Even if according to the calendar the spring should be here, the good weather is still to come. We are waiting for the warm weather to replace the cold one, and we join our friends in this waiting, for many of them lack the wood to burn to keep their houses warm. Also many are having a cold; the seemingly never ending winter makes it worse. I am also tiered of wearing lots of cloths, for often I feel and walk like a robot.
We are continuing with the activities that define our life rhythm, especially when it comes to the schedule for school children. The rhythm is set once the school begins, in September, and goes one thisl a new school year begins, when we make any necessary adjustments.
During this time of the year, in the winter, the activities include celebrating Christmas – winter holyday, caroling, activities for other children from schools, Christmas celebration for the children’s families, the Christmas party for the children that come to our center, staff evaluations, family visits and school visits
Those activities, the rhythm of life for this period brings some stability, some consistency in our community, as we settle again after last year’s changes: more people leaving, new people arriving. While experiencing both goodbyes and welcomes, it still hurts when someone leaves, and we have to learn not to let our hearts closed toward the new people that come to our community.
The children started the second term in school, and many of them (us along them) struggle to find the motivation to study, for it is difficult to see a different future, and it is difficult to find consistence at home, with their families. We struggle together to see that our identity is not based on the education we receive or chose, but on the fact that we are beloved children of our Father.
Please pray for all the children that lack motivation to study and who’s identity is falsely based on the context they see among their dysfunctional families (violence, alcoholism, manipulation, in consistency regarding their responsibilities) and the one from school, where often the teachers label and discriminate them.
In the fall we started a bible study with the teenagers (they are in high school now, and they volunteer helping with homework the younger children) and we studied The return of the prodigal son by Henri Nouwen. This study lead us we be aware of the difficulties we, as humans face when we let ourselves be truly loved by our Father, either by identifying with the younger son, who left his father’s house, either by identifying whit the older son, who remained at home with his father, but closed his heart and wasn’t able to receive father’s love. All of us (younger or older sons) have been challenged to let ourselves be found, known and loved by our Father and to answer to His call to become like Him - ready to forgive and to embrace others without expecting something in return. This is our prayer, and we invite you to join us in it.
Just recently two of them, brother and sister (we know each other for a long time now) are struggling as they risk to be left without their house, as a result of unpaid rent, and as a result of a trial, the final verdict was that their family has to leave the house they are living in. Another two of them face a similar situation, having to move out from where they are staying know. They will try to manage on their own, renting a place. It is difficult to know how to answer and how to interact with them, for they carry with them the wounds from their past (their mother left them a few years ago). Please pray for these teenagers, and for us to know how to act in these situations.
We (Vali and Lau) are thinking and planning a lot our Sabbatical time that we will take this year. We are going to ask for a visa for USA, wanting to spend some of our time with my brother’s family, and visiting other friends, also. Our plans include also visiting our families from Austria and Italy, and friends from Scotland and England. When I am thinking about this time a feel exited and also anxious, for I am afraid to change the rhythm I had in my life for last eleven years, while answering God’s call for me. We want this time of Sabbath to be a time of rest, refreshing and renewing hope. Please pray for us, to prepare our hearts and to embrace this time as a gift from God.