‘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. 

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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

42 B BERNICE ROAD, CO ANTRIM. BT36 4QZ

‘DON’T WAIT UNTIL TOMORROW’

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. 

UPDATE ON KEVIN:

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

IT’S TIME TO ‘GO’

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)

Sincerely

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

“OBSTACLES OR OPPORTUNITIES?”

‘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.

42B BERNICE ROAD, BT36 4QZ

The Perfect Gift

‘Thanks be unto God for His unspeakable gift’ (II Cor 9: 15)

Finding the perfect gift?  A perfect gift is chosen with heartfelt love.   We choose with personal thought and memory, wanting our gift to be special.  Christmas is a season of worship, gratitude, and giving but also a time of reflection.  We remember childhood days, loved ones, and want our gift to be special.  Love sent the Saviour of the world to be the Greatest Gift given to all mankind. Heaven’s Child was such a gift, an incredible gift. The Christmas story is ageless.  

Gazing over the snow peaked mountains, the sun was rising on yet another morning.  A new day was beginning; yet for many another day was closing.  Eternity?  In the midst of it all the clamour, my mind is drawn to my patients, children and families.  The whisper of God is clear, I must give the Greatest Gif of All, the Babe of Bethlehem who gave all that He had and so much more.  My colleagues give the gift of their time but also embrace the opportunity to tell the story of ‘Redeeming Love’.  A few sonnets from my treasured team members:  Let me share their Christmas message:

We, at Emanuel Hospice Home Care Team appreciate so much your untiring prayers. We are so grateful that we were able to continue caring for our patients throughout 2022 through the Tell Romania Feeding Programme, medical equipment, medication and the urgent financial support you provided.  Our patients and their families feel blessed to have our team alongside your help, walking with them in the most difficult periods of their lives.  One hundred and sixty-five patients have died in our care this year, five of them were children. 

We continue to hold sister Shirley close in our prayers that she will heal and make progress. May God bless you and protect you, Sister Shirley.  Estera

This time of the year is more difficult for our patients and families – every moment is a moment of fear of losing their loved one in a time that is supposed to be filled with Christmas joy. For the bereaved patients it is especially difficult, having to live through the celebration of Christmas without their loved one for the first time in most of the cases.

This week, our team together with students from Emanuel University went carolling every evening, visiting patients and trying to bring a glimpse of joy as we shared the Christmas story. ‘What shall I give Him?  Give Him my heart’.We pray many hearts will come to know the Christ Child.

May the Lord fill your heart with hope and joy this season, and give you strength to recover fully!  Thank you for all of your support and ministry throughout the entire year. You are truly a blessing for our team and patients.  Adriana

Christmas in Suceava is a time for family.  We, at Iochebed thank the Lord for our extended family of Tell Romania.  What a difference you have made to so many lives in your provision of Food, Finance, Firewood, Stoves and Clothing. 

This month is a full month in which we want to bring the joy of the birth of Jesus Christ to the poorest of the poor – those living in make-shift houses, covered with cardboard or disused train carriages.  We are preparing gifts for the little ones who will have no ‘toys’ this Christmas and food packages for the mothers who gave birth this year. All our children will receive new clothes lovingly donated by your faithful supporters. May God be with us here, grant us the strength not to grow weary in doing good and serving people so that they may see Jesus Christ in our lives.

We embrace you with much longing and thank you for your love.  Sister Shirley is missed dearly; we pray that God who is Jehovah Rapha will touch her in some miraculous way!!! Sending a warm hug and all my love to Sister Shirley!  Praying for you, Gabi

We give thanks for the love and provision made possible by Tell Romania for the families assisted by CASA Gracewho are experiencing the depths of poverty.  Your faithful support meant seven hundred and fifty-six families received food and hygiene packages, meaning food on their table, clean clothes and clean homes, encouraging parents and children, with the opportunity to look to the One who is the Provider, even in the middle of deep sorrow, uncertainty and tragedy.  Forty-eight children with disabilities felt the love of our therapist, Dora, who with patience, love and professionalism works to ease the strain of the mental delays these lovely children experience.  Because of love and your faithful support fifty-two ladies, had the opportunity to learn the art of tailoring skills on a weekly basis.  They were encouraged to learn from a choice of modules with the ultimate goal of finding employment.

