|November/December 2004 Newsletter|
God's Hand Over Corjauti
It is always a blessing to have brothers and sisters visit us from the United States. They come with a singular purpose, compelled by the love of God, to reach out and help wherever they can. It was one such team, that God used to be a blessing, and the fulfillment of a promise God had made to the believers in the village of Corjauti.
The village of Corjauti had been on my heart for a long time. One day, as we were buying a home for a poor family, a policeman approached us, and after introducing himself he said, "I see you do good, I have heard of you, and many say you are sent of God, if ever you have the opportunity please come visit the village I work in, the village of Corjauti, you have never met poorer people than in that village, and there are alot of Christians there."
Ever since that day, this village was at the forefront of my thoughts, but each time I would try to go, something always came up, a new emergency that had to be dealt with that day, and I continued to put it off. We had received some funds for food packages, and after asking the newly arrived team what they felt they needed to accomplish while in Romania, and hearing them say they wanted to help the poor, we set about making food packages, and I knew in my heart it was time to go to Corjauti.
When we arrived I realized the reason for the urgency I felt in visiting this place, seeing the poverty of the entire village, and hearing from those that had gathered that they had no land, nor were there any jobs to be had. When we told them the reason for our being there, the floodgates of joy opened, and no one in the group that had gathered were able to contain themselves. The children began to sing songs, and the older people began to cry saying, "God has surely remembered us this day! Blessed be His name!"
In all of their joy for having received the much needed food, some were also given Bibles, and I noticed that once they had a Bible in their hands it seemed that everything else became less important. They seemed to forget about the food, and held the word of God with reverence, fascinated by this gift.
We stopped to visit the home of the local pastor, but he was not there, and we left a package with his wife and children. It had been an awesome day, seeing the hungry being fed both spiritually and physically, and we left the village of Corjuati overjoyed.
That night as I arrived home, I received a telephone call from a man who was crying on the other end of the line. It was Pastor Andrei, the pastor of the church in Corjauti, who hadn't been home when we went to visit. "Sister, be blessed of God," he began, "I have something very important to tell you. What God did for us through you, is greater than you will ever know. It isn't only that you brought the food, but its that through what you did God fulfilled a word our church received a few months ago. Our faith has been strengthened, and we know that God will never let us down. A few months ago, our entire village was in such desperation that we began to fast and pray to God asking Him to show His mercy toward us. One Sunday morning a word was given through an elderly sister in our congregation, and it said, 'My hand is over you, and soon I will pass through your village and leave a blessing as a sign that I have heard your prayers. God kept His promise sister, do you understand? God kept his promise."
I told Pastor Andrei I understood, and I knew that was the way God worked, He is always faithful.
"My wife didn't want to tell you," Pastor Andrei continued, "but I was away trying to get some work as a day laborer, because we had eaten the last of our food the night before, and had nothing to feed our children with, or any money to buy it. That's why I wasn't home today. God has shown me what it means to trust him. Our entire church will go on a month long fast for your ministry and for all those that help you do this wonderful work, thank you again."
By the time he was done speaking, I was wiping tears from my eyes. The goodness of our God is without limits, and He hears the prayers of everyone of His children. In our most trying moments, in those instances of utter desperation, He is there, and in due time, He is faithful.
Compelled by Compassion
We had gone to visit the village of Popenii Mici, to drop off the monthly sponsorship for some families living in that village, and as we were walking down a mud alley toward the car, having visited the last of the families on our list, we heard the pained voice of a woman calling after us.
"Please stop, please come to my home too." We turned in unison and saw a woman standing in the middle of the alley, crying and motioning for us to go to her. We knew we couldn't just walk away, and seeing the tears streaming down the woman's cheeks compelled us to follow her into her home.
"I am not a believer," Maria Stoian began, "but my husband and three children are. My husband is always telling me that undeserving as I am God would one day show me His mercy, and by this reveal His love to me. I know I don't deserve your kindness, I know you have nothing to gain from helping me, but I know that God cares even for those like me. You see how we live," she said, motioning to the mud hut we had to crouch in order to enter, "we have light only if it is day out, and we have warmth only if the sun is shining. God only knows how many times we've gone to bed hungry, the food in our dreams being the only food we'd see for days. With all this, my husband still believes, and now I must too for I see you in my home, I see you did not turn your back to our desperation.
We left a food package, a sack of potatoes, and a sack of corn flour, all that we had left in the car, with the Stoian family. And by the time we left the entire family had tears of joy in their eyes. It seemed even the scrawny dog that called their yard home sensed the joy in the air, chasing his tail barking, even walking up to the sack of corn flour and cautiously sniffing it.
Sometimes God calls us to make an extra effort, to stop and hear the voices of those pleading for hope, and it is well worth it. It is hard to imagine such situations, but they exist, and those that are suffering are real people, with real hurts, and real pain. May God continue to have mercy on the Stoian family, and may He give us open hearts.
