|December 2005 Newsletter|
God's Eternal Rest
Eternity stretched forth its arms, and the voice of the everlasting Father softly whispered, "Come home." With great joy the soul of our beloved Virginia Boldea wrenched itself free from it's earthly prison, and returned to worship at the feet of the One who for a short time allowed her goodness and compassion to bring hope to those consumed by desperation.
She lived her life by the simple philosophy that God put us on earth to be His heart, His hands, and His feet, to help the helpless, to be a mother to the motherless, and to put the needs of others before our own wants and desires.
She was a tireless servant who found her joy in reaching out to those society had long abandoned or dismissed, giving of herself to the point of exhaustion, glorying in the knowledge that with ever soul saved, with every hungry mouth fed, with every tear of heartache that turned into tears of joy, she was helping to further the kingdom of God.
It is near to impossible to encapsulate such a full life in a few short lines, or to recite in any detail all that God helped her accomplish.
Virginia Boldea was born Virginia Duduman, to Dumitru and Maria Duduman on April 18, 1957. Even as a child she realized the importance of the struggle, to bring light to those in the darkness, seeing her father tirelessly travel from one corner of the country to the other distributing Bibles, healing the sick, and bringing the good news of the gospel. She realized that in the heart of every man lies the ability to choose the kingdom of light, or the kingdom of darkness, and though her father's life was not an easy one, the example by which he led compelled her to choose the light.
On May 5, 1974 Virginia would marry Mircea Boldea, the husband God chose for her, and together they will have three children, Mike, Sergiu and Daniel. Until June of 1984, for the better part of twenty five years, Dumitru Duduman along with his family, knowing the risks involved, labored tirelessly in distributing over 300,000 Bibles to those hungry for truth in Romania, not counting the countless Russian Bibles distributed across the border.
The Bible often speaks of men of faith, such as Abraham, who were called of God to leave the country of their birth, and go to a new land, a foreign land, where the only certainty would be that it was the place God intended for them. On July 24, 1984 Dumitru Duduman, his wife, his daughter Virginia, her husband Mircea and their three children were forced to leave their country, as well as all their earthly possessions and go into exile.
Friends, brothers, home, and the life they had worked to build for themselves over the span of a lifetime, was left behind, while before them lay only a great unknown.
All they had was their unshakable trust in God, and the only words they could utter, were "we trust our lives into the hands of our God!"
They set foot on American soil on August 3, 1984, this new nation, this free world, so different from the Communism they had left behind. Though uncertain of what the future held for them in this new land, God had already prepared a new work for Dumitru Duduman and his family, and with faith in the almighty Father, they set about doing what they had been instructed to do.
In January 1985, only four months after their arrival in the US, a handful of people, Dumitru Duduman, Maria his wife, their daughter Virginia, her husband and their three children, set the foundation for a ministry they would name Hand of Help. Their purpose was simple one, to help as many of their fellow brothers and country men, still suffering the cruelty of communism and religious persecution as they could.
God birthed in them a vision, and they received, even though at the time it seemed impossible to bring to fruition. They had no money, they spoke no english, and they knew nothing of running a ministry. Still, the echo of those that came before them thundered in their hearts, "the Lord will provide."
The years passed, the family labored, and with the fall of Communism in 1990, Dumitru Duduman is able to return to his homeland, the nation for which he had countless tears. What he found upon his return was a hunger for the word of God, and a desperate lack the most basic needs. The hungry needed to be fed, churches needed to be built, and Bibles once again needed to be distributed.
In 1991 Hand of Help establishes a branch office in Romania, and begins its humanitarian endeavors throughout the country. In 1991, Hand of Help realized a growing need for an orphanage, and with God's help in June of that year they broke ground. Though difficulties abounded, the work continued and in August of 1996, the Hand of Help orphanage received its first children.
