A letter from Liz Searles in Romania
It is a truism that in reaching out, we often find that we ourselves are the ones being ministered to, especially in spiritual ways. This is the circle of caring that begins to be forged when we “go into all the world”—leave our comfort zones.
Working to lift up children of trauma, I feel a trusting hand reach up to grasp mine, or feel the bear hug embraces of the kids who swarm the orphanage gate to greet me. These lift me up. When I’m feeling less than hopeful, the tenacious striving of children against handicaps of body, mind or spirit restore my own optimism and energy. Spontaneous smiles from little ones who have experiences so unspeakable as to make one mute and morose—these “Aleluias” in the dark night affirm afresh that transformation is yet possible.
Some days it seems as if each individual child has been called to minister in some individual and particular way to the transforming love of Jesus Christ. Our Romanian partners recognize the spiritual potency of this circle of caring as well--Grannies, psychologists, tutors, small-group leaders, friends—everyone.
Today, for example, Adriana, a psychologist who also leads the older teen Bible study group and a small activity group for kids from age 6 to 10, shared just such a moment:
“Let me tell you what a wonderful feeling I experienced this Thursday in the Bible study,” she writes.
“The Scripture was about the five loaves of bread and two fish. I had thought about the meaning of this and looked for something to relate with our children. I found discussions about the miracles that Jesus shared with so many people. However, what I really loved was the idea of relating the hunger for food and the hunger for meaning in life.
“We read the passage and I asked the children what they thought about it. The first to answer said: 'People were hungry, so Jesus asked his Father to help Him and the people.'
"We all nodded our heads . . . yes. Then the second one said: 'People were hungry for Jesus, hungry for faith.'
"Liz, what do you think about this?!"
I have tears in my eyes even now when I write about this! I feel so blessed to be in such a wonderful place, and so close to God!”
Jesus well understood the powerful insights of children: “Let the children come . . . for of such is the Kingdom” and “unless you become as a little child . . . “ It was a young child who shared the loaves and fishes to begin with, and who started the distribution, after all.
Love and hope multiply in unexpected ways when we reach out to share. The circle of caring expands. Our grip on each other grows more and more firm, binding us together in the caring circle of God’s love.
Our hope is that children of institutions will become adults who multiply love and hope, overcoming hurt, anger and trauma to contribute in their communities and build positive relationships with God and with others. Nurturing that hope and keeping love and forgiveness alive is the ministry of the PC(USA)'s partner NOROC.
That word Noroc means “God Bless!” in Romanian. It is often used as a toast, in response to a sneeze, or in the sense of “Good Luck!” Frequent use does not dim its meaning.
Thank you for bringing “NOROC” to institutionalized children in Romania. Your partnership in ministry makes so much possible for “the least of these.”
If you are not yet our partners, please call or write to talk about how you can participate in NOROC’s ministry of critical presence.
Your support and sponsorships transform lives. You forge the circles of caring that help break cycles of poverty and abuse. Please keep those prayers rising, and emails, cards and letters coming. We love to hear news from your families and congregations. Email me at: email@example.com or send classic mail to my stateside address: NOROC, Inc. ℅ Carolyn White, 200 Hedges, Abilene, TX 79605 for monthly forwarding.
Sharing loaves and fishes with people who are hungry for Jesus—hungry for faith—and finding that there’s always more than enough to go around. That reality grounds our faith, sustains our hope, and extends the reach of our love to Romania and to the ends of the earth.
Thank God that this is so:
firstname.lastname@example.org Or use the "Write" link below.
The 2013 Presbyterian Mission Yearbook for Prayer & Study, Romania, p. 287
Read more about Liz Searles' ministry
Write to Liz Searles
Individuals: Give online to E200499 for Liz Searles' sending and support
Congregations: Give to D507503 for Liz Searles' sending and support