|November 2008 - January 2009 Newsletter|
Hand of Help
The work of God is always joyful, but it is never easy. We see the hand of God, and witness the miracles He performs, yet often times find ourselves wondering how we will make ends meet in the coming weeks or months. Even half a world away we are not ignorant of what is going on, or of the hardships that have descended upon the world. For some it was a complete surprise, and they're still trying to wrap their minds around what is happening, attempting to get over the initial shock of having that which they put their trust and faith in shatter and crumble to the ground with the suddenness of a bolt of lightning streaking across the night sky. For others, those blessed few that had the Word of God as their foundation and the foresight to see the writing on the wall, it is just confirmation of the times we live in. One of the many graces of being a child of God, is that events such as these do not catch us unaware, or surprise us, but are merely the fulfillment of forewarnings God spoke through His vessels.
This is a ministry that lives by faith, and as a man of God so aptly put it, 'the life of faith is one incessant fight.' Beneath the cross, a sword is drawn, of which the scabbard is cast far away. Until the victor's crown is won, unflinching combat must go on. The foes are many, mighty, wily and restless. Yes, we fight, against unbelief, against self-doubt, against the emissaries of darkness, against deceit, against becoming lukewarm, never losing sight of the fact that the battle is constant, unceasing, and demanding of all the energy we can muster.
It would be easier to shrink back from the confrontation of hardship, to pass the buck and say in our hearts 'let someone else do it, we need rest, we need respite, surely we've done our part', but the Word of God echoes in our hearts reminding us that we must labor while it is still day, for the night soon comes when no man can work. The reality of this scripture is becoming all the more evident which each passing day, and seeing the harbinger of night on the horizon, we can only intensify our effort to be about our Father's business, doing all we can to be faithful stewards.
Even though the work of caring for and feeding the children in the Hand of Help Orphanage is a Herculean task all in itself, having recently received another four young souls with no place to go into the bosom of our family, God in His abundant grace, and you through your selfless sacrifice, have also allowed us to be a blessing and a present help to the surrounding communities. We've been able to purchase over fifteen tons of firewood which we are even now distributing to families, and the elderly who would have no source of heat for the coming winter, we have put together over two hundred food packages which will be passed out in the month of December, and most of the building projects on individual homes have been completed.
There are other testimonies that are worth mentioning, one that is close to our hearts being the children who were once residents of the Hand of Help Orphanage, who are now on their own. We realized long ago that one of the biggest hurdles for the children in the orphanage who were turning eighteen, would be learning self-sufficiency, and having to live on their own. Some time ago we mentioned a project which entailed having the children live in an off site apartment, and keeping tabs on them, helping them out until they were able to provide for themselves. We are happy to report that the project is a great success, and those children that were too old to reside in the orphanage are now productive members of society, having their own jobs and being able, in large part, to provide for themselves.
For countless souls this ministry is as a lighthouse on a hill, allowing them to see the providence of God and His provision manifest through this work. Whether it is a new home, a food package, some firewood, or simply fellowship, God has allowed us the humbling privilege to be an answer to prayer. Thank you for making this work possible. Thank you for being the hand that feeds the orphan and comforts the widow. Our prayers and supplications before the heavenly Father for you are ceaseless, and words cannot express the love and gratitude we have in our hearts for you.
In His Grace,
Hand of Help Staff
Trip To Romania
We praise God for the opportunity to go out in Jesus' Name and show forth the goodness and loving kindness of the Lord here in Romania. Although the brothers' and sisters' problems vary from health, loneliness, crop failure, housing problems, etc., we find them looking to Jesus for help. What a joy it is to hear them praising God for hearing and answering their prayers. Some say things like, "we don't know what to say. Nobody has ever come to help us like this before." A mother of five came to the orphanage and being invited to have lunch with us, and feeling awkward said, "I have never been served before."
When we stopped to see Maria, a 76-year-old woman living in a house that is over 100 years old (the one she was born in), she was so thrilled to have visitors. She showed us the candle she uses to light her home. Her big smile revealed only one tooth. We help widows like her with food, candles, clothing, and money for firewood. They know that God has not forgotten them. Some have been given dreams and in the dreams they have seen us coming to help them. Other widows suffering from loneliness gave Cheryl and Hosanna long, long hugs, just soaking in the love of God.
