Dear partner in prayer,
I hope this letter finds you well. Thank you for your support. I have been touched by your prayers so many times.
As a community we just finished our annual retreat. I want to share with you a thought that stayed with me after reading Celebration of Discipline by Richard Foster, in preparation for this retreat. The book talks about Mark 8:34
“Whoever wants to be my disciple must deny themselves and take up their cross and follow me.”
The phrase „deny themselves” is not at all attractive like „self-fulfillment” is. To deny oneself does not mean to despise self, it means freedom to make room for others; it means placing others before self. Jesus’ teaching on denying ourselves is the only thing that brings us fulfillment and happiness. The next few weeks I want to meditate on the above mentioned passage in order to see which are the things that I have to let go to if I want to get closer to what God wants of me.
Allow me to tell you a few things about the latest events in our community in Galati.
April marked our Easter celebration at the center together with the kids and their families. We celebrated the death and resurrection of Jesus Christ by singing, meditating on God’s word, having lunch, playing and just enjoying one another.
We held our annual retreat in the last week of April, in the mountains of Vrancea. A part of our board came along with us. The retreat is an intentional time that we take every year, when we simply stop from all activities and go away from the business of the city and seek God’s presence in silence.
This retreat does not include planning of ministry evaluation. We just sit in solitude, meditate, pray, rest, play and eat together. A day on our retreat looks like this: breakfast, an hour of worship and meditation, two hours of solitude, another hour when we share our thoughts with one another, lunch, two hours for rest, three hours for games, dinner and then an evening meeting.
This year’s theme was the Lifestyle celebrations. Each day of the week we reflected upon contemplation, service, upon what it means to celebrate these values on a personal level, in community and among the most vulnerable, upon a holistic approach of these lifestyle celebrations.
The relaxing activities include playing volleyball, horseback riding, biking, archery and indoor games.
All this time we set apart was used to consolidate our community and to solidify our relationship with the Lord and with one another. It was a refreshing time for all of us.
A servant team from the US spent two months in Moldova and another two here in Galati. The two members are sisters: Tsion and Cayley McNichols. Rachel is another friend from the US who came as a volunteer and served mostly at the center in Tudor Vladimirescu. The three of them were with us on the retreat. Their time in Romania came to an end at the beginning of May.
A team from Scotland and Holland came to visit in April.
The month of May will mark the coming of many other friends of our community. They will stay for longer or shorter time and serve alongside with us.
We are planning to continue working on our aquaponics and are hoping to finish the walls and the roof this month. This way should be able to start mounting the interior installation in June.
I will leave you with a few prayer requests:
Please pray with us that:
– We continue to practice the lifestyle celebrations;
– Tsion, Cayley and Rachel get home safely;
– We would be able to carry out our responsibilities;
– Pray for us as a family as my wife Cristina will take two work trips to Malta this month. This is especially hard as we are not used to be apart from one another, not to mention one of us being away from our two year old daughter.
Thankful for your prayers,