Thursday, November 3, 2016

One Little Boy's Story

There's a boy who was brought to our Children's Home after he was found sleeping alone outside on the street, at night during the winter, with only a light blanket. At five years old.

All of the kids at the Juniper Tree have hard stories in their past, but there is something about this one that makes me cry every time I think about it. I try to imagine what it must have been like for him; my thoughts go to Davy (my seven-year-old) being alone on the streets at night and knowing how terrified she would be makes me sick to my stomach.

I hate what happened to him. I hate that he had to experience that fear and vulnerability and danger as a little boy. It makes me angry.

It's easy to let my anger be directed towards the parents. I mean, who does that?! The anger rushes over me each time I hear a new story of the awful things that go on in this wretched world. How can people be so capable of evil towards their own precious children?

While I believe that anger is a reasonable response to their stories, I was challenged by a grace-filled attitude towards these parents in a blog post written by another Kids Alive missionary. He wrote:

...this redemption extends beyond the children to stand in the gap for their natural parents and families, who have been unable to care for their children. Perhaps [the Children's Home's] reach grasps some of the desperate longings of these parents and relatives, who may be trapped in the despair of poverty and its patterns.

The truth is that it's likely that few of these parents, at the birth of their children, had starry-eyed dreams of abandoning, abusing or leaving their babies alone on the street. Like you and me, their hearts probably melted with one look into their eyes; they probably felt fierce protection of them, if only briefly.  Sadly, sin, selfishness, and addiction are nasty, horrible things that sneak in and trap, ensnare and make slaves of us. There but for the grace of God, go I.

Despite my anger,  I have to admit that many of these families probably have deep longings for restoration but are trapped in their sin and in the generational cycles of sin. Which is heartbreakingly sad.

What hope we have in Jesus! He has set us free!

For we know that our old self was crucified with him so that the body ruled by sin might be done away with, that we should no longer be slaves to sin--because anyone who has died has been set free from sin. Romans 6:6-7

What a wretched man I am! Who will rescue me from this body of death? Thanks be to God, who delivers me through Jesus Christ our Lord! Romans 7:24-25

Praise God!! The generational cycles of sin can STOP with these kids!!

Praise God!! The hopes and dreams of these parents for their children can be realized through the work of Kids Alive!!

Praise God!! From everlasting to everlasting the Lord's love is with those who fear him, and his righteousness with their children's children- Psalm 103:17 

Tuesday, November 1, 2016

Our Week With the Howells

We just spent a week with Seth, Jessica and the girls before they headed up to Arequipa for language school. It was a pretty crazy week!

After arriving in the middle of the night on Tuesday, Dan and I spent an hour or two with them on Wednesday morning before leaving to make a quick trip to the notary for a simple document. The "quick trip" morphed into a "ridiculously long trip" as Dan and I ran around Lima trying to get what we needed. Because of a typo on Lucy's birth certificate, we couldn't get the document we needed and ended up buying last minute plane tickets to Chile! (The "why" for this is a very long and boring story having to do with visa renewals and paperwork, so I'll spare you.)

So, Day One of the Howell's missionary journey was spent babysitting our kids ALL DAY (we got home at 7pm) and even though they were exhausted after their travel, Jessica managed to make dinner for all of us and had it on the table when we got home. It will be nice having family here with us; normally, the kids would have had to come along with us on a long day like that.

On Day Two and Three of the Howell's missionary journey, they were abandoned by their hosts (us), who left the country. (Ha-ha!) The plan was to fly to the south of Peru, take a taxi across the border into Chile, stay the night, drive back the next morning and re-enter Peru (thus renewing visas), and then fly back to Lima.

When we reached to border, first we stopped at the Peruvian immigration building, which went fine except that it was very slow and we had to wait for well over an hour. After exiting Peru, we drove a half-mile or so through "no-man's land" to the Chilean border. When we arrived, this is what we saw:

These pictures don't do it justice, but there were several very long lines of people waiting to enter Chile. There was a strike, and they were only letting people through at a rate of 60 people an hour. There were hundreds and hundreds of people there waiting, it was nearing sundown, and starting to get pretty chilly. Waiting in that line did not sound like a good time! But our taxi driver had the brilliant idea of just turning around and re-entering Peru. Technically, we only were required to leave Peru, which, we'd done! So we drove right back to the Peru border and re-entered with no problem! We found a hotel and flew back to Lima the next morning. While it wasn't the most enjoyable trip for us, it ended up being great for the Howells, who, being left by themselves in our house for two days, had time to rest and recuperate alone.

After we got back, the time with the Howells flew by quickly, filled mostly with paperwork and making preparations for living in Peru. But we also found a little time for an afternoon at the beach and a couple of game nights. It was a hard week because of the busyness, made harder by bad colds that all four of them picked up on the airplane, but they survived and the cousins had a great time playing together.


We're so happy to have them here! They left on Thursday for Arequipa where they will be in language school for the next 4-6 months.

Be praying for the Howells; there is nothing easy about the first year in a new country. It's very hard. I am excited for them though, because God always takes hard things and makes them beautiful! Looking back on my first few years, that's how I feel. I wouldn't want to repeat them (no, no, no!!), but I am oh-so-thankful for what God taught us in those years.

It's been a while since I have written a ministry update, but there are a lot of great things going in the ministries! I plan on writing an update this week, so if you don't receive our ministry updates, please be sure to sign up in the right hand side of our blog.