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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.