|February, March, April 2009 Newsletter|
A Day in the Life
It is a universally acknowledged truth that children are a handful. You can put one hundred parents from different continents, different social and economic sectors, and though they might not agree on much, they will all agree that raising children, and raising them right is a difficult task to say the least.
Even parents with as little as two or three children are often overwhelmed by the Herculean task of providing for their children, teaching their children good values, raising them to be respectful, and making sure that they've done their utmost in being a good example that their offspring could follow.
Now imagine having one hundred children, ranging in age from two to eighteen, each with a different personality, a different intelligence level, and with some of them still carrying the scars of past abuses. Imagine having to cook three meals a day for this hundred children, having to make sure that they have clean clothes, that they've bathed, that they've done their homework, that they are fitting in with the rest of the group, and that their emotional needs are being tended to.
After twelve years of operating the Hand of Help orphanage, we the staff have come to the conclusion that it is one of God's overlooked miracles. We have a tendency to get excited over blind eyes being opened, or crippled men walking, but the fact that this ministry is still here and operating, is a miracle in and of itself.
Other than a few scraped elbows and knees, in our twelve years of operation there have been no major accidents, even though the children can get rowdy at times, as children often will. For twelve years consecutively our children have placed in the top percentile in their particular schools, and some of them have gone on to University on full scholarships for their scholastic achievements. Some have started families of their own; others have gone into ministry seeing the example of service and selflessness in the founders of this work.
What children learn in adolescence, serves as the foundation for the rest of their lives. The principles and morals we instill in our children when they are young will carry them through their adulthood. Who can forget the faithfulness of Daniel in the midst of a strange and godless people? It was his upbringing, and the lessons he learned in his youth that compelled him to be faithful to God. Here at the hand of help orphanage we endeavor to do just that, to raise the children God has entrusted to us in the fear of the Lord, and an appreciation for what Jesus did on their behalf.
To a certain extent the inner workings of the orphanage have become like a well-oiled machine, each person knowing their task and performing it faithfully, but there are always the unknowns that keep us from getting too comfortable. Whether it is a new child that has nightmares and begins to scream in the middle of the night, or another who is afraid of letting anyone touch them, even though we are a collective, we must treat each child as an individual, making sure that we minister to their needs. It is no easy task, it is a great responsibility but seeing the fruits of our labors emboldens us and encourages us.
It may be a universally acknowledged truth that children are a handful, and that raising them is a difficult task, but it is also universally acknowledged that it is worth it. There is no sense of accomplishment greater than seeing a child you once taught to use a fork graduating college. There is no sense of accomplishment greater than witnessing their progress firsthand, and realizing that although their own parents and relatives had written them off, in His goodness God restored them and made their lives something beautiful.
We know that God sees our labors and sacrifice, as He sees yours, and one day He will reward all who remained faithful and obedient to His leading. From our family to yours, thank you, and may His peace and joy reside in your hearts until the glorious day of Christ's return.
In His Grace,
Hand of Help Staff
The newly renamed 'social center for the elderly in Vladeni' sits ominously atop a hill that overlooks a barren and somewhat desolate landscape. The winding path leading up to the aging structure is manageable enough during the summer months, but becomes downright treacherous during the winter. A thin layer of snow covers large potholes, and the climb is often steep enough wherein only an experienced driver can make it all the way up the hill.
It had snowed heavily over the past few days, but since I was running out of time, and was soon to return Stateside, we decided we would venture out in the cold and snow, attempt to reach the center, and pass out the oranges, bananas, chocolate bars, cookies, and other treats we had purchased specifically for the residents, as well as drop off the food items, such as potatoes, rice, beef and chicken for the kitchen staff. This was to be my first visit to the Vladeni social center for the elderly, a nice way of saying retirement home, even though my father and other hand of help teams had visited before.
