|September/October 2006 Newsletter|
A Surprising Revelation
Upon my arrival in Romania, after a six-month absence, I was greeted with some surprising news. The news to which I am referring, is that the Hand of Help orphanage, is currently the biggest non governmental orphanage operating in Romania, and our outreach to the poor is among the largest in the country. I do not write these words to boast, but simply to glory in the faithfulness and goodness of our God, and to thank you for continuing to lift up this work in your prayers.
During that same meeting with our orphanage administrator I was informed that we had been summoned to attend a council of relief organizations in Romania, and bring along a file of some projects and charitable works that Hand of Help was involved in. Although I was still tired from my trip, I decided to go and meet with those who had a heart for Romania, and who endeavored in their own right to do good. As requested I brought along a thick file of the work we had been involved in this year, from building homes, to building churches, buying livestock, and delivering food.
The group met in a rented hall, and there were representatives from over thirty ministries present, all of them having ongoing projects in Romania to some degree. After the formal introductions, and each ministry sharing its vision of what God had burdened them with, the group took a fifteen minute break, and it was during this time that I was approached by a Baptist brother who introduced himself as Simeon, who heads up a ministry in the city of Cluj, and who was holding a copy of the file I had brought with me.
"I must tell you" he began, "your body of work is truly impressive, you must have a ministry of thousands of supporters, because it is the only way I can see you having done all this."
I smiled and told him he'd be surprised if he knew the number, and when he asked what I meant by that, I shrugged my shoulders and said, "our number of contributors is allot like Gideon's army after God divided and separated it not once but twice. Those who support this work are not many, but they obey God, and that's what counts more than anything."
I turned to walk away, but he grabbed my arm, and said, "we're just starting out, can you give me some pointers, maybe some of your fundraising strategies?"
Upon hearing his question, I tried to suppress a smile, but failed. When I saw that he was serious, still standing there holding my arm waiting for an answer, I leaned in and said, "we only have one fundraising strategy, but it has worked for our ministry for over twenty years." I saw his eyes widen with expectation, and leaning in closer still, I whispered in his ear, "when there is a need, we pray and God provides for it. That is our fundraising strategy brother."
Brother Simeon let go of my arm, and blushing nodded and said, "I understand, thank you for that."
The work of God is not an easy endeavor, but if God has called you to a work, then walk in the confidence that comes with this knowledge. If it is truly His work, He will provide the means by which to fulfill it, and the fact that this ministry is still here, that we are still able to preach the gospel, care for orphans, feed the hungry, clothe the naked, provide homes for the homeless, and comfort the hurting, is proof positive that it is His work and not ours.
Michael Boldea Jr.
On the first day I returned to the orphanage, to meet with the staff, and see the children, I noticed an older gentleman, sitting on the steps of the medical building reading his Bible. Although I had never seen him before, I didn't think much of it, since his reason for being there could have been one of a number of things.
When I noticed him on the second, and third visit however, I asked my father who the man was, and with a beaming smile my father said, "that's Willy."
Willy is from Dutch Holland, he is in his early seventies, and he speaks neither English nor Romanian. He heard about our work through a missionary friend of his, and drove by himself, from Holland just to come and offer his help.
The only person Willy can effectively communicate with, oddly enough, is my father, not through any spoken tongue, but rather through sign language, and hand gesticulation. Somehow they understand each other, and have become fast friends. Whether it was six in the morning, or ten at night, Willy was always there to lend a hand, and tirelessly so, be it to load food packages, to help distribute clothes, or simply to sweep the yard. Some days, the stifling heat would exceed one hundred degrees, but each time I looked in my rear view mirror, and asked Willy if he was ok, his only answer would be, "Yes thank you Jesus."
One day the Dutch missionary that had told him about our work also happened to stop by, and I was able, with the aid of this brother to understand a little more about Willy and what drove him to come to Romania.
