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Because your Father knows the things you need before you ask him.
(Matthew 6:8b, CSB)
How many times in our lives have we experienced something that made us say: ‘Wow, what a coincidence!’? In the self-reliant world we live in, the event would not be more than a matter of luck, coincidence, or karma. But for those of us who believe that God is all-powerful, all-knowing, and all-loving, such an event would make us exclaim: ‘This is the providence of God!’ Over the past couple weeks at Charis, more than a simple coincidence has occurred. For God has providentially provided on multiple occasions what we needed, sometimes before we even were aware of our specific need and before we knew what to ask!
A couple of weeks ago, our pastor encouraged our local church to support the Ukrainian refugees that were coming into Romania as a result of the war. One family came to the pastor and expressed their willingness to help and the pastor sent them to one of the Ukrainian translators. She told them just this: ‘Call Dani and Mona Ciupe and they will tell you what they need!’ This family brought the first food supplies for the refugees. Where’s the providence in this you may ask? Our pastor could have sent them to the church Info point instead or the Ukrainian translator could have given them another phone number. And never get to call us at all.
Those of you who know us, also know that it’s rather difficult to house guests during winter time. But that didn’t stop us from opening our doors to the refugees. However, we knew that we didn’t have enough heaters to heat up all the rooms at full capacity. Therefore, we asked for help from our friends and partners to buy 8 heaters. We managed to buy 4, but we still needed 4 more and there were refugees coming at any minute. A young couple from church gave us a call and told us they had one heater that they no longer used and wanted to offer it to us. We were so grateful for their generosity, but we knew we were still short. But God, in His providence, brought that young couple to us with 4 brand new heaters! The exact number of heaters we were missing!
On another occasion, one of the ladies from our village (Sântion) overheard Mona mentioning that we were low on water. To our surprise, without us asking for any, this lady’s husband called the next day saying she was bringing some water. She brought 64 cases, that is 6 bottles, each containing 2 liters of water – 384 bottles of water (768 liters of water!). You may think that this is more like someone heard a need and fulfilled it, but there was another moment when Mona was cooking a meal and realized that she was running out of cooking oil. A few minutes later, a car stopped in front of Charis Foundation. The man came and said: ‘We heard there are Ukrainian refugees here and we want to help!’ The man, whom we’ve never met before, brought a few cases of oil, homegrown eggs, and rice! The Lord provided even before we could ask for it!
On one of the days, a group of refugees left at around 5 PM. Before they left, we kindly asked them to remove the bed sheets because we were exhausted. A few minutes after they left, we received a phone call asking to accommodate another group of 21 refugees at 9 PM that evening. We were spent and didn’t have any volunteers from town that we could call at that hour. We called a lady from our village (Sântion) and asked her if she could come and help. She came with 4 more ladies and everything was ready in half an hour!
Another time, while Mona was washing towels and setting them to dry, hoping that she would finish them in time for the next group of refugees, she received a phone call. A lady from church called to tell her that there was someone that had towels to donate and wondered if we could use them for the refugees. What an answer to prayer!
The examples could go on! And one might say that they are all pure coincidence, but when you have this happening so many times and at the exact moment you need them, it is clearly a sign of God’s providence working in your life. The passage from Matthew chapter 6 verse 8 (second half) it’s a preface to the anxiety passage that Jesus Christ teaches. Jesus tells us that our Father knows the things you need before you ask him. When our lives can be so easily shaken by the unknown, unfamiliar, uncontrollable, God shows so much grace – beyond our understanding, beyond what we can ask for. God, who supports and sustains the whole universe, who clothes the wildflowers, gracefully and lovingly sustains us too.
We wanted to share with you all of these little events because we want you to see the way the Lord has sustained us thus far. And be encouraged that as you help us, you are helping the Ukrainian refugees. And you never know when you will host a little refugee girl who left her favorite brown dog toy at home while fleeing just to come almost 900 km away to a warm bed with a brown dog toy waiting for her. God, in His providence, orchestrated that a little 5 year old girl from Cluj would willingly give and choose a brown dog toy (out of her own toys) to bring a smile to a refugee girl.
‘Therefore, my dear brothers and sisters, be steadfast, immovable, always excelling in the Lord’s work, because you know that your labor in the Lord is not in vain.’ (1 Corinthians 15:58, CSB)
Counselor for the General Manager on External Affairs
Chairman of the GTR Board of Charis Foundation
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