NEWSLETTER issue 3/2017

A life line

PÄIVI RANTA, Baby Box Project Coordinator in Finland

Willie had fallen through the ice. He struggled to save himself from drowning and wasn’t able to climb out of the icy water by himself. Thankfully, a group of young people nearby heard his cry for help.

They quickly came up with a rescue plan: Peter got down on his belly on the ice and carefully wormed his way to Willie and grabbed his hands; Mike crawled behind Peter and took a firm grip of his feet; Mark grabbed Mike’s feet, and so on. Because this human life line, consisting of several individuals, Willie was rescued.

We at Mission Possible are in a rescue operation to save and restore people. An example of this is the Baby Box Project that was launched last fall in the impoverished Bulgarian Roma communities. The mothers and babies we help have “fallen through the thin ice” into poverty and hopelessness.  We want to lift them from this condition and give them hope for the future by providing material help, instruction, support, God’s love, and the Gospel message.

More than 300 baby boxes have already been distributed in Bulgaria! This project has provided possibilities for ministry in villages that had always been inaccessible to us.

But this wouldn’t have been possible without you! In Finland, hundreds of mothers have donated baby clothes for the boxes. Thus far we have shipped sixteen pallets (400 large boxes) of clothes to Bulgaria. A great number of you have made donations that cover the rest of the costs. Many of you have invited your friends to participate by knitting socks, sewing, and sorting and packing clothes. You have helped transport the boxes. And some of you have organized events to spread awareness and raise funds.

“You” includes all generations, from children to students to parents to the middle-aged to grandparents.

If you think your contribution is small, remember that together we are a living lifeline that reaches out to the desperate in villages throughout Bulgaria!

When you and I become part of the living lifeline, it enables someone in Bulgaria to deliver a babybox to a mother standing in the doorway of her broken-down home, baby in arms.

When you and I become part of the living lifeline, it is possible for someone to visit this mother, listen to her needs, and tell her that God loves her.

When you and I become part of the living lifeline, her baby gets a chance for a better life.

Thank you, everyone!

Do you want to be a part of this?

You can help us get baby boxes to mothers like Rosa, whose story is told in this issue. The cost for one box is $60. You can also support soup kitchens and other evangelistic activities in Bulgaria. Please designate your gift to “Baby Boxes” or “Bulgaria.” Thank you!

 

 

An unforgettable visit in Rosa's home

What was it like to bring a baby box to a mother in a Roma village?

Not all of us can go to these homes, but I hope that my story gives you a glimpse into the life of the people in the poorest communities in Europe. - Mirjami Ivanov from the Mission Possible team

What became apparent after this visit?
We have something to give that opens the doors of these homes that only few outsiders can witness.
We also have something to give that brings these families from their homes to the church.

”What is this reckless rushing! You could have killed the child!”

After a bumpy drive, our team arrived at the house of prayer in Pevtsite, a Roma village in Bulgaria. In our van we had one baby box, items for the children’s Sunday school, and food supplies for the soup kitchen.

Ten baby boxes had already been distributed in this village. After the soup kitchen served a meal, the first childcare class for mothers would commence.

We watched women and children come out of the alleys between houses toward the church. Just then, two teenage boys passed by, riding their horses at full gallop. A little boy was on the ground, having been knocked down by a horse! The situation looked bad.

A long-haired woman began to loudly scold the rider in their Roma language. It was easy to guess what she was saying. Then she lifted the child in her arms and quickly came to us. “This is my nephew,” she said. “A while back we prayed for him because he could not walk. God healed him and enabled him to have full use of his legs. But now this accident! Please pray for him!”

We prayed together. Thankfully, there weren’t any permanent consequences from the collision. The name of that woman was Rosa.  I didn’t realize it then, but she was the mother to whom the baby box was going!

Meeting the cheerful children of the Sunday school in a primitive village

The villagers live in brick dwellings in a field littered with trash; a great contrast to the blue, snow-capped Balkan Mountains that rise in the background. The roofs are skewed and some windows have no glass. Leaning fence posts between houses hold loosely hung barbed wire and mesh. These are the most humble dwellings I have ever seen.

