Mysteries of life

‘Then He arose and rebuked the wind, and said to the sea ‘Peace be still!’ And the wind ceased and there was a great calm!’  (Mark 4: 39)

Today, I found myself praying silently in my heart for ‘words’.  Yes, simply words. Comfort for the dying; Assurance for the homeless beggar; A day without clouds where the sun is now invisible for the elderly widow; What words could I offer that would stop the falling rocks pounding down, hitting hard, as they walk miles for bread.  Or nests of young babies, children, as they tearfully stand barefooted waving ‘bye bye’ to Mummy, leaving for the fruit farms to earn money for food. 

The COVID-19 spike is rising and now higher than during lockdown. Romania’s Coronavirus spike exceeds one thousand new cases daily as the number of infections rose by a record of over one thousand during the past twenty-four hours, confirming over forty thousand cases including over two thousand deaths since the pandemic hit in late February.  Rigid restrictions are in place regarding any form of travel throughout Romania and one must display a document stating ‘NEGATIVE’ in order to do so. The government has extended a state of alert until the middle of August.  Sustained vigilance must be maintained.

Hamilton and I released the July ‘blog’ four days ago updating on the vast needs. The work is expanding and we prove the faithfulness of God in His provision.  His still small voice calms the storms of uncertainty. Yet, amidst all the darkness of squalor, poverty and sickness, the teams of Emanuel Hospice, Casa Grace and Iochebed continue to minister, taking no thought for their own life. They know nothing, not even pounding rocks can destroy their tower of faith.  We are facing storms of loss of life and economy but we know that with Jesus at the helm, we are safe from the fierce winds of life.  Words to describe those I love in Romania would be indestructible as I view their determination and resilience in their unbreakable spirit.  Andrei continues to share the gospel in Sofronia. 

 Words I offer to fight the raging war within comes from the One whose heart is filled with compassion: ‘My peace I give to you, not as the world giveth, give I unto you’.


Terminally ill, homeless and …..

‘Out of the depths I have cried to You, O Lord’ Psalm 130: 1.

‘Despair and Devastation’ immediately come to mind, lives overwhelmed with the extremity of intense pain; the absence of hope?   Few have known a Burning Bush experience, but rather one of parting waters leading to unknown junctures deciding if we ‘walk on’ or simply ‘give up’? The battlefield of life can be a cruel battle of conflict. As I turn to the book of Job, one thing stands out: Job never ‘gave up’.  ‘But he knows the way that I take; when He has tested me, I shall come forth as gold’ (Job 23: 10).  Job knew the depth of despair, the intense pain of suffering, but he also knew God’s word was sure.

This month my ‘blog’ is filled with hopelessness, mental anguish and unthinkable hardships.  The unrelenting blows of COVID-19 continue to rise throughout Romania and have taken precious lives; sickness and unemployment has brought hunger.  The emptiness and weariness of each day has only one thing to offer – emotional loss.  Lives are crushed. The depth of an ocean is such that even a raging tempest is unable to stir. I pray my beloved patients and families will know the peace of God. ‘When He giveth quietness, who then can make trouble?’ (Job 34: 29)

SEVENTY-SIX terminally ill patients have died!  Seventy-six broken hearts who have watched their loved ones fade away; the scars of loss are deep as they whisper their final ‘Goodbye’.  ‘Why?’ they ask over and over again; they do not understand and explanations are not what they want to hear.  Pray that through this life changing experience, that they will meet the One who can mend their brokenness and satisfy the deepest longing of their heart. A personal request for my beloved Catalina who will be eighty-one next birthday.  Adriana conveys my messages of love to her personally, yet from a picture received today I could see she had become frail.  Her neck tumour is spreading into her throat.  Please whisper her name. 

Our ‘Little Ella’ requires surgery as her eyesight is failing.  Most of her young life of eighteen years has been spent in hospital.  Ella has been robbed of friends, education.  Her mother, Angelina bears a heavy burden as her son Aurielan, suffers from the same rare form of cancer. Angelina struggles alone since the loss of her husband. 

A new family with an adolescent boy, perfectly healthy until recently.  Now, due to a neurological illness he is totally dependent upon his mother.  The mother is a devout Christian lady but her husband does not share her love of our precious Lord.

Krisof, (3) diagnosed with Leukemia is having severe complications.  We spoke of this family last month, who are going through great financial difficulty.  Due to the Pandemic continuing to sweep throughout Romania, the father is unable to find employment.  They need food for their baby daughter.

Nicolae (63), suffering from Pulmonary cancer. His wife has Paranoiac Schizophrenia, and his daughter, Mirela, (35) was diagnosed with an obsessive phobic disorder when she was twenty. They live together in a very old dilapidated house which is totally unkept.  They had another daughter, who died of cancer when she was 17. Nicolae endures these unacceptable conditions, because of his daughter, Mirela, who is unable to work more than 2 hours each day. She has great difficulty integrating.

Ms. Floare suffers from cancer of the oesophagus and pharynx, she has now developed Gastrostoma followed by a Tracheostomy. She was not open or interested in the Christian faith.  This now has changed since her illness, requesting the Hospice team to pray with her during every visit. ‘Lord, even for One’.  Continue to remember the team of Emanuel Hospice, who are on call twenty-four hours each day.  We thank the Lord for his goodness in protecting our workers.  Due to the rising numbers of COVID-19, the team had to be retested – all proved negative.  To God Be the Glory.

