‘Living to Serve’

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

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

Last month, (January update) I wrote of precious little Florin:  There are choices to be made, decisions to be reached. Days of unimaginable pain as a young mother watches her beloved Florin (14 years old), who is in a terminal condition. It is painful for his brothers to watch him growing weaker and getting worse. Florin is unable to walk. He is missing the joy of simply ‘growing up’. The walls of darkness cannot be penetrated; how does a mother explain the reasons ‘why’. Terminal illness is no respecter of persons; young and old suffer and many suffer alone. May they come to experience the richness of the Lord’s presence; may they hear faint whispers of peace.  The world is filled with hearts that are broken, tired and weary.  Florin’s young mother is worn out in strength and endurance.  This morning she was beaten down, struggling to breathe as she listened to Florin breathe his last breath.  Florin has gone to be with the Lord.  His mum will never see him mature into a fine, strong young man.  Please remember this family, trying simply to exist, as they come to terms with this unimaginable loss. 

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Shirley, February 25, 2023

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


‘I have directed you in the way of wisdom; I have led you in upright paths’ (Prov. 4: 11)

A new year, a new beginning; what will 2023 bring our way?  Moments are precious especially to those who before their head is lifted from their pillow are filled with the uncertainty of tomorrow.  They are surrounded by walls of fear, going through life handicapped by hopelessness, ambushed by disappointment.  What a waste!  This morning I read: ‘Reality often seems to be more obstacle than opportunity, more pain than pleasure, more chaos than calm, more hurt than happiness, more tension than tenderness ….’ . I pray through small acts of kindness chaos and tensions will be replaced with calm and tenderness and that we may remove the obstacles to build opportunities and walls of a better tomorrow.

Mariana, a life filled with rejection and loss.  Many of you have adopted this precious family into your hearts and God has made a way for them.  Mariana needs a miraculous blessing.  I ask you to pray that the Lord will impact her life in unimaginable ways. Results of investigations have confirmed Mariana has another large tumour in her abdomen that must be removed immediately – surgery is scheduled for19th February. The consultant is confident the tumour can be removed. However, she with have to go through another course of chemotherapy.  Mariana has expressed her fear – please pray for peace in her troubled heart.  She fears for the future of her seven young children.  We will continue to cover all costs incurred in surgery and treatment, ensuring food and clothing for the children.

A Servant is one who serves; may we serve with humility and possess a deep love for those who must endure unending pain and sadness.

Rodica is a new patient suffering from pancreatic cancer with the suspicion of multiple metastases.  Rodica is filled with fear and unable to accept the diagnosis, holding on to a thread of hope that the consultant is incorrect in his diagnoses.  She is experiencing emotional and spiritual distress, often bursting into tears in the middle of a sentence. Her husband is ill and was recently hospitalised, which adds to her suffering and distress.

Janos has been diagnosed with prostate cancer; he lives alone with no one to care for him apart from two nephews.  Janos has built a wall of silence; it is difficult to work with this patient as he displays a very angry and unpleasant disposition.  At the beginning this was a hard wall for the Emanuel Hospice team to break through.  Janos was in total denial of his illness; the feeling of rejection and suffering caused him to reject help on any level. He would only permit one of our nurses to care for him.   Gradually, it has become apparent he needs help and he is now open to the holistic care we can provide to him.

Victor, father of three children, suffers from a rare and aggressive form of skin cancer. He already has metastasis on his lungs. Pray for his wife, who will not accept there is no cure for her husband.   This family comprises of three children, with no time for play, no time for a normal family life, the memories of childhood days are days of stress filled with the anxiety of a fearful Mum and a Dad struggling each day just to breathe. The wall of fear is a reality in many situations. 

Mihai is a young patient with larynx cancer with a tracheostomy. He lives alone in a small room inside an old building. This is ‘HOME’ to this lonely and sick young man. He does not know the joy of being surrounded with loving care – he suffers alone in silence.  Mihai is helped by his two younger sisters; their mother also suffering from breast cancer, is currently undergoing chemotherapy. They struggle financially, being in the situation of needing to provide medical care for Mihai and his mother.  Two young girls can only dream of what might have been; in the silence of night the walls of fear grow higher, as they fear life without their beloved mother and brother. 

Ioan, a patient with kidney cancer who experiences a high level of physical pain. His wife is exhausted as she lovingly cares for her beloved husband day and night.  Love is priceless, it knows no boundaries. Please pray a renewing strength may sustain this precious couple through their pain.

There are choices to be made, decisions to be reached. Days of unimaginable pain as a young mother watches her beloved Florin (14 years old), who is in a terminal condition.  It is painful for his brothers to watch him growing weaker and getting worse.  Florin is unable to walk.  He is missing the joy of simply ‘growing up’.The walls of darkness cannot be penetrated; how does a mother explain the reasons ‘why’. 

Terminal illness is no respecter of persons; young and old suffer and many suffer alone.  May they experience the richness of the Lord’s presence; may they hear faint whispers of peace.  

Better prospects?  I find this case study disturbing, in fact there is a lump in my throat as I shared this particular need with Hamilton.  Another school made contact with Casa Grace regarding one of their students. The little girl loves school and has a desire to learn.  Every morning she arrives and quietly finds a corner to ‘hide’.  This little one is scantily dressed; she does not have adequate shoes and comes without food for the day. She is hungry! Her family lives approximately one hour from Oradea. A small house consisting of two small rooms. These two rooms accommodate a grandmother (83) mother, father with health issues, three boys and three girls.  Nine sleeping in one room. The father and the oldest son work in Oradea.  Prayer changes things and we know in our hearts there is grace enough for thousands; there is room even for one more.  Pray for wisdom as we enter into this very different world and yet a world where we can be challenged by a child’s determination to learn as she perseveres with schooling.  Grandma requires ongoing care; the mother suffers with depression. May God guide us to show them the way of salvation.  

‘There’s a wideness in God’s mercy, Like the wideness of the sea;

There’s a kindness in His justice, which is more than liberty’.

Please pray they will come by the way of the cross through the simplicity of our love in offering food and hygiene.  Lord, in showing your love, may we never make your love too narrow by our own false limits. You gave your all.  

Levente and Susanna are parents of one daughter and two sons. During the latter part of 2022, we were approached by one of the high schools situated in Oradea to support one pupil and her family. The girl studies hard, determined to obtain good grades to support her family. The parents purchased a small property in much need of renovation and repair; they are struggling with all the expenses. When Casa Grace commenced their support, offering food and hygiene, they were amazed that someone cared. But then we know as I have already shared that there is grace enough for thousands who do not know. How will they know unless we tell them? Shortly after receiving our care they started to visit the church where Monika and her family attend.  They were received and welcomed with open arms. The pastor is a personal friend of ‘the Moore’s’ and has a heart for the lost; he has been visiting this precious family. Monika has requested our support in prayer as the father has recently been diagnosed with the final stage of cancer; there is no treatment available.  At times we may feel our offering is too small, our service insignificant; but it is all about ‘touching lives’

The love of God is broader that the measure of our mind;

And the heart of the eternal is most wonderfully kind’.

May the richness of God’s grace surround them, may the awareness of His presence cover them in their times of fear.  May they come to know God’s mercy and healing in His precious blood.

Hamilton has been drawn to write a book on the 23rd Psalm. Throughout differing stages of life, Psalm 23 has been our source of hope in the light of the changing scenes of time.  The Lord as ‘MY’ Shepherd invites me to be still, that in the quietness of His presence, he can restore our souls.

‘Was there ever kinder shepherd, half so gentle, half so sweet.

As the Saviour who would have us, Come and gather at His feet?’

The Kingdom Kid’s programme.  Dora continues with a love and passion for the disabled, down syndrome and abandoned babies. The children attending the centre receive personal therapy now hosted in Adam’s Room, a room personally designed and equipped by us where these precious gems experience love and security through the art of play.   

The Vocational Training Room continues under the direction of Dana assisted by Berta and Stefan. The ladies study modules with a determination to succeed.  Coffee Break is special, as here, God’s word is shared together with God’s Bounty.  May God use all our words and indeed our small acts of kindness to bring the knowledge and the awareness that people need the Lord.  May our students be encouraged as they discover the secrets of tailoring! 

