|March/April 2007 Newsletter|
Winter was late in coming this year. For some, including us, it was a blessing, since it allowed us to travel into the villages that would otherwise be impossible to reach, and bring much needed supplies to those in need. Although some hoped the cold and the snow would mercifully overlook us, when they did arrive, it was with unprecedented vengeance. The firewood we were able to purchase and deliver before the first snowfall, turned out to be a great blessing, since the heavy snows prohibited travel of any kind for many days.
Life is still difficult for most in Romania, and the much-anticipated acceptance into the European Union, that many hoped would be a cure all for the nation, turned out to be a hindrance and an obstacle. New laws that were enacted at the Union's request are most difficult on the poor of the nation. Two of the most disturbing laws for those of little means, are the prohibition of slaughtering one's own livestock, or raising livestock without proper standards, and the other is the inability to any longer build homes from mud bricks.
As one elderly brother with whom we spoke during a visit so aptly put it, 'at least up until now, we've been able to feed ourselves, raise some chickens, a pig or two, perhaps a cow, but now it seems we will simply starve.'
It would seem, as is so often the case with politics and politicians, the human factor was not taken into account when these plans were conceived, nor was the question of how the people would survive ever posed. All that mattered was the final outcome, the end result, without taking into account the misery of achieving it would produce.
Although other men throughout history have said it before, it merits repeating, those who will always suffer most, are the very old, and the very young. Time might have passed, and new innovations may have come about, we may consider ourselves to be more enlightened or civilized than our predecessors, but this singular truth will perpetually remain a constant.
Our work in Romania is more essential then ever before, and the needs continue to grow and multiply. We cannot turn a blind eye to the suffering, nor can we be indifferent to the hungry and the naked, and so we must pray as never before that God continue to provide, and multiply that we may be a true and lasting hand of help to those in need.
To those without faith in God, the situation would seem outright hopeless, but to us who have a Father in heaven to whom we can always go, who always hears our pleas, and sees our tears, we can rest assured in the knowledge that He knows all, and at the appointed time will be faithful toward His beloved.
Thank you for remembering this work, and supporting this ministry, for being a present help, and the means by which God shows His eternal mercy and love to those who cry out.
Hand of Help Staff
A Hope and Much Prayer
The Onofrei Catalin family is not new to us since we have on occasion helped whenever possible, including paying for a surgery for their youngest offspring some years ago. During a visit to the Dumbravita community, wherein we passed out food packages, we also stopped in to see how the Onofrei family was doing, and discovered that they had taken in two other families who had been left homeless, and were now living with them.
"Yes, I am poor" brother Catalin began by way of explanation, "but that does not mean I can turn away my brothers who are in need. When I saw they had no place to go, I offered my home even though it isn't much, and I know that God will see us through this trial."
In total there are three families living in a crumbling two room home, and since the other two families have no place to go, and brother Catalin would not even consider asking them to leave, he asked if it was possible for us to help with the building of a bigger home. Since he already has most of the construction material, all that is required is the plot of land, which he found for $3000 but no means with which to pay for it.
"All we have is hope in God, and much prayer," brother Catalin said, "we have done all that we could humanly do, and now patiently wait on God to fulfill His promises."
The home they are currently living in is slipping from its foundation, and it would be unwise to add on another room or two as we had previously hoped. The only option left is to build a new home at a different site.
We ask that you prayerfully consider this need, knowing that God's will, will be done in this situation, just as it has in the past.
Hand of Help Staff
There is nothing more heartbreaking to a parent than to see one's child suffer, and to know that they are unable to help ease that suffering. Among the countless requests for help that come across our desk there have been two this month that stirred our hearts in a special way.
The first is the Ilies Mihai family from the village of Buhaceni, who has two children, both of whom were born mentally challenged, and suffer from chronic headaches. Since the father makes less than $80 per month, they are unable to purchase the medication required, and in their desperation came to us asking if there was any way we can help. The medication is necessary, since it curbs the headaches, but the cost, which is $50 per month, is prohibitive to the Ilies family.
The second case that affected us deeply was that of Petrica Fionel, who was born with a malformation to his sternum bone. Until now, other than the way it looked it was not a health issue, but the family doctor recently informed Petrica's father that due to his growth, the malformed bone is endangering his organs. The surgery costs are around $600 a hefty sum for a father who's only means of income is raising sheep and selling the wool and the milk. Please keep these two needs in your prayers.