Suceava is far removed from Oradea, spanning a twelve-hour drive by car.  Although a long way to travel, it is a journey where one is surrounded by breath-taking beauty.  The Carpathian Mountains draped in velvet slopes with the piercing blue sky above. I recall walking down a pathway of trees and in the quietness, trying to capture the beauty. ‘I will lift up mine eyes unto the hills, from whence cometh my help.  My help cometh from the Lord, which made heaven and earth’, (Psalm 121: 1-2). The reality of today is that dusty roads still lead to darkness where an uninhabited shack surrounded with squalor is ‘HOME’ for numerous pairs of piercing eyes, bare footed little ones who are hungry. Young mothers unable to supply dried milk for their babies, the hardship is real. Survival is a challenge.  Amy Carmichael wrote:

Give me the love that leads the way, the faith that nothing can dismay, the hope no disappointments tire, the passion that will burn like fire. Let me not sink to be a clod, Make me thy fuel, Flame of God.

Maria was looking forward to the birth of her twin girls, sadly they did not survive.  Maria’s heart is torn apart with grief.

Mirabela (17) arrived at Iochebed centre somewhat distraught.  Her pregnancy test was positive. Mirabela was filled with fear and disbelief, it was not the news she expected. I praise the Lord for the godly counselling offered by our small team of three.  Through their counselling sessions, Mirabela now realises that life is God given and has agreed to keep her baby. “My parents, my boyfriend, will they stand by me?”  

Ana had no other choice but to leave her four children behind to work in the Fruit Farms in Germany.  The elderly lady caring for Ana’s four children is ill. Ana is back in Suceava without money. The meagre wages paid to Roma people used in travel expenses and paying debts.  Home and nowhere to lay her head, living in fear of losing her children, who could be taken into care by Child Protection.  Everything seems impossible to Ana just now; she is surrounded by failure. Gabi and I have been in consultation; we want to be involved in this situation praying a small rental room can be found where the family can live together.  Gabi is presently in talks with the authorities – this is an urgent prayer request, four pairs of dark eyes and four little curly heads need a soft pillow to rest their little heads in a place they call for the first-time ‘HOME’.

The barren and unreceptive deserts remain. Soon it will be autumn, the falling leaves will blow the arrival of a cold unwelcome winter and I fear the clusters of COVID-19 will peak. ‘Shirley’, I tell myself, ‘Only one thing is needed’.  I need to replace my preparations with His presence to help me understand.  Then and only then, will I find Him.

Cheeks wet with tears, brows wet with perspiration, walking miles for one loaf of bread. Once more came the answer, when a man and his son brought bread to Casa Grace.  God knew what was needed for the remains of that particular day.  The Vocational Training Room has resumed, village ladies travel miles to learn the art of sewing, repair, embroidery under the watchful eye of my friend Dana who supervises all modules taught.  Some walk, others, eager to learn, travel and are left without money for food. Dana’s amazing smile says it all as she points to ‘bread on his table’ for the hungry to take home. God’s provision and just when needed.

A new family composed of parents and ten children ranging in age from ten to twenty-two.  Beautiful names, Maria, Teofil, Marta, Elisabeta, Andrei, Daniel, Lidia, Abigail, Benjamin and Marcu.  Twelve adults living in a small communist flat, the father worked as a miner but is presently unemployed.  The mother has many medical conditions and her state of health deteriorates. The children each have their own responsibilities within the family home.  A Christian family who love the Lord, twelve people receiving little or no income – only one of the hundreds who climb steep mountains every day.

The world surrounding these precious families is one of loss. Loss of finances, health, self-respect, enslaved in a prison of their own making.  Yet I am privileged to have an abundance of blessing.  At times I find myself asking for understanding when questioning, why the difference?  I cannot ignore or simply go through the motions when the downcast are captives to the slave of circumstances.

Ana has finally been admitted to hospital. The surgeon is hoping to proceed immediately with the required surgery, which was due to have taken place in May.  However, owing to hospital closures all treatment and surgeries were placed on hold.  Ana reminds me of a budding tree, determined to blossom even in seasons of dryness. Losing her children for eight years, losing her home in a fire, diagnosed with cancer; now a secondary.  Please pray for Ana and her three children that they will be reunited and that through this Ana will come to meet the Master.

In your intimate moments with the Lord, please remember those who are not on our case files within Casa Grace; nevertheless, they come, knowing they will not be turned away.   One lady who resides in a village many miles from Oradea, came for food, she had seven hungry little ones and yet she knew she could come and be received with open arms of love.  Other families living in a Social Centre, where they are not permitted to cook, come and receive money to purchase the basic necessities.  Yes, still they come. £5 will bring a smile to a hungry little face whose tiny soiled hands will grasp even dry bread with eyes of thankfulness. The taste is much better than the crumbs found in a garbage dumpster by the roadside.  Children are not the only ones who go hungry; the elderly try to survive alone, perhaps tending a little patch of ground or sharing milk from the village cow, as it makes its way home through the village street. 

Dora continues her therapy sessions with the Orphans, Down Syndrome, Mentally and Physically Disabled children and Abandoned babies.  Your ‘snacks’ bring a smile from ear to ear.  Thank you for making the impossible, possible.

