Wednesday Wisdom With Wyndham – 101

Wisdom Takes Risks

Wyndham called from Bucharest saying he had met three abandoned siblings. They were alone, living in a shed with a dirt floor. He told me we needed to take them into our soon-to-open group home. For years we had worked toward the opening of this home in Romania, staffed by Christians. We would bring seventeen orphans, ages four to eight, from a state orphanage to live in the home. We knew we could not take more children than the ones that were already coming, and we knew that we could not take older children. There were just too many risks to an already risky undertaking.

So, when he called to tell me about these three children, ages ten to thirteen, I was not persuaded. I did not know how we could handle it, and besides, we didn’t really know them. When he responded, “We need to do this; you are going to have to trust me on this one,” I reluctantly agreed. After spending time with them, he saw through to their hearts and felt their needs. The oldest sibling had made sure they all took the very long route to get to school each day. Life in the shed was difficult, to say the least.

Wyndham convinced me that this was a risk we must take. So we did. They came to live in the home before the others came. Two girls and a boy. We celebrated Alex’s tenth birthday shortly after his arrival. He had never celebrated a birthday.

The day arrived when the seventeen kids came. The intensity of that first week is difficult to describe. I don’t think I slept more than a few hours the whole week. On a level of difficulty between one and ten, it was near twenty. The oldest sibling from the shed (who had moved in with her brother and sister) was an outstanding “big sister” for all. All three of them were (are) wonderful. The oldest sibling, Ionela, was moved by the love she saw from the Christians. There were times when I would see her outside, off by herself reading the Bible. Over time, she fell in love with God. One of the great joys of my life was helping to baptize her in the home in Romania. After a couple of years, all three were adopted by good friends, the Rushtons, who gave them a wonderful home. Today, all three are married with children.

Ionela and her husband, Anthony, have four boys and both serve in the ministry in the Chicago area. She is truly an amazing woman. This past week we received a letter which she graciously said I could share–so I will include excerpts:

…You have blessed my life. Thank you for saying “YES” to bringing my siblings and me to the group home. Because of your faith, sacrifice, love, and hard work my life has been changed for eternity. The group home is where I came to know God through the disciples and studying the Bible.

This past year I celebrated eighteen years as a disciple, more than half my life. That decision has changed everything. I got to marry a godly man who also had a dream to go into the full-time ministry, and together we have been serving in the ministry for ten years. We have been blessed with four amazing boys and we have the blessing to raise them to know and love God. My life and the blessings I enjoy every day are a result of your faith and sacrifice. Thank you for loving God first and letting Him use you to change lives for eternity….

Wyndham, you are truly a man after God’s own heart! Thank you for the incredible example of faith, courage, endurance, love, and sacrifice you have set for those around you and far away. As you have been suffering with your health you have become a stronger warrior. You both are warriors and your legacy is deep faith that has impacted many. I look forward to celebrating the reward of our faith with our God in our eternal home.

“I always thank my God as I remember you in my prayers.” Philemon 1:4

I love you both very much, Ionela (Testa)

Okay, now my eyes are leaking. We never know what will happen when we listen to the Spirit’s guidance and take a risk, even when that risk disturbs our plans. If we listen to all that could go wrong, we would never move forward. Wisdom takes risks.

I’m so glad Wyndham listened to the Spirit’s guidance and took this risk. God certainly took a risk on me, and I am eternally grateful. He gave up everything in hopes that you and I would respond to his love. I want him to see my life and be happy that he took that risk.

  Out of that terrible travail of soul, he’ll see that it’s worth it and be glad he did it. Through what he experienced, my righteous one, my servant, will make many “righteous ones,” as he himself carries the burden of their sins. (Isaiah 53:11) MSG



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  1. Alex DiBisceglie

    Truly an inspiring example of taking risks!

    • jeanieshaw

      Love you and your family very much and keep you in our prayers. Love, Jeanie

  2. debwright54gmailcom

    So incredibly inspiring…and the list goes on…only in Heaven….there’s just no way to understand the power of one solitary life…. like the One we get to serve and call Lord…you two are helping all of us think of possible “risks” that need to be taken…right now! Thank you…Hugs…♥️♥️♥️

    • jeanieshaw

      Love you so very much, Debbie. You and Sheridan are forever friends.

  3. Barbara J Henry

    Such a powerfully inspiring story! So glad this was shared with the body!
    Thank you

    • jeanieshaw

      Thank you for the encouragement. Love, Jeanie

  4. Faustina O. Cerda

    Thank you for sharing this. I am sorry to hear our Brother Wyndham and his health. I will keep him in my prayers. May God continue to Bless you all and all who are caring for the Orphans.ustina

    • jeanieshaw

      Thank you so very much, especially for the prayers. Love, Jeanie

  5. Debbie Mackie

    This is truly an amazing story of faith and trusting God with the unknown. I am inspired and challenged. Such a small world–we are good friends of Guy and Loretta Berndt who lived in Jax for quite a while and their daughter is married to Ionela’s husband’s brother! This really encourages my faith! Thank you!

    • jeanieshaw

      Truly God at work putting people together at the right times and places. Love you.

  6. Julie Kinscheck

    Jeanie, I had forgotten that you and Wyndham were so involved with the group home in Romania! And I never knew that you both had the responsibility of deciding which kids were admitted there. What an amazing thing you did for all those kids! And especially adopting Jacob.
    The more I learn about you the more in awe I am about how God has used and continues to use you to encourage the Saints and build his spiritual family! Thank you!

    • jeanieshaw

      Thanks so much for the encouragement, Julie. Love you.


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About Jeanie Shaw

After retiring from forty-five years in full-time ministry, Jeanie Shaw went back to school to earn her master’s and doctorate in spiritual formation and discipleship. She also serves as a certified Christian life coach who loves helping people discover the joy, peace, and purpose that come from finding and following God’s plan for their lives. She has taught classes and workshops all over the world and has written numerous books. She has four grown children, eight grandchildren, and a golden retriever who thinks he is human. When she is not reading, writing, coaching, teaching, or enjoying her family she might be found walking along rivers, learning new lessons about life.

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