Though seeing the smiling faces of the children brought him great joy, Dumitru longed to be reunited with the one who stood by his side throughout a life of trials and hardships, namely his wife Maria who the Lord called home in December 1994.
In may of 1997, the orphanage mourned for the first time, and for the first time one could hear the weeping of children there. Their old friend had passed, grandfather was no more, and Dumitru Duduman was laid to rest beside his wife in his birthplace of Hintesti.
He had run his race faithfully, and now received his reward for a life of sacrifice.
Though the passing of her father had left a massive void, Virginia knew that the work God had entrusted to her family had to continue, and the children in her care had to be comforted and nurtured. She poured her heart into the children, loved them as her own, and soon they came to call her Momma. Her heart would not allow her to turn away those in need, and every day her one desire was to help as many as she could, in whatever measure God provided.
Between the years 2000, and 2003, the ministry was confronted with new difficulties which were hard to explain to a child, who did not know that there were bills to be paid, and food to be bought, clothes to be mended and salaries to be paid. God however, remained faithful, and if not for His faithfulness this ministry would have found its end long ago.
Mike, her son, who at the age of 11 began translating for his grandfather, answers the call placed on his life, re-igniting the hope for the ministry by accepting the position of Chairman, and setting about preaching the word of God. The work continued and God blessed, lives were saved and the hurting were comforted.
On the evening of October 19, 2005, God calls Virginia Boldea home, to her final rest, to her home in eternity. God saw her heart was tired, a heart so big, that tried to embrace everyone with her love, from orphan, to widow, and everyone in between, a hear that compelled her to delay her own rest for another time. That time came swiftly, like a sudden storm descending not over her but over those of us left behind.
Though now they weep, the children at the Hand of Help orphanage will smile again. Though it now mourns for a second time, the orphanage will once again echo with the sound of children's laughter, for the light still shines in the darkness, and the darkness has not overcome it, and love is greater than death itself.
We are, all of us, travelers, making our way home, knowing that paradise begins where God will wipe away every tear from our eye. Until we reach that final home, until our name is softly whispered, until we are welcomed into God's warm embrace and reunited with those that went before us, we must labor as those that came before us labored, that we too may receive the reward of our sacrifice.
Hand of Help Staff
Fruit of a Worthwhile Life
As a small child I would sometimes get jealous that my mother loved other children, as much as she loved her own. I would watch her cradle sickly children and cry over them, as she cried over me when I was sick, I would watch her bathe and clothe, feed and nurture those not her own, as though they were, and my adolescent mind could not understand.
As I grew older, I began to comprehend my mother's heart, and I grew to love her even more for what she was. Shortly after her passing, I began to see the fruit of the love she bestowed so plentifully on every child that graced the steps of the Hand of Help orphanage, as the telephone calls from all over the world began pouring in.
It was them, those that had come and gone, those that grew to adulthood, and were now making lives for themselves in places such as Spain, Italy, Greece and Austria. Each had their fond memory of my mother, and in large part their mother as well, each wept, and though they called trying to console me, I ended up consoling most of them.
When one looks back on the sum of their existence here on earth, when they add up all they did and endeavored to do, many people are unsure of the impact they made, of the fruit they left behind.
On the day they stand before their Creator, and are asked "what did you do with your life?" most will have one sentence answers if that, having lived only for themselves. What makes me smile today, what comforts me in this time of grief, is knowing that when God asked my mother what she did with her life, as she stood before His great white throne, she will have had a very long and detailed story to tell.
The true measure of a man's life is what they leave behind once they are gone, how many lives they affected for good, how many tears they helped wipe away, how many lives they helped save and restore, and seeing the fruit of my mother's labors here on earth, I know beyond doubt that her life here on earth, however short was a worthwhile one. The fruit is evident, in the calls from now grown children who felt the warmth of her love, in the four thousand plus mourners who came to pay their final respects to the tireless servant who always had a kind word, a warm smile, and an extra food package, and in us, the sons who survived her in which she ignited a burning love for God and the work of God. May we all endeavor to leave such a lasting memory.
