Hope for today BUT what of tomorrow?’

This year, let us dissolve all our hopes into a SINGLE HOPE, to know Christ and be found in Him.
May this be the year to desire a radically transformed, deeper, truer, knowing Christ as our ALL SUFFICIENT ONE’ (Elisabeth Elliot)

A new year, 2019 gone forever with only memories remaining.   Three hundred and sixty-five days passed so quickly, circumstances changed our perspective and influenced our thoughts.  Many remember cherished conversations that will be no more and yet knew their loss was replaced with an allocated portion of God’s illimitable grace.  At times we find it difficult to hide our feelings yet we have a calmness of soul to know that our Heavenly Father is sensitive to everything concerning us.  The Lord understands when we struggle with the ‘if’s’ and ‘why’s’ and invites us to take our inward thoughts and leave them at his feet.  These are tiny stepping stones of blessing as we tread softly into another year knowing his road is not a road of disappointment.  I came across a notebook belonging to my darling Mum.  She was obviously studying ‘Mary of Bethany’, Mum’s focus was how often Mary sat at the feet of Jesus.  I pray as we enter 2020, we will devote our lives for another year and remain at his feet.

What of tomorrow?

Spreadsheet looking impressive, outlining commitments, projects for 2020, still I question ‘But what of Tomorrow?’  The Bread of Life for dying patients; bread without scarceness for the hungry; health for the weak; hundreds of children, babies in need of love;  Cighid.  These are desert places, wildernesses of broken, unloved and forgotten lives.  I ask the Lord to walk with me, overtake the path of my remaining days, help me replace the fear of hearts entering the twilight shadows of endless night with the glory of his presence. To pierce the hardest of hearts in love and telling them of a greater love.  ‘But what of Tomorrow?’ Everything is achievable by faith and whatever life may bring as one of old I quote: ‘My Hope is in God’.  D L Moody penned: ‘If God is your partner, make your plans BIG!’  I go forward into 2020, the smallest gift I can give is love. I give this willingly and with all of my heart, placing the resources necessary into Higher Hands.

I think of the dedicated teams of Emanuel Hospice, Casa Grace, Iochebed, Cighid, Orphanage Centre and I say to them in the words of Andrew Murray ‘Strengthen yourself in the Omnipotence of God.  Do not say, ‘Is God able?’ Say, rather, ‘God is able.’ ‘May they individually know the presence, the blessing of the Lord each morning as they rise to face another day of service and challenge.

My mind was in turmoil for a few days and no matter how hard I tried I could not release the tension overwhelming me.  Two precious children within the Hospice care occupied every waking moment.  So much so, I wrote to Estera expressing my concern.

Dami is unconscious, his parents and siblings are devastated as they watch helplessly by his bed.  There is no future course of treatment or surgery possible as his brain tumour continues to grow rapidly.  I have met Dami’s family and immediately felt the love of this God centred home.  There is an obvious bond between the parents and children, a loving home where both parents offer protection, friendship, discipline, all the skills and ability to ensure their children grow within the confines of a loving family. Their pain is real and life is shattered just now, please remember them in these days of uncertainty.

Ella’s condition has deteriorated, she has seventeen different forms of diagnoses related to her rare form of cancer and is now in hospital.  She is unable to walk, unable to eat as the food will not remain in her stomach.  During Estera’s visit, Ella was so cold she was blowing her hair dryer over her body for warmth.  Ella would require a bone marrow transplant but with the current weakness of her body the doctors are using caution. Ella’s Mum, Angelina has known a lifetime of sorrow as both her children have the same rare form of cancer; the heart of this mother is broken as she is now alone with this burden having lost her husband   It is difficult for the medical team to reach a final decision regarding an accurate prognosis – please pray for the medical team as they reach a forthcoming solution.

The elderly continue to suffer.  Mircea, a gentleman of sixty-eight years, diagnosed with Laryngeal cancer (malignancy of the larynx).  He recently lost his eyesight and is unable to walk.  His days are filled with quietness, loneliness.  One of many.  The Musak family who mourn the loss of a husband and father who was suffering from an aggressive form of cancer.  The pain is overwhelming for his three children especially Eszter (10) who has become withdrawn, suffering in silence.  Difficult for the heart of a mother who also has her own pain.  My treasures Catalina, Magdalena, Elizabeth, to name but three, need to feel my love and your prayers.  Sharing also the gospel is our goal and many need to know the Lord.

The fierce winds of Storm Brendan hit Northern Ireland this week and many faced floods, storm damage, electricity cuts. My thoughts as I stayed indoors safe and warm went to the small village homes where there are no roads, only pools of water, no running water, no electricity, twigs burning, bringing heat for a short time and in fact also cook a small morsel of food for many hungry little mouths.  Paula (24) three babies, no home.  Her husband went to Germany to find work.   He has decided to remain in Germany alone and disown his wife and children.  The shock was too much for her to bear and she is ill with many complications.  Our team in Iochebed offered spiritual and emotional support, food and dried milk for the babies.  Without your commitment I would not be able to maintain the Feeding Programmes, and babies, children and families would remain hungry, walking the cold streets of Romania searching for food.

Another family within the care of Casa Grace.  A single father with five children.  I remember visiting this room and that is what it is – a room within a social block of apartments, communal washroom for many families, no running water.   Hungry eyes searching my face, a father desperate for hope, a solution in his life of despair. The father was raised in an Orphanage and has lost two wives.  They have no money and although assisted by social services, he was unable to pay the rental due in December.   Countless people face life without food, grateful for a morsel of hot soup available to the homeless.  Five hungry children surrounded by empty cupboards.  Christmas Day would certainly not be  ‘A Merry Christmas’ for this family.  The team from Casa Grace brought gifts for the children and from the Feeding Programme we were able to provide food and pay the December rental from our crisis fund.   How long can this family survive in these present circumstances?  How long before this father reaches breaking point.  Please pray through the witness, love and care of the Casa team this father may know the reality of a living hope filling his heart with the knowledge that a new and living hope will provide strength and sustain grace for each day.

The word hope I take for faith; and indeed, hope is nothing else but the constancy of faith. (John Calvin)

I am filled with knots of difficulty regarding the projections of 2020. I now turn the matter over to the Lord knowing as in the past he has his chosen ones to walk with me.  Problems only become tangled when we hold on with our own hands instead of releasing them into hands that will untangle and provide.

‘These My Little Ones’.  Working with children, adults with disabilities involves love, patience until even after months, weeks, hours or working, a glimmer of light appears.  Dora has devoted her life to these marginalised children, children with disabilities and children from poverty-stricken families within the Casa Grace Feeding Programme.  Each mission trip I spend quality time with Dora and the children watching them play in the room provided by Tell Romania.  We are praying about expanding our work into another area of children with disorders and on my return early March I will visit these Orphanages with Dora.    

Three Feeding Programmes, Orphan, Disabled, Down Syndrome Children, Abandoned Babies, Cighid Adult Orphans, still there is more.  What shall I do?  How many years do I have?  Retirement?  I may not see the end in sight but God already knows how he will continue his plans and the purpose of his providence.  C H Spurgeon penned: ‘All the mysterious arrangements of providence work for our good’.

‘Do you not know? Have you not heard? The LORD is the everlasting God, the Creator of the ends of the earth. He will not grow tired or weary, and his understanding no one can fathom. He gives strength to the weary and increases the power of the weak. Even youths grow tired and weary, and young men stumble and fall; but those who hope in the LORD will renew their strength. They will soar on wings like eagles; they will run and not grow weary; they will walk and not be faint’.
Isaiah 40:28-31.

I concluded my previous blog stating: ‘There is always garner in the grain’.   A granary is really a storehouse filled with threshed grain.  Sufficient food for the dark and chilling days of winter.  It is winter permanently in many homes I visit.  Hundreds facing the reality of eternity; streets filled with homeless men and women and yes, teenagers without identity; children longing for love.  Bethsaida (from Hebrew/Aramaic) means house of fish.  Will you throw out your net with me to ensure we have food, we have grain in our granary. 

Let’s go fishing

Shirley, January 16, 2020

N B: We return to our beloved Romania on Tuesday, MARCH 10TH, 2020

P.S. Just minutes after this was posted I received this message from Estera

Dear Shirley, 
Damian’s father called me today to tell me that he passed away. He has seen the Lord s face. What a joy for him! How sad for the family! 
Thank you so much for all the support for this precious family! 


Without excuse

The highest form of worship is the worship of unselfish Christian service. The greatest form of praise is the sound of consecrated feet seeking out the lost and helpless.’ (Billy Graham)

The pace of the past two weeks filled my heart with an overwhelming emotion.  I abandoned the thoughts troubling me and for a brief moment tried to calm my hungering heart. I sat quietly; the precious words found in the book of Isaiah filled my mind: ‘But with everlasting love I will have compassion on you’.  How precious those moments when you know this is for me, this is exactly what I need for the ‘now’ times.   

And there was more: ‘Is anyone thirsty? Come and drink, even if you have no money! Come, take your choice of wine or milk, it’s all free’.  ‘It’s all free’.   I thought of the beggar sitting (almost frozen) in the market place; the scantily dressed boy whose whole demeanour spoke of total destitution; the elderly trying to sell their lace, homeless men and women searching through refuse bins with hungry eyes in the hope of finding a morsel of bread, perhaps their first ‘meal’ for many days. ‘It’s all free’, I kept repeating over and over to myself: The hunger of a searching heart can be fed and their thirst assuaged.  

Tears hit the keyboard as I write because I long to echo this invitation to those who are dying, to those living in such extreme poverty, words could not explain, hungry children hoping you abandon your shopping trolley, the 50 cents in the slot will buy one pastry.  And yet there is ‘Living Bread’ available.   One’s first reaction would be ‘Beware’, smile and walk on.  Walk on when you are captivated with someone who just wants to be noticed or to matter.  Wasn’t it William Booth who said: ‘You cannot warm the hearts of people with God’s love if they have an empty stomach and cold feet’.

