Hola a todos!!
So the President announced the extension of the curfew to April 12 – Easter Sunday! Which means the continuation of school and non-essential business closures as well as no public transportation. From what I have been hearing, schools probably will not open again until May at the earliest. The nifty COVID-19 tracker I found online shows that Guatemala has – 25 active cases, 10 recovered cases, and 1 fatal case, so 36 total. It’s been a very slow increase and for that I am thankful.
We are continuing our 7 day shift rotations for the foreseeable future. The children are continuing to play, do homework, and participate in daily devotionals. The older ones have also been doing Bible memorization! We will observe Palm Sunday this weekend and holy week next week with devotionals centered on Christ’s Passion. Please pray for the deliverers of these messages and the children, that the Holy Spirit would speak to their hearts. Planting seeds!
Thank you for your partnership!
"For the eyes of the Lord are on the righteous and his ears are attentive to their prayer" - 1 Peter 3:12
In a country where close to 60% of the population lives below the poverty line, the lack of an income for any amount of time is scary. And while I find merit in the measures the President of Guatemala is taking to stop the spread of COVID-19, I can't help but worry about the consequences of forced closures on the many mom and pop businesses here. And so I pray for a quick and safe end to the threat of COVID-19. And I wait, to be honest, with a certain amount of anxiety, for word of the many needs that will crop up as a result of these closures. And I hope that God will use us to bring a measure of relief to those in need.
Please join me in prayer for -
As of Monday, there were 20 confirmed cases and 1 fatality from COVID-19 in Guatemala. The president is taking aggressive measures and from Sunday, 3/22 until Monday, 3/30, he is instituting a curfew between the hours of 4pm – 4am. This is in addition to all schools being closed, public transportation halted, and non-essential businesses being shuttered (I tried to pick up a birthday cake and failed).
So how are we doing? We’ve implemented some measures to cut down on outside contact. Caregivers are now on a 7 day rotation (vs 2 day) and staff who come in and out daily are advised to keep a distance of 6 feet from the children and caregivers. No school, parent/relative visitations, no outings – essentially stay in place until further notice. Luckily, we have a good sized property so the children can run around – caregivers and kids had a lot of fun Sunday playing tag and hide and seek! We had worship service the past two Sundays here at our home and continue our daily devotions in the evenings. Patty and Valerin, our two chicken pox girls, are all better and 4 year old Tono (hopefully the last chicken pox case) should be able to join the other children by Thursday. Life goes on…
Please pray for –
• Tono to get better quickly. He’s lonely☹
• Staff to stay healthy and motivated during the 7 day shifts
Thank you so much for your prayers! We (including kids!) are also praying for you too during this worldwide pandemic!
It's been less than one week since I got back and so much has happened already! Praise God I came back when I did - a little later and I would not have been able to come for a month! (To try to control Covid-19 Guatemala has closed it's borders to people from the US)
Coming back to almost a full house was delightful and chaotic and busy!! All but two of the children were in school - yay!! And then Friday hit. In the early morning, one of the nannies wanted to show me something - Patty's tummy and back had a few tiny, bubbly, reddish/whitish spots. We took her to the local free health clinic and...chicken pox! Then came Saturday - public and private school closures for 21 days and for us, one more case of chicken pox. Life is never boring here!
The good news is the little vegetable garden is growing squash which are delicious! We also have been preparing so we have food/supplies/water to last several weeks if needed. And at Tom's request (all those years of med school have finally paid off!) we have limited all visitors and started a hand washing protocol for the staff and children.
Please pray for -
Pictures: left - Feliz Cumpleanos Leo y Val!; middle - "new kids on the block"; right - play time!
One of the greatest blessings being here is experiencing God's faithfulness. I have been concerned for the past few weeks because we weren't getting any calls from the courts and being now fully staffed, I did not want the staff to get too comfortable. And then Monday. Six children from one family! If I had not gotten wind of this from a missionary friend, the children would probably have been separated and placed in different homes. There aren't many homes that can take 6 children. And this particular court was not one we had reached out to, so they didn't even know we were here! But when they found out we could take all 6 children, they were very happy! So it's February and we have 14 children, with one more little girl coming in the next week or so (she was put in a special needs home but is not a special needs case so we have requested the courts for a transfer).
Thank you everyone for praying for us! I promise to be better about posting prayer requests. Here are a few -
With much gratitude!
