Wednesday, April 27, 2011
Monday, April 4, 2011
After a few months of planning and waiting, and most of all of hoping, we can start to make plans for our sabbatical. For the last three years, our international community had started to develop this practice, so that all staff members that serve for six years, to have the chance to spend the seventh year as a sabbatical time. The “year” is actually divided into two: a time away, and the transition out and in. The time away can be up to nine months, while the transition before departing and after arriving back takes between three and six weeks each.
For us, this is a good chance to visit our family and our friends from the US. Last week we got our visa for US approved. Thank you so much for praying for us, for supporting us. Only after we heard the words “you visa is approved” we became aware of the emotional tension we were under. We were nervous, for a lot of our plans were depending upon being able to visit US. Thank you for encouraging us, for the advice, and for praying for us.
Now, that we know that we can do this, we can plan more specific. We can spend up to six months in US, staying with Nelu and Olivia and visiting friends. Before this, we will visit our family in Europe, and some of our friends from Scotland and England. As a time line, we will be involved with our activities until the end of the school year (June 15th) and after that to have a time of transition out. After that we will like to visit, like we already said, friends and family from Europe (July and August), and at the beginning of September to go to US.
Our sabbatical includes at least two elements. As it is obvious from the lines written above, one component is traveling and visiting friends. Even if this occupies a lot of our time at the moment, we know that this year is not only about traveling. We have to make plans ahead, especially if we want to find some less expensive airline tickets, thus being able to save some and maybe to an extra visit somewhere. The other component of our sabbatical is about resting, reflecting and renewal. This time is set apart so that we can more intentionally look both back and ahead, and to see God. We want to see His presence, His promises, and His work. We want to slow down and pay attention to want He is doing. We want to look back, and see where He was at work in the last 10-12 years of service. By taking this time we want to say, just like we do every week, that God is in control, that what we do is His work, His plan, His call. We want to let go, to be aware that His work will continue, even if we are not present here, in Galati, for a while. As we will go through those steps, we want to look forward, to be aware of His promises and His plan for the community from Galati, both staff and children.
Shortly, we want just to be with God. This involves time for ourselves, time with others, time at home and time away. We are so grateful for this opportunity, for the plans we are starting to take shape, that I can see already how great this time will be. I also know that it is our part to make plans, and it is God’s part to make them happen. And I know that He will do more that we can think or imagine.
Please pray for us, for wisdom in planning, and to have in focus the purpose of this time.
Please pray that as we plan, we will receive the necessary resources to move ahead. Please pray that we will have the necessary money when we need it, in order to buy the airplane tickets and to make the proper arrangements.
While we do those plans, live goes on, for us and for the children. Please continue to pray for the teenagers that still struggle, for they do not know where they will be sleeping and leaving tomorrow. Even if they have something for tonight, the uncertainty of their situation is a great burden for them. Two of them still don’t know if their family will be able to continue living in their current house, while the other two leave in a shelter for minors, while waiting for their mother to come from Italy and sort the situation out. Their situation is a great burden for all of us, for that is no place for any children to live in. Pray for them, to hold on during this time, and that this will come to a stop as soon as possible.
Please pray for the 5th – 8th grade children, to be consistent with their lives. Because of their school schedule, they spend only 90 minute each day with us, and the influence from outside is greater. Please pray for them to continue to go to school, to continue to come to our center, and that when they are facing difficult choices, to make the right ones.
We appreciate that you are part with us in this work, that you continue to pray for our lives, for the children, that in all God may be glorified and His will be done.