Monday, August 29, 2011

A beautiful Sunday morning

This past Sunday morning was a very special day for us. Two of the boys from House 3 (Kevin and Amado) were baptized. They have been attending church some Sundays with their house parents, Arnaldo and Ramona, and they heard the announcement about baptism. They expressed interest in being baptized and completed a preparatory class last week.

Kevin is 12 years old and was very bitter towards God for a long time. He had no interest in the Bible, in his house's devotionals, or in giving his life to the Lord. Since the arrival of his new house parents a few months ago, his life has undergone an amazing transformation and everyone is noticing his new attitude. He has not only taken interest in Bible studies, but has begun to teach some of the house's devotionals with his house siblings. We are so proud of Kevin for his decision to be baptized and we thank the Lord for the work that He is doing in Kevin's heart.

Kevin being introduced to the church

Amado is also 12 years old. He is our little philosopher and has loved to read and study the Bible for a long time. He is one of our best-behaved children in the home and really does have a desire to serve the Lord. He was extremely nervous before going up for his baptism, and we were so proud that despite his nerves, he was baptized and even spoke into the microphone beforehand!

Amado overcoming his nerves to speak before his baptism

The boys were announced as Arnaldo and Ramona's children, and it was precious to see the way that the house parents really do feel that God has given them the 10 children in the house to love and disciple. I couldn't stop the tears of joy that I shed when watching these two young men publicly display their commitment to the Lord. We know that the Lord has great plans for their future, and we can't wait to see all that the Lord will do in them as they continue to grow and mature. Thank you for your prayers for these children! Each of you that prays and supports our ministry plays a part in every victory in our children's lives. Blessings to you!

Ramona, Ricardo (the house parent's biological son), Kevin, Arnaldo, and Amado

Monday, August 15, 2011

Overwhelmingly blessed

Today was our celebration for the very important "Day of the Child" holiday. At the children's home we hosted children from our school and the surrounding community for a giant party honoring children. The Lord blessed us with a day that was absolutely gorgeous, complete with moderate temperatures and a beautiful blue sky.

In preparation for the event, we had so many people volunteer to help that by the week prior to the event, there was nothing left for Shaun and I to do. Our house mom from House 2 and some of the children decorated the basketball court beautifully with balloons. Our church family volunteered to take care of the activities and the young people that teach our children in their Bible program on Saturday set up several exciting games for the kids.

The grocery store that is already donating meals to the school to feed 100 children five times a week also wanted to help. They reassured me that there would be enough food for everyone, but I was shocked when I saw the quantity of the delicious food that they brought. There was enough food for an army, and parents and children were able to take part in the meal. The cakes were delicious and there were cookies and candy filling everyone's hands.

The bouncy castle and slide were also a gift from our wonderful grocery store friends at Super Alegria! The teachers from our school and some special guests put on a wonderful program for the kids, focusing on God's love and care for the children, and on His ability to "clean" our hearts.

I can not express how overwhelming it is to watch how the Lord has brought together a team of precious Paraguayans that love our children and want to serve them. I know that the doors that are being opened in the community within the hearts of the moms and dads that were present today will result in a wonderful harvest of souls for the glory of our Lord. This was the first Day of the Child event done in the home that involved all the children from the school, and even other families from the community that participate in our weekly Bible school. The parents enjoyed the entire event and were so appreciative that we had planned something so wonderful and included their families.

This past weekend, Richard Baker, from Children of the World ministries visited our home. Our children's home has recently been accepted as an associated orphanage with this international foundation. We are excited about our partnership with them, and were humbled to hear about the status of orphans around the world in other continents. Our children took time to pray for the ministries of Children of the World as they have a heart to pray for children still on the streets and in situations of abuse. Our children are learning not only to receive the blessings that they have been given, but to use what they have to bless others. We hope to instill in each of them a servants' heart and to encourage the passion they have to help other children in situations like the ones they have come from.

Shaun and I want to say "thank you" to you, our American family, that prays and supports the work here in Paraguay. We also want to publicly thank our Paraguayan family for their support and hard work today! Together, the international body of Christ will bear the burden of the "least of these" around the world and our Lord will be glorified in every nation and tongue! Blessings to all!