A Shepherdess Meets the Great Shepherd

Lezica’s brief marriage failed when she was just 19. She found herself without parents, husband or home. Her circumstances combined with mild mental issues were cause enough for the authorities to take her only son away to an orphanage. 

Romanian Shepherd, June 2014
Alone, broke, and homeless, she found a job guarding sheep in exchange for makeshift shelter and food. After several years she was once again without work. It was winter. She went to a variety of places of worship begging for food and somewhere to lay her head. 

Only God knows how Lezica traveled over 24 years from Prahova, her birthplace in the southeastern region of Romania, through parts of Moldova, and back to Romania. But in February of 2014 she arrived at a church in Sibiu. Believers there knew about our friend and ministry partner, Viorel Pasca, who provides shelter, food, medical care and God’s love for 140 homeless elderly and frail. 

Kim and Lezica, June 2014
I met Lezica this summer when our mission team visited the care homes in Dumbrava. I was instantly struck by her sweet smile and beautiful white hair. 

“How do you like it here?” I asked through our translator. 

With no hesitation she spoke: 

“We have food. We have flowers. God loves me. I am grateful.” 

She eagerly took my hand when I extended it. Pastor Viorel took her other hand. He smiled and said, “She was recently baptized!” 

Lezica's Baptism
“Oh! How wonderful!” I threw my arms around Lezica, my new sister in Christ, the wandering shepherdess who was led home by our Great Shepherd. 

Now may the God of peace, who through the blood of the eternal covenant brought back from the dead our Lord Jesus, that great Shepherd of the sheep, equip you with everything good for doing his will, and may he work in us what is pleasing to him, through Jesus Christ, to whom be glory for ever and ever. Amen (Hebrews 13:20, 21 NIV).

Goodbye? No, "See you later, Maria!"

Maria’s frail arm rose in a weak wave 
when I left her room last December in Romania. 
 It’s the last image I have of her. She died earlier this month.

I’ve loved Maria since the day I met her in July of 2011.
She quickly became the poster girl 
for our Elder Orphan Care brochure.

Her eyes communicated much more than her voice.
She was forever grateful.

She delighted in receiving her Christmas Box of Hope.

She always wanted prayer.

Our “us-ie” (not a selfie) makes me smile. 
She obviously was surprised to see herself!

It will be hard to see someone else in Maria’s bed 
when I return to Romania next month. 
But I’m beyond grateful that she was cared for in her later years 
by servants of God, that she loved Jesus, 
that I had the privilege of knowing her, and best of all, 
that I didn’t say “Goodbye” last December.

 I said “See you later!” And that is a true and wonderful statement.

For the Lord himself will come down from heaven, 
with a loud command, 
with the voice of the archangel and with the trumpet call of God, 
and the dead in Christ will rise first. 
After that, we who are still alive and are left will be caught up 
together with them in the clouds to meet the Lord in the air. 
And so we will be with the Lord forever. 
Therefore encourage one another with these words. 
1 Thessalonians 4:16-18
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