Because of your support I want to share the change in one of the beneficiaries, who was encouraged by the monthly Feeding Programme. Valentina, tragically lost her husband. He was disabled and nursed by his wife and disabled daughter, Nicoleta (12).   Valentina carries the sadness of being raised in an orphanage, never knowing the warmth of a family. After the loss of her husband, she was very weak and needed to feel loved. Because of you, she is empowered and ready to be an encouragement to Nicoleta who suffers from mental delays.  She is now employed as a cleaning lady. Thank you very much for being with her the very hard moments of her life! May the Lord abundantly reward you and may you feel the joy, comfort and peace you have brought to these precious lives!

As a team we day ‘Thank You’ and pray for His provision and healing for our precious colleague Sister Shirley.  With love and respect, Monika

*****

‘Thank You’ seems such a small word in comparison to the gift from your heart to our patients, children and families.  Your depth of love has intimately involved you in every circumstance of lives you will never meet, yet, have changed through ‘love’.  It was love that gave the perfect gift to the world – Jesus, Lord of our past, Lord of our tomorrows and Lord of all.  Christmas is a gift to open hands of acceptance. The true meaning of Christmas is the gift of Jesus.  A gift to all – to the great and the small, to the rich and poor.  The Saviour has come.

We thank the Lord for your partnership in the gospel, for strengthening our hands, enabling us to go forward in His name. As workers together we can make a difference in so many lives but

‘Even for One’ it is worth it all.

May the Christ of Christmas fill your heart

Hamilton and Shirley – December 2022

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

December 18, 2022.

Come my child

Following my surgery, I found myself facing many challenges.  I proved that no matter what I was going through, I was certain that the Lord was with me and that whatever He started, He would take me through.  I still have a ‘way to go’; but have such a peace in knowing that once I cast my fear, weakness and share my heart, the Lord will take me through.  Please pray for me.



Estera writes:  

Thank you so much for continuing to support us in prayer and beyond.’

Please pray for Nico’s family. The little boy passed away last week. It was a hard time for the family to say goodbye to this precious little one. Three short years of memory.

Florin (14) has one remaining treatment of chemotherapy to be followed by radiotherapy. For him, the treatment is so hard. He faces a difficult time balancing between continuing the treatment or to simply ‘give up’.  Florin needs our love and prayers.

Ana (54) has advanced cancer. Ana lives with her husband; they are a very poor family who are supported solely by the feeding programme. No one should know the pangs of hunger.

‘We hold sister Shirley close in our prayers! May God give her healing and strength during these difficult weeks.’ 

NB: Kevin is recovering well. His doctor is content with his progression. The surgery had 21 stitches. He will need to make some recovery to his right arm as the surgery was on his right shoulder. Kevin’s mom managed to build a new room for Kevin so that he would not stay in the same room with his grandmother. They are now trying to furnish the room, and because it is starting to be cold, Kevin was overwhelmed by the gift of a stove to heat his room during the cold Romanian winter now upon us.  ‘Sister Shirley always remembers me’.  

Adriana visited Lucretia who is suffering from cervix cancer. She has thirteen children, but none of them take responsibility for their parents. Most of them are working in other countries. Lucretia and her husband are raising a granddaughter, because her mother (the patient’s daughter) didn’t want to take care of her. They have very little income from which to live; without the feeding programme they would also go hungry.

Pray for Iosif’s parents. The young patient (23) died last week from a brain tumour. The family are in deep grief because of his loss, but in the middle of the suffering they have hope that their son is now in Heaven. He testified that he wanted to give his life to Jesus prior to his health deterioration.

Sister Maria is undergoing chemotherapy for pancreatic cancer. Her husband is suffering from dementia which is now in an advanced stage. Recently, sister Maria’s kidney failed to function properly because of the chemotherapy and now she has a nephrostomy too.

‘May God rest His almighty hand on Sister Shirley.’



Gabi writes:

We are praying that God’s power touches our Sister Shirley. You are a great blessing for us.  God bless you, we hug you, Sister Shirley.’

Laura (29) is a mother of two children (8 years and 6 years old). She found out at our centre she is six weeks pregnant. Laura was frightened as during the summer she went to a doctor to receive treatment for gynaecological problems – she interrupted the treatment because she had no more money to pay for it. Laura’s desire is to keep the pregnancy, but she doesn’t know if she should owing to the health issues. May God give her power and heal her!