My adopted son Andrei and his young wife Ligia are progressing well in their first pastorate.  Pray for them as they seek to reach out into the surrounding villages. A lady (early sixties) diagnosed with terminal cancer, gave her life to the Lord and was baptised in the open air, witnessed by her unsaved family, which included an alcoholic grandson and many grandchildren indifferent to the gospel.  What a mission field! With all the splendour of creation and wonder of nature, still there are those whose lives know no beauty.  Ligia ‘found’ a homeless man (50) dying from terminal cancer. Her natural instinct was to show that God, the Giver of Life, can make everything beautiful in his time. A room was found for this dying man to find peace and comfort during his final days on earth – he preferred the damp and unkept pavements, clutched his blue bin bags and walked away. Remember this man and ‘ALL’ we have shared with you.  Ligia did let her light shine, pray it will become a beacon in this homeless shelter.

The Lord will command His lovingkindness in the daytime, and in the night His song shall be with me … (Psalm 42: 8)

Shirley, July 25th, 2020

Speak His Name

Now therefore, I pray thee, if I have found grace in thy sight, shew me now thy way, that I may know thee, that I may find grace in thy sight: and consider that this nation is thy people.

‘Lockdown’ a word rarely used or spoken in our everyday language, yet during the past weeks and months ‘Lockdown’ has become a way of life for many, introducing a change in lifestyle, restrictions, isolation.  During these days of change, I have lost count how many times I have whispered the precious name of ‘Jesus’ as I became actively concerned for the welfare of the sick, dying, poor and those entering a lost eternity. The narrowing roads of this earthly journey caused many to travel rough, uneven and yes, unexpected roads.  I felt helpless; what impact, what difference could I make?  The words of George Matheson came to mind: ‘Only when Christ opened thine ear to the storm, did He open thine ear to the stillness’.  As the psalmist David penned: ‘He calmeth the storm to a whisper’ Psa. 107: 29.  I will keep listening for his whispers.

Hamilton and I have been asking the Lord to show us his way, but more importantly that (as one of old) we may know him. Our life is one where we find it easier to keep working than to wait; but then we know during our waiting the Lord is the one who is working.   As we chatted last evening, we found ourselves questioning: Are we living with the approval of God and our conscience’?  Where do our priorities lie?   Guy Penrod recorded a ‘golden oldie’ – ‘The Love of God’, as I listened, the words pierced my heart reducing me to tears.

‘To write the love of God above, would drain the ocean dry’ – how can we sing these words without being changed?  ‘If I have found grace in thy sight, shew me now thy way’. 

ROMANIA is far removed by miles of distance, yet I know that nothing can separate my love for these my God-given family. I hold my patients and children in a special corner of my heart, It doesn’t matter where I am, I know once I speak his name, he will soothe the fevered brow of those nearing the end of this journey, calm the anguish of the loved ones, parting with a little lamb.  As I wait and wait I must, I will discover the faithfulness of the Lord in a new dimension; whatever I do, whatever my motive, I will do it as ‘Unto the Lord’.  His words of tenderness and compassion tell us ‘to love one another’, an important part of my service; I must keep digging, keep planting and watch the beauty of God’s harvest unfold. This month the flower for June is Honeysuckle. Late evening walks in Holywood were always graced by the unmistakable fragrance of this rambling beauty.  The seed, flower and leaves are used for medicine, but also to symbolise love, gratitude and appreciation.  Do I serve with love?  Do I appreciate with gratitude my many blessings?   

Two beautiful little lambs cradled in love by a devoted Grandmother. Stefan died recently, his little body so weak, his bones so brittle, he lost his battle.  His younger brother Lancu, diagnosed with the same illness, is very sick. His Grandmother is physically and mentally exhausted.  Rigid restrictions remain throughout Romania and hospital admissions, treatment, surgery are postponed.  Another little lamb, Emanuel (7) underwent a cell transplant last year; he remains in Italy as his bloods require urgent attention.  The youngest of my lambs is Kristof (3) diagnosed with Leukemia.  An extremely poor family, living in a village many miles outside Oradea.  The mother holds her little one in her arms, loving him, assuring him he is not alone; but she also has a baby daughter.  Owing to the pandemic the father, with many extremely poor families is without employment and they are struggling with medical, travel, food costs. There is no opportunity to find employment; their cupboards are empty; their table is not spread with plenty.   The needs are so vast we have had to increase finance within our three feeding programmes, knowing that though their world may be shaken, his love will never be shaken.  But we must show our love in action.  Six days ago, I was facing a situation where a particular sum of money was required to meet an urgent need.  I said: ‘Lord, this is your work; you show me you are in control’.   Later that day an anonymous envelope containing the exact amount was placed in my mail box. ‘The Lord is good unto them that wait for him, to the soul that seeketh him’, Lam 3: 25.

There is no sunshine spilling through the windows of the heart of Damian’s Mum. The loss of her only son is difficult to bear; please continue to hold her close in prayer. Sadly Violetta (44) died shortly after the writing of my May update.  Her two little girls left without ‘Mummy’.  Dr. Beni graciously told Violetta the story of the cross hours before her passing. Please remember this precious family in the early stages of bereavement.

My dear friend Catalina, eighty-one on her next birthday, has been admitted to hospital for investigation and treatment.  Her neck tumour is now growing inside her throat area causing difficulty with speaking and eating.  Our friendship deepened as she shared about her early years as a seamstress, proudly displaying her forty-year-old Singer sewing machine.  I have come to love her and pray that she will know my precious Lord as her Saviour.  Methinks we will not meet again in this life but I long to know we will meet on that bright and glorious morning. Catalina, I will look for you.