Although the wet season is behind us, there is still a sense of dread and uncertainty concerning the coming winter. Forecasters predict one of the coldest, and longest winters in twenty years, and with the nation already reeling from the recent floods many are on the edge of despair, hoping against hope that the forecasts turn out to be nothing more than pessimistic, and baseless rantings. The fact that the first heavy snows have already blanketed the nation however, seem to lend credence to the forecasts, and we have already been inundated with requests for firewood and warm clothing.
There are still a countless number of people who's homes were washed away, who now seek shelter for the winter, and this too is something we are trying to provide for as many as we can. The situation is very bleak, and if not for oasis of hope such as Hand of Help, people would have nowhere to turn.
I will be returning to Romania on the fifteenth of December, and I would ask that you pray about what God would have you do on behalf of the suffering.
My hope is to put together at least 2000 food packages, that cost $25 each, and distribute them throughout the villages while I am there, as well as buy as much firewood for the elderly as we can afford.
We have already put extra beds in our medical building, as well as any spare rooms we had in the orphanage to provide a warm place for people to sleep, and have increased or food order for the winter months, knowing that we will have to feed those we house as well.
This is what the children of God were put here on earth to do, namely be a beacon of hope in the midst of hopelessness. From the bottom of my heart, thank you for your prayers and support of this work. Knowing that with God all things are possible, gives us the strength to press on, and labor ceaselessly for the greater glory of His kingdom.
Michael Boldea Jr.
Trip to Romania
I thank God I had the privilege of spending the last day of Virginia's life on earth with her. She selflessly poured out her life for others. For virginia, life was al about others. She had a heart full of compassion combined with spiritual discernment. She was a beautiful example of a faithful servant to all that knew her. A servant whom God was able to trust with large amounts of money and know it would end up going directly to the needs of the poor, the widow and the orphan.
If you asked Virginia, "Don't you think you should rest today?" she would respond, "I have to do the work God has given me to do."
The last two weeks of her life were spent seeing to it that houses under construction were being finished so they could be moved into before winter, delivering food, clothing and money to desperately poor families, buying a horse for one family, a cow for another family, buying a hectare of land for 2 families so they will be able to make it in life, getting a well dug for a large family that walks a half a kilometer to get their water, buying a home for a family who has no home, yet the husband goes out every weekend with his pastor to villages that have no church or christian witness and start singing in the streets until a crowd gathers and then they begin to preach the good news of the wonderful love of our Lord Jesus.
Virginia was like an empty conduit through which God's love could flow. Her shoes will be very hard to fill. Please pray for the Hand of Help ministry as they seek God as to how to proceed in Virginia's absence.
The Neverending Story
It was well past midnight as I walked the halls of the Hand of Help orphanage, my footsteps echoing hollowly, my heart consumed by grief and sadness. The lights were off in every room I passed, the children sleeping soundly, and as I passed yet another room, I realized the light was on. I stood in front of the door for awhile, then saw shadows passing by, and realized someone was awake.
I walked into the room, and four children were awake, three in their bed, while Lidia was pacing the floor. "Why aren't you asleep?", I asked Lidia who was the oldest in her room.
"You know you're responsible for making sure that everyone is asleep, you're the big girl, so why isn't everyone sleeping?"
She looked at me, then at her roommates, bit her lip on the verge of tears then said, "because no one told us a story tonight. Momma used to tell us stories, of hungry children she fed, of old ladies she gave firewood to, of new orphan children she was bringing to stay with us that we were supposed to be nice to, but no one told us a story tonight. Do you know how the story ends?", she asked her voice breaking.
I had to bite my own lip to stop from crying, then sat on the edge of the bed, and told them the story of my mother's last day on earth, how she bought a horse for a family, how she reunited a mother with the children she'd abandoned because she couldn't feed them, but the question she asked kept racing through my mind, how does the story end?
