And whosoever shall offend one of these little ones ...

“And whosoever shall offend one of these little ones that believe in me, it is better for him that a millstone were hanged about his neck, and he were cast into the sea.”

Mark 9:42

“And said unto them, Whosoever shall receive this child in my name receiveth me: and whosoever shall receive me receiveth him that sent me: for he that is least among you all, the same shall be great.”

Luke 9:48

It’s the 18th of December when we get really sad news from Romania: Mihaela, our sister and collaborator, contacts us to let us know that a family we support with monthly food packages that lives in a very poor village is going through a terrible time. The mother had left her husband and six children (18 months to 12 years old) and fled to England to escape the continuous beatings and threats that she and her children had had to suffer for years. The Stroi (Nicu and Mihaela) went to the family’s home to see what the situation was, and they found a real mess: dirty and hungry children, and no father because he was in the hospital to “look after” the little one, who was in a state of malnutrition. The oldest (12) had in the meantime taken charge of the little ones… a real social mess. We thought that as an organisation we should do something urgently, and hoped for the approval of the father of the children, maybe at a time when he was sober. We should add that the sons had experienced violence and threats as well as the wife and daughters, and not just from the father. It’s for this reason that a few years ago one of his sons decided to take his own life aged 14, rather than be beaten every day. The 20th of December was a very long day for us, because we were so nervous about what would happen with the children. As if the situation wasn’t bad enough, a family uncle tried to hurt two of the girls (8 and 10) while the father was away. But God protected them and the news reached the teacher at the village school, who informed the police, condemning the incident and the terrible situation the family was in. The media was also interested in the case, and urged the Romanian authorities to take action. Having confirmed the misery and physical danger the children were in, the authorities immediately decided to entrust the two girls to the Stroi family, who had offered to help on behalf of the organisation. The authorities would also send child protection to the village the next day to assess the status of the other children. Having seen the state of total abandonment of the children, and confirmed the suitability of the farm as well as the emotional bond between the children and Nicu and Mihaela, we finally get good news: the children will be entrusted to our organisation if the father agrees, except for the oldest one who will have to stay with him, although the authorities have told him to let him go. In any case, the authorities will be taking legal action to reunite him with his siblings on the Chedes Agape farm, where the Stroi are already taking care of the others. At Bethesda, we know some of these children really well, having spent many days with them during our summer camps and having met them often during our regular trips to the area. Of course there were difficult moments when our faith was tested, we felt so helpless for hours on end.

Luigi ancora in casa di suo padre

We prayed, begged and cried out to God until He came through. The children will now be able to stay at the farm, we hope forever… we’re just waiting for the oldest to join his younger siblings as soon as possible, and we ask for prayer for this. We also thank all our friends for their interest in this situation, the encouraging prayers and words we received mean a lot and are hugely appreciated.

From the 20th of December these five children will need support for everything, because they arrived on our farm hungry and with absolutely nothing. We know that there are few of us and that the job we’ve been entrusted with is difficult in every way, but we’re happy that these children are smiling again, and that their lives have changed in ways they couldn’t even imagine. If you’d like more information, or would like to know how to support these children on a monthly basis, please contact us.   God is good, God is great!

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