After a little more than a year back in Seattle, it feels like life is slowly going back to "normal", albeit a "new normal" that we are all learning to navigate. We here in the United States are very fortunate - many countries are still suffering the devastating consequences of another wave/spike. Much prayers are needed.
Access to COVID vaccines in Guatemala is still very limited. Thankfully all of our staff have received their first dose of Astra Zeneca and are awaiting their second - praise God!
Tom and I hope to visit Guatemala sometime this summer - so much has changed there since I've been back and I'm super excited to meet all the new children - currently 20 of them between the ages of 2 and 13! In the meantime, I will try to be more diligent about posting updates here.
Thanks everyone for continuing this journey with me!
Thank you, thank you for your support!! We're working hard preparing for our upcoming fundraiser on Sept 12 - if you've bookmarked this page, check out our home page for some info and to register! Please feel free to forward the registration url to friends - we'll be holding a virtual, private event and only registered guests will receive event details.
And yes, we need to raise funds to continue to run the orphanage and my hope is we can all have some fun as we gather as a community to celebrate God's working through all of us. We could not do any of this without your prayers and financial support!! Muchas gracias!!!!
Wow - it's been a while! I am still in Seattle and not sure when I'll be able to get back to Guatemala - major apologies for not updating everyone for so long!
The children are doing well - I loved this video of them playing with puzzles and dancing!! Thankfully, due to the marvels of technology, we are able to keep up with what's happening at Immanuel Hogar - while I love being home, I also miss the children so much!
Stateside, we're getting ready for our 2nd annual fundraiser in September - since we can't physically gather together, we will be holding a virtual, live auction to raise much needed funds. The many hands that have come alongside and offered help, ideas, and donations, are such a huge blessing and we are forever grateful for this community of faith in action.
Thank you everyone for your prayers!! After three years in the "system", three of our children are now with their forever family!! In the midst of the craziness, we are so very thankful to God for allowing us to play a part in keeping these children safe. Although we have no obligation to do so, we will stay in touch with them for the next year to make sure they are doing well.
God is so good! Due to increased travel restrictions, court this past Friday was cancelled, so we were looking at another couple of weeks before the judge's decision. And I had already bought my ticket back to the States (tomorrow!!) so was disappointed that I wasn't going to be able to say goodbye. But this judge is persistent! When the president announced Sunday that travel restrictions would be lessened, the judge promptly re-scheduled court for Monday morning and formalized his decision for the children to go with their uncle. So off I went with our director and three kids at 9am Monday morning to drop the kids off at their new forever home! So very thankful to God!
Thank you everyone for continuing to share in this blessed journey!!
Wow – what a special day!! Almost 10 weeks since the last time I was in the States has left me a little homesick, exacerbated by the COVID-19 restrictions on travel and activity. And then on Sunday, the staff and kids surprised me with a song, nice lunch, beautiful posters, cake and candy! A very sweet home away from home moment on my first mother’s day apart from my (grown) children! One for the memory book!
We start this week with anticipation. The visit to the uncle’s home last week was very encouraging. The family is fully committed to taking care of the children, has an established relationship with them and is financially stable. We are so thankful for this provision and answer to prayer! Please join us in prayer for court this coming Friday where the judge will render his decision.
As for me, I am hoping to make a trip back to the States toward the end of the month and be back in Guatemala in late June, when, hopefully, schools will be open, travel restrictions mostly removed, and the long, hard road back to economic recovery will have started. As the Lord provides, we hope to participate in meeting the needs of those God brings across our path.
• Court on Friday, 5/15 – for the judge to allow the 3 children to be placed with their uncle
• Jackie to be able to go back to the States in late May and return to Guatemala in late June
• Provision to meet the needs of the orphanage
The President of Guatemala has now started talking about re-opening the country in the coming weeks. With the official count of cases currently at 688 (as of Sunday, May 3) or 37 cases per 1 million people, the President was optimistic in planning an orderly re-opening.
Here at Immanuel, it was a relatively quiet week. Spring is all around in the beautiful flowers (enjoy the pictures!) and there are hints of the rainy season with occasional showers and cloudy days.