Dark clouds bring elements of night; the thunder of poverty gathers with a forceful wind.   Love and trust have disappeared only to be replaced with a pressure so great that lives are continuously crushed by the storm.  Hearts beat with fear and the walls of security are falling down.  We are so thankful our witness in Iochebed is known as a place where peace can be found.  Clients have received food, clothing, shoes.  Stoves and wood have been purchased where needed with medical tests, treatments all financed.  Our doors remain open and there is a welcome for all.

Alina (39) is a mother to four children.  She came to Iochebed requesting a pregnancy test – the result was positive (eight weeks pregnant).  The test results brought panic, Alina confessed she was unhappy and confused. She left our counselling session undecided, assuring our team she would inform us of her final decision.  May the Lord guide this lady in her choice and guide her in wisdom.  

Carmen (17) a very young seventeen-year-old, came to our centre in Suceava suspecting she was pregnant.  We arranged for a test which confirmed Carmen was six weeks pregnant; she was devastated.   We informed her that life is precious, a gift from God.  I ask you to pray that she will make a choice to keep her baby knowing that love knows no boundaries.

Lavinia (23 is pregnant.  She is in total shock and expressed deep concern regarding her other health issues as owing to the pregnancy all medication has been terminated during the term of the pregnancy.  We pray for peace of mind and a safe delivery.

Adriana (38) came to Iochebed wanting to share her story. A mother of a sixteen-year-old daughter whom she raised totally alone.  Last year, Adriana suffered a miscarriage.  She is now in her eighteenth week of pregnancy and will give birth to a baby boy.  The team at Iochebed have shown love and compassion in their counselling sessions.  May God help her to give birth to a healthy baby and have the family she desires!  We have been faithful in our service and pray Adriana will benefit from our witness. 

Too many have plumbed the depths of failure where tears and struggles are part of everyday life, where many look into an unknown future.  ~A quote from Elisabeth Elliot: 

‘Where does your security lie? Is God your refuge, your hiding place, your stronghold, your shepherd, your counsellor, your friend, your redeemer, your saviour, your guide? If He is, you don’t need to search any further for security’. 

As we embrace 2023, may we desire to know the Lord in a more intimate way.  May we take time not just to read His word, but to meditate upon it, to be still before Him and to listen for His voice.  May our walk, our talk influence others to know and love the One who becomes increasingly precious to us day by day.

Shirley, January 28, 2023.


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.

Shirley – November 26, 2022


‘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


‘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.


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

‘The Worth of Worlds’

Downloading a video clip from food supplies being delivered to the war-torn areas of Ukraine, I watched an elderly lady with a halo of white hair as she stared in disbelief into the face of the brother delivering a food package.  The reality of these precious people trouble Hamilton and me. We continue to send finance.  Gone are the normal, the ordinary days; now young and old have had to face destruction and devastation where unexpected circumstances have brought them to the depths of poverty. Beauty has been swept away with a grave suddenness.  Thousands have lost their homes and possessions, where once they had plenty; food in their pantry, wood in their store, friends, family; now, their famine is sore. Had we no tests, had we no trials, would we take time to stop and think?  Thousands know the ‘Worth of Worlds’ but nothing and I repeat nothing, can ever show the preciousness of knowing and loving Jesus.

In thinking of my terminally ill patients, Psalm 59:10 comforted my heart. ‘My God with his loving kindness shall come to meet me at every corner’.  We all have corners in our heart; some are secret corners between God and us alone.  We have the assurance that the Lord will control all the corners of our way even those we class insurmountable.    My case studies disturb me. I hold my colleagues close in my heart, thanking the Lord for their devoted service, love and commitment to these dying souls as they minister comfort and assurance in the face of a continuous path of suffering.  To date we have lost one hundred and thirteen patients. The numbers are staggering, broken hearts left with only memories.

Aniela (69) was diagnosed with cervix cancer two years ago. Over the past few months, her sight began to fail owing to glaucoma, resulting in the fact that she is now totally blind. This precious lady of sixty-nine years of age lives alone in an apartment, the only friend or company she knows is that of her faithful dog. Her children come to visit, but care is administered by a neighbour.  Aniela, who is in the early stages of learning to cope with blindness, becomes distressed and overwhelmed with anxiety.  When she is alone there is a secret corner of fear in her heart. 

Veronica, diagnosed with cervix cancer.  Veronica is raising her granddaughter (13) alone. Her parents separated when she was a baby, now living in different cities with new partners. Veronica and her granddaughter have learned to face difficulties together; Sadly, the side effects of chemotherapy and radiotherapy is making grandma very weary.  Yet, in the midst of her struggles, Veronica’s determination to fight the illness is evident.  Buried deep in the corner of her heart lies the reality of fear; fear of what will become of her beloved granddaughter, what the future will hold for her. No one loves her; she will be totally alone.

Aurora, a young mother with pulmonary cancer, is now in a coma.  Her husband and two teenage daughters must face the reality that death is imminent and will come soon.  The youngest girl is the one most severely affected, she is unable to process her mother’s pain in a positive way. They have watched Mummy suffer excruciating pain. This has created traumatizing aspects for a loving husband and two adoring daughters.

Last month, I shared with you about ‘Our Kevin’ who is loved by so many of you.  I quote: 

Kevin was taken to Cluj by his mother. During the consultation the oncologist confirmed that the required surgery must take place in France, (also, the opinion of Kevin’s consultant in Oradea). It is a lengthy, intricate and complicated surgery; it would not be possible for this specialist surgery to be performed in Romania. Estera applied to Assurance House regarding the possibility of covering the cost incurred. As I write, confirmation has been received, all costs will be covered. Kevin’s mother is deeply affected and concerned regarding the whole procedure. We assured her that Kevin is in God’s hands and there are no safer hands. Gabi has walked a dark path since the home call of her beloved husband Robi. Pray for all our patients that in the dark passage of trial, their fears will be quelled and they will find His peace.

Kevin is now scheduled for the surgery at the end of October. To date, Assurance House have not issued the necessary documents to cover surgery costs etc.  In the stillness, fear and doubt surround Gabi. During the past eighteen months, fear has consumed this young mother. Kevin will return to school, as it is important to maintain his education status. In the long and lonely hours of waiting may Gabi hear the words ‘Do not be afraid; only believe’, (Mark 5: 36).

Florin (14) diagnosed with stage four cancer, continues to undergo chemotherapy.  Florin’s teenage years are not memorable ones; years filled with sickness, fear and coping with his hair loss, which is difficult for a young teenage boy.  Looking in the mirror is a struggle for him. These are the days Florin wants to stop receiving the treatment. Pray for Estera who so faithfully encourages him to continue.

Lavi (71) diagnosed with cancer, recently had a difficult surgery for a colostomy bag / lleostomy bag. Her elderly husband is our patient also, receiving care for his terminal illness.  Lavi is devastated as her condition continues to deteriorate. She can no longer care for her beloved husband and is totally dependent on her family.  A precious lady, a private lady, who only wanted their golden years to be memorable years.  Sadly, this is not so.

Families sinking, swept away by high waves of poverty.  Writing these lines cause me to measure my life, question my love in light of sacrifices I am prepared to make for love of the unloved.

Nearly three years they have waited.  Covid 19 brought worldwide change to the lives of the disadvantaged children of Casa Grace, orphans, down syndrome, abandoned children, mentally and physically disabled children and those living in a hurricane of dark poverty.  Plans were set in motion to take twenty-five young children for three days followed by twenty-six older children to the mountains.  Three days to discover another world.  A world filled with love which is unseen and unknown by these children.  

My dear friend Monika bravely decided to place the ‘naughtiest’ children in her room.  This is the Monika I know.  Dark eyes were firmly fixed on her as she prayed quietly in a corner of the small bedroom.  One little boy gently touched her shoulder, asking: ‘What are you doing?’. Monika explained she was praying to her Heavenly Father. The little boy replied: ‘I have never prayed. We never pray at home. Please, can you teach me to pray’.

