‘Make us masters of ourselves that we may be the servants of others’. (Sir Alexander Patterson)
Alone, afraid, the cold night continues to fall, many lie awake longing for the morning. Homeless wanderers search for a free concrete slap on a frozen pavement where only 29% of the population are vaccinated. Will the dawn bring a new tomorrow or will their tomorrow never come? Their world is a daily battlefield as they constantly fight the battle of their mind. Hope is fading fast until finally it will be gone and gone forever.
It has been one of those weeks for ‘Shirley Moore’. I am trying to be strong but feel I am being tested; I need to take an in-depth look into my stewardship and motives. These will have personal implications if I want to make a difference or seemingly do a worthwhile job. Luke 22: 27 ‘I am among you as the one who serves.’ The Lord Jesus always took time to ‘stop’, was prepared to alter his own plans for the service of others. I think of the hardships my colleagues face on a day-to-day basis and ask you to reach out to take their hand, to lean on you as together we try to calm the storm, bring light into darkness, cradle broken hearts, comfort the lonely, love the abandoned. Will you serve those who have no identity or acceptance in society?
Romania’s health system is torn apart by the pandemic. Approximately five hundred people throughout Romania are dying every day. There has been a total lockdown in place since Monday 25 October with universities, schools, centres closed. Only those vaccinated can enter shopping malls or State Institutions during the hour stated within the current curfew. Food and medicine are limited. As from Monday 01 November, 2021 only those vaccinated can enter essential food shops; These restrictions will be in operation throughout the month of November. The State are advising employers to terminate employment contracts for those unvaccinated. Romania’s two thousand intensive care beds are full with patients waiting outside. The first fifty critically ill patients have been transferred to hospitals in Hungary and Poland. Romania is being held in the grip of a wave of Covid-19 deadlier than anything experienced before. There is a political crisis. ‘WHAT CAN WE DO?’ ‘ME! WHAT CAN I DO?’
Lord, teach me to love,
Show me how to care for others
Cause my soul to burn within
For the fellowship of my brother
Only You can break the chains
That have held me for so long
Lord, You’re my hope, my only hope
Teach me to love.
A broken heart fighting an unbearable loss; those searching for a love they cannot find; a hardened heart in need of melting … there is no limit to the Power of the Cross. ‘Lord, you and you alone are the hope of this broken world, in fact, their only hope. Please, teach me to love’.
There are so many different kinds of life in this world God has created. My waking thought this morning was that I need to offer consolation to the children looking for Daddy, Mummy, the families of those who have lost a precious loved one. To date, one hundred and twenty-six precious lives have lost their battle with cancer. Our small team in Emanuel Hospice are exhausted. Pray for their protection during these days as the pandemic continues to sweep throughout Romania. Our team sacrifice their time and indeed safety as they serve in love. They need strength to continue their chosen journey of discipleship.
Daniel (12) was first introduced to you for prayer in my August blog. Diagnosed with a brain tumour, he remains in hospital for palliative chemotherapy. Dani is loved dearly by his dedicated parents who watch helplessly as his frail body continues to waste away day by day. Their world, their dreams lie in ruins. In consultation with the doctors, they have learned there is no further treatment available for their precious son. Daniel’s cousin is deeply affected as he feels he is going to lose his best friend. Life today is difficult; days are filled with pressure and we wander aimlessly in the wilderness of circumstances. I ask you to accompany this precious family on their journey of pain and despair.
Kevin returned from Cluj where they have now removed the cast from his leg/foot. Surgery was performed on five areas of his foot. He is now in the process of recovering and learning to walk. Until now he has been in a wheelchair. Christmas for this precious child is filled with pain. His Dad (Robi) was called home suddenly and without warning weeks before last Christmas. Kevin and his mum have proved that their faith has provided a resting place in their deep sorrow.