Michael knew of a very needy family that lived in a certain village, but he didn't know which house they lived in. We stopped at the first house we came to and asked directions to the Damian family's home. When we arrived, the husband was away working but the wife, Camelia, and 4 of their 5 children were home. Some members of the church had come over to encourage her, singing hymns, reading scripture, and praying with her. Camelia's husband had worked 2 months this summer and was never paid for the work he did. The house they're in belongs to a family that is in Spain but they are planning on coming back before Christmas and the Damian family has nowhere to go when they come back. The youngest child is 1 year old and needs surgery because she has a hole in her heart. Due to stress, Camelia has not been able to eat for 5 days. The visits from the church and us, showing up at the same time, showed her that God knew all about her problems and was there to administer His love and grace.
With the cost of everything going up, it is increasingly difficult to make their small incomes stretch. For instance, the average wage is between $100 and $200 per month and the cost of gas is about $5.50 per gallon. Many we visit cannot afford a car, much less the gas to go in it.
There are approximately 80 children at the orphanage receiving 3 good meals a day, clothing, an education, spiritual instruction, and love. The ongoing expenses are immense.
We thank God that He lays it on the hearts of His children to support this small ministry that touches so many lives. Pure and undefiled religion is to minister to the needs of the orphan and the widow. Jesus said, "For I was hungry and you fed me, when I was thirsty you gave me drink, I was a stranger and you took me in, naked and you clothed me, I was sick and you visited me, I was in prison and you came unto me. Come ye blessed of my Father, inherit the kingdom prepared for you from the foundation of the world."
Dave, Cheryl, and Hosanna Edman
Just In Time
It was late into the fall season as the Hand of Help staff gathered together in the third floor office for our morning meeting when we all noticed something troubling. It had rained heavily the night before, and as we walked into the room, we could hear the unmistakable noise of dripping water. At first everyone assumed it was coming from outside, perhaps rainwater still making its way through the gutters, but as everyone started taking their seats, more than one noticed the floor and the tables were wet.
Upon further inspection our hurts sunk as we realized there were more than six leaks just in that one room, and after checking the rest of the roof our maintenance staff came to the conclusion that the roof would have to be stripped and then resurfaced before the first snow if we hoped to have a warm orphanage this coming winter.
When asked if we could put it off until the spring or summer, their only answer was, 'only if you want the children to be really cold for the rest of winter.' They weren't very optimistic about finishing the job before the first snow either, their only comment being, 'if I were you, I'd pray real hard.'
Heavy snow had already been reported in neighboring countries, and by all accounts it was supposed to make its way to Romania within the week, but we had no choice but to try and get as much done as possible before the cold weather settled into our region. Within a couple hours our entire maintenance crew was busy stripping the old roof, and after calling a few companies explaining the urgency of the situation we finally found one that had a miniature crane available.
The maintenance crew worked around the clock, and the rest of the staff pitched in wherever they could, whether wheel barrowing the old tar and insulation off the roof, or sweeping the cement to make it ready for the new materials that we had ordered. There is nothing like a crisis to bring a family together, and the entire staff stayed long into the night, hours after their shift was done to make sure that the job got finished and the children would have a warm place to sleep.
One thing is evident, every employee of Hand of Help does not treat their employment merely as a job, they sacrifice of themselves, and go beyond the call of duty because for them it is a calling, and one they take very seriously.
With each passing day we would listen for news of coming snow, dreading the prospect that we would be caught with a bare roof, something worse than the leaks that caused us to strip it in the first place. The sigh of relief was audible, as night after night they would report that the weather would hold for the next day, and although other countries in the region, and even parts of our own country were getting battered with freezing rain and snow we would be spared yet another day.
Two days before the first snow hit Botosani County the roof was finished. The workers were as surprised as anyone seeing that the job had gotten done, and as they were clearing their tools from the roof on the last day of the job one of them, an unsaved man of about thirty was overheard saying, "I guess their prayers must have worked."
Sometimes we overlook God's small graces, writing them off as mere chance, but there are no accidents where God is concerned, and no matter what upheavals the world might be going through, we can rest assured He hears the prayers of His children, and they are safe and secure under the shadow of His wing.
In His Grace,
Hand of Help staff
It had been some time since I'd been to visit sister Maria Bagiu. At seventy-six years of age she is beginning to feel her years, as she put it, 'having a hard time remembering faces once in awhile.' Since we were already in the village of Cervicesti, helping some families, and passing out some clothes I felt impressed to stop and visit sister Maria's home as well. I remembered my wife used to visit her often, sometimes spending an entire day with her, bringing her dinner and just talking to her.