Monika shares: Rares comes from a village one hour from Oradea. His mother suffers from mental disability and his father is an alcoholic. There are six children in the family; two who live with grandparents, the other four remain at home with their parents. The poverty and darkness are overwhelming; the light bulb had not been cleaned for many years… the blackness of spiritual darkness raged within.  Rares (10) is the oldest child; he suffers from attention problems.  His behaviour at camp was exceptionally naughty, but each day there was evidence of a slow change within his uncontrollable nature.   He slept in Monika’s room and confessed that there, he felt free from danger.  During the day and into the late night (as he falls asleep very late) the hugs and kind words were visibly calming him.  On the first night, his behaviour was totally unacceptable and frightening the other children in the room.  Monika said if he was unhappy in camp, arrangements could be made to take him home earlier.  He shared that at home his mother is punishing all of the six children all the time and they fear when their father returns home from work as he would be fully under the influence of alcohol.  Six children living in fear of what might happen next.   Sadness fills my heart to think a child prefers to stay with strangers instead of his parents. Footnote:  His parents did not come to the arranged meeting place to take Rares home.  Monika had to drive one hour to the village, upon arrival there no one was at home and no one could be found.  Rares was touched in his wee heart that a stranger drove one hour to take him home, saying it was too far to walk and he felt for the first time in his life someone cared about him.  Please think of this little boy. This is not a story; this little life is real.  Little Rares has no hope, I question, does he have a future?  May all the love and patience showed to him during his three days at camp, remain with him.  As the monthly food support from Tell Romania is taken to this family may the Lord grant an opportunity to talk about Him who is the provider! Monika writes:  Sister Shirley, thank you for the material support and the precious prayer support! May it take them from and remove the spiritual darkness!  Thank you very, very, very, very much!

Sebi (7) was very violent and aggressive, in fact, ready to hit any child or adult at any time without reason. Sebi was abandoned by his mother, and is in the care of his father.  After long working hours, his father spends the evenings drinking alcohol and becomes very aggressive. His partner lacks character.  Sad and unacceptable conditions for a little boy of seven.  Sebi’s grandmother moved from Oradea to be with him and to raise him. She is a very clean and hardworking lady who loves her grandson and is trying to be an example to this broken child.   A few weeks ago, she fell resulting in both her hips being broken, forcing her to move back to Oradea to live with her daughter. Sebi is filled with deep sadness because of this and as days were passing, he started to share his pain with Monika and was less and less wild. Monika speaks from her heart: ‘My heart was broken when he said that he doesn’t want to go home. He said he is used to watching television until late evening as this is the only way he can fall asleep. I said that I will tell them stories (introducing the message of the day) and it was a real challenge to make them listen… but on the other hand they were calming down as they greatly appreciated that someone was spending time with them).  I had a five-year-old boy, a ten-year-old girl (who was crying after her home). We were talking for 2-3 hours and they became more and more calm – we prayed… it was great to feel His peace’.   TEN HOURS SLEEP IN SIX NIGHTS!

Sister Shirley, thank you very much for supporting Sebi – he has food to eat, clothes to wear, school equipment and may all of these and the PRAYER bring the change that is vital. 

Mariana has now been discharged from hospital after spending three weeks far removed from her seven precious children.  Monika has spoken with the surgeon who performed the reconstruction of Mariana’s bowel.  Mariana is very weak as the surgery took many hours and she had to spend one week in ICU.  At present she is only permitted to have liquid food until the area surrounding her bowel has time to heal.    Mariana has expressed her gratitude to Tell Romania for their level of care, the monthly food provision, school provision, the sister who donated £500 making the surgery possible. Our desire is to see Mariana surrender her life to Christ.  Little is much when God is in it. 

I am proofreading yet another publication Hamilton is writing, due to be released Easter 2023.  The title ‘Beauty for Ashes’ caused me to ‘process’ my thoughts.   I began thinking of those who are ‘strangers’ to me, lives that hide away from reality, who make a ‘nest’ for their babies wherever one can be found.  As you read, I ask you to pray the Holy Spirit will transform lives gripped by fear and darkness into lives filled with joy, hope and assurance and that they will come to know personally there is indeed Beauty for Ashes to be found in Christ. 

Cosmina (16) gave birth to a baby girl by Caesarean section on August 9th.  She already has a baby boy aged one year and seven months.   Aged sixteen with two babies!  She became involved with a boy when she was only fourteen years of age. She believed the boy loved her; however, he did not assume responsibility for his child. Cosmina is ashamed, her mother who assisted in raising the first child, was firm in her decision to abandon the baby girl at birth in the hospital.  Cosmina confided in her mother she could not live knowing she had abandoned her baby.  Cosmina and her babies have moved to a small wooden house.  We insulated a room to ensure that in the freezing Romanian winter there would be warmth for the children.  They are struggling to make ends meet and will need help with pampers, clothes, medicines, food and wood for the winter.  Iochebed will continue to help them. May God touch this young mother and give her a speedy recovery, wisdom and patience to raise her children.

Sabina, has two children. One of the children has health issues and is unable to walk. She is now expecting her third child.   The consultant informed her that there is an issue with the baby and a different echography would need to be performed for a deeper investigation. Sabina requested our help as she had no finance to cover the cost incurred.  (The morphological echography in Romania is approx. £90). Gabi accompanied Sabina to the echography to support her. We give thanks to the Lord for His mercy; all is well with the pregnancy.   She has since gone for other tests which we also have covered.  Sabina has been asked to attend an interview with a gynaecologist as during the last tests various issues were highlighted.  We look to the Lord that Sabine will give birth to a healthy baby.  

Larisa, has a little boy of two years of age.  She came to Iochebed after receiving confirmation she is pregnant again.   Larisa is happy and wants this baby, but struggles financially. We met the cost of the echography to ensure she can remain under the care of her family doctor who will reinstate her medical insurance during the pregnancy in order to release her from having to pay hospital costs. The results of the echography were positive, there are no complications.  Pray for Larisa and a safe delivery of this precious gift of life.  

Anda, a young mother, twelve weeks pregnant, needs our prayerful support.  Her pregnancy has been difficult during these first three months.  Her sickness is extreme, up to the point of fainting. She spoke with her employers advising them of the circumstances. Her head of department advised her to search for another position. Anda is afraid of being unemployed and asked us to support her in prayer. May God bring peace, comfort and help her get through these hard times.

Tabita gave birth by Caesarean section (38 weeks). The baby boy was dead on delivery.  During the pregnancy, the doctor who performed the echography told her that the baby had severe malformations and it would be impossible for him to survive; Tabita prayed for a miracle. Tabita was discharged for the funeral, she must undergo treatment for possible infections. She is very frail and extremely weak. As you pray for Tabita, please pray for her physical and spiritual healing!

There are many arms to Tell Romania, one arm being the translation and publication of Christian literature.  Translation continues in Oradea with Hamilton’s book on the Pastoral Epistles about to be printed in two languages, namely, Russian and Hungarian.  Hamilton holds the position of Editor of the Journal ‘The Sower’ (Emanuel University, Oradea) and has been overseeing the Journal, contributing and proofreading for the faculty members who write since 2018. Yesterday, five local Theological Colleges received copies for their Library.  And we are not finished yet!  We will be releasing a new publication late October/early November (in time for the Christmas market).  This book is based on the proofs of life in I John, with the title: ‘TO MY LITTLE CHILDREN’.  This is a vital book for the pastors in Romania.  Two thousand copies are being printed for local bookshops, the Romanian pastors and also worldwide distribution is currently being organised. 

This afternoon I read: ‘May I not covet the world’s greatness!  It will cost me the crown of life!

I thought of the words of General William Booth: ‘God loves with a special love the man who has a passion for the impossible’.  Can we be a friend to someone?  Can someone depend on us?


August 29, 2022

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


But Thou art making me, I thank Thee, sire.
What Thou hast done and doest Thou knows’t well.
And I will help Thee; gently in Thy fire
I will lie burning, on Thy potter’s wheel
I will whirl patient, though my brain should reel.
Thy grace shall be enough the grief to quell,
And growing strength perfect through weakness dire.
(George MacDonald – Diary of an Old Soul)

Mental anguish creates an inner sense of hopelessness.  Situations cause us to wonder ‘Why is this happening?’ or ‘Why is God permitting this to happen?’.  The psalmist David must have experienced a sense of despair when he penned: ‘I would have lost heart, unless I had believed that I would see the goodness of the Lord in the land of the living’ (Psalm 27: 13). 

