Wednesday, April 15, 2015

To The River

Acts 2:38  Peter replied, "Repent and be baptized, every one of you, in the name of Jesus Christ for the forgiveness of your sins. And you will receive the gift of the Holy Spirit.

To the river, I am going, bringing sins I cannot bear

Come and cleanse me, Come forgive me, Lord I need to meet you there.

Precious Jesus, I am ready, to surrender every care.

Take my hand now, lead me closer, Lord I need to meet You there,

In these waters, healing mercies, flows with freedom from despair

And I am going to the river, Lord I need to meet You there

Come and join us in the river, Come find life beyond compare

He is calling, He is waiting...

Jesus longs to meet us all there!!

Romans 6:4,5  We were therefore buried with him through baptism into death in order that, just as Christ was raised from the dead through the glory of the Father, we too may live a new life. For if we have been united with him in a death like his, we will certainly also be united with him in a resurrection like his. 

Easter Sunday service at Boca del Rio (Mouth of the River), with a breathtaking ocean-front view. Two bus loads of our Marcos 16:15 congregation came out to celebrate our Risen LORD.  Jake preached a powerful resurrection sermon, and afterward we took communion.

Ten beautiful testimonies were shared, and then down to the river for the baptisms. I'm so overjoyed to say that 3 of our girls from the orphanage were among those baptized that day. My heart swelled with pride and joy as I watched them declare their faith and all I could think was, I have no greater joy than to hear that my children are walking in the truth, 3John 1:4 Praise the Lord.

Gisella. She reminds me of myself in a lot of ways.. very shy until you get to know her, and just unique (in a good way!) but in a way that she finds herself never quite fitting in with the other girls. When she shared her testimony, I couldn't help but think back to my own baptism 10 years ago.. I had been so shy and nervous that when my turn came to share my testimony and I saw all the people, I suddenly could not utter a single word. Thankfully I had written down my testimony and was able to have the pastor read it out. lol. Like me, Gisella did not like the idea of speaking in front of so many people, so at first she refused to go to the front, but after a lot of encouraging from the crowd, she eventually went up. She was so brave - she shared her testimony beautifully! Gisella got saved just this past January through hearing the gospel preached by the Baptist Church mission team. She heard, believed, and got baptized. So proud of this girl!

Rosa. This girl has been in love with Jesus for a long time. I remember when we first moved to Peru and being amazed at seeing such a young girl (she was about 9) with so much love for God, and I didn't need her to tell me that; it was clear to be seen in how she abandons herself in worship, and always thinks of others before herself. Rosa's hand was the first to shoot up when the question was asked 'Who would like to be baptized?". This girl inspires me!

Maria Jesus. One of the sweetest girls I know, with big heart of compassion for others. Maria has a younger brother at Casa de Paz, and had really wanted her little brother to be baptized too with her that day. She understands that he has to make that decision for himself, and until he makes that decision, he can't be baptized. We encouraged Maria by reminding her that she now gets the great privilege of being a light to guide others to Christ by sharing the gospel with others, including her brother. Love this girl's heart!

Everyone was hungry by the time the baptisms were done, so we had a wonderful picnic lunch of egg salad sandwiches, potato salad, watermelon, and muffins for dessert. Altogether, it was a perfect day. Thank You Father!

He is RISEN!!

Monday, April 13, 2015

19 Kids

January and February were an interesting time for Jake and I. We took on the job of night shift house parents to fill in for a house mom that had just quit. Night shift is from 8pm to 8am, so basically we got to spend some time with the kids after supper, tuck them all in to bed, then make breakfast for the whole crew in the morning. Sounds fun and pretty straightforward, right? It was! But it was also a lot of other things. :)

With our own three kids in the mix, we had a total of 19 kids in the house, from ages 15 down to 1 month old. I joked to Jake saying we were just like the Duggar's, to which he replied, Who's the Duggar's? lol


