The Worst Place
On our last day of ministry in Croatia, we went to a Roma village that was the worst we had visited. It is difficult to describe such a terrible place. Most of you who are reading this newsletter have never experienced what these children experience every day. It is even more difficult for those of us who are comfortable in our homes and lives to fully grasp how hard life can be for many people, especially children.
I will tell you the story of one family. I believe they are representative of most of the families in this particular village. The parents are alcoholics. When you meet them, you can see their brokenness. One of their daughters got pregnant and married very young. She learned from her mother to drink to try to make her problems go away. One day she became very drunk and accidentally suffocated her baby. The child died. Her sister was raped by a neighbor when she was 13. The man was much older. An arrangement was made to encourage the young girl to lie in court so that the offender could go free. It is believed that her father received a financial compensation, communicating to his daughter that money means more to him than she does.
It is important to remember that this family is much like all the other families in the village. Most of the adults are alcoholics. Where does a child go for help when they are surrounded by drunks? Many of the children start smoking as young as eight or nine or ten. These children are not well cared for and they are surrounded by adults who give them bad examples. What hope is there for such children?
There is Jesus. If I did not really believe that He is who He says He is and that God can do the impossible, I would not be able to stand in front of these children, see their pain and leave them in that place. I know that God sees, God knows and God cares. You should have seen the way the children were smiling and laughing as they watched the puppet show and heard God’s message of hope for them. They were sitting on the ground on a plastic tarp. Part of the crowd was standing in the road and had to move every time the tractor went by. None of these distractions kept them from listening.
Every time I’m in a place like this, I see something wonderful. I see that Jesus really is the hope of the hopeless. Please continue to pray for the children in this village. They need a regular opportunity to hear more about Jesus. Pray for someone to make this their priority.
America and Home
We arrived safely in Atlanta and I am very grateful for your prayers. However, I managed to get food poisoning for a second time in 3 weeks. I am feeling much better now and have been busy sharing at churches. I would love to come to your church and tell them about what God is doing in the lives of children around the world. I do not plan to travel overseas again until January when I return to Lebanon to work on the Syrian border with refugees.
I am happy to drive any distance if you will give me an opportunity to speak about the children. Sunday mornings, Sunday nights, Wednesday nights, or any other day you choose are possibilities. Please e-mail me you request. Simply respond to this newsletter. Thank you for caring about what God is doing in the lives of children.
I am especially grateful to Andy and Lim Warner for giving us the opportunity to work in Croatia. It was a great privilege to tell Roma children about Jesus Christ. Please pray for Andy and Lim and all the work that they are doing in the villages.
Linda for Sam, Lim, Andy, and the Croatian team