The first thing that struck me as we pulled up to the building was the barbed wire fence surrounding the edifice, reminiscent of some long forgotten concentration camp. Since most governments in the world are eerily similar, and image is everything, it seemed the building had recently been treated to a new paint job, but through the new paint one could see the old cracks, and the fact that no one had done any real work on it for a very long time.
Before we could get out of the car, I began to see the faces of the residents peeking out the windows, and the director of the center came out to greet us. My father introduced me and after shaking hands we informed her we had brought some things for the residents. As we began unloading the foodstuffs we had brought, we asked if there were any staff members that could come help, and shaking her head the director informed us that her staff had been cut from ten to three including her, and besides herself there was the cook who was currently in the kitchen, and the janitor who was mopping the floors.
"If not for people like you, I don't know how this center would stay open", the director said as she handled a large bucket of dehydrated fruit. "Most of the residents here have not had visitors for a very long time, and the ones who come to visit their relatives usually come to get a signature of consent to sell a piece of property they owned. Sometimes I cry for them, sometimes I cry with them, it is so hard to try and explain why their sons and daughters never come visit, and most of them feel downright abandoned."
After taking the items designated for cooking into the kitchen we proceeded to divide the treats we had brought for the residents in the dining hall.
Since they did not know who we were most of the residents kept their distance while we labored, but this did not keep them from peeking from the adjoining room, and smiling as they caught a glimpse of oranges, bananas, and candy bars.
"You don't know how much of a blessing this is for them", the director said, as we got ready to distribute the individual bags to the residents. "Since we are a government run facility, there is no money in our budget for such things, and people with good hearts who give of themselves to bring joy to the less fortunate seem to be growing in number with each passing day."
We proceeded to distribute the bags to the residents in their sleeping quarters, which amounted to two large rooms with twelve beds to a room. Some of the residents began to cry, others tried to kiss our hand, all thanked us, and one who seemed to be the elected spokesperson for the group asked, 'why do you do this? Why would you help people who are strangers to you?'
Before I could answer my father took his hand, and said, 'because this is what Jesus would do.'
We said our goodbyes, and as we were getting ready to leave, the director hugged me and said, "don't forget about us, even though most everyone else has, please don't forget about us."
Just as history has proven, whenever seasons of lack fall upon the world, the oldest and the youngest among us are first to suffer. The defenseless, and the dispensable as some refer to them, become an increasingly heavier burden for an upwardly mobile and ever progressive society. What we must always remember is that we as children of God are not of this word, and cannot therefore have the world's mentality when it comes to the poor and the helpless. We clothe the naked because Jesus would, we feed the hungry because Jesus would, we tend to needs because Jesus would, and we preach the gospel because Jesus would. Our desire and our purpose must be to grow in the image of Christ continually, that we might bring glory and honor to His name. I realize I don't say it nearly often enough, but thank you for keeping this ministry in you prayers, and sacrificing of yourself, thereby allowing us to help those who have nowhere to turn. May God bless you for your faithfulness.
With love in Christ,
Michael Boldea Jr.
A New Work
On the last day of my trip to Romania, my father and I went to a prayer meeting some eighty kilometers away from Botosani, in a little village called Traian. I had never been to this home before, but my father assured me that the brother and sister of the house were welcoming, and we would have some good fellowship in the Lord.
We walked into the humble home made of mud bricks and straw, as most older homes are in the villages, and found sister Ana and her husband, both in the twilight of their lives, sitting on their bed reading their Bibles. Since they had no phone, we were unable to alert them of our intended visit, yet here they were nourishing themselves spiritually with God's word.
We informed Ana and George that we had come for prayer, and after singing a couple hymns, and reading a few verses from the Word, we got on our knees and began to pray.
The presence of God was evident from the instant we began to cry out to God, and after some time a word from the Lord came for me. It was simply this: "I have a new work prepared for you, one that you as yet do not understand, but it will be revealed to you upon your return to the place from which you come."
When the prayer ended, sister Ana gave me a curious look and asked, "Where are you from? Aren't you from Botosani?"
