|May/June/July 2008 Newsletter|
To say that these are difficult times would be an understatement. Unprecedented inflation, combined with the fluctuation of the national currency has brought many to the threshold of desperation. If there were some glimmer of hope, a light, small as it might be at the end of the tunnel, perhaps the hopelessness that consumes so many would not be as pronounced. People are constantly searching for some good news from the governing body, but there is no good news to be found. The combination of a shaky economy, and the flooding, hail storms, and droughts that have been taking place in the most agricultural parts of the country, has left some twenty million people reeling, uncertain of where their next meal will come from.
The current conditions have also increased the workload of the Hand of Help staff in Romania. The lines at the orphanage gates are getting longer, and we seem to be running out of food earlier and earlier in the day. On an almost weekly basis a new face, sometimes two or three can be seen walking the halls of the orphanage, another child that has been abandoned due to the family's inability to provide basic sustenance. Child abandonment has become epidemic in recent months, from newborns, to toddlers, to preteen children, all being left on the steps of churches or government offices. As one government official so poignantly stated on one of the national News channels, "we are not equipped for what is happening, we never in our worst nightmares dreamed that it would get to this."
Although we are already overpopulated, and have exceeded the maximum occupancy rate, new children are being brought to us, in the hope that we would take them in, even if it were on a temporary basis. There is no other place for them to go, and seeing their faces it is doubtful anyone would have the heart to turn them away, and so our family continues to grow.
We realize times are difficult everywhere. Even though we are on a different continent, we are not blind to what is happening in America, and our prayers for you have only grown in frequency and intensity. By the grace of God we have come this far, and His grace will carry us through. Thank you for remembering us, for feeling with us, for praying for us, and for helping us make a difference and be a ray of hope in the lives of the children here, as well as countless families throughout Romania who are blessed through you. In Him all things are possible.
Habakkuk 3:17-19, "Though the fig tree may not blossom, nor fruit be on the vines; Though the labor of the olive may fail, and the fields yield no food; Though the flock be cut off from the fold and there be no herd in the stalls � Yet I will rejoice in the Lord, I will joy in the God of my salvation. The Lord God is my strength; He will make my feet like deer's feet, and He will make me walk on my high hills."
Hand of Help Staff
Striking A Balance
The last verse in the gospel according to John is one that has always been very telling to me. After having recounted many of Christ's sermons, works and exploits, John concludes by saying, that there were many other things that Jesus did, which if they were written one by one, even the world itself could not contain the books that would be written.
Recently I was asked why we stopped publishing the Hand of Help newsletter monthly, and started sending it out every two or three months. It is something I would like to address, because the query did not come from just one person, but from quite a large number. The reason we have cut down on the frequency of the newsletter, is not due to lack of material, or a lessening of exploits, for if we were to list each act of benevolence this ministry performs on a daily basis, we would easily be able to put out a newsletter on a weekly basis. The work has grown over the past few years, and we are doing more to help the poor, clothe the naked, and be a comfort to those who are hurting than ever before.
We have lessened the frequency of the newsletter due to the simple fact that it has gotten increasingly more expensive to print and ship them. Ever since this ministry began, we have strived to be faithful stewards of all that God provides, always attempting to strike a balance between keeping you informed of what the ministry is doing, and making sure every last penny that is able to get to the poor does so.
I know you love this ministry your prayers and support throughout the years are a testament to this fact. I also know you like to be kept informed, and know that your sacrifice is used to do good, to feed the hungry, and to save lives.
We have been looking into less expensive ways of keeping you up to date on the day to day activities of the ministry, and have been strongly considering an E-letter that will be published with greater frequency than this newsletter, and between the two I believe all the necessary information will reach you in a timely manner.
To receive our e-letter from Hand of Help/Michael Boldea, please go to handofhelp.com, and click on the link provided to injesus.com.
It is the constant desire to be faithful in fulfilling our promise to you, that your gifts will be used in the manner specified, and that they will have a positive impact on the suffering, that has caused us to cut down on the number of publications per year. If this has been a disappointment, please accept my sincerest apologies. We are doing the best we can on a shoestring budget, with a minimal staff, all so that we can meet as many needs as possible.
