Downloading a video clip from food supplies being delivered to the war-torn areas of Ukraine, I watched an elderly lady with a halo of white hair as she stared in disbelief into the face of the brother delivering a food package. The reality of these precious people trouble Hamilton and me. We continue to send finance. Gone are the normal, the ordinary days; now young and old have had to face destruction and devastation where unexpected circumstances have brought them to the depths of poverty. Beauty has been swept away with a grave suddenness. Thousands have lost their homes and possessions, where once they had plenty; food in their pantry, wood in their store, friends, family; now, their famine is sore. Had we no tests, had we no trials, would we take time to stop and think? Thousands know the ‘Worth of Worlds’ but nothing and I repeat nothing, can ever show the preciousness of knowing and loving Jesus.
In thinking of my terminally ill patients, Psalm 59:10 comforted my heart. ‘My God with his loving kindness shall come to meet me at every corner’. We all have corners in our heart; some are secret corners between God and us alone. We have the assurance that the Lord will control all the corners of our way even those we class insurmountable. My case studies disturb me. I hold my colleagues close in my heart, thanking the Lord for their devoted service, love and commitment to these dying souls as they minister comfort and assurance in the face of a continuous path of suffering. To date we have lost one hundred and thirteen patients. The numbers are staggering, broken hearts left with only memories.
Aniela (69) was diagnosed with cervix cancer two years ago. Over the past few months, her sight began to fail owing to glaucoma, resulting in the fact that she is now totally blind. This precious lady of sixty-nine years of age lives alone in an apartment, the only friend or company she knows is that of her faithful dog. Her children come to visit, but care is administered by a neighbour. Aniela, who is in the early stages of learning to cope with blindness, becomes distressed and overwhelmed with anxiety. When she is alone there is a secret corner of fear in her heart.
Veronica, diagnosed with cervix cancer. Veronica is raising her granddaughter (13) alone. Her parents separated when she was a baby, now living in different cities with new partners. Veronica and her granddaughter have learned to face difficulties together; Sadly, the side effects of chemotherapy and radiotherapy is making grandma very weary. Yet, in the midst of her struggles, Veronica’s determination to fight the illness is evident. Buried deep in the corner of her heart lies the reality of fear; fear of what will become of her beloved granddaughter, what the future will hold for her. No one loves her; she will be totally alone.
Aurora, a young mother with pulmonary cancer, is now in a coma. Her husband and two teenage daughters must face the reality that death is imminent and will come soon. The youngest girl is the one most severely affected, she is unable to process her mother’s pain in a positive way. They have watched Mummy suffer excruciating pain. This has created traumatizing aspects for a loving husband and two adoring daughters.
Last month, I shared with you about ‘Our Kevin’ who is loved by so many of you. I quote:
Kevin was taken to Cluj by his mother. During the consultation the oncologist confirmed that the required surgery must take place in France, (also, the opinion of Kevin’s consultant in Oradea). It is a lengthy, intricate and complicated surgery; it would not be possible for this specialist surgery to be performed in Romania. Estera applied to Assurance House regarding the possibility of covering the cost incurred. As I write, confirmation has been received, all costs will be covered. Kevin’s mother is deeply affected and concerned regarding the whole procedure. We assured her that Kevin is in God’s hands and there are no safer hands. Gabi has walked a dark path since the home call of her beloved husband Robi. Pray for all our patients that in the dark passage of trial, their fears will be quelled and they will find His peace.
Kevin is now scheduled for the surgery at the end of October. To date, Assurance House have not issued the necessary documents to cover surgery costs etc. In the stillness, fear and doubt surround Gabi. During the past eighteen months, fear has consumed this young mother. Kevin will return to school, as it is important to maintain his education status. In the long and lonely hours of waiting may Gabi hear the words ‘Do not be afraid; only believe’, (Mark 5: 36).
Florin (14) diagnosed with stage four cancer, continues to undergo chemotherapy. Florin’s teenage years are not memorable ones; years filled with sickness, fear and coping with his hair loss, which is difficult for a young teenage boy. Looking in the mirror is a struggle for him. These are the days Florin wants to stop receiving the treatment. Pray for Estera who so faithfully encourages him to continue.
Lavi (71) diagnosed with cancer, recently had a difficult surgery for a colostomy bag / lleostomy bag. Her elderly husband is our patient also, receiving care for his terminal illness. Lavi is devastated as her condition continues to deteriorate. She can no longer care for her beloved husband and is totally dependent on her family. A precious lady, a private lady, who only wanted their golden years to be memorable years. Sadly, this is not so.
