|August 2004 Newsletter|
"I have fasted, I have prayed, I have wept, and cried out to God the best way I knew, and now I come to you with the hope that God will use you, and have mercy on my family. I feel so helpless," Cezar said as he stood before us in the Hand of Help orphanage yard, "I watch my children and I die inside. Is it enough that I grew up in an orphanage that I have been without the basic necessities all my life? These are the thoughts that come to me in the night, yet I do not lose hope in my Lord. I know many understand what it is like to work until your bones ache, and the flesh on them shakes uncontrollably, but to agonize so, and yet have only enough to pay the rent and the heat, with nothing left for food is more torment than I can sometimes bear.
I desire nothing more than to buy a piece of land, to build a small home, have some sheep, and be able to provide for my family. Please, I beg of you, tell the people of God about me and my family, and I will pray, and hope that the heavenly Father opens their hearts and answers our prayers through them. I am more than happy to work with my hands, to provide for my family, but God knows I need help to start. I know that my need is small to God, and He can work miracles, may He have mercy on my children. As long as I have strength to stand, I will not abandon my hope in God, and I will trust that He hears my prayers, and have already thanked him for answering them."
Cezar and his children currently reside in Botosani, and although we have been able to help them with food and some clothing, we must patiently await the mercy of God for the rest of his plea. We ask that you join with us in prayer, that God would do a miracle on behalf of Cezar and his family. They are in need of $3000 so they may purchase the land and sheep they have been praying for.
Hand of Help Staff
Never Too Young
Recently a new oppurtunity has arisen for us here at Hand of Help. The surprise is that it is not an oppurtunity for our elders to preach in different churches, or for our pastors to hold crusades, but an oppurtunity for our children to minister.
The warden of the juvenile detention center in Botosani came to the orphange one morning, a sad look having replaced his usually gleeful personality. "I have over fifty children in my center, for a wide variety of crimes," he said, "and I fear that without a touch from God, without some sort of change, they will only grow up to commit worse crimes. What can you do to help us?"
At first we thought it would be a good idea to send one of our pastors to go and speak to the children, but the warden just shook his head and said, "these children despise authority, they despise adults, they will not listen, of that I am sure. Others have tried, without any results."
"Then we will send our children," we said. Our children's choir has the ability to touch the coldest heart, and their personal relationships with Jesus are something they are not ashamed, or fearful to speak of.
The warden thought it was a good idea, and we scheduled a time when we would bring our children's choir to not only sing, but also share their faith. It was a wonderful time, and all the children in the detention center were attentive to the music, and the testimonies given by those their own age.
One week later, we received an unexpected call from the warden, "I need you to promise me you will make this a monthly event if not weekly. I can see the difference in my children, something touched them. I haven't had one fight since you were here, and I would like to keep it that way. Thank you."
It just goes to show that one is never too young to share Jesus, or too young to be used of God. It was wonderful to see our children talk about God not as some distant far off idea, but as an intimate and personal Father, whom they knew and loved. Please keep this new work in your prayes, as we are certain it will touch many young lives.
Hand of Help Staff
Though many years have passed since freedom came to our nation, the number of those desiring to have a Bible has not lessened, but rather it has grown. There are enough Bibles in the Christian bookstores, but for someone who doesn't have enough to buy a loaf of bread, 150,000 lei is a small fortune. If God has placed it on your heart to provide someone with a Bible, our cost of purchasing one is $5, and only God knows how many lives can be touched with just one.
Hand of Help Staff
We Need Help
On June ninth, at six o'clock in the morning I was already in my office, for no particular reason, except for an urging that I had to be there. As I was sitting at my desk, reading a passage out of the gospel of John, the telephone began to ring. At first I wrinkled my brow, wondering who could be calling at such an early hour, but then if I was in the office at such an early hour, who couldn't some one call?
I picked up the receiver put it to my ear only to hear a woman crying on the other end. "Please come," the voice said, "I need your help, I am begging you."