These days I find myself walking unfamiliar roads, I can only take one step at a time and as I do the Lord points to the signposts I must follow.  Only yesterday visiting ‘Kingdom Kids’ in the Orphanage: Abandoned Babies (beautiful little darlings), Orphans, Down Syndrome and Disabled Children. I met Alex (13) an only child who is mentally and physically disabled. ‘Chow’ I said and I received the most amazing smile – although I think the smile was in the direction of the Quality Street tin in my hand as he disregarded the croissant his father was feeding him.  But this was one of God’s divine appointments.  Alex and his mother Alexandra lived with her parents while the husband went to work in Spain as he was unable to find employment in Romania. When Alex was only eight years old, Alexandra was diagnosed with breast cancer and subsequently died. Following the funeral, the grandparents asked their son-in-law and grandson to move out and they have been trying to survive alone these past five years. Alex attends a special school and has many health issues. He is one of our children at Casa Grace who receive therapy under the direction of my friend Dora. Unable to walk, communicate, he is a happy boy but I am very aware the father urgently required medical items and, in this situation, I need to be an Innkeeper.  

But Innkeepers have helpers, yes? Returning back to Emanuel, I immediately contacted Carol who is the wife of the pastor of Agape Church and also a nurse. I related the story of Alex and the pending need. ‘Shirley I can sort this, no problem’. came the reply.  Alison telephoned later in the evening, I updated her that boxes would be arriving from Carol.  ‘Amazing’,said Alison, ‘I purchased packs of these just to have a stock’.  Alison may have no stock in hand but God knew the need before I did and placed it on the hearts of these two sisters.  This is God’s Divine Appointment and oh the blessing of proving God as we listen, wait and trust.

Driving to Cighid, I was overcome with sadness as I travelled the unkept and unused roads. I found myself thinking of King Solomon with all his riches; he had everything money could buy and yet there was a void within screaming to be quenched.  Wealth can never bring peace of mind, provide the warmth of a home, a mother’s love, friendship.  Driving through the gates of Cighid, a sense of coldness filled me as I watched lone figures walking, aimlessly walking to nowhere.  Monika, Mihai and four students from the Music programme in Emanuel University were not deterred by the howling wind and rain. Our hearts were filled with joy as we anticipated sharing the Christmas story and singing the beautiful carols of this blessed season.  We hurriedly unpacked the dolls, trucks and sweets from the van, trying to avoid the mud and puddles.  The image is engraved on my heart as I encountered the childlike excitement of each adult receiving their gift.  The ladies touching the dolls and gently kissing their foreheads, with laughs almost deafening, the men standing in amazement looking at the trucks; selection boxes from Agherton K & K needed no explanation, always a hit.  ‘A birthday party, thank you very much for the gifts and the lovely sweeties.’   A voice from nowhere resounded across the room and I couldn’t believe someone was actually speaking.   An older lady, unknown, unloved, quietly made her way to her bedroom and placed ‘her baby’ inside her bed and kissed her ‘Goodnight’.  Adults with the mind of a child wanting to be close to you, touch you.  At times it was impossible to breathe, so many squeezing into one small room of one of the three tiny bungalows, wanting to be noticed as they shouted ‘me, me’.  Monika said: ‘Sister Shirley I am glad you are a slim lady’.   We laughed together (breathing deeply) as friends do.  The supervisor who has been with these precious people since infancy told me they have never had a proper doll before. Give me neither poverty or riches, there are blessings money can never buy for me. Today was my blessing.

Another blessing, ‘My Dora’.  I appreciate the heart of so many who pray for Dora every morning.  It is an uphill battle for John who is feeling the process of aging.  I could see Dora was extremely tired but when she heard footsteps she shouted from her little part of heaven in the kitchen ‘I know who is coming, it is you Sister Shirley.’  Auntie Heather and Auntie Barbara sent beautiful warm fleeces and cosy mittens with other little trinkets.  ‘Shirley, Santa seems to have come early; will you ask him to come again on Christmas Eve?’  My precious Dora.  John was thrilled with the items of clothing; he struggles with medical bills, if enough remains they can buy food.  There is so much I would love to do but there is only so much I can do.  Each morning I commit myself to new acts of faith because I know and I have proved especially in personal circumstances, the Lord is my helper.

I have knocked many doors, climbed many stairs, this mission trip only to find families fighting for survival, patients too ill for visits, infant patients slowly dying, elderly patients fighting for dignity to die well.  It is in these days I know the true meaning of: ‘He gives power to the faint, and to him who has no might he increases strength’. The prophet Elijah knew what it was to lack courage and strength, therefore in my days of ‘overload’ instead of becoming burdened,  I need to learn to place every issue at his feet knowing that my own personal relationship with God is the most important priority I possess which is a Hungering Heart After God.  The difficulty of today will then become the strength for tomorrow.  

The Emanuel Hospice Christmas Celebration was special as I met families old and new.  Families I have known since 2012, who have loved and lost and for whom the Christmas candles no longer burn brightly; they walk only a cinder path of pain and a wilderness of heart.  A grandmother running up to me, kissing my cheek as she shared her broken heart; her only son with a promising career in football lost his battle with throat cancer; her grandson taken away, eviction.  Yet as they remember the fallen rose buds, gone with no lasting fragrance, they smile knowing you genuinely care and you do remember them.  I kept watching the entrance doors and finally I saw Simona carrying baby Abraham and her mother in law hand in hand with my little butterfly, Debora.  I made my way quickly to the back where she sat and, wiping a tear, she said ‘Thank you for coming to me, no Baby Alexandra this year’.  Love is real and for all who attended, I could see the gain outweighed the loss; the days of many loved ones have been short. Two hundred children received a special gift from Santa, I wonder how many will be there next year to sit on Sant’s knee?  Remember this precious team, they serve Christmas Day and Boxing Day, no matter the day, the hour, precious souls are nearing eternity.  What a service of opportunity. What a team and these are my friends.

Mist still lingers over the grandmother of little Stefan who died recently. She is lovingly nursing Ianko (younger brother), suffering from the same disease.  The parents want Ianko placed into an Orphanage.   Ianko is one of many terminally ill children where Christmas Day is just another day of pain, treatment, uncertainty. The greatest gift they could receive on Christmas Day is the gift of life.

A life of service is truly a Harvest and I am so thankful to see first-hand evidence of the work of the Holy Spirit.  The patience and diligence of long hours of preparation are displayed with a look of satisfaction as Hamilton makes his way to class.  Lectures lasting four hours followed by teaching in the School of Practical Theology for three hours, speaking on Radio Voice of the Gospel, again, the Masters Programme. Study and excellence are his motto and students are made to feel ‘at home’ as they call to chat about their future plans.  Evenings is our only time to share one with the other as I am on ‘early call’ every day either with Casa or Hospice teams.  And yes, this mission trip we do have a doormat and the key rests there contentedly most days.   I smile as I identify the passion to ensure the students proceed with expectation of achieving God’s best.  To endeavour, as seen in the apostle Paul, to press toward the mark …… Stepping forward together.  ‘Glory in The Cross’ has now been released by Apostolos in London and can be obtained in most Christian Bookshops.  A new publication based on 1st John is well underway with the Pastoral Epistles translated into Romanian now being used as a basis for the Hungarian and Russian translations being released next year. 

Charles Dickens wrote: ‘Remembrance, like a candle, burns brightest at Christmastime’.  

This Christmastime will be special for hundreds of my children and patients; many candles are burning brightly.  Dolls, Trucks; Sweets; 400 Santa & Snowmen Hats filled with goodies; New dresses for the Mums with Santa Bags for the children. Time fails, words fail, one small word with a huge meaning ‘THANKYOU’. Ballycrochan, Coleraine, Millisle and Monkstown Baptist Churches; The Wardrobe, Ballyclare; Agherton, Bethany, Ballycarry Knitting Groups; Londonderry Crafting Circle; Individual donations.

As we close the door on December 2019, I wonder where have I failed, what roads have I not travelled. A year of change, a year where the world seems to be filled with sorrow and evil and I long for the shadows to be lifted from hurting hearts.   Yet 2020 will bring a storehouse of opportunity enabling my hands to reach out and touch lives from different backgrounds.  Let me have patience, let me show love, kindness, tenderness, knowing the Lord will supply every need.  The Sunrise is coming as we embark on a new year, let us go forward together assured that ‘He that keepeth Israel shall neither slumber nor sleep’

Shirley, December 16, 2019


Parting is difficult, so many smiles will not welcome me in March.  During 2020, I pledge my support to the works to which the Lord has called me.  Not all emotional roads, I was encouraged at the recent Sewing Class Graduation held in Casa Grace, when seventeen trainees completed stage 1 of the module with another twenty-five on the waiting list.  There are three levels offered in the Vocational Training Room (Beginner Stage; Advanced Stage; Distinction) under the expert leadership of my friend Dana, who gives will all of her heart.  Helen (Londonderry) made forty personal sewing kits for every student and they were thrilled to receive this surprise gift at the ceremony.  ‘There is always garner in the grain’.

The cold winds of December

Thanksgiving and Christmas then, for us who love God, are not mere time outs from work days. They are a celebration of the gift of work itself, days on which we celebrate work by declaring our freedom. In a manner of speaking we announce that on this one day we may rest from our work, and without pressure or guilt, we may be glad. A holiday is a holy day-meant for rejoicing in God.  Elizabeth Elliot

‘The bitter winds of December’.   A cliché repeated every year as we go through the motions of ticking our ‘Things to Do List’ e.g. Christmas Fayre; Christmas tree; Christmas gifts.  Suddenly we realise last date for posting … Christmas cards are hurriedly signed without stopping to think just how much a personal message would mean to someone who sits alone with a quiet companion called ‘Memory’.   Carollers may call?   Yet what sweeter melody that the reverberating sound of Redeeming Love.  Around the world the resounding news of ‘God with Us’.   The Darling of the world is come and he is ours, let us share this treasured gift with others making this Christmas special for someone.

