|May/June/July 2007 Newsletter|
The situation in Romania has deteriorated, as many feared it would since our entrance into the European Union. The hopes and dreams of a universal cure for the poverty and misery that so many are living in, has not materialized, and what's worse the situation has grown exponentially more desperate than before.
As is always the case, the unrealistic expectations of the masses once unrealized, is beginning to breed hopelessness and despondency. Among the worse aftereffects of this situation, is the disturbing spike in suicides by fathers and mothers who are unable to feed their children, and rather than see them starve, end their lives, hoping the State will step in and provide what they were unable to, namely basic, everyday necessities.
As we look upon the heartbreaking tableau that has become Romania, one can't help but feel that it is for such a time as this that God has raised up Hand of Help, and it is for such a time as this that we have been called to stand in the gap, and do what we can to help ease the suffering, to be a ray of hope in an otherwise hopeless existence.
Very rarely has mankind seen such levels of human suffering, and although much of the world is turning a blind eye to those hovering over the abyss of desperation, it is encouraging to see the children of God step up, and do their part in trying to show the love of Christ through action and not merely words.
Although one can attempt to project an optimistic view of the near future, reality would readily shatter the illusion. As the old saying goes, it will most likely get worse before it gets better, and although some are already asking how it could possibly get worse, hardship has a way of multiplying and growing in ways previously unimagined.
One thing is certain, we have much work ahead of us, and we can only do it with your prayers and support. We realize times are hard not only for those in Romania, but for most people on this earth, and the last thing we want to be is a burden to those who have faithfully stood with this ministry over the years, but if you are able to help, know that it will go toward nothing less than saving lives. Your prayers keep us strong, and your letters of encouragement compel us to press on, knowing the reward that awaits all those who show compassion to the least of the brethren, is unimaginable indeed.
May the goodness of the Lord shine in you and through you, and may your prayers be answered speedily.
Hand of Help Staff
The Safe Harbor Project
It is an immutable natural law that all things, which God has created, must go through a process of growing and maturing. From the sapling which has its genesis as a seed below the earth, and if given enough time becomes a mighty oak, to the crown jewel of God's creation, which begins its journey as an infant, unable to fend for itself, but which with time matures into adulthood. Every man or woman ever born has gone through the stages, and those among us who have sons or daughters can perceive the daily changes in our offspring, seemingly coming about too fast for our comfort, for the child we held in our arms and sang to sleep, what seems like a heartbeat ago, is now asking for driving lessons.
The children at the Hand of Help orphanage are no exception, and some, who have been with us for over a decade, having nurtured them and cared for them as small and defenseless children, are now coming of age. Each time we gaze into the eyes of what have grown into beautiful young women, and strong young men, we can't help but feel a sense of accomplishment, and yes, perhaps a little pride due to the fact that we had a hand in raising them, and instilling them with values that will guide them throughout their lives.
Raising these children has become a lifelong calling for many of the Hand of Help employees here in Romania, and having invested our time, emotions, and hearts in this great work, we can't help but feel a sense of trepidation when contemplating the reality that soon, many of them will no longer be allowed to reside in the orphanage since they are past the age of eighteen. New laws that have just been passed prohibit us from housing children that have come of age, and now we are left with the unpleasant task of telling them, the place they called home for so long, is no longer their home.
There are some among them, who we know will be able to survive in what is commonly referred to as the real world, but there are others, whom we realize will not be able to make it on their own.
After much prayer and contemplation, the Safe Harbor project was put on brother Michael Boldea's heart, a project that would allow us to obey the law of the land, while at the same time protect these children, which we've helped raise from infancy.
The project consists of purchasing two apartments, one for the boys, and one for the girls, which would serve as a stepping stone for those that are about to venture into a reality, a world that shows no kindness or mercy to the weak. The children that have come of age would be allowed to reside in these apartments, while they find employment, and get adjusted to living on their own, while we continue to oversee their progress, and be a part of their lives.
As we gathered together for our staff meeting and the program was proposed, there were tears of joy, and sighs of relief from many of us, realizing that there was a way to protect that which we had invested so much in, and these children who have grown to trust us, and look to us as parental figures would not feel abandoned.
The two apartments would cost roughly $40,000 each, a sum we currently do not have, but one, we have started fasting and praying toward. Please pray with us, that God would once again show His strength and bring about the miracle we need. Since we have been officially advised that the children over the age of 18 must vacate the orphanage as soon as possible, this is a time sensitive matter, and all we can do is pray and believe.