It was useless trying to explain to the voice on the other end, that I had to drive eight hours that day, or that I already had my plane ticket for the US. The voice did not stop insisting, and I knew if I didn't go, I would have no peace for the rest of the week. I promised the woman I would make the journey, and added another four hours to my eight hour drive that day. Looking back on it, I can only praise God for giving me the strength, and ordering my steps, to not only make my flight, but to use us to answer the Filip family's prayers as well.
When we arrived to the Filip family's home in Dumeni, the mother of four was already waiting for us in her yard, with a big smile on her face. "I knew you would come, because the Lord told me you would, praise God for removing all the obstacles." I realized she didn't understand that a plane doesn't wait for people, but I had to smile because her faith was so great. I knew God had a plan for leading me here, and all it took was a few seconds of seeing the surroundings to realize they needed help. I have never seen hungrier children than in the Filip family. Their faces gaunt, their skin pale, the four children huddled together on a bed that lay in the corner of their one room home. Unlike normal children, they didn't play or smile, but simply sat on the bed, evidently too weak to do much else. When the mother said they only earned $25 per month for the entire six-member family, I realized why the children were so lethargic.
Their needs however, are not limited to food and clothing. They have no cow, and small piece of land they are allowed to farm has not been paid for yet. The home the live in is also ready to collapse, and they are in desperate need of funds to fix it up.
As we were talking, Mihaela's husband walked in, and as we began to talk he said, "when God commands you to do something, you don't impose your own conditions, you somply obey without delay. I worked in the city of Caras Severin, we had a home, and we did well for ourselves. Then God said we must move to Dumeni, because He had a work for us. I asked no questions, but simply obeyed. It wasn't easy for us, and at first we didn't understand why God sent us to this village of all places. When we arrived, we were the only family of believers in the entire village, one year later there are three new families that came to Christ through our witnessing. All I ask is that God look with joy at what our family has done, and if it be His will save us from our predicament in His time."
The Filip family is in need of $300 to pay for the piece of land they have been farming on, $500 for a cow to feed the family, and at least $1000 to fix their home. On June 19, a team of Hand of Help representatives visited the home again, and brought food and clothing to the family, as well as other families in the village of Dumeni, but for the rest, we can only pray to God and make the need known to you knowing that their prayers and yours will be answered.
Anca Bagiu Update
Too many of us at the Hand of Help orphanage, Anca Bagiu has become the definition of courage. Your prayers, and her will to live defied the doctors who did not give her a fighting chance. She survived the removal of a brain tumor, she healed faster than anyone could have hoped, and now, she is just one of the children. She is back in school, playing with the other children, singing in church, and although she still needs to visit the hospital once a week for checkups, we can plainly see the joy returning to her countenance. Her experience has taught us an invaluable lesson, that nothing is impossible with God. Once again thank you for all your prayers on her behalf.
Hand of Help Staff
The Hand of Help Orphanage
It is human nature that one more readily shares their hardships than their blessings, but it is the blessings of God that I would like to share with you this day. It has been some time since we've had an update on the orphanage, and as I watch the children playing in the yard, singing, or painting, everything seems normal, and all is at peace. The children are happy, and thankful, and it is only by the grace of God that this is so. I am ever thankful to all those who heeded the call of God and bonded themselves to this worthwhile work, and with each picture you see, with each report you receive I pray the fruit of your sacrifice is visible.
As always, unforeseen circumstances arise, such as the new law that was passed by the government, which mandates us to refurbish our heating system, and install smoke detectors throughout the orphanage. In order for us to be in compliance, we will need to spend $3500, money that as yet we do not have. We are required to comply with the law no later than September 1, 2004, and I ask that you remember this need in your prayers as you go before the Father.
As time passes, and the children age, new oppurtunities for us to sow in their lives arise as well. Thirteen of our children have passed the eighth grade, and will be going on to specialty schools. Seven of our children, will be entering the first grade, something all the tutors and teachers here are very excited about.
Vladut, Petricia and Iosif, have advanced from crawling, to waddling, and even walking, and all three have already spoken their first words. It is amaing to see, and the sense of accomplishment is as powerful as though they were our own children.
