|March/April 2006 Newsletter|
The snow is heavy on the ground the cold bitter, as heavy coats, and wool caps do little to deflect it. The roads are blocked from the snow drifts the night before, and if we are to do some good today, if we are to feed the hungry and clothe the naked, it will have to be within city limits. Unfortunately, there are enough hungry mouths to feed, even in town, to keep us busy for some time, and as the nation inches closer to an inevitable state of desperation, one can only lift his eyes, and say a prayer for the souls who have no hope, who have reached the limits of their suffering, and now wait for either a miracle, or death.
It is, as has been throughout history, the oldest of society, and the youngest, which must suffer, which must hurt, with no hope in sight, with no ray of sunshine in an endless night. All the attempts at reviving the economy have failed miserably, and the destitute continue to multiply at an alarming rate. The escalation in price from the most basic food items, to gas, to heat and even water, compels some to stop trying to survive, while the rest with hollow looks in their eyes, are unsure what tomorrow might bring.
Though prices have doubled compared to last year for heat and electricity, the elderly still receive the same pensions, and if they had a little money left over to buy some bread a year ago, now they must make the brutal choice between eating, or living without heat for the winter.
Everyone from economic forecasters, to political pundits is silent, choosing to ignore the ever-growing problem than attempt to deal with it. Some would not know where to begin, while others are simply overwhelmed by all that needs to be done.
More frequently than ever before, the Mayor's office, and the child protection agency call on us for help, and we do what we can to ease the suffering, if only for a few. The lines in front of the orphanage gate grow longer day-by-day, but our faith in a loving God compels us to do beyond our means, and pass out food until the shelves are bare, and nothing is left. Then, as if by some miracle, more provisions are made, God compels those who are able to do their part, and a new day begins, more mouths are fed, and thankful souls make promises that the act of kindness shown to them will never be forgotten, and their prayers for this work will be as such that God will hear and take note.
It is never easy to be faced with suffering of such magnitude on a daily basis, but the knowledge that we are able to help, that we are able to be the means God uses to save lives, gives us hope.
Your love for Romania is evident in your prayers, and in your actions, and all we can do from here, is continue to ceaselessly remember you in our petitions before the Father, that He would remember every act of kindness, every sacrifice, and reward you accordingly. Thank you for all you are doing!
Hand of Help Staff
A Mother's Love
The purest definition of love is of course the love God had for the world, giving His only begotten Son that those who believe may be saved. The love of a mother for her child comes in a close second. The love for one's child transcends even the love of oneself, and one is ready to sacrifice their very life, that the life of their offspring may be saved.
Branzei Doina, is a mother who loves her children, a mother who for the past few years has had to fend for herself, and provide for her children in the face of overwhelming odds.
With the promise of sending home money, Doina's husband left for Israel in search of work, never to return. He simply sent a letter, saying he no longer wanted to be part of her life, or provide for his family, and with that, all correspondence from the father of four simply ceased.
As if things weren't difficult enough for a now single mother of four, Doina discovered that her daughter Alina, had been diagnosed with tuberculosis. With no money for treatment, and no doctors willing to treat her daughter free of charge, Doina came to us hoping there was a way we could help.
Ever since, the Branzei family has been close to our hearts, and under our constant supervision. We gave Doina the money for her daughter's treatment, and when we last visited them Alina was doing well, able to help around the house with the chores while her mother went to find work as a day laborer. Although it is easier to find work in the summer, the winter months are very difficult. The only job Doina was able to find, was shoveling snow, and when we visited she had a very heavy cough. Even so she was putting on her coat and gloves, ready to once more brave the elements for $4 per day.
"I need to feed my children," she told us, "even if it means I must suffer, I need to feed my children."
We were so touched by her heart, and her willingness to sacrifice of herself for her children, that those of us who had come to visit, pooled our personal money together, and left her enough to provide what she would have made working for three months. We also left the food package we had intended to bring for her. She had no words, she simply started weeping, thanking God for taking care of her.
It is on behalf of people such as Doina that we labor constantly, that we distribute what God provides, in the hopes of making a difference in the lives of as many as possible.
Love compels us to press on, just as Doina's love compels her, and with God as our constant guide we step into the mystery that is tomorrow fearlessly.
Hand of Help Staff
God of Hope
It's one thing to see the scene of devastation after the fact, and another to live through it, then as some forget, or find new areas to help, live with the effects for the rest of one's life. Many say it isn't easy picking up the pieces, and starting over again, but what of those who have no pieces to pick up? What of those who have been so tried, that all that is left of their life's labors is mud and rubble, with no stone left unturned?
In past issues of the newsletter, we shared the devastation that took place in the city of Pascani, when the dam burst and flooded an entire community bringing down homes, killing off farm animals, and leaving nothing but devastation and misery in its wake.
