|March 2004 Newsletter|
One of Many
For some the sorrows and trials of life multiply exponentially. They have no reprieve from their poverty, no moment of hope in their desperation, and these days in Romania one doesn't have to go far to find someone in need.
Since I am expecting a child of my own soon, over the past few months I have grown more sensitive toward the plight of children. It seems God has put them on my heart, and wherever I go I find one that touches my heart, that reaches out not with words but with their very soul. I had just visited some poor families in Leorda, and dropped off some clothes, money, and food. I was walking down the muddy alley to the car I'd left on the main road, when I looked up and saw a little girl standing in the middle of the street. I didn't have to look too deep, and it didn't take very long to realize the shape she was in. It seemed as though she hadn't eaten in a long time, and the clothes she wore, were no more than torn rags. I picked her up, carried her to the sidewalk, and asked where her mother was. She took my hand in hers, and began to walk leading me to no more than a shack surrounded by a rotting wooden fence.
I am not one to give in to emotion easily, but the sight that assaulted my senses was enough to bring tears to my eyes. A small room, at the far end of a barn, four meters by four meters, with five children sitting on a cold dirt floor, a father with a broken leg, and a mother whose desperate eyes begged for mercy. If ever there was a window, it was a distant memory, and now the wind blew through the square hole in the wall, making it colder inside then it was outside.
I ran back to the car, and scooped up whatever food I had left, returned to the shack and handed the little girl some bologna and bread. She looked at me as though I'd given her the greatest gift ever bestowed to any man. I left everything I had with that family, but as I departed, it was with a broken heart. A prayer was welling up inside me, Lord have mercy on them. To this day I see this little girl's innocent face, and I know we must do something to help them.
I found out from a neighbor that the room they were living in, wasn't even their own. A villager took pity on them, and let them live there, but said he wanted to demolish the barn in the summer. I believe we must build a home for this family, as we have done for so many others. For $1000 we can build a small mud brick home where at least these children will have an opportunity to survive. I know this is possible, and I know this is the heart of God, all I ask of you is that your prayers for the Turca family of Leorda will be as heartfelt as mine.
I realize it is impossible to imagine being able to survive with absolutely nothing. Sadly, the Turca family is just one of many, and with each passing day their desperation reaches new dimensions. May we be sensitive to the leading of the Lord, and be obedient to His voice.
Family Sponsorship Program
Yet another Tragedy
When the news that a mother of seven had suddenly passed away reached us, we were saddened and crushed. Although we cannot question God, we knew that we could o ffer our assistance, and do whatever was required to make this time as bearable for these seven children as possible. Our staff went to visit the home of the Rotaru family we took some boxes with food and clothing, and did their best to comfort Costel, the father of the children. We promised we would check in on them in the coming weeks, and keep them in our prayers as they weathered this great storm in their lives.
Before we could go back to see them however, one morning we found ourselves with Costel Rotaru standing at the orphanage gates, dressed in black, as is the mourning custom in Romania, holding his hat in his hand. It had only been three days since the funeral, and when Costel saw me he began to cry.
"I need your help" he said through the tears, "I can't take care of all seven children, I have to work to provide for them, and with my wife gone, it breaks my heart, but I can't take care of all of them."
I asked Costel to come inside, and he sat slumped in a chair continuing to sob, with his hands covering his face. My heart broke for him, I could see the pain not only in his countenance but it seemed to radiate from him. Our orphanage is full, we could b a r e ly afford to feed the children currently under our care, and I had decided in my heart that although we would try to help, we couldn't take any more children in.
"What can we do to help?" I asked him.
He looked up, and said, "Can you keep some of the children for awhile? At least until the pain passes a little, at least until we get some order in our lives again, can you take five of them? The two older boys can stay, they can take care of themselves, but I've got no one to look after the younger ones."
I told Costel I would pray about it, and let him know in the morning. Sometimes the reality of our circumstances doesn't allow us to see the plan of God in its entirety, and in His goodness God compels us to do what is right. Such was the case in this instance, because after arriving home that evening and praying, in my mind I had decided we couldn't afford to have another five children. That night however, each time I tried to fall asleep I would hear a crying baby, it happened a few times, until finally exhausted close to dawn I fell asleep and had a dream.
I dreamt I was in the Rotaru family's home, and I was seeing the youngest child sleeping in his makeshift crib, then a voice said, "you have to take him in!" I woke up, began to cry, and said if the baby looks like the baby in my dream, I will take them in. I had never been to the Rotaru home, nor had I ever seen the children.
That morning as I approached the orphanage gates, I saw Costel Rotaru standing there, cradling a baby in his hands, and another four children huddled around him, hugging his legs.
