Thursday, November 22, 2012

Holidays on the mission field are always a little different. I have to admit I woke up this morning kind of dreading the day because I knew it would another holiday without our oldest sons Travis and Keegan here with us. But God is good and even though we are far away from those we love- He still gives us the greatest blessings.

Christi, Todd, Dan and I spent most of the morning in the kitchen doing our best to prepare our favorite Thanksgiving foods that would resemble something close to home. After everything was in the oven Christi and Dan decided to go for a long walk around the neighborhood. Within a few minutes Christi came running back with huge tears in her eyes (because her heart is so big like that) telling me that Rosa was back- and had 4 of her siblings along with her. I ran into the dining room and there they stood- dirt from head to toe-yet the most beautiful sight in this world. We seriously couldn't have asked for more.

Thank you Jesus for answering our prayers.

They had been at the top of the property waiting when Christi and Dan found them and invited them in. This time they accepted. :) They said they needed food and water- oh the things we take for granted. We loaded them up again with rice, beans, corn meal and as much as we could fit into their sack.

We explained to them that it was safe here and that we were so happy they came back when they needed help. We told them we wanted to help them because of Jesus and asked them if they know who Jesus is. They shook their heads no. We gave them a Bible (although they do not attend school and cannot read- but said their parents do). We explained to them that Jesus cares about them so much and that is why he sent us here- so that we could tell them about him. We told them if they'd like to know more about Jesus that we'd love to be able to teach them more about him. The entire time Rosa remained expressionless, although her little brothers would smile and became very excited when they saw the treats we placed in their bag.

We learned Rosa's little brothers names and ages and even met their two dogs who followed them in. ;) We invited them to stay for our Thanksgivings feast- but Rosa declined saying they needed to get back to their home. They agreed they would come back tomorrow. Before they left we were able to pray over their little souls.

Today I am so thankful for the many, many blessing the Lord has placed in my life. My husband, my children, my extended family, my friends, my church family, our partners, Lifesong, Project Hopeful, and the privilege of teaching children like Rosa and her brothers about the One who allowed these blessings in my life.

 And I have learned that while sometimes our days don't go as we originally hoped they would- it's only God has something else in mind. :)
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Tuesday, November 20, 2012

Living out a life of Thanksgiving…
Without hesitation, when asked, people all over America this Thanksgiving will respond by saying the very thing they are most thankful for in their lives is their family.
Family… the very thing that literally millions of children face life without.

Here at Village of Hope we understand the importance of family and that is why we exist- to bring FAITH, FAMILY and a FUTURE to those who have none.  We choose to do ‘family style’ homes for orphans instead of an institution because we understand that is what the Lord desires.

A Father to the Fatherless, a defender of widows, is God in his holy dwelling. God sets the lonely in families. Psalm 68:5-6

There is simply no biblical model for institutional care - so while clothing, feeding and giving toys to a child are all wonderful things- the one thing a child truly needs- is a family to call their own.  A mother and a father who are willing to invest in their future, help them discover their gifts and strengths- to care for them , encourage them and show them they have a purpose and they matter.

Because international adoptions are closed in Guatemala the orphans here have little hope of being adopted into a forever family.  These children must face a bleak future- alone.  We cannot stop but to ask ourselves-how will these children be able to one day function in a family unit? But even more- how can they have a clear view of their God who loves them if they don’t have an earthly father to model who He is?

We all know living in an institution isn’t what is best for a child- studies prove it- but more importantly we have seen it with our own eyes.  The “fatherless” are the most vulnerable people in the world because they lack the very person God intended to protect and provide. But as the body of Christ we have a responsibility to live out James 1:27- to care for orphans.  We are called to action.

At Village of Hope each child will be placed in a family- in a home- with a mother and father figure who will be the ones who tuck them in at night, pray with them, help them with their homework, cook dinner with them, counsel them and teach them.

This Thanksgiving we challenge you to gather your precious family around the table, enjoy the blessings the Lord has provided- and then give back out of that abundance. Encourage your family to be a part of what God is doing in the lives of the children in Guatemala.  Thank Him through your obedience by caring for the orphan in a tangible way. Together your family, aunts, uncles, cousins truly can make a difference in the life of a child.

 “The King will reply, ‘Truly I tell you, whatever you did for one of the least of these brothers and sisters of mine, you did for me.’ Matthew 25:40

Give HOPE, brick by brick. Village of Hope - Guatemala from Lifesong for Orphans on Vimeo.

