newsletter Gathering winter fuel Families n Prayer
Thank you We are all facing challenges in our lives – either financial or personal. That is why we are so very grateful that you continue to support us in these difficult times and continue to be partners in bringing the Good News to our brothers and sisters in Eastern Europe. In this Newsletter, you will read of how your support has contributed to successful spring and summer programmes. Thank you. MWB’s work is like a mosaic – with each piece meeting Spiritual, Emotional, Educational and Material needs. Christ taught his followers to illuminate the world with good works: ‘Let your light shine before men, that they may see your good works and glorify your Father in heaven.’ (Matt. 5:16) Over the next few months we will experience colder and darker evenings. Most of us simply want to keep warm and safe. But for our brothers and sisters in Eastern Europe, these needs are felt even more acutely. So this autumn and winter let’s show God’s light through MWB’s practical deeds of providing winter fuel, enabling self-sufficiency, visiting the elderly and caring for children and families as well as giving assistance through our crucial Operation Christian Love parcels. Thank you for all that you do.
Mission Without Borders brings hope, healing and help to change lives. As a Christian
organisation meeting the needs of the whole person, we support the elderly, families and children to take steps out of poverty towards becoming self-sufficient.
Gathering ‘If we hadn’t received the firewood, I don’t know what would have happened to us,’ remembers Remzija. She and her husband, Selman, with their children were half-frozen in the harsh Bosnian winter last year. They had no money to pay the heating bill and so their electricity was cut off. The Sabics live in a ‘collective centre’ on the outskirts of Mostar. Their tiny, one-roomed apartment is the sort allocated to Internally Displaced Persons (IDPs) and refugees who lost their homes during the Balkan war (1992–95). The single room is barely big enough for all seven of them. Remizja and Selman met and fell in love in Mostar, after suffering greatly during the conflict: Remizja’s father was killed by a shell blast. Selman was a refugee from Kosovo, imprisoned in a concentration camp for four months.
Gathering fuel Long after the war, in 2008, the authorities allocated the Sabics their ‘refugee’ apartment. But they have to pay their own bills. Although Remzija and Selman receive monthly benefits, payments are irregular, so they could not afford to pay their electricity bill. The Sabics were fearful of surviving last year’s fierce winter. Remzija and her children tried to gather their own wood to use for fuel. Remzija explains that ‘for the last few years my children and I went to the riverbank. We collected as many branches as we could find.’ But last year it was too difficult to find fuel: Remzija had recently lost her sixth child. She says ‘I was unwell. I didn’t have enough strength for collecting wood. Also, this year the river was higher and it was so cold; I couldn’t let the children gather fuel alone.’ When a MWB Co-ordinator visited the Sabics, she found them all huddled together trying to keep warm. They had no heating in their flat. What was the Sabics’ most urgent need? To pay their electricity bill, or to buy firewood? Winter fuel was the
winter fuel answer: with wood Remzija immediately made a fire to warm up the flat and cooked her children a hot meal. Remzija’s gratitude is profound, ‘If I had known how to write, I would have written to Mission Without Borders. I want to thank you for the support you provide to families like mine. We will never forget you, because they have changed our lives and restored our hope.’
Give families enough fuel to survive the cold. It costs around £75 to provide enough wood for a family to cook and heat their home throughout the winter.
Donate now: phone 0207 940 1370 or give on-line at www.mwbuk.org
Sustainable winter fuel Having enough wood fuel to last all winter can mean the difference between life and death. Many people that MWB supports have no gas or electricity. For others, like the Sabics, providing enough wood for the whole season is more useful than paying their electricity bill. MWB seeks to supply wood responsibly from two sustainable sources: 1. Natural woodland debris Dead trees and broken branches are collected and kept for seasoning. This clears natural forest waste, making it easier for new growth. Freshly felled trees do not burn well. 2. Sustainably-grown forests MWB purchases dry, seasoned wood specifically grown for fuel. While most Eastern European countries have no equivalent to the UK’s Forest Stewardship Council (FSC), MWB relies on our local co-ordinators to ensure that the wood is from replenished sources.
A day in the life of... Family Co-ordinators ‘I love the work I do’, proclaims Daciana. ‘Every day is different, and each day has its own challenges and achievements.’ She is one of twelve MWB coordinators in Romania who support over 300 families. ‘One by one, I visit all the families I’m responsible for. Talking to them, I realise that the parents have a lot of problems and that they all need guidance.’ The circumstances of each family vary, and so does their commitment. Daciana explains: ‘Sometimes I see parents who aren’t really doing much, so their children grow up earlier than they should. In those cases, I focus my attention on the children - offering counselling, comfort and help in any way I can.’
