|"Hands that Help," a
missionary outreach program operating under the
guidance of our Catholic Priest, Father
|We reach out to the poor and most
Free will donations from individuals.
Donations from collections of food at the local German schools.
Donations of dry food, baby food and can goods from German organizations.
If you are interested in making a donation to Hands that Help,
you can mail your donation to:
CMR 407 Box 192
APO AE 09098
Father John Marsh
83104 Bad Ailbing
Please make checks to "Hands That Help." All contributions are tax deductible.
|Teams of volunteers donate their time,
money and personal vehicles to transport the
donations to orphanages and shelters in
Germany, Hungary, Italy and Romania.
|"Hands that Help," supports the two orphanages in Romania which are
by Brother Ilie and his organization "Walk in the Light Ministries." If you wish to be a missionary
in Romania then go to his web site at
Alternatively you may contact "Walk in the Light Ministries" as follows:
In America the address is:
PO Box 1516
Washington, MO 63090
|"Hands that Help," is committed to supporting the orphanages of Romania. If you
wish to adopt a child from one of the orphanages you should make contact with a Christian
adoption agency named Love Basket www.lovebasket.org.
We also encourage you to call (637) 797-4100 to get more
information about adopting a child from Romania.
Hands that Help and Romania.
Update on Romania. The last trip to Romania was in
Dornesti. We had an opportunity to visit with
the children at Dornesti and look at the house. It is eight years since my
first visit there and I came away with a good feeling that each year the
fabric of the building has been upgraded and the expertise over the years has
contributed to a very well run and organised house. The children were all
happy and healthy. They welcomed us, sang for us and showed us all the things
that they do. I just thank God for all the wonderful things happening at
Dornesti. A big thank you to Aurica Coroma for her wonderful hospitality at
Bistritia. I also witnessed so many blessings
at Bistritia. Again the children and the babies were in the peak of health.
Just to watch them playing on the swings of a summer’s evening without a care
in the world lifted my spirits. The visit to the farm was awe inspiring, so
much hard work has gone into the planning and development of the farm. With
their own herd of cows they are able to provide fresh milk, cheese and yogurt
for the children. There are also beef cattle. The chickens provide fresh eggs
and there is also a flock of sheep. Every conceivable vegetable is being grown
to feed not only the children at Bistritia but also the children at Dornesti.
The fourth house is near completion and we hope to send a Hands that Help team
to work on the house in October. Congratulation to Mike & PhyllisAnn Boisvert
who are a husband and wife missionary team heading up the outreach at
Bistritia. They truly are God’s special blessing on the babies and children
of Bistritia. Again, it was a truly uplifting experience to see the labourers
in the vineyard powerfully serving the Lord.
An account of “Hands that Help” in Romania.
The charity Hands that Help received permission as a chartered charity at Bad Aibling on the
13th February 1992.
When I arrived at Bad Aibling in October 1994, there was one member of the original group, Mark Schwartze, who was still operating at Bad Aibling under the name of Hands
that Help. I first met him at the chapel loading food and clothing to take to Romania. He was
delivering goods to a Bible School in Bucharest and an Orphange in Dornesti.
The following Spring (1995) I drove a vehicle and trailer to Dornesti ( Casa de Copii ) and Bucharest. We carried
paper work with permissions to get us through Austria, then through Hungary and at the Romanian
border Brother Ilie would come to meet us to get us through Romanian customs.
Like it or not, although our paper work was always in order, we had to bribe our way across the Romanian border.
On the original journeys the roads were excellent in Germany and Austria, they deteriorated
in Hungary and in Romania even the main roads were full of potholes. We always carried with us
in canisters enough gas for the bulk of the trip. There were very few gas stations in Romania,
and those that were established often ran out of gas.
Over the years we traditionally departed Bad Aibling at about 5am and drove through to a guest house on the Hungarian/Romanian border.
Here for 20 marks we shared rooms and were given a hearty breakfast.
The following morning we were met on the Romanian side of the Hungarian/Romanian border by Bro Ilie. From there it was
then a full day’s travel through Cluj and over the Carpathians to the orphanage in Dornesti.
Construction of the orphanage in Dornesti began in 1991 and the first orphans moved in during
the summer of 1993.
The helpers in the orphanage were composed of Christian missionaries from
the United States and indigenous Romanians.