Mândra (27) has eleven children (12 years, 10, 9, 8, 7, 6, 3, 2, 1 year and 4 months and twins of 1 month). Mandra was discharged from hospital ten days after the birth of her twins and the babies are being fed with dried milk. One of the twins, Bobi, was born with a distorted leg and his leg was put in gypsum. He has changed the gypsum five times now. The doctor recommended surgery, but Mandra is afraid and is praying for healing as God healed her baby that is 1 year and 4 months old and walks normally. May God touch baby Bobi and heal his leg!

Please pray for Narcisa, a single mother that will give birth in five weeks. She is a special case whom we helped with medical tests and an echography. She needs support in prayer in order to have a normal birth.



Monika shares:

Starting this year with a heavy winter, it has melted my heart that, through His providence through you and your support team we can give essential food and hygiene. Even cold days warmed because of the very hard days of war, we had to realise that your support, again meant the love of God for all the children, teenagers, and their parents and or grandparents going through crisis.

Monika and Robert are a family with great needs.  Monika is very sick but must work in order to live – they couldn’t pay their expenses. She has glaucoma, eye pressure, blood pressure, and needs to have an eye operation due to a skin that is growing on his eyelid. They are responsible not just for Monika’s family. They also help their large family – her mother, her brother and his family (he has three small children). It was very difficult for her to be accepted at work because she is so sick. Her husband works in building and they have been renovating their derelict home for twenty years at week-ends. They live in a small house with two rooms. They appreciate the food they receive each month from CASA Grace and they share this food with their large family. The family has a son who is a student at university and their daughter is a student at college. They are very good students. The mother has had a very low level of education and this is the reason she encourages their children to have a good education.

Nora and Zoltan are a family composed by parents and two daughters. They take care of Zoltan’s father who is sick and very old. The father had problems at his job in such a way that he became mentally ill and he had to change his job. He worked in a cake shop and now he works as a chef in a restaurant. His wife donated a kidney for her brother because he had cancer. She is a sensitive person, internalised. They are more withdrawn with others. They have two teenage daughters. They live in a derelict flat in much need of repair.

Laszlo and Eva are retired grandparents who raise their granddaughter Reka from the first marriage of their daughter who is divorced and remarried. Reka has an advanced form of asthma. Because of this medical condition her grandfather has to transport her everywhere by tram as he does not have resources to purchase fuel for his very old car, . One of their problems is providing wood because it is very expensive. Their pensions are very small. The grandmother has to work to maintain their needs.

As a team we send love and prayers to dear Sister Shirley – she is very precious to us.



Sincerely, 
Shirley – November 26, 2022

‘AUTUMN’

‘The grass withers and the flowers fall, but the word of our God endures forever’ (Isaiah 40:8). 

‘Autumn’ speaks of vibrant colour, crisp autumn leaves crunching beneath your feet, the period prior to winter when all around is ablaze with colour.  Yet, we know that to everything there is a season, especially the seasons in our own personal lives as we reminisce how quickly life changes.  In perspective, seasons for hundreds, thousands, autumn has come suddenly, so much so, it seems quite unreal.   Vibrant colours replaced by vast blackness where the burden of pain, the pain of loss knocks loudly on their door. Our teams feel the thrust of physical sensitivity as searching eyes question ‘why’.  Terminally ill children, adults, poverty-stricken families fearing the rising economy, unwanted children simply wanting to belong, theirs is a personal storm, disrupting lives and causing chaos in trouble hearts.  ‘My peace I give to you, not as the world giveth, give I unto you.  Let not your heart be troubled, neither let it be afraid’.  (John 14: 27).   No need to fear, no storm can disrupt our lives as we have One who enters all our storms and whispers ‘peace’ to our troubled hearts.   Three words which have become so precious to me personally ‘Abide in Me’.  I find Him a great source of strength as I embrace the case studies filled with utter emptiness.  As you read, pray those named this month will also come to know the peace of abiding in the Lord.

Memories – a few short years shared with her treasured daughter Petra (15) is all that remains in the heart of a devastated mum.  Deserted by her husband she was left to raise her baby daughter totally alone.  Petra entered our care in Emanuel Hospice only two weeks ago; she passed away last weekend, Autumn came quickly to this home.  There is an older son who does not live at home. ‘Good Bye’ was the hardest word this mother ever uttered.  Life has no purpose, no meaning, her mind is in turmoil as she faces a life that will never be the same.   Pray her churning heart will be quieted and that there will be a peace within her turmoil.  

