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An advocacy journal Spring 2013 vol. 19 no.

The simple life Simplicity as acceptance, challenge, and beauty Sharing our light Creating space Celebrating simplicity How beautiful are the feet From the archives


Letter from the Editor Stacy Ladenburger

Simplicity, despite the plain, strippeddown, comprehensible condition it defines, is a multi-faceted, complex thing. As Cara reminds us in her beautiful poem, simplicity is, frankly, “not that simple” (“The simple life,” p. 3). For some, simplicity is a necessity, a reality born of hard times, generations of poverty, an unjust economic system, or all of these and more. Single mothers work hard but cannot make ends meet (“Sharing our light,” p. 6), children run and play without shoes because they have none (“How beautiful are the feet,” p. 10), misfortune upon misfortune propels young women to the streets (“Creating space,” p. 7). For others, a simple life is a choice. It is a decision to live a bit more like Christ, to follow His directives and to live in solidarity with those who do not have the luxury of choosing between simplicity and extravagance. Over generations, the jarring words of the prophets have shaken men and women out of comfortable lives and into obedience (“A voice beyond our own,” p. 13). Others have been struck by Jesus’ command to seek His Kingdom and His righteousness (Matt.

6:33), a shockingly straightforward instruction to those of us consumed with worry about what we will eat and drink and wear and do and become (“Celebrating simplicity,” p. 8). However, simplicity reaches even beyond material possessions and economic status. David notes that simplicity acknowledges our human condition, critiques the all-too-prevalent idolatry of wealth in our age, and creates beauty (“Simplicity as acceptance, challenge, and beauty,” p. 4). It is a spiritual practice that bears very good fruit. But whether we live simply by necessity or by choice, and however practiced we are in this lifestyle, we can take comfort and great joy in knowing that we follow in the footsteps of Christ. He lived a simple life with more grace than any of us can hope to muster, a common man with no earthly inheritance, a friend of the poor and those cast furthest out, a messenger with an unwelcome message, God Almighty with dusty feet. And when we are walking by His side, our own feet gathering dust, we have cause for celebration, indeed!

On Simplicity
3 The simple life by Cara Strauss Contreras 4 Simplicity as acceptance, challenge, and beauty by David Chronic 6 Sharing our light by Leroy Barber 7 Creating space by Alafia Cole 8 Celebrating simplicity by Jeff Swart 10 How beautiful are the feet by Brian Langley

In this issue
2 Letter from the Editor 12 From the archives

In every issue
14 Country updates 15 Learn more 16 Final thought
The cover photo was taken by Hope Jewell in Kathmandu, Nepal.

Editor Stacy Ladenburger Graphic Design Viva Design The Cry is an advocacy publication of Word Made Flesh that invites readers to learn and share in the stories of our friends who suffer under poverty and injustice. The Cry is transitioning to a digital format. To sign up for a Premium Subscription to the print version for $40 per year, visit Find past issues of The Cry at Copyright © 2013 by Word Made Flesh. All rights reserved. To obtain reprint permission, e-mail your request to: All Scripture is quoted from Today’s New International Version Bible, unless otherwise stated. The Cry is printed on recycled paper that contains FSC certified 100% post-consumer fiber and is certified EcoLogo, processed Chlorine Free and FSC Recycled, and manufactured using biogas energy.

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by Cara Strauss Contreras

Shear it off layer by layer. Shuck the pea coat, sell the car, leave the apartment, (what are crown ceilings for?), stop answering emails, the comments on comments, Drop it behind me (piece by piece), like crumbs from food that never molds or ferments, until I wander the dusty countryside in blistering sandals It’s not that simple. But say it’s done, say I do. So the wandering goes, then the wandering stops. And in this new desert, my feet sprout roots, digging deeper, growling for water, and water brings life, and life brings things.

like you.

Brings marriage, of all things. And my life explodes with coffee makers and rings, with closets and roles and questions. What bandwidth would Jesus use? Who irons the pants? But (wait) do these rooted feet now tether me, With all these things piled up to my knees, my waist, mounting up to suffocate me? Where in this mess is simplicity?

Is this for you, too?

So how do I: Release the dreams of pulling up carrots clotted with mud, rinsing them with well water. Make peace with 2,413 diapers each year. Pluck out the guilt, crumble comparison, toss it to the Spirit-wind. Browse the crowded shelves of worry, throw them to their fiery end, let the crackling fire cleanse. Make peace with myself. Peace by peace. I'd like to, for you.

