Monday, July 19, 2010

Sometimes I forget.

First let me introduce you to our three new children:

Oscar and Jonathan are brothers. Oscar is 8 and Jonathan is 6. Their sister Deborah, who is 10, arrived in the home in February. Oscar and Jonathan, who had previously been living in other children's homes or with other families, were back living with their mother on the street. The representative of a feeding center where the children were eating contacted me about bringing the boys to live with Deborah. It was perfect timing with the opening of the new home, so Deborah moved out of House 3 and into the new home (House 2) so that she could be with her brothers. The boys are doing very well so far and Deborah is very happy to have her siblings with her again.

Oscar, Deborah, and Jonathan discovering the basketball!

Yesterday, Antonio arrived. He is also a relative of one of our children. His uncle, Miguel, is our oldest boy in the home. Antonio arrived and was able to take Deborah's place in House 3 to be in the same house as his uncle. Antonio is 9 and in the second grade. Miguel and Antonio are so excited to be together again. Antonio had been waiting several months for a space to open so that he could come to the home. His mother and grandmother (Miguel's mom) are both single mothers that work, mainly selling food on the streets. While at work, the boys remained at home unattended. We are so glad that Antonio is now in a safer environment and able to be with his uncle Miguel.

Antonio and his uncle, Miguel!

There are two more children scheduled for an interview and two that we are simply waiting for them to finish necessary paperwork and arrive. After they are settled in, I will post another update so you can meet them.

I would also like to share a little of my personal thoughts. There are days when I just forget what it is that we are really doing here in Paraguay. I forget exactly where these children came from, and why what we are doing is so desperately necessary. Then, there are days that remind me why God has brought Shaun and I to Paraguay.

I was talking with Nayeli last week and after looking at our dog, she told me that one time she and Junior (her brother) ate dog food. Without really thinking, I asked, "Why would you eat dog food?" She looked down at her feet and replied quietly, "because we were hungry." So many of our children come to the home from horrible circumstances, situations where they not only face hunger and abandonment, but worse, the children that came from homes where they were being daily beaten or raped.

We are so thankful that our friends Joe and Jayne Martinez came to serve in the children's home. In Joe's counselling sessions we are really finding out more and more details about the kids' pasts- situations that they were never able to share before. I trust the Lord to use us, Joe and Jayne, and the other workers in the home to teach these children to trust again and to help them heal physically, emotionally, and spiritually.

I often do not share the details of the children's pasts because we do not in any way want to exploit these precious children that have been entrusted to us. But, we need your prayers. The issues that our children are facing- the hurt they carry with them from the past- will not disappear without miraculous changes and healing in their lives. As Christians, we know that the Lord is the only one that can truly and completely heal them. Would you pray with us that each child in our home would come to know the Lord as their Savior, that they would be completely healed of their past hurts, not only emotionally and spiritually, but also of the physical damage that was done to them, that our house parents would have a passion for their work and wisdom in dealing with the children, and that every child would grow up to be responsible, honest, successful, kind, and loving?

Friday, July 2, 2010

A little behind...

Sorry for the delay in blogs. Life can be a little more hectic with a newborn! Things are going well at the home. The teachers have been on strike for a couple of weeks now and so our children are enjoying their time out of school. I have found teacher strikes to be a fairly common occurrence in Paraguay. Winter vacation is approaching as well (two weeks in mid-July), so our kids are going to have quite a long time without classes.

We are so excited to announce that House 2 has now opened and we have five children already working on their paperwork to enter the home. They should be arriving any day. We are accepting 8 new children, bringing the total of children in the home to 30. Come back soon to look for updates on the new children!

In May, we celebrated three birthdays. Amado turned 11. Amado is in the fifth grade and is a very good student. He lives in House 3 and is an only child. He is particularly talented with languages and is one of the best English students. He recently made a decision to accept the Lord as his Savior and we are so proud of the young man he is becoming. Miguel turned 14. Miguel has a rare disease, leishmaniasis, and spent several weeks in the hospital earlier this year. He is recovering very well, and has a new confidence and energy that he never had before. Miguel has trouble with reading, but we know that as his self-confidence grows, he will only improve in his studies. Miguel is a great helper for Milciades, our maintenance worker, and loves the time he spends working in maintenance/construction projects. Miguel is in House 3 and is in the sixth grade. He is the home's eldest boy. He has two older siblings that are not in the home. Alejandra turned 9. She is in the first grade and was in House 1, but will be moving to House 2 today with her two sisters. She is a beautiful girl that loves princess toys and jewelry. Because of her severe past abuse, she can be violent with her little sister and she has many moments of emotional outbursts, but we are praying that she will be completely healed of her past emotional scars so that she can grow into a successful young woman.

Amado, Miguel, and Alejandra in their new birthday clothes.

In June, Matias and Thalia celebrated their birthdays. Matias turned 8 and is in the first grade and lives in House 3. He is very smart and active, and only a little mischievous! He is also an only child, although he grew up as the neighbor of some of the other children also in House 3. His behavior over the past several months has changed drastically for the better. We are so happy to see how content Matias is and how he is growing in so many ways. Thalia turned 12. She is in House 1 and is the aunt of four other girls in the home. She is in the second grade since she had never entered school before coming to our home and loves music more than anything. She is great at memorizing the tunes of songs, and loves to sing in English, which often doesn't sound anything like English, but the other kids don't know it isn't correct. She is a joy to be around.



I would also like to say "thank you" to Heather Lutz who lived with us for six months while she taught the children in the home and the school English. She did an amazing job. The children are speaking more English than ever and will certainly miss their new tia (aunt), Heather. As her parting gift for the kids, she presented each of them with their very own Paraguay soccer jersey. I can not tell you how many times each of the children had begged me for a jersey. If you follow sports news at all, you know that Paraguay is one of the final 8 teams in the World Cup, a level the Paraguayan team has never reached before. The country is nearly in pandemonium with joy over their team's victories. The kids are thrilled to be able to wear their country's jersey during the games. Thank you, Heather, for everything. We love you and miss you already!

Heather with the kids in their Paraguay jerseys.