Almost two weeks in and I'm finally out of panic mode. We got all of the stuff we had to do within the first 10 days of receiving a child (visits with doctor, social worker, psychologist, and lab tests) and other stuff that came up, including a visit to the dentist because a child was in pain - found out he needs 4 crowns! Did I mention he's 6? Oh yeah, about those lab tests - it's not so easy to get kids to poop when you want them to. We pretty much failed while we were at the lab, so we had to fill vials at the home and get them to the lab within 2 hours. Thankfully the lab is only 30 minutes from the house, but it was one stinky car ride!
I also got to accompany our social worker on our first court date! Only one person could actually go into court, so I was essentially the nanny - ie watching and playing with the kids during court proceedings.
We are in the process of hiring another nanny so that we can take a few more kids - hopefully this week! And I'm really looking forward to Pastor Fred, Dorothy, Sun, and Kate coming in just one week - YAY!!!!!! Oh yeah, Tom, too.
Thank you again for your prayer support! There were a few tense moments, but God and your prayers brought us through.
With much gratitude,
More to come!
Eight is enough...for now.
Started off a little crazy - one child peed in his pants and threw up in the car. I couldn't blame him, it was an hour ride through some pretty windy roads. So, frantic search for clothes once we got to the small mall, found toddler clothes which was close enough, then off to pizza and a giant dinosaur themed play structure! America's got nothing on Guatemala as far as play structures - this one was huge and so much fun! It was hard to get the kids to come down and eat lunch. And then -- Frozen 2! All in all, a very full day.
Thank you for sharing in this journey!! More to come!!
(Sorry for the edit- the children's faces are covered for their protection)
Five for now. This was our first devotional time with the children. I have to say, Luky, the head nanny was awesome! And the children are hugging monsters - especially the girls. Although they are here for some pretty heart wrenching reasons, they are receiving a lot of love. Our staff are doing such a good job engaging and caring, and these children are responding so well! They are finally in a safe home where they are receiving love and care and can forget (for a time) their past and just be happy kids (as they were meant to be!)
More to come, but for now, here are our prayer requests -
Thank you all for your prayers!!
What a day! I would love to post a closer picture, but was advised not to post a picture, name, and/or story together so as to protect the child's identity. And I have to tell her story.
Today we got a call asking if we were interested in taking in a 10 year old girl who is currently being treated for epilepsy. No other orphanage was willing to take her. It was not an immediate "Yes!" from us. Tom and I both struggled with taking on a child that would need special care. In the end, we knew it was never meant to be easy and said yes.
And then we found out about all the other stuff they didn't tell us. The girl had been in the hospital since Dec 26 because she had a seizure and a neighbor had filed a report. According to the written record, the family was too poor to buy the epilepsy medicine which is why she had a seizure - which led to the neighbor's report. She was just released today and because of her state when she was admitted (apart from the seizure, she was pretty obviously malnourished), the courts would not allow her to go back to her home.
And there's more. The family never registered her birth so as far as the government is concerned, she does not exist. The process to get her an identity is at least 7 months. And apart from being malnourished, she is also at least somewhat developmentally delayed. Our lawyer, who picked her up from court, was teaching her the alphabet during the ride in her car. She has never gone to school, her speech is unclear and the court has ordered she be given speech therapy (at our cost, of course). Her vision is impaired and her gait is also a little unsteady. BUT SHE IS HAPPY! It took all of 30 seconds before she was hugging the three of us who met her at the car. She loves the attention she is receiving! She teases and laughs and makes us laugh as well.
And my heart is overjoyed! Its so obvious how hungry she is to be loved and seen. And I am so thankful that God has given this particular girl to us as we begin - she is the perfect start!
Happy New Year!! Plus a quote from one of my favorite movies.
I can’t believe we’re only days away from seeing children here! Even though our official start date is today, this is a slow week for the courts and realistically we’ll probably get calls on Monday. We have some staff starting on Monday (cook and 2 nannies) and will bring on additional staff as needed. In the meantime, lots of shopping – toiletries, groceries, additional bedding and bath supplies, etc. Will definitely keep you posted!
As I start the new year and looking back on the past few months, the hardest part for me has been being here on my own. Although God has brought me in contact with many new friends here, I often find myself missing my family and friends back in the States. But God is so faithful! Just this past Sunday, God again comforted me with His word - Joshua 1:9 Have I not commanded you? Be strong and courageous. Do not be afraid; do not be discouraged, for the LORD your God will be with you wherever you go - again reminding me that He is with me always, everywhere.
As always thank you for your prayers! More to come!!