Cara works with the Word Made Flesh community in El Alto/La Paz, Bolivia. She is married to Mache, and they have a baby girl, Ariana.

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by David Chronic
We often think of simplicity in terms of minimizing, downsizing, and reducing what we consume. One of the precepts that we cite regularly is the quote attributed to St. Elizabeth Ann Seton: “We live simply so that others may simply live.” But simplicity means much more than this. Simplicity is a fundamental acceptance of our human condition. It is the acknowledgment of an existence that is, to use a phrase from the Book of Common Prayer, "earth to earth, ashes to ashes, dust to dust." Simplicity is also a confrontational critique and denunciation of the idolatry of wealth. Jesus lovingly said to the wealthy young ruler, “One thing you lack. ... Go, sell everything you have and give to the poor, and you will have treasure in heaven. Then come, follow me” (Mark 10:21). These words inspired the Desert Fathers and Mothers and the later monastic tradition to leave everything to pursue God. By practicing simplicity, we stand in the long tradition of faithful Christians who recognized the demonic potentialities of possessions and refused complicity with their lure and their lies. Simplicity doesn’t only deconstruct wealth; it is also constructive. Simplicity aims to create beauty. We actually find the beauty of simplicity throughout society. It is the beauty of God’s ordered creation, which resonates in us when we experience health, justice, salvation, and life. While beauty is most obvious in art and literature, where the artist pursues aesthetics in symmetry, tone, and coordination, it is also evident in sciences. The 2012 Nobel Prize winners in economics, for example, were praised for creating something beautiful, as their work fosters better patient care and education. Dorothy Wrinch’s molecular theory is called by our contemporaries a “beautiful vision” because it takes the complexities of data and gives a simple explanation. Likewise, in the domain of physics, scientists call Einstein’s theory of relativity “elegant.” However, the aesthetic character of simplicity isn’t always easy to see. I have had the opportunity to visit a particular monastery carved out of the hills in Moldova. In the bottom of a cave is a chapel, and at the entrance to the chapel sits an old monk. Most of the time, he sits alone. It is cold. He prays. His austere life looks harsh and unattractive. But it is beautiful for those with eyes to see. The beauty radiates from his wrinkled face in his love, joy, and quest for God. Simplicity is seen in the singularity of his desire to seek and love God. Simplicity is a spirituality, a way of being in the world, and, as with any healthy lifestyle, it requires discipline and cultivation. Whenever I feel like I’m making some progress in my walk with the Lord, I’m confronted with something that opens my eyes to new profundity. This happened on a recent visit to our WMF community in Sierra Leone. I woke up one Sunday morning, immediately in a hurry to get ready for church. I said a short prayer to ask God for energy for the day and wisdom for the activities before me. We arrived at church and began singing, clapping, and swaying. The sister leading worship shouted a prayer: “Thank you that I am not dead!” I was cut to the quick, challenged and convicted by her prayer of boisterous gratitude, her petition for life in the midst of poverty, and her joy in the immediacy of salvation. It wasn’t that my morning prayer was bad or wrong, but it limped in its motivation. My prayer was an option, a choice, a luxury. My Sierra Leonean sister’s prayer was a 

David has lived in Romania since 1998, when he started the WMF site in Galati. He serves as the Regional Coordinator for Europe and Africa and is married to Lenuta.

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"The challenge for me is to move from a spirituality of luxury to a spirituality of simplicity."

necessity. It was a real prayer for daily bread, for the Father to provide life. For if the God of Life didn’t, who would? The challenge for me is to move from a spirituality of luxury to a spirituality of simplicity. I am invited to embrace my human condition and be grateful in dependence and need for the Father’s life-giving love and provision. Through the practice of simplicity, we unmask wealth’s false promises of power and security. With singularity of purpose, we seek to know and love God. And, in the midst of the difficult and harsh realities of the world, we practice simplicity that is recognized for its beauty. Following her example of a spirituality of simplicity, we respond to the charge of Mother Teresa: “Now let’s do something beautiful for God.”