Iuliana (58) diagnosed with cervical neoplasm, is now in advanced stages of terminal cancer. A relatively young lady suffering extreme pain from her illness. Comfort is a stranger to her as she has no one to support her or show her love; her sons do not want to know. A case of extreme poverty, a lady longing to be loved and comforted in her last days on this earthly journey. True rest, true peace is hers for the asking, we must ‘tell them’ of the one who came to save, who shed his precious blood, who gave his life. ‘ME! WHAT CAN I DO?’ You alone know the answer.
Laszlo (13) diagnosed with a rare neuro-muscular condition. Laszio is dearly loved by his devoted mother. She is heartbroken as it is now difficult to communicate with her son. Watching helplessly is the hardest thing of all yet we find in the quietness of our heart, when we stop, we discover we are not alone, there is one who is patient with us, one who is willing to teach us day by day as our need requires. He will restore our soul with his unfailing love and unending presence.
Floare (74) has passed away since I last wrote to you. Her wounds began to bleed severely, causing a serious infection. Her condition deteriorated rapidly and I knew from my own personal research, her time was short. I still weep as I think of her last days of extreme pain and discomfort. In the words of Eleanor Roosevelt ‘You gain strength, courage and confidence by every experience in which you really stop to look fear in the face’.
Ana (37), is suffering from colon cancer since the age of twenty-nine. She has no family apart from her brother who is her carer. The illness and the pandemic have caused anxiety problems and although she is able to walk reasonably well, she remains isolated at home, afraid she will catch Covid or that her illness worsens. Alone and struggling with her thoughts is difficult as she has only minimal social support.
Florian (68) diagnosed with pulmonary cancer. Florian was raised in the church and attended religious services regularly, but during recent years, he slipped away from his faith. He started to smoke and is often verbally abusive to his wife. He now faces the reality that he will die soon and is finding it difficult to repent from his sins and wrongful ways. He displays a cynical attitude when our Hospice Team speak to him about the things of God. He is afraid of death, often becoming angry as he directs his emotions upon his wife. Pray the Lord will melt this heart of stone.
Nicolae, also diagnosed with pulmonary cancer. Nicolae and his schizophrenic wife were brought before you previously. During the past moths his condition has been stable, but sadly, his situation worsened recently. His daughter, Mirela (36), who also has a disorder in the form of obsessive phobic disorder, suffered a shock when her father began to feel worse, resulting in admission to a psychiatric hospital. Her father died while she was an inpatient. She is unable to accept and cannot find the strength to recover. She was sedated while in the hospital and secured to her bed owing to an episode of psychomotor agitation. Mirela is now on strong medication. However, when you talk with her, you can recognise she is absent in her mind and unable to concentrate or listen. Mirela is still young but needs to conquer her fears by trying to do the things that she fears most. A tragic situation, a sad home, a mother and daughter controlled by fear. ‘ME! WHAT CAN I DO?’ Hold them in your heart in prayer.
MY ADOPTED SON PASTOR ANDRI WRITES:
Sister Mirela (47), a member of Sofronia Baptist Church. opened her heart and her home to two girls from a local orphanage and also to the son of her brother who had died. Mirela had undergone two Covid tests recently as she was suffering from Pneumonia. Both Covid tests were negative. She was receiving ongoing treatment from a Neurologist who visited on a regular basis. During routine treatment, Mirela died suddenly. The placement regarding the three children remains unclear. Ema (19) is unable to take care of herself as she is retarded with other ongoing problems. Mihaela (15) will possibly have to enter foster care. Laurentiu (16) is also unable to take care of himself. Mirela lived in the same house (separate rooms) as her brother’s family where there are also three children. His wife has been suffering from cancer for the past seven years and at present is very sick. There is no one available to care for the six children. A Christian organisation from Arad has been overseeing the situation as they have been supporting this family during the past months.
Covid-19 also claimed the life of a fifty-six-year-old lady from Sofronia. She was admitted to ICU IN Drobeta Turnu Severin Hospital. During this period, her daughter Becky gave birth to her third child. Becky learned of the loss of her dear mother during the birth of her baby daughter as she mingled tears and smiles with the reality of life.