Florin (14) is sinking into depression.  His mood continues to darken owing to his condition and subsequent treatment.  He has become totally withdrawn; life is a challenge for him right now as Florin doesn’t understand the reasoning behind the tangled roads he must travel.  A young teenager with hopes, dreams and ambitions?  Florin’s parents are deeply concerned, I pray the Lord will place His hands on this young life and restore his trust in the One who created him.

Luly (54) diagnosed with cervical neoplasm is now in the terminal phase.  Luly does not know the meaning of being precious to her family, since they have no regard for her; she is alone and unloved.  Her living conditions raise concern as the place she calls home is totally unacceptable and unpractical for this dear lady. We are visiting her every day providing medical, nursing, psychological and social care. Luly benefits from the Feeding Program otherwise we fear for her nourishment and nutrition.  Emanuel Hospice Homecare Team are presently making enquiries regarding a place for her to stay where she will be warm, loved and will benefit from a higher sense of calling and total care.

Pal is suffering from bladder cancer now extended into the lower abdomen.  He is experiencing great hardship owing to faecal vomiting and bowel obstructions. He now has a nasogastric tube to assist in reducing the vomiting. Please pray for his daughter, as her father’s illness is causing her deep distress. 

Ioan has colon cancer. He struggles with deep anxiety and is fearful of the level of pain.   He is also experiencing many spiritual issues. He does believe in God, but is having trouble in accepting him as a God who cares.   He does not accept or believe the Bible, refusing to believe that God is always good.   We know his heart is troubled as Ioan always starts conversations relating to God and the Bible.  ‘Are not two sparrows…’  Pray this gentleman will come to realise the one who cares for even the tiny sparrow is concerned about him.

Gavri is paralyzed on one side resulting from a cerebrovascular attack. He has now been diagnosed with pulmonary cancer and also suffering bone metastasis causing him to experience bouts of severe pain. His beloved wife is taking care of him, but she is deeply affected with depression, anxiety and panic attacks.  Her nervous disability has increased since receiving the diagnosis regarding her husband.  Pray this elderly couple will know a close, meaningful and personal relationship with the Lord.  The Lord will come to us at any time or any place.  He is waiting.

KEVIN:  The update on Kevin is positive.  Surgery went according to plan. It is proposed he will be discharged from the hospital in France this weekend.  The surgeon who performed the surgery is anxious to supervise Kevin’s progress and recovery.  This will warrant further trips to France.  We wish to thank you all for your love for ‘Our Kevin’ throughout the years and for your prayers and continued support.   Gabi knows you are praying for them as a family.

How does one explain that you can start again?  The mysteries of life cause many to face life with a forced smile.  Hearts have become hardened as young teenage girls search for someone to care.   Many would exchange their broken lives simply for a new beginning.  The ladies passing through Iochebed search for comfort, assurance, love, security.  Perhaps they have loved and lost and long for that little something they feel they have missed, where circumstances of life have passed them by.  Thank you for your love and support in showing that God’s love is an infinite love and that life is eternal.  Pray they will come to know the Lord.

Andreia (22) is mother to a little girl aged four.  Within days, Andreia will give birth to a baby boy. She is having issues with the father of the baby and has threatened that she will leave the baby in the hospital if he will not accept his responsibility in raising the child.  The father of the baby is only twenty and does not have stable employment; therefore, there are weeks without finance.  He lives with his mother who also has a young child aged two and as a family they face many financial difficulties especially during the rising economy in Suceava. May the Lord speak clearly to Andreia. I think of passion for my orphans and abandoned babies and pray this precious little one will know the loving arms of ‘Mummy’ and be cradled close to her heart.  Pray Andreia will make a wise decision.

Mândra (28) is a mother of 9 children (12, 10, 9, 8, 7, 6, 3, 2 and 1 year 3 months). On 12th October Mandra gave birth to twin boys at thirty-five weeks after a difficult pregnancy.  One of the babies required oxygen after birth and the other baby was born with a distorted leg. Mandra is thankful everything went well at the birth because there were many risks incurred owing to her heart and kidney issues.  The babies remain in hospital as they are still ill.  Remember, Mandra is only twenty-eight with eleven children.  

