A Christmas Cactus
Today was Christmas and truth be know my heart has been heavy along with the days leading up to today. It is truly hard to be away from family and friends at Christmas just as it is for any other holiday and birthday. I think no matter how long you are gone away there is no place like home. It also does not matter if you are serving the Lord, or your country or what ever the reason may be it is just not the same.
Today we celebrated the birth of Christ and share presents of love with each other but again my heart was heavy, you see there were many today who did not celebrate for they had no one to celebrate to with. We see this a lot in Moldova especially with the elderly generation. Shortly after Moldova gained its independence some 25 years ago life changed for many Moldovans. Both husbands and wives alike were left searching for work to support the needs of their families day to day. The jobs ended as independence was gained, so many found their self with no hope. In the begining the husbands fled to work aboard to make the ends meet for their families. This type of life continued for several years and eventually many wives found they to had to make the choice family or work, they also began to flee looking for work aboard due to their husbands had died, found some else or just plain stopped keeping in touch. Basically a large percentage of that generation’s children were raised by their grandparents mostly by their grandmothers. Now many years have passed, the children have grew up, the parents never returned and this left with no one with the ones who shown the most love. These grandmothers are the reason why my heart is heavy today. There are not just a few, there are 1000’s left to finish this life alone all across the villages of Moldova. Most of them have no family or do not know where their family are. I cannot help but hurt for them, some years ago they stepped up and took on the responsibility of raising another generation of children and now they are left out in the cold.
A few years back I lost one of my grandmothers and today I still miss her, some many life lessons were instilled in me over the years by her. Now as we raise Michael and Mary I see many of these lessons shine through me into Michael and Mary, I even find myself stopping to says thanks Nanny for being who you were in my life. My other grandmother is still living and my prayer today is that she was not forgotten for you see all her life she poured into others rarely thinking about herself and now she lives in an elderly home hoping for that same care in return. I miss her today and Granny I hope you had a Merry Christmas. Grandmothers are important and we should never forget that nor should we ever write them off as done. Helen and Ruth, thank you for your loving impact on my life over the years.
As a family we all see there is a need to reach out to the elderly, especially the ones that unreached and never have had heard the Gospel. As we travel to various villages we try to visit with the elderly and not just families. During these visits you will be so encouraged by the smiles you receive just for stopping by to tell them their flowers are beautiful or what ever the reason may be to why you stoped. They have so much to say and tell but have no one to tell it to or share it with. This grabs at the deepest part of my heart.
So we have decided that not just in the villages also in the city we want to invest in these elderly. I want to indroduce you to Maria, she lives on the fifth floor of our apartment building. She is in her late 60’s but time has worn on her greatly. She always speaks first as you pass the street and has a smile about her that will brighten your bad day. She cleans the stairwell in the apartment build for about 15USD a month and her pension is no more than 75USD month. So in total she has an income of about 90USD a month, not much when you consider our heating bill for November was 140USD. Now granted it, her apartment is much smaller than our apartment but having to pay 60-70USD for heat is tough when you only have 90USD for the entire month. She lives the story from above, she raised her grandchildren and now she is left to live alone. About the middle of December we took her a food parcel and out of the kindness of her heart she needed to return something to us, so she asked me to take a plant. She just does not have a few plants she has many, basically two stairwell floors full and just as many inside her apartment too. She does sell these plants as she can but the need is not great considering everyone has plants already.
You see these plants are her life literality. The plants give her a sense of worth, she is able to care for them and in exchange she gets to see her handy work as the plants grow and flowers. Much like she would for her children or grandchildren. The plants also give her something to be proud of along with self-worth.
So as i wrap up this blog entry closing out this Christmas I realize the Maria inspired me to write this entry, she is our Christmas Cactus. Her blossoms of hope are smiles on the tough days. We plan to continue to build our relationship with her along with others that the Lord directs to us in 2018. Looking ahead to 2018 I challenge you to find that Maria, Helen, Ruth or Mary Francis in your life and be the difference. You do not have to be in a foreign country to be a missionary, you can share the Gospel with anyone around you.
“Go into all the world and preach the gospel to the whole creation”. Mark 16:15
As believers we are all called to serve the Lord, investing in someone’s life and sharing the Gospel with them is serving the Lord. Thanks for your time and prayers, be blessed.