Note: This blog is longer than normal and contains some very distressing news from Romania, so Shirley encourages you to take a moment to pray before reading.
In preparing my heart to write to you this month, I was reminded of the words of Augustine: ‘The very pleasures of human life men acquire by difficulties’. Many of us find ourselves sitting in God’s waiting room, trying to mark out the limits, the meaning of acceptance with peace. Perhaps our personal ‘Path of Suffering’ is not as severe as the precious people you will come to know and love through my writing. There is still time to be ‘moved by compassion’ for the destitute, forsaken, who know only a path of suffering and pain. You and I together, can show them the love of God by our response, help them discover God’s mercy through their pain. Troubled hearts, confused minds, forgotten children, cast aside, confined to a cot of loneliness. From my heart to yours I say: ‘There’s Still Time’.
‘Hamilton, I can’t do this anymore, there is too much pain’. Email after email contained disturbing and heart rendering situations. Diagnosis of cancer ravaging bodies, the reality of one hundred and sixteen precious lives in the care of our Hospice Team lost their battle with cancer, lives whose daily companion is fear, worry, resentment. They suffer in silence, alone. I felt ashamed of my outburst and quietly asked the Lord to hear the cry of my heart, help me recognise the need, take it as mine and offer myself in service wherever and whatever is needed. Who is number one in God’s waiting room? I am.
My friends are walking the path of suffering just now; in the blackness of their exhaustion their beloved colleague Claudia was called home. My dear friend Estera wrote from her hurting heart: Our colleague Dr. Pele Claudia Aniela went to be with the Lord after a long-term battle with cancer. Claudia was our Hospice doctor since 2018 and in the last months of her life became our patient. We ask for your prayers for Dacian, (Claudia’s husband) and their little girls Oana (10) and Maria (8). Pray for God’s comfort at this time of loss. Oana and Maria are filled with sunless hours, dark shadows fill their wee hearts and minds. The nights are long as they lie awake thinking of ‘Mummy’. Please pray their childish hearts will know comfort. My memories of Claudia are precious. ‘He will wipe away every tear from their eyes, and death shall be no more, neither shall there be mourning, nor crying, nor pain any more, for the former things have passed away.”And he who was seated on the throne said, “Behold, I am making all things new’.
My Precious Catalina lost her battle with cancer, she suffered greatly, being in a state of unconsciousness nearing the end of her days. Catalina was discharged from hospital, Adriana (physiologist) and Monika (nurse) continued home care, offering comfort and consolation to her family. She died suddenly. My visits with Catalina were special days, she loved to share stories relating to her family. We read the Word of God together. I pray we meet in eternity.
Maria (58), diagnosed with a brain tumour twelve months ago. During this period, she has lost her ability to speak and is now only able to pronounce a few words, mumbling the remainder. It is difficult to communicate with her, however. She understands what is said but struggles to express herself. Also, she is paralysed down her right side, unable to move her right hand and foot and is totally dependent on the help of her husband and son. Her son, George (23) is in danger of losing his eyesight relating to a condition since birth.
Floare (65), diagnosed with pharynx and oesophagus cancer, with tracheostomy. Owing to a swelling around her neck area she is having secretions, causing her to choke. She is in excruciating pain, the oncologist prescribed palliative chemotherapy which is causing extreme weakness as a side effect. She is unable to walk unaided and her speech is limited. As the oncologist predicted, there is no improvement, as she is struggling with many additional health problems. Floare came from a Pentecostal background, but was estranged from the church after her marriage. Her relationship with the Lord became a distant memory. She believes this illness is a punishment from God for leaving the church and has started to seek the Lord with her whole heart. Pray that she will find an inner peace and forgiveness in the Lord, especially during these days when her illness is evolving very fast.
Floare (74) has breast cancer. She has undergone a mastectomy, followed by chemotherapy and radiotherapy. A few weeks ago, a wound appeared on her chest, soon it began to spread, becoming deeper, eating into her flesh. In all my years of involvement with Emanuel Hospice I have never encountered the image in this case study – it is unimaginable. I wept for hours to think of the pain, her discomfort. What if this was my Mum? The wound is spreading rapidly to her neck and back area. The pain must be indescribable. The oncologist is unable to confirm if this is a side effect from the radiotherapy or perhaps related to the form of cancer. ‘There’s still time’ for someone to care. Is it you?