I explained that I spent much of my time in the States, and then inquired if the Lord had shown her anything further as to what this new work might be. "The only thing I know", she said, "Is that the Lord will reveal it to you once you return. I received nothing further."
We had a couple more prayers, and left Ana and George with the peace of the Lord.
On my first day back to the States, still wondering what this new work would be, I opened my e-mail to find no less than three e-mails from brothers in Christ encouraging me to seriously consider a television ministry, as the truth was desperately needed in this country. I waved it off, and went about my daily labors not pondering the topic any further.
The next morning, I woke up to three more e-mails from different people than the previous day, asking if I would be open to do a television program, and encouraging me to pursue it seriously.
I began to see a pattern, and it was not a pattern I was happy with. That night I went before the Lord and presented my own version of the 'Moses defense', reminding Him that I have a face for radio, I don't have the hair to be on television, I only smile when I am happy, I enjoy my privacy, and my plate was already full to overflowing. Believing I had presented my case successfully and to the best of my ability, I went to bed only to be awoken by a telephone call from a brother in California whom I had not heard from in over six years. Since it was near to six a.m. in Wisconsin, it must have been 4 a.m. in California, and as I wiped the sleep from my eyes, and answered the phone, I was pleased and somewhat surprised to hear a voice from so long ago.
"The Lord has had me up all night praying for you Mike, and I feel I need to relay a message. I don't know what this is supposed to mean, perhaps you'll know better than me, but I need to tell you that God has shown you the new work, and you must obey without delay."
We talked for a while longer, I thanked him for his call, and I was up the rest of the morning thinking about what had just occurred.
It is one thing producing ten-minute sermons for you tube; it is something quite different to do an actual program. A week later without actively seeking it, we were offered a thirty minute per week spot on a national Christian television channel. I know this is the new work to which the word was referring, but I ask for your prayers that God give me the strength and the wisdom so that all that is done might be for His glory and honor, and in His perfect will.
Given the times it might seem counter intuitive to start a new work, but I remember long ago when we had next to nothing in the ministry account and God told my grandfather to start building what is now the hand of help orphanage. Every step of the way, and at every juncture God would provide, and by His faithfulness the work that was started with nothing more than a shovel tearing into the hard earth, came to a good end. Often times we cannot see the whole plan of God, but trust that He has a plan nonetheless. We step out in faith knowing that He will carry us, and He will finish every good work He begins.
There is only one consolation, at least for me personally when it comes to this matter. Knowing what must be said, and the truth that must be spoken, we will probably be kicked off the air within six months. Please keep this new work in your prayers. We will have more information in the coming issues of the newsletter concerning this new door, which God has opened for this ministry. Thank you for standing with this work through the years, thank you for your prayers and support. As a friend who works for one of the largest ministries in America once said to me, "I've never seen such a small work do so much." The secret is God's grace and provision, and our obedience to His leading and guidance.
With love in Christ,
Michael Boldea Jr.
To God Be The Glory
As I was walking through the orphanage one day I couldn't help but overhear a conversation between one of our newer staff members, and a staff member that has been with us since the first day the hand of help orphanage opened almost twelve years ago. They were discussing the current economic crisis that has spread throughout the world like an unchecked bonfire, and the newer staff member was pouring out her heart explaining that she was so thankful to have a job at hand of help, but she was wondering how long we would be able to keep our doors open given the times we live in. I was anxious to hear the seasoned staff member's answer so I slowed to listen, and was pleasantly surprised when with an authority birthed of conviction and personal experience she said, "I've been working here long enough to know that God loves this ministry, He loves these children, and somehow we always manage to get through another month. The children always get fed, the heat is always on, the water is always running, and all we can do is thank God for His faithfulness. Why worry about tomorrow? It is in God's hands."
I walked away before they noticed I was there, and realized tears were running down my face. Lidia, the staff member who has been with us for twelve years now working in the kitchen as a cook, spoke perhaps the truest words she could have spoken at that particular time. We serve a mighty God, we serve a merciful God, and we serve a faithful God.