The snow and freezing fog of Romania welcomed our arrival, yet in the darkness and dullness of night I could see the sky preparing to welcome another chilly winter morning. 

 Within a few short hours, it was morning and as planned Estera and I set off for a remote village where the fields and meadows were now frozen, children’s bicycles and toys were frozen solid in the rivers of the Roma community and children ran about with very little clothing chasing packs of dogs and the family goat.   ‘Sister Shirley, it is reading minus 4, be careful where you walk’.  ‘Estera, too much information’.   

As I looked around the village, so quiet, so still, far removed from society, trampling the dry crisp leaves, it seemed to be the sound of sadness.  They were strangers, unwelcome, without work and yet they shared from the little they possessed.   Mihalia, a single Mum with three daughters was thrilled to see us and wept with joy as she received extra food provision.  The girls decided to stay at home from school, as no one ever calls, this was a special day for them.  BIANCA is continuing her treatment for renal cancer and will see her Oncologist next week. Inwardly I was encouraged and inspired by the courage of one so young.  My friend Mavis knit miniature Christmas Puddings containing a Tunnocks Marshmallow. They had never seen a Marshmallow before and could not wait to taste – ‘thank you Mavis’ for bringing laughter and joy into this humble home.

There are other homes of child patients and the home of DAMIAN will be different this Christmas. Methinks Christmas will never be the same again for this precious family.   An amazing young boy who wanted so much to be baptised before meeting Jesus.  Damian has undergone brain surgery but was unable to complete his Chemotherapy.  He is now in a coma, blind and unable to move.  The surgeon has confirmed owing to the rate of growth of his brain tumour, Damian will not recover.  His parents and siblings are devastated.  His Mother never leaves his bedside.  On Christmas Morning, remember the terminally ill children who for some this will be their last Christmas.

Bereaved Children have taken over my thoughts and my heart was longing to see two specific children.  It was a MUST to meet with David and Diana, the children of my friend Dorena who lost her battle with cancer.  A faint knock, in fact a little tap on the door of room 7, opening to find these two precious children before me.  I could see the sadness in their beautiful dark eyes as we hugged, wept together, recalling memories of ‘Mum’.  Diana rises with the dawn, before leaving for college she has cows to milk, three meals to prepare then take the bus to Oradea where she is studying to become a nurse.  David is in his first year at High School and has the most beautiful smile.  His tumour is still evident in his arm and growing rapidly.  I will be monitoring carefully the progress of treatment.  I have grown to love these two children as they possess a very special nature – David used to give one of his ‘chicks’ to anyone who helped during his Mother’s illness.  I asked ‘how are the chicks these days?  Smiling as he responded: ‘Bigger’. We laughed together as I said: ‘You keep visiting me at Campus,  think it is safer for me’.  Soon it was time for our ‘Good Bye’s’ and it was an emotional parting; I suppose (if honest) I love these children and wish I could bring them home.  Perhaps a new project? I still hear Dorena whisper ‘please remember my children’.

My friend, Pastor David McFarland emailed a reading from the great Victorian preacher: C.H. Spurgeon. ‘He shall cover thee with His feathers, and under His wings shalt thou trust: His Truth shall be thy shield and buckler’. Mine was the privilege to be covered this morning as instead of my planned visit to my friend Sister Lucretia I was to learn she had received her Home Call to glory.  Yes, waiting for my visit, excited students from Emanuel University were singing carols to her today. Living alone, fear filled her heart of dying alone.  The Lord lovingly sheltered her in the shadow of His wings and she was content to be hidden in the hollow of His hand until he called her Home.  She was covered and protected from all fear.  Two precious elderly patients were eagerly waiting for my visit: Magdalena and Catalina.  Both mis-matched in personality yet possessing the same talent in needlework.  They love to remember their childhood days, telling amazing stories, memory is their only companion, how can I neglect this love I have in my heart for my patients?

 ‘You have not lived today until you have done something for someone who can never repay you’ (John Bunyan).  One hundred and fifty ampules of Hyoscine (butilscopulamine) are bringing comfort to the families who sit by the bedside of a loved one nearing the end of life.   Their spasms have eased and their final days together can be replaced with quietness and peace until that final breath.  What a loving Heavenly Father whose provision is endless and whose love can never be measured.

‘Sister Shirley, you remember us?’  Angelina, Aurilian and Ella were waiting for me in the Hospice building this morning.  Angelina lost her husband recently and both children suffer from a rare form of cancer.  Many of you remember our ‘Little Ella’; I could not comprehend she celebrated her nineteenth birthday yesterday.  I was overcome with shock at the tiny figure running towards me.  Ella has at least seventeen different forms of diagnoses related to her cancer and is undergoing tests at present for a bone marrow transplant.  She is fearful owing to the weakness of her body she will not survive.  Tears filled her eyes as she told me her sight is now impaired owing to cataract in both eyes.  This family will remain on our feeding programme and we will offer support when needed for treatment.  

I must not dwell on my feelings but I question where are the days of fulfilment?  I see only days of pain and suffering.  This morning another visit cancelled, I found it difficult to eliminate the questions arising in my head, questions without answers.  I had been quietly preparing my heart to meet Alina and her new baby daughter.   Ionuz (John) was in the care of Emanuel Hospice Care for a few short weeks, his mother was also a cancer patient.  Late November Ionuz lost his battle and this morning his mother died.  Although she also had cancer, we feel as a team she died of a broken heart.   Her joy of bygone days had been quenched by the hot coals of the raging fire of parting.  The joy of waiting with expectancy the birth of their firstborn baby to be suddenly replaced with extreme pain, anguish of a broken heart as transitory agony fills this humble home.  Tomorrow will come and I need an inner strength, a courageous spirit to face whatever it may bring.

“Relying on God has to start all over every day, as if nothing has yet been done.”

(C. S. Lewis)

I have no yesterday; time took it away. I may not have tomorrow. But still I have today.

Let’s face today with confidence together – 

Shirley, 10 December, 2019

Hidden and covered


‘Are the things you are living for worth Christ dying for?’ (Leonard Ravenhill)

‘Hide me now, under Your wings.  Cover me, within your mighty hand’. 

The secret of his presence became my hiding place as I faced, what seemed an impossible task. Dr. Beni Paul, (Emanuel Hospice) was in urgent need of a specific medication unavailable in Romania.  Ampules of Hyoscine (butilscopulamine) for terminally ill patients nearing the end of their earthly journey and unable to swallow.  I compared my faith to a fine thread and my thread was knotting, enquiry after enquiry formed knots I could not untangle, threads without a beginning or end.  ‘I will go before thee and unwind the snares’ (Isa 45: 2) ‘Have I no power to deliver?’Isa 50: 2. Andrew Murray says: ‘It is one of the terrible marks of the diseased state of the Christian life in these days that there are so many that rest content without the distinct experience of answered prayer’.  A few days later, I proved the immense power of prayer coming to a realisation that this knowledge of trust would change my thinking.  Instead of struggling I would leave all quietly with the one who is able to do exceedingly abundantly above all we can imagine.  The following Sunday, whilst sharing our Power Point in Millisle Baptist Church I knew I had to share this need.  Standing in the foyer at the end of the service a young lady introduced herself, followed by a question: ‘I am a private GP; now tell me, what do you need?’.  ‘Find rest my soul, in Christ Alone, know his power in quietness and trust’.  His eternal purpose reigns. The Ampules have arrived in Romania.  The Lord knew what I needed to restore a balance when I did not.

 We all have goals in life, things we MUST do?  Places we MUST go?  Yet as I read the words of Leonard Ravenhill my thoughts turn to those who have felt the weight of the cruel stones of a life spent in stark poverty, cold, hungry, chained in a prison of failure yet still daring to hope. Their peering and suspicious eyes speak of loneliness and longing, locked in a prison of their own making.    I look around my own comfortable home and question where do my values lie; what are my values?  Am I willing to lose what I class as important? Or am I willing to love people regarded as unimportant, without value? Luke 10: 39 tells me Mary’s priority was time with Jesus.  What is my priority? Where shall I work today?

The corridor of time waits for no man and the doors of usefulness for many are ending.  The steps of Sister Lucretia (stomach cancer with complications) will soon touch the ‘HALT’ sign.  Her condition has altered and her time is limited.  Living alone, her pain is difficult to manage during these final days and although she is a child of God, she is surrounded by fearful thoughts of dying alone.  Sister Ecaterina celebrated her 80th birthday on 7th November and is waiting for my visit. Please pray it will be a special visit, a lovely lady who was raised in the orthodox faith is now wanting to know more about the Lord.  Pray she will put her trust in the Lord.

Damian (15) whom I visited recently, has had further brain surgery; only part of the tumour has been removed.  Damian is unable to talk, move or recognise his mother.  This reaction is halting the required radiation treatment scheduled after surgery.  Please pray for grace to see the parents through these days as they watch by the bedside of their beloved son whose wish was to be baptised before he goes to be with Jesus.  A little child shall lead them. 

Natan (13) suffering from advanced cancer, was discharged from Cluj hospital as doctors were unable to continue treatment.  Natan died (peacefully) surrounded by his loving family.  His parents are devastated by the loss of their darling son.

A baby girl of two months will never sit on her Daddy’s knee; a young man who only weeks in the care of Emanuel Hospice died yesterday.

I think of Simona looking into the empty cot where baby Alexandra once lay; also a grandmother overwhelmed with grief at the loss of little Stefan; the sad eyes of the children whose only gift (if they could choose) would be to see their mummy or daddy again.  A quiet whisper from the children’s oncology ward that they themselves would be well again and home for Christmas.  So many lost childhoods, so many trampled lives.  Pray as I visit the bereaved families and children that my personal  contact  will show the love of Christ that as I share the words of Jesus when he said ‘My peace I give to you’ they will know that although I can never replace what they have lost, I can show them they are loved and remembered.  Fulfil A Wish, a new initiative for a terminally ill patient, can give one moment they will remember for a lifetime and in most cases a short lifetime. But most of all that they will come to know the one who can bring fulfilment.