Over the years we have hauled everything imaginable for the orphanage: food, clothing, shoes, washing machines, toilets, baths, kitchen machines.
One Christmas we bought every child a new pair of shoes.
On an average trip we transported $5.000.00 worth of food either donated by families, or that we bought: often taking flour,
pasta, formula, turkeys and fresh fruit. In the early days food was vital. On more than one
occasion we arrived with five trucks and three trailers full of food, and took the food to
he cellar which was almost bare.
On two occasions I spoke with the staff who told me they had been fasting so that what food was there, went to the children. The children told me, that often
there was not enough to eat and a convoy from Bad Aibling meant plenty of quality food for about
Many sacrifices were made by Bad Aibling people over the years that made a significant
difference to the 80 orphans and staff at Dornesti. At the height of our trips there could be
one trip every six weeks.
One year the military each sponsored a trip and sent down soldiers,
air personnel and navy folks who also did painting and repair jobs to the orphanage.
On one trip that I was leading with five vehicles and three trailers, we passed Jim Sparenberg and another
convoy of three vehicles and trailers, going in opposite directions. He was returning and we were
In 1998 Brother Ilie opened a second orphanage at (Livezile) Bistritia to
accommodate about forty babies and younger orphans. Instead of one large building, he planned
for eventually a number of smaller, more intimate buildings that would become a village.
So now we were delivering to two orphanages. Bistritia already has four buildings and the folks
from Hands that Help contributed generously.
In 1998 rumour was that Bad Aibling Station was closing so in discussion with Brother Ilie he put in place plan B. Plan A was the continuing
support of Bad Aibling, but if we closed down where would the food come from ? Brother Ilie
gathered funds to buy property and start a farm.
Diane McManus spearheaded a fundraiser at Bad Aibling entitled,”Give Buttercup a break”. (At this stage Bro Ilie had one cow producing
milk for 40 orphans at Bistritia.) A top quality cow would cost $750.00 and we invited people
to contribute to a farm. Eight people from the station presented me with cheques for the full
Other organisations on Station did fundraisers for animal foods and to buy other farm
animals such as chickens and other farm products. Donations came from the Scouts, the School:
eachers and pupils, the Bad Aibling Women’s Club, the military units, Tennis Dave did a tennis
fundraiser and Mike Haywood and another DJ did a DJ-marathon fundraiser at the Club. Mary Wood
organised a meat-ball subs dinner and a spaghetti lunch for personnel on station. The whole
Station was involved. The fundraiser was a great success and today Brother Ilie has a thriving
farm which eventually shall feed the children of both orphanages.
Every trip to Romania conjured up different stories and incidents: some were kept waiting on the border for over ten hours;
on winter trips the roads were sheet ice and we had to push laden vehicles over the Carpathian
mountains; vehicles got lost etc. We have led over 40 convoys in the past eight years to Romania.
We salute the work of Brother Ilie and his helpers. May the Lord continue to bless the Orphans
of Romania and may Hand that Help continue to reach out to the poor and most abandoned.
Hands that Help and Hungary
Update on Hungary. The last trip to Hungary was
in August 2002.
Barcs. When Doctor Ladaby, the Director and
Resident Doctor, greeted us he could not wait to show us two special items.
The first was the new mini-bus to transport the children to hospital
appointments or days out to Lake Balaton. He again thanked Hands the
Help for our financial support that enabled him to acquire this state of the
art vehicle. Secondly he showed us a therapy room sponsored by Hands that Help
donations. There was a water bed which helps the most disabled children
achieve movement, a conical in which they can sit and as it spins helps them
achieve balance. There was also a play area with about 100 rubber balls.
When the children recline on these balls they receive a gentle massage. We
visited all three modules and were able to visit with the children and staff.
We are planning a special Christmas trip in the beginning of December when we
shall decorate the house for Christmas. We also intend taking an
individualised present for each child. Again I came away in awe of God’s
goodness that pervades the staff and residents of this home for mentally and
physically impaired children.
An account of “Hands that Help” in Hungary.
On the 18th August 1997 I received an email from a Cindy Durling to inform me that a Major Lynn
O’Connell stationed in Hungary was looking for help to support an orphanage in Barcs, Hungary.