Even in these difficult times we see God's hand upon this work, and we are able to help those whose only hope is in Him.
From buying more cows and goats for needy families than ever before, to putting together an average of 150 food packages per month to distribute to the hungry, to keeping the orphanage running, to putting roofs on homes, or providing shelter for the homeless, to ministering to those whom the rest of the world has forgotten and abandoned, God is using this work to be a light in what has become a very bleak existence for so many.
It is humbling to see the hand of God at work, and the hearts of so many of you open toward those who are ultimately strangers to you, or would be if not for the bond of fellowship, and of being brothers and sisters in the Lord. With each passing day our voices grow stronger in saying to God be the glory for all that He has done, and all that He is doing and all that He will do.
Twenty-five years of seeing the miracles of God, the provision of God, and the faithfulness of God, and it grows neither stale, ordinary, nor old. It is always exciting and awe inspiring to see what our God can do, and the people He uses to do it.
Mine is just one voice, amidst a sea of voices that gives glory to God for His provision, and thanks you for your obedience. Your kindness will not soon be forgotten.
Michael Boldea Sr.
Saving a Life
It is one thing to write about the sun, it is quite another to walk outside in a midsummer day and feel its warmth on your face. No matter how gifted the writer, no matter how eloquent his presentation, it still doesn't compare with simply feeling the sun on your skin and seeing its brightness overhead.
Much of the year, I am relegated to translating the articles for the hand of help newsletter. My father and the staff in Romania are faithful in documenting both the families that we help, and those still in need of help, and they do their best to describe a given situation. Twice a year however, I get to return to my homeland and see the situations and the families of which I have been writing up close and personal.
I had heard about Sara in the context of the Damian family's need, and to the best of my recollection I believe we presented their need, and a letter Dumitru Damian wrote to hand of help in a previous issue of the newsletter. In the letter the father Dumitru, mentioned their desperate need for a home as well Sara's heart malformation, and we did what we could at the time to help them find shelter, as well as encouraged them to find out which hospital would be able to cater to Sara's surgery.
After our initial visit we had not heard from them, and during the course of my trip to Romania my father decided we should visit the Damian family and see what was happening with Sara.
The home we had found for them was neither modern nor new, but as we pulled up brother Dumitru came out smiling, and shook our hand. "Welcome to our humble home", he said, "come in, it's warm inside." We walked inside the home and that was when I first saw Sara. She smiled at me, and my heart melted. I am by nature a sensitive soul, but this child's countenance was something beyond my ability to describe. I doubt even the coldest of human beings could keep from smiling back at her.
By her labored breathing it was obvious she hadn't gotten the surgery, and being my straightforward self I turned to the father and asked, 'why haven't you taken her in for her surgery?'
Frowning Dumitru said, "the only hospital in the country that will perform this surgery on an infant is in Tirgu Mures, and they have a waiting list. If you don't know somebody, or if you're not somebody, they will not give you the time of day."
Since in his letter Dumitru had been vague about Sara's condition, I asked him to explain what exactly was wrong with her heart. To the best of my understanding, she has a hole between the walls of her heart, and the oxygenated blood mixes with the blood that is not oxygenated. She can't get excited, go out and play, and even when she cries, which Dumitru says is infrequent she turns very pale.
"We tried everything, I've been to that hospital five or six times, and no one will help us", Dumitru said. I asked him for the name of the hospital, and excusing myself went outside to make a telephone call. I remembered the wife of one of my best friends actually worked in a hospital in Tirgu Mures, and I wanted to see if she could get me their phone number, or if she knew anyone there.