‘There are so many people waiting for a warm word of comfort. Then I thought of the Bible verse “it is more blessed to give than receive” (Acts 20:35) and I felt my burden grow lighter. My desire is to bring hope to those who are hopeless. It’s so motivating when you see people transformed from depression to joy.’ Arjan, co-ordinator in Albania
‘When families are going through rough times, they don’t just need a hug and consolation. They need immediate, practical solutions and helpful advice. We offer help for troubled marriages. We guide, counsel and provide support to overcome stress and improve quality of life.’ Emilia, co-ordinator in Romania
Daciana with Andreea
Andreea Balan is one of those children. She has a lot of potential, which her sponsor is helping her to fulfil by supporting Andreea through secondary school. Daciana visits the Balan family to sort out Andrea’s school transport. Unfortunately, Andrea’s father cannot find the papers required, so Daciana leaves, planning to return later. At other times, Daciana says ‘I feel thrilled when I succeed in my work.’ Such as with the Turcu family. She’d received a call from MWB in Sibiu asking to sort out some support for them. So Daciana drives to visit the Turcus. No one is home. Another delay. But then, on her way to another visit, when it is already dark outside and a light blanket of snow covers the road, Daciana stops off again at the Turcu home. They’re all in now, and Daciana tells them about their sponsor’s funding for a refrigerator. They provide the necessary details and the children are eager to share their good school results from school with Daciana. Finally, Daciana reaches her own home: ‘I think through the day, with its achievements and failures. I feel blessed and privileged to do this work and I know that I did my best to help others come closer to Christ. This is eternal fulfilment.’
Changes for families ‘A few years ago, I had no hope,’ says Agron, a single father caring for three children. ‘But you gave me hope for a better tomorrow.’ Agron and his two sons had no home, while his daughter Haxhire, stayed at a centre for disabled children. ‘I was faced with insecurity: I did not want my sons to see me as a failure.’ But as Agron received support through MWB’s Family-to-Family Sponsorship programme, life changed. The family moved into an old disused warehouse, which Agron worked hard to turn into a home. He was helped through MWB’s material support, including food and clothes, as well as Special Projects financed by his sponsors. Agron also worked hard to change his state of mind: ‘I was depressed. I had lost my strength, courage and trust in myself and others. I was finding less and less work and was unable to provide for my family. I felt alone and worn out by life.’ So MWB’s co-ordinator visited the family frequently, offering counselling support. Now Agron proclaims, ‘I have found spiritual stability, peace and love.’ Today his sons are back at school, and Agron has a new motivation to carry on, ‘I can only offer thanks and blessing to you from my heart. You have changed my life completely.’ Agron remarried and now has two more children. And Agron has ‘better chances of finding work. I now have my own, professional tools to work as a bricklayer.’ Agron gives his own summary of the changes in his life: ‘All your support gave me the courage and energy to be the man I am today.’
Ioana Turcu was free from her abusive husband, but with her seven children she remains trapped in poverty. Her child benefit income is not enough to cover all their needs. But Ioana is a woman of faith – she trusts God. ‘I remember one night when I didn’t have anything for the children to eat. I told them that we would get some food by the following morning and I would have something to put in their lunch boxes for school. After they went to bed, I fell to my knees and prayed and cried a lot. Finally, I fell asleep. The next morning, the Mission Without Borders co-ordinator visited us with a food parcel. It was amazing! It is wonderful, but also tough, to live by faith!’ Ioana Turcu is the mother of the family visited by Daciana in the article on opposite.
Who’s going to Moldova and why? Eighteen supporters and two staff are travelling 1–8 October. Some are very new to MWB. Others have visited MWB Moldova before. Here are a few of the travellers’ thoughts: Tamsin ‘My faith has moved me to take an interest in others... by sponsoring two children. I want to meet them, but also to see what it means to live in poverty. I want others’ struggles to become part of my consciousness; stirring me to act, to change, to help more... to experience life outside my comfort and to embrace the life Jesus calls me to.’
Cecily ‘I look forward to forming links – meeting people. This is a wonderful God-given chance for personal involvement – to go beyond writing a cheque.’
