I was sad to realize that when I leave for furlough in June, it will be the last time I get to see Genesis every day. On July 25 Genesis will turn 7 and age out of our program (at least until we have the new building and more ages). It will be the last time she will come in and talk with me like a grown up little kid. I will pass her on the street and find out about her life, but it will not be the daily interaction like normal. Genesis is a very gentle, quiet girl that has been in the program as long as I have been involved. She was the first girl I got to know and fall in love with. I would come in the afternoon to teach English classes when I was still working at the bilingual school. She would be the only kid left at that time of day and would play with my hair and talk. I vividly remember her puzzled face and questions about the color of my hair. From what I knew, she lived in a rented room with her mom, grandmother, and 2 year old brother. I don’t know if her grandfather lives with them, but a few weeks ago he came in to ask for something and when he left she matter of factly says, “he hits my mom.” According to the other ladies I work with he is known in the area for drinking too much. Genesis has never mentioned anything about herself being harmed, but her timid, submissive personality and eagerness to clean up makes me see that life has not been easy for her.
For this reason, I am hoping to have a Birthday party for all the kids on one day. I’m still working out the plans, but I am hoping to take them all on a field trip to McDonald’s or Pizza Hut to play in the play area for a morning, then each kid will receive a wrapped gift of new shoes and a toy. Young kids do not remember their birth dates as easily and parents in this community to not have the means to put much emphasis on the special day. It will be a way to make every kid feel special and bless the families by providing shoes for the kids. I know it is last minute to raise all the funds before going on furlough the beginning of June, but I had forgotten about when Genesis’ birthday was and that she would not be able to participate if we waited until August. With $25 per kid, we can provide a birthday party for 20 kids! Please let me know if you would like to donate for the birthday party, so that I can begin planning!
It has been a difficult start to May because I have had intestinal infections and bacteria. It has given me time to think, but until today, I haven’t had the strength to put it into writing. This past week I watched the last video from a Beth Moore study on David and I remember the specific emphasis she put on the 23rd Psalm because I had never heard it like that before. Verse 2 says, “He MAKES ME LIE DOWN in green pastures…” Sometimes God MAKES us take a break, to teach and restore us. I have had time to think about ideas for the ministry, questions to ask, how to involve more people. Sometimes the stress of living in another country is really draining and the best ministry is pouring to the kids and loving them with the love and grace of God. But, I have realized, that sometimes God makes you lie down and rest to restore and reaffirm the impact you are making.
We have 2 new workers at Casa de Luz! Today, Olinda is starting as the new supervisor. Her specific role will be more interaction with the parents and paperwork. It takes a lot of behind the scenes work to run a childcare facility and she will be helping in that area. I have not met her yet, but she is an older lady that has lots of experience. I look forward to getting to know her. We also have a psychologist that has volunteered to come once a week and start meeting with Gabriel, Javier, and Racsel. I have told you countless stories of the hardships of this family. It’s a huge blessing to have this new psychologist as a resource.
We have been talking about constructing a building for a while now, and found out that the Board of Directors has hired a contractor, after a very long process, and will begin work in July on the new building! If this continues as planned we will need teams to come and help put the finishing touches on the first phase of the building next Spring and Summer.
I’m looking forward to the new season of change in the ministry with new workers, construction starting, and a few people coming to volunteer in the fall! Please continue to pray for my strength and healing, the kids and their families, the new season we are entering in the ministry, and my furlough time in the States. And let me know if you are interested in donating for the birthday party!