Though months have passed, the citizens of Pascani still seem dazed by what has befallen them, shell shocked, and unable to find any explanation for their situation. Those that had families in other parts of the country have long since relocated, and now only the elderly remain, having nowhere to turn.
The Red Cross tents are still scattered over what was once an entire community, and the majority are forced to live in these tents, praying that the winter will be a mild one so that they may survive.
As new calamities replace old ones, most have forgotten about the citizens of Pascani, leaving them to their precarious fate. For others the situation was simply overwhelming, with so much need and pain everywhere they turned, that they chose to find a new cause, less draining, less demanding. It is difficult to deal with the fact that men's lives depend on you, and some simply cannot deal with the magnitude of that knowledge.
We know we cannot help everyone. If twenty years in ministry has taught us anything, is that there will always be needs that go unmet. However, it would be a sin not to do what we can, not to exert ourselves to the limit in order to save as many as we can.
As much as we would have liked to build a home for every family that was left homeless, we realized it was an unrealistic expectation, and so we set out to help one family at a time, to meet one need at a time, and to bring hope back into the lives of those left hopeless.
We began the Pascani rebuilding project by financing the building of two homes for families who had been left without, then proceeded to visit the area on a regular basis and pass out food, and clothing as it was needed. Every week, a new need arises, and every time we do our best to meet the need.
Throughout our continual help of Pascani, we have noticed something truly wonderful and amazing. Hope, is returning to the faces of the people, those that are able are beginning to help their neighbors, and through it all they are thankful to God that they have not been forgotten, that someone still cares, that someone is still willing to stand for them.
The two homes we built, are now housing five of the families for which there was nothing left but ruin, and those still living in tents are allowed to sleep there as well whenever the weather becomes too cold.
We serve a God of hope, and though life is never easy, and often times our faith is put to the test, we trust in the knowledge that our heavenly Father watches over us. The city of Pascani is an ongoing project for Hand of Help, and we ask for your prayers for this community. Currently we are the only ministry in the area that still remembers them, and they are thankful to us, as well as you for all that is being done on their behalf. If one life is saved, all our efforts and our sacrifice will have been worth it, knowing that life is truly precious in the sight of God.
Thank you for your prayers, and support of this work, and this endeavor to help rebuilt Pascani. One brick at a time, one coat at a time, one food package at a time, one home at a time, one life at a time, hope is being restored, and God's name is praised.
Michael Boldea Sr.
Hand of Help Director
It began as just another ordinary day, loading the truck with food packages, and mapping out our route to maximize the daylight hours, and reach as many families as possible. We started out a little after 8 a.m., and by our calculations planned to see at least forty families.
Among the families we planned to visit, was the Ciubeica family, who you might recall were blessed with a well through hand of help last summer. We left the truck on the main road, and walked down the icy alley toward their home, carrying food packages, each one hoping they wouldn't be the one to slip on the ice, and be the source of everyone's entertainment for the rest of the day. No one fell however, and as we entered the gate of the Ciubeica home, Valerica greeted us with a heartfelt, 'peace be unto you.'
We returned the greeting, and informed him we had just stopped by to drop off some food, when Valerica raised his hand and said, "brothers, I appreciate it, but I know of a family that needs this food more than my family does. I will take you to them, so you can see the condition they live in, and then you will understand. Yes my family may be in need, but we are blessed, we have a cow, and we have milk, but this family has nothing, and if it be that you must choose between us, please choose to bless them. I know it would be wrong to take these gifts, knowing that others suffer more than we do."
Valerica's selflessness left us all speechless. Here was a man who we knew was in need himself, who we knew had a family of his own that needed be to fed, yet he felt compelled to offer what we had brought to another family in even more need than his own. We had seen the true heart of Christ manifested in this brother's actions, and all we could do is be thankful to God that such men still exist today.
We assured Valerica that we had plenty of food packages, and after leaving one at his home, took him up on the offer and asked him to go with us, and show us where this family he spoke of lived.
The family in question was the Colesniuc Marius family, comprised of five children between the ages of 2 and 9, as well as Marius and Luisa their parents. They live in the village of Dragalina, far off the main road, with nothing to signify there is a home beyond the hill except some footsteps in the snow. With Valerica leading the way we walked through the snow for well over thirty minutes, until we saw the roof of a dilapidated barn. At first we thought it was where they kept the animals, but as we drew closer we saw no other structures, and there were clothes on the clothesline outside.
"Somebody lives here?" I asked, shocked by the sight of the crumbling building. "The entire family does," Valerica answered, Marius's father owns the barn, and is letting them live here since they have no place to go.
As we walked in, we noticed the damp mud floor, the cracking walls, and the sinking roof, the only thing that separated this from any other barn, was a wood bed frame in a corner, filled with straw, covered with a few moth eaten blankets, and a clay stove, for which we noticed they had no wood.
The children were huddled together on the bed, hugging each other to keep warm, and the mother was trying to light a fire with some old newspapers, and a few cornhusks. She was trying to heat some water, so she could make some soup, she said, pointing at three small potatoes that had been cleaned.