Janet ‘I feel excited to have the opportunity to witness the work of MWB, to meet local people and discover what their life is like. I wonder what the Lord’s purpose is in calling me to go! I expect it to be a very humbling and moving time.’
Paul ‘This is a calling from God... to serve God as I visit His children.’
Sheila and Tony with the Morozan family, one of two families they sponsor with MWB ‘We want to visit our families, to show that we care. We’re also keen to see how the projects we supported have come along. We look forward to the sense of one-ness in the Lord, both with other group members and the Moldovan Christians we’ll meet.’ Please pray for God’s purposes for this trip; for protection, openness, and good connections. Follow trip updates at: www.mwbuk.org or www.facebook.com/missionwithoutborders
Autumn 2011 Winter 2012 Prayer Guide Seek the lord while he may be found; call upon him while he is near. (Isaiah 55:6)
General prayers for each week Monday
Cold weather Over the next months those living in Eastern Europe will face many hardships and difficulties with the colder weather. Pray particularly for the elderly, who often have to choose between buying wood to keep warm, or food.
Albania Albania’s vacuum of strong leadership since the collapse of communism has led to a resurgence in ancient blood feuds. Pray for harmony and stability, and for progress to be made to resolve deep-seated poverty.
Bosnia-Herzegovina Pray that the trial of Ratko Mladic will run smoothly. Remember those in government in this country as they seek to ease tensions between the three ethnic groups.
Bulgaria Pray that the country’s leaders will seek to combat corruption and organised crime. Remember the MWB staff as they explore new avenues of outreach, and build partnerships with local churches.
Moldova Pray for John Groza and his team, seeking to encourage the local churches in their ministry. Continue to thank God for many opportunities to work for the kingdom and for co-operation with local government.
Romania Continue to remember Romania as it adopts procedures that will enable it to grow and to accept EU demands – at a time of severe economic pressure.
Ukraine Praise God for the way His hand has been on MWB’s work here this last year. Obstacles have been overcome, and we have seen many blessed and uplifted by His love and the Good News.
Autumn 2011 3–9 October
Supporter tour UK supporters are visiting Moldova this week. Pray for safety and friendships. Pray that on their return they will be excited to share with others what they have seen and heard.
Albania Please remember Monika Qerimi and the staff in Durres. The needs are great and varied. They require spiritual and physical strength to remain fresh and focused.
Community centres MWB’s centres at Zenica and Glamoc (B-H) are faithfully providing food, fellowship and occasional medical care for 120 elderly beneficiaries. Pray for this work to continue.
Christian radio MWB’s Christian radio programmes reach over 400,000 people in West Ukraine. Pray they will bring change in the lives of individuals and the nation.
31 October– 6 November Disabled project Thank God that in Bulgaria 350 attendees at 11 clubs have been blessed. Pray for the opportunity to bring the Lord to those deprived before now of the chance to hear about God.
7–13 November Bosnia-Herzegovina Dalibor Kojic and his team hope to expand the work in new ways. Pray for wisdom and guidance as they seek to do this for all of the ethnic groups.
14–20 November Albania Give thanks for all that is accomplished among the many people attending community centres. Pray for new openings.
Autumn 2011 21–27 November Operation Christmas Love
Remember our field workers handling the huge task of preparing Operation Christmas Love boxes. Each is filled with food and simple necessities for the most needy. Thank God for those from our link churches who volunteer to pack the boxes.
28 November– 4 December Moldova
Thank God that over 5,000 children in 48 homes in Moldova have MWB sponsors. And praise God that over 35,000 meals are annually provided by our community centres to the elderly.
Pray for the workers delivering 2,000 Operation Christmas Love parcels across Bulgaria. Pray that each parcel will show the family it goes to how much God loves them.
MWB provides for many basic needs for those who are most vulnerable during the winter cold. Pray for sufficient funds to buy much-needed essentials.
25 December– 1 January 2012 Christ is born!
Praise God for the Christmas message: ‘When the time had fully come, God sent his son, born under the law, to redeem those under the law, that we might receive the full rights of sons.’ (Gal 4:4)
19–24 December Child sponsorship
Many parents emigrate to find work. MWB’s child sponsorship, in cooperation with local churches, helps children suffering the loss of their parents. Thank God for sponsors and their encouragement for many children.
Autumn 2011 2–8 January
Joy and peace
Christmas services are now being celebrated throughout most of our field countries. Pray that many will experience the reality of God’s peace and joy.
