‘Neither go back in fear and misgiving to the past, nor in anxiety and forecasting to the future; but lie quiet under His hand, having no will but His’ (H.E. Manning)
I find myself longing for a ‘quiet place’, a place where the Lord can read the perplexity of my heart. The media brings to our attention disturbing situations, I listen, I think, but I haven’t been there! Do I know the quietness of an empty house; laughter replaced by a deafening silence. Unexpected events have changed my agenda, giving me time to examine my stewardship and commitment to those whose lives know only brokenness and sorrow. They know not the true meaning of ‘quietness’ they have no ‘quiet place’, no home, they walk on, surrounded by shadows of darkness. They need a place of shelter, of rest, to be rescued from dangers seen and unseen.
Fear is real, in fact for many it is part of their personality. Young girls living in life-threatening conditions, yearning to belong, to matter to someone, to know what it is to be loved. I am reminded by the Psalmist that the Lord is our personal comforter through all the trials of life. He is a God whose heart is filled with compassion, a heart that can provide an inner relief and a lasting peace as nothing else is able to do.
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.
Sabina yearns to be understood and accepted, she feels alone and unwanted. One of her children suffers from a brain disorder, demanding twenty-four hours of careful monitoring. Sabina came to Iochebed requesting a pregnancy test which confirmed she is nine weeks pregnant. She fears this new life could be born with the same brain disorder. Pray Sabina will be delivered from her overwhelming anxiety and panic attacks, placing her trust in the One who will deliver her from all fear.
Paula (22) has a little girl of four years of age. During the past four years she has suffered two miscarriages leaving her filled with the fear of loss. She too came requesting a pregnancy test – Paula is seven weeks pregnant. She confided that she fears the loss of a third pregnancy and asked us to pray for her. May God touch her young life and give her the assurance that: ‘Through the Lord’s mercies we are not consumed, because His compassions fail not. They are new every morning; great is Your faithfulness. “The Lord is my portion,” says my soul “Therefore I hope in Him!”’ (Lam. 3: 22-24)
Dina is one of our older mothers (40); she gave birth to a baby boy on 6th April 2022. During the birth she was very weak and feeling sick. After various tests the doctors detected a strong anaemia, giving cause for concern. Dina remains in hospital for further investigations and treatment. She is unable to feed her baby and has requested us to pray, knowing the Lord is the only one who can lift the shadows of fear and discouragement.
Still, they come, those who live in the shadows trying to hide the scars of life. They question: ‘Will it ever change; will I ever get things together?’ Pray that through the love shown by Gabi, Mahilia and Loredana, lives will come to know the One who can heal and restore the bruised, the broken. He stands with healing hands outstretched.
UPDATE ON ISABELLA FROM GABI:
Isabella (14) underwent surgery on Tuesday, March 29, 2022. She has now been discharged from hospital. The heart surgery was successful by the mercy and grace of God. Isabella, her mother and the entire family wish to acknowledge and thank all who donated to make the surgery possible. ‘Thank You’.
Poverty is a form of suffering; many are tormented, worn out from anxiety and fear as they count their last penny. I still envisage in my mind the image of an elderly lady trying to balance the essential grocery list against her urgent medical requirements. She was dying from cancer and had little or no money to buy her medication. I had to ask myself if I do not love the poorest of the poor then how can I say I love the Lord? As I quietly placed a gift on the wooden plank across her zimmer which acted as a table, she kissed the ‘plank’. Love is kind.
Reka (10) is lovingly cared for by elderly grandparents. They are a devout Hungarian family who take this role very seriously. Casa Grace was contacted by a teacher from her school stating that although Reka is learning well, they feel it would be vital for us as a Foundation to offer help and assistance to this family. Reka’s mother relinquished all responsibility as she is in another relationship; her grandparents are her only family and have cared for her since she was a baby. Reka suffers from chronic asthma and has many problems; her grandfather suffered a serious heart attack. Grandma, although in poor health herself, cares for a disabled person as their pension is insufficient. We viewed the case study and after all documentation was received, a decision to assist them was passed. It was a moving experience for Monika to visit with them in their sparce, simple home. Tears dropped onto the wooden table as they thanked us for the food and hygiene support. ‘When I was hungry ….’ Thank you for removing the blackness of despair, offering hope through your monthly support of our Feeding Programmes.
Maria is in the twelfth grade and first in her class but finances fall short of requirements. As a family they live in a small house where conditions are totally unacceptable. It is in total disrepair and the conditions are unbelievable. Maria’s mother suffers from a severe disability, while her grandmother suffers from chronic depression and her great grandmother is also both very elderly and ill. Maria attends the catholic church. Her mother has lived a life filled with hardship and grief and although suffering from a disability in her leg she works part time. Grandma is grieving as her son lost his battle with cancer and her heart is broken. Her husband was an alcoholic and sold their apartment forcing them to move to this inadequate place. The great grandmother is very weak. Maria knows only sadness and has no stability in her young life. What hope is there for Maria? Her future is unknown, her days are consumed with sadness, poverty and uncertainty. Will you reach out in love through the darkness to this young life?
Deep waters of hardship, hunger, pain, sorrow, weakness, shattered dreams and broken promises. They need a sense of belonging. Pray that through the love shown by our team at Casa Grace, precious lives will know the true and real meaning of ‘belonging’.
My friend Dora has served hundreds of marginalised and unloved children who need to feel worthy of love and being loved. She writes: ‘Working with abandoned children, children from the community with disabilities you come to know that apart from “professionalism” one needs to love. Loving a special child is opening a door to them. Patience and love will open a closed door of unacceptance to therapy; children who cry, vegetate, will see that love changes circumstances. Smiling, patience will improve their quality of life. If no one else cares we care. Not all children are the same or have the same potential. A lot depends on the diagnosis, the time when they commence therapy and one must not ignore the genetic aspect. All of them have one special need, the need to be loved. It is good to take time to analyse that love is a requirement as is eating, drinking, sleeping. Love can change behaviour, a person and a life… Let us love in practical ways, not just by word. Love can change the world; love can change those around us’.