I called my friend, and when I asked if he knew anything about the hospital in question, he said, 'of course, my wife works there. She is in charge of surgery scheduling." For a second I was speechless, in awe of how this situation had come about, and the wonderful and mysterious ways in which God works. I asked to speak to his wife, and after explaining the situation she said she would get Sara scheduled for surgery within a week of seeing the surgeon and studying her laboratory results. "I have to warn you", she said, "they won't do it for free, it's going to be about 16 million lei ($500). There is a long list of people who are willing to pay, and even explaining the situation to them will make little difference." I thanked her for her help, and went back into the house.
"You're leaving for Tirgu Mures tomorrow", I informed Dumitru. "I have a friend who will work out the details, but the surgery will cost 16 million lei."
"We don't have that kind of money", Dumitru said.
"You will within the hour", I answered, "plus extra for your travel expenses."
I called our accountant and made the necessary arrangements, explaining the situation, and as promised, within the hour he was there with the money.
Earlier this week I found out that Sara's surgery went well, the hole in her heart has been patched up, and she is recovering. I am looking forward to revisiting the Damian family when I return to Romania, and seeing Sara's progress. Thank you for your prayers for this family, and all the other families we are able to bless through this ministry.
With love in Christ,
Michael Boldea Jr.
James 2:19, "You believe that there is one God. You do well. Even the demons believe � and tremble!"
For the past couple weeks I've been hyperventilating! Even though I don't watch television that often, when I do get a chance, I watch the news, and during every news broadcast, on every channel, it is inevitable that one run across an acceptance speech of some senator, some appointee, and yes, even the new President, who all end their speech with the requisite 'God bless America'. This saying has become as commonplace as hearing 'check please' in a diner during breakfast rush. Every time I would hear these words coming from the mouths of men and women who not only reject God but are enacting legislation to silence and choke off the truth altogether, it was like hearing the proverbial nails on chalkboard.
I don't hold the elected officials accountable as much however, as I do those who by all rights ought to be the representatives of the church, the ambassadors of Christ, the generals on the front lines for truth, justice, and godliness.
From hearing some of them pray to 'the god of our many understandings', to some deity known as 'Isa', and of course to an all encompassing, all accepting, all embracing entity that is whoever you choose your god to be, whether a stone, a bird, a Twinkie, or an apple tree, I witnessed one preacher after another, betray the one true God, and sell their birthright for fear of being labeled an extremist. Blood is on your hands dear sirs, and your robes are stained red with it! May God have mercy on your souls!
Yes, sure, God bless America! It's not hard to let some words spill out of our mouth, it's not even hard to type them, God bless America, see I did it again, but the question that one must ponder is why would He?
Let's analyze our current condition, our current predicament if you will for awhile, and compare our actions and decisions with the Word of God, to see if as some preachers are saying, a new wave of prosperity is just around the corner, the transference of wealth is on the way, and the repossession man really won't find the car you can't afford at your cousin's house.
The following are in no particular order, so please no one read into it. I am simply putting them down as they come to me. I know this may sound irrelevant, but I do get some e-mails and telephone calls that read so much into the trivial that they couldn't see the message of the whole. As clich�d as it might be, yes, some cannot see the forest for the trees.
First is Israel. Within a very short period of time, you will see why this is important. Although it has not yet started, soon this nation will distance itself from Israel as if it was contagious. Why is this important? Because of a covenant God made with Abram, before he was Abraham. To a God who is timeless, who is outside of space and time, as we know it, even though the covenant was made thousands of years ago, it is as fresh on His mind as though it were made yesterday. I know some of you will write in, rebuking me, rolling your eyes and saying what's so important about Israel? They are God's people! The covenant is spelled out in the Bible! That is all we need to know. I could go into exhaustive detail as to why Israel is important and relevant, but some whose minds are made up concerning this topic, are beyond reason, and as such beyond my ability to help.
Genesis 12:2-3, "I will make you a great nation; I will bless you and make your name great; and you shall be a blessing. I will bless those who bless you, and I will curse him who curses you; and in you all the families of the earth shall be blessed."