A new patient, a gentleman of forty-seven suffering from cancer of the Oesophagus with only days remaining.  His wife, son and daughter are heartbroken, especially the daughter who is due to sit her Baccalaureate examinations before the end of June.  She is finding study and concentration difficult as her young heart is broken knowing Daddy will soon be gone, never to see her enter University.  Pain is personal, pain is real, pain is hard work.  I ask the Lord for courage to face the unknown happenings before me.  Frustration, discouragement, anxiety, fear.  Also, strength for those facing loss and tragedy today

Ana, a single mum, abandoned by her partner, has given birth to her fourth child.  Her partner went to work abroad, but has since met another lady and set up home with her.  Ana is now totally alone with the responsibility of raising four children.  She has no income and survives purely on child support received from the state.   We have supported her with food, dried milk, clothes, shoes, pampers, wood and also utility bills.  She is desperate and came to Iochebed pleading for help as she has nowhere to live. If her situation remains unchanged, she has no other choice but to leave her children behind and travel to Germany in the hope of finding work in the fruit farms.  Ana is heartbroken and alone, and during the severe days of COVID-19 in Suceava, Ana gave her heart to the Lord.  Pray for her and as we pray remember: ‘Love is patient, love is kind….it keeps no record of wrongs’.  Remember Ana and her four little lambs.

Alex (one of eight children) remains in a coma; with current situations in Oradea there is no one qualified to undertake the required treatment. Please pray he can be taken to Bucharest.  Pray for this precious family who has known great tragedy; yet the love of God is evident in their humble home.

Deep need waiting with a deeper longing. A mother of forty-two who has just lost her husband of fifty-two.  In addition, her little boy of seven was born with a dislocation of the hip.   Owing to extreme poverty they are forced to live in a village with the husband’s parents; their living conditions are unimaginable.  During her husband’s illness the lady suffered from deep depression.  We have made this case study part of a two-year food and counselling programme.  We plan to make enquiries regarding the possibility of a medical intervention for her little boy.   Realistically, seven years delay, is it too late?  Nothing is impossible with God.

Many of you have been praying for Ana who waits patiently, hoping to receive positive news regarding her pending surgery.  This young single mother has known tragedy after tragedy; her poverty meant losing her children to a Hungarian Orphanage for eight years. Her home she shared with ten other families was destroyed in a fire; now a life-threatening illness ravages her body.   A large billow is sweeping through this precious family. Pray that through the storm Ana will come to know the One who quietly whispers ‘Peace Be Still’.

Each morning I pray for protection for my colleagues in Romania.  The teams of Emanuel Hospice, Casa Grace, Iochebed serve in love without thought, as they go in His name.  Masks, Gloves, Social Distance, Restrictions are part of everyday life; and yet they continue to serve.  Thirty-One families came to Iochebed urgently needing medicine, food, baby clothing, pampers.  Pray for Monika, Estera, Gabi and their teams as they serve at times beyond their human strength.  Hamilton gave me food for thought when he asked me: ‘Shirley, fishing at the lake, who prepared breakfast for the disciples after a night of hard labour?’.  I leave it there. 

There are many tender mercies of our compassionate Lord but none more precious than in the time of loss.  Our prayers surround two of my colleagues who during these past few weeks have known the pain of loss.  Sister Rodica, whose husband received his home call.  Brother Mihai whose father also was called home while cycling to the village for groceries. Promoted to glory. 

Philippians 3: 10, Paul says, ‘I want to know Christ and the power of his resurrection’. Vast needs are before you.  Perhaps ONE will touch your heart.  Pray their eyes will look to heaven, receive joy in their pain.  Together as we see his goodness unfold, we will faithfully press toward the goal, knowing that all the entanglements of this world can disappear in a moment of time.  

We have the pearl of greatest price living within our hearts. Let us join our hearts as one in remembering these precious people.  Not forgetting.

John and Elizabeth, Magdelina, Stefan and Catalina, Brother Emreco. Kevin, Ionuz, Bianca, David & Diana, Ella, John, Our Dora and her father, Alex, Stefania, Lazos.

The Adult Orphans in the forest of Cighid, Orphans, Disabled, Down Syndrome, Abandoned Babies, The Homeless.

Let’s take the thread of faith and keep sewing together.

Shirley, June 26, 2020

Compassionate love

Lately, I have come face to face with the reality of how short our years. How important it is to let love motivate our thoughts, our actions, in this broken world. Compassion means ‘suffering together’ … yes, but do I choose where, when and to whom I activate my compassion?  Do I value and respect those whose misfortune make them appear less important?  It must be love that opens the door to the unexpected where brokenness has created a sandpaper experience; there are few (if any) velvet experiences which ever reach my desk.  Days are busy with between twenty to thirty emails outlining devastating issues.  At times the reports/case files are overwhelming and I wonder ‘why?’ when I read: ‘Who will care for my children when I am gone; it’s not fair; why me?’.  In between the lines I identify lonely hours of utter emptiness, longing and disappointment. 