Mariana (58), (August blog) needs prayer now more than ever before. She has finally accepted the offer of chemotherapy (refusing it in the past), after being advised her life could be extended if she proceeds. Presently she is feeling nauseous and extremely weak, sadly she is struggling with suicidal thoughts, declaring that she no longer has faith in God and questions her beliefs. Pray for my young sister Adriana, an amazing young girl with a heart after God and for her patients. This is one of her most difficult cases. What a ministry! What an opportunity. Eternity is a reality! Pray Adriana will know God’s wisdom.
Dani (12), (August Blog) is now in hospital for chemotherapy. Dani has been diagnosed with a brain tumour; at present he is very ill with pneumonia. His frail body collapsing under the strain. Mum and Dad watch helplessly, their hearts are filled with deep sorrow.
Iuliana (58) diagnosed with cervical neoplasm is poverty-stricken. Enduring an impoverished life of total destitution, she lives with two of her sons who also have issues. Penniless and bereft of love, there is no support from her sons. ‘There’s Still Time’. Time to take a few moments out of our busy life to ask the Lord to love, to comfort Luliana.
Kevin has undergone surgery, although not as planned. Pray for his recovery.
Ani has seven children. Her life is filled with trials and she greets each new day with a deep sense of fear. Fear of what another day will bring her way. Her husband does not have permanent employment but is prepared to work when and where available. The fact he does not have stable employment creates endless hardships for this family of nine. Most days, seven little mouths are hungry, there is little or no food. David (7) was diagnosed with two heart issues and requires heart surgery. The doctors have confirmed if there is no intervention, there is a possibility David will die. The title of my blog: ‘There’s Still Time’ to hold this little boy in our hearts. To date, we have paid for the transport to Bucharest and will cover hospital and medication expenses as the Lord sends in his time and purpose. David has been transferred to another hospital for a deeper evaluation and investigations. Tell Romania have covered this need to date but ‘There’s Still Time’. We want David to have a normal life, experience the joy of play, attend school. Updates will follow.
Nicoleta is ‘Mama’ to nine children, she came to Iochebed humbly asking for prayerful support. Her husband is violent and it is difficult to resist his verbal and physical abuse. She lives in constant fear and trembling, days when she wants to ‘run away’ but out of love for her children remains. Through her tears she sobbed: ‘Can you help me? In love and wisdom, we advised her to seek help from the authorities and for police protection. Nicoleta is aware of the centre for abused women but knows this is not the answer. Gabi has commenced one to one counselling sessions as Nicoleta is in deep depression, harbouring suicidal thoughts. Broken people in need of mending. ‘There’s Still Time’.
Iasmina (17) is in urgent need of our support. Her baby girl of six weeks has developed serious health issues. The little one’s cries break Iasmina’s young heart. After a medical consultation, it has been confirmed the problem is related to dried milk. The baby requires a special formula which is expensive. Iasmina asked for our help as she is without resources and unable to afford the formula recommended by the hospital. We are blessed to serve these mothers and we will help her in every way possible especially with the dried milk so the baby girl can develop healthily. Please pray for Iasmina and her baby. Iasmina is so young for this responsibility.
Ana (our Ana and her 4 children) was becoming increasingly concerned as her baby girl of nineteen months was losing consciousness. It would happen suddenly and without warning. Ana is alone; her four children are her life and she has sacrificed much. Aware of the risk incurred she came to Gabi requesting the possibility of a consultation with a paediatrician. Contact was made and arrangements for various tests have been implemented. We await the results. Little Alexandra Maria needs our prayers. ‘Jesus, tender shepherd hear me, bless Thy little lamb tonight’. Make this your prayer.
PENTRU COPII shares its first case study from the heart of a Mum.