Iuliana Mihaela (28) has four children (eight, seven, five and twenty-two months). She is now twenty-nine weeks pregnant with twins.  Twenty-eight years of age with six children.  This news was received with shock, but being faithful, they decided to accept every child as a gift from God.  However, as a family of eight they will be unable to manage the expenses and are facing financial difficulties. The consultations and the morphological echography were expensive. She asked us to pray for the babies because there is a difference in their development- the boy is one month ahead of the girl. May God be with this family and help the babies to develop properly.

Alexandra is a mother of three children (four, three and sixteen months). Alexandra is in hospital with her youngest child, a baby girl, Giulia. She has been suffering from convulsions although no fever accompanies these attacks. The doctors are unable to reach a solution and have referred the little one for a RMN (CT scan) scheduled this week. We pray the Lord will touch little Giulia and bring the importance of faith, patience and wisdom to Alexandra in raising her children!

Compiling my blog month after month, I find myself entering into what seems to be the dark hours of lives absorbed by turbulence.  They lack comfort in their darkest hour; there is no one to dry their tears, no one to feel the weight of the heavy chains that bind them. ‘Would I be able to endure such hardship?’.   We need to pray that all our families engulfed by the blackness of night, where they feel it will never pass, will come to know our Heavenly Father who sees every tear even before it falls, who feels their pain and with outstretched arms says ‘Come’.  As we read through the book of Mark, we cannot fail to capture the depth of compassion displayed by our loving Heavenly Father.  Compassion means to love, to help, to care and to show it.  Bethany Baptist Church, Bangor; Monkstown Baptist Church and Agape Fellowship, Belfast has all displayed love for others.  Shoeboxes ranging from small children to the elderly have been prepared by Monkstown B.C. (Natalia Montgomery) and Agape Fellowship. (Carol Foster).  Bethany B.C. Knit and Knatter (Marion Morrow) catered for babies and children with their famous knitted dolls and knitted garments. Ballycarry Knitting Group (Daphne and Mavis) assorted knitted garments.  Sisters Alison, Barbara, Iris, Eileen stretching hands of love to others; Sisters Patsy and Sheila knitting beautiful cardigans for the orphans.   The attention to detail is amazing.  Approximately one hundred banana boxes have been taken to the Tarsin company (Dunsilly) by one of our directors, Allan Hopper.  It makes such a difference to choose to love.  

As I read through case studies this month ranging from terminally ill, physically and mentally disabled children, orphans, displaced and poverty-stricken families, I felt totally helpless.  How I longed to, as it were, switch on a light inside their darkness, to bring beauty, to bring a glow to a sad face, wrinkled with the cares of many years of struggle.  Walking around (as I do when I am overwhelmed) the words of a Gaither song came to mind:

I’m going to live the way He wants me to live,
I’m going to give until there’s just no more to give,
I’m going to love, love ‘til there’s just no more love,
I could never, never out-love the Lord.

I cannot change circumstances or relate to such hardship but I can pour myself into others who are hurting and in need of love and comfort.  I can bring a little joy into their suffering.   Annamarie (48) is only able to work part-time owing to a severe leg condition.  A young disabled mother with the responsibility of earning an income to care for her daughter (Alexandra 19), her mother (Berta, 69) and her grandmother (Elisabetta 93) The living conditions are exceptionally poor, in fact, unacceptable; but they are thankful for a place to call home.  Alexandra is encouraged by her teachers from the high school and from our support in Casa Grace. She is now a student at the university in Budapest. She takes the basic provisions from home as she is without resources to purchase food.  We realise that even though she was admitted without taxes it will still be difficult during the first semester to pay for accommodation and transport will be a challenge.   Alexandra is willing to work part-time to assist with her expenses.  The support of Tell Romania does not only place food in empty cupboards but it is real evidence of a faithful God who will provide.   Even with our assistance, these days are characterised by problems owing to the economic hardships throughout Romania.   These four ladies express their appreciation and thanks for the food and hygiene support during the past months.   Pray their faith will be restored and that they will be strengthened and encouraged as they wait for their ‘due season’.