The Vocational Training Room, under the excellent care of Dana and Berta, continues to impact lives and families. Time and patience is a ‘must’ whether the module is beginner, distinguish or advanced. The students are very interested and are making excellent progress in the field of tailoring and craft. Many come from large families who feel privileged in being taught this vital skill, which enables them to make clothes for their siblings and the extended family. The girls are very grateful to the Lord for this opportunity. It is both vital and important when one struggles to feed hungry mouths.
UPDATE ON MARIANA FROM MONIKA:
Mariana is waiting to be called for further tests scheduled during August. Reconstruction surgery is postponed until all tests take place and results received.
The fear of sickness, death is a fear many harbour silently in their heart. Fears differ as do people, since they come from different backgrounds and lifestyles. I find it difficult each month to share the circumstances surrounding my precious patients (young and elderly) within the work of Emanual Hospice. The pain in my heart is real and I pray that the sweetness of the One who is unseen will watch over the lonely, the frail and the dying. Today is ours, but what of tomorrow? For many their tomorrows are limited.
Last month we wrote: Nicolas (4) a new patient, also diagnosed with cancer. Pray for him, as he will require urgent surgery to remove a tumour. Further information regarding his condition will be confirmed following surgery and biopsy results. Little Nicolas was moved to Bucharest where surgery was performed last week. Sadly, the doctors were unable to remove his tumour. They await biopsy results. Pray for his young parents as they struggle with the agony of waiting.
Cornel (61) diagnosed with pulmonary neoplasm, is now in the terminal phase, cared for by his loving wife. He does not always recognise her as he also suffers from cerebral metastasis. He does not receive any income from the state. They are part of the Tell Romania Feeding Programme. This precious couple are so grateful for the food provided for them. No one should die alone, hungry and without love. Thank you for assisting us in granting dignity to precious people during their final days.
Kevin is precious to many of you. His MRI is showing a slow growth in the tumour and we wait in anticipation for a consultation outlining the next stage. Kevin has been a patient of Emanuel Hospice since infanthood. Gabi is concerned, please pray for her as she misses her beloved husband (Robi) and is fearful for the future.
Lili (50) is a patient with gastric cancer and ileostomy. She fought the illness for several years; recently the doctor confirmed she will have no longer than three months to live. Upon receiving this devastating news, she has fallen into a state of depression as she waits to die. Her faith in God is strong and she tries to accept that the Lord does not stretch out his hand of healing to all of his people. She confided in Adriana that one of the most difficult things will be to say goodbye to her beloved husband and her two children, Naomi (20) and Andrei (17). She is discouraged as her brothers and other relatives do not believe in God. The fact that she is not getting better has caused them to reject God even more.
Julianna (58) suffers from cervix cancer. Her husband was baptised approximately twenty years ago, but she always delayed the decision. Since becoming ill, she has been tormented by her wasted years away from God and wants to be baptised. We pray her decision will be granted and that she will find forgiveness and peace. We also pray her two children will find their Lord in a very personal way and find comfort after the death of their beloved mother.
Stela (57), also diagnosed with cervix cancer, became sick following the sudden death of her husband three years ago. Her son and daughter-in-law were baptised recently and Stela is not far from the Kingdom of God. Pray that she will eventually make a decision and lay her life on the Altar of Grace. Pray as this illness evolves that Stela will come to know ‘The Lord is my portion’.
It is with sadness and regret we find many of our patients only turn their face to God on their death bed. May they know the true meaning of ‘Saving Grace’ and true repentance. Eternity is real.
The refugee crisis continues. Our workers and volunteers are growing tired, yet the work is maintained. Monika and Gabi continue in their roles as Director of Casa Grace and Iochebed yet found the time to be involved in sending one tonne of food to the Ukraine a few days ago. Pastors Catalin, Ovi, Andrei working as pastors also serve within the confines of their respective churches to care for the refugees. Alex, taking food, medicine, clothing, bedding to Moldova. Pray for them.
Catlin, a former student of my husband, in fact one of the first two students from Romania to enter the Irish Baptist College, writes:
Nikolai pulled his car in front of our church building just as we were almost driving away after the midweek prayer service. He saw the banner and stopped to ask for help. He was exhausted and stressed after driving from Kyiv to Bucharest in order to help some of his children find their way into Europe. His house in Kyiv was broken into and he was now going back to his wife and other children. He was very thankful to be able to wash, sleep and eat in our church accommodation.
Iacob and his son Eldar came to stay in our church basement from Chernovtsi while his wife and other three children were located in another part of the city nearer Suceava. He shared with us how God miraculously helped him cross the border and how grateful he is for all the help the Ukrainian people are receiving in Suceava. He also shared with us of the atrocities committed by the Russian army, some of which we found unbelievable.
One of our local Christian mayors organised a barbecue for all the refugees who were able to be transported to his location. After the barbeque they were exposed to the Gospel message preached by one of our guests. The Holy Spirit worked in the heart of at least one soul who came forward requesting prayer.
The drama of many displaced Ukrainian families continues, as many are boarding the trains in Suceava in order to reach their destinations. Our prayer is that their final destination will be in the arms of our loving Lord Jesus, the only place where they can find real refuge and shelter.
In response to my opening quotation from H. E. Manning. May I with unhesitating obedience keep a quietness of spirit and whisper ‘Yes Lord’.
42B Bernice Road, Co. Antrim. BT36 4QZ