Hand of Help Staff
Never Too Old
If we choose to see them, our daily lives are full of lessons. These lessons are not accidental, but rather sovereign appointments with God, wherein He shows us with great clarity what His will is for our lives, the areas in which we must grow, and that no matter what we have been called to do on His behalf, humility must accompany our every step and action.
I had been traveling with my son Mike for the past few weeks, visiting families, passing out food, checking the progress on certain projects, in short doing what we have been called to do, when one evening after finishing the day's work, I felt a great exhaustion overwhelm me. When Mike asked me where we were going the following morning, I gave him a weary look, and asked if he would not consider taking the day off. Smiling at me, he answered that we had not been put on this earth to rest, but rather to be about our Father's business, and with that, said he would see me at seven the next morning.
As I arrived home, looking forward to a few hours of restful sleep, I saw brother Ion Barbulescu waiting on my front steps, with a smile on his face.
"Good evening, and Lord bless you pastor," he said, as he moved to shake my hand. I returned the greeting and shook his hand, and before I could ask why he was visiting at such a late hour, I remembered I had called him that morning, informing him that we had some supplies and a little money for him.
"We were praying when you called," brother Ion began, his voice shaking with emotion, 'we had run out of food, and all the money we had left was 40 lei, ($1.50) just enough to buy two loaves of bread, which we gave to our daughter and her children. Since her husband passed it has been difficult for her, and we try to help whenever we can."
Brother Barbulescu, and his wife are members of our church, and though times have been difficult for them, having lost their son in law, and having to support their daughter and her six children, they are never absent from service, and always ask if there are any special prayer needs they need to bring before the Lord. Always willing to set aside their own problems and hardships, they are mentors to our young people, and though they are advanced in age, they never seem to grow weary or grow tired.
I gave brother Barbulescu the food package, and the money we had set aside for his family, and as he departed, and I went before the Lord in prayer, a realization became clear to me, unlike ever before, namely that one is never too old to be useful in God's harvest field. God is no respecter of persons, and to Him, age is inconsequential. If one is willing to serve, God will find a fitting place for them to do just that, and once He calls us to service, He gives us the strength and the means by which to fulfill it. I realized that although I was tired, there were others who were more so, that still did the work of God without murmur or complaint, and I thanked God for showing me that if only I laid my weariness and exhaustion at His feet, He would replace them with zeal and vigor.
I awoke the next morning, refreshed as I had not been in a long time, ready to once more travel the icy roads, and impart wherever possible some blessing, and bring a smile, and perhaps hope to those who'd had neither in many months.
To all those who keep this ministry in your prayers, and on your hearts, whether old or young, know that you are a blessing, and that you are in my prayers continually.
Pastor Michael Boldea Sr.
Since the New Year began, it has been a very full two months. In His goodness God has allowed us to meet countless needs both great and small, allowing us to be a blessing, and an answer to prayer. Due to the unseasonably warm weather, we were able to finish digging three fresh water wells throughout the region, just the well in Tudor Vladimirescu providing fresh water for three families on the outskirts of the village.
The repair on Elena's roof was completed in the early part of January; two horses were purchased for families, who required them for farming, and the sanctuary in Stauceni was furnished and ready to begin services.
God blessed us with an extra container of clothing, and we were able to be a blessing to our brothers in Moldova, new doors, mattresses and beds were purchased for the Ciocanel family, as well as a heating unit.
Five plots of land were purchased for families, either for farming or building homes, and over six hundred food packages were delivered throughout the region.
Our unceasing labor on behalf of those praying for a miracle continues with the same love and zeal as before, and all we can do is be thankful to God and to you for making this work possible. Lives are being saved, God is being praised, and the reward of those who pray for this work, and stand with it will be great indeed.
Hand of Help Staff
A Time of Blessing
As we continue to present needs, it is a wondrous thing to see how God provides for some. During the first two months of this year, we noticed an unprecedented number of hearts being led to provide help in the area of purchasing cows for families in need, blessings which are a source of sustenance for entire families, and a means by which they can survive.
During the month of January alone, we purchased eight cows for eight different families, and each experience was unique and heart warming. Although a cow may not seem like much for many people, an average person in Romania would have to work the better part of a year in order to afford its purchase.