Only forty-three yet feeling ninety-three.  The trials of life have built a wall of rocks around this lady who has nothing to show for her forty-three years, without any form of security and in fear of what lies ahead.  Lulianaapproached our team at Casa Grace; owing to medical issues and a very disorganised lifestyle she confessed that life was without meaning.   Luliana can only afford to rent one room.  Her one room has no bathroom or kitchen facilities but is home to six people, yes, six people forced to live in unsanitary conditions. Luliana has a daughter Cristina (25) with two little boys who are mentally disabled. Christina lost her young husband to cancer when she was pregnant with their second son.  David (6) and Carlos (5) have mental delays; we are in the process of having an evaluation carried out.  Her younger daughter Rebecca (12) suffers from heart and kidney issues. She is highly respected by her teachers in school who try to ensure she has food for each day as many days Rebecca is without lunch.  Ioan (38) is a brother of Luliana and he too is severely disabled with mental delays.  Young adults, children bereft of health, soundness of mind, food, clothing, even shelter with still the snows of a Romanian winter yet to come.  Methinks: I am surrounded by beautiful autumn leaves whose beauty soon will fade only to be replaced by the beautiful colours of the Delphinium, Hydrangea, Magnolia and Calla Lily or the textural plants of Olive branches, Maple and Eucalyptus, reminding us that to everything there is a season and all things pass.  Let’s make today matter to someone, let’s hold out an Olive branch of kindness.

I end by quoting George Muller: 

In the greatest difficulties, in the heaviest trials, in the deepest poverty and necessities, He has never failed me; but because I was enabled by His grace to trust Him, He has always appeared for my help. I delight in speaking well of His name.

Shirley, October 27, 2022

42B Bernice Road, BT36 4QZ

A WHITENED HARVEST

‘Desire that your life count for something great! Long for your life to have eternal significance. Want this!  Don’t coast through life without a passion.’  (John Piper)

Hidden scars of shame, abandonment and tragedy speak loudly on the faces of many women and young girls who knock on the door of Iochebed.  Their wounds are deep, they carry bruises from the rough road of circumstances they are forced to walk.  They have never known or acquired a comfort zone; rather, they are robbed of potential and bereft of hope.  I am troubled as I write of what I class as a tragic waste of lives lived in dark shadows of despair.  

Again, John Piper wrote:

Mara: a twenty-seven-year-old mother of nine children and pregnant with twins. At the tender age of twenty-seven with eleven children!  Mara contracted a severe form of covid affecting her heart and kidneys, resulting in many complications surrounding this pregnancy.  She is now entering thirty-one weeks into her pregnancy, her consultant has strongly advised constant bed rest for the next three weeks as they predict a thirty-four-week birth. May the Lord touch this young woman, watch over her nine little ones, grant blessing to this family through the gift of life through her twin babies.

 Daniela:  a mother of ten children.  She is facing financial hardship and came to our centre for counselling, requesting help regarding her five children who must have school uniforms and stationery in order to attend school.  Our precious team at Iochebed assisted with uniforms and school materials.   It was a great joy to see the Lord answer prayer through our small efforts. Please pray for Daniela, as her five older children are far away from the Lord, refusing to attend church, refusing to listen to their mother or treat her with respect.

Lacramioara:  also has ten children, nine boys and one girl.  She became pregnant after seven years and gave birth to a baby girl Sara. Lacramioara has financial issues, receiving no support from her partner, she has no other choice than to live at home with her parents. Little Sara contracted covid and Mummy must remain in the hospital with her young daughter.  Three of her boys are in the system. Such need.  Please remember her.

Valentina: a forty-three-year-old mother of ten children.  Valentina requested our prayers for her family.  Her husband is an alcoholic and a gambler.  Every penny he earns goes to feed his addictions.  There is no consideration given to his wife and ten children.   Schools have commenced in Suceava and Valentina could only send five of her ten children.  One child (female) entering high school had to remain at home as there was no money available for essential requirements entering grammar stream education.  We have assisted with clothing, school materials and hygiene products for the children.  Valentina cried with joy for the Lord to regard her with kindness and compassion.  Prayer points for this family: that Valentina may find a solution for the issues in her life; her husband to be released from the addiction to alcohol and gambling; for household salvation.