We walked into her home, and noticed the blank expression on her face. I knew she didn't recognize me, and as I came to shake her hand I told her I was Virginia's husband, and I apologized for not having visited earlier. As I mentioned my wife's name, her face brightened, and it seemed as though she'd suddenly become twenty years younger.
"I remember your wife" Maria said, "such a kind soul, she would always bring me food, and she was the only person that never grew tired of hearing me talk. I saw the compassion on her face every time she would visit. It hasn't been the same since the Lord took her home, no matter how hard things became I could look forward to her visiting once every few weeks."
When I asked Maria where she cooks her meals, she said other than a bowl of warm soup the neighbors bring her from time to time, her meals are eaten cold. She has no electricity and lives by candlelight.
It was when I asked her to tell me about the last time she attended church that her brow wrinkled and I saw a sadness wash over her face. "I want to go to church, I love being in the house of God, but I can't leave my house because the birds eat away at my roof if I'm not here to chase them away, and when it rains or snows it drips into the house." Her roof is made of branches and thistle, and even with her watchfulness at chasing the birds away the holes in the roof are visible to the naked eye.
We said our goodbyes, only to return a few days later and bring her a box of candles that she could use to illuminate her house and read the Word. A new roof, one that is not edible by birds would cost around $2000, and if I may be so bold I would like to ask for your prayers concerning this project. It may not mean much to some, but a new roof for Maria would mean that she is able to attend church, have a little fellowship, and feel the joy of God in her life.
Michael Boldea Sr.
The Good News
Wonder of wonders! The mighty God, without ceasing to be God, becomes man to redeem us! Let the greatest king become the lowest beggar; let the richest prince leave his palace for the vilest cell of a loathsome prison; it is as nothing compared to the act of Jesus, when He left heaven to put on the rags of our mortality! The Creator of all things becomes a creature! The Almighty is a weak babe! The Eternal is a child of time! The Infinite is contracted into the limits of poor flesh! Is not this the wonder of wonders? Is not this grace that has no bounds? � Henry Law 1854
To the naked eye all seemed normal. The Roman Empire was more stable than ever, Judaism was flourishing, and the temple was majestic in its splendor. No one expected change to come so suddenly, no one was preparing for the arrival of the Immanuel. Everyone went about their daily lives, unaware of the momentous earth-altering baby, yet to be born, on its way to Bethlehem in the womb of a virgin, which sat upon a tired donkey. We all know the story of Christmas, we've all heard it, perhaps even retell it to our children or grandchildren every year, and even though we retell the story, and celebrate the birth of our Savior on a yearly basis, it seems the true meaning of this momentous day is lost on more and more souls.
No, Christmas is not about getting stuff, it is not about brightly lit trees, and colorfully wrapped presents, about sickly sweet eggnog or the questionable sweaters some insist on wearing only during the holidays, it is the testament of heaven's sacrifice on behalf of mankind, it is the quintessential celebration of self renunciation.
From Mary, the virgin who sacrificed her reputation, to Joseph her bethroved who sacrificed the dream of what his life would be, to the wise men who left behind their friends and set out to find a newborn baby, to the angels, the cherubim and seraphim who sacrificed the object of their adoration and worship, to God the Father who sacrificed His Son, all sacrificed that the good news might come, that we might receive the means by which we might be reconciled unto God.
In all the feasting and celebration, in all the family reunions and the warm feelings of togetherness may we not forget the Christ, Jesus, who sacrificing His external glory, that selfsame glory that caused Moses' face to shine in such a manner that he had to put a veil over it whenever He spoke to the people, and came into this world to draw all men unto Himself, to transform them into an image pleasing to the Father, and pay the price for us all.
If you know the saving grace of our Lord, if you have felt His love and been a recipient of His mercy, I pray you take the opportunity to share the good news of the Gospel with all who would hear. What greater gift could God have given than that of His Son Jesus, and what greater gift could you give than sharing Him with those around you?
Yes, this is the season, but the season for embracing the love that is freely offered, the season of sacrificing and dying to self, the season of turning our back on the world and turning our face toward a loving Father.
Christmas began in the heart of God, but it is not complete until it resides within the heart of man as well. May we all this day, remember all that was sacrificed on our behalf and fall to our knees in thanks to a Holy God.