Maximus (Max) – Dora affectionally calls him the ‘Gladiator’. Although confined to a wheelchair through severe disability, Max is a fighter. His mum speaks of her shattered dreams; forsaken by her husband, left alone: I quote:
‘For a woman the most beautiful thing in life is a child. Dreaming if she will have a boy or a girl, perhaps a large family. My wish was to have a boy and my wish was fulfilled. A handsome, smart and adorable boy. But life brings trials at a time of joy. My doctor was careless, need I say more? I had to comply. I learned to pray for my child’s life and to have the strength to survive the huge pain I felt pounding in my chest, followed by anger, fear and disappointment. I was confused; I didn’t know what to do, where to turn. I prayed by the side of my child’s incubator, seeing how the needles were bruising his tiny fragile veins, he was so small, I couldn’t even hold him in my arms, I couldn’t hug him, soothe his suffering. When I left him, I kept wondering does he know I’m gone? These thoughts overwhelmed me day and night, then arriving home with a seemingly healthy baby, I became an overprotective mother. I did not let anyone approach him, touch him, I wanted him to be mine and mine alone, to be able to finally enjoy that I can hold him in my arms. During the day and at night I would watch him sleep to make sure he was breathing. Then I found out the cruel truth. My child will have problems, disabilities and will require treatment, ongoing therapy. Max endured many forms of treatment and therapy. He is now twelve years of age and once more I am afraid. He is only twelve but my years, my strength have already gone, I find it difficult to cope with the ongoing trials, financial problems, outings together I can no longer afford. The fact my husband has forsaken us causes deep sadness. I am frustrated and wonder, where is the One who can move mountains? What will the future hold? Will I cope with the ongoing struggles? I must find the power to resist my fears. Max is all I have in this world, I must remain strong, he needs me! Must, must and must!!!! I find it hard … very hard. It’s hard to be a Woman! Especially a single one’.
Therapy time in the Abandoned Baby Wing is a special time for Dora. Passing by the cots a tiny hand could be seen reaching through the slots of a wooden cot. A premature baby boy (Florin) lay crying, he had been abandoned by his mother in hospital after giving birth to him. His little form was like a shaft of wheat, a tiny piece of corn blowing in the wind. Alone, forsaken, no one to love him, this is his life until? ‘There’s Still Time’. Take time to cuddle, hug these forgotten babies in your heart. Dora welcomes new children for therapy sessions, there is nowhere else for them to go unless they pay. One area of concern is the infection rate is scaling high in and around Oradea. What if the centre has to close yet again?
Our precious Mariana needs prayer. The numbers of those infected with Covid-19 continue to rise throughout Romania. The village where Mariana and her family reside are recording a high number of people infected. Mariana’s seven children have all tested positive, a serious situation and – I express my concern to you – this very sick lady must care for her seven treasures. Immediate restrictions have been implemented; the village school will close with the possibility of curfew or lockdown in many towns. Mariana’s Computerised Tomography (CT) scan is clear. However, there is an urgent requirement for further surgery as her previous surgery has opened forming an unwanted hernia. Monika is in contact with Mariana every day. They speak by telephone and our dear friend has expressed her fear and sadness at facing another surgery. In consultation with the doctors a decision has been made to postpone surgery in order to free Mariana from the use of colostomy bags. Cover Mariana in prayer, her immune system is extremely weak and she is highly vulnerable. Love is an unwritten language to this precious lady, ‘There’s Still Time’ to express our love whatever our language.
Times and seasons change, people come and go, we may never know the end of the matter of those who come the way of Casa Grace. Only eternity will reveal. This week, a lady came back who was helped ten years ago. The girls of Casa had left a lasting imprint on her life. It’s not just a feeding programme, it is about listening to the painful trials, the strange happenings, those whose plans, desires, hopes lie in ruins. And so, we throw out a lifeline asking God to make us a blessing to those who live in a stage of nothingness. A father and mother with two daughters. Home for this family is a flat in disrepair where the kitchen remains unpainted even though they have lived there for many years. There is barely enough money for food; the finer things in life are unimportant. Both parents work but receive an extremely small salary, so there is just enough to survive. The father suffering from diabetes is weak, but still he works to feed his family. The teenage daughter sleeps on a thin mattress on the floor. There is no money to purchase a bed for her and I am sure as any other teenage girl she dreams of her own bedroom; this teenager doesn’t even have a bed! After careful consideration we added this family to the Tell Romania feeding programme. They stood speechless that someone should care. Their message to you: ‘We have no proper words to thank you for the food we receive. We consider this food a gift from God. Thank you’.
