The needs remain great in the seedy ghetto communities where we work. There’s nothing worse in life than a feeling of irrelevance. To be coldly forgotten. To exist in a run-down community where human beings are looked upon with sweeping indifference. Where every life is touched by the icy fingers of poverty. Like Christ Himself, particularly at Christmas, it’s easy to be cast aside when you become a nuisance. This is the shabby level of people we are trying to help. The outcasts, the forgotten and marginalised of society.
A Pair of Wellington Boots
As well as brightly wrapped shoe boxes stuffed with goodies for all ages, we are needing to provide damp-proof Wellington boots for impoverished children. Some of you might recall that we made a similar appeal 10 years ago.
I have mentioned before that the ghetto villages where Door of Hope operates are bleak and miserable beyond imagination. I have called at hovels where I wouldn’t accommodate a cow.
Thick winter sludge and pools of muddy water pockmark neglected streets. Children squat on splintered kerbs beside ever increasing mounds of rubbish.
Sad-eyed dogs, donkeys and chickens roam among rubbish, waste ground and homes that are little more than slums. There is no sewerage system in the villages.
The children seen in the photo-graphs often wear happy faces. They wave and grin when they see me. But taking time to look deep into their eyes, it’s hard to miss the flicker of pain. One sadly wonders what kind of hell many of them exist in. No warmth in winter, little nutritious food and certainly no sweety extras. For many, no caring parent to lovingly tuck them into bed at night. Some have suffered the horror of sexual and physical abuse. Their clothes may not look excessively ragged, but they exude what I can only describe as ghetto smells – a reek of poverty, dirt and under-nourishment.
As I have said before, Bulgaria experiences weather extremities. This summer temperatures screamed to a scorching 42 degrees. Imagine that without any air conditioning! In winter it’s painfully cold with temperatures plummeting to 25 degrees below.
The elderly remain huddled in-doors. I have been caught in rain-storms the intensity of which I have never witnessed here in Britain. While writing this letter, I received news that a few days ago rainfall was so intense that seven small dams collapsed pouring raging floodwater into several villages. A number peo-ple died whilst sleeping.
I deliver this wretched information into your ears because after ten years, a whole new generation of children need Wellington boots to face the anxious January winter.
Little feet must be kept warm and dry. As many children as possible in our little school and if possible, outside in the Muslim community. They too need foot protection. Warm feet in winter snow, dry feet during grey falling rain.
For this reason, Diane and I request your help for a special Christmas donation.
Dropped into every pair of Wellington boots will be a bag of sweets/chocolate and a little Christmas card happily saying, “From loving friends in Great Britain.”
A Gift wrapped Christmas Shoebox
Like last year, Diane and I also invite you to share your love in the cost of providing Christmas Shoe boxes full of presents for families in Bulgaria and the Ukraine. We are more than thankful to Link to Hope (the Charity directed by our daughter-in-law), for covering most of the transport costs. However, further travel and delivery expenses are involved. Over 5000 Christmas wrapped shoe boxes will be sent plus warm clothing that some of our supporters have provided.
(If you know anybody prepared to knit items for Door of Hope please show them this letter, or, if you let us have their address, we will gladly forward them a copy)
By the time this letter is held between your fingers, preparations will be well under way to provide poor destitute people, children, the elderly and broken families with a brightly wrapped shoe box full of Christmas goodies: a blessing they would never receive apart from you! Large transport lorries are on the eve of departure.
Many of these souls are living in tents and hovels propped up by broken bricks, corrugated iron, cardboard, and other shoddy items that serve as meagre protection against the numbing winter weather (see photos). Most of them look no different than refugees dragging weary feet across Europe.
Crammed into each shoebox are gifts for every member of the family … toiletries, toothpaste, hats/gloves, pencils/crayons, small toys, games, sweets, items of hygiene and other niceties they could not afford to buy.
God be thanked for our homes
In the security and comfort of your home, please remember the children. Help us to gladden the lives of these little ones; to keep their feet dry and bring Christmas cheer to the elderly and slum dwelling families.
Meanwhile, we thank Christ the Pain Bearer who reveals himself in pleading hands while constantly giving more than what is asked of Him. This Christmas, most of us will have peace of mind, family and friends, a bed to sleep in, a secure roof over our heads and food to eat. How blessed and privileged we are. Wonder of wonders! We have done little to deserve it.