For the past month I spent some time each day with eight children in the third and fourth grade. I took on this responsibility in the absence of my colleague Anca, who just got married. (Please pray for her and her husband Eugen as they make this big change in their lives). The children in this group are at different educational levels, which made it more difficult to know the best way to help them with their homework or with catching up where they’re behind. With every day I spent with them, we struggled and tried new methods of studying. But I felt how our relational connection grew deeper, as between two friends, who get to communicate with each other in many different ways (verbal and non-verbal). I can say I am in love with them. To spend time with the children and to have a relationship with them is our community’s prime way of helping. I was encouraged and deeply moved to see in all of us our human need for appreciation and recognition, which is so often expressed in a competitive spirit.
C. is a girl that lives with her aunt and uncle, because her mother, who, after being abused, lost her mind and wasn’t able to fulfill her parental responsibilities anymore. They all share a small room in the cellar of a house full of people – a room that it is dark even in the middle of the day for there are no windows and they do not have electricity. In these difficult conditions, C. is a fourth grader and is a good student with good grades – this is a rare example among those in vulnerable situations. She can even do her homework by herself. We were blessed even more by our Father through her when we see how she is encouraging the other children that are behind her with their education, and especially, the practical ways she encourages and takes care of another girl in fourth grade – a girl that is suffering of an eye illness, which is one of the causes for her being behind in school.
In our many discussions, we, as a community have about how to do education, what is our guiding purpose for all we do, we are often led by the Holy Spirit to help the children we serve to know who they are and to learn new ways/skills of behaving (different ones from those they learned as a reaction to their dysfunctional context they come from). So, for us it is a miracle from God when the children’s faces shine when they are encouraged to just be who they are and when they feel safe.
We are thankful that you are praying for us. One reason to be thankful is that we managed to organize our summer camp this summer, at the end of August, despite our limited financial resources. This is something that worries us, as we struggle and trust in God. I was deeply impressed by the way God challenged me once more through my relationship with the children, about that unless we “turn and become like children, [we] will never enter the kingdom of heaven”(Matthew 18:3).
Through all the planning, the changes and the discussions we had since the start of the new school year in September, our desire is for our community to be organic. Our main purpose is to create the programs and activities that serve people/children, and not the other way around. Pray for us, the staff, to be creative and full of energy and to have an open heart and an open mind to learn all that our Father wants to teach us, either through our relationships with the children and with their parents, or through our relationship with one another and with different people God is putting us in contact with.
The start of a new school year meant we could have 12 new children come daily to our Community Center “In the Valley”, ages seven to twelve. Pray for them, and for all the children. One particular prayer request is related to them and their families’ issues about being consistent in going to school and coming to our Center, especially knowing that this is a pattern (the lack of personal commitment and of being consistent) in dysfunctional contexts as well as the low attention that education in general gets.
Please pray for all the activities and events we will plan in the next two months (November and December) that through all these events we will let God lead us.
Eugen, Anca’s husband, worked with us as a volunteer for most of the last year. His desire is to join us, to serve together. He needs people, like each of us on staff, that will support him in prayer, and people that will support him financially. Pray that he will understand clearly God’s call, and pray that God will send the financial resources for this.