‘Housebound or Housebuilding?’

 ‘As for me and my household, we will serve the Lord’. (Joshua 24: 15)

A familiar site – a Roma cart carrying possessions of a lifetime.  Roma families searching for a new beginning, somewhere to call home.  Rejected, without identity, yet real lives now overtaken by fear, panic, searching for a new direction to build again. Tears fill my eyes as I think of the many Roma villages today longing for someone to care.

‘In tender compassion and wonderful love,
The Father looks down from on high;
He knoweth the raven hath need of its food,
And heareth in mercy its cry’ (Lewis E. Jones)

Together, we can serve as ‘Friends’.  Serve the friendless and forsaken, help them discover through our service the compassion and redemptive love of ‘Calvary’s Lamb’.  In my reading this morning, I was deeply moved as I read: ‘Who, being in very nature God, did not consider equality with God something to be grasped, but made himself nothing, taking the very nature of a servant, being made in human likeness’ (Phil. 2: 6-7).  Let us break down the barriers, roadblocks, distrust, suspicion by serving one another in love.

Suceava is now under total quarantine, the first city in Romania to be in tight quarantine until mid-April with only goods trucks permitted. The massive outbreak at the hospital has led Suceava being compared to Lombardy.  ‘This is Romania’s Italy’.  To date over one hundred and eighty medical workers (including forty-three doctors) are infected by Covid-19.  As of April 02, the hospital is under military rule.  Hospitals in Romania were not prepared or equipped to cope with this pandemic. The Leader of the Regional Baptist Association died last week.  Another pastor is fighting for his life in a hospital outside the city, while his wife is sick in a local hospital.  Their children are sick and isolated at home.  My adopted son, Andrei, his wife Ligia who was one of ‘My Girls’ in the ‘Beauty of Holiness’ group, has been in contact with students who have a special 3D printer, they are in the process of making facial visors (FOC) for medical teams. Ligia, assisted by a small team, purchase/deliver food to the elderly in Sofronea and the neighbouring village of SanPaul. The importance of ‘serving’ not just in days of crisis but where, when and how we can.

The work continues with Gabi (Iochebed) working from home, counselling on line and by telephone.  The needs escalate as fear grips the hearts of many; they need food, dried milk, pampers.  There is no work for anyone. Babies need milk, children are hungry, families must eat.  Young girls with unwanted pregnancies – Roxana (16) suffering under the hands of an abusive father has now had to leave the family home. Maria (29) distraught as to how she will  feed another little one and care for her elderly father. 

Dr. Beni, nursing staff, psychologist and the physiotherapist continue to visit the emergency terminally ill cases. Sadly. forty patients have died in recent weeks with many new cases entering the already overloaded system.  The enormity of the Covid-19 outbreak, government restrictions, lack of food, medical supplies are overwhelming, resulting in prioritising on a daily basis. Ella (19) is under strict isolation as she is highly vulnerable; the parents of Kevin received a telephone call from the hospital informing them Kevin must isolate (no exceptions). Bianca, Diana & David, children living in fear, no Mum, no Dad to reassure them in the quietness of isolation. My friend Estera ended her email to me just now: ‘Glad to be in His Service’.  Hold this team in your heart, praying for protection and safety.

The elderly struggle behind a closed door.  Catalina (breast cancer), her husband Stefan (dementia), Catalina (neck tumour), Magdalena, Elizabeth, John (cancer patients) Brother Emerico (colon cancer) his wife (partially blind) all filled with sadness.  They live for the faint knock, perhaps the only knock at their door, welcoming a friendly face from our Hospice team. The borders remain closed in Oradea, Hungary.   In the early hours of the morning, I see their faces, their smile and I miss them and wonder if and when I will see them again.

Monika and her husband Andrei are together in Oradea.  Andrei was employed in London but felt the need to reunite with his wife and daughters, Hanna and Miriam.  After quite an eventful series of flights, he finally landed in Cluj Napoca, where he was in quarantine for fourteen days.  Monika welcomes the support in managing the many families who come for basic food.  Papers must be duly completed and submitted, food ordered and yet restrictions apply as the freedom to purchase extra kilograms of flour, sugar, pasta or basic items have been removed.

Many shops and supermarkets open only on certain hours resulting in miles of people queuing. 

Sister(s) Berta, Neli and Marie counsel from home. A new family comprising of five children as both parents had children to a former marriage. Their little boy (2) (down syndrome) died from pneumonia; the father has undergone brain surgery; two of their daughters have special needs; they heard about the work of Casa Grace.  We can offer food, support them for the next two years, but their need is deeper; they need to taste the living bread.  Pray as we serve in offering food and hygiene products, they will see the love of God and come to know Him. Dora maintains regular contact with Elena (Director) of the Orphan Centre, remembering the precious abandoned babies.  Parents of Down Syndrome and Disabled Children also receive regular support. John continues his loving care for his precious daughter Dora who is happy to wait for her Birthday Party until Sister Shirley comes with her presents.

Dana, Supervisor of the Vocational Training Room and Stefan, a part-time member of the team are making face masks – Casa Grace are reaching and touching lives.  Thirty students commenced the tailoring course on January 20th with an ever-growing list wishing to enrol.  Modules from beginner to distinction are on offer; but for now, all is on hold, as we wait on God’s timing.

Nearness to God brings likeness to God. The more you see God the more of God will be seen in you. – C.H. Spurgeon

Servant; Service.

Brother, sister, let me serve you;
Let me be as Christ to you;
Pray that I might have the grace to
Let you be my servant, too.

We are pilgrims on a journey;
We are family on the road;
We are here to help each other
Walk the miles and bear the load.

I will hold the Christ-light for you
In the night-time of your fear;
I will hold my hand out to you,
Speak the peace you long to hear.

I will weep when you are weeping;
When you laugh, I’ll laugh with you;
I will share your joys and sorrows
Till we’ve seen this journey through.

When we sing to God in Heaven
We shall find such harmony,
Born of all we’ve known together
Of Christ’s love and agony.

Brother, sister, let me serve you;
Let me be as Christ to you;
Pray that I might have the grace to
Let you be my servant, too.

(Richard A M Gillard)

Gillard sees a Servant as one who is strong to endure and who continues to serve through trial, displaying commitment and confidence that does not allow fear to play a part or have a role during days of testing.  One who serves with a stillness of soul, gleaned from personal moments of quietness.

The prodigal, the terminally ill, the homeless, villages of poverty, hundreds of children bereft of love and without identity longing for a raindrop of hope.  Servant hands can be outstretched in love, seeing each day as a day of opportunity.  Today can be our day of opportunity to prayerfully remember the work of Emanuel Hospice, Casa Grace Foundation and Iochebed, where staff face personal battles of separation from family, isolated in order to continue their love of serving others.

The situation in Romania is escalating. The reality, many face days of crisis, curfew, chaos.  Police are patrolling the streets and roads, as Romanians continue to travel from Italy during the night.  The State of Romania have issued a restriction order requiring anyone walking or driving outside to display a letter of authorisation; otherwise a fine will be imposed.    Difficult times as many feel their world is crumbling. Their whole security has been shaken and they walk aimlessly in the midst of a Valley of Tears.  The Psalmist David reminds us in Psalm 46: v1 ‘God is our refuge and strength, a very present help in days of trouble’. My friend, Pastor David McFarland and I had occasion to speak just now by telephone and he shared with me how God indeed was our help; how we are held and of how our hope is in him alone.  Amazing we should both be pondering the same thoughts.

Further in the Psalm (v10) we hug to our hearts this precious verse: ‘Be still, and know that I am God’.  I find such comfort in the immense power of stillness, as we realise instead of the inner struggles and restlessness, we can find that he is the Master of every plan, every step we take.  When we leave it all quietly at his feet, we know no words such as failure, fear, foe, only future and that is already secured.

Many doctors and personnel staff working in Suceava Emergency Hospital are now infected with Coronavirus as they were unaware patients receiving treatment(s) were already exposed. Also a pastor (64) from Arad was hospitalised, treated for three days without staff knowing he too was infected. The pastor died, resulting in the closure of the entire hospital.  Another pastor from Arad has since died. We think of families and  Church fellowship left without a Shepherd.

Emanuel University, High School, Churches throughout Romania remain closed.  Our thoughts turn to the elderly village ladies who live for their Church Family, walking many miles to be part of Sunday worship and the young Theology students now Pastors trying to lead by example.