After much searching, we were finally able to track down the Mother of Mirabela Mucuta, a 12 year old girl who had never seen her mother. She was abandoned at birth, and some time ago Mirabela said although she thought of the orphanage as home, and as us her family, she would still like to see her real mother. We made the trip, and introduced Mirabel to her mother, and although Mirabela was thrilled, her mother was indifferent. Later, as we drove home, Mirabella said, "I know she wasn't happy to see me, but I was happy to see her. Now when I think of my mother, I not only see Virginia's face, but my real mother's face as well.
After nineteen years, Marius Podiuc was reunited with his brothers as well, but after spending some time with them, he said "Hand of Help still is, and always will be my family. When no one else wanted me, you took me in, and I learned the meaning of love for the first time in my life."
Now that summer vacation is here, and they no longer go to school, we try to keep the children as busy as possible, the best way we know how. We have weekly Bible study, choir practice, poetry readings, art classes, gardening classes, and carpentry classes. It is our desire that at every stage of their development they learn as much as they can, and learn traits that will be useful to them in the real world.
However, the one thing that all the children look forward to each summer has yet to take place, namely summer camp. We are scheduled to send the children to camp beginning August 7, and this will only occur if God will provide the necessary finances. The cost per child for 2 weeks is 800,000 lei, the equivalent of $25. At first it seemed like a small number, until we multiplied it by 120, and realized we needed $3000 to make this dream a reality. The children are praying with anticipation, and we know that the rest is in God's hands.
As long as God stands with us, we will be victorious, and His blessings will continue to humble and encourage us. May his love forever reside in your hearts.
Hand of Help Orphanage
Our Board Meeting
The 2004 Hand of Help board of directors meeting was a special one for all who were present. Still amazed at the passage of time, we all realized how quickly twenty years could go by. In the end all we can do is look back on the accumulation of the choices we've made, and the things we've done for God, and say it was a fruitful existance. We praise God for all things, knowing that without His guiding hand we could not have made it.
The Hand of Help board of directors, along with the 120 children and hundreds of families that have been blessed through this ministry, thank you for your prayers and for your sacrifice, and ask that you continue to keep us in your prayers as well. Hod has great things in store for His children if they continue to be obedient. In Him, and through Him we hold fast to the promise, and in continued obedience we look forward to what He has prepared.
Hand of Help Staff
We are Saved!
One would not think someone so far advanced in years could show so much exuberance. We couldn't help but laugh and cry along with Viorica Acrudoae, as she ran to the cow we had just brought her, kissed it, and proceeded to kiss each of us in turn. As she moved from person to person, the only words she spoke were, "praise the Lord, we are saved." Whether it was the fact that God answered her prayers, or that she would now have something to feed her ailing husband that brought such joy to her heart, we do not know, but we suspect it was a combination of the two.
After we took the cow to the barn, we entered the Acrudoae family home, to find both husband and wife weeping, "Yes, yes, this is how servants of God should be," said Viorica. "I knew God would not abandon me. May God bless the cheerful giver, may they always have abundance, and may God hear them as He heard me when they cry out to Him. Thank you, and thank those that made this miracle possible."
We are certain that this elderly couple of 72 and 74 years of age will never cease blessing the name of God for the gift of the cow they received due to your obedience. To them, it is indeed a matter of survival, and on a daily basis, God helps this ministry do nothing less than save lives.
Hand of Help Staff
A Day of Celebration
Whenever a project is completed successfully, it is a day of celebration for all who are involved. It is a day to be thankful to God for His goodness, and rejoice in the promise that what He begins, he will complete.
The home of the Turca family in Leorda is under construction, noth to the joy of the Turca family and the astonishment of their neighbors. After all this time, the neighbors are still asking what sort of people we are, that we would show them such great kindness without asking for anything in return. We tell them now what we told them in the beginning, that it is the love of Jesus that compels us to show kindness, and it is God that is blessing the Turca family not us.