"I live in a cold hearted country", Willy began, "people are neither kind nor caring, and when I heard my brother say that in Botosani Romania I would be able to see the true heart of Jesus, I got in my car and began to drive. I wanted to see if it was real, I wanted to see if the heart of Jesus was really here, and yes, thank you Jesus I found it. I had nothing to offer, but myself, I am not a rich man, but I can still help wherever I am needed. I saw the good here, and I decided to stay, thank you for letting me."
We live in an age where the children of God have been led to believe that the only acceptable and well-received sacrifice on the altar of obedience is that of money, and if you don't have it to give, you have no business standing before said altar. In truth, God receives the prayers of His saints, more readily than anything, and knowing this I covet your prayers for this work. If you pray, and are obedient to the voice of God, He will provide for this work. If with sincerity of heart we desire to do the work of God, then nothing can stand in the way of that singular goal.
Michael Boldea Jr.
Those things for which we ought to be thankful and give praise to God are truly limitless. From the very life He grants us, to the families He has given us, to the grace He has bestowed upon us, He is worthy of praise. Although the work of Hand of Help has grown, and more needs have been met this year than any previous year, there are three instances wherein God has proven His faithfulness that stand out, three occurrences that are remarkable, each in their individual way:
The church in the village of Stauceni that was started some years ago is in its finishing stages, due to God's faithfulness and your generosity. The exterior is complete, the pews have been ordered, and the flooring will be installed this month. For this we give God praise.
The new heating system for the Hand of Help orphanage is installed, and is now fully functional, a need which seemed insurmountable from a human standpoint, but what for which God faithfully provided. For this we give God praise.
Anca Bagiu our miracle child had a successful surgery, and she is back in the orphanage, playing with the children, and enjoying childhood herself. This is a child for whom the doctors long abandoned the hope that she would live, never mind that she would live a normal life. For this also, we give God praise.
The Hand of Help Staff
We were recently contacted by the Child Protection Agency of Suceava, a town some twenty miles away from where the Hand of Help orphanage is located, with a request that has become all too common, namely that of taking in three siblings, two sisters and one brother, whom they deemed were in clear danger if they continued to live with their current caretaker. Since we have a working relationship with the agency, we agreed to receive them, and taking the ministry vehicle headed for Suceava to pick up the three new additions to the Hand of Help family.
When we arrived the lack of nourishment was evident in the children's countenance, as was their fear of the unknown as the two sisters Denisa Maria, and Madalina Elena held each other shaking, while their brother Alexandru Iulian put on a brave front trying to console his siblings.
The story of the Botosanu family is as tragic as it is common in Romania nowadays, the father having long abandoned the family, and the mother having left the country in early July hoping to find work, has never corresponded with her children since. The children had been left in the care of their older sister, who is seventeen, living in a city owned apartment to which all utilities had been cut off for nonpayment. Since their sister would often go away for days at a time, the neighbors would feed the children whenever they could, but talking to the children we realized they went hungry many a night.
The first time they joined the rest of the Hand of Help children for dinner, one could plainly see that these three had recently gone hungry, bread being as a delicacy to them, and whatever food was set out on the table, they would ask for second helpings, and even third.
When explained to them, that they would never go hungry again, and they would always have food, their troubled countenance was transformed into beaming smiles of hope, making us realize that they trusted not to betray their confidence as their mother had.
Denisa, Madalina, and Alexandru are bright energetic children, who readily took to getting to know the other children, and interacting with them, and with the help of God we hope to continue our work with them. Seeing the change in these children after just a few days is truly amazing, and it is one of many reasons we are thankful to God for allowing us the privilege of making a difference in their lives, and being a part of this work.
Hand of Help Staff
A Happy Day
It was a hot August day, and having awoken at six, I had already finished my writing for the day by the time noon came around. I decided to go and have lunch with the children at the orphanage, and perhaps after spend a little time with the little ones, since they always manage to make me smile and fill my heart with joy.