We have seen the impossible made possible too often to doubt God's hand in this work, from sparing the lives of children the doctors had given up on, to providing the finances for necessities such as the heating system, and even the orphanage itself. We serve a God who is able, and a God who hears the prayers of His children.
Hand of Help Staff
While being here in Romania, we have seen much kindness from the Christian people, showing love and hospitality to us as Americans. Our eyes have seen a tremendous need among the poor of this country and how God is using Hand of Help to meet that need and also speak and minister in prayer to the needs of the people.
We will never forget the faces of the children from the orphanage who want to be hugged and showed attention. There is a need and God uses whoever is willing, and available. Thank you Michael Sr., and Hand of Help staff for letting us come, and take part in helping where we could.
Love in Christ,
Kenneth and Kathryn Bruns
P.S.The food in Romania was excellent, we appreciated the home cooked meals.
Oh, the joy of doing God's work, of working in His field; planting, watering, and watching God give the increase. The joy of giving truly exceeds the joy of receiving.
Every day there are needy people lined up at the gate of the Hand of Help orphanage with physical as well as spiritual needs. Pray for the staff, and especially for Michael Sr., because it can be very wearing to hear of difficulty upon difficulty. It's the many, many answers to prayer for the needs of these hurting people that keep one going.
We felt impressed of the Lord to visit with many lonely widows that rarely ever have a visitor, with the exception of Hand of Help. We bring food, financial help, a warm embrace, and encouragement that the Lord loves them and they are not forgotten. There are also women, mothers with many children, whose husbands left them when they became Christians. Some of these work in other people's fields to try and survive.
As God provides, Hand of Help builds homes, builds churches, has wells dug, buys cows, firewood, food and clothing to help the hurting and needy people, as well as clothe and feed approximately 90 orphans three meals a day.
Again, what a joy it is to be on the scene when God shows up to answer the cry of these hurting and sometimes desperate people. Please ask God how you might become a co-laborer in this Romanian harvest field.
Dave Cheryl and Hosanna Edman
I Timothy 1:27
II Corinthians 8:12-15
II Corinthians 9:6-7
I (Annabel Stoner) have been bringing teams over to Botosani since 2002 and am still blessed to be part of God's ministry to the orphans, widows and poor of Botosani and the surrounding areas.
We have an Orphans International team in London that joins in prayer regularly for the children and our ministry here in Romania.
The following, was written by Daphne about her visit:
'I fell in love with Romania, the countryside, the people and all its beauty. Some of the poverty and hardship I witnessed considering this country is now part of the EEC was a revelation! I saw first hand the level of suffering that I could not help but me moved to try and help wherever possible.
It was an amazing honor to be used by God to distribute His heart and wealth to those in most need. We handed out food, clothing, cookers, extractor fans, cows, bought sofas for the orphanage's recreation room, paid for 2 families to have wells dug on their land which they would also share with their neighbors, laid laminate flooring on the 5th floor of the orphanage, and gave out money to the poor where we felt a need.
It is definitely more blessed to give than receive and nowhere did I see it more clearly than in the case of the Hand of Help orphanage. I witnessed here, the amazing work of God in providing great food and clothing to the children.
I spent time with the children and despite their small means had it in their hearts to offer their tokens of friendship and gratitude be it wild flowers, a hand made card, a tapestry or a drawing.
What a blessed time. All the team expressed how their time in Romania was a life changing experience not only because of what they saw but also in how they saw God work.
We as a team have also been blessed, to have purchased a 2 bedroom apartment in October 2005 in the town of Botosani. This apartment is being used as a pilot program to currently help 4 teenage girls from Hand of Help in assisting them to become more independent and de-institutionalized. The 4 chosen girls have been living in the apartment since September 2006.
This trip has enabled us to visit them for their first time and see how they have been getting along. All of the girls have told us how they love their new home and are loving their new independence and being able to make their own decisions. Their cooking and cleanliness is also of excellent caliber.
We currently have to finish off the interior of the apartment, 3 pairs of curtains and nets to be put up this week before their baptisms on Sunday 20th May.
Thanks be to God for His Hand in all this work.
I felt God wanted me to observe, and see things through His eyes and not my own. I went to homes with sick children and sick parents, but never once did I hear them murmur against God, complain or ask why God was allowing these things in their lives. Instead, I saw people praise His name in song and give Him thanks for the help we could give. We went to the home of a local pastor, whose son was ill, and although they were going through this hardship, I saw the joy in the family's face, and the fact that peace and joy resided there.
I visited our church at the Hand of Help orphanage and was in awe at the great hospitality that was extended, as well as the youth praying and the sounds of hundreds singing praises to the Lord.
