Saturday, October 22, 2011

Shelter Program Highlight

This past week, we had something happen that I think says alot about the hearts of the people who come to serve with us. We had a group of NASCAR people come and serve with us in Monterrey. We have had several other NASCAR groups in the past and they all have impressed me with their humility and desire to serve! On this trip, we had Nationwide Series driver, Justin Allgaier and his wife Ashley come and meet their sponsored child, Magali from Casa Hogar Douglas. We also had several members of Joe Gibbs Racing #18 car crew on the trip.

The day after they got home, one of these guys called me to let me know that he and his wife wanted to sponsor Lola from Douglas in our Shelter child sponsorship program. For those who do not know Lola, she is a 38 year old Downs Syndrome girl who has lived at Casa Hogar Douglas since she was 3 years old. We never really thought that we would ever have a sponsor for Lola. When Jason called to tell me this, I told him that I doubted that Lola would ever be able to write to them. Her level of communication is very limited. He told me that he understood that and that he was moved by watching Justin & Ashley and the relationship that Magali has with them. He also said that he felt God calling him to sponsor Lola who truly is one of the least of these!

I am humbled and stand in awe of our God! For us, we give thanks to ALL of our Shelter Sponsors because you truly enable us with the power to care for these children! God is using so many people in 2 countries to carry out the work that is going on here! THANK YOU!!!
                         Justin and Ashley Allgaier with Magali (their sponsored child)

                        Lola in the front on the swingset at Douglas

Friday, October 21, 2011

Unplanned sleepover

Last week, we had a heavy rainstorm. The unfortunate thing was that at the children's home, we were in the process of replacing the roof on the main dorm. The result was that the roof leaked very bad during the rainstorm. The smallest girls' dorm was flooded. So that night, we brought 7 of these girls and their care giver to our house for a sleepover. The next morning was school so they couldn't sleep in but it was fun none the less!
The good part is that we now have the roof replaced and we are completing a lot of other renovations to all the dorms. I hope to post an update on this when we are finished. There is a lot of blessing that is happening right now at Casa Hogar Douglas. We want to thank everyone for your prayers and financial support in every way! 
Now the girls want another sleepover but they want to have it on a weekend when they can sleep in!

Thursday, October 13, 2011

New computers at Casa Hogar Douglas

We recently received a local donation of 5 new desktop computers for the new library at Casa Hogar Douglas children's home. The really cool part is that the business that donated the computers also is paying to have 2 teachers come 4 afternoons per week to teach the kids computer skills. All of the kids that are above 1st grade have at least one computer class per week! This is just another of the ways that God is blessing our efforts to better prepare them for success in the future.

Monday, October 10, 2011

Working with a purpose in Rio 3

During the summer, our friend Amy Tuell came with a group to serve with us for a week. While she was here, she wanted to show some of the women in Olga's soup kitchen at Rio 3 how to crochet using plastic bags. Instead of making a blanket or a sweater out of cloth material, they can make plastic mats out of plastic grocery bags, that are more durable in the rio homes.
Last week when we were there, Juanita, one of the ladies from the soup kitchen gave Betty this mat that she had made. She was so proud of it and wanted to thank us for helping show her how to make it. We asked Juanita what she needed. She told Betty she could use an electric iron. So, we bought her an iron and traded it for the mat. Now we have a plastic mat for our bathroom floor and Juanita has an iron.

Wednesday, October 5, 2011

Better Opportunities

This year, we have 12 students from Casa Hogar Douglas children's home enrolled in other schools. What we are trying to do is choose schools where the kids have the best opportunity to learn and succeed in school. This is made possible by money we receive from the Shelter child sponsor program. These pictures were taken of Magali who is in 6th grade in one of these schools. This was a school assembly for Mexican Independence Day. Betty and I were there to watch and I realized that no one in this school knows Magali is an orphan. She tells me often, "Jim, I love my new school!"

Monday, October 3, 2011

New Slide at Douglas Children's Home

We recently rebuilt the big slide at Casa Hogar Douglas. This slide was originally built about 25 years ago but was showing some signs of age. During the remodeling phase we decided to add a set of stairs. You can now walk all the way up the hill to the chapel from the dining hall.

Saturday, October 1, 2011

We lost a friend this week

                                               Ron's baptism.

                                               Ron with Lola in Casa Hogar Douglas

                                             Ron dressed in his clown outfit in Douglas

One of the people we met in the past 5 years is a guy named Ron from Cincinnati. Some friends of ours, found Ron on a park bench in Cincinnati a few years ago. He was homeless and addicted to alcohol and drugs. They shared the Gospel with Ron and he became a Christian. Ron's life as a Christian was radically different. He got involved in a clown ministry and began to experience the joy of serving the Lord in this new life that he had in Christ.
Ron made 2 trips here on short-term mission trips. During these trips, Betty and I came to know and love him. I believe his experience here stirred something inside of him to serve even more. Ron did landscape work and he often referred to this as his "tent-making." What he loved to do was clown ministry. Last winter he took a few months and moved to a small pueblo in Mexico to serve as a missionary. He worked with a bi-lingual pastor in a small church all by himself. It was a testimony for us of someone who was completely changed when he accepted Christ.
We had stayed in touch through email and we last saw Ron in Cincinnati about a year ago. He came to say hi to us at a Chipotle restaurant. This past week, Ron passed away. He was 50 years old. His last email to us was just a few days before he died. It was titled "Victory." We will miss Ron. He liked to raise his hands high and shout "Thank you Jesus!" everytime he was thankful for something.
Ron, you taught us a lot about living in grace. After your conversion, you were a changed person. We give thanks that you were our friend. May God bless your friends and family and comfort them in their loss! Thank you Jesus!