|May/June 2005 Newsletter|
The edge of Despair
The weeping woman had called again, for the fifth time that week the pleading voice on the other end of the line so sorrowful that it would make a heart of stone melt. "Please help us, there is no one else, please help," she pleaded, and once again we tried to explain that the roads leading into her village was flooded and we would come as soon as the rains stopped.
When we finally caught a break in the weather, and the waters had receded, we drove to the home of the Plesca family in Ibanesti Dorohoi, and what we found made our hearts weep with sorrow. We had brought some food and clothing, but the help they really needed we were unable to provide at the time. It is not the first time this has happened, but it was never promised us that working for God would be an easy endeavor.
One can't help but suffer along with those who suffer, and the Plesca family comprised of 10 souls is indeed suffering and they need our help. One can only take a cursory glance at their home to realize they need everything. Their most immediate need however is $400 to complete the paperwork on a home they spent their life savings to purchase.
For a time the man who sold them the house refused to complete the paperwork, attempting to blackmail the Plesca family into giving him more money, but now the man has taken ill and wants to sign over the title. The cost of the notary and the legal fees of this transaction is $400, but when one does not have food to put on the table for nights on end, the sum is simply unattainable.
As with many families in need it is evident that that Plesca family is a hard working one, but twelve hours a day of backbreaking labor in the current economic climate, merely brings you within reach of survival.
I pray God would intervene and bring about this miracle in the lives of the Plesca family, and by His grace provide for their needs. May God be merciful.
The fact that tragedy strikes when you least expect it is true of every nation in the world including Romania. Just as the nation was starting to breathe a sigh of relief that another heavy winter was behind them, torrential rains blanketed most of the country wreaking havoc on villages and cities alike. Floods mercilessly swept away lifelong labors, and those that escaped the floods had to contend with landslides.
The total tally of the devastation is not yet known, but what is certain is that the number of homeless and desperate people has increased throughout the nation of Romania exponentially. Thousands of people narrowly escaped the waters with only the clothing on their backs, and they returned to find only mud and brick where their homes once stood.
As much as we would like to help every one of them, our possibilities are limited. May God guide our steps, that we may reach those to whom He would have us extend a hand of help. We do all that we can, and trust that God in His infinite goodness and wisdom will do the rest. May His will be done, and may we be obedient upon hearing His voice.
Hand of Help Staff
No Greater Joy!
The heavens rejoiced, the angels celebrated and we celebrated along with them, for the 31 new additions to the family of God. It was an especially joyous occasion for the Hand of Help family, because of the 31 new souls who received water baptism, and committed their lives into the hands of a faithful God five of them call the orphanage home. Raluca Anton, Georgiana Miron, Luciana Botez, Alina Luchian, and Mona one of our kitchen cooks, chose to receive the greatest gift of all, salvation.
It was a blessed day for the Messiah church, for Hand of Help, and for heaven itself. Praise be to God for moments such as these.
Hand of Help Staff
Through The Fire
Some say that hardships always come in pairs, that if you have one trial in your life expect to have another shortly. Although it is merely an old wives tale, this was the case with the Mihai family of Radauti Prut.
Their story was so sad, and bordering on unbelievable, that I took the time to ask around and realized with great sadness that every word was true. All that had been told to me had indeed happened.
The trials and tribulations of the Mihai family started some two years ago, when Ioan Mihai was falsely accused of a crime and was sentenced to two years of prison. He had been hired as a guard at a complex, and during his shift some objects of value were stolen. Since they had no one to blame, they blamed the guard, and when the case came before the judge he was sentenced without having his side heard, or even having retained a lawyer.
Just a few months after his sentencing, the Mihai family home suddenly catches fire one night, and Elena, the mother, barely escapes the flames with her two children in tow. Before she could process what is happening, everything they owned including their clothing was nothing more than ash.
"It was terrifying" Elena Mihai recounted "everyone was asleep one instant, then the next we are watching our life's labors go up in flames. I doubt I will ever get over the shock of it all. I still dream about it at night and wake up short of breath. If God does not help us, I fear my family will never have a home again. For now we are at the mercy of our neighbors, moving from home to home when they feel they've been kind enough. I understand they have their own lives to live, and many of them can barely feed their own families."
