Wednesday, November 23, 2011


Yesterday I received a call from Ken Eastburn's wife, Ally. The Eastburn's started the Well, a local (and now global) network of house churches here in Orange County. Since I frequently meet with Ken, this call from his wife was unusual, but soon I learned why she wanted to talk to me.

Turns out that Ally met a woman from Romania named Maria in the parking lot of a grocery store in Anaheim. Maria was begging for money and food for her children. I was amazed and pleasantly surprised to learn that Ally didn't just give the woman money and go on with her day. Instead, she went with the woman to her apartment nearby and met her 3 children and her husband.

Once Ally met the family she was allowed to look over their legal documents, and even opened up their refrigerator and cabinets. They had nothing in the house. The cupboards were bare. They had a futon in the living room to sleep and sit on. One table with no chairs near the kitchen and nothing else. No food. No clothes. No toothbrush. Nothing.

From what Ally was able to understand, Maria and her husband fled Romania and are trying to get asylum here in the States. Until things get worked out they are begging since he cannot work and speaks little english. Maria speaks only a little more than her husband.

Last night I took my two sons and we brought them more food, sleeping bags, toothpaste, a few clothes and a can opener.

I got to meet their children, Maria Denisa who is 3 years old; Dennis who is 6yrs old; and a baby boy who is only 3 months old.

They had one diaper (size 1) in the house.

Over and over again Maria would start to cry as she begged for help with their rent. She wrote in the air with her finger, "One. Zero. Four. Five. On December 4." That's $1,045 due December 4th.

After dropping off all the food and showing her what we had brought for them, Maria showed me all that Ally had given them, too. She pointed to the fruit on the counter, "Ally" and the Turkey in the freezer, "Ally", and the milk in the refrigerator, "Ally," she said over and over.

I asked her if we could pray for her and she enthusiastically agreed, calling her little children to gather around us. We held hands and I lead us in a prayer for provision and for peace and for wisdom.

As we were leaving, Maria took my hand and kissed it. I started to pull it away, "No, no," I said. But she was crying so much and I think it was important for her to say "thank you" this way. So, I didn't stop her. "It's going to be ok," I said. But, of course, I don't know that for sure. I can only say this in faith and pray that God will work everything out for them in time.

Between the groceries that Ally took them and what we brought them they are alright for food this week, and possibly next week, but they obviously need a lot more help.

A family in our house church gave $500 as soon as they heard about Maria's family. So, we do have some money that we can use to help them out, but if their rent is $1,045 we're not even halfway there yet. Even if we do pay their rent, what then? They still can't speak English. He can't work. We can barely communicate with them. This is bigger than any of us.

I supposse the biggest challenge is that we cannot communicate with them. Luckily, I have a co-worker who speaks Romanian and another friend who is willing to come with me to visit them who is also from Romania. Hopefully we can visit them again this weekend and find out more about their story.

We're also hoping to get them connected with a Romanian church nearby who can help them as well.

Last night I couldn't sleep and I got up to pray for Maria and this family. "All they need is a Miracle, Lord," I said. "Please, God, give them the miracle they need."

Your prayers for Maria and her family are very welcome. Prayers also for Ally and for us as we do our best to understand the real back story here and to discern how best to really help them in the long term.


PS- Peter Thomson was found in Riverside yesterday. He's alive and well. Please continue to pray for him as we try to help him with depression and other things.

1 comment:

Ken Hagerman(The Barba) said...

Stellar post. This is what it is all about. We will be praying for these needs.