Sunday, April 26, 2009

Beautiful Day to Fly a Kite

Today was a beautiful day.  There was a nice breeze and the sky was brilliant blue.  Abi had received a kite in a box from her Granna and Papaw.  She was excited to get it out today to use.  The only problem was that we could not find the little string and handle that came with it.  Thankfully, Shaun was creative enough to attach the kite to our fishing pole.  When he went out into the soccer field with a kite attached to a fishing pole, the kids went crazy.  Miguel was quite the kite pro and had the kite so high that the pole ran out of fishing line.  

Abi, Miguel, and Ever: the kite is attached to the fishing pole and soaring high!

We have also gotten word that the family of six will still be able to come.  They are likely to arrive anytime this week.  There will actually only be five of the siblings with them because the youngest one is currently separated as multiple families are attempting to adopt him.  Paraguayan law states, however, that siblings are not to be separated, so the adoptions are being contested.  Please pray that this little guy (2 years old) would be allowed to come and live with his siblings.  Also 13-year old Miguel (another Miguel) should be arriving this week.  We have to go work on his paperwork with the district attorney tomorrow.  This will fill House #3.  Keep all of these children in your prayers.  Pray also that all the legal paperwork associated with their coming here to live would be taken care of in a quick and effective manner.

Service today continued the theme of prayer.  I have been using the Lord's Prayer as a model for the children to learn how to pray, what to pray for, who we pray to, etc.  They are memorizing scriptures every week and seem to be responding well to the lessons.  Pray with us that the Lord would bring each of them to the point of choosing Him as their Lord and Savior.  

Blessings to all, 

Tuesday, April 21, 2009

Big harvest: Need more workers

The past week has gone by very fast.  The family of six siblings that we thought would be moving into our newly opened house was never able to get the appropriate legal paperwork to come.  However, there are always children that need a place to live.  Last Thursday, two girls arrived.  

Talia is 11.  

Her neice Gloria is 9.  

They are excited to be here and started to school this week.  This morning we met with a mother who wanted her 12-year old son to be able to come and live here.  Because he is older than the normal age that we accept (unless the child is part of a sibling group), we spoke extensively with him and his mother to assure that he wanted to come and was willing to attend school.  We plan for him to move in on Thursday, if nothing changes.  

This past Sunday, I taught the children on prayer.  The lesson went well.  I will be focusing on prayer for a few weeks using the model of the Lord's prayer.  Keep these services in your prayers.  The children have so little knowledge of the Lord that each week the material is completely new for each of them.  That makes it exciting for me as a teacher, but is also slightly intimidating, because I want to be sure and teach what the Lord would have me teach and to share the lessons with correct Spanish so that the children will understand completely the portions of scripture that they are learning.

We would love to have someone help us with the music during the services (as my a capella singing in a second language is not overly pleasant).  We have also been praying about and discussing the need for a Christian psychologist to volunteer to work each week with the children, as well as a medical doctor.  Our facilities here are amazing, but lack much upkeep.  A person to do grounds and simple building maintenance on a full-time basis would be a godsend.  All of these needs are floating around daily in our heads.  Please pray that the Lord would provide for each of these needs with the right worker.  Also continue to pray that God would ordain the children that fill the remaining spaces in Ramon and Hida's house.

Much love to all, 

Sunday, April 12, 2009

What a Wonderful Easter!

We started our Easter morning with Abi's Easter basket- which was fun of course.  We then had church service with the children.  It was so wonderful to be able to tell the story of Holy Week to children who really had very little if any understanding of what Christ's crucifixion and resurrection meant for their lives.  Because we are dealing with children who have virtually no previous exposure to church and the Bible, we are starting all  of our teaching with the very basics.  This week's memory verse is John 3:16.  I explained that the Lord wanted to have a relationship with each of them and that he could be their friend and guide their lives every day.  Many of the children seemed amazed that Jesus really wanted to have a relationship with them.  I can say that being able to share that message with them today made our Easter a very meaningful one.  