We greeted each other, and as I moved aside the scarf covering the baby's face, my breath caught in my throat. It was the same baby I had dreamt the night before. The baby looked up at me, and began to cry, and even his cry was the same as in my dream. Costel asked if I wanted to hold him, I nodded, and as he handed Iosif to me, he stopped crying. He is a beautiful baby boy, who just turned nine months, and is intelligent and aware of all that goes on around him. He is a true blessing.
It has not been easy comforting the hurt of the Rotaru family. The five children that we took in all suffer from the loss of their mother, they cry in the night and ask painful questions, not fully understanding what has happened. "Why won't mama wake up," asked Tabitha who is 4 years old, "where is she? Doesn't she love us anymore?"
May God be faithful!
One of Ours
Some thirteen years ago when the Hand of Help orphanage first received its building permits, we received a note from the mayor's office which in broad strokes said the following: "You don't know what you are getting yourself into. You must realize that you will have to stand by these children in their time of joy and in their time of sorrow, you will have to nurture them and guide them throughout their lives, you will become their parents, they will look to you as their fathers and mothers. In their greatest joy, and in their greatest sadness, they will come to you, and share with you, they will bring their children, and their children's children to this place and show them where they grew up, and where they were loved."
With all honesty, I really didn't get the full implication of what we were getting ourselves into, but now, many years later, we realize that whoever wrote that letter had more wisdom than we gave him credit for at the time.
We watched Ionel Horeanu grow from a child, to a young man, we rejoiced with him as he graduated and was handed his diploma, and when he got his first job, we realized it was finally time for him to be on his own. He understood this at the time, and said if another child can have the same love I had, and live the same full life, then it is with joy that I leave this place.
A few weeks ago he came back to the orphanage to bring us some news. "I am getting married he said." At first I protested that he was too young, that it was too hasty, but he insisted they were in love, and it was time, and so in the end I relented. We were his family, and he came to ask permission. What could I do but give it. Realizing that they had no one else to turn to, we decided to help them as much as we could. We bought Ionel a suit, we borrowed the wedding dress, we prepared a dinner, and invited their closest friends, most of who had grown up in orphanages as well. They all came together to witness the union between Alina and Ionel. Life will not be easy for them as both of them are orphans, but they love Jesus, and they have dedicated their lives to Him, and this causes us to hope that He will watch over them.
Please keep the newly formed Horeanu family in your prayers.
The love of God is a visible thing. It is something that can be expressed by the children of God in such a powerful way that you see it in action. Before I came to Christ, before I came to know salvation Christians would tell me that God loves me, but I didn't understand what that meant until recently. Now I know God loves me, and I know He loves you for being obedient. I am a simple man, and my prayers are not the most eloquent of prayers, but I will remember you in them every night.
You have saved my family's life, and with what God provided through you I was able to have a shelter for my family. I thank God for all that you have given in His name. He has answered all my prayers except one, and that is to have electricity in our home. I have been able to save some money, and am only 8 million lei ($250) away from making that hope a reality. I know God is good, and one day we will have light as well. Until recently it wasn't at all bad having lamps as our light source, but now we can't find oil anymore. Once again I thank you for the joy you brought to my family, we will never forget your kindness, nor will God. May He bless you and keep you always.
The Lazar Marcel Family
How Could This Happen to Me...
It is February 23, 2004 and as I awoke the first thought to cross my mind was that I must get to Botosani today. At first I wrote it off as nothing more than a passing thought, but as the day progressed the thought lingered.
With each passing minute, I felt the need to be with brothers that I could share my pain with, a place where I have always received comfort and a kind word whenever the hardships of life became overwhelming.
I made up my mind, and without hesitation I left for the Hand of Help orphanage in Botosani. When I arrived, I found a chair in the hall and sat in it. Watching the beehive of activity, seeing the children, some sitting down to lunch, others going off to school, some coming home from school, and the younger ones playing, made me forget my own troubles.
I sat in the chair, and watched the children for hours, no longer consumed with my circumstances, but thinking on all that they had gone through until this place of peace and shelter was provided for them. I realized this place was a true home for them, and as God used Hand of Help to comfort me, and be there in my time of need, He was using you once again to comfort these children.
I did not know why I felt compelled to come visit the orphanage when I got there, but a few hours later, I realized it was to be comforted by seeing God's miracle in having provided a refuge for these children.
For the first time, in a long time I felt joy in my heart. A few months ago I was diagnosed with laryngeal cancer, and for a long time I was devastated. Each day I would wake up and ask myself the same question, how could this happen to me?
Now I realize that it is a miracle, and God's grace that I am still alive. I am thankful to God, for opening my eyes to the fact that He knows best. I am also thankful to you for the financial help you send, because it is a great blessing for my family and me. Thank you for your prayers, and may God reward your efforts a thousand fold.
