.

Deep impressions remain with me, so much so, I have been challenged and motivated to rescue ‘Even One’. Families living lost and wasted lives.  One particular day is engraved on my memory.  Monika drove me to meet with three families, literally struggling to survive.  A single father with nine children confined to one room without proper cooking facilities or running water and where over thirty families shared a communal bathroom.  A young mother with three children again living in one room where ten families shared one bathroom and a tiny kitchen area. A widowed mother struggling with acute health problems trying to raise two daughters, one of whom is severely disabled. This block of flats housed eight families sharing one bathroom.   How can my heart not be stirred to care?  Let me take you on a personal journey into the lives of some of the children caught in a web of struggle.  Teachers seem to recognise the signs of young lives suffering in silence.  Diana is not unique, she is one of many who hold a cherished hope that one day, yes, one day, things may be different.  A concerned teacher made contact with Casa Grace and with great care and a soft undertone, outlined her concern for one of her pupils.  Diana, who has just turned eleven, is a quiet child with a severe learning disorder which does not diminish her will to learn, in fact, the opposite.  The family live in extremely difficult conditions where the only thing guaranteed is extreme poverty. Diana’s mother suffered from cancer and died many years ago. Her widowed father lives out of the remnants of very little; some days, the remnants are nothing.  The struggle was not over, soon after the death of his beloved wife, the family home was totally destroyed by fire.  Cristiann (father) rented an apartment in Oradea in order to be close to a local school. He has built one room to accommodate his other children.  Diana’s father has since remarried, his second wife has a daughter of seventeen and they have a son of four years of age and a daughter of two years of age.  Sorrow has followed this little girl since infancy. She never knew the love of her ‘Mummy’; no time for play, no arms to cuddle her and in her quiet disability she still manages to smile.  All she longs for is to be normal, to be loved and accepted.  Our monthly feeding programme relieves the burden of finding food for six children and two adults, the table is no longer bare.  Monika frames the picture for me, she writes: ‘Sister Shirley, my precious friend, there is a lot of sorrow; poverty and we pray for His appearance in their lives. May the monthly support of precious food and hygiene, open their hearts to receive the message of Jesus. Thank you very much for supporting them and please, continue for transformation in their lives- thank you very much’.

Calin is a devoted father who has assumed the total parental care of his three children. (Two sons aged fifteen and thirteen, one daughter aged nine) Their mother made a personal choice to abandon her husband and three children seven years ago.  During this time, she has never inquired into their welfare or wellbeing.  The father has since remarried. There are two daughters aged three and one to this second marriage. They are an orthodox family, a very poor family, filled with deep anxiety and poverty. Poor in this world’s goods but rich in love one for the other.  May the Gospel be accepted in their lives and bring real changes. They thank us so much for the monthly faithful support to them. It is not a luxury but a necessity.

We give thanks to the Lord for His provision of £500 to proceed with the refurbishing of ‘Adam’s Room’.  Two tables, ball pit and coloured balls, Duplo blocks etc all on order:

Psalm 91 was mum’s favourite psalm.  We read it together every evening: ‘He that dwelleth in the secret place of the Most High shall abide under the shadow of the Almighty.  I will say of the Lord, He is my refuge and my fortress; My God; in him will I trust’. Immediately this Psalm came to mind on receiving news my precious friend Monika’s young cousin Zsolt (37) a godly young man who served in the Hungarian Baptist Church had been ‘Called Home’ suddenly a few days ago. His mother cares for her husband who is suffering from Parkinson’s disease; she also cares 24/7 for her elderly mother.  Her young son was a blessing to her; now, he is gone.  Monika is travelling to Hungary to support her family during this time of sorrow.  The service of Thanksgiving will take place in the Hungarian Baptist Church on Saturday.  Only eternity will reveal the reason why. Zsolt has been promoted to Glory.

Generations come and go. In touching lives, we may have a different point of view but when one hears the cries of a broken heart, we cannot but ask ourselves: ‘How can I give?’   Occasions such as this have been my ‘flashing lights’ on my pathway in the land I love.  Will I return?  Only God knows.  Until then I will keep on serving and loving with gratitude for God given new horizons.  Love and suffering are inexplicably linked.  His cost – our discipleship.

Shirley, June 29, 2023



Each day is different; no day is ever the same.  Yesterday has gone, this morning we embrace the prospect of simply ‘living’ another day, making new memories of what was today.   For many, autumn has come and memories of today will be filled with loneliness and times of questioning. Have I spoken a tender word? Have I touched with gentleness? What memories have I made today?   No day is ever the same, tomorrow may never come, the shadows of midnight continue to fall. Don’t wait until tomorrow.

The tears of a tiny orphan, the cries of an abandoned baby, the overwhelming pain and suffering break my heart.  Life has lost its meaning, its purpose for so many. We need to care enough to cry with the broken-hearted, to assure them the Lord is touched by our grief and that Jesus does really care.   Life slips through our fingers and those we love are gone. Don’t wait until tomorrow.

The cries of a young son as he says ‘goodbye’ to the dearest possession on earth to him, ‘Mum, please don’t leave me, please, don’t die’.  No tender words, no gentle touch for a young girl of sixteen and her brother of twenty-one. Bea (43) passed away leaving behind two treasured children who have nothing to hold on to, only broken hearts.  They did not want to build castles to the sky, they did not want to attain greatness, they simply wanted their Mum. The sunshine of life has gone; they question: ‘Will there ever be light in this darkness?’

Florina (41) was in our care only for two weeks; she passed away this weekend. Florina was an aunt of young Florin who passed away last month; she suffered from advanced cancer and left behind seven children between the ages of three to twenty-three.  The family are devasted as they still grieve the loss of their young cousin Florin.  They are close as families, living only a few houses apart. Moments of sadness are all that remains for these families to hold in their hand.  Life slipped away as sand through the fingers of a dearly loved son and mother.  