Following the church service we split the children into two groups and hunted the eggs that they dyed yesterday.  In total we boiled, dyed, hid, and hunted 124 eggs.  It was the first time any of them had dyed, hid, or hunted an Easter egg.  It is not a tradition here in Paraguay.  They were thrilled with the idea and loved eating the eggs after they found them (thankfully I had refrigerated them after we dyed them yesterday).  For lunch today the kids had eggs and for dinner they had rice with eggs!  

As an update, the house parents for the new house have arrived and have been working to prepare their home for the arrival of the children.  I will introduce you to the new children as soon as they arrive.  Please keep them in your prayers.  Also keep our Sunday services in your prayers.  It is such a blessing to be able to teach the Bible to these precious children.  Pray that the Lord would direct us in our lesson topics and that he would help us each week to capture the children's attention as we share.  

Happy Easter from Paraguay!


Friday, April 10, 2009

Words Worth Hearing.

"Take any English [or any language] word, even the most commonplace, and try repeating it twenty times in a row- umbrella, let us say, umbrella, umbrella, umbrella- and by the time we have finished , umbrella will not be a word anymore. It will be a noise only, an absurdity, stripped of all meaning. And when we take even the greatest and most meaningful of words that the Christian faith has and repeat them over and over again for some two thousand years, much the same thing happens.... Sometimes the concepts of Christianity seem to be worn out and, as a result, we have a hard time paying attention to them. Familiarity may not breed contempt as much as it breeds inattention." 

-Frederick Buechner as quoted in Introducing the Sermon: The Art of Compelling Beginnings, by Michael Hostetler

Lord. Let us be attentive to your saving grace and work this Easter season. Amen.

Thursday, April 9, 2009

The Lord Provides.

 We received a donation to cover the paint cost for the children's home and Shaun has since been working feverishly to paint the home before tomorrow's arrival of the new house parents.  Thanks to our friends who donated for this project!  The children should arrive some time next week (their arrival date was slowed due to the Holy Week celebrations here in Paraguay).  The children from House 1 have been so helpful in preparing and cleaning the house where their new neighbors will be living.  I am amazed at what hard workers the children here are.  They are constantly coming up to me and asking what they can help with (without any prompting from adults).  

As a reward for the four that worked the hardest yesterday, we had them over to our house after dinner to play the Nintendo Wii.  For every one of them, it was their first time to play any Nintendo.  Needless to say, they had a blast.  I will attempt to post a video so that you can all share in the fun.  Please ignore Abi when she slaps the camera lens and Junior picking his nose!  :)  In all fairness, the kids thought I was taking a picture.  They didn't know I had the video camera turned on.


This Easter Sunday we will begin having church here on the grounds for the kids.  Transporting them to a nearby church is about to become impossible with the arrival of the new children.  We are excited, however, to begin a church for them here.  We ask that you would be in prayer for Shaun and I as we prepare to share on this important holiday.  In the Catholic church in Latin and South America, Jesus is often portrayed as dead on the cross, but rarely shown alive and well.  The message of Easter is one that will be so important in these children's understanding of who Christ is.  The celebration and activities here in Paraguay center on the Friday of crucifixion.  We would like to make Sunday, however, a day that these children will remember as the day of the resurrection of our Lord.  Please continue to keep the new house parents and children that will arrive in your prayers.

God Bless!  Have a wonderful Easter weekend!


Wednesday, April 1, 2009

Inside the Houses

I thought a picture of the inside of the homes might help to visualize the need (mentioned in the previous blog).  In houses two and three, we already had someone come in and prepare the holes and scrapes in the walls for painting.  As you can see by the white splotches, there were many damaged areas on the walls.

This is a bonus picture to show Abi on the phone with her cousin Aaron.  We make phone calls through the computer to the states, so we are often on the "headset."  

Have a great day!