My hope, now restored, remains in God. My life is His, may He do with it what He wills.
Pray for the needs of Hand of Help.
Keep Mike and Geno in your prayers as they travel and share the good news of the Gospel.
Remember the children at the Hand of Help orphanage in your prayers.
Pray for peace.
The Trials of Life
It is not unknown to you that our funds have been limited, and that it was God's mercy and faithfulness that carried us through thus far. Sometimes God requires sacrifice on our part, and we are more than willing to sacrifice, and because of this God will always be faithful.
February was a hard month, with record cold temperatures, and an alarming number of cold and flu cases. Our own children were not spared, and we were forced to spend over $1100 just on medication alone. Due to the cold, our gas bill was also abnormally high, a record $2100, and our electric bill was $1400. Add to these a payroll of $10,000 for the employees in Romania, that count on us for their daily bread, and you will see why we ask for your prayers in this matter. God is the God of the impossible, He can do what man cannot, and we trust that He will see us through once more. We have cut corners, and economized as much as humanly possible, but seeing as the number of children continues to grow; it's not getting any easier. Currently the cost of keeping a child, including the staff in Romania, medicine, food, bills, school taxes, and medication has ballooned to seven dollars per day. Only God can provide in those areas where we are lacking, and we trust that He will.
You are as family to us, and so we share our joy, our sorrow, our triumphs, and our needs with you, in order to be as transparent as possible, because that's how God requires us to be. It is your prayers and support that make the difference in the lives of these children, and although words will always be inadequate to express our gratitude for your goodness, we know that God is more than able to reward you for all you do. You are loved by many, and many hold you up in their prayers each day. May God bless you.
Hand of Help Staff
A Nation in The Balance
Whenever a nation f inds itself at the crossroads of indecision, standing on the brink of judgement it is the love and mercy of God that compels Him to send a warning. In His goodness He chastens in the hopes that the nation would turn their hearts back to Him, that they would repent and thus be restored. Throughout the history of the world we see each time that God has allowed such warnings, the nation upon which His chastening was visited never remained the same.
One cannot treat the warnings of God with indifference, but rather have one of two reactions to what God allowed to occur. Either they see it for what it was, a loving reminder that our actions have consequence and they repent, or they rebel against God and His precepts, slipping further into the sin and wickedness that caused God to act in the first place.
Although tragic, the events of September 2001 seem to have been forgotten by many in this nation. Rather than seek repentance, rather than cling to God, many have chosen to defy Him, attempting to destroy those fundamental morals that have kept this country, and caused it to prosper. What is more frightening however, is how little opposition there is to this onslaught against God, morality, and decency, things that are the cornerstones of civilization.
No, morality cannot be legislated. It is something that is inherent in every human being it is part of God's nature that He breathed into man. However, if man rebels, free will, does allow him to abandon his nature, and thus is given over to a debased mind.
The reason I chose to touch on this topic, is because if what was once abhorred in a society, is tolerated and not resisted, eventually it becomes common practice. For many years now I have heard this saying in churches, and Christian circles, 'are you willing to do for the truth, what others are doing for a lie.' At first it was meant to embolden the children of God to action, it was an affirmation that caused many to say, I will stand in the gap, I will do my part, I will give of my time, in order to turn the tide.
Now, for many, it is a shameful reminder that indeed we are not doing all that we can to further the kingdom of God, to spread the good news of the Gospel, and to proclaim the name of Jesus.
It has long been said that darkness and light cannot coexist. They are in constant battle for domination, the light always trying to chase away the darkness, the darkness always trying to extinguish the light. With each passing day we see this battle intensifying, a battle for the hearts and minds of an entire nation. We are a nation in the balance, and our choices will determine whether the mercy of God is visited upon us, and He terries for yet another season, or His judgment. It must be the children of God that stand in the gap during this critical time of decision. The world has already cast its lot, it has already picked its side, it has chosen to reject, malign, and belittle God. Now the children of God must also take their stand, and through prayer, fasting and supplication, cause heart to stir the hearts of many unto godly sorrow and repentance.
May the love and peace of our loving Father be ever present in your lives, and may you feel His presence as you continue to walk the narrow path of righteousness.< div class='verse'> 2 Peter 2:20-21, "For if, after they have escaped the pollution of the world through the knowledge of the Lord and Savior Jesus Christ, they are again entangled in them and overcome, the latter end is worse for them than the beginning. For it would have been better for them not to have known the way of righteousness, than having known it, to turn from the holy commandment delivered to them."
With Love in Christ,
Michael Boldea Jr.