Now therefore, I pray thee, if I have found grace in thy sight, shew me now thy way, that I may know thee, that I may find grace in thy sight: and consider that this nation is thy people.
‘Lockdown’ a word rarely used or spoken in our everyday language, yet during the past weeks and months ‘Lockdown’ has become a way of life for many, introducing a change in lifestyle, restrictions, isolation. During these days of change, I have lost count how many times I have whispered the precious name of ‘Jesus’ as I became actively concerned for the welfare of the sick, dying, poor and those entering a lost eternity. The narrowing roads of this earthly journey caused many to travel rough, uneven and yes, unexpected roads. I felt helpless; what impact, what difference could I make? The words of George Matheson came to mind: ‘Only when Christ opened thine ear to the storm, did He open thine ear to the stillness’. As the psalmist David penned: ‘He calmeth the storm to a whisper’ Psa. 107: 29. I will keep listening for his whispers.
Hamilton and I have been asking the Lord to show us his way, but more importantly that (as one of old) we may know him. Our life is one where we find it easier to keep working than to wait; but then we know during our waiting the Lord is the one who is working. As we chatted last evening, we found ourselves questioning: Are we living with the approval of God and our conscience’? Where do our priorities lie? Guy Penrod recorded a ‘golden oldie’ – ‘The Love of God’, as I listened, the words pierced my heart reducing me to tears.
‘To write the love of God above, would drain the ocean dry’ – how can we sing these words without being changed? ‘If I have found grace in thy sight, shew me now thy way’.
ROMANIA is far removed by miles of distance, yet I know that nothing can separate my love for these my God-given family. I hold my patients and children in a special corner of my heart, It doesn’t matter where I am, I know once I speak his name, he will soothe the fevered brow of those nearing the end of this journey, calm the anguish of the loved ones, parting with a little lamb. As I wait and wait I must, I will discover the faithfulness of the Lord in a new dimension; whatever I do, whatever my motive, I will do it as ‘Unto the Lord’. His words of tenderness and compassion tell us ‘to love one another’, an important part of my service; I must keep digging, keep planting and watch the beauty of God’s harvest unfold. This month the flower for June is Honeysuckle. Late evening walks in Holywood were always graced by the unmistakable fragrance of this rambling beauty. The seed, flower and leaves are used for medicine, but also to symbolise love, gratitude and appreciation. Do I serve with love? Do I appreciate with gratitude my many blessings?
Two beautiful little lambs cradled in love by a devoted Grandmother. Stefan died recently, his little body so weak, his bones so brittle, he lost his battle. His younger brother Lancu, diagnosed with the same illness, is very sick. His Grandmother is physically and mentally exhausted. Rigid restrictions remain throughout Romania and hospital admissions, treatment, surgery are postponed. Another little lamb, Emanuel (7) underwent a cell transplant last year; he remains in Italy as his bloods require urgent attention. The youngest of my lambs is Kristof (3) diagnosed with Leukemia. An extremely poor family, living in a village many miles outside Oradea. The mother holds her little one in her arms, loving him, assuring him he is not alone; but she also has a baby daughter. Owing to the pandemic the father, with many extremely poor families is without employment and they are struggling with medical, travel, food costs. There is no opportunity to find employment; their cupboards are empty; their table is not spread with plenty. The needs are so vast we have had to increase finance within our three feeding programmes, knowing that though their world may be shaken, his love will never be shaken. But we must show our love in action. Six days ago, I was facing a situation where a particular sum of money was required to meet an urgent need. I said: ‘Lord, this is your work; you show me you are in control’. Later that day an anonymous envelope containing the exact amount was placed in my mail box. ‘The Lord is good unto them that wait for him, to the soul that seeketh him’, Lam 3: 25.
There is no sunshine spilling through the windows of the heart of Damian’s Mum. The loss of her only son is difficult to bear; please continue to hold her close in prayer. Sadly Violetta (44) died shortly after the writing of my May update. Her two little girls left without ‘Mummy’. Dr. Beni graciously told Violetta the story of the cross hours before her passing. Please remember this precious family in the early stages of bereavement.
My dear friend Catalina, eighty-one on her next birthday, has been admitted to hospital for investigation and treatment. Her neck tumour is now growing inside her throat area causing difficulty with speaking and eating. Our friendship deepened as she shared about her early years as a seamstress, proudly displaying her forty-year-old Singer sewing machine. I have come to love her and pray that she will know my precious Lord as her Saviour. Methinks we will not meet again in this life but I long to know we will meet on that bright and glorious morning. Catalina, I will look for you.