Praise God for those who have found rest and a new reason for living in the great invitation of Jesus, ‘Come to me, all you who are weary and burdened, and I will give you rest.’
Bible Correspondence Course
Thank God for MWB’s five international leaders. Pray for God’s direction as they develop the organisation’s work across seventeen countries.
Remember the volunteers who write to children and those administering the course. Pray that each child responds to the good news of Christ.
30 January– 5 February
Many living across Eastern Europe are seriously affected by the economic downturn. Pray for the families receiving help through MWB’s Family-toFamily sponsorship and for their coordinators.
Praise God that MWB’s workers are now recognised as people with a living faith that motivates them to respond to the suffering and pain of the needy.
Praise God that MWB’s work in Romania continues to expand: Providing around 50,000 meals a year to the poor, supporting 308 families and 1,494 children, producing a popular Bible correspondence course, and more.
Pray for UK staff as they seek to remain faithful to God and expand the work of Mission Without Borders throughout this country.
Mission Without Borders works in Eastern Europe to reach people for Christ. We seek to release thousands living in material and spiritual poverty.
“For me, MWB means care, love and not fighting life’s battles alone. Since people from the Mission visited my house, I have felt a greater motivation to carry on. I’m now getting better both spiritually and emotionally. I feel so much closer to God.”
What does a MWB Advocate do?
Bedrie (46), Albania
n Hand out MWB Newsletters and leaflets.
Be an Advocate: Reach people for Christ ‘Therefore... in view of God’s mercy, offer your bodies as living sacrifices, holy and pleasing to God...’ Romans 12:1 We know that to achieve our vision, we need people like you: Willing to use your gifts of time and skills to tell others about MWB. It doesn’t have to take much time, but it is a great way to share all you know about MWB with others.
As a MWB Advocate, you will make a difference by... n helping MWB extend the kingdom of God in East Europe.
You already have a heart to reach people for Christ. Becoming an Advocate simply means that you put that into action by volunteering some time and energy to promote MWB. You could do this through various activities: n Simply talk about MWB to friends, family and colleagues.
n Inspire others in your community to sponsor a family or a child, or join our Bible Club. n Give presentations about MWB, or your own involvement with MWB, to your church, or clubs or groups (training provided). n Promote MWB in your local media and join our Facebook page. n Help us out at local events.
To become an Advocate, or to find out more: Phone: 020 7940 1370, or email: email@example.com
n actively participating in the body of Christ to promote our work. n seeing your own faith grow as you support mission. n learning from fellow believers in our partner churches. n becoming a valued member of MWB’s UK team – receiving support, training and resources, as well as making new friends within the MWB family.
MWB is attending a Bible exhibition in Torquay on 22–23 October. Do you live in the area? Could you spare a few hours to help, or simply come and meet MWB staff? Please contact the office!
How you have helped
s p m a C r e m m u S l u f s s e c Suc
‘We have been dreaming about camp the whole year, and now it has happened!’ Daniel and his brothers told in our last Newsletter how much their lives had been full of neglect and violence. When their mother died they were alone, and went to live in a children’s home. But looking forward to Summer Camp helped the boys focus on the future, rather than their past hardships. Once at camp, the fun and their carers’ love had a big impact on them. ‘Because of their sad past, Daniel and Florin were not very sociable at the start of camp. They were shy and always had fear and sadness on their faces,’ the camp co-ordinator shared. ‘But over the week, they changed a lot. They became friendlier and I saw them playing and having fun.’ Florin agrees; ‘I made new friends, we played, and I would like to come again next year.’ Daniel said his favourite part was ‘playing with the other children!’ But friends and fun are not all that children receive at camp. The brothers are taking away the Bible teaching and all they learnt about God. And they left with the new experiences of being safe and loved. Our co-ordinator comments, ‘Camp is an investment in the children’s character. They become more communicative and sociable; that will help them to integrate into society more easily.’ Thank you everyone who supported Summer Camps and made it possible for over 3000 children to benefit!