Hospice Staff, now only permitted to visit in extreme emergency terminal cases to deliver medicine or administer treatment. Their day to day contact with patients has been cancelled. Dr Beni was stopped by the police and asked to show his paper of authorisation.  The restrictions in Romania are similar to those of our own, personnel staff working as a maximum of two persons to comply with regulations.

Monika and I are in daily contact (by telephone) she continues to monitor the Casa Grace office alone. It has now become a life line for those in deep despair and poverty.   Orphanages, Centres remain closed as they cannot risk children becoming infected.

Covid 19 is causing panic in the Roma villages of Suceava. The Iochebed team continue to counsel ladies from their homes by telephone.  Real lives are still in need of medicine, food, finance, wood for tiny village homes housing many children.  Recently we purchased Dried Milk for babies – total cost £420.

Friday past was my day of opportunity, as £6,000 was forwarded for Food Provision. The evidence that God’s goodness and love holds our future.  We are branches of one tree and yet during this storm not one branch has broken; you continue to grow in your faithful support.  Our branches are not weakening and I listen for the birds to sing during the icy days to come.  He holds the tree with its bare branches, the hail storms, the winds.   We are not forgotten.

Today is beautiful, through your giving you have deepened our roots ‘In Him’

Shirley, March 30, 2020.

Trip postponed

Hamilton and Shirley were due to travel to Romania tomorrow 10th March. But they have been advised to postpone their trip. One of Shirley’s friends most anxious to see her writes today, “But I think it is wise that you took this decision as the virus is spreading really fast.” 

Romania has just decided “to close all the schools in the country for a week starting Wednesday March 11, amid the growing number of coronavirus cases in the country. The decision could be prolonged based on the evolution of the coronavirus outbreak”. And extensive restrictions have been imposed on flights and checks on all land borders.

Please pray for all Hamilton’s and Shirley’s friends in Romania as they seek to serve the Lord in such challenging situations. And please pray for Shirley’s patients and children as they are all very vulnerable and many may succumb easily to this virus especially in the villages where she and her colleagues serve the terminally ill. Shirley is heartbroken for them and longs to be with them but wisdom has had ro prevail.

Let us all call upon God, who is sovereign over all things to be merciful and pray that we might see His Name magnified in this dark hour. 

by David on behalf of Hamilton and Shirley

Usefulness

Love is like a beautiful flower which I may not touch, but whose fragrance makes the garden a place of delight just the same.
(Helen Keller)

Another day, however no day is ordinary in the Moore household but today tiny nodding white flowers caused me to think on the differing seasons of life. Seasons teach many lessons regardless of age. ‘Hamilton, come and see’, I called. We both smiled as we encountered the first flower of the year, the snowdrop, which is the symbol of hope. Hope that perhaps the harsh winter will soon be over.  I find myself waiting for the differing seasons displaying the pure and delicate freesia, the aroma almost indescribable, symbolising friendship; the elegant gladioli, symbolising strength; or the rose, symbolising humility, displayed in regal splendour, all blooming for a time, purpose and season. I wonder what season we find ourselves in today?   

The year two thousand and twenty will bring seasons of Separation; Trust; Courage; Faithfulness; Devotion; Love.  What of my own season?  It must be a season of purpose, serving with devotion and love. Whatever time remaining, I need to make time count, remembering that Love bears all things, believes all things, hopes all things, endures all things. BUT love never fails.   

What would I do if?  Question after question floods my mind but one thing I can do, ‘I can go’.  No beautiful flowers or inviting sidewalks grace the dirt roads of poverty, only crushed flowers and withered leaves pave the road.  Recently, watching a programme based on Romania, I felt tears streaming down my face as a remark was made by the commentator concerning a gypsy man driving his horse and cart ‘Romania’s Steptoe and Son’.  These are my people; this is my home. The trees may be dormant, no beauty in their garden, yet the fragrance of this barren land is filled with richness to me.

Our terminally ill patients hold tightly to fine threads of faith: Gyongy (48) mostly alone in her apartment, now unable to walk due to bone metastasis, her right leg was swollen and full of infection, a metal rod had to be inserted in the upper part of her leg, her days are days of constant pain.  Pray for the Hospice team as they share the gospel, that she may come to know the Lord.  Daniela (50) a large tumour extended over her body covering a large area, suffers extreme pain which cannot be controlled by medication. A course of Chemotherapy has been administered with little effect as the tumour cannot be removed by surgery.

My little friend Bianca is very poorly, (Renal Cancer) she is extremely weak and her weight is plummeting.  Mihalia, her mother has no home and cares for her three young daughters in the corner of one room in her mother’s village home, a gypsy village far from Oradea.  Our situations of life differ, we mostly receive what we desire; rarely do we hear or know the word ‘denial’. Not so for many of my friends in these empty fields.  A tiny boy, cancer ripping through his little body, the eyes of his mother watching and caring with love.  Rubber tubes were the only available means of food entering his stomach.  The cries were heart breaking.  

The ampules of Hyoscine (Butilscopulamine) were finished, dying patients suffering secretions, a season of urgent need.   Who do I consult?  Where do I go?  How can I finance?  The Lord touched the hearts of Agape Church, Belfast.  Silicone Tubes, Ampules purchased and they are now in Romania.  Firstly ask; Secondly act.  God completes the work.  This morning my local pharmacy donated items that were ‘Handfuls on Purpose’ for the Hospice Team.  What can we do today to demonstrate our hearts of love?  Who needs our help, our care, our prayers?  Even One!

During a recent PowerPoint presentation, the pangs of loss filled my heart as I spoke of the children I had loved and lost; the heartache of mothers, fathers, overwhelmed me.  A picture of Damian appeared and it hurt deep inside.  Damian’s mother is in the depths of grief. Estera and I will visit this precious family as a first priority.  I have never known motherhood but I love ‘My Children’ and want to weave a tapestry of hope as those hurting hearts try to collect the remaining threads of life.  A mother’s calling is a high calling of love and sacrifice; please pray for Damian’s family – they need our prayers.

Recently I shared the story of young Alex who is only one of many severely mentally and physically disabled teenagers in Romania.  Many autistic children with mental retardation, displaying aggressive behaviours, yet when offered one of our ‘treats’ we supply monthly, they melt like candle wax and behave, knowing they will receive a reward of one single sweet. Today I received a donation of ten cartons of Haribo from the Henderson Group.  The flower of giving. 

Kingdom Kids receive therapy from my friend Dora who has been nominated by the Director of Child Protection for the award of the most active volunteer of the year.  The flower of blessing is mine on this occasion to serve alongside Dora who knows each Orphan, Down Syndrome, Disabled Child and Abandoned Baby by name.  Her therapy sessions are filled with kindness and we thank all our supporters for their prayers, in comparison to other children in Romania, our children remained well and free from fever or infection.  I will accompany Dora to a new orphanage during March and April, I wonder what flowers will be in my bouquet?  Perhaps a tiny blue flower ‘Forget Me Not’ will confirm my roots need to go deeper?

 One family in desperate poverty is composed of a mother and seven children.  Her husband died from cancer five years ago. Shortly after his death, their small village home accidently burned to the ground. With help from others they have been able to purchase a derelict gypsy home.  This precious mother holds seven flowers in her hand. She has no money for repairs, their income is £26 per person per month.

Night To Shine, an organisation based in Oradea, arranged a special event together with an Evangelical Church for special people.  Eighty-five chosen people attended and My Dora was guest of honour. John, her father proudly pushed a shy Dora through the centre isle to a receptive crowd of people.  Dora was so happy but still wanted to know if Sister Shirley remembers it is her birthday in March. What do you think? 

Bread for the Hungry was delivered this week.   I am deeply moved by the bakery donating this provision during 2020.  Many nights, unable to sleep, I see the children, the elderly searching through the rubbish bins.  The pangs of hunger increase, I am thankful the flower of faith will never wither. 

Georgina (16) was raised in an orphanage.  She met a young boy who took her home to his Mother’s home where they shared one room as a couple, resulting in the young teenager becoming pregnant.  Last November the boy went to work abroad. Georgina has had no contact with him and is now homeless.  It would appear he has no plans to return home to his village in Suceava.  A baby girl was born to Georgina during December. She came to Iochebed, desperate and alone, requesting help as she does not want to leave her baby in an orphanage.  We have agreed to support Georgina and her baby with dried milk, clothes, pampers and wood to keep warm in this freezing winter.  The flower of kindness.

