|September 2004 Newsletter|
In Great Need
We live a life full of surprises, and moments of joy. For me one of the greatest joys is to see a project come to completion, but each time this happens I see all that still needs to be done, all the families still waiting for a hand of help, and I realize that my joy must be short lived. For as soon as one project ends, another begins, and we approach the latter with the same enthusiasm we approached the former.
For every one family that receives a cow, there are ten others waiting for the same blessing. For every family that receives a house, there are ten others that are praying ceaselessly for the same miracle in their lives. The work never ends.
I watch the haggard faces, and notice the calloused hands, of those that come in search of a blessing, in search of an answer to their prayers, and all I can do is tell them to go home and pray, and the day will soon come when God will answer their prayers.
The homes of both the Andrici family from Tudor Vladimirecu, and the Turca family from Leorda are complete, but our labors on their behalf are not over yet. These are families that barely earn enough to feed themselves, their only possessions being the clothes on their back. Although both have been blessed with new homes, neither family has anything to put inside. Once more it is left up to us to make their joy complete. The Turca family needs at least 2 beds, and the Andrici family at least three. Both also require a table, chairs, sheets and pillows. A bed costs upwards of $200, a table $100, and the chairs are around $25. It would be an added blessing to provide these essentials to the two families.
The general feeling of desperation continues to intensify throughout Romania. Due to flooding, produce has tripled in price, and due to excessive logging, firewood has grown to $45 per ton, an unattainable sum when taking into account that the income of the families we help is between $10 and $20 per month.
With winter only weeks away, people are scared and anxious. They don't know how they will feed their families, since even potatoes are now out of their price range.
Your prayers and sacrifice make the difference in the lives of countless individuals whose only hope is in God. Words will never be able to express the gratitude we feel for all that you do in the Lord's name, but He who sees all things will surely remember your goodness. With God, all things are possible.
The Lord Knows
Having had more requests for cows than we could afford to purchase, it was very difficult for us to make the decision as to which family would receive this blessing. Knowing that we could not decide ourselves, we stopped at pastor Ioan's house, and asked for his opinion. When we told him the reason for our visit, he shook his head, and said, "If I choose, I may make a mistake, if God chooses, it will be the right choice."
We decided to proceed as the Apostles did in the book of Acts, we wrote out the names of the families that had requested a cow in his village on separate pieces of paper, and asked pastor Ioan to say a short prayer. His prayer was a simple one, he said, "you, Lord, who know the hearts of all, show which of these you have chosen to receive your blessing." Then he proceeded to pick out one name.
We arrived at the home of Mircea Pieptanaru, the name that pastor Ioan picked, and it was no small surprise when Mircea came out of his home weeping.
"It has been two weeks since my family and I began to fast and pray for a cow," Mircea said, "in a step of faith we even cleaned out the barn, and bought straw. God saw my family's insistent prayer, and He promised he would send us a great blessing. There is no greater blessing for my family and I than a cow at this time. I thank God for working in such a wonderful way. All I can do, other than thank you from the bottom of my heart, is promise to keep all those who have labored in order to fulfill God's promise to my family, in our daily prayers. We are forever indebted, and only God can repay such a great debt. May God keep you in His embrace forever."
Hand of Help Staff
At Wits End
I am at my wits end, and if God does not help me, there is nothing more I can do. I cry out as the blind man, "Jesus son of David have mercy on me and mine." All my life I have wandered from place to place with my children, but very few are willing to rent a home to a woman with six offspring. What am I to do Lord? What am I to do?
When I was called to Botosani to drywall a home, I went even though I left an eight month old behind, and in spite of my health failing me. When I arrived at the home of the Turca family in Leorda, the home I was to drywall, I beheld a true miracle of God. A beautiful home, received as a gift from God.
I have found true servants of God here, I thought to myself, and knowing this, I am compelled to cry out all the more, Jesus son of David have mercy on me. I am not a lazy woman, and all my life I worked beside my husband. The best we could ever accomplish was to keep our family fed, something that in and of itself is a blessing when I see all the hungry faces around me. With all the desperation, I don't know what many would do without servants of God such as you, reaching out and being a blessing. My family is made up of 8 people, and we too are in need of a miracle. We made our own mud bricks, my mother gave us a small piece of land, but this is where our abilities end. If God would have mercy, all we would need is 60 million lei, ($2000) to build our home, and be a family, no longer wandering from town to town, but have a place to call our own. May God be merciful.
To Whom It May Concern
Hello, my name is Brother Rob Coones. I am the pastor of Christian Temple Church in High Point, NC. We have just returned from our first trip to Romania. I have been involved in missionary endeavors for many years and have worked with other orphanages. Our visit to Romania to the Hand of Help Orphanage was the most rewarding trip my wife, my daughter, and I have ever experienced. Brother Michael, his wife Sister Virginia Boldea and their staff welcomed us with a true genuine spirit of hospitality. We were treated and fed like royalty. We went there to minister to the people and the people ministered to us.