Sponsor a child for just 60p a day. To find out more, phone 0207 940 1370 or go to www.mwbuk.org/children
How you have helped:
Successfu l S eeds of Hop e Valbona caring for her four youngest children all day, the Tabaku income is limited. They do own some land, but have no money to plant it. This is why MWB’s Seeds of Hope programme has brought joy to the family this year. The Tabaku family, with Valbona holding her Seeds of Hope squash
‘When you brought the seeds, we were sceptical,’ says Valbona. ‘We were afraid the plants would dry up, or disease would damage them.’ But today there is joy, laughter and smiling faces in the Tabaku household. Valbona explains that ‘nothing went wrong. I was just fearful based on my past experiences. The seeds have now sprouted, grown and are ready to be harvested. I feel so good when I see the healthy garden, full of fresh vegetables!’ Such delight in the Tabaku family is something our co-ordinators rarely see. Living in Albania, there are six young children. Agim, their father, works in agriculture, but earns very little. With
When the Tabakus received a MWB box of seed last spring the whole family helped to plant them. Even the children were watering and weeding. ‘We are so grateful, because this is our food. I can dry the tomatoes and peppers in the sun for food during the winter when we can’t afford to buy vegetables in the market. As the pastor of our church said, “these seeds are blessed because they are donated with love and faith”. It was true – the garden is full and I have what I need to cook for my children.’ Thank you for your gifts towards our Seeds of Hope appeal!
Sponsor a family for just 60p a day. To find out more, phone 0207 940 1370 or go to www.mwbuk.org/families
How you are helping: Thank you! MP at Yorkshire tea party that rais ed £555.33 Greg Mulholland, MP for Leeds North-West, attended a strawberry tea on Saturday 30 June to help raise over £550 for Mission Without Borders. Pauline and Bob Dobson hosted the strawberry tea party in their garden, under blazing sunshine, at Otley, West Yorkshire. Long-time supporters of Mission Without Borders, Pauline and Bob started with a humble summer tea several years ago. This strawberry tea has now grown to become an annual fundraising event in aid of MWB’s work across Eastern Europe.
How you can help
B uy a Bible
As well as financial donations totalling over £550, some of those attending the tea gave knitted items. n The gift of money is supporting many different people, through a variety programmes: field staff working with abandoned children in state-run homes, families struggling to stay together because of poverty, and elderly seeking companionship at MWB-community centres. n We will despatch the knitting specifically to those unable to buy warm clothes for themselves.
How you can help
Book a speaker It costs MWB £4 to translate, print and distribute one Bible.
Do you want to know more about Mission Without Borders, and inform your church at the same time? Then a MWB speaker is just what you need!
So, for just £4, you can buy a Bible and bring the transforming power of God’s Word to one person in Eastern Europe.
We are very pleased to offer MWB talks and support for churches all around the UK. You may like:
For Teodora, ‘It all started with a Bible, a gift from Mission without Borders.’ She then gave her life to Christ: ‘my life was completely changed, I was transformed.’
n Extra support if you are planning a function or fundraising event
Join MWB’s Bible Club by setting up a standing order today and you’ll put the Bible into the hands of a person next month, and another person the month after, and so on. Phone now to buy a Bible: 020 7940 1370
n A speaker for a meeting or service
n Materials to help you or your church leader give a talk on MWB’s behalf (e.g. if your church has a mission focus evening). We would value the privilege of receiving your invitation to speak at your church, group or organisation. Do contact MWB on 020 7940 1370 or email firstname.lastname@example.org
What’s on Christmas is coming... ...so you will soon receive information about Operation Christmas Love 2011. But first, be encouraged at how thousands of families last year received so much more than a box of food:
Kujtime Seferi, Albania (above): ‘We can’t afford to have much food on the table, but here you are. God has blessed my family this Christmas. You are a blessing.’
Present for the Future Give a present today that lasts beyond tomorrow. Perfect for any occasion, the presents listed in our Present for the Future catalogue make a real and lasting difference. With Christmas fast approaching, why not plan to give a gift with a difference? It will help transform the life of a child, family or old person in Eastern Europe. You’ll be giving a present to make a difference beyond tomorrow. Click on Present for the Future at: www.mwbuk.org
Morosan family of thirteen, Romania (below): ‘It’s impossible to describe how difficult it is to feed such a large family on so little. We can’t afford to buy things like these, so we deeply appreciate your kindness. We are very grateful that you thought of us… Our words are too poor to describe our gratitude.’
Stoyanka Petkova (top): ‘You can’t imagine how much your aid means to my son and me. I was still waiting for my first pay cheque when you came with this heavy parcel just before Christmas. It contained all the basics, as well as sweets for my son. It was indeed God who provided this food for us. Thank you so much for reaching out a helping hand when we needed it most!’
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