"...great joy which will be to all people."

Luke 2:10 Then the angel said to them, “Do not be afraid, for behold, I bring you good tidings of great joy which will be to all people."

Thursday, February 26, 2015

Orphan Prevention

It is no secret I have a heart for orphans.  As a board member of A Sea of Hope Orphan Ministry, as a parent of three adopted children, and as an advocate for people standing up and caring for the countless orphans around the world, I am passionate about our role in giving children forever families.

I am also equally passionate about orphan prevention.  There are too many children living without their birth parents ONLY due to poverty.  Does being poor make someone an unfit parent?  Absolutely not.  Am I a better mother because I can offer my child an education?  Absolutely not. 

I see extreme poverty every single day.  I see children who should be in school but they are not because school in is not free in Guatemala.  Without food, housing and education, the cycle of poverty will not end.  These children have families who love them.  The fact remains, too often these families can't feed their children.  Sibling sets are being dropped off at orphanages because they do not have a home to live in.  This is unacceptable.  There should not be orphans because of poverty.

How can this change?

There are three significant ways to keep birth families together:

1.  School sponsorships.  When a child goes to school, it gives them a future.  So cliche, right?  No.  It's fact.  Children who go to school here can get a job.  A job means money.  Money means food and housing.  Schooling keeps future families together.  Orphan prevention.  Done.

2.  Feeding centers like Campos de Suenos.  Programs like this one in Santa Maria de Jesus, are providing meals for children.  If you could not feed your child, if your child was dying of starvation, you would most likely bring them to an orphanage as a last resort.  To keep them alive.  Feeding centers provide food to sustain children.  They help nourish a child and the result is children living at home with their birth families who love them.  Food keeps families together.  Orphan prevention.  Done.

3.  Safe, secure homes and clean water.  This is something we take for granted.  I may have questioned whether extra dance classes for my child was in our budget but I have never, ever had to ask if my child would have a home to live in.  Children are not living with their birth families because they don't have a home and clean water.  When we offer a family a home, we are preventing children from being parent-less.  Safe homes and water filtration systems keep families together.  Orphan prevention.  Done.

Please contact me if you desire to help with orphan prevention in Guatemala.

Tuesday, February 24, 2015

4000 Water Filters

4000 water filters.

Last week Jack and the guys unloaded 4000 water filters to distribute.  The average Guatemalan woman will birth 5 children.  If 4000 women receive a water filter for their family, that equates to 24,0000 people receiving water from the filters which arrived last week.  Astounding.

Thank you for making this possible.  Thank you.  Thank you.

Sunday, February 22, 2015

Campos de Suenos

We made the decision to take the children out of school every other Wednesday to serve at Campos de Suenos.  This is a feeding center in the heart of Santa Maria de Jesus, which is an extremely poor community on the top of a mountain. 

Every Wednesday and Friday, 500-700 children receive a meal, a Bible lesson and a lot of hugs.  They are loved.  I don't want to romanticize mission work in any way, but I also can not sugar coat the reality.  So here it is, these children come from extreme poverty.  They are dirty.  They are malnourished.  They have lice infested hair.  They have smiles.  They have tears.  They are children just like yours and mine.  They need a healthy meal.  They need to hear about the love of Jesus.  

Campos de Suenos is the real deal.  Mario, the director, is incredible with a super big heart with a team of super incredible people doing a super amazing mission.

It is such an honor to be here.

Saturday, February 21, 2015

Families are teams, too!

Three years ago we were planning a trip to Guatemala as a family.  We knew we wanted the kids to experience the Guatemalan culture, as well as learn the language and fall in love with the people.  Jack and I wanted to look into different volunteer openings and established missions.  Though there are some amazing short term mission opportunities, there aren't many for families. 

When we knew we were coming down to stay long term, we wanted to create an environment that would allow families to come and stay and do work AS A FAMILY.  From the moment we arrived, God made a clear path for this opportunity.  After prayerful consideration and His divine way, we were blessed with a home that could easily house another family short term.  We live in town which makes access to the bus and different missions easily accessible.  This week we purchased a car which will allow us to transport families to and from the airport.

After settling in the past 6 months, we now have three families coming!  Though this was the desire of our hearts, I confess I didn't think it would really happen.  God has made it happen.  Luke 18:27, "And he said, 'The things that are impossible with men are possible with God.'"  Why, of course, He made this happen!

We are excited to welcome the Rhodes Family, arriving on March 3!  After using their tax refund to pay for their airfare and fees, they are now raising money to build homes with Jack.  Within two weeks they have the funds for one home raised ($3000) and $720 towards the second.  Jack has made two visits to the families to prepare them and the Rhodes have actively prayed for them and raised funds.  Astrid and her family (pictures to follow) will have a new home on March 5.  JUST LIKE THAT.  All because people have chosen to donate money and the Rhodes family decided to pray and act.  Now we need to help fund the second family.  If you would consider a donation, please use the GoFundMe link here.  Time is running out!  Only two weeks to go.

 Prayer Requests:

1.  Pray for Marty, Mandy, Eli and Julie.  They are leaving the comforts of their home for two weeks. Pray for their health, that no stomach issues or illnesses will kick them down.  We have a very busy schedule planned for them so they will need strength.  In addition to building homes, they will be visiting a special needs ward in a hospital, helping out at Campos de Suenos feeding center and working with a short term mission team here. 

2.  Pray for their three younger children staying at home with Grandma and friends.  Sam, Klemi and Vaylo have special needs so it takes special family and friends to volunteer to watch them for two weeks!

3.  Pray for the families receiving homes.  Since Jack and Luis have begun making home visits, over 1/3 of the men and women have been saved through the blood of Jesus.  People, this is staggering!  It's amazing and awesome.  Please pray the families will see Christ as we work alongside them and show them His love. 

It will be a pleasure to post pictures and updates of their journey so please check back in often during the first two weeks of March!