Photo: Andy Baker


Photo: Andy Baker

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by Leroy Barber
I grew up in Philadelphia, and my mother worked really hard in the housekeeping department at a local hospital. Needless to say, there wasn’t a lot of extra in our home. It was impossible to not live simply. It was incredibly hard seeing excess around me—going home at times to no electricity or water, seeing the lights on next door but not being able to see anything in my own house. I thought then that it was not fair, but now I’m not sure if it had anything to do with fairness. I know it hurt, I know I was embarrassed, I know my mom felt bad that she couldn’t provide lights and water despite her hard work. She had no vices; we went to church every week and to school every day. We just didn’t have enough money to make all the pieces connect. I am now an adult with five children, and my mom lives with me. It is my honor to keep my lights on and water running so that my mom can receive what she couldn’t always provide. I have figured, though, that to provide this comfort for my mom, I have to embrace a simpler lifestyle. This allows more people around me to benefit. My wife, Donna, and I are able to give more, provide more, and honor more family and friends if we just learn to be simple in our lifestyle. other resources. The problem may be that some of us don’t live simply enough. This is not a judgment on where you live and what you buy, but simply a question: how do we honor those who just do not have enough? How do we answer that question? It takes us away from the judging, saving, and condemning, and challenges our greed and consumption. I hope we can begin to think more about the wonderful people in the world who know Jesus, who want to love their children well, who work very hard every day, but whose resources are simply not sufficient to provide all of the basic things they need. Many of these people become vulnerable to predators in one way or another because others are consuming more than they require. I choose to live with less so that amazing people like my mom can have more of their basic needs met. The equation seems quite simple.

"How do we honor those who just do not have enough?"
I remember sitting in the dark as a child, admiring the light glowing from our neighbors’ windows and thinking, Why can’t they share their light with us? As an adult, I have learned that I can share my light by not overindulging or consuming more than I need. This allows for more light to be shared. I think there may be enough to go around. Things like water, food, and

Leroy is the President of Mission Year, a WMF board member, and an acclaimed author and speaker. He and his wife, Donna, have five children and live in Atlanta, Ga.

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by Alafia Cole
I have been sounding peoples’ opinions about what life means to them. What I have heard has amazed me. The first opinion I listened to was this: Life is not fair. Since I was born, it has been all about struggling for survival. I lost my mother, who was a single parent to me, at the age of eight years. There was no father who came forward to take responsibility of my late mother’s pregnancy. The reason was that my mother was prostituting herself. She died from tuberculosis. Even though I was a small girl back then, I remember most people who came to sympathize during the death of my mother expressing deep compassion for me, and some of them promised to take care of me and send me to school; my mother had that plan before she died. [But] life became a nightmare. I was asked out of the house, and it was very difficult for me to find my living. Eventually, at the age of 11 years, I was recruited into the trade of prostitution. Men took so much advantage over me because I was small. In all of this, my conclusion about life is that life is not fair to me. When I listened to this young woman’s opinion, I was deeply moved and speechless. Finally, God led me to say to her, “Your life is not finished yet! God has another chapter to your life that is fair.” God helped me to talk to her softly, with love, and after I gave her some encouragement, she looked more favorably to life’s next chapter. Another gentleman told me his view of life: God is partial. No one is equal on planet earth; some are rich, and some are poor. Some human beings are even incomplete or sick. Do you know how they feel? Certainly they don’t feel good about their condition. I came across a man who was crippled, and the man confessed to me that he is ashamed of himself. If we are created to be like God, then why is it that some should look better than others? For me, God is partial. I drew his attention to the Bible. In Rom. 9:14, it says, “What then shall we say? Is God unjust? Not at all!” I again took time to encourage him with the words from the Bible, and he was happier at the end of our discussion. I was able to talk to an old woman who, unlike the others, had a positive outlook. She was full of praises to God for His goodness in her life. After listening to all of these opinions, I realized that even though these individuals have different views, I was able to show respect and listen to each one of them. I created opportunities for dialogue. I have found that everyone is different in the ways they think and behave. Living a simple life means creating a space where people who are different are accommodated without jumping through all kinds of hoops. Living a simple life is possible when we simply acknowledge the image and gifts that God has placed in another.


Photo: WMF Sierra Leone

Alafia is the Light House Youth Coordinator for WMF Sierra Leone. He has served in Kroo Bay, a housing settlement in Freetown, since June 2010. He is married to Alekeh.