Yesterday was one of those days, my mind was churning.  Last evening in our quiet time, Hamilton read a passage from I John: 3. (his latest publication, which is ongoing). Verse 18-19 challenged me to write to you this morning. ‘Dear children, let us not love with words or tongue but with actions and in truth.  This then is how we know that we belong to the truth, and how we set our hearts at rest in his presence’.   No one will ever love me with such wholeness as Jesus; therefore, I must ‘clothe’ myself with active compassion, to share the good news of God’s love.  The Lord redirected his steps on many occasions, healing the leper, the blind, the lame, not forgetting the little lambs, when he lovingly said: ‘Suffer the little children to come …’ I must not choose my friendships but be willing to serve the friendless.

During the past few days, a carpet of Dandelions has covered the surrounding fields, I smiled, remembering gardening days in Holywood, how ‘carefully’ Shirley would pull these pretty yellow flowers without ever successfully securing the root.  Or the carpet of tiny white daisies where children spend hours forming a daisy chain for Mummy.  Not flowers to grace a vase but flowers with deep roots reminding me that my roots must be deep in order not to be dislodged by circumstances or situations.

I received a video clip from Gabi of a lone figure distributing food parcels during the Easter weekend to the elderly village ladies in Suceava.  I asked the name of the foundation or person, the response melted by heart. ‘The Merciful Samaritan’ … need I say more?  This weekend the doors of Iochebed had to open as a priority for women who are desperate to survive.  During the past two months there is no work owing to the lockdown of the city. Those from Roma villages have no identity, therefore no contract of employment, resulting in no State benefit available.  Single mothers, unmarried girls with unwanted pregnancies needing love and a listening ear. (M) (29) unmarried, sixteen weeks pregnant has chosen to keep her baby. She was made redundant once the pregnancy was known, now she has no income and is anxious as to how she will manage to provide the necessities for a new born:  cot, pram, food, clothing.   

Twenty-minute counselling sessions provide guidance and comfort during this time. Ladies are told of the love of God and assured they are not alone and that we as a team in Iochebed will offer food and provision as Unto Him. (B) attends a Pentecostal Church; she is married with two little girls aged three and four months.  She contacted Iochebed on line, telling her story. She lives with an elderly, ailing mother who cannot be left unsupervised. Her husband does not work and must be isolated from the family; she receives no money from him at all. Her baby and little girl were hungry and the elderly mother required medication – an impossible situation as there was no money in this humble home.  

Iochebed Centre is a counselling centre for crisis situations of unwanted pregnancies. Women in emergency situations will be able to keep their baby with financial support.  In special cases we have provided a Heating Stove, Washing Machine, Fridge.  We are not a Humanitarian Centre but when the poor come, we cannot ignore their cries for help, close our eyes and our ears.  Emotional aid is free, Financial aid is a provision from the Lord.

My telephone consultation with Monika ignited cherished memories from past months.  The love birthed in my heart for these precious people, the mysterious opportunities I never imagined, feeling the security that every moment, every need I faced was guarded and guided through all the darkness of uncertainty.  Romania, Hungary, Moldova, all differing in language, the prayer of faith has become my language as I remember those I love. Romania, once known as the ‘Breadbasket of Europe’ now a place where several families walk miles from their village to receive one loaf of bread from fifteen loaves donated for the hungry by a local baker.  Life is cruel for many with little or no love ever shown. I ask the Lord to give me a kind and gentle heart toward ‘ALL’ who come, to show tenderness of spirit and acts of kindness, remembering that what we do, we do as ‘Unto Him’.  A few who came this week, begging bread: A young mother, raised in an orphanage, her young husband has had to have his foot amputated after a tragic accident in the forest.  Another distraught young mother with seven children, her husband suffering from Paranoid Schizophrenia, who has had to be committed to a specialist care home.  Seven little mouths to feed?  Her eyes filled with tears as she received food parcels. Others struggling to survive, where the small wages they earn far outweigh the rising food costs, state-imposed costs for heating, water, electricity.  A new family just entering our two-year programme consists of a single parent family, a mother and a teenage daughter.  The mother is divorced owing to the husband being an alcoholic.  The income is insufficient to pay rent, bank loan, food, medication, utility bills and other necessities in order to survive.  Winter brings freezing conditions in Romania; the lady had no boots and no money to buy a pair.  After two months of walking in old shoes unfit for the cold and icy conditions, she managed to purchase second hand boots.

Each day that passes seems to bring even more pain for precious families where little ones long to see their ‘Daddy’ or hear his voice again.  My dear friend Sister Neil has just contacted me to say that two young fathers have died. One father (40) was suffering from terminal cancer, leaving two adorable little girls.  I remember visiting with them and remarking on their amazing eyes and smile.  The other family is new to our Casa Grace programme; the father suffered from Liver Cirrhosis owing to an alcohol addiction – a little boy is looking for his ‘Daddy’.  We take so many things for granted.  Today is all we have.

I will never forget the day I first met (A). A young mother with three children all sitting on the floor of a sparsely furnished room within a house accommodating ten families.  One bathroom, one working kitchen between ten families.  Totally alone, (A) had to place two of her three children in a Hungarian Orphanage for eight years.  I asked: ‘Why did you give your children away?’ I still hear the reply as tears ran down her cheeks: ‘Because I loved them’.  Her honesty staggered me, so much so, I decided immediately to launch ‘Give with Your Heart’.  

