|sorting and putting in groups|
|Cristal, 2 years old|
|Kalil, 3 years old|
|The team painted designs at Casa de Luz|
|Aben and David painting with the team at Zulema's house|
|Painting at Bessy's house|
|Vanessa at Christmas with Gabriel, Racsel, and Javier|
|Nazareth in her new clothes for childrens day (she usually wears the same 3 outfits)|
|David (Alejandro's brother)|
|Heydi and Oliver enjoying the food|
|The first part of Juan's present (shoes!)|
|Seun (mom) holding Eliana, showing her new shoes|
|Oliver and Genesis pausing for a picture|
|the gifts before they were wrapped|
For added safety, this week we have started construction of a new wall in front of the daycare. The previous fence was easy for the kids to climb, with barbed wire on the top. It was easy for the kids to throw things over, and for anyone to hand stuff through the fence to the kids. This week they put up concrete blocks, next week they will attach a metal door, and the week after a team from the States will work on sealing it and painting it. It will be nice, not having to chase Frisbees or ballsdown the hill outside the fence, and it provides extra security for the ministry! (the fence before: in this picture they were in big trouble! and yes, I took a picture first)
I’m never quitesure how to consolidate a weeks or months worth of stories into one blog. Do I tell the real (heartbreaking stories of abuse and neglect) to explain the reality of these kids’ lives, or I share the funny and encouraging moments? Every time I sit down to blog I try to sift through the events to communicate the reality of their lives and the need for this ministry, at the same time, highlighting the moments that are impacting their lives!
(We were singingabout the foolishman built his house upon the sand..... y la casa se cayo)
I know I have mentioned Edwin before, he is the older brother of 2 of our kids. Every morning he drops off his siblings and the neighbor boy, then he sits around and talks with us for a while. He helps us take the trash through the neighborhood, up a huge hill, to where the trash truck passes, he has helped us clean up the weeds around the ministry, and he sometimes brings us pieces of fruit. He is full of questions and a sponge to information. He wakes up around 4 every morning to help his dad get the fruit to sell on the street, then he comesand takes care of his siblings, while his parents work and his7 year old sister, Linda, goes to school. In the afternoon, the 7 year old picks up the younger kids, while Edwin goes to school. One funny comment he made this week was about our capital Washington, DC. He said, “You know, Washington is such a strange name, I bet you think Tegucigalpa sounds strange, huh?” It made me laugh, because, yes, I do think Washington is very normal and the name Tegucigalpa is a very strange name.
Yesterday Edwin came in the same torn-up, blue flip flops that he wears everyday, his shirt was too small and ripped under one arm from his stomach to the armpit. He comes in, and helps us take off the sheets to the mattresses, then brings them outside and starts to hand wash them. We never ask him, he just takes the initiative and does it. When I tried to take a picture he ended up running away. You can tell he has been forced to grow up fast and take care of the family, and he does not like when someone acknowledges his servants heart. He is so open to learning and full of questions, it’s a open door to share the Gospel! (Edwin getting the waterto start washing the sheets by hand for us)
Lastly, we have completed our first week as a certified kindergarten! Here in Honduras, you must have a kindergarten diploma to enter first grade. Although we are teaching the same materials, we have never been certified and the kids would have to leave the program in the mornings to go to kindergarten. Now that we have it within the ministry, the kids will not have to leave the security for another year! It’s a huge blessing to the families, because we cover the cost, plus the Christian learning environment, English, breakfast and lunch, and they don’t have to pay the cost of public school uniforms.
(Javier on the first day of kindergarten)
Here are some pictures of the past few weeks. Check our Facebook page (Fundacion Casa de Luz) for more pictures from Easter.
(I had no idea they were all three making these faces until I uploaded the pictures... too funny!)
Great news, we have another 2 new kids. One was in the program last year, but her mother pulled her out for a few months because she was without work and could watch her at home. Fernanda is 4 years old now, and still a bundle of energy. The first day she came back in her pre-K uniform dress, talking about her teacher and about how big she, herself, had become. Fernanda is a talker with a 4 year old “sing songy” voice; full of personality! (an old picture of Fernanda)
Our other new little guy is Dilon. I have known Dilon, now 15 months old, since he was born. His mother, Sarah, is a teacher at the school my boyfriend, Aben, started in another poor community a year and a half ago. Check out his blog, if you are interested in seeing his ministry: http://yfcaben.blogspot.com Sarah has had thebaby at the school with her every day, teaching with him on her hip, or setting him on a piece of foam to sleep during the day. Now that Dilon is walking, its not the easiest for Sarah to teach and pay attention to him. They have to walk 2 or more miles to Casa de Luz, in the morning and the afternoon, but it is a huge blessing to her that we can watch him and provide food for him every day. Dilon is a lot different from the 15 month old girl we have, he is used to being left to play by himself (at the school they have what used to be a truck, now its just 4 wheels, that he used to play with in the corner) now he has more toys to play with and kids his own age. He is a very sweet, calm little guy. We didn’t find out until this weekend that the reason he didn’t come a few days last week is because they didn’t have any disposable diapers. After finding this out, we went to the grocery store and bought some diapers. If you would like to help contribute a couple dollars a month to help provide diapers for Dilon, please let me know. The ministry has raised funds for the other basics, but diapers are not covered, and I would not want a family to not receive a blessing because they cannot afford diapers. I plan to cover this cost for them, but let me know if it’s on your heart to help.
(Sarah and Dilon)
(trying to capture a smile)
Over the last month, we have had a few birthdays as well! On February 27, Heydi turned 3 and Javier turned 5. This week Rascel will turn 4. It’s exciting to see the kids growing up and remembering how small they were when they first came. I’m looking forward to celebrating Easter with the kids this year, with cake and different fun activities. We are going to try dying Easter eggs this year, which is kind of humorous to me, because no one knows about the Easter bunny and the stereotypical ‘American’ Easter traditions. It will also be a time to share the importance of Christ’s death and resurrection! It is amazing to see how much these kids remember from our day to dayBible stories, but theprayer is that one day this seed with change their lives for eternity!
(Heydi's clothes don't get washed often, so we let her pick the princess pajamas while we washed her clothes)
(Javier playing dress up)
(Rascel loves playing Barbies)
The other day I was reminded, again, of the importance of this ministry, all through 30 minutes of playing playdough. A team brought down some playdough for the kids and I was in the smaller room playing with the younger kids. Since we hadn’t had playdough in a few months, it was the first time for Mariana to ever see playdough. I opened the container and gave it to her and she just started playing with the container, not even trying to get the playdough out. After observing her, I watch the other kids pull out the playdough and start creating things with their imaginations. When I finally helped her pull it out, she just held the lump, not really understanding what to do with it. Finally I started pulling it apart and forming stuff and she quickly joined in. As they all played, I realized how simple, fun things can help a child’s brain and motor skills develop; and that these children will never have these in their homes. Not only do we have the ability to help them develop spiritually, we are helping them develop skills for life.
Thanks for praying for this ministry and me, it’s exciting to watch it prosper and expand to reach more and more families!