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by Jeff Swart
Simplicity is an appealing idea, and it’s something that we know we should strive for. Buy less. Give freely. Eat healthy. Rest more. The list goes on, but the question I have is this: why celebrate simplicity? My role with Word Made Flesh is that of Director of Finance and Stewardship. Budgeting, accounting, and reporting are what I “do” for the WMF community. I don’t live among the most vulnerable people in the world. Along with rent, utilities, internet, postage, and other general operating costs, my job is an overhead expense. Despite my work looking different from that of many people in our community, I find simplicity to be a fundamental aspect of my relationship to God and others. Working with numbers and finances, it’s a natural tendency of mine to quantify. This creates a problem when I think about simplicity. As much as I want there to be an amount or threshold—whether that be dollars, time, or number of possessions— that defines living simply, there isn’t. Simplicity is a matter of the heart. The problem with trying to measure simplicity is that it becomes an end in itself. Meaning, if I try to buy fewer things

Photo: Hope Jewell

and give more freely because my goal is to live simply, then my effort is wasted. But if I live simply because I realize that it will bring me closer to God and others, then my effort is worthwhile. At Word Made Flesh, we celebrate simplicity for the sake of relationship with God, each other, and our friends who are poor. Living simply grants freedom to discard the distraction of extravagance that hinders us from fully investing in our communities. When Jesus tells us to stop worrying about what we will eat, drink, and wear, He’s calling His followers to prioritize. The alternative to worrying is trusting in God’s commands, “seek[ing] first his kingdom and his righteousness.” Quantifying simplicity causes us to think of ourselves, while accepting simplicity as an act of submission to God’s will directs our focus toward God and others. How do I celebrate simplicity in my role with WMF? The answer lies in my philosophy of giving. Each time I process a donation, I see it as a gift from an individual investing in something they believe in, whether that’s a person, a program, or a cause. A donation to WMF is an investment, not a transaction. Viewing gifts as investments in hope and change in a broken world implies a relationship between giver and receiver. It is my job to steward not only investments but also relationships. Herein lies the beauty of simplicity: simplicity does not equal frugality. Living simply means investing in the hope of the Kingdom of God.

Photo: Nikole Lim

And an investment in hope is something I will continue to celebrate.

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MATTHEW 6:25-34
Therefore I tell you, do not worry about your life, what you will eat or drink; or about your body, what you will wear. Is not life more important than food, and the body more important than clothes? Look at the birds of the air; they do not sow or reap or store away in barns, and yet your heavenly Father feeds them. Are you not much more valuable than they? Can any one of you by worrying add a single hour to your life? And why do you worry about clothes? See how the flowers of the field grow. They do not labor or spin. Yet I tell you that not even Solomon in all his splendor was dressed like one of these. If that is how God clothes the grass of the field, which is here today and tomorrow is thrown into the fire, will he not much more clothe you—you of little faith? So do not worry, saying, “What shall we eat?” or “What shall we drink?” or “What shall we
Photo: Hope Jewell

"Living simply means investing in the hope of the Kingdom of God."

wear?” For the pagans run after all these things, and your heavenly Father knows that you need them. But seek first his kingdom and his righteousness, and all these things will be given to you as well. Therefore do not worry about tomorrow, for tomorrow will worry about itself. Each day has
Spring '13 •   • 9 enough trouble ofThe its Cry own.

A Wisconsin native, Jeff is the Director of Finance and Stewardship for Word Made Flesh. He has served with WMF in Omaha, Neb., since May 2010.



