Jose Maria opening his Christmas gifts
The Christmas Choir with the summertime mist coming down
The Nativity Scene
On January 6th, we also celebrated Day of the Kings, a holiday celebrated by the magi bringing presents to children. They leave the gifts in the children's shoes which are placed outside the night before. The children also leave hay and water for the magi's camels. Thanks to wonderful end of the year donations, we were able to give the children a gift both at Christmas and on Day of the Kings! My mother came to visit for New Year's and was able to bring down suitcases of American toys for the younger kids. Our older children received MP3 players, and they were thrilled.
Flip-flops filled with gifts from the "magi"
Summer vacation here has come to an end and another school year has begun. Summer vacation flew by and was filled with activities. Every Monday during vacation, the kids came in shifts for pool time at our house. Virtually every child in the children's home now knows how to swim and we had a blast teaching them.
Oldest girls enjoying the pool
To celebrate the end of summer the girls came to our house for a slumber party and the boys camped and fished on the Paraguay River.
Girls' Slumber Party- Dance Hour
Boys' Camping Group
Fishing in the Rio Paraguay
Several of our boys are continuing to train in order to participate in national races and four boys from the home ran in a night-time race in January. They finished with excellent times and we were so proud of each of them. Every child in the home now wants to run in the next race!
Preparing to run the race
Shaun and I had the privilege of helping to plan our church's youth camp that took place the last weekend of summer vacation. Our camp theme was persevere and Shaun planned the groups and games for the weekend. Our children from the homes that are 13 years and older attended the camp (a total of seven). The weekend was spent with devotionals, workshops, services, games, and competition. I had forgotten how anything related to soccer can become quite explosive in this South American country! Shaun and I taught workshops for the young men and women about relationships and dating. It was the first time we have taught on this subject, and we were so happy that our church, Centro Familiar de Adoración, Itaugua, gave us the opportunity to share with the youth.
Our camp group from Hogar GANAR
The four team mascots
Playing "crab soccer"
The most important update is that we are back in school. Classes began the 13th of February and we have nearly 115 students enrolled as of this week! Milciades and Shaun worked tirelessly night and day, with the help of the house dads, to renovate and paint the school prior to classes starting. Thanks to a special donation for the school, we were also able to hang new white boards replacing the old chalk boards. We are so excited that our school building is beginning to reflect the excellence that we are offering in education for our students. The parents and children are also thrilled with the changes. The grocery store that provided last year's school snack is again coming and bringing delicious food for our students and more mothers than ever are showing up to work together and prepare the food for their children! We have added several new, excellent teachers to the staff to accommodate the addition of 9th grade to the school.
Our newly painted pre-school/kindergarten classroom
Third grade with Profesor Marcos
Seventh Grade with Profesora Evelin
Finally, we want to share a couple of pictures of our farm animals. It seems the Lord is multiplying our animals. Two years ago we had one horse, and now we have three. A little over two years ago we bought a few pigs to start our pork production and in the last month, 28 pigs were born on the farm!! Our cows also continue to reproduce and we are now able to periodically use our own meat, greatly reducing our grocery bill for the homes.
Mommy and baby horse
Thanks to each of you for the role you play in making this ministry possible. Without you, what we do on a daily basis would be impossible. We are preparing for furlough during March and April and would love the opportunity to share with you and your church or business in person about the ministry here in Paraguay. Please contact us (firstname.lastname@example.org) to arrange a visit to your area.
Please be in prayer or consider if you would like to help with the following needs:
• $45.00/child for school uniforms and shoes for the 30 children in Hogar GANAR (Total: $1350.00)
• English teacher for the school- we have still been unable to find anyone to teach for this school year
• 15 passenger van for the children's home
• Tractor for use on our farm and in our garden