The Protestant Chaplain there was helping a number of needy orphanages but there was one
orphanage that needed extra help. Would Hands that Help consider supporting this orphanage ?
Our response was affirmative and our initial way of helping was to send boxes of clothing, food,
toys etc. to Chaplain Mike Frailey there who would deliver the goods.
Mr. Dale Kipp, his son, and myself went on a trip there in October taking with us clothes, food, bed linens, rice,
pastas and cholocate. We also took money to buy food or whatever they needed. Chaplain Mike
Frailey organised accommodation for us and escorted us with a translator to the orphanage in
Upon arrival we met the Director and Doctor, Miklos Labardy. The story surrounding
Dr. Labady is interesting. He was working in Budapest in communist times. The communists insisted
he stop being a Christian but he refused. As a punishment, they said they were sending him to a
place as far away from Bucharest as possible to work in the least desirable home of mentally
and physically impaired children in Hungary!
Bucharest’s loss was Barcs blessing.
With limited funding from the State of Hungary, Dr. Labady, struggles daily to provide for the children. The
orphanage is composed of old summer residence and grounds. Attached to the original house are
three interconnected modules. 120 children live in the three modules, and there are 100 full
time staff, of whom half are nurses. All of the children are both mentally and physically
impaired. Our hearts went out to these children who surely belong in the category of those most
poor and abandoned.
Other trips were organised and convoys were able to go down and support the
work of the home. During the first year our main support was spearheaded by Pat Aguirre who was
sending up to 20 parcels a day, five days a week. She and her team of workers, spent their lunch
hour every day sorting donations and parceling food, clothing and toys for the children. We
continued to go down to the orphanage but then we were told that for security reasons, Hungary
was temporarily off limits. This lasted for about a year, during which time different chaplains
rotated every six months until eventually one of the chaplains told me to stop sending parcels
as he was terminating the outreach to this orphanage. We were devastated at his lack of
compassion but powerless to do anything.
Contact was lost with the orphanage for almost two years, but the desperate need of these children lay heavily on my heart until August 2000 when
Diane McManus accompanied me on a trip to the home. Because previously everything had been done
through the post, I had no address or phone number, but I did remember the orphanage was in
Barcs, a border town to Croatia. The Lord guided us right to the orphanage. I met up again with
Dr. Labady, and Sabina Kroll came over and interpreted for us. His orphanage was in need of every
thing! We had a three hour meeting and decided to make another trip in September bringing food
and clothing but with the intention of interviewing all the children and see what they needed for
Initially Dr. Labady had suggested a bar of chocolate for each child for Christmas !
I suggested we could certainly provide candy bars, but we could also do a little more for the
children. Again the whole of the post became involved: families and singles sponsored the gifts for the
children. Mrs. Abbott, Mrs. Petrella and Mrs. Strong and their children from Bad Aibling school
were responsible for sending gifts for twelve orphans and a gigantic box of brand new socks in
various sizes. Hands that Help donated four large artificial Christmas trees and lights. Bikes,
toys, perfumes, toiletries, wheelchairs, and walkers were all part of the Christmas consignment
provided by families and individuals of the Bad Aibling community.
Allen Laudermilk dressed up as Santa and as Santa Claus presented each child with an individual gift, the smiles and laughter
of the children was wonderful to behold. The convoy went down and brought Christmas to the
children: however, as somebody remarked, the children brought the real meaning of Christmas
to us ! Dr. Labady said it was the children’s first ever Christmas. (We hope to do the same
again this Christmas.)
Since then we have organised more trips, made financial donations,
bought a new industrial washing machine and contributed $10.000.00 to a new mini-bus. These
children are truly the most poor and abandoned. When we go to Romania, we know that the children
we help shall one day have a life and a future. But these children are going nowhere: all their
lives they shall be in need of 24 hour’s supervision and medical care. The staff is wonderful
and supportive to the children.
Hands that Help is committed to continue to support Dr. Labady and his wonderful staff in every way possible.
Hands that Help and Cracow, Poland.
In 1999 we were advised that for security reasons the trips to Hungary and Romania were
considered dangerous and that we should not travel into these countries in the coming months.