by Brian Langley
Soccer games on the streets of Lima, Peru, are chaotic, fastpaced, aggressive events. The toughest players divide the men into teams, goals are hastily constructed out of piled-up shirts, bottles, and rocks, and the ball hardly ever has enough air or stitching. Some shirts come off, someone starts yelling about the teams being unfair, and then, suddenly, the ball flies up at the middle of the court—the game begins like a bubble bursting. And, invariably, one or more players do not have adequate shoes. Surprisingly, these competitive young men who grew up without positive role models, schooling, or disposable income will remove their shoes to share with friends who have none. And it is not just the weak-but-fortunate ones, sharing out of fear of the bullies, but also some of the toughest and oldest. Those who have fallen on especially hard times are always benefactors. On many occasions, players go with one foot bare, determined to provide everyone with at least one shoe. After a game ends, scores are settled and damage assessed, bloody toes and blisters everywhere. Among these men, the price of solidarity plays out in a vivid way. And my test was coming soon. We had been living in Lima for a couple of months, getting to know people and learning how to buy bread and diapers with our broken Spanish. We started volunteering at a residential care home for children living on the streets. We couldn't communicate much, so we smiled and played lots of checkers. One day at lunchtime, I saw some children glancing down at my shoes, giggling to each other, then looking away quickly when I noticed. Months later, after my Spanish had improved, the young lady running the home pulled me aside and said that the children were impressed that I wore old, raggedy shoes. Impressed ? I didn't get it. She told me gently that the children felt comfortable around me because I had shoes that looked like theirs. From this, they deduced that I was a simple, unpretentious person, and that I cared about them. Being new to the community and eager to please, I continued wearing those same shoes every time we visited the home. But it wasn't long before I was confronted with the 

"This wasn’t just about the shoes; it was about much, much more."

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Photo: Nikole Lim

burned by people who claim to care for us but then take advantage of us. Even more tragic is the growing mass of people who have been, or firmly believe they have been, taken advantage of by Christians and institutions espousing Christian values. Pioneering communication theorist Marshall McLuhan coined the phrase “the medium is the message” in 1964, describing how qualities inherent in any given medium influence change in people as much if not more than the content of the message. Decades later, anyone can see how technological advances like television, the internet, and cell phones have altered how we interact with and understand each other. Christian churches and organizations must be attentive to how our message (the good news of the gospel) and our medium (how we communicate the good news, and our social choices) work together to create our testimony to the God in whom we believe. Building trust in a cynical world is not easy, but it is also not complicated. It is as hard and as simple as solidarity with others. Are we willing to suffer bloody toes and blisters to build trust with a cynical generation that has been burned inside and outside the church? Are we willing to face rejection, to endure suffering, and to give our lives so that fearful, cynical people might believe in the God who loves them? I was the one sent out by a Christian organization to share the good news of what God has done for us and to work on behalf of those who have nothing. I have been trained by great Bible teachers and a supportive community, and I have been blessed with the support and prayers of countless Christians. But I have been shown a great truth in the bloody toes and raggedy shoes of a child from the street, and theirs have become for me beautiful feet that bring good news. In the simple act of sharing shoes, God reveals to us a strategy for evangelism and mission, so hard and so simple that even a child can understand. The story of our shoes is the story of our faith. In fact, God is using children, even children who live on the street, to teach us this. And we are surprised? (1 Cor. 1:27)

Photo: Nikole Lim

superficiality and selfishness of my choice. You see, I had two other pairs of shoes at home, shoes that these children knew nothing about. One day, I put on my new basketball shoes when I went out and again could not avoid stares. But this time, one child asked aggressively, “Can you give me those shoes? Come on, you don't need them, you're a gringo!” Why would you call me that? I wanted to implore. Please, look past my shoes and our differences to my heart. We’re the same—can't you see? But now I was a gringo, lumped into a cultural stereotype denoting wealth and privilege. The children at this home know the value of a good pair of shoes. Looking at my old shoes, all they could imagine was that these were the only shoes I owned. If I had nicer shoes, why wouldn't I wear them? And if I did have nice shoes sitting at home, why wouldn't I give those away to someone who didn't have shoes at all, since it was obvious that I could buy myself more? Their ethic of solidarity was calling my bluff. You want to get to know us? You say that you care? Give me your shoes. These children who grew up with nothing know the value not only of material things that quickly fade away, like shoes, but also of things that last, like a person who truly cares. This wasn’t just about the shoes; it was about much, much more. It was a test to see if I really wanted to be part of their lives, to share the good and bad of daily experience and need. The child who grew up on the street has been burned so frequently and profoundly by others who claim to care that even the most well intentioned are put to the test. But isn't this also a sign of our cynical times? We have all been

Brian and his wife, Rachel, are Field Directors for WMF Peru, a community they have been part of for 12 years. They live in Lima with their two daughters.

