The Forgotten



Jesus said, ‘The thief comes only to steal and kill and destroy. I came that they may have life and have it abundantly.’ John 10:10.

Children of disappointment, the forgotten, the unknown, those left behind whose memory has been ‘blotted out’, robbed of ‘childhood days’.  They ask ‘will it ever happen; is there beauty to be found; who will scale these walls of ashes’?

We all require the use of a mirror each morning, as we look at our self-image. do we ever think as to how others see us or how they view our service? I do not compare myself to others, I just want to ‘fit’ into the plan the Lord has drawn up for my life.

With every kilometre my heart was beating faster.  My destination – an isolated forest many miles from Oradea.  During the journey my mind questioned how many stars fill the skies of these children, how many sunrises greet them each morning?  I was visiting the original Romanian orphans who were cast aside as ‘rejects’, left without hope, undiscovered, barely surviving.  ‘Shirley, these are not children any longer, these are adults’.  They ran to meet me, thrilled, excited to see ‘another face’. I DID NOT see children but forty nine adults with the mentality of a young child, their dormitories filled with ‘fluffy animals’. Some could not come to greet me, they sat beneath a copper beech tree silently rocking; there were blind, lame, mentally and physically disabled.  I knelt on the grass beside them as they touched my face, while others followed behind, just wanting to be noticed and remain close to this stranger.  They played with my belt, holding it close to their face, felt the softness of my fur collar.  One thing was evident, one thing was all they longed for – LOVE.  I have met many mothers who carry the wound of loss in their heart, sometimes showing you a little lock of golden hair.  I wonder how many hearts grieve the loss of these forty nine forsaken lives?  After some searching, I have made my decision to love, renouncing the care of myself in order to give to others.  Obedience is not selective; it is an all embracing service from my heart to another. ‘God judges what we give by what we keep’ (George Muller).

In conversation, I learned the less traumatised, damaged adult orphans were now residing in Oradea, (groups of 4-5). I remembered with fondness one man (mid-forties) raised in a State Institution (where before the Revolution, conditions were unimaginable) who called last December at the Centre clutching a note in his hand for Santa. ‘Please can you send this for me?’ It read: ‘I would like coke in a glass and some chips, oh yes, and a hat to keep me warm’.  It was Christmas in his heart, yet he has never known the love and kindness of a mother, he is only ONE of the thousands who wait in hope of finding acceptance. I thought of the little darling (abandoned) lying in a cot within the small room of the Children’s Hospital during a visit two days ago.  I ask ‘Will he ever find acceptance, a place to call Home?’

Failure should not be regarded as final.  We serve a God who is able to restore.  My journey was to continue into the ‘depths of despair’ as I learned of approximately one hundred and fifty homeless people, suffering from severe illnesses, bereft of home, family, living on the cold streets of Oradea.  A little boy tapping on the window of my car ‘begging’ for money. Yes, there are people ‘living’ who would rather ‘die’.  Their joy is quenched, they mourn over their loss, their lot in life, silently hoping that ‘suddenly’ it will change.   Wasted years, wasted lives, but may we never waste the opportunity to make an impact, to reach ‘Even One’.   The words of Frances J. Crosby come to mind: ‘Let me at Thy throne of mercy, Find a sweet relief; Kneeling there in deep contrition, Help my unbelief’, While on others Thou art calling, do not pass ME by’.

The ‘Valley of Tears’ is difficult for me (personally) but a reality I must face,   During these weeks I have been brought face to face with ‘little ones’ whose dreams are shattered, no Daddy or Mummy waiting. Their childhood has been stolen, their dreams destroyed.  Door after door, home after home (this week) was such as I spent time with beautiful little flowers whose petals and glory had faded.  Timeea (32), Anca (33) Aurelia (27) John (32)… young fathers, mothers taken prematurely.  One little boy told me ‘When I am alone, all I do is cry’. Another:  ‘My best time is my time with daddy’.  A young father: ‘The best gift my wife ever gave me was my son’.  A young brother and sister sitting on a bed ‘This was daddy’s bed and we feel him close to us’.  Unlocked doors of heartache.

‘I didn’t think you would remember me’, shouted Cristi (4) running into my arms.  It was one important call I needed to make.  Cristi and his grandmother have finally found a small (one room) apartment after being evicted earlier this year.  Florika’s love goes beyond in caring for her little grandson, while his mum continues to work in Austria in order to send resources home.  It can never be a case of ‘I’, it must always be about others.  Our time together was precious and I was glad I made time to show love and express my interest.  A few ‘Irish Aunts’ had sent Cristi a Spider Man Costume, Figure, Hat, Bean Bag.  ‘Now I can be a hero too’ he said laughing.  ‘You will always be ‘my hero’, I replied, walking him down the stairs.  ‘I can’t believe you came back, that you found us, remembered us’ said Florika as I left. This stranger does not want to be a stranger to the needs and heartache within a quiet room or those who sit by a silent telephone for the call that never comes!

A few days ago, Alice found me wandering in the underground of Emanuel University.  ‘Sister Shirley, it is dark here, are you alright?’  ‘Fine pet, I am checking surplus boxes and need to find a way to meet an urgent need in Ichoebed, Suceava, a courier will be very expensive’.  (12 hr drive) ‘I can help you, my friend is driving from Paris and needs to go through Suceava to reach home’.  ‘Can he take large boxes?’  ‘No problem’. Some days earlier, Sister Gaby (Ichoebed) contacted me with an urgent need for hygiene products, baby clothes and feeding bottles – how many (extra) boxes were remaining?  Fifteen! The Saviour can solve EVERY problem, we serve an Amazing God. Text received confirming safe arrival on Saturday morning!

In conclusion I am so thankful that even in the midst of distress, decay, God controls all things. Many still search in blindness, yet we know that God has many blessings for His children. Please pray their eyes will be opened to the Word of God as we share the message of the gospel.  May our tears inspire our love to serve with passion.


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