Delia (16) was diagnosed with cancer one year ago. She lives with her parents and her siblings (a sister and three brothers). Delia is confined to a wheelchair and is significantly affected by the fact that she cannot assist her mother in household duties.  Her mother and father are devasted seeing her failing health but maintain their hope in God.

Aurel is a patient with colon cancer. He lives with his wife who was diagnosed with aggressive dementia and Alzheimer disease approximately two years ago.  She became ill after the death of two of her daughters; episodes of aggressiveness have become more frequent (on one occasion she stabbed Aurel’s hand with a knife), she is unable to cook or maintain the house. Aurel is permanently confined to bed. They have one daughter who lives in Austria; she visits when she is on leave from her employment. The patient’s sister is willing to help them but is often rejected by his wife as a result of her dementia.

Andrei was a young patient (30) who suffered from a rare form of cancer, epitheloid sarcoma. After multiple surgeries and a series of chemotherapy, he passed away a few days ago.  Please pray for his parents; their depth of sorrow, the pain on their faces cannot be described.  Andrei was their world. Now he is gone and their world has fallen apart.  They invested heavily, trying new forms of treatments relating to his rare illness.  They are devastated and broken in spirit and in heart. The Lord is close to the broken heart – he is the healer of brokenness.  Please pray for them.

Toader is a patient with renal cancer who lives alone.  During the month of February, in the blackness of a freezing Romanian winter, his brother-in-law found him in his bed, unable to walk; he was suffering from frostbite on his toes. Owing to his evolving illness, he is unable to take care of his house or accept the responsibility of paying his utility bills.  His sister is taking care of him.  Sadly, Toader has now lost the ability to speak, his deterioration is aggressive. Hold Toader in your heart. 


The surgeon has removed the cast from Kevin’s leg – the smile on Kevin’s face tells a story.  However, Kevin will require further surgeries in the future in order for him to walk properly.  His mum, Gabi, is slowing adapting to life without her husband Robi.  She continues to care for her mother-in-law at home and has planted a new vegetable garden which offers a place of solitude from the cares and responsibilities of each new day. 

As you travel through the obscure Roma villages found in the outskirts of Suceava, there is no evidence of wealth, only the awareness of struggle. Disappointment, temptation, doubt, depression are part of everyday life.  Many question, does God really care; is God really real?   How will they know unless we tell them that once you come face to face with Jesus, His love is real and lasting.  Gabi writes: Dear Sister Shirley, Praise the Lord for His faithfulness, He always keeps His promises, we are full of joy and thankful because He chose to use us in His ministry. He deserves all the honour and all the glory. He guided us to make good decisions to help these women and their families with your support.  We want to thank those who donated for the people in need! We thank you in their place, the people are grateful and thank you for caring for them.  I attach a picture of a furnace we were able to purchase from your gift for a family without heat.  It is a joy to serve with you.  Gabi  

Sabina (21) has three children – four years, two years, six months. Emanuel (4) is very sick, he is unable to stand and unable to walk.  He cannot fulfil the life of a four-year-old boy.  He does not know the joy of play as he is confined to bed twenty-four hours each day. The Lord guided us to help Sabina with the urgent medication etc for the sick baby.  Sabina needs to know the love of God in her life, she was only seventeen when she gave birth to Emanuel; now aged twenty-one, there are three babies needing to know the love and security of a mother. 

Adriana (38) is mother to a teenager of sixteen.  Recently she received confirmation she is pregnant again and although she has fears of sustaining the pregnancy she has decided to keep her baby. For many years she has been renovating a derelict house. However, because the birth of her second child is scheduled for the end of this month, Adriana has decided it is time to move into the house.  Gabi went to visit the family only to discover there was no heat installed.  There was insufficient money to purchase a furnace.  Tell Romania have met the need – the joy expressed on Adriana’s face as Gabi delivered a newly purchased furnace, assured her that God was really real.  We saw first-hand genuine joy and gratitude in this family for this gift. Adriana is aware this gift is from God and expresses her ‘thanks’ to our faithful supporters.  Pray for the safe delivery of a healthy baby.

Gabi (29) has lived a life of pain and rejection.  Seven years ago, she gave birth to a baby boy who remains in the care of social services. Throughout the seven years, Gabi maintained contact with her son.  She is soon to be married and has expressed a desire to raise the boy.   Gabi gave birth to a second child, a baby girl on 19th of February, the paediatrician informed her the baby girl had a hip dislocation.  Gabi was overcome; it was impossible to take the baby to a specialist due to lack of finance.  We have covered all fees, we ask the Lord to touch baby Mara.

Corina is a client who received our support for a period of three years after making the decision to keep her pregnancy during an extremely difficult time in her life. She gave birth to a baby girl (she has a son of eighteen).  Her son of eighteen had a relationship with an older woman who already had a child of her own. A baby was born seven months ago and given into the care of Corina (grandmother).  The mother of the baby proved irresponsible, stating her desire to abandon the baby. Last week, she left the family home with her other child, leaving the baby totally alone in the house.  Corina was devastated, stating she will not abandon her baby grandson.  She is willing to take on the responsibility of raising the baby but lacks financial support.  Corina barely survives with her own daughter of three years of age as her husband is in prison. 

Partnership with all my foundations has become my life.  Sister(s) Estera, Monika and Gabi are precious to me, I am privileged to serve in this wide-ranging ministry.  However, as I chat from day to day on a one-to-one basis, I feel their pain and indeed the strain of the work.  Monika writes: Personally, I had a special time remembering that He provides, He transforms, and yes, His timing isperfect. Mothers, fathers, young boys and girls, as they look back, all say that the support, care and love of God, through us, received from brothers and sisters in God, came in the darkest moments.  It was great to remember again that we have a loving God, who is present even in the blackness and hopelessness life can bring. Thank you very much for serving with us, praying and working to save lives.