Not just my toys have gone, where is my Mummy and Daddy?  Abandoned babies, orphans for whom the years have claimed all they ever had or hoped for.  Days turn to weeks, weeks to months and months to years, the sadness of their forgotten life remains.  The little tears they cry would fill a river.  Their childhood has never known the calmness of a mother’s arms, and yet there is a harvest of joy as I see the progress of disabled children, down syndrome children who are lovingly taught by Dora.  The team of Casa Grace are another harvest as I see their love and compassion with a quiet eye, watching with love followed by action.

Christmas is a busy time for the team of Casa Grace as they prepare Christmas Food Parcels for the many families on our Feeding Programme.  Specially chosen items are personally delivered to each home, followed by the legal documents required for families nearing the end of the two-year programme, who are being replaced by new families on our waiting list. The team work tirelessly preparing beautifully crafted Christmas Cards, Christmas Tree Globes, Baubles, with the Vocational Training Room providing special Christmas items sown with love.  Christmas is a time to remember, to love, to give even the smallest gift to the pauper, the homeless, who were also once a child with a future. 

Geanina only fifteen and pregnant, without knowledge when the baby will be born.  Geanina left home and school at the age of thirteen; both decisions were made without parental consent.  She began living in the home of a boy (17) where his father, mother, sister, brother in law and two children also lived. The parents disowned their daughter. Now she is facing a pregnancy with no income or support of any kind.  Sister Gabi (Iochebed) will take Geanina to an Obstetrician and will carefully monitor the situation during the next months. Clothing, food, medication will be provided for the baby for the first year.  Pray for this young girl who as a minor will not be permitted to take her baby from hospital without the signature of an adult.  Pray for guidance and wisdom in the many decisions they as a young teenage couple will have to make.

The gift of time is precious, but for fifty adult orphans living in the forest area of Cighid their time, their lives, have been submerged in the darkness of pain-filled years.  Memories they prefer to forget as they walk beneath the bare boughs of winter.  They love to surprise you and often find little treasures to say ‘thank you’.  Mine was a simple daisy, carefully chosen from the grass beneath their feet.  Dr. Jowett wrote: ‘God does not comfort us to make us comfortable, but to make us comforters.’  As we share time together at our Christmas Carol Service on 13thDecember, may the Gift of the Babe of Bethlehem be a priceless gift to these precious people whom I have grown to love.   Thank you to everyone who has sent a Christmas gift to my friends in Cighid; but more importantly ‘thank you’ for being a comforter.

Hamilton and Shirley Moore are two ordinary people with a burning heart of mission to: ‘GO AND TELL’.  We have grasped the awareness of the call with final days of preparation underway.  Pray for the ministry outreach; the reality of broken relationships; reconciliation; the suffering, the dying, the hungry, my children.  We leave in a few days after a short time at home, going forward with a purpose.

Regular ‘blogs’ will be sent outlining the busy schedule of the duo.   Hamilton in the Masters and Undergraduate programmes; School of Practical Theology; Radio Voice of the Gospel; Village Churches.  The desire of my own heart as I reach out and touch those who matter to me within the three foundations, I am privileged to be part off.

‘The work of God is done on God’s timetable. His answers to our prayers come always in time—his time. His thoughts are far higher than ours, his wisdom past understanding.’

(Elisabeth Elliot)

Shirley, 25 November, 2019


May you set your heart on things above.
May you set your mind on things above.
May you practice truth.
May you allow Christ to be your all in all.
May you be clothed with Compassion, Kindness,
Humility, Gentleness, Patience.
Forgive as the Lord forgives you.
And over all these virtues may you put on love which binds
them together in perfect communion.
May you let the peace of Christ dwell in your heart.
May you let the Word of Christ dwell in you.
May your home be an expressive home filled
with passion for Christ, for others, for Life.
(Steve Wingfield)

To repeat, ‘May your home be an expressive home filled with passion for Christ, for others, for Life’. 

Home!  Where is home?   October in Romania was filled with the beauty of Autumn, the birds in sweet song, rays of sunshine peering through the trees. But amidst all of this were the threads that spun storms of darkness, the homeless sleeping in elements of mud and scum, the terminally ill sucking bitter berries of pain.  There was no beauty in their world, no Nightingale’s song.  Rarely have I seen smiles mingled with tears with such strength inviting me into their humble home but more importantly into their hearts. They are a prisoner of circumstance.  I am overwhelmed by emotion as I learn perhaps of an Artist, Seamstress, individuals possessing a particular style and talent of their own now reduced to…..?  And yet my heart is ‘Fixed’ knowing only one can decide my course. ‘Life is beautiful not because of the things we see or do.  Life is beautiful because of the people we meet’.

Reading in the book of Ruth, I hold in my heart that Ruth was ‘steadfastly minded’ to go.  I possess a heart an earnestness for my beloved in Romania and this is where I am ‘At Home’.  Either it has to be ‘all in all or not at all’.

Grasping the opportunity of each day, the one thing I desire is to bring the gift of hope to my brother, my sister, love to my little ones.  All my days are memorable, some days hit hard and I find it difficult to always be brave.  Summer is fast fading for many and the lustre of youth has gone; they have learned to accept the voice of silence with solitude as their only companion.   ‘To whomsoever I shall send thee thou shalt go’ (Jeremiah 1: 7).

I leave my questions in Higher Hands knowing that in the secret place and in his time, I will understand the reason why.  I hold in my heart my babies, children, patients, families, and ask you to stand with me until my return; not just names, real people, please make your heart a pulpit for:

  • The family of Baby Alexandra whose broken hearts melt your own heart.
  • The Grandmother and younger brother of little Stefan who died last week
  • Nathanael (13) advanced cancer, his parents are overwhelmed with grief.
  • Young Kevin and his family who have recently come to know the Lord.
  • Catalina recovering from surgery for partial removal of a neck tumour.
  • Catalina suffering from breast cancer, husband (Stefan) Alzheimer’s Disease.
  • Sister Lucretia suffering from stomach cancer with added complications.
  • Andrea in final stages of cancer.
  • Ionuz (John, 21) a prisoner within his body.
  • The elderly patients: Magdalena; John and Elizabeth; Alexandru.
  • The countless bereaved children who have no Mummy or Daddy this Christmas.
  • The Centre caring for orphan, disabled, down syndrome children and the abandoned babies.
  • Lulu (18) adapting to a new location, new people for the remainder of his life.
  • Stefania (11), Treasure (15), only two of many, locked within their bodies unable to move, they communicate by eye contact.
  • Dora in her weakness, lovingly cared for by her father John who carries, washes, clothes and feed her.  A life of devotion.
  • Casa Grace, Emanuel Hospice, Iochebed families facing poverty (without food or winter fuel), facing eviction and many without identity.  One food parcel, one bag of hygiene products brings a smile to the searching eyes of hope.
  • Cighid Adult Orphans, forgotten, unaccepted by society, living in the forest of Cighid, the darkness and freezing conditions of winter is an unwelcome guest.
  • Sister Vali (40) soon will have ten children to feed.
  • Alina (27) four children 7, 4, 2 and a baby facing the uncertainty of anxiety surrounding her baby daughter.

The list is endless, these are but a few.

November is exceptionally busy for ‘The Moore’s’.  Many deputation meetings and very few (if any) free days.  Our flights are booked to return to Romania on December 03 as Dr. Moore is teaching in the Masters Programme; School of Practical Theology, Radio Voice of the Gospel and in Village Churches. He is presently collecting articles from the faculty for the new edition of ‘Semanatorul (The Sower) a by-annual journal specifically designed for Emanuel University.  The translation of the Pastoral Epistles Commentary into Hungarian is making progress also the translation into Russian has commenced.

Sharing the stillness of our soul together in the evenings as we recall smiling across a crowded corridor as one of the ‘duos’ return from visits while the other rushes to class – or when a voicemail arrives telling you ‘Shirley, I have left the key below the mat’.  Wonder of wonders, we don’t have a mat!  But this is home and it is our home.

The path to peace is a narrow path, walk with me.

Shirley, 25 October, 2019

Searching eyes of hope

Searching eyes of hope

‘You, and You give them their food in due season. You open Your hand. And satisfy the desire of every living thing. (Psalm 145: 15-16)

I am running out of time; soon I must leave the place I love and those I love. My heart is filled with conflicting thoughts, yet I know the greatest treasure I can possess is the gift of love. The door of love must be open to all, not choosing whom it will serve.  The bud of a rose waits patiently knowing it will require the moisture and nurture a loving hand can apply.  Looking through the windows of room 7 just now, as I see birds diligently searching for food, an actual stabbing pain fills my heart. I must confess I feel an uneasy concern reflecting on returning from visits to find the brother and sister of Baby Florin running in between cars begging for bread.  Our eyes met and it hurt as I feared the consequences if seen by Child Protection. The traffic always seems to ‘halt’ outside the one bedroom flat where I used to visit Denisa; I recall visits with Dada, Emanuel, Florika, Dorina. Oh my heart covets those times!  Cherished moments when I received so much from the little they had to give.  This morning my heart was encouraged as I read: ‘The Lord spreads a table for the sparrows and clothes the wayside anemones in exquisite beauty’, knowing deep within that we are dearer to him by far.  My patients, families, orphans, disabled children and abandoned babies have all been wounded; I can never know the mental distress build within hearts that have suffered. The troubled mind as the midnight hour of despair consumes as the cankerworm. I pray as I visit, I will know guidance and calmness, applying the precious ointment of his presence, telling them: ‘He is the peace that passeth all understanding’.  Matthew Henry confessed: ‘I forgot to ask special help on the day’s work and so the chariot wheels drove heavily’.  There is blessing for all through his pardoning grace.