Families sinking, swept away by high waves of poverty. Writing these lines cause me to measure my life, question my love in light of sacrifices I am prepared to make for love of the unloved.
Nearly three years they have waited. Covid 19 brought worldwide change to the lives of the disadvantaged children of Casa Grace, orphans, down syndrome, abandoned children, mentally and physically disabled children and those living in a hurricane of dark poverty. Plans were set in motion to take twenty-five young children for three days followed by twenty-six older children to the mountains. Three days to discover another world. A world filled with love which is unseen and unknown by these children.
My dear friend Monika bravely decided to place the ‘naughtiest’ children in her room. This is the Monika I know. Dark eyes were firmly fixed on her as she prayed quietly in a corner of the small bedroom. One little boy gently touched her shoulder, asking: ‘What are you doing?’. Monika explained she was praying to her Heavenly Father. The little boy replied: ‘I have never prayed. We never pray at home. Please, can you teach me to pray’.
Monika shares: Rares comes from a village one hour from Oradea. His mother suffers from mental disability and his father is an alcoholic. There are six children in the family; two who live with grandparents, the other four remain at home with their parents. The poverty and darkness are overwhelming; the light bulb had not been cleaned for many years… the blackness of spiritual darkness raged within. Rares (10) is the oldest child; he suffers from attention problems. His behaviour at camp was exceptionally naughty, but each day there was evidence of a slow change within his uncontrollable nature. He slept in Monika’s room and confessed that there, he felt free from danger. During the day and into the late night (as he falls asleep very late) the hugs and kind words were visibly calming him. On the first night, his behaviour was totally unacceptable and frightening the other children in the room. Monika said if he was unhappy in camp, arrangements could be made to take him home earlier. He shared that at home his mother is punishing all of the six children all the time and they fear when their father returns home from work as he would be fully under the influence of alcohol. Six children living in fear of what might happen next. Sadness fills my heart to think a child prefers to stay with strangers instead of his parents. Footnote: His parents did not come to the arranged meeting place to take Rares home. Monika had to drive one hour to the village, upon arrival there no one was at home and no one could be found. Rares was touched in his wee heart that a stranger drove one hour to take him home, saying it was too far to walk and he felt for the first time in his life someone cared about him. Please think of this little boy. This is not a story; this little life is real. Little Rares has no hope, I question, does he have a future? May all the love and patience showed to him during his three days at camp, remain with him. As the monthly food support from Tell Romania is taken to this family may the Lord grant an opportunity to talk about Him who is the provider! Monika writes: Sister Shirley, thank you for the material support and the precious prayer support! May it take them from and remove the spiritual darkness! Thank you very, very, very, very much!
Sebi (7) was very violent and aggressive, in fact, ready to hit any child or adult at any time without reason. Sebi was abandoned by his mother, and is in the care of his father. After long working hours, his father spends the evenings drinking alcohol and becomes very aggressive. His partner lacks character. Sad and unacceptable conditions for a little boy of seven. Sebi’s grandmother moved from Oradea to be with him and to raise him. She is a very clean and hardworking lady who loves her grandson and is trying to be an example to this broken child. A few weeks ago, she fell resulting in both her hips being broken, forcing her to move back to Oradea to live with her daughter. Sebi is filled with deep sadness because of this and as days were passing, he started to share his pain with Monika and was less and less wild. Monika speaks from her heart: ‘My heart was broken when he said that he doesn’t want to go home. He said he is used to watching television until late evening as this is the only way he can fall asleep. I said that I will tell them stories (introducing the message of the day) and it was a real challenge to make them listen… but on the other hand they were calming down as they greatly appreciated that someone was spending time with them). I had a five-year-old boy, a ten-year-old girl (who was crying after her home). We were talking for 2-3 hours and they became more and more calm – we prayed… it was great to feel His peace’. TEN HOURS SLEEP IN SIX NIGHTS!
Sister Shirley, thank you very much for supporting Sebi – he has food to eat, clothes to wear, school equipment and may all of these and the PRAYER bring the change that is vital.
Mariana has now been discharged from hospital after spending three weeks far removed from her seven precious children. Monika has spoken with the surgeon who performed the reconstruction of Mariana’s bowel. Mariana is very weak as the surgery took many hours and she had to spend one week in ICU. At present she is only permitted to have liquid food until the area surrounding her bowel has time to heal. Mariana has expressed her gratitude to Tell Romania for their level of care, the monthly food provision, school provision, the sister who donated £500 making the surgery possible. Our desire is to see Mariana surrender her life to Christ. Little is much when God is in it.