Dark clouds continue to overshadow tiny village homes.  Lives interrupted by unexpected change where trials, not of their own choosing invaded their peace, the calmness of their sheltered world is shattered.  During my years of getting to know and indeed love my patients, children and families I have had but one goal – to build bridges.  Bridges that would replace walls of doubt and suspicion.  Looking back, many cracks and chips have been repaired in countless lives.

Ferenc suffers from gastric cancer. This patient and his wife are in deep sorrow as they mourn the loss of their beloved son.  A young man of thirty-eight who died due to a cerebrovascular attack.  A mother who has lost her son is now facing the possibility of losing her beloved husband.  Ferenc is in great distress; he cannot come to terms his wife will be left totally alone in this world.  He has expressed that the Lord is his comfort.  May this become a reality.

Iuliana has advanced breast cancer.  She has two daughters; the youngest girl is only eleven years of age.  Her husband is overwhelmed with grief as he tries to take care of his dying wife and children. The girls are exceptionally close to their mother; watching her suffer, growing weaker each day is causing them deep emotion and distress.  ‘Why does my Mummy have to die?’.

Maria is another patient with breast cancer and multiple metastasis. She has an exulcerated tumour in her breast area causing extreme pain owing to the bone metastasis. She is very agitated and has trouble sleeping because of extreme pain. She is also very anxious regarding her future and the strong possibility of death. Her family are exhausted and don’t know how to help her find peace. 

My Wee Ella.   I have known and loved this precious family since 2015. The news from Estera was news I did not want to hear.  Ella’s condition deteriorated, her frail, weak body could not fight infection and sadly she contacted Covid-19. Angelina, her mother, protected Ella throughout the pandemic, arranging treatment to be administered at home.  However, it became vital that due to her rare form of cancer, admission to hospital was necessary. Her illness continued to exacerbate and in her weakness, she contracted Covid for a second time.  Her body could not fight any longer; she passed away silently and alone.  Her mother and brother are devastated. Aurelian expressed his thanks for all the help they received from our dedicated team in Emanuel Hospice and for the provision of food and hygiene items. It was so emotional listening to him. Angelina cannot utter Ella’s name; her loss is unimaginable.  Ella was alert and intelligent, resolving all difficult issues surrounding the family. She will be missed. I still see her laughing as Estera and I climbed the eighteen flights of stairs to reach their flat.  Aurelian is a sensitive boy, suffering from the same form of this rare disease.  Ella had started to paint a portrait of Aurelian before she died; the painting depicted Aurelian waiting for her to return home.  Ella will never return home again.  The painting is unfinished.  I pray the hands of grace will embrace this home and that from their brokenness they will find the beauty of wholeness in the Lord.

Marian (55) diagnosed with advanced cancer is cared for by his loving wife. They have four sons all under the age of seventeen, lovely boys with a caring and pleasing personality who are so attached to their father. Recently, Marian’s brother died unexpectedly after suffering a major stroke.   The family are devastated as Marian had requested him to become a paternal figure in the life of his boys.  He is gone before him. They are a Christian family and love the Lord, holding on to the hope that we have in Christ.  May the breath of our Lord breathe peace over this home during these difficult times.  They receive from our Feeding Programme.

Kevin was taken to Cluj by his mother.  During the consultation the oncologist confirmed the required surgery must take place in France. (also the opinion of Kevin’s consultant in Oradea).  It is a lengthy, intricate and complicated surgery; it would not be possible for this specialist surgery to be performed in Romania. Estera applied to Assurance House regarding the possibility of covering the cost incurred.   As I write, confirmation has been received, all costs will be covered. Kevin’s mother is deeply affected and concerned regarding the whole procedure.  We assure her that Kevin is in God’s hands and there are no safer hands.  Gabi has walked a dark path since the Home Call of her beloved husband Robi. Pray for all our patients that in the dark passage of trial, their fears will be quelled and they will find His peace.

Last month I informed you of the need for specialist equipment for our younger cancer patients.  I quote:  The Emanuel Hospice team need my help in sourcing an ‘Ear Pulse Oximeter’. Pulse Oximeters are used regularly on the fingers of our little ones to measure their oxygen levels. However, for the very young children (as for our precious Vicky) these do not always work; we would therefore require an Ear Pulse Oximeter. Pray for Brother Allan Hopper who is trying to source this equipment. This morning, 3 Nellcor Oximax infant oxygen sensor meters for infants 3-20kg; 1 new Blood Pressure Machine; 1 Nebuliser arrived with Emanuel Hospice Team.  The Paediatric doctor is overwhelmed by this much need provision and extends her appreciation to Brother Allan Hopper.  

The days I receive news of Ella, Vicki, Dani; the days I think of the empty village homes where family laughter once resounded; where a child’s room is now vacant; a favourite toy lying unused in a corner; the days when I review the case studies of my patients; these are the days I pray: ‘Let the morning bring me word of your unfailing love, for I have put my trust in you.  Show me the way I should go, for to you I lift up my soul’ (Psalm 143:8).

Romans 12: 2 ‘And do not be conformed to this world, but be transformed by the renewing of your mind, that you may prove what is that good and acceptable and perfect will of God’.  As I read this verse I think of Gabi, Loredana and Mahalia who minister into the lives of those coming from a different way of life, in fact, a different culture.  Their focus remains clear – The Lord is the Lord of ALL’ seasons of life. 

Flori (27) is mother to six young children.  Flori is in the early stages of her seventh pregnancy and has had to attend the Emergency Department of her local hospital owing to serious complications. An Obstetrician advised her to take extra care owing to evidence of the high risk that she could lose the baby.  We have paid for the consultation and medication and will continue to assist with required echographs, tests and medication during her pregnancy Please pray for Flori, they are an extremely poor family and even though this will be her seventh child she is frightened she will loss her precious baby. 

 Claudia has two little girls of seven and six years of age.  During May we informed you this family were homeless and unable to find a place to stay. Our small team of three were relentless in trying to secure a place to rent for Claudia, a place for two little girls to call ‘Home’.  Finally, a place has been found and we have agreed rental for the next consecutive months. We will also supply much needed food and hygiene supplies.   The little girl of seven has a health issue which will involve a consultation with a specialist in a larger city.  Gabi, has asked me to thank you on their behalf. The investigation has only been made possible by donations received for our ‘Iochebed’ babies.  Your gift of love has provided for a place to call ‘Home’ and satisfy hungry little tummies who formally searched through garbage bins for crumbs.

Alexandra is pregnant with her sixth child. She was so afraid and filled with an overwhelming fear when the pregnancy was confirmed.  Her first reaction was to consider aborting the baby.   Her fear stems from the fact that there are serious issues with two of her children.   Her debts continue to mount owing to the medical expenses. Alexandra’s outlook is clouded with fear, pray that the Lord will quieten her heart and that she will choose life for her unborn baby. 

 Simina (28) has had seven pregnancies.  She has five children as she had two miscarriages.  She faces an eighth pregnancy.  She is overwhelmed and does not want another baby, her husband is frequently away from the family home with his friends, spending all their money with no resources provided for his little ones.    When he returns home there are arguments due to lack of commitment and jealously.   May God touch her heart to treasure this gift of life.

Sorina (18) gave birth to a baby boy (Narcis) four months ago.  Sorina is young and inexperienced for her age.   The baby became ill and was admitted to hospital. After many tests, it was confirmed the baby was suffering from a liver condition.  Following two months of treatment there was no evidence of improvement. Sorina returned to the Paediatric hospital in Lasi, where her baby was seen by a qualified paediatrician.  Tests were carried out and a course of treatment put in place. Narcis has reacted well to the treatment.  Sorina will be required to bring the baby back to Lasi in four weeks to receive confirmation of the root cause of the liver disease.  The trauma of becoming a mother at such a young age and coping alone. Help her know she is not alone.