Aware my September blog was longer than usual, I am trying to condense the needs this month. However, that does not diminish the depth of concern or the commitment of my heart, my inner soul. My case studies I share with you, bring into your life so many with critical needs. The word ‘through’ is my retreat. There is only one who can take us through illness, sadness, disappointment, poverty. No one would choose these examples as a lifestyle. We however know that whatever we are going through, we have the Lord. A few young teenagers needing to know the Lord will bring them through.
Alexandra (19) with two small children, a little boy of seventeen months and baby girl aged two months. The baby girl has developed a severe hernia requiring immediate surgery. Alexandra is very concerned for her little one. They barely have enough money for food and winter firewood, how can they afford the cost incurred in the required surgery?
Iasmina (16) gave birth two months ago to a baby girl who is constantly ill. Iasmina lives with her mother and younger sister as her father died two years ago. She is very fragile and fearful of her future; she requires constant encouragement to enable her to face this new role of motherhood. A child herself, may the Lord give Iasmina strength and wisdom to raise her baby daughter. We will continue to monitor this situation and provide the special formula of dried milk she is unable to afford for the baby.
Estera (16) came to our centre in Suceava asking for a scan to confirm if she was pregnant. The evidence of a life growing within her body was a shock to this sixteen-year-old. Estera wants to keep the baby. The father of the baby has promised to stand by her side and together they have committed to care for the baby. We will counsel this young couple during the period of pregnancy and offer support during the first year of the baby’s life.
Lucia has three children, giving birth to a baby girl in August. Unfortunately, she is unable to feed her as she does not have milk. It is impossible for Lucia to buy dried milk as she is without resources. We have made a decision to support her with two boxes of dried milk, a supply of pampers monthly. May God help her in this time of need!
Alexandra is ‘Mummy’ to five children. Alexandra is facing financial difficulties daily. Her husband refuses to support his family and is gone from home on a regular basis, leaving Alexandra totally alone without food or firewood for her five little ones. The children are constantly sick as there is no money available for the long-term treatment required to help them cope with illness and daily viruses. Alexandra is a loving mother but in great need of support to raise her children.
And yet, another ‘Divine Appointment’. In ‘freezing’ conditions it was our joy to deliver firewood to Georgina thanks to the heart of a couple from the Limavady area. Presently, Georgina’s husband has been released from prison, under strict house arrest for the next four years. He will only receive permission to work for the benefit of the community. Thank you for bringing warmth and the evidence of God’s love to this precious family.
When God asks something of us, He sends His word to the specifics of our days entering the remains of our day. Last month I shared with you regarding the Dickensian conditions a father, mother and two daughters call home where a teenage girl of seventeen has never known the comfort of a bed, cuddling up in the warmth of a duvet. The Lord spoke to the heart of a brother who answered the call and met this need. This week, a Day Bed will be delivered, enabling the family to have a place to sit during the day. In the evening it will be opened to reveal a bed for the two little girls. The storehouse of unsearchable riches has been opened beyond their wildest dreams. Thank You.
Expressive black eyes greet you as you enter Roma village homes in Romania. Black eyes with a fixed gaze on the food bags wondering what ‘goodies’ are for ‘me’. Tiny ones who receive so little that even a banana is an amazing treat. Yet these Roma homes are filled with peace, furthermore, also acceptance of what is and not what might have been. Today, I was in pensive mood, remembering a verse quoted to me often by my Mum. Isa 30: 21 Your ears shall hear a word behind you, saying, ‘This is the way, walk in it’ whenever you turn to the right hand or whenever you turn to the left. I have lost count how many times this incredible verse has spoken to me throughout my lifetime, especially as to where I am today. ‘ME! WHAT CAN I DO?’ In my own strength, absolutely nothing! There are days I am totally unable to handle situations, my timid nature prefers the background, my feeble mind is unable to accept the circumstances that enter without invitation. At times, I am so perplexed I do not know how to proceed. Only one course of action – to wait. Once I know how God is leading and I have been obedient then I can continue my journey without fear that God Himself is Light in this journey of darkness for so many precious people.