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“The connection between simplicity and hospitality has been clarified in my mind. Simplicity is not always quantifiable in the exterior world of wealth and possessions; nor is it easy to measure in the interior world. There are also teetering piles of boxes and dusty knickknacks that clutter interior spaces: discontent, self-hate, an overextended calendar. Of course, the interior and exterior, the body and the spirit, are deeply intertwined. Stuff can dictate the course of a life, or, in an attempt to meet inner needs, material items can be shoved into misshapen gaps. In all that complication, inner and outer, it is easy to lose the ability to relate to others in open and honest ways.”
From “Reserved: A simple, open space,” Marcia Ghali. Originally appeared in The Cry, vol. 16, no. 1 (Spring 2010).

“It is trite but true to say that giving is hard; we reluctantly part with our goods. But giving well is doubly hard. Every act of giving establishes a relation of asymmetry between the giver and the receiver; giving is grace, and the one who receives is dependent on and obliged to the one who gives. Marx attacked grace in the name of the recipient’s self-respect. If these critics of grace have anything to teach, it is that the art of giving consists in knowing how to give without enslaving or humiliating the receiver. ... At its best, an invitation to a stranger to come to the table is a form of giving for the sake of the other—giving which, as such, does not expect a return, though it rejoices when it is ‘unexpectedly’ given. Good givers are willing to enter the asymmetric relationship with the receiver through their giving without calculation that the giving will pay off. But they also feel shame—shame less about what they are doing than about the way the social relations are structured—that the relationship is not reciprocal. They are good givers precisely because they delight in the presence and desire the well-being of the receiver.”
From “When hungers clash,” Miroslav Volf. Appeared in The Cry, vol. 8., no. 4 (Winter 2002). Copyright © 1998 by the Christian Century. Reprinted by permission from the Nov. 11, 1998 issue of the Christian Century. Subscriptions: $59/yr. from P. O. Box 422467, Palm Coast, FL 32142. (800) 208-4097.

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“If the prophetic word was jarring and disconcerting in ancient contexts, how much more when we hear these words from across the centuries, still as a word from the Lord! When such words are heard as ‘Scripture,’ as disclosing God’s own voice, we are jarred out of our world-taken-for-granted. If in our own context we hear Isa. 10:1-4, we may freshly notice the manipulative ways in which the economy is managed for the sake of the powerful. If we are addressed by Ezek. 37:1-14, we may be energized to commit acts of hope that both heal the present and open doors to the future.

Obviously, poems do not give ‘instruction.’ Ancient poems, moreover, do not connect directly to contemporary conditions. One part of hearing is to listen with enough imagination to make connections beyond the actual statement of the text. Old poems require much imagination. ... Israel’s poetic tradition of the prophets knows that on our own we sink into denial and/or despair. But these poets also know that we are never unaddressed, never left alone in denial, never left hopeless in despair. We are always jarred, invited, and summoned into obedience in a world presided over by the God who haunts in old poems heard new.”

From “A voice beyond our own,” Walter Brueggemann. Originally appeared in The Cry, vol. 8, no. 2 (Summer 2002).

“Ironically, attempting to clarify the nature of simplicity actually revealed within me the kind of breathless, non-simplistic scrambling to which our culture is prone. Our schedules are exhausting, our lives are full to bursting, and we feel the persistent pressure to complicate our lives: to do more, see more, be more, have more. But Jesus’ message is juxtaposed with such chaotic momentum and pluralistic motivation: ‘seek first his kingdom and his righteousness’ (Matt. 6:33). Simple. Much simpler than I tend to make it. Over and over again, the language of Scripture admonishes us to fix our eyes, singularly, upon the Kingdom of God with nearly scandalous disregard for our personal goals, desires, and, at times, even our needs—entrusting those, instead, to God.”
From “One thing,” Jennifer Dean. Originally appeared in The Cry, vol. 16, no. 1 (Spring 2010).

