|March/April 2005 Newsletter|
My name is Donisan Petrea, and today, March 15, 2005 is one of the happiest days of my life. I have no words that can describe the gratitude I feel toward God, and those at Hand of Help for the miracle they made happen in my life. Almost one year ago I came to Hand of Help and shared my need with them, the fact that I needed a prosthetic arm, and there was no way I could afford to purchase one.
Within a couple of months, I was given the money for the arm, and went to the only company I knew of in Romania to place an order. They took my order, and the money but they warned me in advance that there were allot of people waiting for their prosthesis, and it would be a few months before I got mine. It took longer than anticipated, but finally one day I got a card in the mail, saying my order was ready to be picked up.
In the interim, many things have changed in my life. One of the greatest things is that I got married, and soon my wife and I are expecting our firstborn. Although my wife also suffers from a disability with her legs, we pray every night that our baby is born healthy and normal.
I will never forget the good deed that was done on my behalf, and I will never stop praying for everyone that remembered me in my time of difficulty. This is my oath to God.
What had once been a problem only the capitol city of Bucharest was forced to deal with, has now spread to every town in Romania. Every day we see more and more children walking the streets, asking if they can wash the windshield for some spare change, the look of constant hunger in their eyes betraying the fact that it has been days, for some even weeks since they've had a decent meal.
These are children that receive no help from the state, abandoned by their parents, doomed to roam the city streets, many falling victims to the predators that see them as easy prey.
Such was the case of the Petrea children, who were abandoned by their mother after their father's untimely death. One day, she just packed her belongings and walked out of the house, leaving her five children to fend for themselves. This is how all five of the Petrea siblings came to reside at the Hand of Help orphanage.
They are too young to comprehend why they are in the care of strangers, or why their mother isn't there anymore. How can we explain the circumstances to one such as Abel, who is only nineteen months old, when he calls out for his mother? All we can really do is hold him, and hug him, and try to keep our own tears at bay. Although we've cared for a multitude of abandoned children, it never gets any easier.
Asking why things are this way has become a pointless endeavor, because things are as they are, and our duty is to do our part in trying to alleviate as much of the suffering as we can. A better question, one we often ask ourselves in retrospect, is where would these children be, what would have become of them if God had not prepared us for this task?
It is a difficult question to answer, but one thing is certain, these children are now safe, and with the help of God we bring them back from the brink of starvation and death.
Most of the children that have been brought to us lately, have had to undergo an emergency diet, where they spend at least a week in our nursing ward, being fed intravenously, until they are strong enough to consume solid foods.
It is never easy, and it is difficult bringing these children back to health, but we thank God for being faithful.
It is a difficult time for us, being faced with more need than ever before, and all we can do is ask that you pray that God would provide the necessary sponsors for these children.
May God bless you and greatly reward you for all you do in His name, and may He reach out in your time of need as you reach out to those without hope.
Hand of Help Staff
The ones who suffer
Hardship and suffering have become a way of life for most people in Romania, but those who endure the most are young, and the elderly. Only God knows why, but when God said while on earth you would have trials and hardships, only He knew what was to come. Great hardship befell the Balonas family as well, when the mother of eleven passed away, ad the father who was an alcoholic sold everything of value he possessed and drank all the proceeds. When the children would ask for food he would beat them, so much so that the neighbors grew alarmed and felt they had to intervene.
One day a few neighboring families came and took some of the children to live with them, but there were still four children for whom they could not find a safe place.
Someone in the village had heard about Hand of Help, and so one morning we were greeted at the gate by the four Balonas siblings, and an elderly man who simply said, "if you don't take them, they will die. Either by their father's hand, or from starvation, these children will die if you don't help."
We had no choice but to take them in, and in less than a week, we added nine more members to the ever expanding, Hand of Help Family. Nine extra mouths to feed three times a day, nine extra beds, and nine new personalities to understand and embrace. Nine more lives that were saved, nine more souls that will hear of Christ's love and have a chance at living a normal life.
As with the Petrea children, please remember the Balonas children in your prayers, that God would provide what is needed to continue keeping them safe.
There is much pain here, much need and suffering, and if God's children don't reach out their hand to help, who else will look upon these children with mercy? Thank you for remembering this work in your prayers.
Hand of Help Staff
Please do not pass me by!
As we walked down the icy road, having left the home of a family we sponsor on a monthly basis in the village of Darabani, we heard the voice of the pleading woman through the howling wind. So intense was her voice that we stopped in unison, and tried to find the source. The voice did not relent, but rather intensified and continued in the same mournful tone, 'please do not pass me by, please help me, my baby is starving. I have nowhere to go, no one I can turn to, and my five month old by is slowly dying in my arms."
We finally saw Maria Petru, a mother of three clutching her bundled up baby to her chest, standing in the snow, following us with her eyes. "I know you help my neighbors, please I beg you help us, I have no milk for my baby, and all my little girls have eaten for the past month were potatoes, and we've run out of those this week. We haven't had firewood with which to heat our home in a month, and there is nothing I can do."