After they were all asleep, I went home asking myself that question over and over again, until I knew the answer in my heart. The story will not end, it cannot end, it must not end.
The hungry still cry out to God for a morsel of bread, the poor still suffer in silence, and the orphan still needs to be cared for. New servants have heeded the call, new warriors have put on their armor, ready to stand in the gap, new hearts have been ignited by the selfless love necessary to see to others' needs before their own. The work will go on, for it is not the work of man, built by the hands of men, but the work of God which is greater than us all.
The void my mother's passing left is undeniable, but so is the faithfulness of our God, and the purpose of this ministry.
I ask for your prayers during this time of grief, first for the children at the Hand of Help orphanage, many of whom have suffered the loss of a mother for the second time. It will not be easy, but with God all things are possible.
Second I ask that you keep the Hand of Help staff in your prayers, as they are the ones to whom the children look for comfort, may God give them wisdom and compassion. Finally I ask that you remember my family in your prayers, my father, myself, and my two little brothers, who now know the full extent of what it is to be an orphan and a widower. Yes, the pain is great, almost unbearable at times, but we do not mourn as the world mourns, for in the end our hope still lives, that one day we will meet again.
Michael Boldea Jr.
Psalm 57, 1, "Be merciful to me, O God, be merciful to me! For my soul trusts in You; And in the shadow of Your wings I will make my refuge, until these calamities have passed by."
It has been a year of trials and triumphs, of victories and heartbreaks, and through it all we are blessed, humbled, and grateful to have had you standing with us, supporting us with your prayers, encouragements, and self sacrifice. It is in times such as these, that the true meaning of the family of God is understood, and the love and compassion of our Father that binds us is made evident.
As the season of holiday cheer approaches, I ask that you remember in your prayers those who still mourn, and as we gather with our families, may we make every moment precious. Knowing that it was love that compelled the Father to send Jesus to us, and it was also love that compelled Christ to take on a body of flesh that salvation may be made available to us all, may we understand that love is truly the measure of all things. Do not hesitate in telling those close to your heart that you love them, take this time to lay aside petty disputes and wounded pride, and allow the heavenly Father to erase the old scars. Life is too short to live in bitterness, and as God has forgiven us, may we forgive the small offenses, the hurtful words, and simply love.
A new year approaches, one that will bring even greater uncertainty in this world. With new wars on the horizon, and the continuation of natural disasters ever increasing in their frequency and strength, may we know that God is our refuge, our strength and our strong tower. May we have the presence of mind to run to Him, cling to Him, and not be swayed or distracted by all that is about to unfold.
We have the promise of our heavenly Father that through the trials and hardships, through the storms of life, through events that make even the strongest among us tremble with fear, He stands with us, strengthens us, and guides us. Remember this always, and be strengthened by it, for we possess the hope, and the promise, the world will never possess.
Though it may sound simplistic, we must take the time now, while we still can to grow in the knowledge and understanding of God, to learn to hear His voice, that we may distinguish His voice from the myriad of counterfeit voices. I say this, because soon a new wave of deception will sweep over this land, and false gospels and false Christs will begin to reveal themselves at an unprecedented rate. Our Father's voice is unique, and even in correction His love for us is evident.
May we be faithful to the calling that He has placed on each of our lives, and with a renewed zeal, press on toward the prize, reassured in the knowledge that if we call He will answer, if we knock He will open, and if we desire to know more of Him, He will gladly reveal Himself to us.
Psalm 23 1-4, "The Lord is my shepherd; I shall not want. He makes me to lie down in green pastures ; He leads me beside the still waters. He restores my soul; He leads me in the paths of righteousness for His name's sake. Yea though I walk through the valley of the shadow of death, I will fear no evil; For You are with me; Your rod and your staff, they comfort me."
With love in Christ,
Michael Boldea Jr.