Sadness and poverty, a strange blending of words.  I find myself having to ‘stop’ to reflect on the grief and sorrow young parents are having to bear.  How can I write without remembering each little one who longs to be ‘at home with Mummy’?  I cannot.

Nico: a precious little boy of three (June update), is very sick.  His illness is progressing and his young mother is devastated. She is at home caring for Nico’s three siblings. All four children are under five years old. The father is constantly by Nico’s bedside, but it is so difficult to watch the little one you love go through chemotherapy. His mum is a gentle young lady possessing a sensitive nature; she cannot watch her beloved little boy suffer.  Broken hearts are part of life in Romania. 

Zente:he is a 3 year old diagnosed with epileptic encephalopathy, currently in hospital going through various tests and investigations. His condition worsened lately and his mother became extremely concerned regarding his condition.  His brother is very affected by Zente’s illness; he is very attached to his mummy and is finding it difficult to be without her every day. ‘I want my mummy’.

Kevin: Estera, Social Worker, Emanuel Hospice, has received confirmation from Assurance House regarding Kevin’s surgery. Kevin is scheduled for surgery on 13th October. This particular form of surgery is not without complications, the surgeon has highlighted certain risk elements.  Gabi (as a mother) is extremely anxious, she has no one to share her fears and deep emotion since the loss of her beloved Robi.  Kevin so needs his dad just now as he is frightened and nervous of what lies ahead.  France, where the surgery will take place, is far removed from a tiny village in Romania. 

Ela‘s mother, Angelina, is in deep sorrow.  The depth of her pain is evident, her heart is so broken she is unable to speak of Ela.   Aurelian and his mum need our prayers. I will continue to monitor this situation, as this family has been part of my life for many years.  There are difficult times ahead for Aurelian as his health continues to deteriorate.  Angelina knows one day she will be totally alone.  We need to assure her there is One who will never leave her or forsake her.  Through your loving support, our monthly Food Programme will continue.  

Sudden storms enter lives without warning.  The stillness of ‘peace’ has been replaced with unexpected turbulence.  Exhausted minds try to comprehend or understand ‘why?’  Clouds gather, weak frames are crushed by the force of an unwanted and unwelcome illness.   Peace has disappeared, in fact, peace is forgotten.   As you read, I ask you to pray that these precious lives will hear the still small voice saying: ‘Peace, be still’.  Writing to you this morning, methinks: ‘Why them and not me?’  One day, we will know the meaning of our tears.

Ildiko: a patient with cervix cancer, often suffering from ascites. Two weeks ago, her husband died suddenly from a heart attack. Besides the pain and the shock she is suffering, she has no finance to cover the funeral expenses. She has three adult children who cause their mother many anxious days.  Her children are in constant need of money owing to their addictions. Totally alone, lldiko struggles to survive. 

Veronica: another patient recently widowed during her battle with cancer. Her husband was in hospital approximately four weeks. During this time, the doctors were unable to reach a diagnosis. Eventually, her husband was discharged with a suspicion of pancreatic cancer. As they waited patiently for the biopsy results, he died suddenly. Veronica is now facing dark days of grief apart from the radiotherapy treatment which is ongoing. Veronica has pulmonary cancer with bone metastasis on her spine. The pain caused by the metastasis is extreme; she can only walk with the aid of a walking frame. Another widow, totally alone with her grief.

Domnica: she also suffers from cervix cancer.  Her husband suffers from dementia and her son is often violent towards his parents disbelieving that his mother is ill.  Domnica is now unable to walk, her daughter in law has responsibility for her care. The family live in unacceptable unsanitary conditions. Domnica is often confined to an extremely cold and drafty room.

Monika did most of the talking during our weekly conference call which lasted longer than usual.  I was unable to remove myself from my desk as I reflected on the case studies and in (everyday language) thought about the families held together like a piece of worn and threadbare string, barely surviving. Yes, you are correct again, I questioned ‘Why not me?’ As I thought of the sixty-one adults and one hundred and twenty-four children on our Feeding Programme, I became more aware in my heart of the urgency to tell the story of Jesus and His love.  So many have never heard, so many have never known. Together let us ‘Tell the old old story of Jesus and His love’.

