Monday, December 28, 2009

Christmas in Galeana

                                             Passing out gifts
                                             Some of the kids we served
                                              The pinata
                                              View from the place we served
On December 22, the kids of Casa Hogar Douglas had an opportunity to serve kids that had very little materially. One of the caregivers in the children's home, is from a small mountain town about 4 hours from here, called Galeana. The people from this town are very poor when it comes to material possessions. When the kids of Casa Hogar Douglas found out about these kids from the home town of their caregiver, they wanted to share their blessings with them. They got a list of 74 kids from a church in Galeana and each one of them chose a toy of their excess to wrap and give to the kids of this town.
Not all of the kids were able to make the 4 hour trip to Galeana with us on Dec. 22. But we took with us about 15 kids and prepared a meal, worshipped together, had a pinata to open and passed out all of the gifts for the children. I witnessed something that day in the faces of the kids from Casa Hogar Douglas. I've seen their faces on the receiving end many times, but it was a blessing to watch them as they had an opportunity to serve others in a way that they have been served by American groups.

Tuesday, December 15, 2009

Aidan & Mayte

When I first started serving here with Back2Back Ministries, in January of 2001, I met a young girl named Mayte, who lived at Casa Hogar Douglas. By the time that I had moved here, in January of 2007, Mayte was a troubled 18 year old heading for big problems. In May of 2008, she gave birth to a son, Aidan. A few months before Aidan's birth, his father was killed on a motorcycle. We tried to counsel Mayte to consider giving Aidan up for adoption. She decided to keep him.
A couple of weeks ago, we found out that Mayte was pregnant again. The baby is due in February. This time, Mayte will give birth while she is in prison. Her life has been pretty much one bad decision after another. The police have her locked up because they want her to tell them where her drug dealing boyfriend is. If she tells, the drug cartel would probably kill her. We would like you to pray for this family. Mayte has indicated that she knows she needs to give this newborn up for adoption. Please pray that she follows through with this. This is also causing Mayte to reconsider her decision to keep Aidan. She has temporarily given up custody of him to our staff. 
He has been with us for over a week now. He is a very cute little boy that we are all enjoying very much. But, I also worry for the future of Aidan. I want him and all the other kids that we serve here to know the love of Jesus and the love of a real family.  Most of the kids that we work with in children's homes are like Aidan. Many families here do not want their kids or cannot care for their kids but they will not give them up for adoption. This is why there are many kids growing up in pain filled lives where they never experience what love is like.
I want to pray for Aidan's mom Mayte also. Her childhood of pain has turned into a life of brokenness as a young adult. I pray that she would still have time to realize that Jesus loves her enough to die for her. I pray for Aidan and the baby to be born in February that they would know more love as a child than their mother did. It is for this reason we are here. Thank you for all you do to support us. We couldn't be here without your support!

                                                  Mayte as a young girl
            Aidan eating in our house

Saturday, December 12, 2009

Christmas comes to Casa Hogar Douglas

This past week, a group of 25 ladies came to serve with us for a week. Every year, these ladies come to help us prepare for Christmas in all of the children's homes that we serve. They buy and decorate Christmas trees, bake cookies, sing Christmas caroles and purchase gifts for all the kids we serve. It is really a huge task for 1 week, but they do a marvelous job! Above are pictures of a few of the kids at Casa Hogar Douglas receiving their gifts. Any of you ladies that would like to be a part of this group next Christmas, need to check with Chelsie in our home office. 

Tuesday, December 8, 2009

Your life is your testimony

The picture above is a picture of a family we love very much. Tom and Karen Woelk, and their kids Andrea and Alex, were here serving with us a couple of weeks ago. Karen is a cancer survivor. She first had a tumor the size of an orange removed from her head, over 16 years ago. Since that time, she has had 2 other major operations and this past summer suffered a stroke. Karen has rewritten her testimony several times during the last few years. She carries it with her in her Bible and is always willing to share it.
While they were here serving over Thanksgiving, we asked Karen to come to Rio 3 and share her testimony with the women there. Many of these women have in the past, and are presently suffering many types of trials in their lives. We always like to encourage them with scripture and testimonies. Often, some of the women are distracted and talking to each other when we share with them. As Karen shared her testimony, we noticed that the crowd was larger than usual and they all were paying close attention to what she was saying.
Karen told me in the bus on the way to Rio 3 that she knows God allowed her to go through all of this so that she could be a witness to others. Her life has changed a lot in 15 years. Before her first surgery, her and Tom both had very promising careers at Proctor & Gamble. They had a large house, 3 cars and a boat. But in the last 15 years, Karen has been able to share her testimony of God's faithfulness through many difficult times in their lives. She knows that God has had her suffer these things so that she can be a testimony to others.

Saturday, December 5, 2009

Thanksgiving in Rio 3

This year, we had the opportunity to do something special to give thanks on Thanksgiving. We had a group of families visiting with us over Thanksgiving and we wanted to share the greatest thing that we are thankful for, the love of Christ, with the people of Rio 3. One of the girls, who came to serve with her family, was a fifteen year old high school girl named Hope Bertke. Hope had been here before and as she thought about how she wanted to share this love, she decided to raise money to buy blankets. Her goal was 100 blankets that the group would give away while they were at Rio 3. She asked some of her friends to help and by the time that her group got here they had collected enough money to purchase 350 blankets!
Hope's story is one of faithfulness. I told the rest of the group, before we passed out the blankets, don't ever think that you can't do something big for God. If David had thought that, he never would have defeated Goliath. If Noah listened to all the people who called him a fool for building an ark in the desert, he wouldn't have saved his family. God rewards our faithfulness to be obedient. I'm glad that Hope was not discouraged because she was young. She did not look at the obstacle but rather she took "shelter in the Most High." 
It has been almost record cold here this past week. The lows have been around the freezing mark all week. Many of the homes in Rio 3 are shacks built out of trash. They have dirt floors, they are drafty and many have no electric. But, I'm sure that there are 350 kids that are thankful for the faithfulness of a 15 year old girl from Cincinnati. Hope set out to try and provide for 100 kids. God blessed her faithfulness by being a blessing to 3-1/2 times that many.