Michael Boldea Sr. pastors the Messiah Church, and many of the orphans attend the services and are in the choir. It is such a beautiful thing to observe. I spent time with the children in the orphanage and they send their love and prayers, and thank all those who sponsor them and help them with gifts and support. Daniel Boldea was a blessing, and it was a great joy to sing with him in the church and the many homes we visited. Virginia would be proud of her children. I don't know of a family I have had greater pleasure in working with than this one. In all my trips, they were hospitable, friendly and cordial.
I have had the great pleasure of traveling with most of them in ministry and find they love Jesus. God has granted us a great privilege to see what His hand started, and completed.
Truly, when I was first in Romania and watched Dumitru put a shovel in the first patch of earth where the orphanage would be built, I never dreamed it would become such a lighthouse for the Lord. I visited many churches with him when he took the money he received from traveling in America, and gave it to pastors, weeping at his dinner table about needing a church building. He would give them money and say, "build, but make certain you are honest with these funds that many Americans sacrificed to give." Dumitru never thought of himself first, he always helped others ahead of himself.
To see what the Lord has done throughout the life of this ministry, is to know that He was and is the Lord of Hand of Help, and it is His guidance and protection that has brought it this far. Through trials, hardships and setbacks, it is amazing to see children come to Jesus from homes that were destroyed by alcohol, drugs, and the loss of parents to an early death or suicide. I am grateful to be part of this work and want you to know God sees all you have done in His name to help the orphan and the widow.
Brother Geno Schmidt
Love's Abundant Harvest
Two years ago, while doing our part in helping those that had been devastated by the floods that tore through the Pascani municipality, we met a family that had personally involved themselves, and sacrificed of their time in helping rebuild the street they lived on, after much of the homes had been wiped away by the fury of the waters. The family in question was the Grosu family, and they immediately found a place in our hearts due to their selflessness and desire to lend a helping hand wherever and whenever they could.
Recently we were reacquainted with the Grosu family, but under very different circumstances. We received a telephone call informing us that the entire community of Pascani was in mourning, due to sister Grosu's passing. Her nine children were left only with the memories of their mother, and the virtues she instilled in them by living the life of a true follower of Jesus Christ.
The large number of those who turned out to bid their final farewell was a testament to sister Grosu's never ending quest to be available for anyone, at any time, and do her part in helping to ease the suffering of those around her. From making quilts for poor families, to visiting the elderly, to offering her services as a midwife, she was a tireless servant who always put the work of God before her own needs.
Since her husband is a carpenter by trade, due to her ceaseless petition, he helped rebuild the homes of twenty-five families who had been left homeless, even though they still live in an old mud brick home, which is in desperate need of renovation.
Until her final breath Sister Grosu was a servant who believed and trusted steadfastly in the promises of God. Nowhere in her life was this more evident than in Simona, the Grosu family's nineteen year old daughter who was born with various illnesses, so much so that the doctors gave her no chance of living beyond infancy. The love, prayers and faithfulness of a mother defied the doctors' grim outlook, and at the age of eleven Simona walked on her own two feet, and for the first time after eighteen years of caring for her, Sister Grosu was rewarded with a single word from Simona's mouth, "mother." "It was the most beautiful sound she had ever heard", Viorel Grosu said, wiping tears from his eyes. "Simona had never spoken a word in eighteen years, and her first word was mother."
"Trying to understand why God took her home was the most difficult thing I have ever endured. I was angry, and couldn't see a reason for her passing, until I started seeing all those my wife helped over the years begin to come to our door, offering their condolences. Hundreds and hundreds of people, from neighboring villages, all coming with tears in their eyes. Only then was I able to begin understanding God's plan."
For many years the Grosu family has cast their bread upon the waters, ceaselessly doing good wherever they could. Now the time has come for us to do our part, and cast our own bread upon the water, and help them in this time of great need. Their greatest desire, and most heated prayer, is that God would be merciful and heal Simona. Please remember the Grosu family, as well as Simona in your prayers.
Hand of Help Staff
Enabler: One who enables another to persist in self-destructive behavior by providing excuses or by helping that individual avoid the consequences of such behavior.
As of late I have been receiving an increasing number of correspondence, enough so that it warranted a public response, concerning the contradictory revelations, dreams and visions that are being touted by some well known Evangelists, who foresee not judgment or hardships, but rather an unprecedented season of blessing, prosperity, and human understanding, a utopian world of men living and coexisting in peace.