Hand of Help Staff
For Them It's Different
The holidays are back again, a time when most gather with family and friends, in festive attire, putting up lights, and carving turkeys. For those in need however, it is very different, a time when their helplessness is intensified all the more. When we speak of those in need, we must realize there are different levels of need. The needy we speak of, the needy on whose behalf we labor, are naked children shivering from the cold, hungry children who look at their parents as though asking what they did to deserve such hunger.
If in other families the holidays are anticipated with enthusiasm all that the poor can anticipate and hope for is the mercy of God, parents praying they will have enough corn bread to go around so at least every child gets a piece.
It is with a broken heart that I share these things with you, because these are the circumstances I come across every day. It never gets any easier seeing a hungry child, or an elderly couple not having any food to put on the table as they sit down for dinner, encouraging each other with the hope that God will soon hear their cries.
Some of the images are so heart wrenching that they follow me into my sleeping hours, causing me to wake up and pray for God to give me the strength, and the possibility to do something for all those that I come across.
Although I would like to say the situation has gotten better in Romania, it has gotten worse. The poor continue to get poorer, and the suffering is reaching a level I have never seen before. I meet mothers with nine and ten month old children that look as though they are three months old, and when I ask them what they've been feeding their babies, they answer beans and potatoes. At first I would get angry and chastise them asking why they don't breastfeed, but after hearing the same answer from ten different women, namely one has to eat in order to produce milk, I realized the desperation these mothers must be going through. We go to villages and pass out loaves of bread, and some of the children stare at it as though they haven't seen bread in ages. This is the environment in which we work, and I could only imagine what it would be like without your prayers and sacrificial support. You are a blessing to more people than you will ever know.
Our desire for this upcoming season is to do what we've always done, and help as many families as we can with what the Lord provides. It would be a wonderful blessing to be able to make food packages once more, and distribute them to those in need. Due to the declining value of the dollar, and a spike in prices, a food package now costs us approximately $25, and our hope is to make and distribute at least 2500 packages during the month of December. I ask only that you keep this work and this project in your prayers.
Through the Fire
Sudden and horrible tragedy befell the Bolea Viorel family from the village of Horia. They were poor before the event that forever changed their lives took place, now they have absolutely nothing.
One evening as the family came home from working in the field, they lit a candle, had what little food they were able to purchase with the day's wages, and went to sleep. Thinking that someone else would blow out the candle by which they'd eaten, none of the family members did it, and the candle continued to burn well into the night. As the wax continued to melt, the candle began to skew to one side, finally falling off the wooden table on the straw covered floor below. Being dry, the straw quickly caught fire, and all nine members suffered burns to a lesser or greater degree. The mother suffered the worst, having third degree burns over forty percent of her body, burns she suffered while trying to carry her children out of the burning home.
Viorel, the father suffered burns over a large area of his body, as he attempted to save his children also. When we visited the Bolea family, the father began to weep, and said, "I feel as though this is my fault, if we had just a little more we could have had electricity, and none of this would have happened. My family has no home, I have no one to turn to, what will I do now?"
With winter only weeks away, the Bolea family has no home, and they are fearful of what will become of them if they don't find shelter before the first snowfall. This family needs our help, and our prayers, that God would be faithful in their time of desperation. Like so many others, all they have left is hope in God, and His faithful servants. Please keep this need in your prayers.
Hand of Help Staff
It is a continuation of the work that God has entrusted, and mandated us to do, a fulfillment of all His promises, and we are ever grateful and thankful for His faithfulness and yours. God continues to require us to step out in faith, and believe, bringing new needs to our attention, new families on the edge of despair into our lives, new requests for churches, and more requests for Bibles. Your obedience and dedication to the work of God, continues to bring hope into the lives of those whose last hope is in Him, and we are daily amazed at how God does the impossible. Whether its homes, Bibles, cows, clothing, food or churches, we continue to meet individual needs, and be the vessel that God uses to answer prayers. We will continue to press on, we will continue to labor for as long as God requires, for it is in obedience that our reward is found. We press on tirelessly, for the goal is in sight, that prize of immeasurable worth that is God's promise to all of His Children. All glory and honor be to God for all that has been done, and all that we are yet to do.
Hand of Help Staff
They Gladly Pay the Price!
When the Sanduleac family chose to receive God in their lives, and believe in Jesus Christ as their personal Lord and Savior, they never imagined that for this reason they would be abandoned by both family and loved ones. On the contrary, they believed the seven children they had raised together, the children they had sacrificed their entire lives for, would come to know and serve the Lord just as they had.
It was in the twilight years of their lives, standing at the threshold of eternity that God's love reached out to Elisei and Margareta Sanduleac. Elisei is eighty-seven years old, and Margareta just turned eighty-two. Neither had heard the gospel until one day as they were returning from market in their horse drawn cart, they happened to pass by a church, and the singing inside compelled them to walk in and listen. "After the singing concluded," Elisei shared with us, "a man began to speak of a love so great that God sent down His Son to die for our sins. Both my wife and I began to cry, and we knew we had to receive this gift of salvation that the man was talking about."
