December Update 2012

Dear friends,

As I am writing this letter I am experiencing a freedom that I never knew existed. It has been three years since my wife and I have tried to sell our house so that we could pay back a very bad bank loan. It has been two months since the selling process finally started. It has been a month since we moved out of the house and moved into an apartment in the city. Of course I will have to get back to you with the full story of this adventure that brought us down, broke us, got us back on our feet and most of all got us closer to God.

As for this letter I will focus on the usual December events that are quite numerous at the Community Center of Word Made Flesh Romania. J

This October I celebrated two years of full time service with WMF. It has been an important period of time in my life, a time and a context that have enabled me to grow in intimacy with God, a time and a context where I grew professionally and personally. My life has become much simpler as I have focused on one direction only. As a community we recently read Jim Collins’ book Good to Great. The author talks about the Hedgehog Concept taken from the famous essay written by Isaiah Berlin, The Hedgehog and the Fox. In this essay the world is divided into hedgehogs and foxes, based on an ancient Greek parable. “The fox knows many things but the hedgehog knows one big thing. Foxes pursue many ends at the same time and see the world in all its complexity. Hedgehogs, on the other hand, simplify a complex world into a single organizing idea, a basic principle or concept that unifies and guides everything.”

The Hedgehog Concept flows from a deep understanding of the intersection of the following questions:  What are you deeply passionate about? What can you be the best in the world at? What drives your economic engine? As a community we have tried to answer these questions and to apply what we’ve learned to our ministry.

We have already entered the last four weeks before Christmas, a time called Advent in the western Christian traditions. The term Advent comes from the Latin adventus, which means coming. It is a time where we are called to prepare for the celebration of the Lord who was made flesh for us. The Eastern Orthodox correspondent of Advent is a time of fasting from animal originated food. The Advent focuses not only on the remembrance of the coming of the Messiah, but also the awaiting of His second coming on earth, in glory with the angels. I have been trying to follow more than one plans of Scripture reading for this time.

In terms of activities, we finally applied for the grant offered by the government. It represents only a small part of our budget, yet it helps us develop our activities. This is an application that needs to be renewed every year. This year however, there was a press dispute between the Mayor and a few NGO’s, us included, a dispute that lead to freezing these funds. We are currently lacking this money but refuse to despair as our faith is in the Lord who is at work and who knows about the needs we are facing.

As far as the accreditation for the community center in Tudor Vladimirescu, we are still far from the end of this process as the center is required to change quite a few things (such as equipment and construction)

We are grateful and encouraged by the things God has given us through many people who hear about us, be it from the local churches here or from the community around us. Recently we received a few thermo pane windows that will help keep an good temperature inside. Our new co-worker, Anca Chiosea, has taken important steps in getting the local community involved in our work.

December has come. That means that we will be so so so busy this month. All the staff will be involved in activities in our churches, at the center and of course among our families. Activism has a way of coming first in our lives if we’re not careful and so I urge myself and I urge you to just take a few moments every day and be with God not to ask for things but to submit every thought to Him. We need silence, we need quietness and we need peace!

I invite you to pray for us for:

–          The two days of Christmas caroling when we will visit the families of the children who come to the community center;

–          A celebration with the children and their colleagues from school;

–          A celebration with the children and their families;

–          A Christmas night at the center when we plan to open presents, play, share a meal together and celebrate the birth of our Savior. Leaving our families and choosing to spend this night at the center may not be the easiest thing for us but we choose to do so as we want them to have the chance to spend this time in a healthy warm environment.

–          A good resolution of the problem that occurred with the funds from the government.

Posting these letters on the website offers you the chance to do the same – to share with me your prayer requests. Along with my community I would love to be able to pray for you too!

Thank you for taking this journey with me!

In Christ,

Bogdan Chelariu