Planting is believing, proceeded by days of preparation, cultivation and then expectancy.  My garden is filled with flowers, giving pleasure as I trace God’s promises.  I ask no questions, I need no explanations, the flowers of gentleness are my peace.  This mission trip is one of the longest as a couple, Hamilton and I plan to be in Romania, not returning until perhaps early May.   

Small seeds already planted are growing – all that is needed for Emanuel Hospice, Casa Grace, Iochebed, Kingdom Kids, Feeding Programmes, the flowers of faith have provided.  My garden is filled with quiet flowers; ladies whose spades dig deep.  I go, prepared to plant thanks to the seeds of love sown by many brothers and sisters who have provided all that is needed.  I have never known such blessing and know the seed of thankfulness has taken root in my heart.

The land is ready for planting. Pray as we leave within days; pray the Lord will go before us and we will be a blessing as we hold in our hand the key that will open new doors.   

All the way my Saviour leads me

Cheers each winding path I tread;
Gives me grace for every trial,
Feeds me with the living Bread.
Though my weary steps may falter,
And my soul athirst may be,
Gushing from the Rock before me,
Lo! A spring of joy I see;

Hope for today BUT what of tomorrow?’

This year, let us dissolve all our hopes into a SINGLE HOPE, to know Christ and be found in Him.
May this be the year to desire a radically transformed, deeper, truer, knowing Christ as our ALL SUFFICIENT ONE’ (Elisabeth Elliot)

A new year, 2019 gone forever with only memories remaining.   Three hundred and sixty-five days passed so quickly, circumstances changed our perspective and influenced our thoughts.  Many remember cherished conversations that will be no more and yet knew their loss was replaced with an allocated portion of God’s illimitable grace.  At times we find it difficult to hide our feelings yet we have a calmness of soul to know that our Heavenly Father is sensitive to everything concerning us.  The Lord understands when we struggle with the ‘if’s’ and ‘why’s’ and invites us to take our inward thoughts and leave them at his feet.  These are tiny stepping stones of blessing as we tread softly into another year knowing his road is not a road of disappointment.  I came across a notebook belonging to my darling Mum.  She was obviously studying ‘Mary of Bethany’, Mum’s focus was how often Mary sat at the feet of Jesus.  I pray as we enter 2020, we will devote our lives for another year and remain at his feet.

What of tomorrow?

Spreadsheet looking impressive, outlining commitments, projects for 2020, still I question ‘But what of Tomorrow?’  The Bread of Life for dying patients; bread without scarceness for the hungry; health for the weak; hundreds of children, babies in need of love;  Cighid.  These are desert places, wildernesses of broken, unloved and forgotten lives.  I ask the Lord to walk with me, overtake the path of my remaining days, help me replace the fear of hearts entering the twilight shadows of endless night with the glory of his presence. To pierce the hardest of hearts in love and telling them of a greater love.  ‘But what of Tomorrow?’ Everything is achievable by faith and whatever life may bring as one of old I quote: ‘My Hope is in God’.  D L Moody penned: ‘If God is your partner, make your plans BIG!’  I go forward into 2020, the smallest gift I can give is love. I give this willingly and with all of my heart, placing the resources necessary into Higher Hands.

I think of the dedicated teams of Emanuel Hospice, Casa Grace, Iochebed, Cighid, Orphanage Centre and I say to them in the words of Andrew Murray ‘Strengthen yourself in the Omnipotence of God.  Do not say, ‘Is God able?’ Say, rather, ‘God is able.’ ‘May they individually know the presence, the blessing of the Lord each morning as they rise to face another day of service and challenge.

My mind was in turmoil for a few days and no matter how hard I tried I could not release the tension overwhelming me.  Two precious children within the Hospice care occupied every waking moment.  So much so, I wrote to Estera expressing my concern.

Dami is unconscious, his parents and siblings are devastated as they watch helplessly by his bed.  There is no future course of treatment or surgery possible as his brain tumour continues to grow rapidly.  I have met Dami’s family and immediately felt the love of this God centred home.  There is an obvious bond between the parents and children, a loving home where both parents offer protection, friendship, discipline, all the skills and ability to ensure their children grow within the confines of a loving family. Their pain is real and life is shattered just now, please remember them in these days of uncertainty.

Ella’s condition has deteriorated, she has seventeen different forms of diagnoses related to her rare form of cancer and is now in hospital.  She is unable to walk, unable to eat as the food will not remain in her stomach.  During Estera’s visit, Ella was so cold she was blowing her hair dryer over her body for warmth.  Ella would require a bone marrow transplant but with the current weakness of her body the doctors are using caution. Ella’s Mum, Angelina has known a lifetime of sorrow as both her children have the same rare form of cancer; the heart of this mother is broken as she is now alone with this burden having lost her husband   It is difficult for the medical team to reach a final decision regarding an accurate prognosis – please pray for the medical team as they reach a forthcoming solution.

The elderly continue to suffer.  Mircea, a gentleman of sixty-eight years, diagnosed with Laryngeal cancer (malignancy of the larynx).  He recently lost his eyesight and is unable to walk.  His days are filled with quietness, loneliness.  One of many.  The Musak family who mourn the loss of a husband and father who was suffering from an aggressive form of cancer.  The pain is overwhelming for his three children especially Eszter (10) who has become withdrawn, suffering in silence.  Difficult for the heart of a mother who also has her own pain.  My treasures Catalina, Magdalena, Elizabeth, to name but three, need to feel my love and your prayers.  Sharing also the gospel is our goal and many need to know the Lord.

The fierce winds of Storm Brendan hit Northern Ireland this week and many faced floods, storm damage, electricity cuts. My thoughts as I stayed indoors safe and warm went to the small village homes where there are no roads, only pools of water, no running water, no electricity, twigs burning, bringing heat for a short time and in fact also cook a small morsel of food for many hungry little mouths.  Paula (24) three babies, no home.  Her husband went to Germany to find work.   He has decided to remain in Germany alone and disown his wife and children.  The shock was too much for her to bear and she is ill with many complications.  Our team in Iochebed offered spiritual and emotional support, food and dried milk for the babies.  Without your commitment I would not be able to maintain the Feeding Programmes, and babies, children and families would remain hungry, walking the cold streets of Romania searching for food.

Another family within the care of Casa Grace.  A single father with five children.  I remember visiting this room and that is what it is – a room within a social block of apartments, communal washroom for many families, no running water.   Hungry eyes searching my face, a father desperate for hope, a solution in his life of despair. The father was raised in an Orphanage and has lost two wives.  They have no money and although assisted by social services, he was unable to pay the rental due in December.   Countless people face life without food, grateful for a morsel of hot soup available to the homeless.  Five hungry children surrounded by empty cupboards.  Christmas Day would certainly not be  ‘A Merry Christmas’ for this family.  The team from Casa Grace brought gifts for the children and from the Feeding Programme we were able to provide food and pay the December rental from our crisis fund.   How long can this family survive in these present circumstances?  How long before this father reaches breaking point.  Please pray through the witness, love and care of the Casa team this father may know the reality of a living hope filling his heart with the knowledge that a new and living hope will provide strength and sustain grace for each day.

The word hope I take for faith; and indeed, hope is nothing else but the constancy of faith. (John Calvin)

I am filled with knots of difficulty regarding the projections of 2020. I now turn the matter over to the Lord knowing as in the past he has his chosen ones to walk with me.  Problems only become tangled when we hold on with our own hands instead of releasing them into hands that will untangle and provide.

‘These My Little Ones’.  Working with children, adults with disabilities involves love, patience until even after months, weeks, hours or working, a glimmer of light appears.  Dora has devoted her life to these marginalised children, children with disabilities and children from poverty-stricken families within the Casa Grace Feeding Programme.  Each mission trip I spend quality time with Dora and the children watching them play in the room provided by Tell Romania.  We are praying about expanding our work into another area of children with disorders and on my return early March I will visit these Orphanages with Dora.    

Three Feeding Programmes, Orphan, Disabled, Down Syndrome Children, Abandoned Babies, Cighid Adult Orphans, still there is more.  What shall I do?  How many years do I have?  Retirement?  I may not see the end in sight but God already knows how he will continue his plans and the purpose of his providence.  C H Spurgeon penned: ‘All the mysterious arrangements of providence work for our good’.

