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The Beginning of Ioana’s Story

This week will be the start of a busy time for Ioana.  She will go to Physical Therapy three times this week, begin ESL courses (English as a Second Language) three times a week, meet as part of a Young Life youth group and continue to adjust to life in America.  Please keep her and the our family (Matt, Pam and Ben Gibble) in your prayers as she makes new transitions this week.

Many people that are only hearing Ioana’s story may think that her being in America is a marvelous thing that just all came together in the past month.  However, her story with Global Hope goes back over eight years to 2004.  I was serving as Director of Romanian Operations when I was contacted by Romica Iuga about bringing Ioana to the Global Hope homes.  In the next few days I’m going to go back in time a bit so that everyone can understand how God has created this story and opportunity for Ioana.  Below is a post that I wrote for a website diary that was maintained each week during our time living in Romania.  Thank you for your continued prayers, gifts and support of Ioana during this tremendous opportunity for her here in the US.     

10 June 2004  

How does one come to even begin to know what God might want for a child?  As an organization it is never an easy process to determine whether we are capable of caring for an additional child.  Perhaps it is not for us to determine if we are capable as much as it is in knowing that God will empower us. 

This week we listened to God, to our hearts and to others who were praying for us and decided as an organization to bring an additional child into the House of Hope.  Her name is Ioana and she is ten years old.  She has Cerebral Palsy, is bright, beautiful and will enter the fourth grade in the fall.  She will come to live at the House of Hope in September.

I wanted to share some of the process that I went through as God moved me through the situation of determining if God wanted Ioana to be under the care of Global Hope. 

Having first been aware of Ioana in late March, Romi Iuga and I planned to meet with Ioana and her Aunt Lia in late May.  Following is part of a journal entry from May 25. 

Ok, Lord, Romi just called about this young child that needs some help.  Please give us guidance as we pray about how we can possibly help her.  So much happening, all the time!  Lord, bless whatever it is that we can offer.  Give us guidance and discernment!  Only you know, Lord, what we can do.  In your precious name, we trust!

From an entry of May 26:  Oh, Lord, thank you for calling me away yesterday to meet this young girl face to face.  Her name is Ioana, her birthday is 4 February and she lives in Gradişte.  When I saw her walk into Romi’s living room, her face was bright and shining.  It was as if her heart was jumping through her eyes, her smile, her joyful face.  I just wanted to embrace her.

With any major decision that we make as an organization we go to prayer, scripture and intercessors for guidance.  The next morning I have noted in my journal that Ben and I prayed together for Ioana before Ben left for school.

In following the wonderful example that Jacci Knight, our mentor, set for us, I searched through the scriptures for guidance and found the following.

Mark 10:16  And he took the children in his arms, put his hands on them and blessed them.

1 Peter 3:13-15  Who is going to harm you if you are eager to do good?  But even if you should suffer for what is right, you are blessed.  “Do not fear what they fear; do not be frightened” But in your hearts set apart Christ as Lord.  (The section in quotes is also found in Isaiah 8:12 and allayed my anxiety about speaking to our staff about Ioana and the challenges of raising a child with a disability)

I have some wonderful guidance from people who act as intercessors on our organization’s behalf.  I sent emails out to all of them and told them about the situation we were facing.  I asked them to pray and to let me know if God was leading them in any particular way.  I received words of encouragement from one with the following scripture to reference in James 3:17, But the wisdom that comes from heaven is first of all pure; then peace-loving, considerate, submissive, full of mercy and good fruit, impartial and sincere.

From another intercessor who is a pastor, he offered scripture from 2 Samuel and the story of Mephibosheth.  You can find that remarkable story in 2 Samuel 4:4 and chapter 9. 

I was particularly anxious about the first meeting between the house moms and Ioana.  I prayed and journaled that it would be a good meeting.  On the morning of May 28, I began my morning with devotions from Oswald Chambers, My Utmost for His Highest.  The text for that day led me to John, Chapter 16.  In 16:23-24, Jesus tells his disciples, In that day you will no longer ask me for anything.  I tell you the truth, my Father will give you whatever you ask in my name.  Until now, you have not asked for anything in my name.  (emphasized)

That morning I prayed in the name of Christ that the initial meeting with the staff, children and Ioana would be one of love, understanding and joy.  God came through in glorious fashion, to no surprise, and it was a wonderful day.

Sometimes, we wait and wait on the Lord.  Sometimes, he requires great patience of us.  That has been the case with many situations here in Arad.  Yet, at other times, he moves quickly, swiftly and challenges us to keep pace with him.  He causes me to drop everything that seems important at the time and he brings me to my knees in prayer to find him.  He prompts an enthusiasm in me that wears my bible pages thin as I look for his affirmation and confirmation.  Then he often brings that confirmation through others by the way of answered prayer and enlightening wisdom. 

While all of this was happening in the past weeks, we were transitioning between a short-term mission team of 18 university students to another short-term mission team of 11 university students from Colorado Christian University.  They were all employed in the prayer process for Ioana.  I thank God for everyone he put in the life our foundation at this time.  It all happens in God’s timing and by His will. 

Keep Ioana in your prayers along with her Aunt Lia and our staff and children as they prepare for the arrival of this wonderful little girl. God’s blessing be upon each of you as he works within in your heart in all that you see, hear, feel and touch.