The Na family consist of a mother and her nine-year-old son. They live in a village in the home of a relative. There is no such luxury of a road – only a water-logged path. During the winter the path freezes over owing to the heavy thunder storms; their thin-soled shoes sink into the mud. The roof is totally destroyed resulting that when the heavy rains come, the rains come through the open roof. Her husband died twelve months ago and they are totally alone living in unimaginable conditions. The mother struggles to survive, hiding her grief and deep sorrow. We recognise she is in the depth of despair and displays signs of deep depression. She confesses she does not have a future perspective. She has no money to purchase wood for the winter. When our team from Casa went to view the circumstances, they stood in disbelief – the house was damp and freezing. The family do not attend church. This mother and son are only one of many. I look around the comfort of my own home; today it is extremely wet and cold, I have heat, food – would I exchange places? Is their place a place we could call home?
A divorced father and his two daughters, namely the Chi family, live with his parents. His wife abandoned the family at the beginning of 2021, after becoming involved in another relationship. The two daughters have relinquished their attachment to the mother, they live in disbelief of her decision and are filled with resentment. Their relationship is tense as they support their father during the recent divorce proceedings filed by his wife. The elderly grandmother has resumed care for her son and granddaughters.
The Fa family consist of a daughter and a son. They too live in a derelict house in a village on the outskirts of Oradea. The mother worked as a dressmaker but has now developed health problems. She has been diagnosed as suffering from advanced stages of glaucoma. The father works in the building trade and purchased this very old house approximately fifteen years ago. At that time the house was uninhabitable. During the fifteen years, the father has carried out necessary renovations but owing to lack of finance, is unable to complete the work. His wife’s condition demands high medical bills to be paid and daily medication is expensive. They do not know the luxury of NHS in Romania. He is trying to finish various parts of the work by working at home in the evening and Saturday. The children attend school and are committed pupils wanting to learn. The daughter has to cycle four km to the railway station in order to take a train to enable her to attend secondary school every day. The son graduated secondary school with good results and he waits to receive a university scholarship.
Mariana made a quick stop on route home after her final round of chemotherapy. The entire village were suffering from Covid-19 (including the seven children). We give thanks to the Lord for His watchful eye over this precious family. Mariana is waiting for surgery, but although her surgery is urgent, conditions in Romania are making it impossible for it to proceed. There is a shortage of beds, medication and staff. Work is continuing on their new home. Our aim is that this precious family may be able to spend Christmas together in their new home.
The Casa Grace families receiving from our feeding programme teach me to be ‘thankful’. Many bereft of love, security, health, finance. Many walking a constant dark valley of fear. Many too weak to stand. Only hours ago, a lady (mid-forties) travelled sixty miles to ask for food. She learned of our programme through the local High School in Oradea and came asking help for her terminally ill husband and children. Monika was overwhelmed today and wrote: ‘I have been answering phone calls throughout the day, trying to calm people… the panic grows rapidly and people are filled with fear’. Yet, these precious people seem to accept all that life has thrown their way and even in the fear of loneliness there is that faint smile that melts my heart, causing me to plead my cause for my brothers and sisters. I give thanks to the Lord that our three feeding programmes in Casa Grace, Emanuel Hospice and Iochebed can and will continue with your support during 2022 and that together we can turn mourning into joy for many. We are a family; the family of God and we serve together. A closing note from Monika: ‘Thank you very much for taking care of these people with the hope to save them and keep them in His grace. May He surround you and feel you with His peace and Joy’.
‘Our wills are ours, to make them thine’. (Lord Alfred Tennyson)
Shirley, October 29, 2021
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