This image is a very special one to me. It was taken during one of the last years I was in Romania. Another friend from the United States and I had discovered that though there were hundreds of organizations working with the "Orphans and Street Kids of Romania" there was another need there that no one seemed to be addressing.
Every day I would see "little old ladies" shuffling along with a tiny bag of groceries and I would wonder how in the world they would climb the 3-10 floors of steps that were in some of the older apartment blocs in my city. They could barely walk. I would also see some of these same really nice looking ladies standing on the side walks in town begging. In my heart I could see my own grandmothers standing there and began to pray about what I could do. After sharing this with my fellow missionary we did a bit of investigation and found that there are hundreds of widowed ladies in Romania who have been widowed for many years and have no family to help. In some cases they live too far away and in others the teachings of communism said to their children "don't worry about your parents -work for the State and we will take care of them". Some have children but they are alcoholics, a rampant problem in the villages. Many of the widows live in small villages. The only work was on the communal farms which were closed after communism leaving them pensioned at age 40 with only 20-30 US Dollars per month on which to live. In 2003 we began the Widow's Mite, a ministry with the express purpose of reaching out to these ladies with Bread and "the Bread of Life".
We began small with only 5 ladies in a tiny village with food baskets once a month. We later realized that many could not afford firewood for the very cold and snowy winters. At the time a load of wood for the winter ran approximately $250 so you can see where $20-30 a month for everything would not include much wood. Later we would find that we needed to make sure medicines were being bought and taken. Many whom we serve would go and gather the saw dust from where others in their villages had cut their wood and use that to both heat and cook through the winters.
We had set some parameters as to whom we would assist as there were so many in need. One day I went to meet with one of the ladies to see if she qualified for our assistance. As I approached her small house, I walked up to the steps and looked down to find these pepper pods lying on the step drying in the sun. This woman had eaten the peppers and was drying the seed pods to plant to have food for the next year. It hit me then what a blessed life I have and do even now live. I do not have to save the seeds from vegetables and fruit I eat to plant so that I will have them again the next year. The Widow's Peppers always remind me to be grateful. We currently have over 40 ladies and a couple of widower men whom we serve. We are always looking for new sponsors or one time donations to help with the increasing cost of food, medications and winter wood. A load now runs about $350 or more. We would also like to be able to reach out and help even more that we know of who are in need.
Profits from this photograph go to serve the widows .
If you would like to purchase a photograph (it makes great kitchen art) or if you would like to become a sponsor or one time donor please contact me at [email protected] or Jackie Ramsey at [email protected] . The widows of Romania will be more than grateful and so will I. Thanks for reading their story, Betsy