Saturday, May 23, 2009

Bible Memory and Mother's Day.

The past two weeks have been busy.  Two Sundays ago, we had a special church service with scripture recitation.  The children had to recite the scriptures that they had learned over the previous four weeks.  Nearly all of them recited John 3:16 and the Lord's Prayer.  As a reward, any child that tried to say the scriptures was able to go out to town for ice cream.  This was a very exciting event for the kids and we had a wonderful time.  After laying out the basic gopel message in our first church service, we have since been focusing on prayer.  We began taking prayer requests last Sunday, and we are hoping the children will learn to take all circumstances that are worrying them to the Lord in prayer.  

Friday before last was Mother's Day here in Paraguay.  I attended an event at the school on Thursday to celebrate Mother's Day and Paraguayan Independence Day.  The students put together a program that included singing, dancing, and poem recitation.  At the close of the event, the children gave handmade gifts to their mothers (or in our children's case, their house moms).  I was so happy to receive Carlos' potted flower.  He told me that he wanted me to have it.  It was a very good day.  That night, the children signed a banner for their house moms and we suprised them with gifts.  While many of the children in our home still have biological parents that visit periodically, it seemed so natural for them to show their appreciation to their "tias."  I think the kids had even more fun making the gifts and giving them than the house moms did getting them (although they were pretty excited, too).

Happy Birthday x4!

It has been more than two weeks since my last post.  I am having a little difficulty adjusting to the whole world of blogging.  My initial plan was to introduce each child when they celebrated their birthdays.  I have gotten a little behind on that, but I will update now.

Gloria arrived in April just before her birthday.  Her actual birthday passed before we realized from her paperwork that it was her birthday.  We celebrated shortly after realizing our mistake.  Sadly, Gloria didn't know her own birthday, which is why she hadn't told us.  Gloria is in House 3.  She turned 10 years old.  Gloria has a very big personality placed in a little girl's body.  Her voice is the one that can often be heard above the rest barking orders to the other kids.  She is a hard worker and is contantly looking for ways to help.  She is a pleasure to be around.  Because she had never before attended school, she is only in the first grade.  

Our daughter Abi also celebrated her birthday in the last part of April.  She turned 3, although most Paraguayans think she is much older.  She is tall for her age.  Abi has been learning Spanish very rapidly the last few months and she makes statements every day with new vocabulary.  She is even picking up a few Guarani words, for which I am thrilled.  She is a very stubborn little girl (we can't imagine where she got that from) and loves playing with her friends more than anything.  Last night, we had the kids over to our house for movie night and Abi spent the whole evening sitting on Nayeli's lap (Nayeli probably weighs less than Abi)!  Abi had told me before the kids arrived, however, that she was going to sit with Nayeli.  It is such a joy to listen to Abi speak to her dolls in Spanish and English.  Each night she prays for the kids in the children's home here and often for the kids we worked with in Guatemala.  

Next, our new Miguel (in House 3) celebrated his 13th birthday.  Miguel is in the fifth grade, but may have to return to forth grade due to the fact that he is not able to keep up with the fifth grade material.  Miguel is a very sweet young man.  He is still adjusting to living here and often gets nervous and shakes.  We have already noticed a drastic decrease in this, and expect that as he becomes more comfortable with his life here and has a chance to know the Lord, he will gain confidence.  From the first day, he has gotten along very well with the other kids.  We accepted him even though he was a little older than we normally accept, and we are so glad that the Lord brought him to the home.

Finally, Amado celebrated his 10th birthday as well.  House 3 was just full of birthdays this month!  My earliest memories of Amado were of his speaking Guarani to me and then just running off and laughing.  He knew that I couldn't understand and thought that it would be fun to taunt me.  Now he helps me learn Guarani words and is constantly speaking (or yelling) English to me.  He is in the 4th grade.  Amado may be the most energetic child in the home.  He is constantly shouting and running.  He even runs races with Shaun.  He is extremely fast for a child (or at least that is what Shaun says when Amado outruns him)!  Maybe a half marathon is in his future.  

Friday, May 8, 2009

Five More!

Sunday was a busy day.  The children that were supposed to arrive on Saturday actually arrived on Sunday afternoon.  At the same time that they were arriving, we were preparing for a local church to come in and set up for service and the new volunteer doctors drove out to see the property.  

It was quite overwhelming but so exciting to see so many things we have been hoping for come together.  The volunteer psychologist is also a pastor.  His church came out to perform dramas and choreographed dances for the children.  The Brazilian missionary who was heading up this youth drama team gave her testimony during the service.  Because the new children arrived only moments before the service was to begin, we invited their parents to stay for the service.  I didn't realize at that time that the testimony of the missionary was almost the exact life story of the mother who was leaving her five eldest children in our care.  I thank the Lord that this mother was able to hear that the Lord can redeem our lives, no matter how far away from His presence we may feel.  Because many of the members of the ministering church were able to come, along with the new children's parents, we had over 60 people in our multi-purpose building!

Thank you, Lord for being in control of situations even when we feel that things are not going the way that we think they should.  

Here are our newest additions to House 3:

Andres, Kevin, Mili, Lisa, and Lujan (they are even more precious than they look!)

Friday, May 1, 2009

Workers and new children arriving!

I would like to say thank you to the Lord for his faithful provision.  I posted a blog a little over a week ago asking for more workers.  God has already responded.  We contacted a local Christian psychologist and pastor who is now volunteering at the children's home.  He happens to live next door to a couple who are doctors.  They are coming out on Sunday for their first visit to the children's home and have committed to come out as often as the kids have need. The drama group from this pastor's church are coming out on Sunday afternoon for a special presentation for the kids in the home and any neighbors that respond to our invitations.  These new volunteers live only a few blocks from the children's home.  On Monday, our friend Milciades, is going to start working in property maintenance and as the night-time guard.  We are so excited that more of the children's needs will be met.  Thank you, Lord!

This past Monday our new Miguel arrived.  He is excited to be here and is already fitting in very well.  He will soon be 13 and will be enrolling in the fifth grade.  He is pretty quiet for now, but I am sure that as he becomes more comfortable here, he will have much more to say!

Tomorrow, we will be picking up the five new siblings coming to live in house 3.  I will be sure to post their pictures as well so that you can meet them.  

We are so appreciative of the overwhelming support we receive from our friends and family.  Thanks for your prayers.  The Lord is working in Paraguay and we are thrilled to be a part of what He is doing.

Shaun and Sara