I have sent finances in years past to help the widows and the orphans in different parts of the world. I, like anybody, would always have in the back of my mind, "Are my finances being used properly, are they getting to the needy?" Etc. Well, to whom it may concern, if only I could make a recommendation or if I could encourage you in well doing; the Hand of Help Orphanage is ordained of God. It is very clean and operates like a big loving home. The staff did not act like employees but like a big family. The love the children had for one another was overwhelming, your heart goes out to the children when you hear their testimonies of the circumstances that brought them to Hand of Help. Some would think that they have been robbed of family life, but I can assure you they haven't, they have a loving home with a good balance of love, education, and spiritual indoctrination and discipleship. I see that it is operated by faith in God, and the contributions that do come in God, multiplies. I felt very small in God being there and when I left it felt like our feeble efforts and contribution are so small, but ever so appreciated.
I was very impressed with the operation of the farm, the raising of the animals for food and milk, and of the garden to raise fresh produce for the children. The talents that they have received from the Lord have been blessed and He has added an increase. It is an overwhelming thought to think of feeding 120 children and staff, but that is not enough! I witnessed on a daily basis people coming to the gate for food, and they shared very graciously with them. We were eating one night at Brother Michael's home and I witnessed him getting up from the dinner table and walk out the front door with some food from the table to give to a young child on the street. I believe that this is the kind of compassion that has moved the spirit of God to watch over this orphanage. I hope that whoever reads this testimony of our trip can pray that God would allow them to be partakers with the ministry of Hand of Help so that they can be benefactors of the blessing that God has bestowed upon it. This may not be my place to plea for the widows and the orphans, but I am because I did not see Brother Michael or Sister Virginia doing it and further more we weren't asked to do so. The orphanage is going to go on with or without your or mine help because God is watching over it to see so, but God is going to use people like you and I, and I rejoice in the opportunity to share with Hand of Help. Pray that maybe you or your church could take on the gas bill for one month, or the light bill, could be able to buy the feed for the livestock, how about the tuition for a child's education, how about dental cost, medical expenses. You can read this and go on about your business and never give it a second thought, but my heart is burdened for the children to be a help and be partakers with Hand of Help. I pray that God bless you and visit you in your dreams and put a burden on your heart for benevolence.
Thank you and God bless,
Brother Rob & Sister Irene Coones
P.S. Thank you Hand of Help for giving us an opportunity to help with your ongoing endeavor of love.
Right before walking out my door to leave for the Chicago Airport, a man from my church came to me and said, Kim, be careful not to lose your heart there. I was like, oh, I'm not like that. I don't lose my heart easily.
Boy, was I ever wrong. It would take a stone cold heart to not fall in love with those children. I know I definitely lost my heart there.
I never really knew what a spoiled nation America was, until I visited Romania. But I noticed how in every prayer, I heard many "Thank Yous," it wasn't, "I need, I need, or I want, I want." They were thanking God for what He has already given them, not asking for more. America needs to take some lessons from the Romanian people!
The second I left Romania I was ready to return, nothing has ever affected me like this Romania trip. I met some amazing, sweet, awesome people.
I had the time of my life, from the food, to the walking around town with my new friends. I will never forget them, and I hope they won't have a chance to forget me, because I'm already saving my money to return. Thank you to all my friends there, I miss you more with each passing day. I can't wait to return!
In an instant our lives changed, never to be the same again. Two of us became grandparents, two of us became uncles, and one became a proud and emotional father. On July 8, 2004, Eric Sergiu Boldea came into this world, to the great joy of the entire Boldea family. We held our collective breaths, praying that all will be well, that the baby would be healthy and God answered our prayers.
A new life is the product of generations, it is one of God's greatest gifts, and greatest wonders. Every one of us sees something of themselves in this new addition to our family. The stubby nose, the dimpled chin, and the way he curls up his eyebrows when in thought or upset. Just for a smile, we make embarrassing faces, and the fact that he can blow bubbles and suck his thumb at the same time forever dethrones Einstein from the status of genius, and places the baby in his stead.
I sit and watch him as he sleeps, as he smiles, and for an instant man's inhumanity to man, all the turmoil being visited upon this world, even man's capacity for evil is forgotten. Time slips by and I am unwilling to part, almost envious of his innocence, still watching hoping I'll be the first to spot a new as yet undiscovered ability in baby Eric.
Finally I know I must break away, for there is much work to be done, there are still souls to be won for the kingdom of God, and the day is nearing its end. I am more determined than ever to do all that one man can, to stir this nation to repentance, and thus delay that judgment of God. I too want to see my children come into this world, I too want to see them grow up and serve God. In order for that dream to become a reality, we must be tireless in showing Jesus to the world, and praying that their repentance be genuine and lasting.
Michael Boldea Jr.
I Get To Live
Maria Stefanescu is in good spirits. After taking her to the Botosani hospital for a preliminary investigation, we were sent to Tirgu Mures where they have one of the best cardiac surgeons in the country. After a new set of Xrays it was determined that Maria had a hole in one of her arteries, and each time she got agitated, ran, or got upset, blood would spill into her lungs, causing her to lose consciousness.