I am proofreading yet another publication Hamilton is writing, due to be released Easter 2023. The title ‘Beauty for Ashes’ caused me to ‘process’ my thoughts. I began thinking of those who are ‘strangers’ to me, lives that hide away from reality, who make a ‘nest’ for their babies wherever one can be found. As you read, I ask you to pray the Holy Spirit will transform lives gripped by fear and darkness into lives filled with joy, hope and assurance and that they will come to know personally there is indeed Beauty for Ashes to be found in Christ.
Cosmina (16) gave birth to a baby girl by Caesarean section on August 9th. She already has a baby boy aged one year and seven months. Aged sixteen with two babies! She became involved with a boy when she was only fourteen years of age. She believed the boy loved her; however, he did not assume responsibility for his child. Cosmina is ashamed, her mother who assisted in raising the first child, was firm in her decision to abandon the baby girl at birth in the hospital. Cosmina confided in her mother she could not live knowing she had abandoned her baby. Cosmina and her babies have moved to a small wooden house. We insulated a room to ensure that in the freezing Romanian winter there would be warmth for the children. They are struggling to make ends meet and will need help with pampers, clothes, medicines, food and wood for the winter. Iochebed will continue to help them. May God touch this young mother and give her a speedy recovery, wisdom and patience to raise her children.
Sabina, has two children. One of the children has health issues and is unable to walk. She is now expecting her third child. The consultant informed her that there is an issue with the baby and a different echography would need to be performed for a deeper investigation. Sabina requested our help as she had no finance to cover the cost incurred. (The morphological echography in Romania is approx. £90). Gabi accompanied Sabina to the echography to support her. We give thanks to the Lord for His mercy; all is well with the pregnancy. She has since gone for other tests which we also have covered. Sabina has been asked to attend an interview with a gynaecologist as during the last tests various issues were highlighted. We look to the Lord that Sabine will give birth to a healthy baby.
Larisa, has a little boy of two years of age. She came to Iochebed after receiving confirmation she is pregnant again. Larisa is happy and wants this baby, but struggles financially. We met the cost of the echography to ensure she can remain under the care of her family doctor who will reinstate her medical insurance during the pregnancy in order to release her from having to pay hospital costs. The results of the echography were positive, there are no complications. Pray for Larisa and a safe delivery of this precious gift of life.
Anda, a young mother, twelve weeks pregnant, needs our prayerful support. Her pregnancy has been difficult during these first three months. Her sickness is extreme, up to the point of fainting. She spoke with her employers advising them of the circumstances. Her head of department advised her to search for another position. Anda is afraid of being unemployed and asked us to support her in prayer. May God bring peace, comfort and help her get through these hard times.
Tabita gave birth by Caesarean section (38 weeks). The baby boy was dead on delivery. During the pregnancy, the doctor who performed the echography told her that the baby had severe malformations and it would be impossible for him to survive; Tabita prayed for a miracle. Tabita was discharged for the funeral, she must undergo treatment for possible infections. She is very frail and extremely weak. As you pray for Tabita, please pray for her physical and spiritual healing!
There are many arms to Tell Romania, one arm being the translation and publication of Christian literature. Translation continues in Oradea with Hamilton’s book on the Pastoral Epistles about to be printed in two languages, namely, Russian and Hungarian. Hamilton holds the position of Editor of the Journal ‘The Sower’ (Emanuel University, Oradea) and has been overseeing the Journal, contributing and proofreading for the faculty members who write since 2018. Yesterday, five local Theological Colleges received copies for their Library. And we are not finished yet! We will be releasing a new publication late October/early November (in time for the Christmas market). This book is based on the proofs of life in I John, with the title: ‘TO MY LITTLE CHILDREN’. This is a vital book for the pastors in Romania. Two thousand copies are being printed for local bookshops, the Romanian pastors and also worldwide distribution is currently being organised.
This afternoon I read: ‘May I not covet the world’s greatness! It will cost me the crown of life!
I thought of the words of General William Booth: ‘God loves with a special love the man who has a passion for the impossible’. Can we be a friend to someone? Can someone depend on us?
August 29, 2022
42b Bernice Road, Co. Antrim. BT36 4QZ