With love in Christ,
Michael Boldea Jr.
We see allot of need. The more time passes, and the more the hand of God presses down on the world as a whole, the more the needs of those who were barely getting by before the global economic downturn are becoming struggles for survival. Although in our hearts we believe every need is important, each of us are moved and impacted in a deeper and more profound fashion by a certain segment of the needy. For some it is the single mother trying to keep her baby fed that breaks their heart, for others it is the orphan or the widow that impacts them more intensely, some are moved by the homeless, while others by the mentally challenged. It might be because I myself am entering the twilight of my life, or because I have a deep respect for them, but the segment of need that most deeply impacts me are the elderly.
Nothing captures my attention more than the souls that have been walking the earth eighty and ninety years, men and women who have seen and lived more of life than we can hope to imagine. Every wrinkle on their faces tells a story, every hardship is etched deep within their countenance. Hearing them retelling their life stories, of how they came to know the Lord, remembering in vivid detail the day the Lord called them out of a dying world, and the miracles they saw firsthand never ceases to grow old or tiresome, but are always refreshing and encouraging. Some still recall the times of persecution that descended over our nation, living all of forty five years under the iron fist of communism, smiling as they relive, in their mind's eye the faithfulness of God during those dark days, and the hope they felt when communism fell so suddenly almost twenty years ago.
Their faith gives me faith; their strength gives me strength; their testimony of God's healing hand, God's hand of provision and protection stirring in me the boldness to stand on the word that all things are possible for those who believe.
Recently I had such an encounter in the home of brother Chisalita Dumitru, who is 82 years old and lives in the village of Cervicesti. We went to visit him in his home, a home that is ready to crumble around him, a home that has no means of heating in the winter, and no form of refrigeration in the summer. To the human eye his situation might be pitiable, but as you hear the man retelling the high points of his life, all of them having to do with his servitude toward God, of the miracles he saw and the trials God saved him from, one can't help but be humbled by the thought that he is in the presence of a giant of the faith. No, he does not live in a palace, or fly around in a private jet, but he has such a deep relationship with God that the intimacy is evident on his face.
"The solution to every problem I've ever had, the answer to every question has been found on my knees", brother Dumitru said. "There has never been a time in the sixty four years since God called me that I've stood before Him in humility and sincerity and He has not answered. Even you being here is an answer to prayer."
Even though he did not ask for help saying that God would provide, I would like this ministry to be the vehicle through which He provides some help for brother Dumitru. For now we would like to do what we can in the home to ensure that it does not come down upon his head, and get him some form of heat for the coming winter. Please keep brother Dumitru in your prayers.
Michael Boldea Sr.
2 Timothy 2:3-4, "You therefore must endure hardship as a good soldier of Jesus Christ. No one engaged in warfare entangles himself with the affairs of this life, that he may please him who enlisted him as a soldier."
Shortly before I was scheduled to leave for a weeklong missions trip, a trip that had been planned months in advance with the pastors of many churches bringing their congregations together under one roof to hear the word of God, one of the staff members here in Wisconsin reminded me offhandedly that we would soon be celebrating twenty five years since Hand of Help's inception.
A quarter of a century is a long time no matter how you slice it, or what angle it is viewed from. To be honest, I was not in what one might call a celebratory frame of mind. In these twenty five years I have laid to their final rest a grandmother, a grandfather, and a mother, I have known betrayal at the hands of men I considered brothers in Christ and friends fueled by something as unoriginal and despicable as greed, I have preached messages few wanted to hear, and have been despised for my stubborn unwillingness to compromise the word of God.
Throughout the entirety of the mission trip, one question kept nagging at me, always somewhere in the back of my mind. Even though the trip turned out to be an encouraging and reenergizing blessing, and I saw hunger in the hearts of the people for the truth of God's word, feeling the presence of God in a deep and powerful way, I took no pleasure in the thousand plus crowds or their hearty applause. This one question kept echoing in my ears, and as yet I had received no answer. The question was simple: Is there still a need for a prophetic warning ministry once a nation has entered the season of fulfillment?
To me, a warning is a counsel or admonition to desist from a specified undesirable course of action. When someone is warned, that which they are warned against is avoidable. Take for instance the 'reduce speed, winding road ahead' signs. One is warned to reduce their speed, due to the fact that tight curves are just ahead, but if they refuse to heed the warning, then they will suffer the consequences of their actions. I believe God has stopped warning for some time now, due to this nation's unwillingness to heed His warnings. His judgments are no longer avoidable, and the fulfillment of what has been spoken is visible even to those with no prophetic background.