Those working within the educational sector juggle many different responsibilities.  Time-tables are accompanied by a list of ‘things to do’, their compass for guidance and direction.  At times the ‘schedule’ can become interrupted by circumstances of concern where I view this particular situation as the Lord graciously opening a door of opportunity.  Monika received another telephone call from a member of staff from the local grammar school regarding one of their students.   Tibor (18) comes from an extremely poor family, who struggle each day simply to survive.  He is an upright young man who possesses the qualities of excellence as a student, always working to attain the highest of grades.  As a family, they are going through a period of darkness.  Since the beginning of Covid, his mother has been unemployed, his father earns a minimum wage and Tibor is working a few hours to help put food on their table.  The problem deepens.   They live in a small apartment which is totally over-crowded, housing two parents and four children, (Tibor), (18), two brothers, (16 & 13), one sister, (10). The father is from the Roma community which limits him within the employment sector; he is willing to work and continues to seek employment where he can.  The mother is totally supportive regarding her children’s education, always encouraging them to study.  She wants to work but opportunities are few for the Roma community.   Pray for my colleagues in Casa Grace that through our small service of love, this family will know that Jesus is aware of their situation and cares about the everydayness of their lives.  May the Lord direct their steps and bring about a transformation. 

Reka is an adorable little girl who is raised by her elderly grandparents.  Her grandparents love her dearly, their level of love and care are beyond words. Reka’s grandmother developed serious complications which affected her eyesight, resulting in admission to hospital.   Following scans, tests etc, a series of surgeries was performed; she is now going through a period of convalescence.  We pray the Lord will touch this dear sister granting her the strength to care for her precious granddaughter. Her beloved grandfather also succumbed to a serious bout of asthma which resulted in him also being admitted to hospital for a period of two months.  During these months of uncertainty, Reka became fearful.  If she were left alone, who would love and care for her?  Her grandparents are her only family.  The Lord knew the fears of her wee heart and grandpa is finally home.  There is a smile on little Reka’s face again.  They are so thankful for our support at all levels. Please continue to pray for them that they may gain strength and stay strong in the Lord knowing that at the close of each day, they can rest in the fact that the Lord is the One who knows every step they take. 

Olivia has a little girl of seven years of age and pregnant now with her second child.  Olivia decided to commence one of our training modules offered in the Sewing Training Course, in the hope of securing future employment.  Life is difficult for them as a family since they are extremely poor.  May her time spent in learning be a blessing in her life as the staff share the Gospel over a cup of coffee.  We offer training but more importantly we offer love and hope, telling the story of the One who is our Saviour, Provider and the One who says ‘Peace be Still’ in all of our storms.

Rahela (15) gave birth to a baby girl one week ago.  Sadly, the baby has been diagnosed with severe heart problems requiring further investigations to confirm the level of treatment or surgery required.  A child of fifteen with the responsibility or raising a baby girl.  A young teenager who needs to learn the importance of raising her daughter.  May Rahela come to know the blessing and importance of placing her trust in the One who will cradle her and her little one in His arms and lovingly care for them.  Love can be extended in so many different ways; may the Lord grant wisdom to our team as they support Rahela, showing her love and genuine care.   She will continue to live with her parents who themselves have many health issues.  This family live in the depth of poverty; there are days they struggle to find their ‘daily bread’.   We can offer practical support but it is so much more important to give them living bread for their soul. 

A footnote from Monika: Before finishing, I would like to underline again how amazing we find that your love and care arrives at the exact time of need. Tears fill my eyes as I stand in the presence of a loving Heavenly Father. Thank you, Sister Shirley and to all your supporters for being God’s messengers of mercy.

Reading the bible’s account of Hannah, her devotion to her home and motherhood are an amazing example to me personally.  In her unbelief, she believed the Lord heard her cry.  Her name means ‘Grace’ and indeed she was a portrait of such.  Clasping the hand of a mother, a child can walk into the unknown with a childlike trust, feeling loved and protected.  My Adam remains in my heart; he will always have a secret corner there.  My friend and colleague Dora has worked with hundreds of marginalised disabled children, orphans and abandoned babies throughout her twenty years plus of dedicated service.  ‘Kingdom Kids’ is a work commenced in Casa Grace where thirty-eight children receive a personal twenty-minute therapy session.  Many of you will recall, approximately five years ago we opened ‘Adam’s Room’.  It was a room designed for children to learn the art of play.  Many of the toys are looking sad with puzzles incomplete, parts missing from the Duplo blocks.  One large desk, two small desks are required for therapy sessions.  The children loved our ball pit with an assortment of coloured balls.  There is something lovely in memories and my memory of Adam is precious and personal.   In refurbishing this room, we can continue to offer a life-changing opportunity to thirty-eight children as they receive their twenty-minute personal therapy session. In addition, twenty-five children unable to travel to the centre owing to their disability, are visited by Dora for personal therapy.  They are without hope and so in our own quiet way, we reach out in love to touch a life, to plant a seed of hope where bread will be multiplied, living bread, the Bread of Life. 

Hamilton and I maintain regular contact with three of his former students, now pastoring in Suceava, Arad and Moldova, who have and are making frequent mission trips to the Ukraine, taking bibles, food, clothing and medication.  This week the Lord enabled Tell Romania to again forward finance to all three pastors.  The Kingdom of God is a living, unshakable Kingdom. He will set up His kingdom within us and through us. 