Many of you will remember the story; A and her children were reunited and supported by Casa Grace. Sadly the home burned to the ground causing her to lose everything.  Now settled in a two roomed rental and working hard cleaning stairwells of communist flats, (A’s) world is shattered.  She was diagnosed (several months ago) with cancer. Chemotherapy has been unsuccessful and surgery was to have taken place on May 05.  All treatments, surgeries are cancelled owing to COVID-19.  She is overwhelmed with worry and is fighting to live for her three children.  She is from the Orthodox persuasion and needs to find the Lord.  At present ongoing enquiries are continuing to locate a surgeon in and around Romania who would be willing to perform the necessary procedure.  Pray the Lord will provide the finances to go forward and that through these days she will come to know the Lord as her Saviour.

Estera called me yesterday; our friendship is precious, yet as we talked friend with friend, I could feel, in fact, almost touch her concern as she expressed the pain in her heart for our patients.  My dear friend Elizabeth is anxious as her beloved husband John is very weak, John has been Elizabeth’s carer since she was diagnosed with cancer many years ago.  Their humble home is filled with love. Estera and I visit to be a blessing, yet as John and Elizabeth sing from the Psalms, we are the ones who receive the blessing.  (B) is a young man (early twenties) suffering from Muscular Dystrophy, his grandfather was one of our Hospice patients until his death. His mother tends him day and night but is now physically and mentally exhausted and in need of support.  A gracious family, open to the gospel, yet they do not know the Lord.  On Estera’s last visit they requested prayer.  (A) a lady in her sixties, is suffering from terminal cancer.  A very precious lady who has cared for her grandson Luca since birth; she is really his ‘Mummy’.  Owing to her declining health, Luca is now living with his birth mother.  A is alone and feeling abandoned and is finding the parting from Luca unbearable.

 (V) (44) lost her young husband in a fatal car accident, leaving her to raise her two little girls alone.  After many years she remarried, but has been diagnosed with terminal cancer and is no longer responding to treatment.  Her time is short and she is struggling to face the reality she may only have days remaining.  (Mr.C), suffering from Pulmonary Cancer with Brain Metastasis, a lovely gentleman always clearly moved by our scripture readings from the Word of God yet remains unsaved.  A matter of concern as his condition is worsening day by day.

Restrictions in Romania remain. Before venturing outside, one must be in possession of a special paper provided on line by the State. On visiting a shop, pharmacy you are tested for COVID-19 before entering the store. The teams of Casa Grace, Emanuel Hospice and Iochebed face decisions in the lives of others. They serve with active compassion; their dedication is unshakable.  

I have tried to share the secret corners of my heart, real people with real need of salvation and healing. Remember my friends who give their time in serving the poor, the dying, the homeless.  May they know a sense of the nearness of the Holy Spirit covering and protecting them and may they see rewards for their labour of love.  Personally, I find the task of reading the varying case studies extremely painful. At times as I reflect on my patients, orphans, down syndrome, disabled, abandoned babies, unwanted pregnancies, the desperately poor and desolate, Cigid adult orphans, I see it as my ‘Goliath’ and I am unable to overcome this giant alone.  Whether I am faced with a relational or overwhelming challenge I must realise that if it does take a mountain to bring me to my knees, I must be willing to bow my knee.   I can be a Samaritan, filled with compassion, or I can be one of those who simply passed by – my choice.  

I close with the words of John Baillie:

‘When the way seems dark before me, give me grace to walk trustingly;
When so much is obscure to me, may I be all the more faithful to the little I can clearly see;
When the distant scene is clouded, may I rejoice that at least I can see the next step;
When what you are is hidden from my eyes, let me hold fast to what you command;
When I do not understand, may I remain obedient;
What I lack in faith, may I make up for in love’.

Shirley, May 25, 2020

42b Bernice Road, Newtownabbey, Co. Antrim. BT36 4QZ.

‘How much more?’

‘The world is crumbling beneath our feet’. ‘Nothing is normal these days’. ‘Will there ever be an answer?’

Expressions from hearts overwhelmed by immeasurable pressure, the unwelcome darkness overtaking their tiny glimmer of hope that perhaps today will be different. They can only see glimpses of unresolved answers to the unsettled questions hidden in the secret corners of their heart. ‘ What if …? Will today bring a breakthrough?’  The distraught mother wandering the empty streets in search of food; the beggar whose hope of finding even a crumb in the garbage bin remains hungry for another day; the elderly widow trying to work her small plot, hoping her one hen will provide lunch; the homeless covered in damp cardboard, shivering, stretched beyond limit, with no place to drop anchor.  Their vision is impaired, there is no beauty in their world.

Dr. John Baillie penned: “Forbid that I should walk through Thy beautiful world with unseeing eyes’.  One moment is all I ask, one moment of silent prayer for lives enslaved by poverty and without hope. They do not want our pity, they need our compassion.  Perhaps our love will not be returned, but our outstretched hand could be the one moment they have been waiting for.  Their personal miracle that someone cared.

‘SUCEAVA’ is under total quarantine, as they have the highest number of infected people and fatalities related to COVID-19 in the country.  The peak has yet to come.  At least one hundred and eighty-one medical workers (including forty-three doctors) are infected within the local hospital. Over one hundred infected nurses remain at home, with the hospital lacking medical workers.  Shortage of medical supplies result in patients being prioritised as to who has the most need. One cannot comprehend the impact this has on patients inside and outside the hospital.   Suceava is a closed city with no entry or exit; this state of emergency will be reviewed on 15th May.  Owing to a number of resignations, the hospital is now under military rule. Gabi and her team (Iochebed) continue to work from home, supporting clients by telephone consultations.  Gabi travelled through the empty streets of Suceava to open the centre as new mothers needed dried milk for their new born babies, food and clothing for their children and mothers in waiting needing a birth pack which we also provide.  