The Mihai family is in need of $2000 to bring their home back to a livable condition. We helped as much as circumstances allowed, and asked Elena to pray, for only God can do what seems impossible to man. Please remember the Mihai family in your prayers.
A letter of Thanks
I can't stop thanking God. When I wake up in the morning I thank Him, before I go to sleep at night I thank Him again, and throughout the day prayers of thanks are on my lips constantly. What God has done for my family defied the imagination of all those around me. God gave me a home, one that I could call my own, and it seems that all the pain and despair has been swept away by this joy.
Even when everyone said we were worthless, and accursed, we had been abandoned by the God we so loyally serve, I knew in my heart that our Father is faithful. He does not look upon us and love us on the basis of what we possess on this earth, or what noble bloodline we are from, but whether or not we retain His truth in our hearts, and love Him for His saving grace.
My husband, my children and I now have a place to rest our heads, and know without doubt that it was a gift from God. I thank you with tears in my eyes as I write this, from the bottom of my heart, and pray that God bless all who bring such joy into the lives of those like my family. Everyone knows you are God's vessels, which He uses as a beacon of hope, and simply seeing God do great things gives others a reason to trust and hope in Him. May God bless you as you have blessed my family and I, for if you truly knew what you have done for us, you would understand there is no greater blessing save one, salvation. Thank you.
To many God's ways are a mystery, yet those who are His children learn to trust, knowing that He knows best. I have learned over the course of 20 years in ministry that if God has a plan, then circumstances, distance, and probability can no longer be taken into account. God fulfills His plans in the most amazing of ways, and this was the case with the Cojocariu family.
What we believed would be a normal day of passing out food and clothing, turned out to be a miracle. We were in the village of Trusesti, delivering some money and other essentials to a group of families, when we got lost. We drove through town a few times, and finally decided to stop and ask for directions. The only place of business in the village was a small shack that served as the convenience store, and as I walked in I noticed a mother and two children standing in line to purchase some items.
By the way she was dressed, and by her countenance, I realized she was a Christian, and that she was poor. As she stood there counting coins to pay for some food for her children, I realized she needed help.
I approached her, and we began to talk, and it turned out that she was just passing through this village on her way home, fifty kilometers away. She had no means of transport, and was counting on the kindness of strangers to give her a ride to her village. It didn't take long to realize that the reason we got lost, was because I had to meet Elena Cojocariu, mother of 13 children, two of which are mentally challenged, living in such an isolated village that I had never heard of it.
She has a cow, but no land, and no means of support for her large family. God blessed our meeting, and we gave her a couple food packages, some clothes, as well as a ride to her home. We realized the Cojocariu family needed more help then we could give them at the present time, and we encouraged them to pray, and if it be God's will we would meet again. Please remember this family in your prayers, and if the Lord leads in any way, it would be a true blessing for them.
Without a home
"We were never rich" Mitica Racu of Radauti Prut writes us, "but we have never been in as desperate a situation as we are now. Both my wife and I are unwell health wise, and with great sadness we look upon our six children and wonder what will become of us. Our strength is limited and with much hardship we earn our daily bread. Only God knows how many times we've gone to sleep hungry, yet we hope in the face of hopelessness that the sun will break through the dark clouds that have settled over our family, and we will once more know joy.
We labored, and saved for most of our lives before we could buy a small home. Not having the money for the paperwork on the transfer of title, we thought we could work another year then legalize the papers. In the meantime however, the man who sold us the house died, and this is where our trials began. The man's surviving family members either did not believe, or did not care that we had paid for the home, and having no legal documentation that we were the rightful owners they came and threw us out. For many years now we have not had a place to live, but now that my wife and I have taken ill, things have gotten complicated.
I kept looking toward heaven, asking God what I should do, or whom I should turn to, knowing that only He was able to direct my path. Finally one day, as I was walking toward work, I ran into an old friend, who upon hearing my story gave me the answer I had been searching for.