‘Do you not know? Have you not heard? The LORD is the everlasting God, the Creator of the ends of the earth. He will not grow tired or weary, and his understanding no one can fathom. He gives strength to the weary and increases the power of the weak. Even youths grow tired and weary, and young men stumble and fall; but those who hope in the LORD will renew their strength. They will soar on wings like eagles; they will run and not grow weary; they will walk and not be faint’.
 
Isaiah 40:28-31.

I concluded my previous blog stating: ‘There is always garner in the grain’.   A granary is really a storehouse filled with threshed grain.  Sufficient food for the dark and chilling days of winter.  It is winter permanently in many homes I visit.  Hundreds facing the reality of eternity; streets filled with homeless men and women and yes, teenagers without identity; children longing for love.  Bethsaida (from Hebrew/Aramaic) means house of fish.  Will you throw out your net with me to ensure we have food, we have grain in our granary. 

Let’s go fishing

Shirley, January 16, 2020

N B: We return to our beloved Romania on Tuesday, MARCH 10TH, 2020

P.S. Just minutes after this was posted I received this message from Estera

Dear Shirley, 
Damian’s father called me today to tell me that he passed away. He has seen the Lord s face. What a joy for him! How sad for the family! 
Thank you so much for all the support for this precious family! 

Estera

Without excuse

The highest form of worship is the worship of unselfish Christian service. The greatest form of praise is the sound of consecrated feet seeking out the lost and helpless.’ (Billy Graham)

The pace of the past two weeks filled my heart with an overwhelming emotion.  I abandoned the thoughts troubling me and for a brief moment tried to calm my hungering heart. I sat quietly; the precious words found in the book of Isaiah filled my mind: ‘But with everlasting love I will have compassion on you’.  How precious those moments when you know this is for me, this is exactly what I need for the ‘now’ times.   

And there was more: ‘Is anyone thirsty? Come and drink, even if you have no money! Come, take your choice of wine or milk, it’s all free’.  ‘It’s all free’.   I thought of the beggar sitting (almost frozen) in the market place; the scantily dressed boy whose whole demeanour spoke of total destitution; the elderly trying to sell their lace, homeless men and women searching through refuse bins with hungry eyes in the hope of finding a morsel of bread, perhaps their first ‘meal’ for many days. ‘It’s all free’, I kept repeating over and over to myself: The hunger of a searching heart can be fed and their thirst assuaged.  

Tears hit the keyboard as I write because I long to echo this invitation to those who are dying, to those living in such extreme poverty, words could not explain, hungry children hoping you abandon your shopping trolley, the 50 cents in the slot will buy one pastry.  And yet there is ‘Living Bread’ available.   One’s first reaction would be ‘Beware’, smile and walk on.  Walk on when you are captivated with someone who just wants to be noticed or to matter.  Wasn’t it William Booth who said: ‘You cannot warm the hearts of people with God’s love if they have an empty stomach and cold feet’.

These days I find myself walking unfamiliar roads, I can only take one step at a time and as I do the Lord points to the signposts I must follow.  Only yesterday visiting ‘Kingdom Kids’ in the Orphanage: Abandoned Babies (beautiful little darlings), Orphans, Down Syndrome and Disabled Children. I met Alex (13) an only child who is mentally and physically disabled. ‘Chow’ I said and I received the most amazing smile – although I think the smile was in the direction of the Quality Street tin in my hand as he disregarded the croissant his father was feeding him.  But this was one of God’s divine appointments.  Alex and his mother Alexandra lived with her parents while the husband went to work in Spain as he was unable to find employment in Romania. When Alex was only eight years old, Alexandra was diagnosed with breast cancer and subsequently died. Following the funeral, the grandparents asked their son-in-law and grandson to move out and they have been trying to survive alone these past five years. Alex attends a special school and has many health issues. He is one of our children at Casa Grace who receive therapy under the direction of my friend Dora. Unable to walk, communicate, he is a happy boy but I am very aware the father urgently required medical items and, in this situation, I need to be an Innkeeper.  

But Innkeepers have helpers, yes? Returning back to Emanuel, I immediately contacted Carol who is the wife of the pastor of Agape Church and also a nurse. I related the story of Alex and the pending need. ‘Shirley I can sort this, no problem’. came the reply.  Alison telephoned later in the evening, I updated her that boxes would be arriving from Carol.  ‘Amazing’,said Alison, ‘I purchased packs of these just to have a stock’.  Alison may have no stock in hand but God knew the need before I did and placed it on the hearts of these two sisters.  This is God’s Divine Appointment and oh the blessing of proving God as we listen, wait and trust.

Driving to Cighid, I was overcome with sadness as I travelled the unkept and unused roads. I found myself thinking of King Solomon with all his riches; he had everything money could buy and yet there was a void within screaming to be quenched.  Wealth can never bring peace of mind, provide the warmth of a home, a mother’s love, friendship.  Driving through the gates of Cighid, a sense of coldness filled me as I watched lone figures walking, aimlessly walking to nowhere.  Monika, Mihai and four students from the Music programme in Emanuel University were not deterred by the howling wind and rain. Our hearts were filled with joy as we anticipated sharing the Christmas story and singing the beautiful carols of this blessed season.  We hurriedly unpacked the dolls, trucks and sweets from the van, trying to avoid the mud and puddles.  The image is engraved on my heart as I encountered the childlike excitement of each adult receiving their gift.  The ladies touching the dolls and gently kissing their foreheads, with laughs almost deafening, the men standing in amazement looking at the trucks; selection boxes from Agherton K & K needed no explanation, always a hit.  ‘A birthday party, thank you very much for the gifts and the lovely sweeties.’   A voice from nowhere resounded across the room and I couldn’t believe someone was actually speaking.   An older lady, unknown, unloved, quietly made her way to her bedroom and placed ‘her baby’ inside her bed and kissed her ‘Goodnight’.  Adults with the mind of a child wanting to be close to you, touch you.  At times it was impossible to breathe, so many squeezing into one small room of one of the three tiny bungalows, wanting to be noticed as they shouted ‘me, me’.  Monika said: ‘Sister Shirley I am glad you are a slim lady’.   We laughed together (breathing deeply) as friends do.  The supervisor who has been with these precious people since infancy told me they have never had a proper doll before. Give me neither poverty or riches, there are blessings money can never buy for me. Today was my blessing.

Another blessing, ‘My Dora’.  I appreciate the heart of so many who pray for Dora every morning.  It is an uphill battle for John who is feeling the process of aging.  I could see Dora was extremely tired but when she heard footsteps she shouted from her little part of heaven in the kitchen ‘I know who is coming, it is you Sister Shirley.’  Auntie Heather and Auntie Barbara sent beautiful warm fleeces and cosy mittens with other little trinkets.  ‘Shirley, Santa seems to have come early; will you ask him to come again on Christmas Eve?’  My precious Dora.  John was thrilled with the items of clothing; he struggles with medical bills, if enough remains they can buy food.  There is so much I would love to do but there is only so much I can do.  Each morning I commit myself to new acts of faith because I know and I have proved especially in personal circumstances, the Lord is my helper.

I have knocked many doors, climbed many stairs, this mission trip only to find families fighting for survival, patients too ill for visits, infant patients slowly dying, elderly patients fighting for dignity to die well.  It is in these days I know the true meaning of: ‘He gives power to the faint, and to him who has no might he increases strength’. The prophet Elijah knew what it was to lack courage and strength, therefore in my days of ‘overload’ instead of becoming burdened,  I need to learn to place every issue at his feet knowing that my own personal relationship with God is the most important priority I possess which is a Hungering Heart After God.  The difficulty of today will then become the strength for tomorrow.  