My adopted son Andrei continues his pastorate in Sofronea.  This weekend he is one of three thousand pastors travelling from all over Romania to attend the yearly Baptist Convention of the Baptist Union held in Emanuel Baptist Church, Oradea, where they will elect a new president for the incoming year.  A special time of fellowship for all in attendance.  As a young pastor, Andrei has a passion for the village children.  Presently two separate teams are in operation, responsible for a local youth meeting within their home church, with another children’s work held in a nearby farm where forty-plus children eagerly attend weekly.  It is hoped to hold a Christian Camp during the summer months.  

Hamilton’s new commentary based on I John has now been released, ‘TO MY LITTLE CHILDREN’.  It was our joy and privilege to donate one thousand copies to Every Home Crusade who are distributing the commentary to pastors throughout the world.  Six hundred copies were also donated for distribution in Romania and Moldova.  God is moving by His Spirit, moving in all the earth. ‘Move oh Lord in me!’

I am a list maker. Hamilton smiles, but it works (for me).  The work of Tell Romania covers many aspects from Translation and Publishing; Emanuel University; Emanuel Hospice; Casa Grace, Iochebed, The Ukraine, Supporting Pastors.  There are days when my mind is in ‘overdrive’.  But laying down our own ability we call upon Him and at times with urgency; His word assures us He hears our cries and responds.  The problems may not be removed immediately but we wait in trust on His perfect timing.  In closing.  I leave these words as my prayer:

The tramp on the street, homeless and weak.

Could be I, but for the grace of God.

The steel of my soul would have weakened and bent.

Had I travelled the highways he’s trod.

Oh, merciful Father, oh wonderful God.

Thy hands have spared me these things.

May my heart know compassion.

As a child when she holds a bird, with a broken wing.

Oh Lord make me strong, not to boast of my strength.

But to lend it to the weak and downtrod.

May I always remember things dear to my heart.                                     

Are mine to hold, only by the grace of God. (Gaither)

‘I can think of no clearer analogy of our place in God’s service and a no more accurate picture of the relative merits of who we are and what we have to offer.  We shall always be just pots, quite cheap on the market, but what we carry for others is priceless’. (Elisabeth Elliot)

Shirley, May 29, 2023


Hannah Whitall Smith once wrote: ‘Sight is not faith, and hearing is not faith, neither is feeling faith; but believing when we neither see, hear nor feel is faith… Therefore, we must believe before we feel, and often against our feelings if we would honour God by our faith.’

A thought-provoking statement.  Retirement is a word not often (if ever) used within the Moore household.  I was encouraged as I read the account of Abram’s life, a man of faith whose steadfast trust and unwavering obedience caused him to know personal blessing.   When God says ‘Go’, we go in faith continuing to listen for His divine direction.  

‘Perhaps tomorrow’.  Two words uttered from a broken heart longing for assurance.  Lives filled with ‘supposes’, living in fear, asking the question: ‘What can I do; will I be able to bear it?’  Dana, is a patient suffering from ovarian cancer which has now spread to her abdomen.  Dana has undergone surgery to remove a large tumour. However, due to complications the surgeon was unable to close or to secure the wound with stitches or staples.  Dana has since been discharged from hospital.  The wound is not healing and our staff are dressing her open wound regularly.  She tries to force a faint smile and whispers ‘perhaps it will heal tomorrow’.  Hope remains, although our Emanuel Hospice team are aware her days are short.  Dana does not know the Lord and very soon she will leave this scene of time.  In the light of these circumstances, I ask you to pray Dana will think upon eternal realities. 

Elena is a patient with breast cancer and bone metastasis. Unfortunately, she is proallergic to multiple types of medication. Therefore, the extremity of pain caused by the bone metastasis cannot be managed in an effective way. Different stages of life bring change, during these days of change may Elena know there is a God who is holding her and who cares about all that is going on in her life. 

Irina, (recently widowed)  Her beloved husband lost his battle with pancreatic cancer. There was little or no time for Irina to process before entering the depths of personal loss as she was still suffering from the sudden loss of one of her sons, who died suddenly from cardiac arrest. Her husband received his diagnosis very recently. However, the illness advanced very quickly.  This poor lady is in total shock, trying to accept that she has lost a beloved husband and a dearly loved son.  Irina sits alone crushing a handful of thorns in her hand.  Hamilton is in the process of adding end notes to another publication. The title is so true to this particular situation ‘Beauty for Ashes’.  May Irina know she can indeed find beauty in her ashes and that the Lord is aware of her brokenness.

Florin’s family. Florin passed away a few weeks ago. His family are broken, as the loss of their precious son and brother is overwhelming.   His brothers are going through deep sadness, their tears expressing an inner longing for their beloved Florin.  Healing hurts and it takes time.  Difficult days for this family as they have another sibling suffering from cancer, as well as an aunt who has advanced cancer. Please hold this family in your heart during these days of trial. They feel they have too much to bear just now.

Madalina is a new patient. A beautiful little girl of twelve, diagnosed with a brain tumour. She lives with her parents and siblings; they are a very loving family who care deeply one for the other. It is a difficult situation where they look for solutions for the many challenges they face on a day to day basis.  Following brain surgery, a couple of months ago, Madalina is unable to walk; she is totally dependent on her family. We trust the Lord to do the impossible in this difficult and tragic situation.

Cristi (7) a precious little boy diagnosed with cancer. Cristi relapsed and is now undergoing chemotherapy. He has two younger siblings at home but his mum needs to stay with him in the hospital. They are a poor family who live in deep poverty. Cristi needs to be close to his mum during these days but as a mum she feels faint in heart, fearing the future.  We offer assistance through the Feeding Programme but we pray she may feel loving arms carrying her through these days of uncertainty.