I thank you from the bottom of my heart for your understanding. Please keep this ministry in your prayers, as times have grown more difficult. I cannot ask, I will not be a burden, but if you are able and the Lord so leads, please help us continue to do what we have been called of God to do.
With love in Christ,
Michael Boldea Jr.
TV Program Launched
Hand of Help Ministries is now launching a new TV broadcast called "Moment of Truth" that features a 30 minute message by Michael Boldea. The program will touch on biblical themes and is being produced for local or national Christian TV outlets that want to air it. If you would like to underwrite a 30 minute broadcast just inquire at your local Christian TV station or Cable station and they can tell you what is involved in doing so. You can prayerfully consider underwriting one 30 minute program each week. If you are interested in doing this contact Gene Schmidt at 1-920-206-9910 at Hand of Help for more details.
The "Moment of Truth" Radio broadcast is now on Des Moines Iowa Radio station KPSZ praise AM 940. The "Moment of Truth" Radio broadcast airs from 8:30 to 9:00 a.m. on Saturdays. If you desire to also sponsor a radio broadcast please call our office.
The Dombrovoschi family, Viorel, Ana and their 9 children lived in an old home, which they had purchased some time ago. Seeing that the home was close to crumbling to the ground, a local businessman offered to build them a new home. They tore down the old house, and began construction on the new one, only to see the man's business fail, and their dream of a new home put on hold for the foreseeable future. Since the businessman was no longer able to help the Dombrovoschi family with their home, he simply abandoned them, and they are now living in the home of another family who is off working in Italy for a short time. They have already been told as soon as the family returns, they need to move out and find another place to live. Any day, the Dombrovoschi family and their nine children could be out on the street. Please pray that the Lord provides the $5000 needed to complete the home that was started, and this family could have a place they can call their own.
When we stopped to visit the Mihalcea family in Trusesti, we realized sister Mihaela was not home. When we inquired as to her whereabouts, we were told she was in Iasi undergoing some tests. Two years ago she had a mastectomy due to a cancerous lump that her doctor found during a routine check. Lately she has been getting crippling migraines. Her prayer was that we would buy a goat for her children, and we did, but there is too little milk to feed all of the five Mihalcea children. We promised we would buy one more goat for this family, which will be sufficient to provide for their daily needs, and we intend to keep our promise. The cost of a goat is $150. Please keep this need in your prayers.
For many years the Toma Gheorge family shared a home with three other families. Gheorghe, his two married brothers who have six children between them, Gheorge's parents, and his own six children, brings the number to roughly twenty people living in a small ancestral home.
With God's help they were able to purchase an old home, which cost sixty million lei, ($5000) half of which they paid upfront, and the other half payable by August first, as stipulated in the purchase contract. Recently Gheorge lost his job, and there have been complications with his wife's pregnancy, making it difficult if not outright impossible for them to pay the rest of the money for the home. They run the risk of losing their deposit as well as their new home if they do not have the necessary $2500 by the beginning of August. Knowing that we serve a God who is able to do the impossible, we ask that you join with us in prayer for the Toma family, that God's perfect will be done in this matter.
Proverbs 30:8, "Give me neither poverty nor riches � Feed me with the food You prescribe for me."
The Ursescu family had a cow, which they sold some time ago in order to make their home livable in the winter months. The roof had holes in it, the walls were crumbling around them, and they saw no other means by which they could fix up the house, than to part with their cow. We stopped to visit the Ursescu family and drop off some food packages, and realized just how important a cow had been for Viorel, Florica, and their eleven children.
We decided to purchase another cow for them, and they are able to feed it off the hectare of farmland they rent and farm. It would be a blessing if we could purchase a hectare of land for this family, rather than having them rent it, which would amount to $1000. Please remember the Ursescu Family in your prayers.