One of the most memorable experiences, was the day we delivered the cow that we had purchased for the Ciobanu Marin family, a family comprised of nine children in the village of Hilisau Crisan. Brother Marin is the leader of his local church, and every time we would visit and ask what the needs were in his congregation, he always seemed to find someone who was in greater need than himself, and his family. The time came when others had to speak on his behalf, and one morning we received a telephone call from one of brother Marin's church members, asking if we would consider purchasing a cow for his family, since their cow had recently died giving birth to calves. The cow had been old, and now the pastor's nine children were without milk.
We found a young cow, one who had only had one calf, purchased it, and drove to pastor Marin's home that evening to deliver it. When we arrived, informing the Ciobanu family that we had brought them another cow, brother Marin began to cry and said that seven years ago, Virginia Boldea had bought them the cow that had just died, as well as a horse.
"I can see that your work continues to be led of God," brother Marin said, "and the fruit of your labors is evident by the smiles you bring to the faces of those such as my children. God knows the needs of every one of His children, and His hand is not short in providing for those needs."
It was a true blessing being able to deliver the eight cows to the families, which God laid on our hearts, and the gratitude and prayers of thanks to the heavenly Father were heard from the mouths of every one. May you be blessed for your labors, and may you not grow weary in doing good.
Michael Boldea Sr.
Jeremiah 50:22, "A sound of battle is in the land, and of great destruction."
James 5:8, "You also be patient. Establish your hearts, for the coming of the Lord is at hand."
One of the most important lessons I learned as a young man traveling with my grandfather, and being his interpreter, is that one must always prepare for battle, before he is faced with it. Just as a soldier must know the weapons of his warfare, train with them, and be comfortable with them, so must a servant of God know his weapons, and prepare himself before he ventures out into enemy territory. It was so ingrained in me, that a servant of God must be prayed up, and fasted up before he goes out to minister, that before every tour I begin, I take a couple weeks to simply fast and pray, and draw close to God, and see what He would have me share at the upcoming meetings.
I was still in Romania the first few days of February, about halfway through a two week fast, when after having spent some time in prayer, I went to bed, and fell into a restful sleep. Sometime during the night, I began to dream. I dreamt I was hearing what were at first faint hoof beats, but the closer they got, the louder they grew, until it was a thundering roar of not one or two horses but what seemed like hundreds. I felt as though the ground beneath me was shaking from the onrushing horses, and the sound of them became so loud, that I suddenly awoke in my bed. As I blinked a few times, adjusting to the darkness in my room, I noticed a shadow at the foot of my bed. I blinked again, and there stood the same man I have seen on previous occasions, dressed in battle armor, his hands resting atop each other before him, on the hilt of his sword.
"What is the meaning of what I just dreamt?" I asked, somehow knowing he had come to give me the interpretation.
"What you heard," he began, "were the chariots of war, and they are swiftly approaching. A new war is coming, but it will be unlike this present one. Speak as you have spoken, pray as you have prayed, and walk as you have walked for dark days will soon come upon the land to which you are returning. Even now their enemies plot, even now their enemies unite under one banner, and soon they will make their intentions known to the world. There is no refuge but in the Father, and He will guide and protect those who know His voice."
I blinked again, and the man was gone, and I was left to ponder the words I had heard. I struggled with whether I should make this dream public, for I know the reaction that some will have to it, and the last thing I desire is to stir fear in the heart of any man. After much prayer I felt I was supposed to publish the dream, and though some may receive it as a reason to fear, the true children of God will receive it for what it was, the forewarning of a loving Father, preparing His children for what is to come. God's desire for us is not ignorance, but rather knowledge, that we may prepare our hearts, in prayer and fasting, that we may draw closer to Him, that we make Him our place of refuge long before hardship forces us to seek one. The wise man prepares, while the foolhardy is caught unaware.
As always my prayers continue to be with you and yours, and with a grateful heart I thank you for all that you do on behalf of those less fortunate.
Jeremiah 19:15, "Thus says the Lord of hosts, the God of Israel: 'Behold, I will bring on this city and on all her towns all the doom that I have pronounced against it, because they have stiffened their necks that they might not hear My words."
With love in Christ,
Michael Boldea Jr.
If contributions exceed the amount needed to help a family, the extra contributions for that project will be used to help a family in a similar situation. It is our commitment to you before our Lord that we will be faithful in the disbursement of all contributions that we receive.
The Hand of Help Staff.