At the same time Margo Naze, a parishioner at Bad Aibling, who came from Cracow in Poland
informed me about a house in Cracow for homeless women and asked if Hands that Help could
support the House ? Judith divers and myself went on the first trip to Cracow 14-18th September
1999. We took with us food, clothing and $1000.00 from Hands that Help. The nuns received us as
an answer to prayer. On returning we shared our experience with the Catholic women of the chapel
and in the following year Lisa Antley and Susie LaMourie were able to solicit support from the
Military Council of Catholic Women who were able to raise over $20,000.00 for the Home. Below is
a report about the house.
In 1992 the inhabitants of a district in Cracow were furious. A bordello had been operating in
the middle of their community for years with people partying and making noise till the early
hours of the morning. Now that it was closed they heard that it was to open as a shelter for
homeless women and they objected, fearing a continuation of drunken disturbances. The nuns took
care of that. When they moved in they gradually accommodated 70 women. But the beginnings were
not easy. The 70 women were tough and street-wise while the eight nuns were contemplative and
gentle. They invited a local actor, Robert, to be on their staff and help them establish an
order of the day that would be acceptable to everybody. (Initially the homeless women thought
of the shelter as a hotel where they could relax and take time out while hired staff did all
the cooking, cleaning and washing.) The whole community was divided into working groups to
discuss a way forward. The nuns explained to the homeless women that the house had been given
to them, but they received no state support and had no money to pay for a staff. Each person
residing there would have to pull her weight or the place was doomed to closure. Eventually an
order of the day was established and everybody who resides there contributes her talents to the
smooth running of the house: cleaning, cooking, washing, ironing and general maintenance.
The homeless women come from a variety of backgrounds: prostitution, alcoholism, drug addiction,
single parents escaping from abusive husbands, and elderly women evicted from their homes
because the could no longer afford the rent. In the house the women are blessed in an atmosphere
of love, concern and security from dangers. As new members arrive, the first need to be taken
care of is personal hygiene, a clean bed for the night, clean clothes and a regular diet. This
is not luxury accommodation. The single women sleep three to a room, whereas those with children
are accommodated according to their needs. When the physical and spiritual needs are taken care
of, they are invited to attend a therapy group for their own personal growth. The ultimate aim
is to build the women up to give them a second chance in life and lead an independent and
fulfilling life. There are different therapy groups. The most attended is for those suffering
from alcoholic dependence. They meet once or twice a week to share problems and do role play
(the leader is an actor). Another group is for single mothers and the problems entailed, plus
there is a special therapy group for just the children of these single parents. A further
therapy group teaches interviewing skills so that they can successfully obtain work. Once they
obtain work, any money they earn, they keep and save for the their own futures. The older women
have their own group and are encouraged to have a good self image by their contribution to the
well being of the house.
The cost of lodging, food and therapy is nothing and the women can stay
as long as it takes. Some women have been in residence for eight years. The women with
addictions may stay for a number of years until they have the self confidence to rebuild their
lives in the local community. Women who have successfully completed their treatment often return
to these therapy groups and are role models to show that it can be done.
On this trip to Cracow we took quality clothes, feminine hygiene and money to buy food and pay the bills. I asked
Sister Goretta what she was most in need of. She replied that she needed an industrial dryer
for clothes. The one they have is totally Kaput. The other thing she needed was to find two
thousand marks a month to pay for the winter heating of water for washing and for the central
heating. I asked if the Archbishop contributed any money. She replied that occasionally he did,
but said that he did not have much money. From time to time the State is able to give a modest
contribution, but again, we are talking about Poland, and money is a rare commodity.
Judith Divers and I stayed at the convent and were over-awed by the sense of peace and tranquility that
the nuns had created for these women seriously bruised by life’s cruel blows. It is best
described as a house of healing: physical, spiritual and psychological. It is hard for us in
the West to imagine that many of these women had been sleeping in fields and out in the open
for months before coming to this Ark of Peace.
The sisters who run this house belong to a Polish Congregation of Nuns called the Albertina Sisters. They take vows of poverty, chastity
and obedience. Their special charism is to dedicate their lives to serve the poor, the
underprivileged and the most abandoned. Financially each sister is poor and has no personal
money. Spiritually, these sisters are some of the richest people it has been my privilege in
life to meet; they exude an inner richness that money cannot buy.
Hands that Help is committed to supporting these nuns and their humanitarian
venture to support homeless women.