As always, these are just a few of a multitude of needs, and your continued prayer and support is what makes it possible for us to be the heart and hands of Christ. Thank you for being as a Father to the orphans, and a place of refuge for those who have nowhere else to turn.
Hand of Help Staff
Beyond the Paradox of Our Day
One need only look at what the world has become and perceive where it is headed to grow weary and discouraged in their hearts. The whispers grow more pronounced in the hearts of many, always eager to ask the inappropriate questions in relation to what the physical eyes see, yet less readily willing to peer beyond the physical, and see the glory of God's promises.
I must confess, questions have arisen in my own heart, wondering how we will be able to continue feeding these children and providing for the poor in light of the economic upheavals, rumors of war, and an abundance of natural disasters throughout the earth, but each time I return to the promises of God's Word, and there I find my comfort and my joy.
Too few today have the strength to say as Job once did, 'the Lord gave, and the Lord has taken away; blessed be the name of the Lord', but the fact that few are living by this principle in no way minimizes its truth or impact. Even if the dark clouds in the sky obscure our vision and keep us from seeing the sun, we know the sun exists nonetheless. More than ever, God is speaking to His beloved, comforting them and encouraging them to be still and know that He is. Nothing is beyond His control, nothing is beyond His reach, no one even in the most dire of circumstances is beyond His ability to protect, and knowing these truths to be perpetually eternal, all that is required of us as individuals is to trust Him.
As those who have been plucked from the darkness and brought into the light, as those who have been cleansed by the blood of Christ, as those who await the promise and inheritance of our heavenly Father, we must look beyond the paradox of our day, we must look beyond the upheavals, the wars, the rumors of war, the uncertainty and the turmoil, and see Jesus waiting with open arms ever ready to embrace us and keep us from harm. Take strength my dear brothers and sisters in the knowledge that the Father sees and knows our hardships, our heartaches, our joys and our trials, and He is an ever present help in our time of need. We travel the path of faith boldly, and do the work of God with hearts filled with joy, seeing the fruit of our labors in this present hour, and knowing the reward of our sacrifice awaits us beyond the now.
Job 5:20-24, "In famine He shall redeem you from death, and in war from the power of the sword. You shall be hidden form the scourge of the tongue, and you shall not be afraid of destruction when it comes. You shall laugh at destruction and famine, and you shall not be afraid of the beasts of the earth. For you shall have a covenant with the stones of the field, and the beasts of the field shall be at peace with you. You shall know that your tent is in peace; you shall visit your habitation and find nothing amiss."
Pastor Michael Boldea Sr.
God Answers Prayer
On our way to visit Stella Antemie, we felt led to stop and buy a 60 lb bag of potatoes from a street vendor. When we arrived at her house she showed us the two coins (the equivalent of 25 cents), which were all she had remaining to last until the 20th (about 4 days). The soup was on the stove but the gas in the cylinder had run out that morning, so she didn't know how she would be able to cook the soup. We also noticed that she only had about 5 potatoes in her pail. We filled the gas cylinder, gave her the potatoes and a food package, and the equivalent of $150. She went from desperation with anticipation to jubilation and praise to God.
She proceeded to share with us how God had miraculously been providing. The girls both play violin and couldn't go to play with the orchestra in Italy because they didn't have their father's permission to leave the country. Also, the choir director at church wanted them to change to different instruments, but didn't realize they couldn't afford to buy them. There was a deadline to get the money to the choir director. Stella and her girls prayed and fasted for 3 days about the instruments (Monday-Wednesday). No money came in. Stella was confident that the Lord would provide yet worried that the girls' faith would be shaken. The girls had a practice at the church on Thursday afternoon, and the money was supposed to be given by then, but it hadn't come. The children finished their practice and had prayer. After the prayer someone called Oana (12) outside. A person that was not from their church gave her 10 million lei ($400). She put it in her mother's purse. Stella, not knowing this had happened, began to talk to the choir director and told him she was sorry that she didn't have the money, but she would have it the next day. He told her not to worry. Even one week would be okay. Oana kept insisting that they did have the money. She told her mother that there was money in her purse, but Stella said she just had coins. Finally, Stella looked in her purse and found the money. It was the exact amount to pay for the new flute. When the choir director saw all of this, he offered them the second instrument as a free gift! Shortly after this someone also gave Stella a washing machine.
