Thanks to Family members Gideon and Lamb in Norway and one of our supporters in the U.S., we received a large shipment of humanitarian aid for our work here in Constanta, Romania. Our project was not the first to benefit from Gideon and Lamb's tireless labors to collect and channel humanitarian aid through various Family projects: For many years, they have helped better the lives of many thousands of people throughout Eastern Europe and beyond. Only Heaven knows how far their love has gone!
This latest project was conceived when Gideon and Lamb informed us that they had received a pledge of enough medical and dental equipment to fill a shipping container. They offered it to us for our work here, if we could somehow cover the cost of shipping it from Norway to Romania-about $1,500.
For several months we tried various avenues to raise the money or arrange for free transport, but nothing came through. We were tempted to give up a number of times, but every time we prayed, the Lord told us to keep asking for the needed help. So did Gideon and Lamb, and it seemed that each time we communicated with them, they had more goods to send. First it was one ton of new clothes and shoes. Two months later it was four tons. We would need two containers--one for medical equipment and one for clothes--and about $3,000 to get it all to Romania! We prayed once more.
Late one night, we received a phone call from a supporter in the U.S. who had just received our monthly newsletter in which we explained our predicament. He said that when he had opened his mail that day, the first envelope contained an unexpected check for $3,000. The next envelope was our newsletter, and he knew right away that he wanted to donate that $3,000 to help us get the humanitarian aid to Romania. My husband Tim and I were so overjoyed that we woke everyone else in our home to praise the Lord and toast to the success of our project!
Since this was our first attempt to bring such a large shipment of international aid into this country, we had lots to learn regarding the legalities and paperwork involved. Again, Gideon and Lamb were always right there, just an e-mail away, to answer our questions and help us each step of the way. Such patience!
Through a series of events too long and involved to recount here, the shipment arrived and was released by customs in only two days. We were also able to arrange for a truck to take the container of clothing and shoes to a storage facility, free of charge. At the storage unit, we are sorting it (you can't imagine how much four tons of clothes and shoes is!) and have begun the months-long distribution process.
A local hospital was very thankful for the container of equipment, which included two cardiology machines, three complete dental units, a baby incubator, two large sterilizing machines, several other pieces of laboratory equipment, medical trolleys, hospital beds, gurneys, crutches, wheelchairs, and walkers.
We are personally distributing some of the wheelchairs, crutches, and walkers to individuals in need. Here's one of the touching thank-you notes we have received, translated from Romanian:
I was born [43 years ago] with multiple sclerosis and have been in the hospital and in a body cast most of my life. For the past 10 years I have been married, and no longer need to stay full time in the hospital. But because I had only a hand crutch, I could not get around and stayed home most of the time. For two years I wrote letters to various officials who are involved with helping the handicapped, but no crutches or wheelchairs were ever available. Neither could I afford to buy a wheelchair, or even proper crutches. When I heard you had a wheelchair for me, I cried with joy. My prayers had been answered! When I came to your home to receive both a wheelchair and crutches, it encouraged me to know that there are still angels in our midst who give unselfishly! I thank you from the bottom of my heart!
When we delivered a wheelchair to another woman, she and her daughter both cried and hugged us, and thanked our sponsors and us over and over.
With each wheelchair or pair of crutches, we also tell the person about God's unfailing love and give them literature on overcoming difficulties and receiving everlasting life. People are so thankful for this touch from Heaven.
We have also begun distributing the clothes and shoes, and the reactions from the needy families on the receiving end are just as touching. This is something that is virtually unheard of here in Romania--people giving away beautiful new clothes and shoes. We deliver the packages to their doorsteps, and are invariably invited in for a humble snack. At that time we have been able to pray with most of the families. They are so touched by the Lord's love and that we take this time with them. Our hearts' desire is that through this shipment, many will come to know Jesus in a personal way and grow stronger in their faith.