The sun shone through the windows of Cihei Village Church adding a glow to the faces of the village ladies who sat on the left-hand side of the church.  As I passed each wooden pew the ladies extended their hands in welcome, ‘Pache, Pache’.  I was deeply touched by their humility as they quickly returned to their pew with their scarf-covered heads bowed again in prayer.  The gentlemen all seated on the right-hand side remained in quiet meditation.  There was a holy hush and an awareness that this place was greatly revered.  The worship was uplifting as children, teenagers and choir all participated in a celebration of praise.  Soon it was time for the sermon and as my husband entered the pulpit everyone stood in respect for the Word from God. The secret of our inner life, our thoughts, emotions, is the spiritual bread and wholesome food we receive. Tonight, the Word of God was received with an immeasurable hunger.

Today, I felt I was walking through seedbeds of sorrow.  It has taken me some time to place my thoughts on paper as I recall the remains of my day.  Two female patients both called Catalina.  My first Catalina, recovering from surgery for a partial removal of a large neck tumour.  Her throat is swollen and she is finding it difficult to swallow.  There is a bond between us and she talked of her family, her forthcoming eightieth birthday on 7th November, I could see it was painful to talk.   As I sat beside her, I told her of a Saviour whose Word is rest and who knows all about our tomorrows.  We prayed together and waving goodbye she softly said: ‘You will come again in Decembria?’  She already knows the answer.  

Catalina number two was a very tall lady, an artist by profession, hosting many Art Exhibitions during her lifetime.  Her elderly husband lay in an unmade bed on one side of the room suffering from Alzheimer’s disease, separated in his mind from the memories of pleasure and normality, while his beloved wife of forty-four years lay on the other side of the room.  Their living conditions disturbed me greatly as Catalina has just completed a course of Chemotherapy.  I could have stood afar, removed my thinking as I gazed around the unkept room, but they are unable to care one for the other and often are without food.  Many occasions when our team calls, making a welcome cup of tea, they are so thankful; they never complain.  Catalina made her way to sit beside me as I tried to lift her husband Stephan from his lying positionshe quietly whispered ‘He has been a very supportive husband until this happened …’ I am unable to write any more as my heart is overwhelmed with such sorrow. Today I feel as if a sword has pierced deeply into this humble home.

It is impossible to describe my feelings as I enter another door of great sadness. A few days ago, I wrote about Stefan (11) weighing only 1.5 stone; his little foot broke as he was turned in bed.  Stefan died yesterday.  My eyes seem to see only moments of great sadness and it is changing me.  Lives close to eternity, so many wasted years.  John MacArthur wrote: ‘You are the only Bible some unbelievers will ever read’.  With tearful eyes I pray for courage to continue to do the things I feel totally inadequate to do. My friend, Dr. Beni Paul, the only Physician within the Emanuel Hospice Homecare Team is in urgent need of a specific medication unavailable in Romania.  Ampules of Hyoscine (butilscopulamine) are required for terminally ill patients nearing the end of their earthly journey and unable to swallow; it will ease their spasms.  I recognise my limitations and inadequacy but I have proved prayer changes situations.  If you are from the medical profession and can offer advice, please contact me.

Another morning with the abandoned babies.  Elijah, blind and deaf was unsettled. Dora reached for her mobile phone and turning to the Christian Music Station placed it inside his cot. His tiny fingers covered his blind eyes and finally he fell asleep.  Unwanted, unloved, this is the only home he will ever know.  Sadly, he is one of many. The progress of the Down Syndrome Children is a credit to Dora who gives so much love and patience and of course a Cadbury’s chocolate if they do well. Dora has a great policy: one to you and one to me (she loves Cadbury’s Roses).  My very special friend Lulu was discharged from the system when he turned eighteen a few months ago and is now in another placement for adult orphans.  Pray for this young man who has been in our care since infancy, but now beginning his adult life in an unfamiliar village many miles from Oradea.

How will they be remembered? How much more can I give? I readily identified their human need, their painful emotions. The Chigid orphans are not part of a local community or accepted, but long for a place in this world. The banging on the car windows with fifty pairs of peering eyes jolted my thinking.  As we unpacked the car I was surrounded, touched, finally my friend ‘Penquin’ as I affectionately call her, came forward with a daisy and placed it behind my ear. Perhaps their rank is of less value, yet I could recognise their longing for intimacy from someone who cares. I had purchased 100 of everything (track bottoms; pyjamas; socks; towels; soup and dinner plates; sweets). I thought my heart would break as I watched how the ladies choose a pair of pyjamas and kissed them, followed by the men who kissed the towels, or when Dana (Suprvisor) said: ‘I cannot believe you have brought us proper dinner plates. We have only tin plates.’ The young man, let’s call him Mr. C, always accompanies me to and from the high entrance gates, stayed by my side as my protector, raising his voice on occasions when he thought the occasion warranted it.  My friend Pauline and her team (Ballycrochan Baptist Church) lovingly sent beautiful warm blankets which quickly made their way to the three bungalows.  Fifty adult orphans with severe disabilities, all in their late forties/early fifties with the mind of children. We all have special moments, special days, I hoped today was special, I tried to make it so.  Love came down at Christmas; early December we plan to hold a Carol Service in Cighid, endeavouring through the aid of Flash Cards to tell the story of the Lamb of Christmas, the Babe of Bethlehem. I wonder how they remember their childhood Christmases?  Let’s together make this Christmas a memory. I will need soft dolls, torches, footballs, Play-Doh, colouring books and crayons.  Let’s show our love this Christmas to those who have never known what it means to matter to someone, in fact to anyone.

It is 4.30a.m. (your time) again; yes, another busy day for ‘The Moore’s’ as the ‘Professor’ was engaged in the International Conference held today with seven participants reading papers.  Romania, U.S.A. and N. Ireland were all represented. Each day is different, ordinary days, days of weakness, days of suffering but whatever we face, we must fully discharge our task with patience, kindness, in a quiet and loving manner.

It was with humility I accepted the invitation from Sister Druta to visit in her new one room apartment. Facing eviction, Sister Anna never lost sight of her faith that God would make a way. The Lord gave this gift to her and through the love of the Family of God, the roof has been renewed; water installed; bathroom built and suddenly this place of disrepair is her palace. The top floor actually consists of one tiny hall with four doors all housing four families. There is one shared bathroom. It is still her palace.

At times a short sentence can be the sweetest: ‘Shirley, where have you been?’ Five short words containing such trust and that famous smile of welcome I have come to love.  Our special Dora becomes increasingly precious to me, her love for people and her thankful acceptance for every gift she receives. Looking behind me, she asked ‘Where is Dr. Moore, I have been praying for him’.  Dora has the mind of a child but her tender personality is her legacy and how she will be remembered.  She looked tired today with little evidence of motivation. Her father (John) expressed concern seeing her weakness and lack of strength. Her medication is increasing daily and the lack of energy and fatigue is evident.  ‘Well now, let me see what I have for you, wow a Disney bag of goodies from Auntie Heather and a Rainbow bag of goodies from Auntie Barbara.  Paddington Bear and Mr. Teddy were the first to be unwrapped and hugging them she said: ‘Shirley, I hope these were not too expensive, please thank my friends in Ireland until I see them’.  The Colouring Books, Crayons, Coloured Pencils, Diabetic Sweets and a very special Pink Girls Bag, were placed in order on her table by John.  ‘Daddy, please don’t take my books away’. The laughing and excitement filled the tiny kitchen area. John’s life is devoted to ensuring Dora knows love and security. Children are a blessing and even though I never knew the blessing of parenthood, my quiver is now overflowing with ‘My Children’ and of course, My Dora.

The first publication written by Dr. Moore on 1 and 2 Timothy & Titus will now be published in two new languages! The translation into Hungarian is well under way and arrangements for a Russian translation is commencing.

The commentary on Galatians Glory in the Cross will be released on 1st November, published by Apostolos in the series, Faith builders. Another book vital for Romania with its message of the sufficiency of the cross for salvation. ‘Justified by faith in Christ, and not by works of the law,’ Gal. 2:16. Pray a translator will be found in the coming months.

Sunday will be a special day as we travel to serve in the Church of a former Theology student, Andrei Miraute. in Shafronia, (near Arad). Andrei is my adopted son, now married to Ligia (one of my girls from the Beauty and Holiness group).  My heart is overflowing with joy to know the future they will share together serving the Lord.  Each for the other, both for the Lord.

This weekend many Churches throughout Romanian will come together giving thanks to the Lord for the fields of plenty.  Still, Searching Eyes of Hope, robbed of love, wander the market places without knowing the sweetness of Harvest. 

‘Love is the chain that binds’
Shirley, 18 October, 2019

‘Love Thy Neighbour’

Love your neighbour as yourself’. (Matthew 22: 39)

A cold October morning yet the beautiful autumnal colours of the falling leaves brought joy as I felt their crispness beneath my feet.  Autumn days are a constant reminder that the shades of life change and we are unable to stop their progress.  Visits today were emotional; I listened to hushed tones of sadness from lives in the ‘yellow leaf’ of life, lives nearing the end of this earthly pilgrimage.  ‘We are alone, forgotten, no one calls, no one remembers us. When you are old, you are not remembered’.  Quickly finding a corner on the bed, I whispered: ‘I remember you, but more importantly there is One who never forgets you. Your name is engraved on his hands. How can you ever be forgotten? A faint smile appeared on a weary face where years of hard labour had forfeited his youth.  I read in Matthew 22 that I am to love the Lord with all my heart, soul and mind and my neighbour …. The testimony of this precious brother spoke to me of years proving the enduring faithfulness of his Lord.  Once a young soldier and then a Ceausescu prisoner, now an old disciple.  He spoke of how the Lord protected him many times where to his amazement no device or emergency could harm him or found him unprepared.  The faithfulness of the heart of his Father and the touch of his Father’s arm accompanied him from the freshness of youth to these declining years.  His partially blind wife sat sobbing in the corner. Yes, indeed the beautiful roses in our garden soon fade, their freshness, fragrance and colour gone forever; trees become unproductive until the next season.  Pierre Seguier said:  My soul it is like a garden full of shelter and fountains’.  This soldier of patience, loyalty, service has been a place of shelter and refreshing fountains to many over his seventy years.