The Emanuel Hospice Christmas Celebration was special as I met families old and new.  Families I have known since 2012, who have loved and lost and for whom the Christmas candles no longer burn brightly; they walk only a cinder path of pain and a wilderness of heart.  A grandmother running up to me, kissing my cheek as she shared her broken heart; her only son with a promising career in football lost his battle with throat cancer; her grandson taken away, eviction.  Yet as they remember the fallen rose buds, gone with no lasting fragrance, they smile knowing you genuinely care and you do remember them.  I kept watching the entrance doors and finally I saw Simona carrying baby Abraham and her mother in law hand in hand with my little butterfly, Debora.  I made my way quickly to the back where she sat and, wiping a tear, she said ‘Thank you for coming to me, no Baby Alexandra this year’.  Love is real and for all who attended, I could see the gain outweighed the loss; the days of many loved ones have been short. Two hundred children received a special gift from Santa, I wonder how many will be there next year to sit on Sant’s knee?  Remember this precious team, they serve Christmas Day and Boxing Day, no matter the day, the hour, precious souls are nearing eternity.  What a service of opportunity. What a team and these are my friends.

Mist still lingers over the grandmother of little Stefan who died recently. She is lovingly nursing Ianko (younger brother), suffering from the same disease.  The parents want Ianko placed into an Orphanage.   Ianko is one of many terminally ill children where Christmas Day is just another day of pain, treatment, uncertainty. The greatest gift they could receive on Christmas Day is the gift of life.

A life of service is truly a Harvest and I am so thankful to see first-hand evidence of the work of the Holy Spirit.  The patience and diligence of long hours of preparation are displayed with a look of satisfaction as Hamilton makes his way to class.  Lectures lasting four hours followed by teaching in the School of Practical Theology for three hours, speaking on Radio Voice of the Gospel, again, the Masters Programme. Study and excellence are his motto and students are made to feel ‘at home’ as they call to chat about their future plans.  Evenings is our only time to share one with the other as I am on ‘early call’ every day either with Casa or Hospice teams.  And yes, this mission trip we do have a doormat and the key rests there contentedly most days.   I smile as I identify the passion to ensure the students proceed with expectation of achieving God’s best.  To endeavour, as seen in the apostle Paul, to press toward the mark …… Stepping forward together.  ‘Glory in The Cross’ has now been released by Apostolos in London and can be obtained in most Christian Bookshops.  A new publication based on 1st John is well underway with the Pastoral Epistles translated into Romanian now being used as a basis for the Hungarian and Russian translations being released next year. 

Charles Dickens wrote: ‘Remembrance, like a candle, burns brightest at Christmastime’.  

This Christmastime will be special for hundreds of my children and patients; many candles are burning brightly.  Dolls, Trucks; Sweets; 400 Santa & Snowmen Hats filled with goodies; New dresses for the Mums with Santa Bags for the children. Time fails, words fail, one small word with a huge meaning ‘THANKYOU’. Ballycrochan, Coleraine, Millisle and Monkstown Baptist Churches; The Wardrobe, Ballyclare; Agherton, Bethany, Ballycarry Knitting Groups; Londonderry Crafting Circle; Individual donations.

As we close the door on December 2019, I wonder where have I failed, what roads have I not travelled. A year of change, a year where the world seems to be filled with sorrow and evil and I long for the shadows to be lifted from hurting hearts.   Yet 2020 will bring a storehouse of opportunity enabling my hands to reach out and touch lives from different backgrounds.  Let me have patience, let me show love, kindness, tenderness, knowing the Lord will supply every need.  The Sunrise is coming as we embark on a new year, let us go forward together assured that ‘He that keepeth Israel shall neither slumber nor sleep’

Shirley, December 16, 2019

FOOTNOTE: 

Parting is difficult, so many smiles will not welcome me in March.  During 2020, I pledge my support to the works to which the Lord has called me.  Not all emotional roads, I was encouraged at the recent Sewing Class Graduation held in Casa Grace, when seventeen trainees completed stage 1 of the module with another twenty-five on the waiting list.  There are three levels offered in the Vocational Training Room (Beginner Stage; Advanced Stage; Distinction) under the expert leadership of my friend Dana, who gives will all of her heart.  Helen (Londonderry) made forty personal sewing kits for every student and they were thrilled to receive this surprise gift at the ceremony.  ‘There is always garner in the grain’.

The cold winds of December

Thanksgiving and Christmas then, for us who love God, are not mere time outs from work days. They are a celebration of the gift of work itself, days on which we celebrate work by declaring our freedom. In a manner of speaking we announce that on this one day we may rest from our work, and without pressure or guilt, we may be glad. A holiday is a holy day-meant for rejoicing in God.  Elizabeth Elliot

‘The bitter winds of December’.   A cliché repeated every year as we go through the motions of ticking our ‘Things to Do List’ e.g. Christmas Fayre; Christmas tree; Christmas gifts.  Suddenly we realise last date for posting … Christmas cards are hurriedly signed without stopping to think just how much a personal message would mean to someone who sits alone with a quiet companion called ‘Memory’.   Carollers may call?   Yet what sweeter melody that the reverberating sound of Redeeming Love.  Around the world the resounding news of ‘God with Us’.   The Darling of the world is come and he is ours, let us share this treasured gift with others making this Christmas special for someone.

The snow and freezing fog of Romania welcomed our arrival, yet in the darkness and dullness of night I could see the sky preparing to welcome another chilly winter morning. 

 Within a few short hours, it was morning and as planned Estera and I set off for a remote village where the fields and meadows were now frozen, children’s bicycles and toys were frozen solid in the rivers of the Roma community and children ran about with very little clothing chasing packs of dogs and the family goat.   ‘Sister Shirley, it is reading minus 4, be careful where you walk’.  ‘Estera, too much information’.   

As I looked around the village, so quiet, so still, far removed from society, trampling the dry crisp leaves, it seemed to be the sound of sadness.  They were strangers, unwelcome, without work and yet they shared from the little they possessed.   Mihalia, a single Mum with three daughters was thrilled to see us and wept with joy as she received extra food provision.  The girls decided to stay at home from school, as no one ever calls, this was a special day for them.  BIANCA is continuing her treatment for renal cancer and will see her Oncologist next week. Inwardly I was encouraged and inspired by the courage of one so young.  My friend Mavis knit miniature Christmas Puddings containing a Tunnocks Marshmallow. They had never seen a Marshmallow before and could not wait to taste – ‘thank you Mavis’ for bringing laughter and joy into this humble home.

There are other homes of child patients and the home of DAMIAN will be different this Christmas. Methinks Christmas will never be the same again for this precious family.   An amazing young boy who wanted so much to be baptised before meeting Jesus.  Damian has undergone brain surgery but was unable to complete his Chemotherapy.  He is now in a coma, blind and unable to move.  The surgeon has confirmed owing to the rate of growth of his brain tumour, Damian will not recover.  His parents and siblings are devastated.  His Mother never leaves his bedside.  On Christmas Morning, remember the terminally ill children who for some this will be their last Christmas.

Bereaved Children have taken over my thoughts and my heart was longing to see two specific children.  It was a MUST to meet with David and Diana, the children of my friend Dorena who lost her battle with cancer.  A faint knock, in fact a little tap on the door of room 7, opening to find these two precious children before me.  I could see the sadness in their beautiful dark eyes as we hugged, wept together, recalling memories of ‘Mum’.  Diana rises with the dawn, before leaving for college she has cows to milk, three meals to prepare then take the bus to Oradea where she is studying to become a nurse.  David is in his first year at High School and has the most beautiful smile.  His tumour is still evident in his arm and growing rapidly.  I will be monitoring carefully the progress of treatment.  I have grown to love these two children as they possess a very special nature – David used to give one of his ‘chicks’ to anyone who helped during his Mother’s illness.  I asked ‘how are the chicks these days?  Smiling as he responded: ‘Bigger’. We laughed together as I said: ‘You keep visiting me at Campus,  think it is safer for me’.  Soon it was time for our ‘Good Bye’s’ and it was an emotional parting; I suppose (if honest) I love these children and wish I could bring them home.  Perhaps a new project? I still hear Dorena whisper ‘please remember my children’.

My friend, Pastor David McFarland emailed a reading from the great Victorian preacher: C.H. Spurgeon. ‘He shall cover thee with His feathers, and under His wings shalt thou trust: His Truth shall be thy shield and buckler’. Mine was the privilege to be covered this morning as instead of my planned visit to my friend Sister Lucretia I was to learn she had received her Home Call to glory.  Yes, waiting for my visit, excited students from Emanuel University were singing carols to her today. Living alone, fear filled her heart of dying alone.  The Lord lovingly sheltered her in the shadow of His wings and she was content to be hidden in the hollow of His hand until he called her Home.  She was covered and protected from all fear.  Two precious elderly patients were eagerly waiting for my visit: Magdalena and Catalina.  Both mis-matched in personality yet possessing the same talent in needlework.  They love to remember their childhood days, telling amazing stories, memory is their only companion, how can I neglect this love I have in my heart for my patients?

