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Wednesday, June 27, 2018

A time for work, a time for rest


As a Christian community, (for every Christian, actually) one of our greatest challenges is finding a healthy rhythm when it comes to work and rest. We don’t want to be idle – we do care for what is happening around us, while we do know that we can’t do everything – we are not all-powerful. As a result, we encourage everyone to find a good rhythm for serving, giving, and also for resting, for getting filled up again. We encourage practicing a day of rest each week, taking time for personal retreats and for participating in our one week long community retreat each year. For those involved for long term, Word Made Flesh offers a longer time of rest (after 6 years of service, one year of Sabbath).
We (Lau and Vali) are just finishing another 6 years of service, of work with Word Made Flesh Romania, and last Monday the Cuvântul Întrupat community just sent us in this year of sabbatical. We have 9 months ahead of us when we have a chance to stop, and rest and get refreshed. Since neither of us has any other responsibilities in Galati during this time, our plan is to be away from Galati for the majority of this time. Wherever we will be doing during this time, we want to look back, to the last 6 years of service and to recognize where God was at work, how He provided. Looking back we will find moments of joy, moments of sorrow, things we did manage to get done along things we regret, and our prayer is that looking back to find strength for the future.
                Planning this time has two parts: a dreaming part, when we find out what our desires are for this time, and an action part, when, depending on the resources available, on the doors that are open for us, will accomplish some of the things we dreamed about. In order to be able to be away from Galati we need to raise some extra 200-300 Euros each month. We also have to raise the funds for travelling and for other activities. We are praying that God will provide, and that we will be open to the unexpected.
                We will spend some time with our families, and beside this we have 2-3 other activities we will love to do. Vali has been invited and she accepted to write a chapter for a Christian College textbook on practices in mission – her plan is to focus on this first two months of this time, after which she hopefully  spend some time in a Christian community, where she will bring together daily activities, practicing spiritual disciplines and practicing hospitality. I (Lau) will love to take some programming classes with a university in Scotland (this is something else I am looking for financial support) – I will like to finish at least the first semester attending the classes in person, and I will see what are the options for a second semester.
                We appreciate a lot this time offered to us by our community Word Made Flesh Romania,  we appreciate the sacrifices they are doing in order for this to be possible (finances, time for doing our responsibilities while we are away, ...) and our hope is that this will be a time of renewal and refreshing for us and a time of growth and development for our community, a time when each one of us will go deeper in discovering our gifts, our talents, and the way in which these strengthen our call to serve.
                We anticipate this time with joy, and our prayer is that each one of us, regardless where we are in our life’s journey, to find a good rhythm, and to receive from God his rest and his peace.
                Lau & Vali Archip