After lunch, one of the older girls having received a twenty-dollar birthday gift from her sponsor went out and bought five ice cream bars for her and her friends, and as they stood there, eating their ice cream I noticed the rest of the children eyeing them intently. Although none of the children had said anything one could plainly see what they were thinking. I quickly did the math and giving him the money sent one of the older boys to buy ninety ice cream bars for all the children currently residing at the Hand of Help orphanage.
I have rarely seen more jubilation, bouts of giddy laughter, and sincere smiles than I saw from our children when the ice cream finally arrived and everyone received some. Seeing the happiness of innocence, the thankfulness, and the sheer glee or receiving something so insignificant, was truly a happy day, one that I will cherish for years to come.
May we learn to be as thankful for that which our heavenly Father gives us, and receive all that comes from Him with equal excitement and joy.
Michael Boldea Jr.
I had less than four hours before I was to depart Botosani, and begin my long journey back to America when I received a telephone call from Cornel, our Romanian accountant asking if I had an hour to spare to go and visit a family that was in desperate need. Although I had not yet packed, nor said goodbye to family and friends, his voice held such emotion that I felt I could not deny his request, and so said I would meet him at the orphanage in ten minutes.
After picking Cornel up, we drove for about twenty minutes until we reached what was once the home of the Ciocanel family, a home that housed no less than fifteen people. Besides Radu and Rodica Ciocanel and their eight children, two other families lived with them, until the night the home caught fire, and in an instant they lost all their material possessions.
Radu the husband, works as a trash collector for the city, and earns fewer than one hundred dollars per month, while Rodica tends to the children, the vegetable garden, and the animals. It was only when I got out of the car and saw the situation with my own eyes, that I realized the reason for Cornel's urgency and distress.
Since their home caught fire, the Ciocanel family has been living in their neighbor's barn, something they could still do while the weather is mild. We found Rodica cooking on a makeshift outdoor stove, and as we walked to the gate, a smile spread across her face and she said, 'I've been praying you would come.'
As we proceeded to climb a ladder and enter what had once been the Ciocanel family home, Rodica explained that the local churches had given them some money already and they had started rebuilding, but with winter close at hand they still needed the money for the roof before they could move back in.
As I heard her speak, my heart grew heavy, and a sorrow came upon me, for I realized that by the time I would get back to America, and make their situation known in the newsletter, it would already be too late, winter will have already come, and they would have no place to live.
I left the Ciocanel home broken hearted, promising that we would do whatever we could, and encouraged Rodica to pray with her family that God would work a miracle, for truly it was a miracle that they needed. The cost to finish the roof was no less than $5000.
The day I returned home, I received an e-mail from a brother whom although I have not yet met has nonetheless become a friend, asking if a need in the previous newsletter had been met, namely that of a piece of land that cost $600. I wrote him back, informing him that indeed, the need had been met, and asked if he would prayerfully consider another urgent need that had just come up, namely that of the Ciocanel family. He asked how much it would cost to cover it, and after sending the information, he wrote back and said the sum would be sent overnight that very day.
I had to reread the e-mail again before I fell to my knees, and said: 'omniscient God, how great you are.' God knew that the newsletter would not reach in time for the Ciocanel family to finish their roof before the cold weather set in, and so provided for this urgent need even before we had a chance to make it known to you. We serve an awesome God, who is never late in keeping His promises, who is always there at the appointed time, doing what to mere men seems impossible. He is worthy to be praised.
Michael Boldea Jr.
Dear BrethrenThe Age of Indifference
Romans 13:11-12, "And do this, knowing the time, that now it is high time to awake out of sleep; for now our salvation is nearer than when we first believed. The night is far spent the day is at hand. Therefore let us cast off the works of darkness, and let us put on the armor of light."