Yet dozens of cheerful boys and girls gathered at the house of prayer. They posed and made funny faces for my camera. They had great big smiles and made victory signs with their fingers, and then asked to see each picture.

House of prayer packed with mothers and children

The Sunday school began, and and afterwards the soup kitchen opened. These children, who had so little and whose tummies were often hungry, were shining with joy and enthusiasm. When I watched them and listened to their singing and praying, I was reminded of the verse:

 “Did not God choose the poor of this world to be rich in faith and heirs of the kingdom which He promised to those who love Him?” (James 2:5)

The meal was served in two shifts on a long table. Rosa was there, too, holding her sweet baby girl named Bozhidara. The clothes in the baby box were for this one.

A sorry sight in the small room

It was a solemn and touching moment to carry the baby box into the dilapidated cottage where Rosa’s family resides. Our team and I had planned this moment for a while and had clothes collected from Finland. It was so special to see every part of this ministry; to be the one to hand the babybox to a mother who is raising six children in extremely difficult circumstances.

When we entered the small room that had only a bed and a stove, the first thing we saw was a little girl sitting on the floor eating from a large enamel dish. Her home was void of table and chairs.

A gift for those in great need

We put the box on the floor next to the little girl who was eating. Curious, she tried to open it with her gravy-covered fingers. The other children were standing at the door, trying to see what was happening inside.

– “How is your family?” asked Tanya, who coordinates the BabyBox Project in Bulgaria.

– “It has been very tough,” replied Rosa. “My husband is constantly on the go, trying to find work.”

– “Do you attend the church?”  Tanya wanted to know.

– “Yes, and my husband has also begun attending when he’s here,” Rosa explained.

– “It is very important. The church helps you see that each person is unique and valuable, even the smallest ones. This is why we have prepared this gift for you and your baby,” Tanya said as she lifted the lid off the box. “Here are clothes, diapers, and other necessary things for Bozhidara.”

– “God sent you,” said the young mother of six. “Thank you so much!”

After giving the box to Rosa, we prayed for her and her family.

Three important things were taught to the mothers

We met Rosa one more time at another class for mothers held in the house of prayer. There were more than twenty mothers present. One of them was so young I thought she was a child of one of the ladies present. Not all were churchgoers.

In her clear teaching style, Tanya stressed three important things:

– Bring your children to the church.

– Speak to them with kind words.

– Pray every day for your children and their future.

The mothers also received toys and clothes for their children. Bozhidara’s sister (pictured on the cover) received a curly-haired doll and gazed at its pretty face for a long time.

In this village, despite all its poverty and lack, there is life, hope, and joy – and we all have our own small part in it!

In this village, despite all its poverty and lack, there is life, hope, and joy – and we all have our own small part in it!

 


A child’s faith

What happens when we pray for the children who leave our shelter home?

 

When children leave our shelter homes and return to their homes or another place prepared by childcare authorities, we always pray that the things we have taught and shown them will stay in their hearts.

We hope that children who have learned to talk to God while with us will continue to do so, no matter where they are going to live.

Sometimes we are surprised by how God answers our prayers for the children who leave us. Here is one testimony:

The director of one of our shelter homes received a phone call from a mother who shared about the problems she was having with her son.

“How did you hear about us?” the director asked curiously.

“My son has a classmate who told him, ‘You ought to go to church and start praying. Then your behavior will change. You can also ask for help from the shelter home where I used to live.’”

The classmate’s name was Stasik. He had lived in one of our homes a couple years ago until his own family was stable enough to take him back after counseling with us for a long time.

“How do we get into this church?” asked the mother after a lengthy phone conversation.

Now she and her son have been in attendance every Sunday for the past six months. Their family’s situation is improving.

As a result of one child’s sincere faith, two more people found the same faith and the help they needed for their lives! This is exactly what we hope to see happen through our work!

250 children like Stasik live in Mission Possible’s shelter homes every year.

 

Categories: 

Campaign

MISSION POSSIBLE ON FACEBOOK