(From the January 2014 edition
Dear Hope of Survivors Family,
Here are some of the incredible highlights from our recent trip that we pray will encourage you as you see how God is blessing this ministry, which you support so faithfully.
Upon arriving in Romania late Monday, we hit the ground running. We hosted a premiere viewing of the documentary Call It Anything But Love!, a film about clergy sexual abuse that was released with Romanian subtitles. At the close of the viewing there was an appeal made for someone to help provide counseling assistance to the victims from Romania. God wonderfully placed upon the heart of Laura Fierbinteanu to say she would be willing to assist this ministry and use her position as a licensed counselor to be that very important link in the healing chain.
Joining us for the documentary screening was a couple from the United Kingdom who have been praying for God to direct them in starting a branch of The Hope of Survivors ministry in their country. While currently there is support for victims in the UK, there is an ever-increasing need for a greater personal presence to minister to victims across the United Kingdom. Please join us as we pray for God’s blessing on this special couple, Andrea & Anthony Shipwright, who are forging forward into a very needed place.
A few days later we traveled to Stupini to conduct an educational seminar for pastors and church leaders on various types of abuse that take place, including clergy sexual abuse. The conference began with a showing of the documentary Call It Anything But Love! and was followed by a question and answer session. It is always interesting to see what types of questions will come up when the topic of sexual abuse among the clergy is discussed. We were thankful God led in a healthy discussion on this important topic and enabled us to answer some very pertinent, yet difficult, questions. We were thankful as we saw Him open the hearts of His leaders to embrace the work of The Hope of Survivors and grasp their role in helping to support victims of abuse.
The following week was spent in Bistrita, in the northern part of the country, to finalize some of the details for setting up the Romanian division’s organizational headquarters. We often take for granted what modern technology and communication has provided in a free market society, yet that privilege is not so readily available in other countries. We offered many prayers that week for God’s help and guidance to move through the maze of bureaucracy and red tape during this process. During the week we visited Samantha’s family in Rustior and were blessed with amazing hospitality and more wonderful food than we possibly could have enjoyed in a week’s time. Steve was also invited to speak for the opening of a week of prayer at the Seventh-day Adventist Church in Ocnita (see http://www.thehopeofsurvivors.com/news_notes/A_Tender_Shepherd.php). On Saturday Steve was the guest speaker at the Bistrita Seventh-day Adventist Church. We were very blessed as God touched the hearts of His people through the message, and we look forward to returning again to present a series on healing to the church and community in the future.
The last week we were in Romania we took a few days to rest in the mountains at Sinaia and were thankful for the beauty of God’s creation in this wonderful place. As the week ended, we traveled back to Bucharest to worship at the Balta Alba Seventh-day Adventist Church, where Steve presented a message on faith in Jesus, and we spent the remainder of the time with a very special family who always greets us at the airport when we arrive and sees us off when we depart, no mater what time of day or night it may be. Their love and friendship is greatly appreciated and binds us close to their hearts.
It is always a mix of emotions when we travel home. We certainly miss our Romanian family and wish we could spend more time with the ones we love, yet we know God still has work for us to do at home and we miss our family here too. We are grateful to be used as His instrument of healing to others wherever He leads us.
God bless you,
Vice President & CEO