Sister Lucretia, a gentle lady, whose life has been one of pain and abuse at the hands of an alcoholic husband, now in advanced stages of cancer, talks of her trust in her Lord. There is no trace of sourness or fear; her seasons of pain have drawn her nearer to the cross.

Sister Vali aged forty (pregnant with her tenth child), her village home so cold the youngest child snuggled beneath a blanket to do his homework.  No stove, no form of heating for the winter ahead in Suceava and a new baby to consider.  Her face shone, with no evidence of concern as she softly said, ‘If God wants me to have a stove, he will send one’. Earthly friends can become fickle, prone to change, but we have a Friend who never changes and who provision is unending. The harvest of joy entered this village home as by faith we have installed a stove. £300 has been received from a brother in Belfast and a sister in Portstewart. Jesus, our Saviour, Shepherd, Friend, Our Prophet, Priest, and King. Our Lord, our Life, our Way, our End. Accept the praise we bring.

Alina (27), four children aged 7, 4, 2, and a baby of sixteen months). She gave birth to another baby who died at 4 months of a heart block caused by acute pneumonia. Alina came to Iochebed in the spring for a pregnancy test. She was upset to learn she was pregnant so soon after the birth of her baby as they are an extremely poor family with no finance. They moved from the mountain village to a village closer to the city, living in a small house consisting of one room for seven people. A baby girl was born on 24 September, her name is Roxana Adina. She has been diagnosed with a congenital malformation of her hip and Alina has been advised by the Paediatrician to take the baby immediately to the Children’s Hospital in Lasi for a consultation by a specialist.  If the baby does not receive immediate attention, she could develop a serious health issue resulting in being unable to walk.  300 Romania Lei is required (£60) for transport to Lasi. The ravine of anxiety is a deep canyon with steep sidewalks. Please remember Alina and her little ones that the Lord will make all beautiful in His time.

Memories cause us to reminisce; today was one of those days as I visited two families, both with different needs, but who have been in the Casa Grace programme for the past two years. Two endearing little boys rushing home from school. Now through tragic circumstances, the mother and her children have no home and live with their grandmother.  It is a place of disrepair, one room and yet a room filled with so much love.  A young widow left with two children who travelled miles from her village home at 3 am every morning to her place of employment. The sadness was overwhelming as they mourned the loss of a young husband and father.  Her unwavering trust in the Lord resulted in a new beginning.  Hearts of compassion glowed with joy remembering small unexpected acts of kindness.

‘Unexpected acts of kindness’.  Only for the love of a devoted grandmother, two very sick little boys would be placed in an orphanage as they are unwanted by their parents.  Stefan (11) diagnosed with Spastic Tetra Paresis weighing 1.5 stone and his younger brother recently receiving the same diagnoses.  Stephan lies in a hospital crying out in pain, his tiny body where his bones are so brittle, a bone in his right foot broke as he was turned in bed.  His grandmother is exhausted with grief; grief with the present and what of the future?  It costs to carry and as I hold this family in my heart my prayer is that this grandmother will come to know the One who will carry her little lambs close to his heart of love.  I find the emotion is not a harvest of plenty only the opposite. Many fathers, mothers, grandparents filled with emotion and because of love question if it is better to place their little lambs in an orphanage.  The Lord has opened his hand enabling me through the love of all who provide for the feeding programme to make it possible that such a decision does not have to be made.  Feed my lambs.

‘Fulfil A Wish’ Whether young or elderly, there is one special moment they may wish to remember before leaving this earthly life. Kevin (9) known to many as he has been our patient since the age of two, undergoing many corrective surgeries to straighten his feet.  Gabi (mother) carries him to school every morning. Esteria and I discussed the case wondering what could be done; the same day my friend Barbara contacted me for her daily update. Suffice to say a new bicycle was purchased for Kevin.  Estera and I drove to the village and carefully removed it from the back of the car.  Kevin appeared and I can truthfully say I have never seen such joy or appreciation in a child.  ‘God gave this to me; this is a gift from God’ he kept shouting, trying to walk to his father and grandmother.  This family have been precious to me for some years now. Each time we visit we try to drop little seeds along the way. The harvest of joy was mine as I learned today the father, mother, Kevin and grandmother were baptised in the river three months ago and weekly services and prayer meetings are held in this humble home.

This morning Marinela and I met for discussions and patient reviews. I was shocked to learn there is no Palliative Care available in any hospital to patients in the last stages of cancer; you are sent home to die. The dedicated team of Emanuel Hospice minister in homes but are only able to cover ten per cent of the great need!  Love is a personal gift, ours to share or ours to keep.  Love demands effort, sacrifice, but our goal must always be as that of our Lord that our labour of love should be a blessing.  My husband had a word of encouragement in his short address at Hospice Chapel on Friday and as I scanned the faces before me, silently comparing my service with the raindrops of blessing they drop, I am privileged to be part of this work where they offer love, care but tell of a life beyond this life.

The Service of Thanksgiving held in Emanuel Baptist Church on Sunday was soul searching and soul melting.  I gazed around the hundreds of young students entering Emanuel University, and my heart was overwhelmed with joy, whether in Theology, Management, Music, Social Work, Literature, all had a mind to serve the Lord.  Chatting to the Theology students, one thing was evident, their young hearts possessed an ardent love and their vow to serve was irrevocable; one of total consecration.  Each year I see the changing faces in Emanuel University but still remember those special moments with special students in past years.  I have not forgotten them and they in turn have all been in contact once they knew a certain Professor and Mrs Shirley were on Campus.  Andrei and Ligia; Alex and Silvia; Daria; Oana; Anna Ruth …. And many others. Hamilton has been meeting staff and students again, teaching in the Masters classes and organising the International Conference to be held on Thursday 17th October, where he will also present a paper. It will be good to be preaching again in Cihei Baptist Church, near Oradea tomorrow.  

Alison has been engaged in last minute preparation of the thirty-two boxes in storage awaiting transportation to Tarsin. They arrived safely. Monika and I took time over the contents ensuring priority was given to the urgent needs.  Beautiful jumpers knitted in larger sizes were provided by Rae Scott, Agherton Parish Knit & Knatter, Portstewart.  One in particular stood out in colour and design, lovingly knitted by Sadie who is ninety-two years of age.  Their hearts have been touched by the Cighid Adult Orphan project and they are busy knitting warm hats and mittens for my Christmas mission trip.  Speaking of Cighid, papers have been submitted to the State requesting permission for me to visit on Thursday 17th October. With this in mind and a mind to work, Monika and I set out on a mission.  Nine hours later after searching for the best sale price in what felt throughout like the whole of Romania, finally we settled on our price and items, purchasing 100 pairs of trousers; 100 pairs of socks; 100 towels and beautiful soup and dinner plates.  Love has its worth, the people who lovingly made this possible has shown a heart of compassion.   The apostle Paul tells us to ‘put on a heart of compassion’, whether to great or small, may we continue to breathe the air of love. 

I have come to learn I will love my neighbour as I ought only if I love the Lord my God first.

The Lord continues to open His hand and I thank you for bringing hope and joy to many without.

Shirley, October 12, 2019

No greater love

‘And they brought young children to him, that he should touch them…Suffer the little children to come unto me, and forbid them not.’ (Mark 10: 13-14)

But the very hairs of your head are all numbered.’ (Psalm 139: 13-18)

No greater love

Only days in my beloved Romania and yet the pain I feel, the suffering I encounter, is unreal. Who am I?  What am I?  My love, my time, should not be limited but given freely to the frail elderly within days, hours of eternity, the tiny baby, toddler so sick, a faint smile is even an effort. Oh, that my heart would be a harbour of safety for ‘my neighbour’ a place of shelter shielding from the strong blast of adversity that blows.  This morning as I mediated on the ‘Love of God’ I bowed my head in shame as I thought of my shortcomings, his unconditional love that is mine until my final day.   To love may cost but it’s worth it all if my neighbour will come to prove in the days of testing, trial, love will be impelled only by the best motive.  I Cor 13: 13 …’but the greatest of these is love’. The longing of my heart is to serve him, in days of uncertainty and disappointment I need to know this too is by divine appointment, a higher authority has made my choice.

There are many forms and expressions of love.  The bond of friendship is a gift from the Master’s hand.  A long day of travel (Tuesday) and humanly speaking ‘The Moore’s’ were a little tired but more so hungry.  My heart missed a beat arriving at Emanuel University (very late in the evening) to the aroma of a freshly cooked chicken sitting on the step of our student room. I knew immediately who had left it there.  My dear friend Monika.

‘Is that the front door bell?’  As I opened a beautiful smile hidden behind a bunch of ‘pink’ flowers stood before me.  ‘I cannot believe you are finally here’ said my friend Estera.  We exchanged our tokens of friendship when suddenly I remembered. ‘Oops I should now call you Dr. Estera’.  ‘No I will always be your Estera’.  The union shared by friends is a priceless gift; how can I fail to recognise such humility and tenderness.  Our hands are clasped in service with the teams of Casa Grace and Emanuel Hospice.

Entering an area of uncultivated ground, housing many Roma families, I could actually feel the suspicious glances of the elderly, hear the laughs of the dark eyed little ones running inquisitively towards the car. Simona, the mother of baby Alexandra hugged me, her long dark hair covering her face to hide her tears.  Mihai (her husband) had just returned from the forest, he had been able to borrow a horse and cart, collecting wood from the falling trees to keep his precious family warm. They have no money for winter fuel and with a new born baby, two adorable little girls, his love in action spoke volumes.  ‘Sit please, sorry the bed is broken’ yes, a very humble home, yet filled with a warmth outweighing their pain; baby Alexandra was loved, if only a borrowed love for a short time.   As we clasped our hands in prayer, the heart of this young mother softly said through her tears that she gave her precious darling back to a higher love.   So poor they had to borrow the money for the funeral expenses but rich in so many other ways. I was surrounded by an Immeasurable love. My friend Sheila from Ballyclare asked me to take a card of sympathy having known the pain incurred in the loss of a child.   Estera translated and even though separated by many miles, our love was kindled and enhanced by a heart of compassion who didn’t forget to care.