Second is the issue of infanticide. Yes, I know abortion is a cleaner word, reminiscent of the term 'abort mission' used in every war movie ever made at one time or another, but the truth cannot be denied: It is infanticide, the killing of an infant before or after birth. It's not enough that we've made it readily accessible here in America; we are now outsourcing it, and of course paying for it. How much blood can we spill before the fist of God comes down like a hammer upon an anvil? Again, I know I will get hate mail for this, being labeled an oppressor, an enemy of a woman's right to choose, but before anyone starts typing while frothing at the mouth, let me just say, I do believe in a woman's right to choose to abstain, murder is another matter entirely!
Isaiah 1:16-17 "Wash yourselves, make yourselves clean; Put away the evil of your doings from before My eyes. Cease to do evil, learn to do good; seek justice, reprove the oppressor; defend the fatherless, plead for the widow."
Psalm 82:2-4, "How long will you judge unjustly, and show partiality to the wicked? Selah! Defend the poor and fatherless; do justice to the afflicted and needy. Deliver the poor and needy; free them from the hand of the wicked."
There is nothing more defenseless than a newborn. There is nothing more worthy of defending, of freeing from the hand of the wicked, on whose behalf we must plead for justice than the unborn.
Third is the denial of the one true God. Now when I speak of this, it is not in the context of the world, but in the context of the modern day church. The leaders of Christianity as we know it today, and I could name names but it would be pointless since rather than a cabal, the deacons of deception are more like the hydra of ancient Greek mythology wherein if you cut off one head, another just grows back in its place, have not only distanced themselves, but entirely removed themselves from the truth of Scripture. They deny the Word of God, as though there were no consequence, and twist the truth of Scripture to fit their own depraved doctrines. So, the following scripture is for all the spineless preachers of perversion, who do not have the strength or fortitude to speak the truth and say unequivocally that Jesus is the way, the truth, and the life, that there is only One God, and no man can come to that One God but by Jesus His Son.
Exodus 20:3-6, "You shall have no other gods before Me. You shall not make yourself any carved image, or any likeness of anything that is in heaven above, or that is in the earth beneath, or that is in the water under the earth; you shall not bow down to them nor serve them. For I, the Lord your God, am a jealous God, visiting the iniquity of the fathers on the children to the third and fourth generations to those who hate Me, but showing mercy to thousands, to those who love Me and keep My commandments."
1 Timothy 2:5-6, "For there is one God and one Mediator between God and men, the Man Christ Jesus, who gave Himself as ransom for all, to be testified in due time."
Ephesians 4:4-6, "There is one body and one Spirit, just as you were called in one hope of your calling; one Lord, one faith, one baptism; one God and Father of all who is above all, and through all, and in you all."
What really gets me is that these fools with titles, with the spiritual depth of a rain puddle think that they are original, groundbreaking, edgy, innovative, and revolutionary. Newsflash: the idea of an all inclusive god stew is not new; it is not groundbreaking, edgy, or even original. History is repeating itself, and the first sermon Jeremiah preached against Judah needs to be repeated within many a church today. We have found no injustice in God, yet have gone far from Him, following idols and becoming idolaters. We have defiled the house of God, and made His heritage an abomination. The priests do not say where is the Lord, those who handle the law do not know Him, the rulers transgress against Him, the prophets prophecy by Ball and walk after things that do not profit, yet we still cry aloud, God bless America!
We have so deceived ourselves as a nation that we are living with the expectation of blessing while a curse is upon us. We still beat the dull drum of prosperity while judgment is at the door. We continue to deny God, question His sovereignty, mock His omnipotence, dismiss His counsel and reject His nature, yet still have the audacity to not only expect, but demand that He arise and save us.
Jeremiah 2:27-28, "For they have turned their back to Me and not their face. But in the time of their trouble they will say, 'arise and save us.' But where are your gods that you have made for yourselves? Let them arise, if they can and save you in the time of your trouble."
With love in Christ,
Michael Boldea Jr.