Needy people whose lives are consumed by the emotional stress of sickness, the emotional strain of lack of finance causing many to live in the depths of poverty.  As I try to enter into these situations, I ask the Lord for strength and grace for our teams who interact with the many case studies coming our way.  Our Hospice team offer love and care but there is only One who knows the purpose of our physical weakness and our inner emotions.  May they learn to give all their fear to the Lord, to know an inner strength in their weakness, to hear the whisper, ‘I will take you through’.

This morning, the showers seemed relentless.  I joked with Hamilton ‘early April showers’ methinks, remembering the saying: ‘April showers bring May flowers’.  Yet for many the flowers of May are buds of pain.  No one goes through this life without experiencing personal pain and loss. Each one of us has lost a loved one; we have had to let our loved one go.  

ADAM: The memory of the patter of the tiny feet of a fifteen-month curly headed abandoned baby in the Oradea Orphanage running into my arms has never left me.  Adam was special from day one and dearly loved.  Amazing eyes that penetrated deep within my heart, a very special innocence was evident as I remembered how his tiny fingers played with the buttons on my coat or how he would empty my handbag – simple, yet sweet memories engraved on my heart. Born with a severe heart condition, requiring a heart transplant, Adam faced and fought every battle during his six short years. The Lord placed his hand on this special boy.

He was adopted by Christian missionary parents. These past days were special to Adam.  Minutes before leaving his suffering body, Adam’s mum asked: ‘Are you afraid?’. ‘I am not afraid’ came the faint reply.  ‘Please sing to me’.  Adam went to be with the Lord as his mum sang his favourite hymn. ‘There is a fountain filled with blood’.  Adam is securely held in the arms of the Lord. He does not suffer anymore. He can play and run in the garden of Heaven. Heaven must be beautiful.  Pray for Adam’s family, it is devastating for the children to lose their little brother. 

Would I like to walk a mud road of steep hills where masses of heavy green or tricking fountains are only a dream? Each day brings a new challenge to many disillusioned girls, left alone to care for their babies, facing the challenge simply to survive, to find wood, to find food even for one more day.  These are the times I know obedience is a large part of my small service.

Sabina (23) is the mother of a five-year-old boy.  Recently she gave birth but the birth had severe complications resulting in Sabina now having serious cardiac issues.  During the month of February Sabina was involved in a car accident and suffered a fracture to her back. The doctors have now confirmed she will be unable to walk again and will not have the use of her left hand. May the Lord show mercy and may Sabina find peace and trust in the Lord. 

Tatiana (27) is now entering her eighth week of pregnancy.  Tatiana is praying the pregnancy will run full term as last year she suffered a miscarriage.  She is trying to come to terms with the situation but has been overcome by the suffering of her loss. 

Petruta has four children and like Andreea came to our centre requesting various tests. To her relief the test proved negative.  In our counselling session we discovered Petruta had an abortion last year and is trying to come to terms with the decision she made.  She was somewhat overwhelmed and unable to talk things through.  We ask you to support this young lady in prayer that the Lord of all peace will speak to her troubled heart. 

Four baby boys and one baby girl have recently been born to Roma girls through our work in Iochebed.  Pray for Gabi, Mihaela and Loredana that the Lord will bless their labour of love to these girls.   All situations may differ, yet for all, privileges have been removed and they feel rejected and alone.  There is no outward expression of inward feeling; their emotions are protected by a safety valve, yet they cry for help. My friend Iris, just sent three banana boxes filled with new baby clothing. God’s timing!   Gabi sends pictures of the babies from time to time and as I gaze into those gorgeous dark eyes, the perfectly formed eye lashes, nails, I see that our God sends beauty and perfection in all things created by Him.  The Lord always sends May flowers just when needed – a symbol of His fathomless grace and endless love.

I lay awake most of the night thinking of my patients, families and my precious Kingdom Kids.  One little boy bereft of love and affection who somehow received two shoeboxes, asked: ‘Would someone love me enough to send me two?  ‘Are these really mine to keep?’.  One simple gift of love and gentleness was priceless to a homeless young boy who for the first time in his young life had something that belonged to him; it was his to keep.

Sebi (8) whose short life has known only sadness.  Sebi has never known love.  His parents divorced, his mother left, leaving Sebi in the care of his father who neglected and abandoned him.  His elderly grandmother wanted to care for him, but sadly she has severe medical problems which make it impossible for her to care for an eight-year-old boy.  Sebi has returned to live with his father and stepmother. His stepmother tries to show love to him as she was abused as a child, abandoned and raised in a state orphanage.  She has never known love and longs to know someone loves her.  We, as a team in Casa Grace are drawing close to this family, supporting them with monthly food, hygiene and spiritual support.  Please hold them in your hearts – may your love reach and touch them as you display the Old Old Story of Jesus and His love to them through our Feeding Programme. 

Dominic (8) is full of energy, but sadly he and his mother live alone. Dominic’s father is an alcoholic and because of his violence, the mother had no other choice but to leave the family home. They lived in a rented flat in Oradea, but the monthly expenditure proved overwhelming for her. Sebi and his mother moved to a village approximately 40 kms from Oradea, reducing the monthly cost. With the help of her parents, she has purchased a derelict house in much need of renovation. Alone, she is slowly renovating, painting etc.  The roof will require major repairs but as for now this will have to wait.  Dominic, is taken to school by neighbours. Sadly he is totally alone until his mum returns home from work, as she continues the work in Oradea, commuting on a daily bases. Dominic is a happy child, who inwardly feels his mother’s pain and sadness.  A hard life ahead for a young boy, an unknown future.  Thank you for your contribution to the Feeding Programme, enabling us to offer much needed support.  Please hold them in your heart. 