I have been asked to comment, to confirm or deny, to make a case for what God is showing this ministry, to attempt and convince the divided heart that we are on the side of right. In this case, as in most other cases of this nature, I will defer to the Word, wherein we find wisdom, knowledge and understanding, wherein we find the answers to the questions that fill our hearts and minds. I have never in my life attempted to sway anyone when it came to prophecy, or try to prove that I am on the side of right, but merely directed them to the Bible, and asked them to confirm, in the Word, what they are hearing from the mouths of men. Simply put, I stand on the Word of God, and look to it for confirmation of every word I hear, no matter how respected an individual that person might be in Christian circles, or how well known.
It seems to me, and increasingly so, that the current prophetic climate in this country is closely mimicking the prophetic climate during Jeremiah's time, wherein although sin abounded, men despised God, and walked according to the imagination of their own hearts, the prophets of that time prophesied only peace, and good times ahead.
I realize the instinctive reaction of many is to say, 'let them speak, they're not hurting anyone, because even those of the world, those with no insight or foresight into prophecy, and the Word can see where humanity is headed', and to be honest, I wish it were that simple. There is however an underlying issue, a true and undeniable problem with those still prophesying peace and prosperity, in that those who believe them are enabled, and emboldened to persist in their wickedness. The hands of evildoers are strengthened, and due to the prophetic utterance of 'prophet' Bob, informing them of blue skies, and clear sailing ahead, no one turns back from their wickedness.
The real tragedy, is due to the fact that such men are not hearing from God, due to the fact that God has neither spoken to them nor sent them, they are perpetuating the justification and rationalization of sin in the hearts and lives of God's people. There is nothing greater than a sense of security, no matter how false that sense of security might be, to keep someone from turning from evil.
Jeremiah 23:14, "Also I have seen a horrible thing in the prophets of Jerusalem: They strengthen the hands of evildoers, so that no one turns back from his wickedness. All of them are like Sodom to Me, and her inhabitants like Gomorrah."
Jeremiah 23:16-17, "Thus says the Lord of hosts: 'do not listen to the words of the prophets who prophesy to you. They make you worthless. They speak a vision of their own heart, not from the mouth of the Lord. They continually say to those who despise Me, 'The Lord has said, you shall have peace;' And to everyone who walks according to the imagination of his own heart, no evil shall come upon you."
Jeremiah 23:21-22, "I have not sent these prophets, yet they ran. I have not spoken to them, yet they prophesied. But if they had stood in My counsel, and had caused My people to hear My words, then they would have turned them from their evil way, and from the evil of their doings."
One thing is certain, it is much easier to speak a vision of one's own heart, to take optimism and unrealistic expectation, package them up into a bundle, and label them prophecy, than it is to stand before God day and night, weeping and broken, and await His voice, being silent until He speaks, standing still until He sends you.
Too often today, if God is silent, men take it upon themselves to guess the mind of God, and speak on His behalf, thinking they are doing something good and noble, when in fact they are causing untold damage to the body of Christ. If only they had stood in God's counsel, if only they were pure of heart, if only they realized they were merely vessels, of no use until something was poured into them, perhaps they would have heard His voice, and known His heart and preached the much needed message of repentance, that God's people, as Jeremiah so simply puts it, would turn from their evil way.
But no, we have built ministries on our reputations; we have built kingdoms on this earth; we have built a supporter base based on our charisma, and how can we let all that slip away by keeping silent when God is silent? Though God has not spoken, we are forced to speak for fear of losing donations, and though the writing is on the wall, though the signs of the times are all around us, though heaven and earth cry out 'repent', we have come too far, we have cast our lot, and we cannot turn back now. What would people think if suddenly we started preaching repentance when once we preached never-ending prosperity? How would our support base react if suddenly we began echoing the Bible in saying that God punishes sin, especially in His own house, and among His own people, when all this time we've been saying that as long as your check is big enough, God will turn a blind eye to your indiscretion, He will overlook your sin for all that good you've done? What will come of the endless invitations to be a guest on cable news networks as an expert and authority on Bible Prophecy once we start preaching that friendship with the world is enmity with God?
No, we've come too far, we can't turn back now, and so we continue to shout 'peace and safety, peace and safety' until we are hoarse, until the day the wrath of God and sudden destruction sweeps down and overtakes us.
Jeremiah 23:1-2, "Woe to the shepherds who destroy and scatter the sheep of My pasture!" says the Lord. Therefore thus says the Lord God of Israel against the shepherds who feed my people: 'you have scattered my flock, driven them away, and not attended to them. Behold, I will attend to you for the evil of your doings," says the Lord."
With love in Christ,
Michael Boldea Jr.