Those that already know of our faith approach us desiring to know more, asking us to explain to them the hope that we carry in our hearts. If God continues this work in Leorda, and opens more hearts, we may have to build a church in Leorda as well. Just looking at the Turca family's children one can easily discern the difference from when we first went to visit. They look happy, they are dressed, they are fed, and their countenance is as that of normal children. This is the miracle that God works through you, and this ministry every day. As always, we will keep you updated on the Turca family, as well as other projects we are currently working on. Thank you for your kindness, your prayers and your support.
Dear Hand of Help contributors,
Due to IRS regulations that need to be met, we are changing our system of receipting our donors for their contributions. Beginning July 1, 2004 the acknowledgement letters sent out from our Wisconsin office will no longer indicate the amount of your donation.
If a monthly receipt of your donation is preferred, the accounting office in Garland will accomodate that request. Then, at the end of the year, when the yearly statements are sent out, they will not include the amounts already receipted during the year. If you prefer the individual, monthly statement, just include a note with your donation.
We thank you in advance for your understanding of this necessary change. Our donors are very important to us, and if you have any questions please do not hesitate to write or call.
In God's love and in His name,
Paul and Linda Mangam
It is finished
The church in Boureni Hirlau is finally ready to open its doors, and receive all who desire to worship. Praise the Lord for seeing this project through to completion.
The shock of it has passed, my heart is once more beating normally, but my gratitude toward God and His goodness has only multiplied since the event took place less than three weeks ago. It all began with a dream I had before leaving on a ten-day speaking tour. I dreamt that I was driving. Suddenly a white car pulled out in front of me, and I impacted with it. The dream was so real, and so vivid, that I woke up and began to feel myself to see if I was all right.
At first I thought it was a warning, and when we arrived at our destination, I got full insurance on the car we rented, something I never do. To the great dismay of all those riding in the car, I also drove below the speed limit the entire trip, once again something that I would never do. I kept expecting a white car to pull out in front of me, and the entire trip I was on edge waiting and anticipating.
It was the final day of our speaking tour, and the car was still intact. No accidents to speak of not even a fender bender, and I began to relax, thinking it must have been my imagination. We got back to Wisconsin, happy to be home, and prepared for our next speaking trip which was in Michigan. We began our trip to Michigan early Saturday morning, since we had a meeting scheduledthat Saturday night, and for the first time I took my brother Daniel along because he had the weekend off from work.
Both meetings were very powerful, and God moved in a special way. On our way back to Wisconsin, I turned to my brother and said, "something's wrong." "What is it?" he asked.
"The fact that nothing's wrong," I answered. Usually after a powerful meeting the enemy attacks in every way that he can. I get pain in my joints, I feel weak, but this time none of these were happening. I was feeling good, and that to me was a warning sign.
We arrived home early evening, and I noticed that my wife's car was not in the parking lot. I thought nothing of it, since she works late hours, but as I opened the door to our apartment I heard her say, "Is that you?" Even before I raced to the bedroom to see my wife in bed with a giant bruise on her leg, I knew something had happened. When I asked what had happened, she said a man had run a stop sign on the highway and she hit him at 65 miles per hour. I tried to catch my breath, and calm my heart, the only thought going through my mind being what else is wrong. She couldn't have walked away from such an impact with only a bruise. When I got up the courage to ask what else was wrong, she smiled and said "nothing else, I'm fine, just a bruise."
"What color was it?" I asked, already knowing the answer. "White" she answered. "It was a white car, and it pulled right out in front of me, I didn't even have time to tap the breaks." I had dreamt the accident my wife had been in, through her eyes. It had happened exactly as I had seen it.
The next day I called the officer who was first on the scene of the accident, and after explaining whom I was, he simply said, "Your wife is the luckiest woman I've ever seen. I've seen enough accidents in my lifetime to know she shouldn't have walked away from this one."
"Luck had nothing to do with it," I answered the officer politely, "and if you believe in God you know exactly what I mean."
"I do" he said, "I do."
I share this with you today, only to glory in the goodness of our God. I pray we open our eyes, and see just how much He protects us, and how often His hand is there, keeping us safe from harm. I have more reasons than ever before to worship at His feet, and to be obedient to all that He would require of me. We serve a good God, one who is forever faithful, merciful, and wise.
With love in Christ,
Michael Boldea Jr.