I seem to be ending my own private devotional time by praying five simple words: ‘Lord, teach me to love’.  It is not my wish to become repetitive but it won’t go away.  Early this morning, I found myself reading from the book of Mark.  A loving Heavenly Father who was motivated by compassion.  Compassion means ‘I love you’.  As I thought of this I thought of Monika and her dedicated team in Casa Grace (the House of Grace).  We have an obligation of the choices we make to those we serve in love.  ‘Lord, teach us to love’.

An unexpected telephone call to Monika afforded my colleagues in Casa Grace another opportunity to ‘love’.  The evidence of poverty and lack of ‘lunch’ observed by the head teacher of a local school, highlighted a serious area of concern. The opening words: ‘Can you help a little girl?  Her family are in the darkness of extreme poverty. The case study revealed not only Dickensian poverty but total spiritual darkness. The family of seven live in very poor conditions.  Their accommodation consists of rented rooms within an old and derelict house.  The rooms are dark, dismal, lacking light and without air.   Many neighbours share the same building.  Huddled together sits a mother (43) with the added responsibility of caring for her brother (38) who suffers from mental and physical disability.  There are two daughters aged twenty-five and twelve.  The girl of twelve is working hard at school trying to attain an education.  Sadly, the girl of twenty-five suffers from a mental disability; she has two sons aged six and five. Their father died from cancer prior to the birth of his second son. Owing to the level of her mental and physical capabilities she is unable to maintain a permanent position of employment.  At present she is picking fruit in the summer fruit farms.  As we reviewed the case study, we felt the brother’s condition warranted a disability allowance.  Duly completed forms have been submitted.  We have added this family to our Feeding Programme.

Mariana.  This morning, Monika and I spoke at length regarding Mariana’s situation.  All necessary scans were supposedly completed with surgery scheduled for tomorrow.  However, things have been placed on hold for now.  The consultant has requested further scans owing to the reconstruction of her bowel.  Mariana’s body has been rejecting the stoma placed during the last colostomy procedure.  There are complications.   Mariana will be hospitalised for a period of three weeks.  During this time, Monika has arranged for an Aunt of Mariana’s to care for the seven children.   The oldest sibling of Mariana’s seven children received high grades in her examination results.  She plans to study chemistry and biology with the view of becoming a specialist nurse or doctor.  The mountains and clouds are slowly being removed, the mushroom field and shabby home are a distant memory.  Pray that the Lord will open Mariana’s eyes, that her questions will dissipate to create a satisfaction of mind that all her struggles, worries, inadequacies, rejections, disappointments can be resolved in loving the One who first loved her.  

FOOTNOTE: Mariana is not alone in this. The Lord knew what was required and the £500 required for surgery has been provided by a sister who has been supporting Mariana throughout all of her treatments.   The Lord gives what is best and when needed.

This morning I found myself reading about various women in the bible and the qualities one should possess.  As I read: ‘She extends her hand to the poor; She reaches out her hands to the needy; She makes tapestry for herself; her clothing is of fine linen and purple …’  My thoughts turned to the Vocational Training Room where five years ago we refurbished the entire department with approximately ten Brother commercial and household sewing machines and a heavy-duty overlocking machine.  Dana and Berta are totally dedicated to this three-year module commencing from beginner to distinction. Graduation took place this week. 

Dana writes:  With God’s help I have completed another series of tailoring courses. I give thanks to God for using me in His work, I know I am only a small tool in His Hand but I give Him the glory. 

Elisa comes from one of our families receiving help from our Feeding Programme.  Elisa felt guided to attend the training class where she discovered her talents, she finished the course well.  Her father is unable to work due to an ongoing health condition, Elisa decided to open a tailoring workshop within their house, this will assist in bringing a much-needed income in to the family home.  She is a very special girl, younger and highly motivated by her highly talented skills in tailoring.  There is a waiting list for her services. 

2022 GraduationTabita Patcas was thrilled to be awarded the honour of being ‘top student’, being awarded a new Sewing Machine in recognition of her achievement.  Tabita is one of thirteen children consisting of seven boys and six girls. Their father contracted a virus resulting in him becoming brain dead.  He died leaving his beloved wife and thirteen children. 

FOOTNOTEI remember visiting this family shortly after the death of their father and I was overwhelmed by the love and peace in this humble home.  As I entered, I was greeted by the mother who was surrounded by her girls as they sat around the table peeling potatoes gathered from the fields – a very large caldron of potatoes was the main meal for fourteen.  The family love the Lord and throughout all the storms have never questioned His love for them.  Five of the girls have now taken our tailoring course.  Their plan is to design and make dresses for their church family.

Our outward appearance is important, we take pride in ‘how we look’.  This morning as I was choosing a ‘change of clothes’ Col 3: 14 entered my heart. ‘Put on love ….’  Need I say more?

Shirley, July 26, 202242B BERNICE ROAD, CO. ANTRIM. BT36 

‘The Uncertainty of Tomorrow’

Calmly we look behind us, on joys and sorrows past

We know that all is mercy now, and shall be well at last

Calmly we look before us, we fear no future ill

Enough for safety and for peace, if Thou are with us still’.  (Jane Borthwick)

I lay awake most of the night listening to the howling wind and driving rain.  My heart was heavy and I found my ‘molehills’ became mountains. I lost count of the number of ‘cuppas’ I sipped as I sat quietly trying to ‘give’ my worries, my ‘cares’ over to the Lord.  My restless and impatient spirit was bothering me; all I could see before me was darkness as I felt the uncertainty of broken hearts.  2022 is dwindling away and the baffling sense of loss overwhelms me. This morning, as I try to write, I am numb when I think of those who fear tomorrow as they gaze across a hopeless horizon. Their lives are as crushed leaves trodden into the ground.  The work is difficult but in the words of Isaac Watts: ‘Love so amazing, so divine, shall have my soul, my life, my all’.

A young mother sits quietly in anguish, stripped of the joy her darling Vicky brought to this humble home during her short time on this earth.  Never again will Vicky’s laughter be heard or the joy shared around the family table.  Joy faded from this home as life faded from this beautiful fragile rose.  Little Vicky was taken peacefully into the arms of the Saviour who said: ‘Suffer the little ones to come unto Me….’ Her young parents are in deep sorrow; they do not fully understand the reason ‘why’ but are comforted to know their precious little darling is free from suffering and that they will meet her again. My dear friend and colleague Estera called to assist with the funeral arrangements.  Vicky’s little sister came running to her: ‘Vicky is not here; Jesus came and took her to heaven’.  Her little brother sat quietly in the corner; playtime will never be the same.

Florin (Timotei’s brother) has commenced chemotherapy.  His parents are distraught and find the situation difficult to accept or indeed, understand.  Florin is aware of the side effects, making it much more difficult for him. In the calm of the night, I find myself thinking of my terminally ill little ones where for so many, a happy childhood is but a dream.  I remember visiting the oncology wards; one visit would have broken a heart of stone.   The Emanuel Hospice team need my help in sourcing an ‘Ear Pulse Oximeter’.  Pulse Oximeters are used regularly on the fingers of our little ones to measure their oxygen levels.  However, for the very young children (as for our precious Vicky) these do not always work; we would therefore require an Ear Pulse Oximeter.  Pray for Brother Allan Hopper who is trying to source this equipment.

Little Nico (3) diagnosed with cancer is now receiving chemotherapy.  His illness is progressing rapidly, all does not appear to be well. The consultant from the hospital in Cluj has advised his parents to give consideration to going abroad for investigative surgery. Another toddler of three unable to play and separated from the security of home.

Kevin is due to see his consultant this incoming week, when a decision will be made as to the next level of treatment. There is a difficult road ahead for Gabi and her young son who still miss a beloved husband and father. 

Ella’s weight continues to plummet, her body is wasting away and she is extremely weak. Aurialian, her brother also suffers from this rare form of cancer.  He too is frail; his hearing has almost gone and his weight is giving cause for concern. Angelina loves her children, but is deeply aware their illness is attacking their various vital organs.

Estera Writes: Thank you for holding us in your heart Sister Shirley.  Please continue to prayer for us as a team, we really need it.