We knew we had to help this family, and do it immediately in order to avoid a tragedy. The little girls looked weak and hungry, and the mother could barely stand on her feet.
We left the rest of the food we'd brought with us, and returned that day to bring the Petru family a goat.
Upon our return we sat down with Maria and she told us of her trials and heartaches. It is not for lack of hard work that they've come to possess nothing, but due to a string of unfortunate events in their lives. They had worked for a man for four years, whom they allowed to keep the money they earned, so when they had finally amassed enough, they could buy a home. "This way, with him keeping the money" Maria said, "we knew we wouldn't be tempted to spend it." A month before their contract with him was due to expire, the man died in a car accident, and his family refused to pay what was owed to the Petru family. They returned to their home village after four years of labor, poorer than they had left, and settled in the crumbling family home that is ready to collapse any day now.
"My husband is a hard worker," Maria continued, "and during the summer it is easy to find a job as a day laborer, but in the winter there is nothing to do. He tries so hard, and it breaks my heart to see him crying because he feels he's let us down."
Please remember the Petru Andrei family in your prayers they need our help in fixing up their home, as well as in the basic necessities of life such as food and clothing. We serve a great God, who is able to do great things through His beloved servants.
The Trials of Life
I do not know what will come of this, or why I've written these words, but I look at my two little girls and realize I do not want them to suffer as I have suffered. Even my wife, who was raised in an orphanage after her mother passed was not spared from hardship in this life, and if today we continue to press on, it is only for the love we have for our children. Looking at them, seeing the innocence on their faces, and the hope in their eyes makes me hope in a better tomorrow, and compels me to do all that I can to make a future for them.
I do not remember moments of joy in my life as some do, for even before I was able to speak my life was beset with hardship. When I was six months old my parents abandoned me and a merciful old widow raised me in our village. When I was old enough I went in search of my parents, finally getting to meet my father, but never getting to see my mother.
All I have in this world are my wife, and my two girls, and although I've labored since early childhood all I've been able to do was survive. I have no great expectations of this life, just a piece of land where I can grow my food, and a home where I can rest my head, and thank God.
Now having reached the age of thirty, I desire more than anything to offer my children a future, to give them a home, something my wife and I have never had. I know that God has people whose hearts are open to the poor, and I pray God open the right heart toward my family and I. All I can offer in return is my undying service to God, and the daily prayers of my family on your behalf. I thank you for all my heart for reading this letter, and doing as the Lord leads you to do.
The Damian Florin Family
The Christmas Container
By now, many of you may be wondering why there have been no pictures with the Hand of Help orphanage Christmas gifts in our newsletter. For the first time since we've started shipping containers to Romania, we had a serious problem with the shipping line that was supposed to deliver the container to Botosani Romania, no later than December 19.
Although we'd heard of other ministries having problems with their containers we've been spared this trial until now. For some time, we were told our container could not be located, that the paperwork had gotten lost, and we should not be expecting it to arrive. Finally on March first, it was discovered that the container was in port, fully intact, but two and a half months late. As we write this, the container has finally been delivered, and in the next issue of the newsletter, the sponsors can expect to see the children receiving their presents. We apologize for the delay, and pray you understand it was beyond our control. We are just grateful that it arrived intact and the shipment was not lost.
Hand of Help Staff
If we could sum up the past months in a few short words, it would be more children, new children, and more requests from the Child Protective Services to take in whole families than we are able to accommodate. The growing number of children in the Hand of Help orphanage is not only a blessing to us, but also a testament to the faithfulness and love of God.
It has not been easy with the falling dollar and the prices of food inching higher day by day, but by the mercy of God, we have made it thus far. Those who have seen our financial statements, and know how much it costs to run the orphanage, simply shake their heads and say, 'it's a miracle, the fact that you take in more children every day, and are still able to feed and clothe them, is a miracle.'
Knowing that we serve a God of miracles, all we can do is thank Him for His goodness. There is only one clear direction, only one way we can go, and that is forward. He who knows all things, and is in control of all things will by no means let us down.
Knowing that we are in your prayers, and we think of you as family, we share the hardships with which we are faced, believing that if we lift our voices to God as one He will do great things.
The orphanage is still in need of new windows, and there is only $600 that has been designated for that purpose. If the windows were better, our heat bill wouldn't be so large during the cold months. This spring, we will also need to repaint the walls, and do a thorough cleaning of the entire building.
Footwear has become a problem ever since the law does not allow us to ship shoes from the States. We are forced to purchase shoes from Romania, and we ask that you pray for the finances necessary for this as well. There are many needs, but these are at the top of the list.
As for our part, we strive to economize and be frugal, trying to grow as much of the food ourselves, and if there is ever more than we can use, there are countless souls that are thankful for an extra meal.