The elderly: many walk miles (aided by a stick), they are desperate for food, hygiene. Parents urgently needing backpacks to enable their children to attend school.  Without our Feeding Programme, we would be unable to form a relationship with these precious people or have the opportunity to show God’s love to all.  The work of Casa Grace extends to the Orphanages and Therapy Centres.  Children have been reunited with their Mum or Dad, who, because of lack of resources had no other choice but to place their little darlings in an Orphanage. Some, up to eight years.  Monika shares: 

Families have been reunited, children were brought home from the orphanage as in Ana’s case, to live as a happy family once again. To have the support each month for one or two years meant so much to all of them and took them closer to God. We give thanks for those who accepted the Saviour into their hearts.  As I see the changes, rising prices at all levels, my heart is troubled …. but God reminds me to ask from Him. We asked and God answered and He answered through you Sister Shirley and your faithful friends of CASA Grace.  We thank God for you and your commitment to us.

PRAY FOR THE TEAM AT CASA GRACE:

We ask wisdom to help the families God guides us to; wisdom in our conversation: wisdom in presenting His word:  wisdom in displaying and showing the love of God as His children; Pray for each person we are in contact with through our Feeding Programme with Tell Romania.

We testify to the goodness of the Lord as we reflect on many of our former case studies.   Ana who has been reunited with her three children – Robi, Aniko, Micky – God granted us to meet them because of the food support and has been sustaining Ana through her cancer treatment. 

Andrada: she was extremely introverted, but had the courage to say the bible verse (Family supported in the past – dad suffers from schizophrenia). As a family they are encouraged by the relationship with the team of Casa Grace 

Sergiu:  a boy with behavioural problems – changed through his days at summer camp into a gentle boy offering comfort to the smallest child. Until then he was abusing every child at every afforded opportunity. As you encouraged us to support his family, we had the chance to spend a few days with him.   Please, pray with us for wisdom how to talk with his father (dependent on alcohol, stepmother (consuming alcohol) grandmother, who is very calm person just with many medical issues and with Sergiu who is behaving as a child that screams for love, affection and attention.

A letter from Neil (Social Worker, Casa Grace).

Dear Sister Shirley,

Thank you, because you take care of the poor families from Romania. We, at Casa, know that your effort to help them is a larger task now and we thank you from the bottom of our hearts.   Your support means a lot to our desperately poor families because without it we would be unable to assist them or more importantly, impact their lives.   All over the world there are difficult situations, even the families who can find menial work, experience the change.  They barely manage themselves as it is now much harder than in the past. Most of them can’t afford to buy wood for heating this winter and do not know how they will pay their electricity.   Receiving food from your Feeding Programme helps save money for monthly bills and other essentials such as medical and utility bills.  We appreciate all you do for our beneficiaries and say ‘THANK YOU’ to those who faithfully donate to the Tell Romania project.  Your friends who donate for our families, thank you for your kindness for us. Thank you because you remember us and keep us in your hearts.

A divorced father of two girls aged ten and seven.  His situation has become untenable.  His former wife who has never contributed to her daughters has now opened a lawsuit against him.  She is unemployed and unable to pay court costs which could result in a prison sentence.   The father is now engaged in unexpected court costs even though he does not have the financial resources to cover essentials such as food, wood etc. Casa continues to supply food for this father and his two daughters.  The girls enjoyed their special days at our Summer camp in the mountains.  The excitement of their little faces was overwhelming as they spend every day at home alone while their father tries to find work. The state has provided social accommodation which is totally inhabitable.  No running water, no electric, repairs required to ceilings, windows … The father has been working hard to renovate the derelict building, a place the girls can call ‘home’.  A gracious man who is responsible, serious and hardworking.  He works hard to offer his girls an education, a choice of a better life that he has never known and never will. How can we forget them? 

As I close, I am thankful for my ‘alone times’ with the Lord.  A time to reflect, to listen and to gain direction for the way ahead.  Three of our Directors namely, David Morton; Freddy Smyth and Allan Hopper are presently part of a six-man work team working in Romania until October 1st.  Please remember them.   This week Hamilton had a one-hour conference call with Brother Paul Negrut, Rector of Emanuel University together with other faculty members. The new Semester, Theology classes and the Emanuel Journal, of which he is the Editor, were all discussed. Hamilton may not be physically in Romania but his heart remains there.

‘Our deeds are not the basis of our salvation; they are the evidence of our salvation. They are not foundation, they are demonstration.’  (John Piper)

Shirley, September 26th, 2022

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