During March, we encountered a month of intense battles as we were brought face to face with families going through deep sadness, difficult days of illness where we sensed a brokenness in need of mending. Levente, a young father who went home to be with Lord on 7th March, 2023.  His two little boys asking ‘Mummy, if God is a God of love, then why did He take our Daddy?’

Mariana’s days remain uncertain as she awaits results.  Her surgeon requested that Mariana attend in person to receive the news surrounding the removal of a large tumour and reversal of a colostomy procedure.  Clouds continue to overwhelm her sky. We continue to pray Mariana will find the Lord and will experience a new horizon of trust throughout all her remaining days.  As a mother, Mariana builds a future for her seven children, I pray she will build a life dependant on the love and security of salvation found only in Christ alone. 

Monika who is suffering from advanced Glaucoma, recently diagnosed with a large tumour on her uterus.

The wind of change has blown for ‘Our Dora’ who was admitted to a Christian Care Home on March 11.  Dora will be resident in this Care Home for approximately six months while her father, John, recovers from recent surgery.

We read in Matthew 5: 16 ‘Let your light so shine before men, that they may see your good works and glorify your Father in heaven’.  We continue to shine a light into the darkness of many ladies who attend the Vocational Training Course.  During viruses, heavy snow falls, torrential rain, village ladies made the long journey.  They are made to feel wanted and important, to feel they matter.  We pray for success as they come to the end of our six-month training course.  Graduation Day is special.

My friend Dora wrote to me this morning – it seemed to be a morning filled with emails from Romania: Monika, Estera, Adriana, Dora ….. My heart is still tender as I process the loss of my Adam.  I sat quietly for a while and thought of all the tender love multiplied by so many friends in creating ‘Adam’s Room’ where children continue to receive life changing therapy.  I think of my Wee Elijah who used to touch my face as I sang to him. He is in now in the home of a young Pentecostal family since the fall. The family have three children of their own, but Elijah is very loved and precious to them.   Each week the young mother brings Elijah to the centre, it is evident he is loved as the transformation is amazing.   He is as happy as a little bird; it is sweet to hear him singing Christian choruses. Dora knew Elijah held a special place in my heart, she tells me the ‘kids’ miss me; I certainly miss them.  But then, anything we love, we hold precious in our hearts.  Presently all our children who attend for therapy mainly suffer from autism, down syndrome and severe disability. 

One does not choose to be born into a life of poverty where every second, minute, hour is a struggle. Those who live this life long for the opportunity of finding a new beginning, a peace, in fact for many, a place of rest and refuge.  I pray our centre may become this to young mothers and their special children.

Although our catchment area spans sixty kilometres, three sisters from the Roma community travel ninety kilometres by public transport to receive from our hand.  Each return journey costs £20 in travelling expenses.  One family consists of seven children, two who have severe disabilities.  The little one of three years old is now displaying mental delays. There is an urgent requirement for the family to take the little one to a consultant, who, on reaching a full assessment of the condition can request permission for the child to be enrolled in our therapy programme. The other child is five years of age and has been diagnosed with neuromotor retardation, walking disorder, paralysis to the optical nerve in both eyes, causing both eyes to be crossed and is also suffering from severe rickets problems. 

The second sister has ten children.  Her little girl aged six has a tumour on her face causing facial paralysis. 

The third sister brings her nephew to the centre as she is his main carer. He is extremely aggressive; if he does not receive attention he will react badly.  In the past he has tried to burn papers within the house, becoming almost uncontrollable in his display of displeasure and aggression.

All three sisters attend the local Pentecostal Church. They are very respectful when bringing the children to the centre; their small humble gypsy homes are spotless. The father of each family is eager to work; however, the families are forced to enter the forest areas to pick wild mushrooms and seasonal forest fruits in order to keep the little ones from going hungry.   We are making arrangements to extend our boundaries to facilitate this family from our Feeding Programme.  We have forwarded finance to cover transport for three months to encourage the families to bring the children for therapy.

I have had to discipline myself on many occasions to have a quiet conversation with the Lord regarding those who struggle to survive, to keep my focus, my mind on those the Lord sends my way.  Many die in obscurity; many suffer pain; silent clouds gather around those who know no peace.  The Lord Jesus taught a very important principle regarding feeding the hungry.  May I never forget, may I never be unmindful of those less fortunate than I.   As mothers enter the centre, we have placed a box of new garments, knitted or otherwise around the reception area.  During therapy, mothers can quietly and privately choose what is needed for their little one.

In addition to all the support we send, Tell Romania transferred three months travelling expenses to Casa Grace in order to show this precious family that we care and they matter to us. Let us make an important decision to be interested and involved in everything the Lord sends our way.  We are important to the Lord; people should be important to us. We can set our heart to seek the Lord at any time or in any place, whenever our hearts are set toward God, He will commune with us.

‘God will help us become the people we are meant to be, if only we will ask Him’
(Hannah Whitall Smith)


Shirley – March 28, 2023

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

‘Living to Serve’

‘O God, You are my God; early will I seek You; my soul thirsts for You; my flesh longs for You in a dry and thirsty land where there is no water.  So I have looked for You in the sanctuary, to see Your power and Your glory’.  (Psalm 63: 1,2)

The drenching rain forming floods from freak downpours where without warning, people were swallowed up in the turmoil of reality.  The chaos of earthquakes claiming thousands upon thousands of precious lives, people digging with their bare hands in one last hope of finding or recovering a loved one.  Two little girls longing for their beloved ‘Mum’to return home.  Suddenly and without warning a black curtain has fallen.   I find myself questioning situations such as these, questioning how those without the Lord cope? How does one deal with mornings that are cruel, filled with unrelenting pain and pain that will be unending?