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Buenos Aires, Argentina
• WMF Argentina continued its partnership with Iglesia Evangélica Bautista de Constitución, providing tutoring and activities to 15 to 20 children twice each week. • The WMF Argentina board of directors held its inaugural meeting in December and shared food baskets with friends of the community. • Staff member Walter Forcatto and Board Chairperson Lorena Juárez joined a group of young adults from Iglesia Evangélica Bautista de Constitución on a mission trip to Peru, which included time with WMF Peru. • Staff member David Bayne began a spiritual direction training program through San Francisco Theological Seminary. • Servant Team members Nathan, Annie, Amalia, Sera, and Kari departed in December. • Chris Hale, member of the band Aradhna, visited WMF Kolkata. He led worship for women in the neighborhood and, along with his friend Swami Muktanand, spoke to the women of Sari Bari. • WMF Kolkata enjoyed visits from former WMF staff members Jared and Julie Landreth and former staff member Minde Smyth and her husband, Kevin. • Beginning in September, the Valley Community Center has been open two evenings a week for discussions and games with teenagers. • WMF staff member Anca Archip and volunteer Eugen Briceac got married in October. • Community members sold drinks, cookies, and hand-sewn bags at a local soccer tournament. • Volunteer Miriam State was hired as an educator at Tudor Vladimirescu Day Center, WMF Romania’s day center for children at risk. • Frank Summers, a longtime friend of WMF Romania who visits regularly from England, refurbished the electrical system at the Tudor Vladimirescu Day Center. • Sue, Elaine, and David, good friends of WMF Romania, visited the community in order to better advocate for it through PCF Romania Projects, a nonprofit in their home country of England. • For Christmas, community members caroled throughout the city, children performed a pageant for their families, and WMF Romania threw an all-night party on Christmas night. • David Chronic, Regional Coordinator, and Adrian Buhai, Chairperson of the WMF Romania board, visited WMF Sierra Leone.

Chisinau, Moldova
• A part-time social worker was hired to strengthen relationships with families involved with WMF Moldova, and a part-time doctor was hired to address children's health and hygiene needs. • Director Adriana Ciobanu gave birth to a healthy baby girl, Delia Gabriela, in November. • Staff member John Koon stepped in for Adriana during her maternity leave. • Community Care Facilitator Rachel Simons received an award from her alma mater, Gordon College, for 10 years of service as a missionary. • Over 200 Christmas cards made by adolescents who attend WMF Moldova’s school program were sold at a local private high school. • The advocacy team published the year’s first issue of Childhood’s Echo, a newspaper that highlights children's voices.

El Alto, Bolivia
• After a hiatus due to lack of funds, the House of Hope resumed cooking and knitting classes. • WMF Bolivia hosted workshops in El Alto and La Paz with speaker Dr. Darrell Whiteman on the contextualization of the gospel in Bolivia. • In December, the House of Hope received $10,000 through HopeMob (a nonprofit that raises funds through online crowd-funding) to fully reopen its drop-in center. • For Christmas, the community distributed giftwrapped and highlighted Bibles to every girl in the red-light district. • Field Director Andy Baker began the yearlong Arrow Leadership Program. • In January, Ariel Arnsdorff began serving as Coordinator of Presence.

Freetown, Sierra Leone
• In October, the WMF Sierra Leone community went on a retreat. • Staff member Alafia Cole got married to Alekeh in November. • Over 500 children attended the Kroo Bay Christmas party, where they enjoyed games, a Nativity skit, food, and gifts. • Ethan Pollet and Brad Muller completed their service as Servant Team members. • Seo, a Servant Team member from Canada, moved into Kroo Bay in January. • WMF Sierra Leone welcomed Isaac Balla Bangura as Kroo Bay Outreach and Volunteer Coordinator and Dina Conteh as Tutoring and Women’s Ministry Coordinator.

Kathmandu, Nepal
• Former WMF staff members Jared and Julie Landreth visited Nepal. • The girls who are part of Karuna Ghar (Home of Compassion) went on hiking trips in both November and December. • Karuna Ghar participated in a Christmas bazaar, selling zucchini cake, coffee, and tea. • Gautam Rai, one of the Karuna Ghar Directors, was anointed as a pastor of Living Church in January. • The Karuna Ghar children were involved in the February Living Church youth conference. • Josh and Bekah Hilts, interns with WMF Thailand, and their friend Meena visited in February.

Rio de Janeiro, Brazil
• For Christmas, WMF Brazil collected and distributed 20 food baskets to families. • The Esther Project held its annual Christmas party for the women and children it serves. • In January, a successful School Supply Campaign provided 30 children with backpacks filled with school supplies. • Through the WMF sponsorship program and its partnership with Projecto Vidinha, a Christian children’s home, two children received school supplies and uniforms. • Diego Rocha, a former staff member who will be volunteering with WMF Brazil for three months, arrived in February. • The community mourned the death of one of the women who participated in the Esther Project.