A new patient, a gentleman of forty-seven suffering from cancer of the Oesophagus with only days remaining. His wife, son and daughter are heartbroken, especially the daughter who is due to sit her Baccalaureate examinations before the end of June. She is finding study and concentration difficult as her young heart is broken knowing Daddy will soon be gone, never to see her enter University. Pain is personal, pain is real, pain is hard work. I ask the Lord for courage to face the unknown happenings before me. Frustration, discouragement, anxiety, fear. Also, strength for those facing loss and tragedy today.
Ana, a single mum, abandoned by her partner, has given birth to her fourth child. Her partner went to work abroad, but has since met another lady and set up home with her. Ana is now totally alone with the responsibility of raising four children. She has no income and survives purely on child support received from the state. We have supported her with food, dried milk, clothes, shoes, pampers, wood and also utility bills. She is desperate and came to Iochebed pleading for help as she has nowhere to live. If her situation remains unchanged, she has no other choice but to leave her children behind and travel to Germany in the hope of finding work in the fruit farms. Ana is heartbroken and alone, and during the severe days of COVID-19 in Suceava, Ana gave her heart to the Lord. Pray for her and as we pray remember: ‘Love is patient, love is kind….it keeps no record of wrongs’. Remember Ana and her four little lambs.
Alex (one of eight children) remains in a coma; with current situations in Oradea there is no one qualified to undertake the required treatment. Please pray he can be taken to Bucharest. Pray for this precious family who has known great tragedy; yet the love of God is evident in their humble home.
Deep need waiting with a deeper longing. A mother of forty-two who has just lost her husband of fifty-two. In addition, her little boy of seven was born with a dislocation of the hip. Owing to extreme poverty they are forced to live in a village with the husband’s parents; their living conditions are unimaginable. During her husband’s illness the lady suffered from deep depression. We have made this case study part of a two-year food and counselling programme. We plan to make enquiries regarding the possibility of a medical intervention for her little boy. Realistically, seven years delay, is it too late? Nothing is impossible with God.
Many of you have been praying for Ana who waits patiently, hoping to receive positive news regarding her pending surgery. This young single mother has known tragedy after tragedy; her poverty meant losing her children to a Hungarian Orphanage for eight years. Her home she shared with ten other families was destroyed in a fire; now a life-threatening illness ravages her body. A large billow is sweeping through this precious family. Pray that through the storm Ana will come to know the One who quietly whispers ‘Peace Be Still’.
Each morning I pray for protection for my colleagues in Romania. The teams of Emanuel Hospice, Casa Grace, Iochebed serve in love without thought, as they go in His name. Masks, Gloves, Social Distance, Restrictions are part of everyday life; and yet they continue to serve. Thirty-One families came to Iochebed urgently needing medicine, food, baby clothing, pampers. Pray for Monika, Estera, Gabi and their teams as they serve at times beyond their human strength. Hamilton gave me food for thought when he asked me: ‘Shirley, fishing at the lake, who prepared breakfast for the disciples after a night of hard labour?’. I leave it there.
There are many tender mercies of our compassionate Lord but none more precious than in the time of loss. Our prayers surround two of my colleagues who during these past few weeks have known the pain of loss. Sister Rodica, whose husband received his home call. Brother Mihai whose father also was called home while cycling to the village for groceries. Promoted to glory.
Philippians 3: 10, Paul says, ‘I want to know Christ and the power of his resurrection’. Vast needs are before you. Perhaps ONE will touch your heart. Pray their eyes will look to heaven, receive joy in their pain. Together as we see his goodness unfold, we will faithfully press toward the goal, knowing that all the entanglements of this world can disappear in a moment of time.
We have the pearl of greatest price living within our hearts. Let us join our hearts as one in remembering these precious people. Not forgetting.
John and Elizabeth, Magdelina, Stefan and Catalina, Brother Emreco. Kevin, Ionuz, Bianca, David & Diana, Ella, John, Our Dora and her father, Alex, Stefania, Lazos.
The Adult Orphans in the forest of Cighid, Orphans, Disabled, Down Syndrome, Abandoned Babies, The Homeless.
Let’s take the thread of faith and keep sewing together.
Shirley, June 26, 2020