They gave their lives to God, and with a zeal born of first love they went to their family and friends and began to tell them of Jesus and His love. Rather than receiving, their entire family shunned them, all seven of their children refusing to speak to them, or visit.
When we went to visit the Sanduleac family, the joy on their face was indescribable, they asked us to join them for lunch, offering us the best they had, goat cheese and some dark bread. We spent a long time at the Sanduleac home, and each time we tried to leave, they asked us to stay just a little while longer. "You are our new family," Margareta said, wiping tears from her weathered face, "we know that we will never be alone."
With all that this family has gone through, they are thankful to God for having revealed His love to them. "All we have left is God," Elisei said, "our family, our friends, have all abandoned us, but God is sufficient. We have found that treasure of great price that the Bible speaks of, and we gladly pay the price, whatever the cost may be."
Please keep the Sanduleac family in your prayers, as they walk the path of salvation together, and remember always, that some sacrifice all for the privilege of being a child of God, and joyfully so.
Brother's Keeper Hand of Help
Whenever I write an article, it is usually to address a great need we have, something we are lacking, or help we need in a specific area. Although needs still abound both here at the orphanage, and throughout Romania, God already knows the needs, and has already prepared the way for these needs to be met. Today I would like to take the opportunity to say something I've been told I don't say nearly enough, namely thank you. You will never know the gratitude I have in my heart toward God for being faithful, and toward you for being obedient, and helping us care for these 120 children, as well as the countless families we help every month. It is an ongoing process, with new bills every month, and new needs every day. On behalf of all the children, the families, and the employees here in Romania, thank you for standing with us throughout this year, thank you for being faithful, and for opening your hearts and showing the love of Jesus in your actions. May you be blessed of God, and may His love and mercy be ever present in your lives.
Recently I met a young man with whom I had attended High School. It was a chance meeting, but a pleasant one and as we began to talk and share where our lives had taken us these past twelve years, I realized just how chaotic a life can be if Christ is not its foundation. He had already gone through one divorce, and although he had a career now, he was unhappy and uncertain concerning his future.
I sat and listened to him for twenty minutes, then abruptly he stopped and smiling he asked, "what about you, are you happy in your life, what do you do now?"
What I did when I was in school I answered him. I'm still a small part of a work that helps the helpless, and it's the most rewarding thing I've ever done. I have no regrets, nor do I look back on my life and wonder what could have been.
Meeting this young man after such a long time got me to thinking about all the servants of God that came before this generation. All who were called to sacrifice not only their time, or their talents, but often times called to sacrifice their lives. Of all the men I've known who have suffered for God, of all the stories I've read concerning those of the past, I have yet to meet one, or read about one that regretted their decision to follow Christ. I have yet to come across a single line in a book, where a man in retrospect looked back on his life, and said 'it wasn't worth the sacrifice.' It is a great thing to know that we do not labor in vain, that indeed it is not in this life only that we have hope in Christ, but that one-day, we will be with Him in glory.
All who have come before us, all who have been called to sacrifice for the cause of Christ, knew this above all else, that one day they would hear the voice of God say, "well done good and faithful servant, enter into the joy of your Lord." More precious words will never be spoken, in this age or the age to come.
Once again we are on the threshold of celebrating the birth of the Savior, a time that would be well spent by all God's children to look back on their lives and truly realize all that God has done for them. All the blessings, and provisions that He has bestowed upon us over the years, the strength He has given us in our weakness and the peace He has poured into our hearts in our times of turmoil.
A life lived without Christ, indeed is a life filled with regrets, a life without purpose or fulfillment, a life without direction. I pray this day as one, we realize the true and immeasurable worth of salvation, and all that God has done for us. Yes, this is a season of celebration for most, but may we celebrate that which is truly worth celebrating.
We continue to labor for the cause of Christ, knowing that we will receive our just reward for all we do in His name. This has been a busy year, having spent more than ten months on the road, but looking back, I wouldn't trade one day for anything this world has to offer. I've met so many brothers and sisters in Christ, who have forever been grafted onto my heart, whose prayers I covet, as I do yours.
God continues to grow this ministry, and He has allowed us to help more families, build more homes, churches, and meet more needs than ever before. Equally gratifying is the countless souls who recommitted their lives to God, who stirred from their slumber and realized that God requires total commitment, and He will settle for nothing less. It is you who make this ministry possible, and for having made you co-laborers with us in this work I am forever grateful to the Father above.
Enclosed please find our gift to you, a reminder of just some of those whose prayers God answered through your selflessness, and obedience to His voice. May you be blessed of God, and may you always know the joy that you've brought into the lives of so many. As long as God would have us here, as long as it is still day, we must redeem the time, and be tireless in showing the love, salvation, and compassion of Christ to everyone.
With love in Christ,
Michael Boldea Jr.