"Don't be discouraged," he said, "God has His people, and He has helped me through them as well. Go to Hand of Help in Botosani, tell them of your trials, and I am more than certain that God will use them."
I do not have the money to travel to you, and this is why I write. I do not know how much a house costs nowadays, but what I know is that God has brought me thus far He will use you. All I can do is offer up my humble prayers to God, that He work as He sees fit. Please have mercy on my family, and do what the Lord leads.
Currently we are living in a small room in a church, which would be cramped for four people, never mind eight. Thank you for reading this letter, and for doing what God lays on your heart to do.
Radauti Prut Romania
(The price of a home in that region of the country is currently $3000) Hand of Help Staff
The orphanage was abuzz; the children whispered with smiles on their faces, and even those too young to understand what was happening knew that something special was taking place. The container had arrived, the gifts had been offloaded, and this was the day they would receive their presents, something they had been anticipating for months now.
It was a happy day for all at Hand of Help, the children having received more presents this year than any year before.
Some ran to their rooms to try on the new clothing they had received, while others sat in the dining hall meticulously going over every item in their package, smiles broad on their innocent faces. May God bless all those that took the time, and extended such a great love toward the children at the Hand of Help orphanage.
We have more than enough items in the Watertown warehouse to ship another container, but are currently lacking the finances to do so. Please pray with us that God would provide what is necessary to ship this container shortly.
The Romanian government no longer accepts used shoes, or used baby clothes. We apologize for this latest development, but it is beyond our control. New baby clothing, and new shoes are accepted and welcomed, please keep this in mind as you ship packages in the future.
Once again, thank you for continuing to bring smiles to the faces of our children, and being faithful in al that God asks.
Hand of Help Staff
It seems that in the midst of a trial, often times we fail to see the mercy and goodness of God. We concentrate so intently on the hardship that we don't realize it could have been much worse, and only the grace of God saw us through safe and unharmed. God never promised us a life absent of trials or setbacks, but He did promise that He would be faithful throughout, always there, standing with us holding our hand.
I woke up that morning feeling odd. It was early, a little before dawn, and we had a drive of close to three hundred miles to our first meeting of the day in Illinois. Throughout the drive I kept trying to push the feeling to the back of my mind, but it continued to linger.
We arrived to the church on time, and had a great time in the Lord, and set off for our next meeting in Indiana. The feeling of something imminent continued to intensify, but we had made a promise to be at the meeting, and so pressed on.
The second meeting went well, and we were on our way home, driving through the Indiana countryside on a rural road, only a mile away from the interstate, when suddenly I saw a deer standing in the road. It did not move, I had no time to swerve, and although I applied the breaks we still hit the deer at roughly fifty miles per hour.
The instant it happened two conflicting thoughts raced through my mind. First, thank God we are still alive, and second why would God allow this to happen?
The truth is that every one of us must go through trials, and it took a few minutes to realize that even in the midst of it, God was with us. Neither Geno or myself had a scratch, the airbags did not deploy, and the car was still in good enough shape to get us home.
The officer who showed up a few minutes later shook his head and said, "at that speed it should have been allot worse. People have died hitting deer at thirty miles an hour around here, never mind fifty."
It is easy to trust God when everything is going our way, but often God wants to see if we trust Him in spite of our circumstances, if we will remain as faithful as He is, simply because He is our Father, and He knows best.
No matter what trials come our way, one thing is certain, our heavenly Father will always be faithful, watching over us, perfecting His will in our lives even in the midst of our trials. There is much to be thankful for this day, looking back at all the close calls, and near misses, all the times it could have been allot worse but due to His grace we walked away unharmed.
Your prayers are coveted, both by myself and the ministry of Hand of Help. It is not an easy road we travel, but with a faithful God as our refuge we know that we are more than conquerors, come what may.
May the peace and joy of our heavenly Father guide your hearts in these uncertain times, and may His light perpetually guide your footsteps.
With love in Christ,
Michael Boldea Jr.