După muncă, un timp de odihnă


Ca și comunitate creștină ( ca de altfel pentru fiecare creștin) o mare provocare pe care o avem de înfruntat mereu este găsirea unui ritm bun în viața noastră cu privire la muncă și la odihnă.  Nici nu vrem să nu facem nimic – ne pasă de ce se petrece în jurul nostru, dar și știm că nu putem face noi totul – nu noi suntem cei atotputernici. În această privință, noi încurajăm pe fiecare să găsească un ritm prin care să slujească, să ofere, dar și prin care să se odihnească, să se încarce. Încurajăm practicarea unei zile de odihnă pe săptămână, practicarea de retrageri personale și participarea în retragerea noastră anuală ( o săptămână pe an). Pentru cei care se implică pe termen lung, Word Made Flesh oferă o perioadă mai lungă de repaus (după 6 ani de lucrare, 1 an de sabat).
                Pentru noi doi (Lau și Vali) tocmai se încheie alți 6 ani de slujire, iar lunea trecută comunitatea Cuvântul Întrupat tocmai ne-a trimis în acest timp de sabat. Pentru noi urmează 9 luni în care avem ocazia să ne oprim, să ne odihnim și să ne reîmprospătăm. Deoarece nici eu nici Vali nu avem alte obligații care să ne țină în Galați în această perioadă, planificăm să fim plecați cea mai mare parte a acestui timp. Cum spuneam, indiferent de activitățile pe care le vom face în această perioadă de sabat, vrem să privim în urmă, să reflectăm la acești ultimi 6 ani de slujire, și să vedem cum Dumnezeu a lucrat, cum a purtat de grijă. Sunt sigur să privind în urmă vom vedea momente de bucurie, alături de momente de tristețe, lucruri de care ne pare bine că am reușit să le facem alături de lucruri pe care le regretăm, și rugăciunea noastră este ca această privire în urmă să ne întărească și să ne pregătească pentru a putea privi înainte.
                Planificarea acestei perioade are două părți: partea de visare, în care vedem ce ne dorim de la acest timp, și partea de realizare – în care, în funcție de resursele pe care le primim, de ușile care se deschid, punem în practică o parte din lucrurile la care am visat. Ca să putem fi plecați din Galați, trebuie să strângem 200-300 de euro în plus în fiecare lună. Trebuie de asemenea să acoperim costurile de călătorie, plus cheltuielile specifice anumitor activități. Ne rugăm ca Dumnezeu să ne poarte de grijă, și ca noi să fim deschiși la neprevăzut.
                Pe lângă un timp petrecut cu familiile noastre, avem 2-3 activități care vor da o oarecare structură acestui timp. Vali a fost invitată și a acceptat să scrie un capitol dintr-un manual pentru o facultate creștină – planul este să se ocupe de asta în primele 2 luni, iar apoi speră să petreacă un timp într-o altă comunitate creștină, în care să combine viața de zi cu zi cu practicarea unor discipline spirituale și cu practicarea ospitalității. Eu (Lau) vreau să fac niște cursuri de programare la o facultate din Scoția (un alt lucru pentru care caut sprijin financiar) – dorința mea este să fac măcar primul semestru la zi, urmând să văd ce opțiuni am pentru al doilea semestru.
                Apreciem acest timp pe care comunitatea Cuvântul Întrupat ni-l oferă, sacrificiile care se fac pentru a face acest lucru posibil (finanțe, timp pentru facerea responsabilităților noastre pe perioada în care suntem plecați, etc) și sperăm ca acesta să fie un timp de refacere și reîmprospătare pentru noi, dar și un timp de creștere și dezvoltare pentru comunitatea noastră, un timp în care fiecare dintre noi să continue să descopere mai adânc darurile și talentele noastre, și modul în care aceste întăresc chemarea fiecăruia dintre noi.
                Anticipăm cu bucurie acest timp, ne rugăm ca fiecare dintre noi, indiferent de unde anume suntem în călătoria vieți noastre, să găsim un ritm bun, să primim din partea lui Dumnezeu odihna și pacea Sa.
Lau & Vali Archip

Tuesday, May 20, 2014

may update

Thank you very much for your support in every way. I will give you some brief some updates on what we have accomplished and realized.
The new year started with a new challenge for us: to pray for new staff to run our program in the village of Tudor Vladimirescu. Thanks be to God, that He sent Cati Sava (the one I talked about in my last update) and Diana Petecariu to rebuild and continue the relationships with the children and their families who are involved in our program in this village. Pray for these two women to continue to hear and to follow our God’s calling, whatever it might be.
We continued our tradition for Easter Sunday with planning and sharing a festive meal with our children and their families. This is one of our joys over the year to celebrate the resurrection or our King over a meal which reminds us of the banquet party we are going to celebrate when the Kingdom of God is fully established on the Earth as in Heaven.
Two weeks ago we had our staff retreat. As usually we went to the same place in the mountains (the place we went for the last 7 years for staff retreat and camp with the children). Our retreat theme was to reflect on our lifestyle celebrations: intimacy, obedience, humility, community, service, simplicity, submission, brokenness and suffering. This is a very consistent time for us because we intentionally take time for solitude, away from our daily activities, to search and hear from our King.
Give thanks to God with us for the children who continue to be consistent in going to school and in participating in our program. God continue to teach us through them what it means to be like a child in order to be able to see God’s dimension for the human life – the Kingdom of Heaven. 
In June we will celebrate the end of this school year. By organizing this event we want to affirm and celebrate the children and their parents because they made it through this year.
July, 7th to 13th- will take place our camp for all the children in our programs. We plan for a team from North Carolina to come to camp with us. This team will lead some music sessions with the children. Pray that all our planning goes well and for wisdom in knowing how to relate, share and learn about the Goodness of God in our lives.
Pray for our summer program – we plan to have a lot of fun activities (clubs, outings) which are not possible to do during the school year.
Pray also, for our children to be protected against violence, abuse of any type and other kinds of evils. We fought against these kinds of evils lately. Pray that God will bring all these evil acts to light and to bring healing and awareness of the bad things for the victims and their families. Also, pray for us to not despair in the face of these evils and to dare to challenge them.


