Servant; Service.

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

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

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

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

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

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

(Richard A M Gillard)

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Shirley, March 30, 2020.