Please keep Stella in your prayers because the eye that she had transplanted is bothered by bright light, and has a tendency to tear up. She lives in her sister's apartment, which is temporary, and a place of her own would be a blessing, if the Lord wills.
We serve a good God, who is the Father of the orphans, and the provider and protector of the widow.
Pastor Michael Boldea Sr.
A Hopeful Prayer
In a world where those who have risen to influential positions continue to declare an increasingly prosperous future even though the signs of the times point to the contrary, in a world where there is no lack of social systems and class schisms, the words of Christ ring more true and relevant with each passing day: "For you have the poor with you always."
If the poor have always been among us, then the question that begs to be asked, is what has changed? How is this present generation different from the generations of the past? Have we grown in the likeness of Christ, has our compassion increased over the years, or has our concern for the helpless been stifled? Have we as a generation allowed ourselves to be consumed by the pursuit of selfishness, no longer caring for our fellow man? Are we no longer burdened by the hurts of others?
Since I spend most of my time in Romania, I have been trying, without much success to open the eyes of those in my own country to the needs of their countrymen. I often meet with business owners, or those who are more affluent then the average citizen, and try to encourage them to help in whatever way they can, to feed and clothe those who have no means of providing for themselves, and I am confronted with the same answers over and over again.
The excuses are cheap, the justifications all too clich�d. From let them get a job, or I barely have enough for myself, to it's not my fault that they are in this predicament, too many today fail to realize that God has left the poor among us, to see our attitude, to gauge our reaction to their plight and circumstances, and to know if we truly believe His promises concerning those who help the poor, the orphan and the widow.
The Bogdan Iulian family is one of those whom God has left among us, that He might see our compassion in action. Bogdan Iulian, his wife Florentina and their two children, Alexandra who is one month old, and Alexandru who is five years old, have not had an easy journey in this life.
For some eight months they were renting a one-bedroom apartment, from which they were suddenly evicted. No explanation was given other than the owner needed the space, and since they had no place to go, Florentina ended up going to a maternity center, being in the late term of her pregnancy, and Iulian went to stay with a cousin, who has seven children of her own.
Not long after, the cousin's husband returned from working in Italy, and demanded that Iulian leave, since there was barely enough room for his own family in their small apartment. By the grace of God, the Bodgan family was assigned a room in an apartment building that had previously been a laundry room of sorts, but this room is in desperate need of renovation, if there is any hope of this family living there on a permanent basis.
Some brothers in the church who work as handymen have offered their services free of charge in helping to renovate the room, and all we would need is $3000 for the materials. Please keep this need in your prayers, as well as the man of the house, brother Iulian who is believing for a miracle for his condition, so he will not have to undergo the surgery the doctors have told him he needs.
My hopeful prayer is that you will continue to pray for this work, to weep with those who are weeping, and be the heart of Christ, and a ray of hope in this ever darkening world. For over twenty years I have witnessed your compassion, and willingness to reach out to those who are suffering, and all I can do is thank the Father for such brothers and sisters in Christ, such faithful laborers and fellow bondservants.
Pastor Michael Boldea Sr.
Psalm 85:4-7, "Restore us, O God of our salvation, and cause Your anger toward us to cease. Will You be angry with us forever? Will You prolong Your anger to all generations? Will you not revive us again, that Your people may rejoice in You? Show us Your mercy, O Lord, and grant us your Salvation."
I was awakened this morning by a powerful dream. There were no angels, no out of body experiences, just a prayer. In fact I dreamt I was praying one phrase over and over again: "Revive us Lord, lest we all perish." I woke up with tears on my face, and this one phrase echoing in my ears, and for some unexplained reason I felt a great sadness, as though a physical weight was pressing down upon me.