I arrived back home after the weeklong tour, and still the initial thought would not leave. As I began to further ponder this question, I began thinking to myself that maybe this was God's way of telling me I in fact could go back to my homeland, that I had done my duty, I had fulfilled my mission, I had preached, I had warned, I had shared the dreams and visions, and now I was free to have a normal life, to spend time with my wife, have some children, maybe even buy a dog.
One thing that those who know me have grown to understand is that I am not in ministry to get rich or famous, to build a kingdom on earth or have my own face staring back at me from a bookstore shelf. I am in ministry out of obedience to God, and will not be in it one day longer than God desires me to be. Obedience keeps me; it's just that simple.
Two days after arriving home I had pretty much talked myself into believing that I had received my release to move back home. Since I was flying back for Christmas, to be with the family, I began thinking 'why not just stay? Twenty five years is a long time, no one could blame you if you stayed.'
That same night I had a dream. I dreamt I was standing at the edge of a cliff, overlooking a valley that stretched out below me. Although it was night, the valley was not dark due to the dozens of fires that were burning all around the valley. Large white tents peppered the valley floor, and men dressed in white were hurriedly preparing. Some were sharpening swords, others were polishing shields, but the selfsame look of purpose and determination was evident in the countenance of every one.
As I continued watching I was startled when a hand touched my shoulder. I turned and stood face to face with the same man I had seen in my dreams on previous occasions.
"What do you think they are doing down there?" he asked pointing toward the valley and the men.
"It looks like they're preparing for a war," I said gazing back at the valley.
"And what do you call a soldier that flees the battlefield on the eve of battle?"
"A deserter," I said.
"A deserter" he echoed. "Why would the Father train and equip you for the coming battle only to release you as the battle is about to begin? You think this is the end but it is not. The need for light is multiplied as the darkness grows, not diminished; the need for truth becomes more necessary as deception consumes the innocent, not less relevant. In these dark hours the children of light must shine, in these evil days the truth must be proclaimed with boldness. You can choose to flee, but it is not the Father's will. You can stay and fight, and thus receive your just reward. The world has tainted many who ought to have stayed pure, and many have defiled themselves who ought to have remained undefiled. They have gorged themselves on Nebuchadnezzar's delicacies, thereby disqualifying themselves from being used in these days. The hosts of heaven stand ready even now to do battle on behalf of the righteous. Do not fear the coming days for they have been foretold. Walk in the authority that has been given you, and do your duty as a faithful soldier ought to."
As the man finished speaking, I opened my eyes and was surprised to discover I was in my bed.
Some may wonder why I share this dream, because well, it is not very flattering. In fact I got taken to the proverbial woodshed as the saying goes, but lest we forget the Lord chastens those He loves, and I am ever thankful that He loves me, and suffers my frailty.
I do not know how, but I know that God will make a way. The truth for need is evident. Not my truth, but God's truth, not the truth of any particular denomination, but the truth of God's Holy Word.
As human beings, men and women made of flesh and bone, we make plans, we have hopes and we envision a certain kind of future, but all our hopes and dreams, all our plans must be surrendered, in perfect harmony with the will of God for only in His will are peace, joy and comfort abundant and ever present.
We are on the precipice of volatile and troubling times, witnessing a rapidly changing world. There is a great upheaval coming in the spiritual, just as in the physical, and God will sift those who call themselves His children first and foremost, separating that which is righteous from that which is defiled. We must stand in the righteousness of God, having His Word as our standard and our foundation that we might not be swayed by the winds, or uprooted by the storms. In order to overcome one must face conflict and not flinch from battle, but an unprepared soldier whose armor is not on, and whose weapons are unknown to him, is easily overtaken by an enemy whose bloodlust knows no bounds. Our faith and obedience will carry us through the darkest of nights, because when faith and obedience are present the light of God shines brighter than the sun, dispelling the darkness.
Romans 16:19-20 "For your obedience has become known to all. Therefore I am glad on your behalf; but I want you to be wise in what is good, and simple concerning evil. And the God of peace will crush Satan under your feet shortly. The grace of our Lord Jesus Christ be with you. Amen."
With love in Christ,
Michael Boldea Jr.