As I looked at the little faces of the babies born during this time of crisis, tears filled my eyes. Unashamedly I bowed my head in thanksgiving that we can be involved in this amazing work which recognises life is precious, life is God given.  Women face hardship and poverty, young teenage girls bereft of home and family, Roma men unable to find work during these days of crisis.  They tremble with the pain of no money, no food.

The noise of hail stones hitting my window just now caused me to look up. The skies were dark and overcast and yet in one corner I could see a faint rainbow. I thought of those without a rainbow who were locked within their heart, hope has been stripped away by cruel circumstance and darkness is their only form of sunlight. The home call of the Director of the Regional Baptist Association and other pastors has created fear in many churches.  Pastor Catalin Croitor was one of the first Romanian students to enter the Irish Baptist College in the early nineties. He resided in the College, Sandown Road, Belfast and was affectionally known as one of ‘Daddy’s Boys’ as he joined the Moore family every Sunday for lunch.  A close bond has remained for many years.  Catalin, now pastor of Bethlehem Baptist Church, Suceava, has known the loss of a young man (42) within his own church family; also there are village homes where COVID-19 has taken a loved one. He and his wife Paula minister to the sick and share the Word of God.  We cannot control what is occurring but there is One who can calm the raging storms if we ‘Be Still’ and know that He is God.

  • Pray for wisdom and guidance to know how best to help the vulnerable
  • Pray for doctors, nurses, medical teams in hospitals
  • Pray for pastors, their wives to be guided by the lord in all decision and actions. 

Scars from the war of the pandemic sweeping throughout the world has caused isolation and separation. My beloved Oradea, my patients, children, families and of course, my Dora waiting patiently for my knock.   How I miss what has become the joy of my heart.  Emanuel Hospice continue to minister to the terminally ill.  Love and care override restrictions and the fear of infection.  This week the number who have lost their battle to cancer is fifty.  The team work under tremendous pressure. We commend each member into higher hands, knowing each step will be guided and each breath guarded.  

Yesterday it was announced junior schools would recommence in September.  Senior pupils will resume on 2nd June until the end of July when all examinations will be completed.   Casa Grace had to cancel Summer Camp this year as hospitality/hostels will be the last to open.  Dora misses our Kingdom Kids (orphans, down syndrome, disabled, abandoned babies) Neli, Berta, Marilena wait permission to visit the growing number of needy families who are affected by COVID-19.  Families within our two-year programme urgently need basic medication for diabetes, heart related problems – there is need everywhere. Dana is longing to recommence her vital contact with village ladies who attend the Vocational Training classes.  Pray the team will be covered and protected as families continue to come, especially those travelling from outlying villages.

My three foundations, Emanuel Hospice, Casa Grace, Iochebed all serve with a tender heart. They feel the sadness, dry the tears of those who come desperate for supplies, medication.  These are difficult days with total lockdown, no employment and yet rent must be paid or they face eviction.  The cost of basic food has doubled (e.g., bread, flour, potatoes, grains, pasta …)  How will I respond?

‘Eternal Father of my soul, let my first thought today be of you, let my first impulse be to worship you, let my first word be your Name, let my first action be to kneel before you in prayer’ (Dr. John Baillie).

Shirley,  April 30, 2020

My Daily Bread

‘I have treasured the words of His mouth more than my daily bread’ (Job 23: 12) NIV

‘I hoped today would be different’.  The cry from a tear stained cheek, reliving overwhelming memories of former days.  Lives emotionally damaged by the overwhelming hurricanes, floods, tornadoes of struggle, where the economic downturn brought loss, want, hunger and separation. A natural longing, a hope that today would be different.  ‘Today is mine, Tomorrow is none of my business.  If I peer anxiously into the fog of the future, I will strain my spiritual eyes so that I will not see clearly what is required of me now’ (Elisabeth Elliot).

In the cities of Suceava, Arad and Timisoara, conditions worsen, hospitals unable to house the sick, staff unable to cope under increasing pressure.  Three hospitals remain closed and military control is still imminent.  Our beloved friends in Oradea live under extremely restrictive conditions; one visit for groceries, medicine, wood permitted between the hours of 11am and 1pm.  The dedicated team of Emanuel Hospice Homecare Team continue to visit the terminally ill.  This past weekend was Easter in Romania; the team continued to work throughout the Easter holidays to ensure medical procedures were administered.  Forty-seven patients had died in our care and in the county of Bihor, seven people have died as a result of COVID19.

Zeno (2), is high risk and needs to remain isolated. His older brother (7) is so gentle and cares for his baby brother with such love, it would melt your heart.  Their mother cared for the abandoned children in the hospital but now needs to remain at home.  She is so thankful to Agape Fellowship Church for sending the Silicone Tubes. 

My precious friends, Magdalena, Ecaterina (both in their eighties), John and Elizabeth, fill my thoughts and yes, I wonder if I will ever feel the warmth of their hugs or see their smiles of welcome again?