We have been blessed by a generous donor who is matching the next $3,000 in bricks purchased! This means that each brick you buy, up to the first $3,000, will be DOUBLED… doesn’t get much better than that!
-Buy 10 bricks/$250 - Get a free VOH tshirt!
-Buy 20 bricks/$500 – Get a free VOH tshirt and VOH bag.
-Buy 40 bricks/$1,000 – Get a free VOH tshirt, VOH bag, and a necklace/earring set hand-made by a Guatemalan woman.
-Buy 100 bricks/$2,500 - An engraved plate  (2" x 4") with your family name on the wall in one of the homes for children as a reminder of those that provided that wall and prayed for each of them.
-Buy 200 bricks/$5,000 - A plaque ( 12" x 10") with a photo and text (of your choice) will be hung in the home and the room will be named after your family (painted on the wall)
-Buy 1,200 bricks/$30,000 – Provide an entire HOME for a FAMILY! Get a free VOH tshirt, VOH bag, plaque (as described above), and family name on the outside of the home.
**As you reflect on all that you are thankful for, please consider giving toward one of the above options in honor or memory of a loved one! Though some of our family may not be on this earth any more, their legacy lives on and can bless the lives of those without a family! 

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Friday, November 16, 2012


I'm not even sure how to write this post... I'm not even sure I have the words to express what we saw- and felt.  But I want so very badly for you to know. I felt like someone needed to hear. Mostly because I don't think things like this should happen in today's world... Somehow, we shouldn't let this be.

  Today after Spanish class Addie and I headed out the door for a brisk walk. Rainy season is almost over and the sun was shining bright. We threw on our tennis shoes and laughed all the way down the driveway. Living here in Guatemala I have quickly learned that each day is unique in it's own- and even when I think I have seen it all- I haven't.

As we rounded the corner, about a block from our house, we looked ahead and saw a young girl walking down the lane. She began to sway and then stumble. Immediately something inside my heart broke, because I knew her situation was not good. The closer we got to her I was able to realize just how much in need she was. On her frail body hung a pair of baggy jeans that looked like they once belonged to a man. The zipper was broken and a belt hugged them tight around her tiny waste. She was covered in mud, her feet looked like those of an 80 year old woman and her hair was covered in lice. But what stopped me dead in my tracks was the dirt around her lips and in the corner of her mouth- evidence of her need to find anything she could to take the pains away from her rumbling belly.

She was obviously startled, so we approached her slowly asking if she needed any help. Without barely looking up she quietly asked permission to pick some fruit off of a bush along the lane. We told her that she was welcome to them and asked her if she would like something to eat. With all the strength she could muster- she looked up and nodded. We asked if she'd like to come to our house- yet seeming afraid she declined, so we told her we would be right back to her. We quickly ran as fast as we could back to Village of Hope and grabbed some warm clothing and threw as much food as we could find in a big bag-  beans, rice, corn meal, jelly and bread then headed back.

Peeking around the corner of a brick wall, she waited.

 I don't think I have ever seen a child so frail and so emotionless in my entire life. It seemed as if it took every ounce of energy she had left just to breath. It was almost as if she had lost the ability to still hope. The pain of this world had completely numbed her. I wish I had a picture for you to be able to see with your own eyes- only I couldn't do that. I couldn't do that to her.

We found out her name was Rosa and she is 13 years old. She has 10 siblings. We asked where her parents were and she told us they too were out looking for food. She said she didn't go to school- or to church- because she needed to work with her family. We asked if we could give her a ride home and for a minute she agreed- and then once again the fear over came her and she mumbled that she didn't have that far to go and started to walk away. We pointed to Village of Hope and told her if she ever needed anything we would be there. As we watched her tiny skeleton of a body climb the hill I couldn't help but to be torn once again by the injustice of this world. Children should not be starving. They should be swinging on swings, running on a soccer field, picking dandelions, hanging out with friends, sitting around the dinner table with their family laughing, talking, dreaming.

If you would, right now in the quiet of your own home, could you stop and pray for Rosa?

Lord thank you for putting Rosa in our path today. I pray that her belly is full tonight and that somehow she felt your presence and realized how much you care. God help us to appreciate what we have, to live simply and to give out of our abundance so that little girls like Rosa won't go without.

Proverbs 31:8 “Speak up for those who cannot speak for themselves, for the rights of all who are destitute.”

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