For too long the house of God has been in what I have coined as standby mode, awaiting revival. Our expectant hopes have given way to disinterest and indifference allowing the tendrils of slumber to grab hold of our hearts, dragging us into an ever-deeper sleep. While we sleep the sleep of the indifferent, Christ still agonizes in the garden of Gethsemane. Under the watchful eye of our blemishes we slumber, hoping that eventually we will be awakened. Nothing stirs us any longer, nothing disturbs our fitful sleep, and with a wave of a hand we dismiss the signs that are all around us.
We have fallen asleep in the warm bed of strange doctrine, each more comfortable and tolerant than the last. The security of our salvation is eternal. We will not go to judgment, but merely pass from death to life. Salvation is by grace, and our works matter not. We will traverse the wrath of the end days unaffected, flying high above them like eagles soaring above the clouds. The rapture will come, of course before any sign of tribulation is apparent, and the seal of the Spirit will ensure our coming into possession of our entire inheritance, after having received our first installment here on earth by way of material excess and a life of opulence.
The new Jesus not only heals our diseases, but fills our wallets too. Our preachers speak in monotone, monotonous and unconvincing clich�s hoping only to induce an even deeper slumber so no one notices as they pick clean the pockets of their flock.
If some pathetic appeal to righteousness, repentance, holiness, and sanctification attempts to disrupt our sleep, we have hundreds of well practiced, impeccably delivered, un biblical comebacks to silence those who would be rude enough to stir us from the static state we have so come to be comforted by. Slowly but surely we are becoming an inert mass, useless and powerless, a sleeping giant content only with a full wallet and a full stomach.
What I wonder will be that which stirs us from our slumber, that which brings about the awakening so many are hoping for? Will it be a new doctrine, a new crisis, suffering, perhaps persecution? My honest answer is I do not know. Perhaps all these things at once, perhaps a perfect storm of unexpected events that will bring us to our knees, that will stir in us the spirit of humility, or perhaps something else none of us has thought of. Only God knows. What I do know is that we need an awakening.
We have become materialists not through our philosophy, but by the vocation of the tangible, wherein we have become more interested in the blessings of God, than the God of blessing. False teachers have called us to His banquet table for the love of the goods that are upon it, not for love of the One who sits at the head of the table. They have spoken to us so often and eloquently about the miracles of the Lord, that they have overshadowed the Lord of miracles. Trusting, we followed, seeking prosperity and health rather than fellowship and intimacy with Him, which would have been enough, sufficient, more than any man could have asked for. Even if His grace were sufficient for one such as Paul, it would seem that it is no longer the case in this generation. Grace was all well and good, but what we really wanted was prosperity, and cars, and homes, and boats, health and diplomas, big names, adoration, and popularity.
Our prayers have become an expression of our own egotism, and rarely have we sinned against God in a more deplorable manner than when we prayed in such a way. The sacred time, the time reserved for being in His presence, and having fellowship with Him, has been transformed into a time of begging.
Where is the love for God in the church? When was it that we abandoned the notion of foregoing gold and silver for His love? When will we once more thirst for Him? When will we once more run to Him as a child runs to its mother? When will He, and not the toys and the trinkets of this world once again satisfy us?
Overcome by the frigid cold of indifference, a cold that has settled into our very bones, we realize, perhaps now more than ever that the only path to a new awakening is by way of the fire of Christ's love. Nothing will scatter the darkness faster, or chase away the paralyzing cold from our hearts, than the light of His face shining down upon us. He will transform us only when we seek Him for what He is, not for what He can give us.
Revive us Lord awaken us, lest we all perish, caught in the undertow of this world and all its false idols. Revive us Lord, and awaken us that we may live for you and you alone.
Psalm 97:10-12, "You who love the Lord hate evil! He preserves the souls of His saints; He delivers them out of the hand of the wicked. Light is sown for the righteous, and gladness for the upright in heart. Rejoice in the Lord, you righteous and give thanks at the remembrance of His holy name."
With love in Christ,
Michael Boldea Jr.