Last month, (January update) I wrote of precious little Florin:  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 come to experience the richness of the Lord’s presence; may they hear faint whispers of peace.  The world is filled with hearts that are broken, tired and weary.  Florin’s young mother is worn out in strength and endurance.  This morning she was beaten down, struggling to breathe as she listened to Florin breathe his last breath.  Florin has gone to be with the Lord.  His mum will never see him mature into a fine, strong young man.  Please remember this family, trying simply to exist, as they come to terms with this unimaginable loss. 

Hamilton has three books waiting to be published – a few days ago, I was proof reading one of the titles: ‘Beauty for Ashes’. I was gripped with his quotation from the pen of Tertullian: ‘No soldier comes to war surrounded by luxuries, nor goes into action from a comfortable bedroom, but from the makeshift narrow tent, where every kind of hardness is to be found.’ He must be willing to endure hardship and suffering alongside his fellow soldiers. Be willing to avoid distractions in the work and be single-minded, giving his undivided attention to the mountains looming overhead.  Our hospice team go into battle every day.  May their armour be the knowledge that there trust is in God alone.

Daiana, a young mother of two, diagnosed with gastric cancer, has been fighting this illness for four years. At one point, she was in remission, but sadly last year, she relapsed. It is difficult for Daiana and her husband to accept the fact that this illness is already in advanced stages and that she must face another session of chemotherapy. The little ones are affected deeply. They are too young to understand and look with searching eyes why ‘Mummy’ is sick. The cases involving children and adolescents prove much more difficult because of the amount of suffering incurred by the children.  A healthy father or mother suddenly becoming a carer, thrust into a life without dreams or ambitions only to be replaced with a horizon of darkness and fear.  But fathers must work to provide food, clothe little ones.  No one is exempt from weariness, especially when struggling purely to survive.

Viorica is a patient suffering from breast cancer, now diagnosed with multiple metastasis spreading to her brain, bone and lungs. She is entirely dependent upon her oxygen device; Viorica lives alone with no close family members apart from two nephews.   She has had to come face to face with the reality that her days are few, aware that she needs to make her peace with the Lord.  Please pray in her final days as her earthly struggles come to an end that Viorica will find rest and acceptance in the open arms of a loving Saviour.

Rodica has been diagnosed with cervix cancer; she suffers from severe obesity, making it virtually impossible for her husband or the Hospice team to move her during treatment etc.    Rodica is still conscious; however, the team recognise the signs that her health is slowly declining. The place she and her husband call ‘home’ has unimaginable unsanitary conditions. They have no one willing to assist as their daughter is working abroad. No one calls apart from the Hospice team. Some people have no meaning in their lives, their life is one of struggle and defeat.  I pray the aroma of God’s fragrance will fill these empty, overburdened hearts with His love as He whispers: ‘Come unto me and I will give you rest’.

Irina suffers from breast cancer.  She is beaten down with worry and fear as she fights the severe side effects of chemotherapy. The treatment is harsh with unrelenting results of extreme nausea and vomiting.  Irina’s sickness is so extreme she has to be fed intravenously.  Another lady totally alone most of the time, exhausted with simply trying to exist from day to day.  Weariness is not always limited to our present circumstances; it can be a build-up of emotional frustration in living a life without meaning. What an oppressive existence some are called to bear. 

A note from Marinela (Director, Emanuel Hospice Team).  ‘Through God’s grace, we received in December, the Diploma of Excellence ‘THE MEDICAL TEAM OF THE YEAR 2022’ given by Romanian Healthcare Award which is the first and most prestigious competition with an international jury dedicated to doctors, medical team and hospitals from Romania.  In order to recognise the innovation and excellence in the field of health, which has the objective to identify and appreciate the examples of good practice from the Romanian medical system and the individual and team achievements.  Cover this team in prayer as they minister to the terminally ill.

It is important in this life to appropriate our priorities.  We focus on those we love, our friends, our families.  Jer 31: 3I have loved you with an everlasting love; therefore, I have continued my faithfulness to you.’  Mariana has felt your love and your prayers.  Without your practical and prayerful support, Mariana would not have survived.  She was admitted to hospital as arranged, however, test results revealed surgery could not proceed.  Our precious friend remains very sick with the added pressure of extreme side effects resulting from chemotherapy.  The tumour is causing her body to retain excess fluid which is proving painful and difficult.  As I viewed the latest image of her, life has been cruel, and yet I am thankful we have had the opportunity to adopt this precious family into our hearts.  I pray that the Lord’s strength will be evident in her weakness and that through our love Mariana will come to know and to love the Lord.  Personally, I want my own love to deepen, I need to learn to love more than I do today.  Pray that as Mariana returns to hospital on 1st March, surgery will be a possibility.  Her future, the future of seven little children rests with God.

Betsie ten Boom wrote: ‘The most important part of our task will be to tell everyone who will listen that Jesus is the only answer to the problems that are disturbing the hearts of men and nations.  We shall have the right to speak because we can tell from our experience that his light is more powerful than the deepest darkness.’ How wonderful that the reality of his presence is greater than the reality of the horror about us.

Laura (30) has two children. She is currently going through a difficult pregnancy; she is two thirds through this pregnancy. However, due to serious complications, Laura had to attend the local Maternity Hospital.   They are an extremely poor family with little or no money.  We have financed the prescribed medication as recommended by the consultant.   One look at the two little ones told us all we needed to know.  Food was a very welcome, yet unexpected gift.  We are so thankful that those without identity know where to find love and acceptance. 

Elena (20) has a beautiful bouncing baby boy…news she did not want to hear has brought fear of the unknown to this young heart.  She is pregnant again. This news came during a difficult period in her young life.  Elena needs to feel our love as we take her through the journey that children are a gift from God.

