October has been a month of beautiful weather here in Paraguay. On the 9th of October we celebrated Lysandry's 15th birthday. For those of you who are familiar with Hispanic culture, a girl's 15th birthday celebration almost surpasses a wedding celebration. It is an important rite of passage ceremony that we want to be sure and celebrate with each of the girls in our home when they "come of age."
Lysandry on her big night with her cake
Lysandry (we often call her Lysa) was very active in the preparations for her big evening and we had the support of all our staff and church family in planning the event. Her shoes, the cake, the sodas, the labor to sew her dress, and her hair, nail and make-up preparation were all donated for the event. Both the pastor from our church here in Itaugua, and the pastor of the house parents' church in a neighboring city were present to bless the evening and to encourage Lysa to follow the Lord's plan for her life. Lysa is an extremely special and intelligent young lady. She dreams of being able to attend college in the United States. She makes great grades in school and can memorize almost anything by looking at it once. She is constantly smiling and we pray that with each year of her life she would grow more committed to serving the Lord. We know that His plan for her life will amaze us all!
Prayer for Lysa's life and future
The evening began with Lysa's grand entrance on the arms of her house mom and dad. Lysandry chose to have the event on the basketball court, and our hard-working house parents from House 2 decorated the area beautifully. The children in House 2 cut branches and formed clay bases to make the centerpieces for the tables. Milciades, our maintenance worker, wired multiple lanterns with light bulbs to illuminate the trees around the court.
The fruit cascade at the entrance to the basketball court- thank you, Miguel and Nelida!
The area illuminated by lantern light- thank you, Milciades!
Our school principal and her husband, Elias (their son), Dana (our English teacher), and Elisabet (school maintenance worker) sang two special songs for Lysa. We showed a power point presentation of Lysa's last two and a half years (the time she has been living in our home). We ate finger foods, and then we danced the waltz. Lysa began the waltz with her house dad and as is the custom, all the men and boys in attendance lined up to dance a round of the waltz with Lysa. All of our children had practiced and they all danced... and danced, enjoying the evening. Finally, the night ended by sharing the delicious cake that our pastors donated for the occasion. Everyone in attendance couldn't stop talking about how beautiful our Lysa was, about her princess-style dress, and about how wonderful an evening it was. We thank the Lord for the good weather and for each person that helped to make the event a success.
Lysa dancing the waltz with her house dad, Arnaldo
On the 18th of October, I celebrated my 27th birthday. I have never had a birthday quite like this one. Days before my birthday, Abi began presenting me with gifts (things that I already owned, decorated coke bottles, etc. etc.)! On my actual birthday, in the school and children's home, I was thrown a surprise party! The staff at the children's home sang happy birthday to me in Spanish, Guarani, and ENGLISH! Later that evening, we ate an all-American cake, courtesy of Shaun's mom who is visiting us this month! It was a beautiful and blessed day- and one of the best birthdays I have ever celebrated!
Surprise party in the children's home with our older kids and staff
Finally, we are re-opening our garden project under the supervision of the house parents. They have divided the kids in each of the houses into three, mixed teams and each team will have their own garden plot to care for. I am amazed at how absolutely thrilled the children are to begin this project. They have been working already each day to prepare the garden for planting. We do need some funding to buy needed materials (hoses, pipes for irrigation, shovels, rakes, and seeds) that will cost approximately $300.
Lujan raking and Kevin and Ever weeding
If you would like to support this project or our other ministries in the children's home and school, please send checks payable to "Serving Paraguay" to the following address:
P.O. Box 6092
Mesa, AZ 85216
Our ministries that are reaching and transforming the lives of dozens of children in Paraguay would be impossible without your support! Thank you and blessings to each of you!