They scheduled her for surgery the next day, and the surgery went as planned. We went to visit Maria in the hospital after her surgery, and when we asked her how she felt, she smiled and said, "I get to live, mommy won't cry so much anymore."
Her recovery took less than expected, and now Maria is back with her family, able to enjoy life, and be a child. Thank you for making this possible, thank you for saving this little girl's life. We rejoice with the Stefanescu family in seeing the goodness of God, in awe of what He can do through His faithful servants.
Hand of Help Staff
Whenever trials come, we run to God. Just as a child runs into the arms of his father when he's hurting, we run into the arms of our Father, knowing we will find the comfort we so desperately need. When we visited the Pipistica family, their joy could not be contained.
"There was nothing more we could do," sister Pipistica said, "God remained our only hope, and each time we prayed to Him, He would answer and say, 'be still, help is on the way.' God kept his promise toward my family, bless His name forever."
How could the Pipistica family not rejoice in the goodness of the Lord, when they made their request to Him in secret, and shortly thereafter their help came.
"There was no one we could turn to, no one we could ask for help, except God. He hears our prayers. Now we cry tears of joy, and we will continue to do so, He is a good God."
Hand of Help Staff
Water For My Babies
She couldn't stop the tears from flowing. Aurica Luchian would wipe her cheeks, take a deep breath, hoping to control her emotions, and would begin to weep all over again. "I have seen a miracle with my own eyes," she said between the sobs, "others have spoken of God doing such things for them, but now I can say He has done it for me."
A few months ago the Luchian family's well went dry, and they were forced to go to their neighbors for water. As more wells in the village began to go dry, the people began to panic, and they limited the Luchian family to one bucket of water per day. Eventually the villagers would come to Aurica, and taunt her saying, "why doesn't God give you water, you're a Christian aren't you?"
God heard their taunts, and her prayers, and as we visited their family one day, a brother by the name of David from Montana, felt compelled to help this family. Now Aurica Luchian has all the more reason to be thankful to God, for in His mercy, He blessed her family with a new well, and she has more than enough water for her 10 children.
News travels fast, and now we have more requests for wells throughout the country. The first to approach us about a well was Mirela, a mother of 9 who walks two kilometers to get water for her children. "I heard what God did for Aurica, is there a chance He can do the same for me?"
The cost of a well is $400, a sum that is impossible for the majority to save, and the need for wells is greater than we imagined. Please be in prayer concerning this project. God's will be done.
Hand of Help Staff
I usually let others talk about the work in Romania, since I spend most of my time here in the States. However, last month I got the opportunity to return to my homeland for a few weeks, and during that time went out to visit some of the families mentioned in our newsletter.
The first trip we took was to visit the Livadaru family, which lives in the village of Nicolae Balcescu. This is the family that had the triplets and was in need of a furnace for the coming winter, as well as some land to plant a garden. The village itself is located just a few miles from where the world ends. The road into the village was so bad that for the last thirty minutes we only managed to keep pace with a little girl that was walking her cow home from pasture. Both the mother and father were overwhelmed when they saw that God not only provided enough for the furnace, and the land, but exceeded their expectations. I was greeted with the smiles of the Livadaru children, and made some lifelong friends when I pulled out the bag of candy that I had brought along.
With tears in their eyes, the parents told us that every evening when they go to milk the cow that was donated to them, the children grab their cups and follow their father into the barn. "You may never know the extent to which you helped our family," the father said weeping, "but God knows, and your reward in heaven will not be a small one."
The second family we went to visit was the Turca family in Leorda, not only to see their new home, but also to bring some Bibles to their surrounding neighbors. It seems since we started this project, the curiosity of the entire village has been aroused, and in sharing Jesus with them, one person has already been baptized, four others have committed their lives to God, and the door is open for us to share and win more souls for God's glory.
As I was passing out some Bibles, one of the older men in the village came up to me and said, "if this keeps up, you folks will have to build a church here as well."
"Nothing would bring me more joy," I answered him honestly. A crusade has already been planned in the village of Leorda, and if God wills, a new Christian community will soon be formed.
I write this today, because it is easy to be distracted when so far away from the work. Yes, I translate the articles each month, I see the pictures, but it does not compare with actually being there, seeing the tears, hearing the prayers of thanks, and experiencing the work firsthand. The work of this ministry has always been twofold, first to speak repentance to this nation, and second to help the poor and needy wherever we find them, and in order to be obedient to God, we must be diligent in both.
If only for a short while, being back home refreshed me, and the burden to do the work of God is that much greater in my heart. We are seeing heartfelt prayers being answered, we are seeing miracles take place because of your obedience. Please remember this work in your prayers, as well as those who labor, knowing that you are never absent from theirs.
With love in Christ,
Michael Boldea Jr.
If contributions exceed the amount needed to help a family, the extra contributions for that project will be used to help a family in a similar situation. It is our commitment to you before our Lord that we will be faithful in the disbursement of all contributions that we receive.
The Hand of Help Staff.