Alexandra – a busy mother of five children feels the weight of an unscalable mountain. She and her five children have covid. The children have been very ill, suffering from a high fever. We continue to support Alexandra with food and other urgent necessities during this time when they feel rejected and unloved.  Yet, they know where to come.  There are people hurting, disillusioned in this broken and cold world.  It is important to show our love in a practical manner, to the point of accepting that the rejected, homeless, unloved, drunkard, broken, may need you, may need me, but they need Christ. Pray for these five little ones as they remain very sick.

Narcisa (27) is ‘Mama’ to six children. Narcisa gave birth to her seventh baby on January 13th after an extremely difficult pregnancy.  The little darling, a precious baby boy weighed only three pounds and survived for only two hours.   He was born with congenital malformations. It is a great loss for Narcisa; she is broken in heart and broken in spirit unable to accept the loss.  This brokenness could consume this precious young lady.  In my mind I am back in my beloved Romania, in the Roma villages where I was always surrounded by the most beautiful children.  The most amazing dark eyes and dark curly hair.  Worry wounds, it hurts, it causes pain.  There is One who is the healer of broken hearts.

Carmen (17) came to our centre last month suspecting she was pregnant. We arranged the various scans which confirmed Carmen was in fact six weeks pregnant.  Our team detected the depth of worry this young teenager held in her heart.  Worry can never produce good fruit, in fact, worry only adds to our pressure and our stress level.  The more we harbour worry, the deeper our anxiety.  Carmen returned sharing she had miscarried her baby of ten weeks.   May God touch this young girl, heal her body and soul and help her make wise decisions for her future!

The cases of Iochebed are varied but all carry burdens, harbour secret corners in their heart.  As I write, I identify ‘worry’ in every case study.  Worry is part of their way of life.  Each morning, I thank the Lord for another day, I dedicate each day to the only One who knows the reasons ‘why’.  There is great peace in committing each day into the hands that will guard us and guide us.  The mountains don’t need to loom over us.  Those of you who know me, know I am troubled as I write, yet as I prove the faithfulness of God, I can truly say that I know:  ‘Because of the Lord’s great love, we are not consumed, for his compassions never fail.  They are new every morning; great is your faithfulness,’ (Lamentations 3: 22-23).

On many occasions we read where the Lord Jesus was filled with compassion, where he reached out his hand and touched. Thank you to each one of you who have a heart for God, and heart for ministry and for making it possible to continue to serve effectively. 

A Hungarian lady came to the House of Grace (Casa Grace) depressed.  Life was not what she hoped it would be.  Our team spoke words of love to her troubled heart telling her that although she received bread from our Feeding Programme that Jesus was the Bread of Life.  We have added this case study to our programme and at present we are looking into the possibility of securing employment for this lady.  A small income would assist in caring for her family and the responsibility of her home.  Her husband, diagnosed with cancer, is unable to work. Sadly, he does not receive sickness benefit for his children. Pray with us that this father, mother and three little girls will have living bread, the Bread of Life.

Our precious Lord enters into every storm we must encounter.  We, as individuals, all differ in personality, talent and achievements.  Entering the doors of Casa Grace are wind swept lives, their possessions are minimal, they possess no earthly riches, they live in an arena of chaos and crisis.  Eternal life can conquer every storm and so by placing our love in action we tell them of a love that knows no boundaries or has no limit. 

Last month we introduced you to Levente, Susanna and their family who recently started attending Monika’s church.  Levente was recently diagnosed with cancer and is now in the final stages.  This precious family have been greatly impacted by the love and support offered through the faithful supporters of Tell Romania.  A few days ago, the oncologist quietly whispered to Susanna that her beloved Levente was within hours of leaving this earthly life.  The prayers of the Hungarian Baptist Church have carried Susanna through these difficult hours and days.  Levente has heard the still small voice whispering ‘peace be still’ and is quietly waiting to hear his call to ‘Come Home’.  He is in extreme pain and yet through his pain you can hear him whisper soft tones of communion with his Lord.  Our level of support will be important as they come to terms that ‘Daddy’ will not be returning home.  The daughter and two little boys are devastated – the little boys are vomiting each day – please hold these precious children in your hearts.   We will ensure all necessities are a priority with personal monitoring of the children. Our support is important but God’s presence is priceless.

Timea and her three little girls are a recent addition to our case studies.  For the next two years they will receive food, hygiene, clothing … Timea will also receive counselling from our highly experienced social workers.  She is a single mother who extended her love in adopting a little Roma girl (9).  Timea has a university degree and works hard but the challenges of being a single mum, without relatives or friends is difficult when trying to meet the demands of a rising economy to include a mortgage etc. The support of the Tell Romania Feeding Programme places food on their table. All school children in Romania must bring their own personal school backpack filled with stationery, otherwise they would not be accepted into the education process.  I find it amazing as I see the Lord, first hand, untie all the strings. Last evening, a dear friend contacted me stating: ‘Shirley, I have three banana boxes packed for Casa Grace filled with ….’  Yes, you have it in one: No words!  Timea needs to be healed from the trauma of past relationships and experiences but Timea needs to be introduced to the One who will love her unconditionally.

On a personal note: Monika and I shared many afternoons together with a precious friend Emese whose young life ended prematurely.  Emese was a gracious, gentle young mother who loved her Lord and loved her two young daughters.  She remained faithful, serving her beloved Sunday School class until her final hours.  Monika and I have kept close to the children who miss their darling mum.  Emese’s oldest daughter has undergone surgery and we wait for biopsy results.  Please whisper a prayer for a father still grieving the loss of his young wife and a little girl longing for mummy to hold her hand just now. 

The Lord invites us lovingly to enter into His stillness where the mere mention of His name will calm our storms. Come to Him with a whole heart, you will find you will never waver off course.   Just now, why not stop and whisper ‘Jesus’?

Shirley, February 25, 2023

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


‘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.