My heart is heavy, my soul is burdened, and as so many who have been called, anointed and charged to preach a message of warning and repentance to this nation, I am a weary man. Though the time is upon us, though undeniable events continue to come to pass, still most of Christendom suffers from a severe case of abject indifference. I often feel as though I am a man standing outside a building engulfed in flames, screaming at the top of my lungs for those inside to come out, to save themselves, to escape the fire, while all the while, those inside stand by the windows and wave merrily, coffee in one hand, donut in the other, unaware of the tragedy that is about the befall them. Seeing that they will not heed the warning, the only option left is to run into the burning building and drag as many out, by force if need be, and lead them to safety. This is the mindset that I have adopted over the years, for since early youth, when I served as my grandfather's translator, I realized that some would hear, and heed but most would not.
There is no doubt God has been merciful to this nation, first having raised up men from within your own borders to speak a heavy but needed truth, men who were promptly dismissed or ridiculed as being instigators, those who would enjoy to stir up provocation, simply for the sake of being provocative. Though the message fell, in large part, on deaf ears, they labored, and wept, and labored some more, for it was their calling, their mission their sovereign duty toward an omnipotent God, one they could not as readily dismiss, as the message itself had been by the masses.
Then in His infinite mercy, God called on faithful servants from half a world away, and placed the same message in their hearts, in some cases almost identical, and sent them in the hope that perhaps the nation might heed the message if spoken from new lips. These too were promptly rejected, either for being too harsh, not having the right credentials, or not having graduated from a proper theological seminary. We have found a reason, and an excuse to reject every messenger that has come, that has spoken and that has warned.
In their hearts, some consider, that surely God is merciful enough to send yet another messenger, to give yet another warning, as though they were waiting for a bus, they think to themselves, 'I'll catch the next one, I'll believe next one', but I say to you this day, the warnings have ended. To be clear in what I am trying to relay, for this is the core reason I write this article today, I will repeat myself; the warnings have ended. No new messengers are waiting in the wings, no new warnings are coming, but merely the visions and forewarnings of the specific judgments that are about to unfold. These words are not my own, and I write them with a heavy heart, but on three separate occasions while in prayer I heard the same phrase repeated, over and over again, 'the warnings have ended, the warnings have ended.'
The time has come for the true servants of God to weep between the porch and the altar, to lament and cry out, to stand in the gap and be fearless for righteousness' sake. If you must stand alone dear brother, than so stand, for you will be in good company, counted among such giants of the faith as Elijah, Isaiah, Jeremiah and Ezekiel. They too stood alone in the face of overwhelming odds, with only the truth of God's word on their side, but the truth proved to be more than enough. So I say this day, to you whom God has been urging to step up, to take up the charge, to be on the front lines of the battle that is raging, be fearless in unmasking deception, and propagating righteousness, for you are on the side of right. If our desire were to spread a false gospel, to deceive the sheep, to bring division to the house of God, then there would be reason for fear, for God Himself would be set against us, but since He stands with you, since He is the one urging you into battle, be bold, and brave and confident in Him you will always be the majority.
Recently I was rereading Foxe's Book of Martyrs, and weeping thought to myself, where have all the valiant defenders of truth gone, those that even in the face of death would proclaim the name of Christ, and pour out their lives to their final breath for His sake, with a smile on their lips? Is their time past? Surely it cannot be, for this is the greatest time in the history of the Church, the time in which God needs warriors, faithful and true, fearless and uncompromising to do battle against the forces of darkness. No, the time for the valiant, faithful soldier is not passed, but rather many of those who have been called to this service are quick to bow out, finding either excuse or justification for their unwillingness to do battle.
The time has come to blow the trumpet, while time still remains, for it is quickly running out, and the sheep that slumber are too many to number. It is incumbent upon all servants of righteousness to proclaim truth, and defend it, if need be with their very lives.
Jude 20-23, "But you, beloved, building yourselves up on your most holy faith, praying in the Holy Spirit, keep yourselves in the love of God, looking for the mercy of our Lord Jesus Christ unto eternal life. And on some have compassion, making a distinction; but others save with fear, pulling them out of the fire, hating even the garment defiled by the flesh."
With love in Christ,
Michael Boldea Jr.