Love deeper than any sea must flow through a side ward in Timisoari where Nathanael (13) advanced cancer, diagnosed with Carcinoma, lies very sick.  His parents are going through a valley of unbearable pain. 

Stefan (11) with Spastic Tetra Paresis (1.5 stone); his younger brother has just received the same diagnosis.  No mother, yet the love of an elderly grandmother physically unable to care for these two very sick little boys, in love keeps her promise to never leave them.  One look at their little faces when her presence fills the room, soothes and calms their little hearts of fearfulness.

‘But the very hairs of your head are all numbered.’  My thoughts turn to Alexandru (late eighties) suffering with terminal cancer.  During his younger years employed as a member of the Secret Police during the communist regime.  He is open to hear the Word of God.  As the team care, comfort and minister to these precious people, pray they will not only hear but receive the Word of God.

As I watch Hamilton ‘At Home’ teaching, lecturing, writing I see the darkness of last year now filled with a new light.  This can only speak to my heart of an over-coming love.  At present he is in discussions regarding the translation into Russian of the Pastoral Epistles with a view to publishing. Next week he will participate in the Masters Programme, focusing later in the month on the International Conference.  Tomorrow evening it will be our joy to attend the Opening Service of Thanksgiving in Emanuel Baptist Church.   The potential of hundreds of young people … methinks would Hamilton be young again?  To everything there is a time, a season.

My remaining weeks are filled every day visiting patients and families not forgetting opening the many boxes Alison is sending on a weekly basis for urgent needs only as requested.  Although exhausted after travelling I was compelled by love to go to the centre to see my babies.  Dora and Mihai were waiting for Monika and me and it thrilled my heart as we played with the children in Adam’s Room, the door kept knocking. So many Therapists with their patients whether orphan, down syndrome, abandoned wanting to use our room. I was reminded of the harvest of joy the Lord brings to his children.  I felt so lowly in heart and so thankful for the privilege in being a small part of the team of Casa Grace.  Impacting precious little bundles of joy who just love to be cuddled.  Papers have been submitted to approve my visit to Cighid next Thursday; pray the Lord will continue to open our hands to hold with love.

Remember the patients of Emanuel Hospice, elderly and infant. The needy families of Casa Grace. The Orphan, Disabled, Down Syndrome children and the Abandoned Babies.  Sister Gabi who heads the work of Iochebed in Suceava.

I will sign off now feeling your prayerful support, knowing in the obvious obstacles, impossibilities, darkness, his love is hidden in my heart.

Let us together be a torch of light.

Shirley, 05 October, 2019

The Greatest Gift – The Call of Love’

‘Love suffers long and is kind; love …’ 1 Cor. 13:4

During my years in Strathearn Grammar School, one of my favourite school productions was ‘Oliver’.  Many are aware of the theme song sung by a very young Oliver: ‘Where is Love?’ Dreaming, searching, longing to hear that one familiar voice or feel the softness of her motherly touch. He longed to belong, to mean something to someone.  ‘Where is Love?’

I ask this question each time I visit the unloved and forgotten; yes, my tears flow in secret as I try to ponder ‘why’? But then I find in my broken moments I have Jesus.  Robert Murray M’Cheyne penned: ‘A believer longs after God, to come into his presence, to feel his love, to feel near to him in secret, to feel in the crowd that he is nearer than all the creatures…’  The call to love is a personal choice, one we can choose or decline.  How blessed to live in a home filled with love. Not so for places I am called to serve, I encounter tears of brokenness, disappointment, tears of simply longing to belong.   You may not be able to accompany me as I leave for my beloved family in Romania but your love can give me the much-needed strength for each day; each patient, child, family, the beggar on the street all differ, individual personalities with different needs.   Answer the call of love by setting aside a special time each day to remember them.  ‘If we make our goal to live a life of compassion and unconditional love, then the world will indeed become a garden where all kinds of flowers can bloom and grow.’ Dr. Elisabeth Kubler-Ross.

Tell Romania supporting those in deep poverty.
Image by Pixabay.com Not an image of a child mentioned in this post.

Heavy dark storm clouds are hovering over my dear Sister Simona, the rains of grief are unimaginable as she walks a deep valley of intense pain.  ‘Mummy, where is my baby sister Alexandra? asks little Deborah (2).  A young Pentecostal family who love the Lord and serve in the Church, whose hearts are broken.  Sister Simona gave birth to little Ishmael during my last visit in June – two adorable little girls love their new baby brother but do not understand where their baby sister has gone.  I arrive in Oradea on Wednesday, 2nd October, Estera and I have planned to visit to this humble home on the Friday.  As we share together, may the dark shadows lift and may Simona know that even though her heart is broken that the LORD is her Shepherd and as he has charged himself with her care, she is safe in his fold.

A beautiful little boy only three (Kristof) diagnosed with Leukaemia.  His young mother of twenty has another little girl aged one year old.  Please pray for this young mother who has to travel many miles to Timisoara during Kristof’s chemotherapy. The call of love demands sacrifice at times.

Narcis is a precious little boy whose father died from cancer four years ago.  Narcis attended the Hospice Summer Camp where it became evident to the team he so needed to be loved. Although living with his step father and brothers, he still longs for his father.  Again I ask that you would remember me as I visit this family that through the constant love and care of our Godly team, Narcis will no longer question in his heart ‘Where is Love?’ but in the unexpected things see the Love of God in action.

A new programme for bereaved and sick children is an extra road I will travel this mission trip.  Little ones who have known joy, now sorrow, their special moments with Mummy or Daddy gone forever and they wonder in the quietness of night ‘Where is Love?’  Will I find it tomorrow?  Help me fulfil a wish, ease troubled minds.  I know I will meet insurmountable difficulties and wonder can I take the pressure of this added responsibility? Psalm 59: 10 ‘My God with his loving kindness shall come to meet me at every corner’.  Help me put food on their table, light on their path and joy in sad little hearts. The rents of time can soon be mended but it will take time – yours and mine!

Eva (50) diagnosed with a brain tumour is very weak. The burdens of each day outweigh days of pleasant memories.  She feels her prayers remain unanswered and needs reassurance.   Please pray a place can be found for her to live during the freezing Romanian winter months as she can no longer remain at home and needs to be safe and warm. 

My friend Barbara reminded me that even when we have God’s calling, we still need friends to help when the weight of it all becomes too much.  I thank the Lord for the many friends who have been sent to me, whose commitment is unending and whose passion is unlimited. In I Samuel 17: 47 we read: ‘The battle is the Lord’s’.  There can be no defeat when all the planning and responsibility belongs to him.  Queen Victoria said: ‘We are not interested in the possibilities of defeat.  They do not exist!’  I go with a new determination; I am on my final countdown – days to go!

O Jesus, I have promised to serve Thee to the end;
Be Thou forever near me, my Master and my Friend;
I shall not fear the battle if Thou art by my side,
Nor wander from the pathway if Thou wilt be my Guide.

Mihaela is only twenty years of age and has three very young children. A little boy of three, a little girl of twenty-two months and a baby girl of six months – three little steps and stairs.  Mihaela met her husband when she was only fifteen. Last year they came to know the Lord Jesus as their personal Saviour and were baptised.  Shortly afterward her young husband was diagnosed with blood clots on his brain, and he was hospitalised for a period of time. Because he has been unable to work, they can barely afford to eat.   This needy family will receive from the Iochebed Feeding Programme; clothes for the children will be supplied and medical bills covered.  A beautiful young Christian girl, young in her faith with so much need, yet testifying that her faith in the Lord Jesus has brought peace to her heart.  Last month we shared the situation of Sister Vali.  We wish to extend our thanks to the brother who donated £200 towards the purchasing of a new stove.  The village churches are also trying to fundraise.  Togetherness!

£20,000 is required each year specifically for the Feeding Programme(s), Casa Grace, Emanuel Hospice and Iochebed, I do have moments of fear when I feel myself wavering. It is in these times I need to quietly remind myself that our love must be poured out as a river;  we must be seen as a place of refuge, repair and at times even though the thorn may prick and wound, once we see the beauty of the Rose, we know that if the battle is the Lord’s, the resources will come and will prove all-sufficient.  Shirley, isn’t your hand clasped tighter now?   This morning I read: ‘He that goeth aside to sit quietly in the secret place with the Most High, will find him coming over so close that this man shall be lodging under the very shadow of the Almighty’.  Psalm 91: 1 (Free trans).  My father taught elocution and as I write I can remember clearly one poem entitled: ‘If Jesus came to your house, I wonder what you would do?’.  

As I read the unending case files that continue to come, I trace lives filled with human misery and degradation. Lives filled with shame, humiliation, lack of self-respect and vast disappointment.  They come feeling insignificant as others pass by, they long for a listening ear and a hopeful future.  Normally the parent or parents are young; facing eviction, without food. In one new case the father and mother are in their mid-thirties.  Although both parents work, their income is £120 monthly!  The sons are mentally retarded and attend a special needs school.  They are not a Christian family and clearly need the Lord.  We pray as we have accepted this family into the Casa Grace Feeding Programme that they will come to know the Lord.  That their failures, fears will have a future.

It is not the time to rest, we must finish the work. You may not know the full blast of winter or feel the woe of a troubled mind.  Some must go and some must stay but together we are one.  Will you continue to mend the nets with me?  I never cease to marvel that the God I serve cares and understands the ‘ALL’ things of my heart.   My friend Heather, The Wardrobe, Ballyclare, always inquiring about the work, always expressing genuine interest has placed her love in action.  For the third time in succession a supply of new clothing is being sent to Romania.  ‘Heather, where are these to go?’ I ask. ‘Shirley, wherever they are needed most’.  These are my moments of elation.