 ‘You have not lived today until you have done something for someone who can never repay you’ (John Bunyan).  One hundred and fifty ampules of Hyoscine (butilscopulamine) are bringing comfort to the families who sit by the bedside of a loved one nearing the end of life.   Their spasms have eased and their final days together can be replaced with quietness and peace until that final breath.  What a loving Heavenly Father whose provision is endless and whose love can never be measured.

‘Sister Shirley, you remember us?’  Angelina, Aurilian and Ella were waiting for me in the Hospice building this morning.  Angelina lost her husband recently and both children suffer from a rare form of cancer.  Many of you remember our ‘Little Ella’; I could not comprehend she celebrated her nineteenth birthday yesterday.  I was overcome with shock at the tiny figure running towards me.  Ella has at least seventeen different forms of diagnoses related to her cancer and is undergoing tests at present for a bone marrow transplant.  She is fearful owing to the weakness of her body she will not survive.  Tears filled her eyes as she told me her sight is now impaired owing to cataract in both eyes.  This family will remain on our feeding programme and we will offer support when needed for treatment.  

I must not dwell on my feelings but I question where are the days of fulfilment?  I see only days of pain and suffering.  This morning another visit cancelled, I found it difficult to eliminate the questions arising in my head, questions without answers.  I had been quietly preparing my heart to meet Alina and her new baby daughter.   Ionuz (John) was in the care of Emanuel Hospice Care for a few short weeks, his mother was also a cancer patient.  Late November Ionuz lost his battle and this morning his mother died.  Although she also had cancer, we feel as a team she died of a broken heart.   Her joy of bygone days had been quenched by the hot coals of the raging fire of parting.  The joy of waiting with expectancy the birth of their firstborn baby to be suddenly replaced with extreme pain, anguish of a broken heart as transitory agony fills this humble home.  Tomorrow will come and I need an inner strength, a courageous spirit to face whatever it may bring.

“Relying on God has to start all over every day, as if nothing has yet been done.”

(C. S. Lewis)

I have no yesterday; time took it away. I may not have tomorrow. But still I have today.

Let’s face today with confidence together – 

Shirley, 10 December, 2019

Hidden and covered

HIDDEN AND COVERED’

‘Are the things you are living for worth Christ dying for?’ (Leonard Ravenhill)

‘Hide me now, under Your wings.  Cover me, within your mighty hand’. 

The secret of his presence became my hiding place as I faced, what seemed an impossible task. Dr. Beni Paul, (Emanuel Hospice) was in urgent need of a specific medication unavailable in Romania.  Ampules of Hyoscine (butilscopulamine) for terminally ill patients nearing the end of their earthly journey and unable to swallow.  I compared my faith to a fine thread and my thread was knotting, enquiry after enquiry formed knots I could not untangle, threads without a beginning or end.  ‘I will go before thee and unwind the snares’ (Isa 45: 2) ‘Have I no power to deliver?’Isa 50: 2. Andrew Murray says: ‘It is one of the terrible marks of the diseased state of the Christian life in these days that there are so many that rest content without the distinct experience of answered prayer’.  A few days later, I proved the immense power of prayer coming to a realisation that this knowledge of trust would change my thinking.  Instead of struggling I would leave all quietly with the one who is able to do exceedingly abundantly above all we can imagine.  The following Sunday, whilst sharing our Power Point in Millisle Baptist Church I knew I had to share this need.  Standing in the foyer at the end of the service a young lady introduced herself, followed by a question: ‘I am a private GP; now tell me, what do you need?’.  ‘Find rest my soul, in Christ Alone, know his power in quietness and trust’.  His eternal purpose reigns. The Ampules have arrived in Romania.  The Lord knew what I needed to restore a balance when I did not.

 We all have goals in life, things we MUST do?  Places we MUST go?  Yet as I read the words of Leonard Ravenhill my thoughts turn to those who have felt the weight of the cruel stones of a life spent in stark poverty, cold, hungry, chained in a prison of failure yet still daring to hope. Their peering and suspicious eyes speak of loneliness and longing, locked in a prison of their own making.    I look around my own comfortable home and question where do my values lie; what are my values?  Am I willing to lose what I class as important? Or am I willing to love people regarded as unimportant, without value? Luke 10: 39 tells me Mary’s priority was time with Jesus.  What is my priority? Where shall I work today?

The corridor of time waits for no man and the doors of usefulness for many are ending.  The steps of Sister Lucretia (stomach cancer with complications) will soon touch the ‘HALT’ sign.  Her condition has altered and her time is limited.  Living alone, her pain is difficult to manage during these final days and although she is a child of God, she is surrounded by fearful thoughts of dying alone.  Sister Ecaterina celebrated her 80th birthday on 7th November and is waiting for my visit. Please pray it will be a special visit, a lovely lady who was raised in the orthodox faith is now wanting to know more about the Lord.  Pray she will put her trust in the Lord.

Damian (15) whom I visited recently, has had further brain surgery; only part of the tumour has been removed.  Damian is unable to talk, move or recognise his mother.  This reaction is halting the required radiation treatment scheduled after surgery.  Please pray for grace to see the parents through these days as they watch by the bedside of their beloved son whose wish was to be baptised before he goes to be with Jesus.  A little child shall lead them. 

Natan (13) suffering from advanced cancer, was discharged from Cluj hospital as doctors were unable to continue treatment.  Natan died (peacefully) surrounded by his loving family.  His parents are devastated by the loss of their darling son.

A baby girl of two months will never sit on her Daddy’s knee; a young man who only weeks in the care of Emanuel Hospice died yesterday.

I think of Simona looking into the empty cot where baby Alexandra once lay; also a grandmother overwhelmed with grief at the loss of little Stefan; the sad eyes of the children whose only gift (if they could choose) would be to see their mummy or daddy again.  A quiet whisper from the children’s oncology ward that they themselves would be well again and home for Christmas.  So many lost childhoods, so many trampled lives.  Pray as I visit the bereaved families and children that my personal  contact  will show the love of Christ that as I share the words of Jesus when he said ‘My peace I give to you’ they will know that although I can never replace what they have lost, I can show them they are loved and remembered.  Fulfil A Wish, a new initiative for a terminally ill patient, can give one moment they will remember for a lifetime and in most cases a short lifetime. But most of all that they will come to know the one who can bring fulfilment.

Not just my toys have gone, where is my Mummy and Daddy?  Abandoned babies, orphans for whom the years have claimed all they ever had or hoped for.  Days turn to weeks, weeks to months and months to years, the sadness of their forgotten life remains.  The little tears they cry would fill a river.  Their childhood has never known the calmness of a mother’s arms, and yet there is a harvest of joy as I see the progress of disabled children, down syndrome children who are lovingly taught by Dora.  The team of Casa Grace are another harvest as I see their love and compassion with a quiet eye, watching with love followed by action.

Christmas is a busy time for the team of Casa Grace as they prepare Christmas Food Parcels for the many families on our Feeding Programme.  Specially chosen items are personally delivered to each home, followed by the legal documents required for families nearing the end of the two-year programme, who are being replaced by new families on our waiting list. The team work tirelessly preparing beautifully crafted Christmas Cards, Christmas Tree Globes, Baubles, with the Vocational Training Room providing special Christmas items sown with love.  Christmas is a time to remember, to love, to give even the smallest gift to the pauper, the homeless, who were also once a child with a future. 

Geanina only fifteen and pregnant, without knowledge when the baby will be born.  Geanina left home and school at the age of thirteen; both decisions were made without parental consent.  She began living in the home of a boy (17) where his father, mother, sister, brother in law and two children also lived. The parents disowned their daughter. Now she is facing a pregnancy with no income or support of any kind.  Sister Gabi (Iochebed) will take Geanina to an Obstetrician and will carefully monitor the situation during the next months. Clothing, food, medication will be provided for the baby for the first year.  Pray for this young girl who as a minor will not be permitted to take her baby from hospital without the signature of an adult.  Pray for guidance and wisdom in the many decisions they as a young teenage couple will have to make.