Our heavenly Father knows better than we can articulate all the needs with which we are faced, and knowing that He is able, we must trust in His faithfulness. Please do not cease remembering this work in your prayers, as we remember you in ours, hoping that one day we will rejoice together and receive our just reward for the obedience we show toward His voice.
May God reward you for all your efforts on behalf of this work, and give you peace in this time of great turmoil.
Although I usually resign myself to one article on the back page every month, these past few months have been so exciting from a spiritual standpoint, that I felt compelled to write and share with you, all the wonderful things God has been doing.
As most of you know, while the work is being done in Romania, we have a team here in the US that works just as tirelessly to fulfill all that this ministry has been called to do. I have been on tour for the better part of eight months, traveling throughout the US, but the past couple months have been the busiest of all.
Recently I went on a six city tour for a friend and the venue was very different than what I have become accustomed to. These meetings were not held in churches, but rather in hotel conference rooms, and those in attendance were from various denominations, while some having no Christian background just came out of curiosity.
I know that God has called me to preach, and I have never doubted my calling. However, often times, and I know anyone who has ever preached a sermon can attest to this, one wonders if the words God is putting on his heart are having any impact on those that are listening. One can't help but wonder if any seeds were planted, if indeed there will be fruit from the labors put forth.
The messages God put on my heart during these meetings were not sugar coated messages by any means, but at every meeting I saw that those in attendance did not take offense, rather the hand of God was visible as it pierced the hearts, and brought tears of repentance to many.
There are many wonderful experiences I would like to share with you from this tour, but one that stands out in my mind was of a young man that came up to me after the Detroit meeting, tears welling up in his eyes, and said, "I want to know Jesus, I just came to this meeting because I was curious, I don't know God, and I want to know Him."
This one young man, made the entire four thousand miles we'd driven that week worth it. Suddenly my back wasn't sore anymore, I wasn't tired, and my throat wasn't hurting. I realized at that moment there was joy in heaven. The fruit was self evident, and it was a great time of strengthening for me, seeing those willing to hear the truth, and be obedient to the word of God.
My prayer today, is that you never miss an opportunity to share Jesus, even with one the world deems unworthy or beyond help. Jesus died for us all, He shed His blood on the cross, that we might all obtain redemption. Knowing the precious treasure that we hold in our hearts, knowing the love that we feel every day, having that priceless hope of the life to come, I pray we realize there are still those who search for that which we already possess. Every soul is precious to God every one deserves to hear the good news of Jesus while they may yet choose life.
Michael Boldea Jr.
God has blessed me with an understanding wife. If it were not so, I could not do what I do. I am on the road most of the time, and when I do get to spend a night in my own bed, I toss and turn thinking about the next trip we are about to embark on and how many hours it will take to get there.
The first week of March we were in California, and after preaching in a friend's church that Sunday night, we returned to our hotel to pack for the flight the next morning. Throughout the day my wife had been on my heart, and I felt more than a little guilty knowing that I would get home that Monday night, pack, and Tuesday be off again for a ten day speaking tour.
That night as I went to bed I prayed for God to keep my wife safe, as I do every night, and fell into a restless sleep. As I slept, I had a dream.
I dreamt I was asleep when suddenly I felt a presence in my room. I opened my eyes, to see a man standing by my bedside, hands at his side, looking down at me. I was not scared, for I had seen the man in my dreams many times before. I sat up and waited for the man to speak.
"The Father has sent me to strengthen you," he began. "You have said in your heart, 'I know what is to come and do not fear it, but if it be your will, protect the one I love."
"Come, see, and be strengthened," the man said extending his right hand. I took his hand, and instantly we were on a high plateau that was very large in size. As I looked and my eyes began to adjust to the dusk, I realized we were not alone. A great army was standing at attention, all dressed for battle, swords in hand, each one glowing it seemed from within. There were rows, upon rows of angels, in armor, in perfect formation. It was a stunning sight to behold. I was speechless as I scanned the great army, extending as far as the eye could see.
Suddenly the man standing next to me gave an almost imperceptible nod, and the entire army ascended toward the heavens, like a million fireflies, and began to disperse each one going his own way.
Still too stunned to speak I followed the lights with my eyes, until I could see them no more. Before I could ask any questions, the man looked at me and smiled.
"They are the guardians," he said, "they are the protectors of the righteous. Soon all will see the difference between the righteous and the wicked, between those pure of heart and those in which darkness still resides. Soon it begins."
As he spoke these words, the ground began to shake under my feet, and I heard a powerful explosion to my left, then another to my right. As I woke up, I could feel a searing heat on my face.
I share this dream today, in the hope that it will strengthen you as much as it has strengthened me. As children of God we should not fear that which is to come upon the earth. We are His beloved, and the angels of God have already been dispatched, to protect His Children.
Our duty remains what it has always been, to daily do the will of God, to daily crucify the flesh, and daily press in and desire to know more of Him.
Psalm 34:7, "The angel of he Lord encamps all around those who fear Him, and delivers them."
With love in Christ,
Michael Boldea Jr.