This coming Thursday, some of our staff will be visiting an uncle of one of the families that are here. He and his family have stepped up and requested custody of the 3 children of his brother. He has a stable job and home and has been in regular contact with the children. Please pray that this visit may go well and that our staff will make a wise determination and recommendation to the court.
Thank you everyone for continuing to partner with us in this journey!
Last Tuesday, we heard about the first case of Covid-19 in Parramos – a 40 year old woman who had been in Chimaltenango hospital for a c-section. As a result, the mayor has instituted a few more checkpoints and closed the open market in the main square. From what I’m hearing (I really don’t go out much), the city has quieted down quite a bit and it’s pretty empty on the streets.
This past Saturday, a few of us went to take some food to the grandmother of some of our children. Due to travel restrictions and the curfew, she had not been able to go out, so our wonderful lawyer Marisa picked up a package of food that had been prepared by a staff member at House of Hope. We added protein meal packs as well as paid for a month of phone service so that she can call the children here and have a means to communicate if needed. Aside from a bag of corn kernels used to prepare tortillas, I did not see any food at her home so was very glad we could drop off some staples.
Meanwhile at Immanuel, we’ve started a few new things. The caregivers continue to work with the teachers (via WhatsApp) on daily homework assignments for the children. In addition, I’ve started to work with the grade school kids on beginner English lessons. Just once a week, but I’m enjoying spending time with them.
And doggies! Our groundskeeper got a puppy and will be bringing him to work during the day. He's around 4 months old and still needs his vaccinations and a flea collar, so will be hanging out in the large chicken coop for now.
And of course prayer. I’ve been listening to messages recently on prayer and being very challenged and encouraged. While I enjoy my private prayer times, I really felt God leading me to pray with the staff. So we have started to pray together 3 times a week – Monday, Wednesday, and Friday evenings, after the children have gone to sleep. I’m excited to see how God will work through these times, as we intercede for the children, each other, and whatever/whoever else God leads us to bring to Him in prayer.
As always, your prayers and partnership are much appreciated!
Another week of stay at home, stay healthy has passed. Travel restrictions have been lifted in all but 4 departamentos – unfortunately, we are in one of the four with restricted movement.
Schools remain closed and children and elderly are still not allowed in public spaces. The President has said that the regular school break that occurs from October to January every year may be shortened as necessary to make up for this current extended school closure.
And at Immanuel, we are enjoying wonderful weather, celebrating the beauty of spring, and getting haircuts! Life goes on and God is good!
Thank you for your partnership!
My first Good Friday/Easter in Guatemala!!
Through the wizardry of social media/Youtube, I was able to participate in Good Friday services with Seattle Community Church in real time - praise God!!
On Good Friday, the children were shown through drama the suffering of our Savior that is able to bring them eternal life - great job by the caregivers!! And on Easter Sunday, we celebrated together through message and song - a lovely duet by one of our caregivers and one of the children!! Please pray for seeds to have been planted!
And the Toque de Queda (state of emergency) continues...
The President announced on Sunday night that restrictions on travel will continue as well as the curfews. Masks are mandatory in public places and anyone caught not wearing a mask could be fined up to $20,000!
Life goes on at Immanuel - the children are continuing to learn and play and after 5 cases of chicken pox, we're enjoying a lull - hopefully no more children will come down with it, but we're prepared if they do. And big milestone for me - I just emailed out our very first newsletter this past Friday! I heard Mailchimp often sends these emails to the junk folder, so please check if you haven't received a newsletter. And also, if you have not received the newsletter at all and would like to, just email me - firstname.lastname@example.org.
Thank you for your continued prayers for us! Here are some ongoing prayer requests -
Passion Week 2020 I know will be very special in my memory for years to come. With all that is happening in the world today, Christ’s birth, death, and resurrection means all that much more. We know that there is so much more than this life, that eternal bliss awaits us who have accepted and live with Christ as our Savior and Lord. In the days and years ahead, these precious children will experience many sorrows and joys. Our hope is that Immanuel will be God’s instrument to make known to them the unfathomable love of their heavenly Father – God with us in all our celebrations and trials!!
Some national news - President Giammattei announced additional travel restrictions during Passion Week - no travel between departamentos (kinda like counties) unless it involves business and no sale or consumption of alcohol from April 6 - 13. Check points have been set up at various points of entry.
Thank you all for your partnership and prayers!!