The gift of time is precious, but for fifty adult orphans living in the forest area of Cighid their time, their lives, have been submerged in the darkness of pain-filled years.  Memories they prefer to forget as they walk beneath the bare boughs of winter.  They love to surprise you and often find little treasures to say ‘thank you’.  Mine was a simple daisy, carefully chosen from the grass beneath their feet.  Dr. Jowett wrote: ‘God does not comfort us to make us comfortable, but to make us comforters.’  As we share time together at our Christmas Carol Service on 13thDecember, may the Gift of the Babe of Bethlehem be a priceless gift to these precious people whom I have grown to love.   Thank you to everyone who has sent a Christmas gift to my friends in Cighid; but more importantly ‘thank you’ for being a comforter.

Hamilton and Shirley Moore are two ordinary people with a burning heart of mission to: ‘GO AND TELL’.  We have grasped the awareness of the call with final days of preparation underway.  Pray for the ministry outreach; the reality of broken relationships; reconciliation; the suffering, the dying, the hungry, my children.  We leave in a few days after a short time at home, going forward with a purpose.

Regular ‘blogs’ will be sent outlining the busy schedule of the duo.   Hamilton in the Masters and Undergraduate programmes; School of Practical Theology; Radio Voice of the Gospel; Village Churches.  The desire of my own heart as I reach out and touch those who matter to me within the three foundations, I am privileged to be part off.

‘The work of God is done on God’s timetable. His answers to our prayers come always in time—his time. His thoughts are far higher than ours, his wisdom past understanding.’

(Elisabeth Elliot)

Shirley, 25 November, 2019

A FIXED HEART

May you set your heart on things above.
May you set your mind on things above.
May you practice truth.
May you allow Christ to be your all in all.
May you be clothed with Compassion, Kindness,
Humility, Gentleness, Patience.
Forgive as the Lord forgives you.
And over all these virtues may you put on love which binds
them together in perfect communion.
May you let the peace of Christ dwell in your heart.
May you let the Word of Christ dwell in you.
May your home be an expressive home filled
with passion for Christ, for others, for Life.
(Steve Wingfield)

To repeat, ‘May your home be an expressive home filled with passion for Christ, for others, for Life’. 

Home!  Where is home?   October in Romania was filled with the beauty of Autumn, the birds in sweet song, rays of sunshine peering through the trees. But amidst all of this were the threads that spun storms of darkness, the homeless sleeping in elements of mud and scum, the terminally ill sucking bitter berries of pain.  There was no beauty in their world, no Nightingale’s song.  Rarely have I seen smiles mingled with tears with such strength inviting me into their humble home but more importantly into their hearts. They are a prisoner of circumstance.  I am overwhelmed by emotion as I learn perhaps of an Artist, Seamstress, individuals possessing a particular style and talent of their own now reduced to…..?  And yet my heart is ‘Fixed’ knowing only one can decide my course. ‘Life is beautiful not because of the things we see or do.  Life is beautiful because of the people we meet’.

Reading in the book of Ruth, I hold in my heart that Ruth was ‘steadfastly minded’ to go.  I possess a heart an earnestness for my beloved in Romania and this is where I am ‘At Home’.  Either it has to be ‘all in all or not at all’.

Grasping the opportunity of each day, the one thing I desire is to bring the gift of hope to my brother, my sister, love to my little ones.  All my days are memorable, some days hit hard and I find it difficult to always be brave.  Summer is fast fading for many and the lustre of youth has gone; they have learned to accept the voice of silence with solitude as their only companion.   ‘To whomsoever I shall send thee thou shalt go’ (Jeremiah 1: 7).

I leave my questions in Higher Hands knowing that in the secret place and in his time, I will understand the reason why.  I hold in my heart my babies, children, patients, families, and ask you to stand with me until my return; not just names, real people, please make your heart a pulpit for:

  • The family of Baby Alexandra whose broken hearts melt your own heart.
  • The Grandmother and younger brother of little Stefan who died last week
  • Nathanael (13) advanced cancer, his parents are overwhelmed with grief.
  • Young Kevin and his family who have recently come to know the Lord.
  • Catalina recovering from surgery for partial removal of a neck tumour.
  • Catalina suffering from breast cancer, husband (Stefan) Alzheimer’s Disease.
  • Sister Lucretia suffering from stomach cancer with added complications.
  • Andrea in final stages of cancer.
  • Ionuz (John, 21) a prisoner within his body.
  • The elderly patients: Magdalena; John and Elizabeth; Alexandru.
  • The countless bereaved children who have no Mummy or Daddy this Christmas.
  • The Centre caring for orphan, disabled, down syndrome children and the abandoned babies.
  • Lulu (18) adapting to a new location, new people for the remainder of his life.
  • Stefania (11), Treasure (15), only two of many, locked within their bodies unable to move, they communicate by eye contact.
  • Dora in her weakness, lovingly cared for by her father John who carries, washes, clothes and feed her.  A life of devotion.
  • Casa Grace, Emanuel Hospice, Iochebed families facing poverty (without food or winter fuel), facing eviction and many without identity.  One food parcel, one bag of hygiene products brings a smile to the searching eyes of hope.
  • Cighid Adult Orphans, forgotten, unaccepted by society, living in the forest of Cighid, the darkness and freezing conditions of winter is an unwelcome guest.
  • Sister Vali (40) soon will have ten children to feed.
  • Alina (27) four children 7, 4, 2 and a baby facing the uncertainty of anxiety surrounding her baby daughter.

The list is endless, these are but a few.

November is exceptionally busy for ‘The Moore’s’.  Many deputation meetings and very few (if any) free days.  Our flights are booked to return to Romania on December 03 as Dr. Moore is teaching in the Masters Programme; School of Practical Theology, Radio Voice of the Gospel and in Village Churches. He is presently collecting articles from the faculty for the new edition of ‘Semanatorul (The Sower) a by-annual journal specifically designed for Emanuel University.  The translation of the Pastoral Epistles Commentary into Hungarian is making progress also the translation into Russian has commenced.

Sharing the stillness of our soul together in the evenings as we recall smiling across a crowded corridor as one of the ‘duos’ return from visits while the other rushes to class – or when a voicemail arrives telling you ‘Shirley, I have left the key below the mat’.  Wonder of wonders, we don’t have a mat!  But this is home and it is our home.

The path to peace is a narrow path, walk with me.

Shirley, 25 October, 2019

Searching eyes of hope

Searching eyes of hope

‘You, and You give them their food in due season. You open Your hand. And satisfy the desire of every living thing. (Psalm 145: 15-16)

I am running out of time; soon I must leave the place I love and those I love. My heart is filled with conflicting thoughts, yet I know the greatest treasure I can possess is the gift of love. The door of love must be open to all, not choosing whom it will serve.  The bud of a rose waits patiently knowing it will require the moisture and nurture a loving hand can apply.  Looking through the windows of room 7 just now, as I see birds diligently searching for food, an actual stabbing pain fills my heart. I must confess I feel an uneasy concern reflecting on returning from visits to find the brother and sister of Baby Florin running in between cars begging for bread.  Our eyes met and it hurt as I feared the consequences if seen by Child Protection. The traffic always seems to ‘halt’ outside the one bedroom flat where I used to visit Denisa; I recall visits with Dada, Emanuel, Florika, Dorina. Oh my heart covets those times!  Cherished moments when I received so much from the little they had to give.  This morning my heart was encouraged as I read: ‘The Lord spreads a table for the sparrows and clothes the wayside anemones in exquisite beauty’, knowing deep within that we are dearer to him by far.  My patients, families, orphans, disabled children and abandoned babies have all been wounded; I can never know the mental distress build within hearts that have suffered. The troubled mind as the midnight hour of despair consumes as the cankerworm. I pray as I visit, I will know guidance and calmness, applying the precious ointment of his presence, telling them: ‘He is the peace that passeth all understanding’.  Matthew Henry confessed: ‘I forgot to ask special help on the day’s work and so the chariot wheels drove heavily’.  There is blessing for all through his pardoning grace.