Maria was diagnosed with ovarian cancer in December 2021. During the past six months she has undergone chemotherapy.  At the beginning of June, Maria went through a very serious surgery where her uterus and her peritoneum had to be removed. She is now waiting for the results of her biopsy and various tests. A decision will then be made regarding further chemotherapy.

Teodor suffers from cancer of his vocal cords.  He is totally unaware of his diagnosis. His family have made a decision not to tell him in order to protect him.  They feel if he knew the prognosis it would only add to his suffering.  Teodor endures a high level of pain and does not understand why he always feels exhausted and his days are weary days. His beloved wife died recently from Covid and he is in deep mourning. He confesses that loneliness is his worst form of suffering.   His son and family take care of him but since the death of his wife, life is meaningless.  He is a lonely man.

Lidia is in the depth of sadness.  Her beloved husband (Aurel) lost his battle to lung cancer this week.  Her son died approximately two years ago in a motorcycle accident.  She finds the grief of losing Aurel difficult, having not fully recovered from the death of her son.  Life was never the same for her husband who never accepted the death of his son.  The diagnosis of lung cancer developed soon after his son’s sudden death.

Adriana Writes:

Thank you for always being so understanding and for your prayers for the Hospice team and patients.  Our patients miss you.

So many lives filled with imperfection, trying to hide the scars of life behind a smile. They lack ‘assurance’; they question ‘trust’; they harbour ‘fear’.  We hold out our hands in love, telling them of Calvary Love, the love that can change what they used to be.  

Sorina (18) has a four-month baby boy – Narcis. The baby became very sick and had to be admitted to hospital.  After many tests, it was confirmed the baby was suffering from a liver condition.  Treatment was recommended, but now after two months there is no improvement.  A referral has been made to a larger hospital in Lasi where he will be seen by a paediatrician. Sorina is very young and inexperienced and is very concerned about her precious baby boy.

Alexandra (24) gave birth to a baby girl four weeks ago.  During the past two weeks it has been confirmed that Alexandra has an abnormality in one of her breasts.  An echography was performed and the results showed a mastitis.  Alexandra has commenced treatment but still suffers from pain and discomfort.  She has been referred to another consultant in Cluj.

Amalia (36) has a boy of thirteen.  Amalia came to our centre where we arranged scans which confirmed she is again pregnant. She has had two abortions in the past and confessed she does not want to give birth to a second child at her age.  Amalia was made aware of our standards on abortion during our counselling sessions, where she shared her fears of going through a pregnancy. She left assuring our team she would give the matter consideration.   Amalia has made a decision to keep her baby, as her son wishes to have a baby brother.   May the Lord be with her throughout these months and cause her receive this gift of life with joy!

Ana, yes, our Ana (four little girls), has been reunited with her husband.  Their oldest daughter has been diagnosed with cirrhosis.  Ana prayed that if her little girl would be healed, she would surrender her life to Christ. The miracle happened and the child has been healed.  Ana and her husband have surrendered their lives to the Lord and will be baptised together as a family, promising to turn their lives around in serving the Lord.  We give thanks to the Lord for their decision and pray for consistency in their young lives as a family. When I think back, Ana was forsaken and cast aside, left without a home, four little girls freezing as they walked the icy streets of Suceava. I recall precious friends in Limavady donating finance for Firewood for tiny toes and fingers to be warm.  Thanks to Calvary love, they do not live this way anymore.

Gabi Writes:

I am blessed to serve with you and thank you for working with me.  We are sisters together. Please continue to pray for our small team.

My precious friend Monika and I had a lengthy discussion on Friday.  We listened to one another’s words of concern.  I miss my times with my friends in Romania, but in being set apart for the past two years I have learned that to truly love the Lord, I must love my neighbour.  Choices can be made, decisions reached, work accomplished, but if I do not truly love the Lord with all my heart, soul and mind, how can I love others?  Last evening, I was asked by a friend: ‘Shirley, why do you do this work?’  The answer is simple and easily defined in one word – ‘LOVE’. John 13: 34, 35 ‘A new commandment I give to you, that you love one another; as I have loved you, that you also love one another.  By this all will know that you are My disciples, if you have love for one another’.  

Our newest case study comprises of a father, mother and three children ranging from nineteen to nine years of age. The father has little or no memory of his childhood, having lost his mother as a young child; his adult life knows only trauma.  We, as a team at Casa Grace are unsure of the circumstances but can identify he is filled with anxiety, fear and darkness; there are no happy toddler memories.  The ability to face the outside world of employment seems quite impossible.   The dark shadows of fear are real.   Occasionally the family have frequented the Hungarian Baptist Church where Monika worships with her husband and two daughters.  But it is a rare occasion. 

We have been contacted by a member of staff responsible for teaching the youngest son (9). The little boy has noticeable delays in learning and would require and indeed benefit from the support of a specialist. We will proceed to move forward with enquiries.  As an introduction, Monika has contacted the leader of the Hungarian B.C. Children’s Club and together they plan to help this young boy to slowly move forward.  Slow steps of encouragement is all that is required to help him develop and identify his learning skills.  The oldest child, a girl of nineteen, is extremely shy and suffers from a form of autism but has a genuine desire to learn.  We plan to come alongside her to help her gain confidence in herself and accept her capabilities.  The mother is totally unqualified but willing to work.  She presently holds a cleaning position in a Kindergarten, functioning under the umbrella of the Reformed Church.  They recently moved to an old property, located in a pleasant area of Romania which benefits from being within walking distance to schools etc.  The house is in much need of repair; however, the family remain positive. We try to encourage them and tell them of the One who is and will be their strength in every circumstance of life. The monthly food and hygiene support from our Feeding Programme is essential for them, but more importantly, it is real evidence of God’s love for them as a family and that they matter to the Lord.   

In Oradea, the effects of the war continue to hit; the blows are hard and unexpected.  This month, every home and business received backdated electricity bills; the recalculated amount was four times higher than last year. It is difficult for the poor families to accept that each month the costs for food and hygiene items are rising. Since January, oil, pasta, flour, sugar has increased by 80% and still has not reached its limit.  Smaller factories are forced to close, as the selling market and raw materials are severely affected owing to the war.  Previously, I wrote to you regarding Ana from Stei, her two daughters never knew the comfort of a bed and how the Lord met the need through a brother and friend.  Ana has been made redundant, as the small factory where she worked was forced to close. We are now trying to source alternative employment for Ana, otherwise she will be unable to provide food and clothing for her girls.

The students continue to attend classes, taking pride in their achievements and working toward Graduation Day. Dana and Stefan remain totally committed in training and in sourcing job opportunities.  Their main aim is to instruct the students in the ways of the Lord.  

The twilight fades for many marginalised children. Orphans without a home, disabled and down syndrome children receiving life-changing therapy.  Abandoned babies, who do not know the love of a Mum, or a much needed ‘cuddle’.  Dora is committed to build bridges of hope.  Today, Brother Allan Hopper took another consignment of Pampers, Tena, baby wipes to the transport company travelling to Romania.  To us these are basic items, yet totally unavailable in Romania.  Will you build bridges with me?

Mariana waits for her appointment regarding further surgery and treatment.  She is anxious yet tries to display a positive attitude.  Her days are days of exhaustion and when all the seven children are tucked in bed Mariana is alone with her thoughts, trying to remain positive and hopeful.  Her oldest child (Mariana) received high grades in her final exams. She must now decide her choice of High School. It is encouraging to see that she is motivated to learn as her desire is to become a doctor. The young pastor from another village is faithful in his visitation; as yet Mariana has not committed her life to the Lord. 

The effects of the war are hitting hard.  Before the current situation in Ukraine, the surrounding area of Poroskova barely existed, living in the depths of poverty where basics such as clean water were a luxury.  Conditions are beyond words.  Another trip is planned for early July when clothes, hygiene products, food will be taken to them.  The team at Casa Grace have been sorting and packing boxes.    ‘Give us this day, our daily bread’. 

Monika writes: We are nearing the end of June and with the support of Tell Romania we are able to bring hope and light.  We pray for our families to be saved. We are so thankful for all of you who are supporting them through the Feeding Programme, enabling them to have food and clean clothes and houses, as we seek to also show them the way to Him. God Bless You and Thank You.

