Well another month has evaporated and, with it, half of 2020 has now disappeared. Here in the UK it is a strange season as we are still living with a real sense of lockdown and restriction on travel and meeting together on the one hand but now have an increasing ability to shop, go out, and see some faces – even if it is only outside in the garden. Who would have thought that after 14 weeks we would still be so confined?
Obviously our life as a team at Heartcry for Change has changed dramatically. Everything came to an abrupt stop on March 20th and ever since we have been cancelling conferences, refunding travel, and changing schedules and plans. As time has gone on and the calendar looks more and more different, it has brought with it a deep sense of loss at one level. We were so looking forward to so many of these conferences and gatherings where we would have had such fun working together with God and you! Realistically it seems that larger gatherings will not return until we have a reliable vaccine or we are confident that this COVID 19 virus is under control. At the moment people seem to suggest that we may need to continue like this until Spring 2021. It may be a little different for gatherings within the UK but the restrictions certainly look likely for the international travel. So we are adjusting our rhythms and ways of working and realising that we need to be ready for the LONG HAUL! So it literally is – ALL CHANGE – at Heartcry for Change!
However, we have not been idle in this waiting season! As many of you will be aware, we have shifted our ministry to the internet and every day you can hear us share a MESSAGE OF HOPE on our Facebook platform or on YouTube. Preparing, recording and teaching every day has become the new routine. Talking to an empty room and hoping we are connecting is a new challenge and we are so grateful for all your comments and encouragements on Facebook and also via email. As we have detailed notes written for these talks, we have also been thinking about how we can release these with our teaching. So this month we have prepared one set of 100 pages of detailed notes from our series on the Holy Spirit which are now available as a downloadable pdf file via our website www.heartcryforchange.com/shop. We will continue to bring a MESSAGE OF HOPE each morning throughout these summer months and will then review this in September. So please let us know what you feel. If you have any topics or series you would like us to teach then please do let us know via our Facebook page or email firstname.lastname@example.org.
Helen writes: You may remember that last month I shared about how I had felt prompted by the Holy Spirit that we should mark our 21st birthday as a UK registered charity on 23 May with a special “New Seed for New Days” Gift Day as a thank offering for 21 amazing years and an opportunity to recognise the change of season and dedicate the ministry for the new days. We were so honoured and touched that so many of you contributed to that gift day and the total offering was approximately £7,500 by Pentecost Sunday when we prayed over the seed. At the same time, a couple of dedicated gifts were also given specifically for our Moldova projects and we also felt we should tithe the new seed offering which meant that we have been able to send a gift of £2000 to Moldova. We received this update from Charlotte and Johannes, our partners in Moldova, concerning the work with the girls’ homes and village outreach:
As the lockdown is finally unlocking and things slowly return to a more normal reality, we would like to take the time to thank our partners and friends for their support and help during the crisis. We look back on the last 64 days with thankfulness to God for carrying us through. Our girls’ shelter “Pilgrim House” has been working on full capacity and it has been an intense time with 9 teen girls in the house, all home schooling and living together in close quarters, as we for weeks were kept inside and only allowed out for shopping and other emergencies. The joy when a week ago we were allowed to walk the streets more openly was immense.
We are thankful that we were able to complete a big youth event with more that 100 youths just before the lockdown. For 4 days we were praying, worshipping and teaching Christian youth leaders in Moldova. We thank God for protection during these days.
But the time in confinement has been spent well and we have been busy learning new skills. All the girls are able to cook basic meals. They all know how to use a sewing machine and sew face masks as we have been sewing and delivering face masks to the staff of the home for the elderly. A mini bible course has been completed and we have seen real change in attitudes and life views. Our relationship with each other has become close bonds and our need to forgive and bear with each other practised every day. Once more we see how uncomfortable and difficult situations produce the fruit of the Spirit in our lives.
The team has been busy bringing out food parcels and medicine to the most vulnerable and families who have been gravely affected by the lockdown. Moldova has about 5000 registered cases of COVID-19 and about 200 fatalities. But apart from tragedy of the direct virus, the social economic and human cost is very big. Children have been left in homes with domestic violence, without the usual supervision of the school or the daily hot meal they were provided . People (a large group in the rural area) who live from hand to mouth and from a day to day income have been left completely without income. Two towns in our area were completely locked down and isolated. The team also experience how families of people contracting the virus were shunned. The visit of the team with food, care and comfort meant so much and has only been possible by your donation. But in all we experienced an open door for the gospel and for the Church to step up and take action.
Last week Johannes visited a village in a very remote area of our region, bringing parcels and comfort. The last family they visited was in despair. The horse had just died and their cow was very sick and the local vet was very pessimistic. The family were all in tears as this was their only income. Johannes and Slavisk could immediately see the cow was very poorly and did the only thing they knew to do in this situation: they prayed for the cow’s recovery! The next day the local social worker phoned excited. The cow had made a full recovery. Praise God.
As in most of the world the Church in Riscani went online. Every week, we have had 3 online services and it has been encouraging to see that the church is not walls or stones, but living people joined by our common faith and hope in Christ. We also are thankful for God giving us an opportunity to “preach” to the whole town. People would stop us in the streets and from behind their masks say thank you for the word, the prayer, the encouragement. We pray that the word may bear fruit.
Once again we thank God for the Church and the body of Christ. It is an encouragement to see how different Christian organizations, ministries or groups have joined in prayer, and stepped up to help in the community. Yesterday Charlotte passed out 4 more parcels to 3 mums and grandmums and they nearly would not let go but thanked and thanked: “We thought we were forgotten and had stopped hoping and then you come along..it must be God!”, one of the ladies repeated again and again.
So you can see how much your support and generosity means to the team in Moldova! Thank you for partnering with Heartcry for Change as we seek to bring deep and lasting transformation to lives and communities in the poorest nations of the world.
Rachel resumes: As we go into July, Helen and I will be taking 2 weeks “STAYCATION” from Friday 24th JULY and so we will not be responding to emails and other office work in our usual way during this time. We will however have a wonderful team of people, friends and ministry partners, who will speak each morning with a MESSAGE of HOPE so the online content will continue while we are on our summer break. (Helen adds: it’s also Rachel’s 60th birthday on 24 July!!!!)
We are so grateful for all your love and support….thank you for praying for us in this season!
Rachel, Helen and Gordon and the Heartcry team.