The sun shone through the windows of Cihei Village Church adding a glow to the faces of the village ladies who sat on the left-hand side of the church.  As I passed each wooden pew the ladies extended their hands in welcome, ‘Pache, Pache’.  I was deeply touched by their humility as they quickly returned to their pew with their scarf-covered heads bowed again in prayer.  The gentlemen all seated on the right-hand side remained in quiet meditation.  There was a holy hush and an awareness that this place was greatly revered.  The worship was uplifting as children, teenagers and choir all participated in a celebration of praise.  Soon it was time for the sermon and as my husband entered the pulpit everyone stood in respect for the Word from God. The secret of our inner life, our thoughts, emotions, is the spiritual bread and wholesome food we receive. Tonight, the Word of God was received with an immeasurable hunger.

Today, I felt I was walking through seedbeds of sorrow.  It has taken me some time to place my thoughts on paper as I recall the remains of my day.  Two female patients both called Catalina.  My first Catalina, recovering from surgery for a partial removal of a large neck tumour.  Her throat is swollen and she is finding it difficult to swallow.  There is a bond between us and she talked of her family, her forthcoming eightieth birthday on 7th November, I could see it was painful to talk.   As I sat beside her, I told her of a Saviour whose Word is rest and who knows all about our tomorrows.  We prayed together and waving goodbye she softly said: ‘You will come again in Decembria?’  She already knows the answer.  

Catalina number two was a very tall lady, an artist by profession, hosting many Art Exhibitions during her lifetime.  Her elderly husband lay in an unmade bed on one side of the room suffering from Alzheimer’s disease, separated in his mind from the memories of pleasure and normality, while his beloved wife of forty-four years lay on the other side of the room.  Their living conditions disturbed me greatly as Catalina has just completed a course of Chemotherapy.  I could have stood afar, removed my thinking as I gazed around the unkept room, but they are unable to care one for the other and often are without food.  Many occasions when our team calls, making a welcome cup of tea, they are so thankful; they never complain.  Catalina made her way to sit beside me as I tried to lift her husband Stephan from his lying positionshe quietly whispered ‘He has been a very supportive husband until this happened …’ I am unable to write any more as my heart is overwhelmed with such sorrow. Today I feel as if a sword has pierced deeply into this humble home.

It is impossible to describe my feelings as I enter another door of great sadness. A few days ago, I wrote about Stefan (11) weighing only 1.5 stone; his little foot broke as he was turned in bed.  Stefan died yesterday.  My eyes seem to see only moments of great sadness and it is changing me.  Lives close to eternity, so many wasted years.  John MacArthur wrote: ‘You are the only Bible some unbelievers will ever read’.  With tearful eyes I pray for courage to continue to do the things I feel totally inadequate to do. My friend, Dr. Beni Paul, the only Physician within the Emanuel Hospice Homecare Team is in urgent need of a specific medication unavailable in Romania.  Ampules of Hyoscine (butilscopulamine) are required for terminally ill patients nearing the end of their earthly journey and unable to swallow; it will ease their spasms.  I recognise my limitations and inadequacy but I have proved prayer changes situations.  If you are from the medical profession and can offer advice, please contact me.

Another morning with the abandoned babies.  Elijah, blind and deaf was unsettled. Dora reached for her mobile phone and turning to the Christian Music Station placed it inside his cot. His tiny fingers covered his blind eyes and finally he fell asleep.  Unwanted, unloved, this is the only home he will ever know.  Sadly, he is one of many. The progress of the Down Syndrome Children is a credit to Dora who gives so much love and patience and of course a Cadbury’s chocolate if they do well. Dora has a great policy: one to you and one to me (she loves Cadbury’s Roses).  My very special friend Lulu was discharged from the system when he turned eighteen a few months ago and is now in another placement for adult orphans.  Pray for this young man who has been in our care since infancy, but now beginning his adult life in an unfamiliar village many miles from Oradea.

How will they be remembered? How much more can I give? I readily identified their human need, their painful emotions. The Chigid orphans are not part of a local community or accepted, but long for a place in this world. The banging on the car windows with fifty pairs of peering eyes jolted my thinking.  As we unpacked the car I was surrounded, touched, finally my friend ‘Penquin’ as I affectionately call her, came forward with a daisy and placed it behind my ear. Perhaps their rank is of less value, yet I could recognise their longing for intimacy from someone who cares. I had purchased 100 of everything (track bottoms; pyjamas; socks; towels; soup and dinner plates; sweets). I thought my heart would break as I watched how the ladies choose a pair of pyjamas and kissed them, followed by the men who kissed the towels, or when Dana (Suprvisor) said: ‘I cannot believe you have brought us proper dinner plates. We have only tin plates.’ The young man, let’s call him Mr. C, always accompanies me to and from the high entrance gates, stayed by my side as my protector, raising his voice on occasions when he thought the occasion warranted it.  My friend Pauline and her team (Ballycrochan Baptist Church) lovingly sent beautiful warm blankets which quickly made their way to the three bungalows.  Fifty adult orphans with severe disabilities, all in their late forties/early fifties with the mind of children. We all have special moments, special days, I hoped today was special, I tried to make it so.  Love came down at Christmas; early December we plan to hold a Carol Service in Cighid, endeavouring through the aid of Flash Cards to tell the story of the Lamb of Christmas, the Babe of Bethlehem. I wonder how they remember their childhood Christmases?  Let’s together make this Christmas a memory. I will need soft dolls, torches, footballs, Play-Doh, colouring books and crayons.  Let’s show our love this Christmas to those who have never known what it means to matter to someone, in fact to anyone.

It is 4.30a.m. (your time) again; yes, another busy day for ‘The Moore’s’ as the ‘Professor’ was engaged in the International Conference held today with seven participants reading papers.  Romania, U.S.A. and N. Ireland were all represented. Each day is different, ordinary days, days of weakness, days of suffering but whatever we face, we must fully discharge our task with patience, kindness, in a quiet and loving manner.

It was with humility I accepted the invitation from Sister Druta to visit in her new one room apartment. Facing eviction, Sister Anna never lost sight of her faith that God would make a way. The Lord gave this gift to her and through the love of the Family of God, the roof has been renewed; water installed; bathroom built and suddenly this place of disrepair is her palace. The top floor actually consists of one tiny hall with four doors all housing four families. There is one shared bathroom. It is still her palace.

At times a short sentence can be the sweetest: ‘Shirley, where have you been?’ Five short words containing such trust and that famous smile of welcome I have come to love.  Our special Dora becomes increasingly precious to me, her love for people and her thankful acceptance for every gift she receives. Looking behind me, she asked ‘Where is Dr. Moore, I have been praying for him’.  Dora has the mind of a child but her tender personality is her legacy and how she will be remembered.  She looked tired today with little evidence of motivation. Her father (John) expressed concern seeing her weakness and lack of strength. Her medication is increasing daily and the lack of energy and fatigue is evident.  ‘Well now, let me see what I have for you, wow a Disney bag of goodies from Auntie Heather and a Rainbow bag of goodies from Auntie Barbara.  Paddington Bear and Mr. Teddy were the first to be unwrapped and hugging them she said: ‘Shirley, I hope these were not too expensive, please thank my friends in Ireland until I see them’.  The Colouring Books, Crayons, Coloured Pencils, Diabetic Sweets and a very special Pink Girls Bag, were placed in order on her table by John.  ‘Daddy, please don’t take my books away’. The laughing and excitement filled the tiny kitchen area. John’s life is devoted to ensuring Dora knows love and security. Children are a blessing and even though I never knew the blessing of parenthood, my quiver is now overflowing with ‘My Children’ and of course, My Dora.

The first publication written by Dr. Moore on 1 and 2 Timothy & Titus will now be published in two new languages! The translation into Hungarian is well under way and arrangements for a Russian translation is commencing.

The commentary on Galatians Glory in the Cross will be released on 1st November, published by Apostolos in the series, Faith builders. Another book vital for Romania with its message of the sufficiency of the cross for salvation. ‘Justified by faith in Christ, and not by works of the law,’ Gal. 2:16. Pray a translator will be found in the coming months.

Sunday will be a special day as we travel to serve in the Church of a former Theology student, Andrei Miraute. in Shafronia, (near Arad). Andrei is my adopted son, now married to Ligia (one of my girls from the Beauty and Holiness group).  My heart is overflowing with joy to know the future they will share together serving the Lord.  Each for the other, both for the Lord.

This weekend many Churches throughout Romanian will come together giving thanks to the Lord for the fields of plenty.  Still, Searching Eyes of Hope, robbed of love, wander the market places without knowing the sweetness of Harvest. 

‘Love is the chain that binds’
Shirley, 18 October, 2019