Bangkok, Thailand
• The WMF Thailand community welcomed interns Josh and Bekah Hilts. • The recently purchased community center was officially opened and is being used as a classroom, for counseling services, and as the site of a garden project. • WMF Thailand community members attended a 10-day Food Matters workshop in Northern Thailand to learn about gardening techniques. • Beggars Society, a monthly WMF Thailand event, welcomed speakers Ashley Barker and Scott Bessenecker. • Two new staff members, Mina Thapa and Molly Evans, joined WMF Thailand. • The community submitted the final paperwork for its registration as a Thai-recognized foundation with the name Creative Life Foundation.

Lima, Peru
• WMF Peru is renting out the second floor of its ministry center to raise additional funds. • Two teams from First Baptist Church in Colombia visited WMF Peru in July. • In September, WMF Peru began the 35 Street Operation, a new campaign to raise money to serve children who live on the street. • Twenty-five Christmas baskets, as well as toys for children, were collected and given to the families of the Student Support Program. Peruvian volunteers assisted with this project. • In January, WMF Peru said goodbye to Esperanza Gual Quiroz and the Ingrum family, Geoff, Raechel, and their four children.

Chennai, India
• Josephine and Symrna, two young people involved in the WMF Chennai community, each received a one-year diploma in computer applications. They are now pursuing their Bachelor of Theology degrees at the Institute of Missiology.

Kolkata, India
• In December, Sari Bari purchased a building, its first owned property! • Former staff member Kyle Scott came to Kolkata for several months to help oversee the renovation of the new building. • Twenty women graduated from training at the production units involved with WMF Kolkata.

Omaha, Nebraska, USA
• The WMF office welcomed Kristen Huff as Bookkeeper in October and Bela Ispas as Director of Operations in March. • Jeff Swart, Director of Finance and Stewardship, and Bo White, Interim Executive Director, attended meetings in Atlanta, Ga., and in London, England. • Phileena and Chris officially launched Gravity, a Center for Contemplative Activism. Learn more at

Galati, Romania
• In September, WMF Romania welcomed 12 new children to its Valley Community Center. • A Saturday kids’ club was launched in September.

14 • The Cry • Spring ‘13

Unexpected Gifts
In his new book, Christopher Heuertz, Co-Founder of Word Made Flesh, names 11 challenges that people encounter while engaged in relationships and communities. Instead of leading to division, however, Chris suggests that ultimately, these obstacles may be unexpected and beautiful gifts.
Ironically, as much as we yearn for deep friendships and meaningful communities, many of us seem to be unable to find our way into them. Even if we know we’re made for community, finding one and staying there seems almost impossible. Though we hate to admit it, if we stay long enough in any relationship or set of friendships, we will experience failure, doubt, burnout, loneliness, transitions, a loss of self, betrayal, frustration, a sense of entitlement, grief, and weariness. Yet it’s these painful community experiences, these tensions we struggle to navigate, that hold surprising gifts.
Excerpt from Christopher L. Heuertz, Unexpected Gifts (New York: Howard Books, 2013). p. xv-xvi.


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WMF is currently accepting applications for Fall 2013 Servant Teams! Applications are due on May 1.
Find more information at wordmadefleshorg/ get-involved/servant-teams.
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Spring '13 • The Cry • 15

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Intimacy We celebrate intimacy with Jesus to be our highest calling and our created purpose. Obedience We celebrate obedience as our loving response to the grace of Jesus. Humility We celebrate humility before God and humanity. Community We celebrate community as a means for discipleship and service. Service We celebrate service as an expression of our fellowship. Simplicity We celebrate simplicity as a privilege in identification with Jesus and the poor. Submission We celebrate submission to Jesus, each other, and the poor. Brokenness We celebrate brokenness as our responsibility in ministry among the broken. Suffering We celebrate suffering as a willing sacrifice in serving Jesus.

“What is enough? We face an opportunity every time we ponder the answer. Many people in the world don’t need to answer this question because they’re simply trying to survive. Out of our excess, may we address the issues of need and suffering all around us. Join me in creating a new dream, crafting a different story. The only person who can determine what is enough for you is you. Draw your line today. To live with less, so others can have more. You have the opportunity to gain a lifestyle of excessive generosity.”
Excerpt from Jeff Shinabarger, More or Less: Choosing a Lifestyle of Excessive Generosity. (Colorado Springs, CO: David C Cook, 2013). p. 256.