As usual, I retire late evening to think when I should be sleeping.  Last night was no different.  I found myself waking every hour with the same question flooding my mind: ‘How deep am I anchored?’  ‘How deep are my roots?’  Both unseen, yet of significant importance – to be anchored, deeply planted.  The same in building; our foundations need to be firm and secure. I have great admiration for architectural excellence displayed in ancestral buildings, stately homes etc.  I am not equipped to build but in the thoughts of a quiet heart early this morning I found myself building.  Yes, building a house of hope, restoration, love, safety, peace.   The homes I visit are not so. No evidence of grandeur; only silhouettes of the outcast, shadows of rejected lives whose circumstance have made them strangers within their own community.  They walk alone without identity, without a future.

Estera brought joy to my heart as she sent the images of two families receiving food and goodies for the children from the money we sent.  Damian’s Mum expresses her love and thanks to you for your prayers, her heart is broken as she speaks of the loss of her only son Damian.  It is a house of sadness, yet because they were remembered, it brought a faint smile.

Many will remember Ishmael who entered our care as a young boy.   He is now ten and during his short lifetime has undergone over twenty surgeries.  He remains extremely thin and his colostomy bag is uncomfortable and causing pain as he continues to grow and mature.  Florina has been a faithful mum and a godly example to her children; the entire family attend the local Pentecostal Church.  Florina was thrilled to receive the many bags of groceries and her teenage son overjoyed to receive one bag of Haribo, yes one bag! It doesn’t need to be expensive; just to know we care.

During a recent skype call to Romania, I asked a very precious friend, ‘How are you? I worry about you, are you ok…?’  Her reply touched my heart: ‘I am well, I am always worrying for other people, the patients, the little children, my colleagues, for dear ones to be safe and not catch the virus.  I trust in the Lord; He is in control’.  

These are the people I have the privilege to serve alongside; their humble spirit, gentle nature teaches me so much.  Please continue to remember the teams of Emanuel Hospice, Casa Grace and Iochebed. Also, the young Pastors who are finding this situation overwhelming; the families who look at an empty chair where once a loved one’s presence graced the room, and whose love filled their heart.  

‘I hoped today would be different’.

Help me build a House where laughter will replace tears, faith will replace doubt, strength will replace weakness.  A house that will reach out and touch ‘Even One’.

Shirley, April 22, 2020


George Muller wrote: As the outward man is not fit for work for any length of time unless he eats, so is with the inner man. What is the food for the inner man? Not prayer, but the Word of God – not the simple reading of the Word of God, so that it only passes through our minds, just as water runs through a pipe. No, we must consider what we read, ponder over it, and apply it to our hearts. 

Tell Romania have transferred funding for medicine, food and hygiene provision to cover urgent needs throughout 2020.  Thank you for your genuine interest in reading the writings from ‘My Pen’, your consideration, pondering over this ministry and placing your love in action have fed the hungry.  Without your support real people would only be numbers. People matter to God and so they matter to us.

Changing scenes – a new normal

‘He causes the grass to grow for the cattle, and vegetation for the service of man, that he may bring forth food from the earth.’ (Psalm 104: 14. NKJV).

Nothing will ever be the same again’.  Raging wars of fear expressed by these seven words from those who knock the door of Casa Grace asking for food.  The mystery of broken lives gripped by fear, experiencing the loneliness of isolation, they are without hope, they lack purpose and for them ‘Nothing will ever be the same again’.

Cities under curfew, hospitals, roads, streets under military control, total lockdown with no entry, no exit. New born babies born with Covid 19. Harsher penalties imposed; this is the reality in Romania. The days of queuing for food have returned, supplies are limited and many foods as in flour, sugar, grains are unavailable.  Those sixty-five and over are only permitted to shop (necessities) between the hours of 11a m and 1p m.  And so, they come, walking roads of emptiness and poverty, crippled by circumstances and tangled lives.  They are hungry.  They are desperate.

Fifteen images can be found on the Tell Romania Facebook page.

Figuratively speaking I get caught up with my thoughts, especially at night when I am supposed to be asleep – sleep will not come.  Last night in the quiet hours of darkness, the Lord assured me (through his word) that he is the vine and I am only a branch, perhaps even a small twig.  BUT (my famous but), if I remain in him (and this is the secret) I will display luscious fruit.  I thought of the Lord’s loving and guiding presence in touching hearts of the many branches who have sent donations, placing food on empty tables.  Tears filled my eyes as I saw my precious families receive basic supplies. My friend Monika and I would have been delivering together; but not in God’s plan this season.  Whether I am in Northern Ireland or Romania the Feeding Programme will continue in his plan and purpose.  I can only continue as long as we together dig deeper roots into fertile soil, waiting for the harvest.   

Hearts have been softened, faint smiles replace darkness, little ones laugh again. Monika surprised the children with the hundreds of Easter Eggs purchased by Dr. Moore and Haribo sweets donated by the Henderson Group.

Next week my friend Estera will be sending images of Emanuel Hospice families receiving their food provision.   Please pray for protection as they minister to dying patients, risking the price of their own safety out of love and devotion for others.

To each of you I say ‘Thank you’ for building walls of trust, restoring destroyed lives. We are branches of the true and living vine and we will continue to produce luscious fruit in and out of season.


Lord, where would you have me plant today? I listen. I obey. I follow.

Shirley, April 14, 2020

‘Housebound or Housebuilding?’

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Servant; Service.

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

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

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

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

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

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

(Richard A M Gillard)

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Shirley, March 30, 2020.

Trip postponed

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

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

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

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

by David on behalf of Hamilton and Shirley