When we told Luisa we had brought her some food, she started crying, and said the three potatoes were the last of their supplies, and the thought of seeing her children go hungry had kept her up the entire night.
We quickly assessed the situation and realized this family was in need of much help. They have no electricity, and the structure of the barn that they've converted into their home is not sound enough for them to continue living there. The roof is nothing more than straw that was laced together, and even as we talked we could see it leaking in a few places.
Not far from where they live, a man has built a home, and is looking to sell. Although it's just the bare walls and roof, still in need of electricity and doors, what the man wants for the home is beyond reasonable. For around $6000 US, we would be able to buy this home for the Colesniuc family, as well as finish all that is required to make the home livable.
Please pray for this family, and for their need, as it will be an answer to prayer to see them in a home of their own, where the threat of falling roofs, and crumbling walls would simply be a bitter memory.
We will continue to visit the Colesniuc family, and as we already have provide them with food, and money for wood, but the rest is in the hands of our God. May we in these times, have the heart of Christ, where the needs of others come before our own, and in so doing store up for ourselves great treasures in heaven.
Brother's Keeper Project
Psalm 31:1-3, "In You, O Lord, I put my trust; Let me never be ashamed; Deliver me in Your righteousness. Bow down Your ear to me, deliver me speedily; Be my rock of refuge, a fortress of defense to save me. For You are my rock and my fortress; Therefore for Your name's sake lead me and guide me."
It is comforting and encouraging to know that amidst the tumultuous events this present generation currently finds itself in, we have the unshakable promise of a sovereign God, that He will be faithful to those who are faithful to Him.
I often wonder what depth of fear and uncertainty the world must be feeling seeing all that is unfolding in the earth, yet absent of the foundation of hope that we the children of God are so blessed to retain. During the past few months, it seems words of warning, and foreshadows of events to come have increased throughout the prophetic realm, and not a day goes by when I am not forwarded an e-mail, or receive a call concerning a dream or a prophecy that other brothers have had concerning the near future.
It is easy to get overwhelmed by all that we hear if the center of our focus is not the hope we have in God. Throughout the history of man, God has operated in similar fashion; first warning His chosen of what is to come, that the not be ignorant of these things, then providing the means of their deliverance.
For the past few weeks God has led me to two different passages in scripture that have the same central theme. The first scripture dealt with the deliverance of Noah and his family from the flood that encompassed the earth, and second, the deliverance of God's people, Israel, while in the midst of Egypt.
Though hundreds of years separated the two events, the key to their deliverance in both cases was obedience. God prizes obedience, even above sacrifice, and if we are to be certain of our foundation in Him, we too must follow the path of obedience.
God's requirements of both Noah and Israel were specific ones, just as His requirements of us today are specific. Noah was told to build an ark, and although what was foretold to Noah at the time seemed improbable, he was obedient to God's voice nonetheless. Noah had never seen rain. Before the great flood it had not rained on the earth, and to think that the entire expanse of the world would be covered with water, seemed next to impossible. Knowing His God however, Noah knew that He was able to bring to pass that which He spoke. There was neither doubt, nor delay in Noah's actions, and by his obedience he and his family were delivered from a catastrophe that ended all life on this planet.
While in Egypt, Israel was also given a specific set of instructions that would ensure their protection from the judgment God was ready to pour out upon the land. They were told that if they wanted God's deliverance, they must have the blood of a lamb on the doorposts of their homes, that when the angel of death passed by it would see the home was marked, and under God's covering.
Today God asks that we have the blood of the lamb on the doorposts of our hearts. The means of our deliverance from what is shortly to come upon this earth is a life of righteousness, wholly devoted unto God. It is the only means by which God will recognize us as His own, and shelter us from the troubles ahead.
Though we may think that we are capable of ensuring our own safety, when the day comes we will find that whatever measures we took were woefully inadequate. God is our only hope, and His promises toward us give us peace in this time of chaos. Knowing this, the answer to the question on everyone's mind, namely, what do we do in light of what has been revealed as imminent, is simply obey.
As always my prayers are with you, as I am grateful for your prayers as well. It is not an easy fight, but one for which victory has been ensured. Your support of this work enables us to save lives, and bring smiles to those who have long since forgotten what it is to smile, and for this kindness, and these sacrifices, God will surely recompense.
Psalm 118, 8-9, "It is better to trust in the Lord than to put confidence in man. It is better to trust in the Lord than to put confidence in princes."
Psalm 118, 14-17, "The Lord is my strength and song, and He has become my salvation. The voice of rejoicing and salvation is in the tents of the righteous; The right hand of the Lord does valiantly. The right hand of the Lord is exalted; the right hand of the Lord does valiantly. I shall not die, but live, and declare the works of the Lord."
With love in Christ,
Michael Boldea Jr.