How can we grasp the true definition of ‘Ultimate Loneliness’ unless our hearts have been captured by the graphic picture of intense pain, suffering, extreme poverty, abandonment, unloved, lost souls. The dangerous reefs of life have caused shipwreck in many lives whose only hope is to be found in God.

I ask myself ‘What is the value of my relationship, my first love; do I want to snatch such from the wild waves of life’s restless sea?’ Can I be a bridge builder? Offering a bridge of hope ‘For God so loved the world that He gave ……….’ My words must be washed in His love; the Word of God must be relevant to individual searching souls.

If someone had told me I would have encountered such a pool of despair … but one thing I have learned through ministering in this role of Tell Romania is that I must not question or become disillusioned. Although this week in particular I could have found myself like the prophet Elijah saying ‘Lord, I have had enough’. The pain was real as I visited the lost and dying, terminally ill, climbing many stairs where I found a mother nursing her daughter (48) caring for her granddaughter and great grandchildren. Another humble home once joyful now silenced by pain, yet a smile of memory filled her face as she clutched a photograph of her husband, then displayed her cross stitch work which I must confess is amazing.   ‘Daria, why so much pain?’ We both were silent!

Lord, I want to feel Thy love, caress these hearts of pain. Melt my heart, help me pierce the gloom. I find myself repeating the prayer of Jabez ‘oh that you would bless me…’

The freezing fog did not lift as Estera and I drove to Mihai Bravo. On this occasion Carla was not waiting to greet us. As I entered the hall, a tiny figure, a shadow of the Carla I knew stood trying to smile. Carla’s stroke has left visible damage, affecting her mobility, cognition and communication. Her diabetes is also creating problems. She is visibly distressed and is unable to attend to Lorena, cook …. Who will take Lorena to hospital now? Where is the voice of comfort in this lonely room? May this home come to know His love, His peace; He is only a prayer away.

Lorena was overjoyed to receive visitors and although told ‘Sister Shirley was from Northern Ireland’ she insisted I must be from America! Lorena is able to sit up but unable to walk, and her vision now is severely impaired. We placed the beautiful duvet set, five sets of PJ(s) and dressing gown on her lap.   She felt the furry material of the pajamas and cried ‘I want them ALL, yes ALL put on’! The greeting card accompanying the gifts from my friends Frank and Carol was something else to her; with her fingers she traced every line of the little kitten and we had to read the message over and over again. (She never had such gifts, such love before).

I slowly made my way across to Carla and tenderly lifted her arms to try on the three new coats sent by my friend Ruth. A tear ran down her cheek, she never had one coat before let alone three. ‘You look lovely Carla, you have three choices, Red, Blue or Purple’. Lorena asked ‘Are these coats only to be worn at Christmas?’ We indeed are the ones who are blessed. Dachian (her brother) was not forgotten as Ruth’s son had sent him three ‘modern jackets’ specially worn by teenagers.

Estera and I were silent on our journey back to Oradea.

The following morning, 5.00 am your time, classes commence at 8.00 am (6.00 am your time) as my husband joined me for breakfast, he noticed a 45ft bright red lorry driving through the gates of Emanuel University – the pallets had arrived. ‘Breakfast will have to wait; we have work to do; you do the telephoning and I’ll attend to the driver, see you soon’.

A SPEEDY and satisfactory exercise – Casa Grace and Emanuel Hospice waiting with vans to offload with everything distributed within one hour – To God Be The Glory. Our sincere thanks to Tommy and Jacqueline Wright who built and packed the pallets to perfection; the attention to detail was remarkable. A special treat were the Easter Chicks from Agherton Parish Mother’s Union, Portstewart and the beautiful craft items donated by a friend of Pastor David McFarland. Emanuel Hospice, Child Life Romania, Casa Grace Foundation and Emanuel Students all overwhelmed at God’s timely provision. Also to the many other faithful supporters of ‘These My Little Ones’, THANK YOU! I read this morning ‘Even perfection has its limits, but your commands have no limits’. See what God has done.

A new day, a new challenge. Monika said ‘Sister Shirley, there are many steps to this family and not all steps are even, please be careful’. I bravely climbed, monitoring the sixteen flights of stairs to the top, keeping a close eye on my colleagues who were far behind me!   The family consist of mother, father and five children. The father was raised in an orphanage and all children were born with severe gallbladder problems. Owing to their special dietary requirements and treatments the family live in poverty. The children are beautiful in appearance and manners; they attend a Pentecostal Church and will remain in the care of Casa Grace for two years.

A beautiful curly headed little girl of four greeted me as I entered the next home. She is mentally retarded and paralyzed. They live in a rented house which is very old (two rooms). Her parents have invested their income in trying to improve their precious little treasure’s lifestyle, special shoes must be made from casts, hearing aids – expense after expense. This family too live in poverty. They will remain in the care of Casa Grace until November 2018.

A time to laugh, a time to cry, a time to …….. if someone had told me ?

Next week new visits to terminally ill adult and infant patients, the number increasing rapidly and we need to uphold the Emanuel Hospice Team in prayer as they minister faithfully Unto Him. Sister Dorina celebrated her birthday on Friday and I will travel with Daria to see her and her children Diana and David. Little Ismael Mandrut will be in hospital this week for various tests, Estera and I plan to speak with the Doctor and Mother. I am expecting Denisa to return from Italy this week, we already have been in touch and will make arrangements to meet after classes in the State University where she is studying medicine.

One special birthday girl is expecting a very large Birthday Cake on Tuesday and gifts from Auntie Barbara, Auntie Tracey & Travis. Dora will be thirty and cannot wait for her party. A special day for her, with admiration for her father John, who has lovingly cared for Dora alone for twenty three years.

Plans are waiting to be confirmed regarding a visit to the Orphanage on Wednesday. We plan to distribute the Easter Chicks to the orphans, disabled and abandoned children. Please hold these little darlings close in your heart.

The arrival of spring is special in Romania, the delicate snowdrops bowing their heads so gracefully; soon the daffodils will appear. May we cultivate in our lives beautiful, magnificent gardens, a well watered garden with deep roots that will reach into the deepest water. Green leaves that will keep on producing, planting seeds of hope in the wondrous Book of depths, heights, glories ever new from the Fountainhead of Life.

Yes, life for ‘The Moore’s’ is busy. Although Hamilton has designated times for his writing, he always has time for his Theology students, as I for my girls. It was a privilege to share in a presentation by Alex Sanduleac on Monday evening, reporting on the mission outreach of his church in Moldova inviting those in attendance to join with them in their Summer Camp.   They are driven onward to serve with humility which is the true desire of their heart. After Chapel another Research Forum was held for the faculty with a view to the forthcoming International Conference planned for 27th April, 2017.

Decapolis Church for the Deaf has a special place in our hearts. We have come to love this fellowship who have a love for the Word of God and for the people of God. Hamilton spoke this Sunday morning on ‘The Blessings of God’ Eph. 1 and was joined by Roland who is responsible for sign language. It is a joy to behold their worship and a thrill to note from the announcements the International Conference will be held in Newcastle, Co. Down during the month of May.

Eternity! What an awesome thought as we worship together.

‘As the Father hath loved me, so have I loved you’. Jn. 15: 9.

Shirley, 13 March, 2017

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