Monday, December 12, 2016

Learning

Something that the girls and I both love is when they get to teach me something new!

How did I get to be 33 years old and I don´t know how to cut up a whole chicken correctly?  Saturday afternoon our house mom had an obligation and the girls came over here to our house for a little while.  K taught me to cut up a whole chicken into beautiful pieces and then make the most delicious fried chicken ever!  They watched Elf and helped me with my weekly meal planning/cooking session and left me freshly made corn tortillas for dinner.

I want to be a thousand times more humble than I am.  I want to be a learner and receive help well and have lots more days like Saturday.  But its hard and my pride gets in the way.  Its something that I see in myself that helps me to understand where the girls are coming from in a lot of ways.

They don't come from good backgrounds, don't have good habits, don't know everything about , keeping a house, being a mom, going to school, having a good interview, etc.  But its hard to learn new things and be humble and accept that you've learned a lot of things wrong in your life and now you have to relearn them.  And it takes a long time and a lot of new experiences to be able to accept that.  You have to see new examples and see people doing things a different way to want to change.

But it happens... slowly but surely, it happens.

These past few weeks have been really good with our youngest, C.  She has her moments, but overall, we are seeing BIG changes in her!  She has come up with goals for herself and is working hard to meet them.  She is talking more freely about her family and her past and what she desires for a future relationship with them.  She is working hard on her relationship with her daughter.  I'm just proud of her.  She has been with us a little over a year and its taken this long for her to realize that she wants a different future and that it is worth the hard work.  That's learning!

God is so good to let me be on the front lines to watch these girls learn and change and see the same things happening in me.

Friday, December 9, 2016

Faith

I have often taught Bible studies that touch on the theme of faith.  Time after time I have used the example of a chair to get the point across.  I can say from across the room that I trust that the chair will hold me or that I have faith in the strength of the chair... but real faith is exercised when I actually walk across the room and sit down in said chair.  That is putting my faith into action... and that is where I find myself this week.

The last two months have been some of the most stretching of my life.  I have struggled with real anxiety and fear and I've been having a hard time just sitting down in the chair and letting what I know about the Lord actually take root in my heart.  I know that He is good.  I know that He is a provider.  I know that He has proven Himself faithful time and time again.  And yet... I still find it hard to trust... why is that?

Did you know that PDE hasn't been fully funded ever in the last nearly 5 years?!?  If you take a look at our monthly budget and monthly giving we should have closed down a long time ago.  And yet... God has always provided.  No one has ever gone hungry and we've always paid the electric bill and our employees.  And God has used that to keep the house open and we have seen many come to know Him as a result.  But from a worldly point of view, it just doesn't make sense.

And PDE support is my missionary support which means that when PDE isn't fully funded, I'm not fully funded.  And that, my friends, is a scary place to sit when we're talking about your own family and your kids and putting food on the table.  To be quite honest, I'm looking forward to in the next stage of life not living off of support!  It has been good for me, and stretching, unpleasant at times, and some days surprisingly joyful but I'm not going to miss it :)

And then there is our paperwork, visas, green cards, waiting on the government... a whole lot of things that are hard to time.  And at the same time I want to be faithful and leave well and leave PDE taken care of when we leave.  So I'm anxious about the timing and anxious that I will work myself out of a job before our paperwork is ready for us to move.  As you may imagine, tinking about moving a family of 7 overseas has a lot of details that comes with it... and oh the culture shock that is sure to unsue!

So this is a stage of a lot of waiting and trusting and asking the Lord for peace of heart.  And I'm not always doing a good job of sitting in the chair and exercising my faith.  Can you pray with and for me that I will trust the Lord's provision?  For the ministry, for my family, for this time of transition...

Colossians 1:17 was my theme verse about the time that I moved to Costa Rica and then Honduras and its one that I will clinging too strongly over the next 6-8 months as well!

And He is before all things, and in Him all things hold together. - Colosians 1:17


Monday, November 21, 2016

work

Continuing on with my effort of trying to get back into the blogging world...