Thursday, December 5, 2013

december update


It has been a long time since I last wrote news about us. A lot of things have happened since then. Since we consider that all we do, including the seeds we sow through even the least of our activities and acts of service, is important and has value, for the sake of being brief I want to update you on the relevant events.
We appreciate and are thankful for all the different kinds of support we received for our summer camp. We took the highest number of kids (44) we have ever had in this one-week camp. The children in the camp were from three of our programs – the Community Center La Vale, the Daily Center in the village of Tudor Vladimirescu and from the Hidden Treasures Club which happens every Saturday.  In spite of the high number of children and our fears of how to cope with such a high number, we consider that our camp was a fruitful one and full of joy for the children and for the staff. Both the children and the staff learned with a lot of fun and joy things which most of us middle class people take for granted – from simple life skills like how to sit and have a meal, how to use the toilet and how to brush your teeth to the deep discussion about what it means to be Christians on the narrow road that leads to life (Matthew 7.13).
Our summer program was full of fun activities. We aimed to spend time with the kids, to have fun educational activities and to develop our relationships. The most fun were the clubs we held – photography, creating a photo album, origami construction, modelling clay, volleyball, ping pong, basketball, knowing our city, music, creating stories.
I wrote about Cati in the last update. She had finished high school and was preparing for taking her final exams. Unfortunately she didn’t pass them. She worked for a few months at a fast food shop and is preparing to retake the exams next summer. Please pray for her to be consistent in her preparations.
After much reflection, analysis and discussion in our community, we decided to change our approach to how we organize our parent meetings. We want participation in these meetings to be a pleasure. We usually organize a meeting once a month. We consider that our first three meetings (starting with the new school year) were successful – the parents were treated with dignity, empowered and listened to. They are now more motivated to collaborate with us for a better future for their children. We invite you to continually pray for consistency in considering and making good and thoughtful choices, which is against their cultural environment (being surrounded by a fatalistic culture).
Also, the beginning of the school year, which is the start of a new year in the rhythm of our community, was fruitful. We started receiving new kids, having taken in 15 up until now. Most of them are in preschool, first and second grade. Pray with us for these children to have a holistic development which God intended for all human beings. Also pray for our staff (especially our educators) to continually have their energy renewed, creativity in relationships and in developing activities. We need to practice the discipline of sowing, cultivating and caring with love, hoping for a better future and having faith that God is growing the planted seeds every day.
We are preparing for Christmas events these days. We are planning to go caroling to the children’s families, as well as other families and companies who are involved in supporting us in various ways. We will also organize a celebration of Christmas for the families of the kids who come to the Community Center as well as a party for the children on Christmas night.
Please pray with us for wisdom, presence and creativity. Our desire is to truly celebrate our Hope. The following are some of our regular struggles we face and we invite you to pray through these with us.
We struggle every day to have hope in the face of powerlessness, fatalism, abuse, neglect, addiction, indifference and immorality.
We struggle every day to look for the Kingdom of God in our midst.
We struggle every day to have integrity, to be transparent and to follow our vocation of serving Jesus among the most vulnerable.
We pray and hope that in the coming year every step, every decision we make and every activity we do will bring us, the children, their families and you closer to God, closer to one another and closer to living out our vocation – to glorify God.  




Thursday, November 14, 2013

a short and simple reflection on life

For our chapel time (which starts at 8.00 a.m.) we had to reflect and answer some questions. I am going to share an answer for one of them: When was last time you obeyed God? My first thought was: this morning. Our alarm went off for the second time at 7.00 a.m. The first time it went off at 6.30 a.m. Because I wanted to sleep some more, my first impulse was to stay in bed and invent an excuse for not going to chapel time.  Fortunately, I resisted and I got out of bed immediately. I went down stairs and I started to make coffee.  It is a discipline to resist your comfortable life patterns which can make  you break your commitments. 

Sunday, July 28, 2013

the hunger games trilogy

Last night I just finished listening audio books trilogy of The Hunger Games: The Hunger Games, Catching Fire and Mockingjay, by Suzanne Collins! These were my days off, reading and struggling with a cold! I am still processing the plot of the book.  The complexity of what human beings are is tremendously presented by the author! How vulnerable and adaptive is the human being?! How hard you can break the human spirit?

