Our one room house became a wood workshop. Lau is building the doors and the windows for the second level. Because it is cold outside, he needs to glue the wood at the room temperature.
Tuesday, December 11, 2012
Last week we shared during our morning chapel time about what most Christians around the world are celebrating now: Advent. Last year we spent the Advent traveling, while on our Sabbatical. So for the four Advent Sundays (as it is in West, celebrated by Catholics and Protestants; the Orthodox Advent starts earlier, and lasts for 40 days), we were in four different churches: JPUSA, Presbyterian, Catholic and Methodist. Even if their way of celebrating and awaiting was different, they all focused on the same event: God entering humanity.
The word Advent comes from Latin (adventus) which means coming or arrival. It is the same as the Greek term parousia. During this time Christians all over the world focus on celebrating Christ’s birth and wait His return as Jesus the King at the Second Advent. It is the celebration of God revealing Himself through the incarnation so that the whole creation will be reconciled with Him. The God of the Old Testament entered the human history through the incarnation. Through the incarnation He entered human history (our history) in order to live history with us. The advent reminds us not only of God identifying with humanity, but also of the fact that He is present with us today through the Holy Spirit and the fact that there is hope that He will return with power.
Reading the Scriptures of Isaiah 40:1-11; John 1:6-9, 15-16, 19-23 we prayed and continue to pray during this time that God will show us the wilderness and the deserts where we shall have hope, where we shall prepare the way for our God. We are also praying that God will discover the lowly places in our lives and around us where He is revealing Himself, where He comes.
We believe that God is present and He is working in the Valley of Galati, our city (Isaiah 40:2). Please pray together with us to see where He is present and where He is working.
In community, we discover that for most of the children that come to the Valley House, their homes can be a wild and dry place, a place where they go through dehumanizing experiences that sometimes leave deep wounds. The children share with us about the sad and unjust experiences they go through in their families. R, an eight year old girl tells us often about her father, who gets drunk, sometimes cries, other times he beats her mom, but the next day he is the kindest man in the whole world. Many of the children tell us what alcohol addiction does to their families (especially to their fathers). So often we hear the children praying: God, help my dad to stop drinking, and to stop beating my mom! Let’s join with them in this prayer.
You can also pray for all the events we plan for this month. As we meditate on what we celebrate on December 25th, we wish that through our activities to incarnate the good news, through affirming words, through acts and deeds full of love.
We plan the following activities this month:
- A party for the children’s parents and siblings. The children that come to our center will offer a present to their brothers and sisters, a present they worked for at the center, according to our methodology.
- A party for the 1st-4th grade children from a public school. About 50 children, classmates of the children that come at the Valley House will come to this event, to hear the good news and to get a present.
- The staff and the children will go caroling at the children’s families, and to some of the people that support us.
- After all these events presented so far are done by the staff and the children we serve daily, on December 25th we will have a party for the children. We have developed a good tradition over the last ten years, where we set aside this day/night for them, and we want to affirm their identity and their dignity as human beings created by God. We will do this through special words, and all the activities we are preparing (worship, games, art, dinner, presents).
We wish and pray that God will bless you during the Advent with the joy of His presence, and may it be that He will reveal to you those lowly and desperate places where He is at work.