Its vacation from school in Honduras.  From now until February we have four girls who aren't doing much just hanging around the house.  Please read... recipe for disaster.  Like any teenagers, they need to be kept busy and have things to do otherwise the petty fights and disagreement begin to mount.  So we've started off vacation with morning devotionals to make sure everyone is up and ready at a reasonable hour and start the days off focused on whats really important!

Today I was almost in tears after devotional because we started talking about how our two oldest girls really need to be working.  They have looked for work and left tons of resumes, but no one wants to hire them because they don't have experience.  Well, you can't have experience if you never work.  They are discouraged and ready to quit trying.  Its just not a city where you can find a job if you're willing to do whatever, there is so much unemployment and people want you to have finished high school to fry chicken in the kitchen at a hole in the wall restaurant.  Its hard to find a chance... an opportunity to get started.

P is going to try to start nursing school in February which would give her a much better chance of work upon graduation.  However, we have told her she has to work in the meantime and pay for half of her studies so that she makes the investment.  And yet... work is illusive.  In the meantime, she is learning and gathering nursing experience at the clinic.  Please pray for her to find a job!

And then there is K.  She is the one who had me in tears as the tears streamed down her face as we talked.  Let just say that Hondurans don't pride themselves on being equal opportunity employers.  She has a problem with her eye and its evident when you look at her.  And no one will give her a second look for a job because of it.  I tell her all the time if she can just get a job, any job, that person will never want to lose her because she is the hardest worker that I know!  She can learn anything, do anything, and will do it 100% to the best of her ability for as long as she needs to.  She is amazing and has so much to offer, but isn't even given a chance.  And its hard to go look for jobs and put yourself through rejection after rejection.  And we have been trying to help her learn a job skill... she was learning sewing but because of her vision problems ended up with daily migraines trying to stare at tiny stitches all day.  And we put her beauty school but because she didn't start school until age 15, she is behind in reading and writing and couldn't keep up with all the writing from the board, so the teacher wouldn't let her stay.  She is now 20, has made it through 6th grade, and is a fighter.  She would like to learn how to make and decorate cakes and pastries because she could start a home business, but I can't find anyone to teach her.  Can you just pray?  Pray that she wouldn't be discouraged watching other girls come and go from the home as she struggles to know what her future will hold.  Pray for us to know how to love and encourage her and push her as necessary.

These girls are our family.  They are daughters to me and I love them dearly.  I want them to succeed and I want to help!  And sometimes its just so hard to be wise in a culture that almost 6 years later I still don't understand fully.  Just pray for God's provision, its what they need!

Wednesday, November 16, 2016

PDE video

Friends of PDE...
We need your help!  We need you to help spread the word about PDE.  We are in need of monthly and one-time support and are feeling the burden of having to make decisions about whether or not to accept new girls based on our budget situation.  We have a 16 year old pregnant girl that we would love to bring to the home right now, but we don't have the $400/month needed to make that happen.  So please, consider showing this video to your friends and family and being an advocate for us to raise the money that we so desperately need!

This video tells Claudia's story beautifully.  And in conclusion, she has now moved out of the home and is working full-time as a stylist in a local salon, supporting her little boy, Alexis, and growing in her love for Jesus.  God is so so good!!!!


Door of Hope -- Puerta de Esperanza from MTW on Vimeo.

New House Mom

We need your prayers!

In September Doña Oneyda (pictured in the middle) stopped working with PDE for personal reasons, especially health related. She had been with us from day 1 and is the primary mom figure in the lives of most of the girls who have come through the home in the last 4.5 years. We really miss her, but are thankful that she was able to come on Saturday to celebrate birthdays with us and enjoy some PDE family time! She is still suffering from intense migraines daily and the doctors have not been able to figure out what is wrong. Can you please pray for her healing and wisdom for her doctors?


Also, in light of that, Cristina has been working a lot more and we have been unable to find another house mom to work with her. We thought we had someone this week, but it fell through. A good friend of mine had been helping for a time, but it now unavailable. We need someone ASAP so that Cristina doesn´t get burnt out as the job is not an easy one! Please, please pray that God provides the right person quickly!!!