 Another month of pain that words alone could not describe.  Disturbing situations and circumstances, bringing me many sleepless nights.  The ‘facts’ written are real and these I hold in my heart with a prayer of thankfulness to the Lord for what He has given to me.  We may not all be called to suffer where life has brought disappointment, betrayal and loss; where distressing and unexpected circumstances erupt, leaving a path of suffering with a trail of bitterness behind.   The stormy seas of doubt have brought gale-force winds of hopelessness.  Yet, hope is all they have, a hope that whispers softly; a hope that calms; a hope that can turn the raging tempest to a gentle wind of peace.  Even in this broken world it is still possible to ‘Be Still’.  As you read the contents, I invite you to take one of these needs, make it ‘your very own’.  They need hope – They need you!


Shirley, June 27, 2022

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

‘Love’s Chain Cannot Be Broken’

“If I fear to hold another to the highest goal because it is so much easier to avoid doing so, then I know nothing of Calvary love.” (Amy Carmichael)

I have been thinking about different women in the bible, women whose love knew the cost of emotional sacrifice; who, despite deep trials, loneliness and pain, possessed an inner beauty with a sweetness no fragrance could portray.  I think of these servants of long ago and feel privileged in knowing and supporting the special women who serve in Emanuel Hospice, Casa Grace and Iochebed. They are set apart in a service that certainly demands sacrifice. 

In this age of uncertainty, thousands of Ukrainian refugees, displaced marginalised children and orphans, the families of Casa Grace, the Roma families of Iochebed and the patients of Emanuel Hospice have choices to make and many fear the outcome where there may not be a tomorrow.  Their future has been taken from them, replaced with a hidden fear.  For them, it will take courage to love again.  Love has caused them to sacrifice all they once held dear.  I write with a startling accuracy that disturbs my peace; I have had to stop writing on occasions as I couldn’t continue. As I wrote, I felt the weight of despair, the sense of banishment and I wept. Real people who fulfilled the role of a son, daughter, husband, wife, grandfather, grandmother, babies … they are treasured by someone.  Elizabeth Prentiss wrote:  

‘If you could once make up your mind in the fear of God never to undertake more work of any sort than you can carry on calmly, quietly, without hurry or flurry, and the instant you feel yourself growing nervous and like one out of breath, would stop and take breath, you would find this simple common-sense rule doing for you what no prayers or tears could ever accomplish’.  

A little boy of seven has been filled with fear these past months knowing that life will never be the same without his beloved Mummy. He is afraid to attend school in case his Mummy would be gone on his return.   Since my last update, Mariaora’s condition continued to deteriorate and a few days ago the Lord called her Home. They have no father as Mariaora raised her children alone after the death of her beloved husband.  There are four young children now alone, left without a beloved Father or Mother.  Mariaora’s daughter, who has carried the burden of knowing her Mum would not recover, will soon celebrate her eighteenth birthday and will resume the full and total responsibility of caring for her three siblings.   Two brothers who suffer from tetra paresis, one who is permanently confined to a wheelchair and the youngest brother of seven.   Four young children sit in disbelief, the pain on their little faces is deep as they try to focus on a future without the security of a loving Mother.  They are comforted knowing that their Mum remained close to the Lord and has no more pain.  The reality of days, weeks, months, years ahead seem insurmountable just now.  We will carefully monitor this situation in a life that will be so different for these precious children.  We will also continue to ensure food is available from our Feeding Programme.  All that ever was will never be the same again.  Mariaora loved her children dearly and wanted to live.  It was not her choice.  The children mattered to Mariaora; they matter to the Lord; they should matter to us.

Today, I was reading the feeding of the five thousand and how there was still enough remaining to fill twelve baskets. I know the baskets were filled with crumbs but they were full.   The aim of my Feeding Programmes is to keep the baskets full to feed the hungry but also to feed the hungry with the Bread of Life.   I am challenged as I read: ‘Are not five sparrows sold for two copper coins?  And not one of them is forgotten before God.  But the very hairs of your head are all numbered’.   I never cease to give thanks for those who share my passion.  Children left without parents, elderly grandparents still mourning the death of their precious little Daniel and many more left only with the fragment pieces of what once was; the best is gone.  Help me to help them find the One who will never leave them.

Timotei diagnosed with cancer. Timotei’s brother (Florin) was in our care for many years; he has now relapsed. The family are totally broken. The mother is lost, no words would describe the level of her personal pain. Another family engulfed in the darkness of sickness, poverty with no hope to hold on to.  We know there is a hope that can lift a weary head and a hope that strengthens the weak.  ‘Hope in the midst of shadows. One of my husband’s publications.

The results from Kevin’s scan confirmed he has relapsed. There has been no positive response from the consultant as the team of doctors need to assess the next level of treatment which will involve a difficult procedure in the future.

A little boy of seven and a little sister of four hold the hand of their precious little sister.  They do not fully understand the reason Vicki (3) is unable to play with them.   The petals continue to fall from this tiny, fragile rose. Her tiny body knows only pain.  Vicki is unable to walk as the stages of advanced cancer attack this small and fragile frame.   Her condition is getting worse every day.  Her young parents are devastated, knowing the parting will be unbearable.  A young mother’s heart is broken, as her precious Vicki will never become an adventurous teenager; all that will remain will be three years of memories for her alone to hold. 

A message from Estera: Thank you for giving to these precious people through the Feeding Programme who have little or (sometimes) nothing to eat. 

As I try to continue to write, my heart cannot comprehend the disappointment, the testing, the weariness of the journeys of these adult patients.  Methinks:  I wonder how many tears have fallen?  How many tears remain undried?

Ramona (41) was diagnosed with cervix cancer one year ago.  She prayed that surgery would save her life. In consultation, it was confirmed that due to the growth of the tumour, lifesaving surgery was not a possibility. Ramona has five children, three girls and two boys aged between ten and twenty-one.  Ramona did commence chemotherapy, believing the Lord would heal her. Sadly, Ramona has lost her battle and was called home into the presence of the Lord two weeks ago, leaving behind her husband, and five children.  She prayed until her final breath the Lord would heal her.  The family are broken.  ‘Until that day’.

Florian (45) is a patient with tongue cancer. To sip a glass of water is virtually impossible as he has difficult in swallowing.  Florian is cared for by his mother who has many health issues herself.  The patient was raised in a family dedicated to the Lord, but always hesitated in making a decision to follow the Lord.  After this diagnosis which came suddenly and unexpectantly, he decided to surrender his life to the Lord. His mother is amazed how he rejoices through his pain and suffering.  I ask you to pray that Florian’s end of life will be without pain and the he will be promoted to Glory peacefully.  May his precious mother know strength. 

Ioan (90) is a patient with an exulcerated sinus tumour.  Ioan also suffers from dementia which is now in a very advanced stage. He has no living relatives with the exception of one niece who takes care of him. This elderly gentleman is in a state of unconsciousness and is mostly alone in his apartment.  The only people who visit are his niece and our Hospice team.  At times our team try to communicate with him but it is difficult to know the level of his understanding. We accept as a team this is one of the cases where it seems little can be accomplished but we know that Ioan is precious in the eyes of our God. As my tears fall for this precious elderly gentleman, please whisper his name in prayer.

Elena is a patient with gastric cancer, currently under chemotherapy. The treatment is very harsh; she has days in which she vomits most of the food she is able to consume. The Hospice team supported her during the treatment, trying to control the symptoms of both the treatment and the illness.  She is now fed mostly by perfusions which takes approximately three hours each day; her body is now refusing to process food.  

A message from AdrianaPray for our adult patients that we may minister to them with the love of the Lord.