Another family with five children between eleven and two, living in a rented flat with two rooms. Two rooms for seven people! The father works while the mother remains at home to care for her children. Mum is very sick and had to pay a hospital consultation. After investigation(s) doctors are unable to reach a conclusion. We stretch out our hand to help them during this difficult time.
Eight hungry children living in a tiny flat within a small town are excited when it is ‘Casa Grace Food Day’. Their mother suffers from many health issues and is currently receiving a temporary State Sickness Allowance. One of her daughters graduated from our sewing class and has been successful in securing employment. Another arm of the ministry of Tell Romania. The Vocational Training Room under the supervision of my friend Dana, not only teaches modules to distinction standard but impacts lives with the gospel. Coffee Time is a time when they hear the Word of God and know eternity is a reality. This precious family feel so blessed, although poor and desolate, they share their food with many needy families within their local church. This week a brother sent me a text offering the money covering the cost of the remaining tailoring chairs. God’s Divine Appointment.
Our love reaches a young couple with one child. The father was diagnosed with cancer and has undergone surgery. He is unable to work and is waiting on various tests to be carried out. There is no comparable NHS in Romania to provide all the treatment free. All the money they have was used for surgery and medication. There is insufficient money to purchase food. They too are blessed from your hand.
Those of you who know me, know my total dependence upon ‘God’s Divine Appointments’. God makes no mistakes. I have learned, through difficult lessons, painful and personal situations that it is not about me or my plans, rather it is all about the Lord and my total submission to his ‘Divine Appointment’. Would I be where I am today ‘if’? I treasure my ‘quiet times, my alone times, where it is just the Lord and I. This leads me to my closing summation:
Is the seed yet in the barn? yea, as yet the vine, and the fig tree, and the pomegranate, and the olive tree, hath not brought forth: from this day will I bless you. (Haggai 2: v19). ‘From this day forth I will bless you’. Eight words that would change the life of a young teenager as he read the Word of God during his lunch break (gulping a sandwich) on a June afternoon. We can go on line to view events of history during September, 1966 but for a young Hamilton Moore, Saturday, September 24, 1966, was the day he entered God’s arena. Fifty-Five years of ‘arena experiences’ – I need to run to keep up with him; his passion remains.
In closing, I quote the words of Hudson Taylor: ‘Difficulties afford a platform upon which He can show Himself. Without them, we could never know how tender, faithful, and almighty our God is’. I voice my ‘Amen’ to this, I have proved it to be so.
42B Bernice Road, Co. Antrim. BT36 4QZ
Before the Sun Goes Down
Did I live with love and grace
And dry the tears on some small face?
Did I drink the sunlight in
Look on loosing as a win?
Did I take the highest road?
Did I repay the debt I owed?
Search me, search me now
I pray and wash my every sin away
Before the purple sunset skies
Before the carpe diem (seize the day) dies
Before I close my eyes to sleep and pray
Dear Lord, my soul to keep
Before I reach the end of day
I’ve got to know I’ve walked Your way
Before the darkness shades the ground
Before the sun goes down
Did I keep my word today
And mean the things you heard me say?
Did I make sincere amends with those
I wronged, my kin and friends?
Did I seek to be more real
And verbalize the pains I feel?
Did I think on what is good
And help my brother when I could?
As I reflect, I must confess that
I might not have past some test
And I fell short in everything
For my poor flesh is limiting
And I regret my whole life through
I did not spend much time with you
But if there’s time and one more breath
And one more hour of daylight left
(Suzanne Gaither Jennings, Michael G. and Tanya Sykes)
A footnote from Shirley:
I have spent days writing this painful blog, a blog filled with dark corners, people spiritually in darkness, earnestly searching for small mercies, pleading for someone to care. Children eating crumbs from a table. Their world is fractured. Samuel Rutherford, in his letters, wrote: ‘Whoever seeks the world to be their bed shall at best find it short and ill-made’. With Christian love and the hope of the gospel, their world can be changed. ‘There’s Still Time’.