Today we want to share how God has moved our hearts and led us to help, support and strengthen family relationships. But before that, I just want to take this opportunity to thank God for his faithfulness and His provision so far.
We’re only one month away from our deadline and we’ve already raised 300k, which is just incredible, and we’re so thankful to God. We still need 400k, but we’re fully trusting in Him for that.
Money is not the only miracle we have seen. We’ve been blessed with two amazing families, David and Katia, and Vadim and Tatiana, who God added to our church just a few months before the Epicenter project.
These people have the gift and ability to do renovation work, and their hearts for God and this project inspires us beyond words. Every time we have work meetings with them, we come out so encouraged and thankful to God for His perfect timing and provision.
And that’s not all! We were also able to add a project manager to our team. Edgar joined us at the beginning of June. He’s here to help us structure, plan, and coordinate Epicenter, and we’re so grateful for him and his willingness to come and help.
Now, let’s explore our heart for families...
Since the beginning of our church, we’ve strongly believed that God has called us to Rebuild
and restore the city that lies in ruins » (Nehemiah)
Our vision is to restore the city of Paris. And one of the ways that we feel called to do that is through family. We want to help families, couples and parents develop loving, healthy relationships. A family’s influence on young children can last a lifetime in many ways. Healthy families are the building blocks of a healthy society.
For a few years now, God has placed a passion in Marius and Simona’s (that’s me!) hearts to support families, parents and couples.
After the first lockdown in 2020, we realized how difficult the pandemic was for many families. Domestic violence increased drastically during this time, as people were forced to be together 24/7. This revealed a serious problem that had been ignored and swept under the carpet until then.
During this time, we felt that God was calling us to do something about it. But in the face of such a huge societal problem, we felt small and unprepared.
For some context, I’m a child educator with many years’ experience of working with young children. Marius is a social worker, with extensive experience working in child protection. We’ve both witnessed family issues that may often appear invisible to others. But when working with children, you get a clear window into their family life, too.
We told Fred and Vanessa about our concerns and what we felt God was calling us to do, but also how overwhelmed we felt by the task at hand. They encouraged us in this, and shared their same passion for families. Their heart’s desire is also to see families restored and lives changed.
That year, we visited Familya, a Christian family center in Lyon, which does exactly what we felt God is calling us to do. We had no idea that such a thing existed!
After we visited them and saw what they were doing, along with their project and their building, we came back feeling encouraged. But there was also a sense of disappointment, because we felt so insignificant in comparison. We had no budget, and no space to organize family activities, for example.
But we felt that God was asking us, “What do you have in your hands right now? Start with what you have.’’
So we started small! We organized parenting workshops based on different themes. There were theater outings, baking workshops, mothers’ groups, marriage seminars, and pre marriage counseling.
Parents from La Cité participated, and then they invited other parents from their childrens’ schools, too. All our activities are open to non-Christians, and these meetings are a great opportunity to build real connections with people. For example, when they were invited to our Christmas service, much to our surprise, all the families that had participated in our events came along.
The Epicenter Project would be a great opportunity for us to develop more of what we’re already doing for families, couples, and children in Paris. This space is exactly what we dreamed of a few years ago, when we first started running our activities.
We’d love to create a welcoming space for all families, children, young people, couples or singles, providing:
● Couples’ counseling (pre marriage and marriage)
● Parenting counseling, with parenting workshops on different parenting topics
● Emotional and mental support (for people dealing with loneliness, handicap, infertility, separation/divorce, addiction, etc)
● Family mediation
● Mothers’ groups, with creative activities and discussions for moms
● Fathers’ groups, with after work events and social gatherings for dads
● Family cultural outings, such as to museums, theaters, and so on
● Baking and cooking workshops for children and parents
● Language classes
● Music/instrument classes
● Reading club for young children
We dream of a space where people feel welcomed, loved, unjudged and supported. Together, we can change the city of Paris, one family at a time.
Thank you so much for your support in prayer, giving and encouragement.
May God bless you.
Marius and Simona Vilcu