Many of us are unacquainted with poverty and, for some, even suffering. The apostle Paul penned: ‘I am content with weaknesses, insults, hardships, persecutions and calamities.’ My adopted son, Andrei shared a case study with me; it moved me to tears: Andrei writes: ‘One of my students, Alex (16) is living with his mother and younger brother of eight and grandmother in Vigna, a village near Arad; the father left his wife and children. The elderly grandmother is ill and the only one working is their mother. Alex has hearing difficulties with a disability of being unable to wear hearing aids.  Their financial and social status is extremely poor. Alex is very careful with money; he purchased a photo printer to enable him to print photographs to assist in the financial running of this small village home.  He also works in the village cutting grass and helping where needed. Alex is meticulous and with every leu he spends – he does not spend money on what is not urgently required.  They live in a gypsy neighbourhood where their windows have been broken on many occasions.  They have had to replace the windows (yet again), invest in the building of a high wall with a video camera for protection.  This was not a luxury but an urgent requirement of safety for the family.  They have been forced to take a loan from the bank in order to proceed.  The father refuses any contact and does not contribute to the welfare of his children.  A gift we can offer is the promise of our gracious Lord that His grace is sufficient.  Pray Alex and his family accept this gift into their lives. I pray every day ‘Lord, teach me to love’.  If I am to truly serve, I must serve even the paths not of my choosing.  Let us show this young man the true meaning of love. 

A message from Pastor Andrei As the work in my home church continues to grow, the work of ‘The Farm’known as the Ferma Church weighs heavy on my heart.  Two young ladies and one young man from the church are working with children.  Every Wednesday approximately fourteen children gather. Their interest and enthusiasm to participate in the leisure time, learning Bible verses, singing songs and listening to the Word of God is encouraging. Thirty children also attend our weekly children’s meeting in Sofronea.

Last month I updated you regarding Andreea.  I quote: 

Andreea (20) lives in fear as a storm of oppression continues to sweep through. Iochebed paid for a recent scan which confirmed she is twenty weeks pregnant with twin boys.  Her tears were uncontrollable when she received the news as her boyfriend is refusing to support her. Andreea does not know how she will manage now that she has been scorned by one, she trusted and loved.  Yes, fear is real!  The following days were filled with oppression resulting in Andreea becoming ill and hospitalised. The doctors are now fearing the risk of an early labour which could present complications

Andreea now has given birth to twin boys, born prematurely with a lower weight than normal.  The condition of the babies is one of concern and they will remain in hospital for a long period of time.  Andreea sits alone in a dark corner of need.  Please pray that in her spiritual darkness she will find the One who can remove all darkness and give her a new beginning with her twin boys. 

Sorina has two children and suffered a miscarriage at the beginning of May.  She confessed on hearing the news of a third pregnancy she became upset as she didn’t feel ready for another child. The last child was born prematurely and had several health issues. Dark clouds of fear are covering her path as she feels the miscarriage is a punishment from God because in her heart it was an unwanted pregnancy. Sorina needs to be released from these thoughts that torture her weak mind.

 Claudia is Mum to two little girls aged seven and six. They are homeless and at present living in a shelter for homeless people.   She came to Iochebed totally desolate and two hungry little girls by her side.  Claudia had no means to feed her children.  As our team listened to her story, a hot meal was provided. The father of the girls deserted them; Claudia initially moved back to her parents.  However, they have only two rooms where her parents and her ill grandmother live with one of the girls.  We advised her to go to her village to search for a room or a house and we will pay the rent. After searching for a long time for even one small room, she went to the mayor who was unwilling to assist, refusing to become involved.  Please pray that God find them a place to stay together.

 Tabita (37) is a faithful mother to her four children aged nineteen, eighteen, nine and three.  She is now twenty-seven weeks pregnant, having previously suffered a miscarriage.  Last week, she had an ultrasound where it was confirmed that the fetus has malformations in the heart, brain, feet and a suspicion of Trisomy 18.  The consultant told Tabita there it is a high probability that the baby will not survive after the birth. Tabita is in total shock. Her trust is in God alone, praying and trusting the baby will be normal. 

Alexandra gave birth last week to her first baby.  A healthy baby girl weighing 7lbs 4ozs. Unfortunately, she has lactation problems. Alexandra wants to breastfeed but has serious pains caused by the wounds and feels overwhelmed. May God give her strength and heal her both in body and mind.

A message from Gabi: Everything is in His hands; we are glad to be together in this ministry with you.  May the Lord guide us together so that His name be glorified.  I am touched and I thank God for you and your heart that is always ready to help. 

As I share my next case study, I find myself asking the Lord to intervene in what speaks to me of ‘hopeless situations’.  Where shall I start?  Where do I begin?  During the month of May the poverty soared throughout the Roma villages.  Hard issues of life sadly are a day-to-day reality for these families who huddle together just to keep warm with little or no food or indeed furniture.  Perhaps a Mushroom field is as soft as a settee?  Monika felt so overwhelmed, Casa Grace transported food, hygiene, clothing, furniture, toys, pushchairs; the list goes on. The level of poverty is unspeakable. We decided to go a little further even into the neighbouring villages where many Roma families also reside. The poverty had to be seen to be believed.  Lack of employment but more importantly, the lack of the Lord Jesus in their pale faces and searching eyes.  We have also been contacted by families who were on our programme previously.  They are struggling with rising costs, medical problems where great expense is incurred.  No money for medication or much needed medical examinations.  As I think on these things, I feel uneasy and must continue to possess the awareness that there are those who know hunger and who live in fear of eviction.    Please pray that I may know godly wisdom and guidance as we together as a team prayerfully consider our next step.  

A message from Monika:  I wish I could greet you once again and feel your heartbeat.  I miss the light you spread to our families; you tread so softly. You are missed. We long to meet again.

A new family was recommended to our team at Casa Grace by a schoolteacher of the oldest daughter.   This family is comprised of two girls aged eleven and one.  Both girls have two different fathers. The mother drives her oldest daughter to school as she is unable to walk or be left unattended.  Her recent partner displayed signs of drug abuse. Therefore, the family were forced to move to another town where they were given the opportunity to live with a cousin of the mother.  A wise decision where both families could share the expenses of the rented apartment.  Sadly, the oldest girl is being abused at school by other children owing to her disability.  The team at Casa Grace have stepped in and funded Psychology sessions.  The reports have been encouraging as the young girl is making progress and beginning to feel better about herself.   In fact, we feel the mother would also benefit from Psychology treatment, as she maintains a distance from our team even though we are sympathetic to her situation. The father of the oldest girl is in contact but the father of the baby wants no communication whatsoever.  The mother was forced to use the majority of her maternity allowance in order to pay for rent and bank payments on a car.  The car is not a luxury, it is a requirement, as the oldest girl suffers from a severe back disability and must wear a special corset to enable her to walk.  Last month the family could not afford to change the garment as they had no surplus money. The support of food and hygiene products is a blessing to them. We pray there will be a change in attitude and that their hearts will come to know the Saviour.  

A message from Neli:  We miss you a lot, Mari and I send our love and entrust you into God’s hand. 

Dana, supervisor of the Vocation Training Room, is both imaginative and inspirational.  We have many students studying our three modules yet one girl has entered Dana’s heart.  Debora (17) comes from a large family of girls.  The family are modest in their dress with impeccable behaviour. Dana soon recognised Deborah’s ability and has made quality time for this young student.  Through her intense training Deborah is now able to make her own wardrobe and has assisted her family by making each one of her sisters a personal dress.  I received pictures of all the dresses and I was amazed at her ability, displaying modern designs of frills around the hems of the dresses etc. Sisters Berta and Dana are dedicated to train the girls and ladies.  All who enter the tailoring course are taught with attention to detail.   I pray as they minister practically and share the gospel over their ‘break time’ the Lord will be glorified.

A message from Dana:  I am thankful to the Lord for all our students.  I thank the Lord for using Sister Berta and I to impact these lives for His glory.  God bless all those who through Tell Romania maintain the successful running of this ministry.

I close with a heaviness of heart, all these pages represent real people, real lives.  I look back on my own life. Yes, there have been shadows, pain, loneliness, but I have known unfailing love and sustaining grace.  I know the One who is Saviour; Redeemer; Comforter, Healer; Provider and most of all – Friend.  Can we be a friend to One today?

‘Let us not be surprised when we have to face difficulties. When the wind blows hard on a tree, the roots stretch and grow the stronger. Let it be so with us. Let us not be weaklings, yielding to every wind that blows, but strong in spirit to resist.’

(Amy Carmichael)

Shirley, May 27, 2022.

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