Fyffes banana boxes packed to perfection all waiting to leave the shores of Northern Ireland bringing warmth and love to cold and lonely hearts.  Friends who have lovingly purchased new items for the various projects, outfits for the abandoned babies, new clothing for Pro-Life ages 2-5.  My silent companion continues to walk with me as do many others, I am never alone.

I never walk alone, in stormy weather,
When winds of trouble sweep about my head;
I know I’m safe, because we are together,
And ’round me His protecting love is spread.

Please remember:

  • for individual patients please refer to ‘How’s Your Heart’ blog.
  • Sister Ecaterina and her elderly husband struggle alone day by day.
  • Stefan (11) diagnosed with Spastic Tetra Paresis (1.5) stone in weight.
  • Natanael (12) carcinoma – waiting surgery, at present undergoing radiotherapy and chemotherapy.
  • Desperately poor families barely able to survive.

Blogs will arrive weekly during my mission trip updating you on the various works incorporating Dr. Moore’s preaching in Churches, Radio ministry, involvement in the Masters and new PhD school; also, with the theology students of Emanuel University and the International Conference.

‘Remember, you are not a tree, that can live or stand alone.  You are only a branch.  And it is only while you abide in Christ, as the branch in the vine, that you will flourish or even live’, (Robert Murray M’Cheyne).

Shirley, 21 September, 2019

How’s your heart?

I want, dear Lord, a heart that’s true and clean,
A heart like thine, a heart divine,
A heart as white as snow;
On me, dear Lord, a heart like this bestow.

I want, dear Lord, a love that cares for all,
A love like thine, a love divine,
A love to come or go;
On me, dear Lord, a love like this bestow.

I want, dear Lord, a soul on fire for thee,
A soul baptised with heavenly energy;
A willing mind, a ready hand
To do whate’er I know,
To spread thy light wherever I may go.


‘With not a cloud between…’  Clouds have become a familiar pattern of my life.  Each time the Airbus soars above the differing formations of visible masses of condensed watery vapours floating in the atmosphere, my heart misses a beat. But then a calmness quiets my troubled mind knowing the journey will take me to those whose skies are constantly overcast and gloomy. Clouds eventually lift; but I am faced with ‘Waterless Clouds’ where the blackness of their darkened sky never lifts.   They walk aimlessly in the clouded water of muddy pools in normal day to day village life.  Of course, I would rather have sunlit days, but how can I sing verse two if I am not willing to answer this call?  Flights booked and we are counting the days until our return on 01 October.

Hamilton and I are back in Northern Ireland during the month of November as we have engagements to fulfil, returning to Romania at the end of November until after Christmas.  My hands and feet are becoming impatient, I need to return to those I love…  Pray I will know a tenderness of spirit as I face the many new challenges awaiting.   A new project for bereaved children, a deep tenderness of spirit must be part of who I am, if I am to be a wound-dresser, or comfort a little one crying for ‘Mummy’ with no one to hold a tiny hand or stroke a lock of hair until asleep. Let me with a melting love reach out and touch the forgotten adult orphans in Cighid, with their troubled minds without balance or security. Psalm 147: 3,4 ‘He healeth the broken in heart, and bindeth up their wounds.  He telleth the number of the stars; he calleth all by their names.’

New cases, families and children continue to enter our care. Depending on the circumstances and situation they can be linked to Emanuel Hospice; Casa Grace Foundation or Iochebed, all working as a team in lowly service among others.  This month I want to outline new cases, inwardly aware that at times the emails, telephone calls are all too much as I not only feel the pain but realise the need to ‘Be Still’. This morning was one of those mornings as with tears in my eyes I could feel the pain of my dear friend Sister Simona as she laid her darling baby Alexandra to rest.  Alexandra had been deteriorating and her little whimpers of pain grew faint.   Ten months of constant pain cradled in the arms of her young mum, now this little one is in the arms of the one who said: ‘Suffer the little children to come …’ Gazing through my window this morning, I questioned was it only weeks since I held this precious life in my arms?  I watched as the rain touched the leaves of the trees yet knew the real purpose of their journey was to reach the very depth of the earth and water the roots.  Oh that I might touch the very roots of lives that are dying without knowing the depth of the reservoirs of blessing!

How can I be uncaring when a sweet elderly couple are living in unacceptable unsanitary conditions, Sister Ecaterina is one of our terminally patients and her husband of forty-four years suffers from Alzheimer’s disease.  They are unable to care for one another and are often without food or medication.   The reality is that their family are uncaring and most of the time when one of our team call this precious couple are ‘hungry’. Do they complain?  A smile of joy fills their wrinkled faces each time the team arrive offering love, care and medication.  Only one of many cases.

Andrea (49) entered our care recently, her cancer then in advanced stages; now her condition has spread and has metastasised in her brain.  These are her final days.  She is a religious lady but needs the Lord in salvation. Henry Dyer penned: ‘God is great in great things, but very great in little things. Yes, I am feeling emotionally overwhelmed as the suffering continues.  But then I remember the quiet rains of dew falling readily from the support of friends and those who care. Then I know as George Muller penned: ‘ He is the God of my steps but he is also the God of my stops.’  I must stop and trust knowing that as in Isaiah 25: 4. ‘You have been a refuge for the poor; a refuge for the needy in their distress; a shelter from the storm…’  Together let us breathe a prayer ‘Lord let your steps be mine’.

Stefan (11) diagnosed with Spastic Tetra Paresis weighing only 10 kilos (1.5 stone) suffering every day due to his condition.  His mother left the family when Stefan became sick.  There are two boys and the younger brother has just been diagnosed with the same disease.  The boys are cared for by their elderly Grandmother, a wonderful lady; but at times the role of a carer for two sick boys is overwhelming.

Natanael (12) has been diagnosed with Carcinoma.  Nathanael has had sensitive surgery and will now commence radiotherapy and chemotherapy.

Casa Grace Foundation and Iochebed differ in ministering to the needs from Emanuel Hospice and yet all as human instruments have their own individual roles to play.  My friends Monika and Gabi spend their lives mending broken people, removing pain, listening to heart-breaking situations and heart rendering circumstances.  Sister Vali (40) has nine children and although she is always smiling her heart is crying inside.  Vali came to know the Lord many years ago and has taken the sole responsibility for caring for her home and raising her children in the ways of the Lord.   Her husband is addicted to gambling and alcohol; because of these addictions she at times is left without home, possessions.  She is now facing serious health issues and her worry remains, ‘who will care for my children?’.  She has no heating and winters in Suceava are fierce.  We are praying the Lord will send the finance to enable the team to purchase a stove.

Summer camp in the beautiful mountains of Romania is a time of planting, sowing seeds that will remain, spring up and bloom. It is perhaps the only time a child can be a child and know the art of play or meet a special friend.  Why the tears on returning home?  For many homelife is difficult, filled with days of uncertainty.  I think of recently added families:  Casa Grace offer a sure foundation by example, No one is turned away.   Two little girls of five and three whose mother left them, now raised by their grandparents who have seven children of their own and where the grandfather is in the advanced stages of cancer.  Other families where three brothers of fourteen, eleven and one all with mental retardation and are very violent.  A single parent living in a social apartment, struggling to raise four children of fourteen, eleven, seven and one year old. Income £18 per month per person with only one room which is in extremely poor condition. Finally, another single parent family where the father (44) is struggling to raise his five children of fifteen, thirteen, eight, seven and six.  The father works as a security guard and the total income for the family of six is £80 per month.  These are the facts; the reality of families living in the depths of poverty, struggling on as little as £20 each week to pay rent, buy food, clothing.  They feel they don’t matter. As I look into the eyes of the children I see a quiet sadness that is part of who they are, young lives torn apart and destroyed by the aftermath of sin.

I have scheduled visits to these families in October, each day different from the previous, small places; a tiny room; a makeshift shelter, a hut but all a home to someone.  The orphan, abandoned child are at home in the Orphanage Centre and so with your help and support I continue to build a bridge of hope. The adult orphans in the forest area of Cighid need to know they are not forgotten and that they do matter to someone.  Depending on the finance raised for this project, Monika and I will purchase bedding, towels, clothing, boots, personal hygiene products in Romania.  Plans are afoot to hold a Christmas Carol Service with the assistance of  the music students from Emanuel University.  These fifty people need to know the meaning of ‘Redeeming Love’ for it is indeed a love without limit.

One child may touch your heart – I know many pray for one or more of my precious jewels by name.  My friends Barbara and Heather who have a love for Dora; ladies from Londonderry providing a new Christmas outfit for all of the abandoned babies; BW groups supporting the specific projects for Cighid Adult Orphans and Pro-Life; Alison, whose normal greeting is not ‘Good Morning’ but ‘Shirley, what’s next?’;  Mavis,  ‘What do you need?’; Pauline, ‘whatever the project I am behind you all the way’.

The Lord did not call me to work alone in this field, I have workers who encourage, water the fields, feed the hungry through their faithful monthly donations in gifting or direct debit.  It would be impossible to allocate £2,000 monthly without this vital support.  Yesterday, I received a photograph from Dora, smiles, smiles and more smiles from children enjoying their ‘afternoon treat’ after their therapy session, made possible through the kindness of a token of love from our team at home. Biscuits, juice?  Wow!  God has placed us all in the best place where we can work for Him.

Not so in haste, my heart! Have faith in God and wait;
Although He linger long. He never comes too late.
Until He cometh, rest. Nor grudge the hours that roll.
The feet that wait for God are soonest at the goal.
Are soonest at the goal that is not gained by speed.
Then hold thee still, my heart, For I shall wait his lead. (Bayard Taylor)

 ‘Thank you’ for loving  enough to care,

Shirley, 30 August, 2019