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The Path to Discernment – Part 4

Walter Williams is one of my dearest spiritual friends.  We’ve scoured the back roads of Romania together.  We’ve spent hours holding hands praying together and we’ve both laid our hearts out there for the Romanian people and especially the children.  I talked to him on the phone one afternoon sitting in the front room of my home away from the activity of the kitchen and living room.  Walter was responsible for the renovation of a small building we call “The Storybook House” where kids from Global Hope have done homework and crafts for years.  He’s been a friend to the Roma population in Romania.  And like so many of us that have served in the mission field he has experienced heartache at times in trying to understand a different culture and connecting to them.   

“Walt, I understand now what is eating at me regarding this situation with the FES bike.  What I am truly afraid of is bringing this bike to Romania and not knowing how it will work out.  My fear is that she won’t use it, or it will get broken, or something might happen.  Then I’ll be disappointed, I’ll get angry, I’ll be resentful and for two years I’ll deal with the hurt of that.”  

“Aha,” he replied, understanding, “yes, we’ve all been there before in that situation.  We know what can happen and the potential realities of the situation.  Brother, I’ll pray for you.  My life is busy right now, as well, and I feel my prayer life is not what it should be, but I’ll pray for you.”

As I hung up the phone, it all became clear to me.  My previous experiences were causing me to be very cautious and I was trying to protect myself.  I feared I was standing in the way of the process.  On the morning of February 23rd, as I began my devotions, I turned to the reading from My Utmost for His Highest by Oswald Chambers.  The page had been underlined in places and I’d commented at the bottom of the page.  You can read the devotion by clicking on the link above but following is the part that hit me at my heart.

  • But the chief motivation behind Paul’s service was not love for others but love for his Lord.  If our devotion is to the cause of humanity, we will be quickly defeated and broken-hearted, since we will often be confronted with a great deal of ingratitude from other people.  But if we are motivated by our love for God, no amount of ingratitude will be able to hinder us from serving one another.

How was it that I had forgotten that?  Obviously I had read and learned this before.  Sure we loved Ioana like our own daughter.  But the fact of the matter is that we are crazy for Jesus and that is why we are doing this.  Not in the way that we stand on street corners screaming at passersby or feel compelled to knock on doors.  But in the fact that deep inside our hearts we feel a love to help Ioana that comes from a place that can’t be described.  It can’t be explained because it is mysterious and spiritual in nature.  Because when I look at her life and where she should be instead of where she is now I know that only something supernatural could have rescued her from her past.

Another struggle that I had was in the cost of the bike.  This is something that her foster family could never afford.  And from the standpoint of the cost of the piece of equipment in scale with their economy it doesn’t make great sense.  And then the passage from Matthew 26:6-13 came to mind.  The disciples were appalled that the woman would have poured expensive ointment over Christ’s head, but the act was more beautiful than the loss of the ointment.

I wrote in my journal a few days later If we do this for Christ and because of our love for Christ and because of Ioana’s love for Christ we shouldn’t be concerned if we don’t see a “return”.  We do it as an act of faith and devotion to our Lord and Savior, not because it really makes sense or is logical financially. 

This really helped to clarify things for me and to begin to make a path toward discernment.  I put out a message to many of Ioana’s supporters letting them know what was transpiring and if they had questions, feelings or comments.  

Among them were two legitimate concerns that needed to be addressed.  What would happen if the bike needed repaired since there were no other bikes like it in Romania?  And would it be possible to place the bike in a facility in a place where others would benefit from it as well as Ioana?

PT assistant Sonja, and Ioana after Ioana’s final FES treatment at The Childrens Hospital in Aurora, CO

A representative from Restorative Therapies informed me that the life span of the FES bike is ten years.  She said that it will have the most current software and that often any software problems can be resolved remotely.  Regarding having the bike placed in another facility brought us back to a hurdle that we are trying to avoid.  Ioana has great difficulty getting around the city of Arad.  She lives on a second floor of an apartment with an outside entrance.  It is not a simple process for her to leave her apartment numerous times per day, thus creating an obstacle to therapy.  Most FES bikes are dedicated to the home of a person with a spinal cord injury so that they can be on the bike as often as possible, for some people, every day.  While this might seem selfish, it would be the best for Ioana and her purpose.

A few weeks later a group of us met to discuss the pros and cons of situation.  In the group were three board members from Global Hope.  Seven of us met in total.  After having moved through the process and many discussions with those involved in her therapy I felt that without the aid of the FES bike it would be very difficult for Ioana to maintain what she has worked so hard to attain.  In reality if she doesn’t continue to work hard after arriving home in Romania, in six months she could be back to where she started.  Just like anybody that is on an exercise program, diet program or trying to maintain a healthy lifestyle, there is no magic pill.  What is required is consistent, hard work.  One board member shared what she had read from the book When Helping Hurts.  What we were investing in was not a project but in the process of helping Ioana and moving her toward a future where she could be independent and no longer dependent on others.

The decision was made that at the Global Hope board of directors meeting a week from then that the idea would be presented and put to a vote regarding the FES bike.  The board approved the decision to purchase the bike for Ioana and then raise the remaining necessary funds to cover the cost.

You can go to the Ioana Blog Home Page to see the advantages and benefits of the FES bike and how supporters of Ioana and Global Hope can make a tax deductible contribution to help purchase the FES bike.  Thank you for patiently reading through how we all came to this decision and for your many prayers for Ioana!  We so appreciate all that you have done.  God bless you!