Vulnerability, adaptability, hardship of brokenness, survival mode, pain, craving for destruction of other human being, things we take for granted…this are some of the themes in the book! (I don’t want to spoil it for those willing to read it!)

Thursday, June 6, 2013

June update

In a short while we will come to the end of another school year. The children we are helping are finishing another year of school – a year of working together consistently, of learning positive and constructive ways to respond to all sorts of violence (either from school staff or from classmates), of developing attention spans and the pleasure of learning, of everything they accumulated in school during this past year...and we are preparing to celebrate the achievements of all 30 children from first to eighth grade.
For the first time we will celebrate the graduation of high school of two of our young people. We want to celebrate 12 years of joys and sorrows, of growth and accomplishments.
Looking back at the last five months, here are some of our community highlights:
In February and March, Lau and I had the honor to host our servant team, Sam from Canada, Emily from USA. For two months they were involved in all of our community’s activities and events, helping the children with art, playing with them, and teaching them how to use a computer. This team was a great encouragement for us, through their openness and the challenges they brought before us.
In April, we, together with all the staff, had training on Clifton Strengths Finder, how to identify our strong points, and how to use them in the activities we are involved in. We also had sessions on how to manage stress and burnout, the stages of forming a team, all meetings lead by Deb Hoffman and Kristel Cody Fortun, from Lifegate Church, Omaha, Nebraska.
In April we were blessed to have Frank with us, a faithful friend of our community for last 10 years, who came with John and David, and helped us with our electrical repairs, and with installing a venting system for our bathrooms. Every time our friends visit, even if it is only for a short time, they bring us encouragement, affirmation and support.
This year our May 1st outing (for International Workers’ Day) happened two days later, in order to enjoy a quieter environment (a lot of people turn their car sound system very loud even when they are out for a picnic) and to have the forest just for ourselves. The children and the staff enjoyed playing outdoor games, eating together and developing relationships.
For Easter, as we have done for so many years now, we had lunch at our community center, with the children and their families. The children enjoyed hitting a piñata and it was a great joy to see them shouting and encouraging their mothers when they were playing the game, trying to hit the piñata, in order to get some sweets. Moments like those, when the mystery of eating together, of speaking about our joys and about our sorrows, and of relating in new ways with one another are moments when we declare that God is alive. Indeed, He has risen.
In May we, as a team, had our annual retreat, putting aside a week for spending time in solitude with God. This year’s theme, that helped us focus our time, was our mission statement: Serving Jesus among the vulnerable ones, through our relationships and personal vocation, in community and in society. This was for us a new opportunity to declare what is central for us: each one of us is searching for Jesus and we all submit to Him. What it is unexpected is that Jesus lifts us up and invites to walk with Him and show that we care for those vulnerable, and to discover Him in the middle of the “deserted places”.
This desire to serve Jesus it is what ties us together, and at the same time that which unties us. We are looking for Jesus, and this is what brings us together. The Bible’s teaching, and nature, and modern methods of building a team, they all tell us that together we can go where we would not even dream we can get on our own. At the same time, it unties us, for we can speak of unity in diversity. Searching for Jesus looks different from person to person, from one place to another. We are praying that each one of us, there, where each one of us is today, to continue to desire this relationship with God, as parents, as teachers or doctors, or workers, or students, either through work or rest, giving and receiving, children and old people, young boys and girls.
Here are some things we invite you to join us in prayer:
·         C. T., a young man we know for 6 years now, had a medical operation. He is recovering now. Pray for his well being, for his recovery, and to be able to help him to find a new job, where he will be treated with dignity and respect.
·         We are planning and organizing our summer camp for children, second week in July. We are asking God for wisdom, and help in finding all the resources necessary for this camp, and that His presence to be felt and experienced in new ways.
·         Please pray for Cati, whom we know for more than 10 years, as she is studying for her exams for graduating from high school. She also dreams of going to college this fall.
·         We just finished planning this summer’s activities. We pray that the children and the staff will enjoy this summer, and that we will experience God together in all we do.
·         We are praying for wisdom for our staff who are helping the children, to help them develop a pleasure for learning, and to set clear and specific goals for the children in their group.

·         Please pray for our meetings with the parents, that they will come to our meetings, and that we have wisdom when we communicate with them.