Tuesday, August 30, 2016

Dependence and Faith

I titled this post Dependence and Faith because I feel like that is exactly where God has me at the moment.  I know I just sent out a newsletter and its record-breaking for me to send out something else so soon, but we are in need.  It seems to happen every time I get comfortable... every time I seem to think that I´ve got this support raising thing under control and we´re living with a nice buffer.  I was excited about my trip in September because I felt like I was going into it ahead.  We needed to raise money, but it wasn´t as desperate of a situation as it has been in the past.  But then I started to look over numbers and it just so happened that this month of September there isn´t enough money to make it to the end of the month!

Things happen with supporters over time that are normal.  We pick up new people and some people can´t give anymore.  But I tend to believe that support raising has a lot more to do with what God is teaching me.

The ministry of Puerta de Esperanza belongs to the Lord!  He started it and is using it and is changing hearts and drawing people to Himself.  And He owns the cattle on a thousand hills.  If he wanted us to be fully funded, we would be.  But instead He allows us to feel needy to know that we need His provision, we need Him to open doors and provide partners.  We need to pray and we need to trust.  And we need to give our worries over to Him.

And we need a community.  We cannot do this ministry in a vacuum.  We need others to pray and labor alongside of us, even if they never meet these girls in person.  We need the church to hold us up monetarily, emotionally, and prayerfully.  We need those encouraging emails when it has been a hard month.  We need to be reminded that we do not labor in vain.  And we need others´ monetary investment to make this ministry possible.


So, trusting that it is the Lord that provides, I am doing my part to be  faithful and ask.  Could it be that He wants to use you to answer our financial needs at this time?  Could you give a one-time gift?  Could you give monthly however great or small?  Please consider it because now is the time... we have great need and we trust that God will use some of you who read this to answer it.

Thursday, May 26, 2016

When things are hard

Sometimes things are hard.  No amount of correction or conversation or counseling seems to make them better.  Sometimes poor behavior comes from deep seated wounds from the past that keep getting brought to the forefront time and time again.  Sometimes when you are a young girl trying to have a normal life, you just want to be left alone.

There past few weeks have been really hard with one of our girls.  I can't share too many details out of respect for her privacy, but its been rough.  She has a past that I can't even imagine and a story that is really just hard.  Her circumstances have left her feeling alone.  And its a loneliness where you just feel like somebody should be on your side, somebody should have stood up for you, somebody should have protected you.  And its true.  What kind of mom lets the things happen that happen to her?  Well... maybe a mom who has no choice?  I don't know... everything in me wants to just be angry at her family for letting things get so bad... but I wasn't there and I don't know what else was going on... and yet... sigh.

This girl has suffered and continue to have to deal with things over and over again as her past just hasn't left her in peace.  And now she is trying to be a high school student, and a mom, and a normal kid who likes to do normal kid things... and she cannot seem to find the balance.  And her behavior shows that.  So she is frustrated.  She doesn't want to act so poorly, but it seems to just happen.  And then she loses more privileges or makes people frustrated and it seems to make it worse.

And then there we are, the leadership, trying to know how to help.  Some behaviors can't be overlooked or excused.  Others we can work with.  She is seeing a counselor, but these things take time.  She is starting medication, but these things take time.  And in the meantime, what?!?  Day after frustrating day of trying to push for change...

But Jesus.  That's the answer.  These days have been really hard and seem to not be getting much better.  But Jesus has the answer, He is the answer.  So we pray.  And we trust.  And we give her over to Him.  Because no amount of counseling or medication or conversation or discipline is going to mend the wounds that are deep in her heart.  And we ask for wisdom to be people of grace in her life who know when to show tough love and when to just give hugs and cry for a little while.  And we read her Scripture and we use every ounce of patience God gives us to show her that we are on her side.  And not only that, but God is on her side.  He loves her and gave His son for her so that she can be free to have a different life.  She doesn't have to be stuck in pain and the consequences of sin forever.  There is freedom and joy and life on the other side!

Please continue to pray with us for all of these things.  Pray for healing that only Jesus can bring and an outpouring of Godly love from us to her.  Pray that she would not just know about Jesus, but that she would know Him as her dearest friend and cling to Him alone.