Miriam is an alcoholic. She is a young single mother who loves her eight year-old girl, Galina, and her four year-old niece, Raia. They both reside with her. She lives in a poor village in Moldova and works in the fields where she slaves for ten hours a day for three straight days just to earn two pounds of wheat flour – barely enough to survive.
On our visit, Miriam is presented with a small grocery bag with dried beans, rice, cooking oil and a few other staples. It’s about what my family eats in a single meal.
It will last her and the two kids for a full month.
The Moldovan government wants to take Galina and Raia away from Miriam. They are trying to get the children placed into state orphanages. The ministry we are working with on this day believes that Miriam can be helped and rehabilitated. They believe that she is receptive to the Gospel. They desire to not only see her come into the Kingdom, but to prevent two more children from becoming statistics, from entering a institution where they could be used and abused.
Along with the bag of food, Miriam is given a Bible that she warmly receives and cradles in her arms. It is evident to us immediately that she will treasure it.
Miriam started off as a squatter in a home that had been abandoned by its former inhabitants, a man and his family in the village, after a fire swept through the building and made it structurally unsound. Upon learning that Miriam and the children were living in a building that he didn’t even want anymore, he started making demands. The rental price? – wine and sex.
Miriam, unable to provide a roof over their heads otherwise, and hardly able to feed the two children under her care, has to give this man wine and sex upon demand in order to stay in the property that he willingly deserted.
To keep the act away from his wife and family this man, no doubt, imposes himself upon Miriam in the home she lives in. The children would either be sent out or, in the dead of winter, presumably be within earshot as they normally sleep in a chair beside Miriam’s bed. Miriam has to suffer the shame and humiliation in close proximity to the children she is trying to keep alive, trying to prevent from introduction into a state orphanage.
Such is the face of evil that drives men to take advantage of the widow and orphan.
"Woe to those who…rob the poor of my people of their rights, so that widows may be their spoil and that they may plunder the orphans." (Isaiah 10:1a-2b, NASB)
"Do not take advantage of a widow or an orphan. If you do and they cry out to me, I will certainly hear their cry." (Exodus 22:22-23, NIV)