Hector loves his milk
Breakfast is ready! eggs and quinoa 


Tahlia 'helps' with the dishes ;)

Hector and Daniel
Time to do chores
boys with toys :)
Card games

They were not too happy about sharing my lap!
This is how we watch movies

The boys love to wrestle with 
Bedtime bible stories!
Rosa is a sweet girl who loves  helping care for the little ones. She will make a great mother some day :)

That sweet moment when the house is quiet at last.
Late nights up with a colicky baby 
Moises is an expert photo-bomber!
From left to right: Dayner, Christofer, Luis, Miguel Angel, Brayan, and Moises

This was as close as we got to getting the whole crew together into one photo
Over these two months we got to know each of these 16 precious kids in a deeper way.. just like our own 3 kids, they each have their own personalities and unique things that make them who they are. But there is one major difference they have with our 3 children that I couldn't help but notice every single day, and it broke my heart. These kids don't have someone to call Mommy and Daddy. Sure they called us that when we were in the house, and they call the day shift moms that too, but it is just not the same. These two months opened our eyes to just how huge of a difference it actually makes whether or not a child has a stable home with parents. One of the situations where we saw this the most was when bedtime came around. Our own kids would obey immediately when we told them to go to bed, but the rest of them would rebel and fight and completely disrespect our orders. It took two minutes to get our 3 kids tucked in, and usually about an hour to get the others rounded up, settled down, and into bed.  It was super frustrating I won't lie, but it also broke our hearts, because we knew that if our own kids had the childhood that these kids come from, they would be no different.  Our children obey because they have been disciplined.. these kids have never received real discipline that is done out of love, they have only received beatings, or neglect. Our kids each get some one on one time with their parents daily.. these kids have likely never received this kind of affection. They have to fight and compete for attention, and this is another reason they act out. Our children have the steadfastness of two parents who are always there. These kids have parents who abandoned them, and different house moms all the time.. they are used to people walking in and out of their lives.

BUT, before you get too depressed just want to let you know that there is good news too, and hope. These children were blessed to end up in an orphanage that unlike so many, is Christ centered. At Casa de Paz, the children get taught the bible, and how to pray and live godly lives, they receive an education, and healing as we love and care for them with the love of God. The good news is that no matter what their past, they have hope for a future. And even if they never have real earthly parents, they can still have the best father of all - a heavenly Father! There are kids here that may never have heard about Jesus if they had not come to Casa de Paz. So YES, there is HOPE. And God is GOOD. Praise the LORD.

Matthew 19:14 but Jesus said, "Let the little children come to me and do not hinder them, for to such belongs the kingdom of heaven."

Sunday, April 12, 2015

Two Sisters to a New Home

A little while ago one of the girls wanted to tell me something, and by the light in her eyes and huge smile on her face, I could tell it was something good.  She could barely sit still long enough to quickly type the words into Google translate. I skimmed over the roughly translated words.. something about paperwork and waiting.. then my heart leaped with excitement when I saw these words "Someone wants to adopt me!"

That is a paragraph from a post I wrote over a year ago titled Adoption.  A lot has happened since then.. it's been a long process of paperwork and waiting, and more paperwork, and more waiting, but I'm sure the young lady who wrote "Someone wants to adopt me!", and the family who was that 'someone', would agree that all the work and waiting was more than worth it.  In just under a year, Irma and her Sister Ruth packed their bags and tearfully, but cheerfully said goodbye to Casa de Paz as they went home with their new family to their new home in the States.  

Adoption is bittersweet. There are no words to describe just how amazing it is to get to see first hand the relationships made and new families being formed. We praise God for His goodness!

Irma and Ruth all smiles with their new Mom and brother

Psa 140:12  I know that the LORD secures justice for the poor and upholds the cause of the needy. 

A Season of Change

Oh dear.. our last blog post was Christmas. It's April now and our first update this year.. we're a little behind huh? Oops. I would apologize but the truth is, I don't forget to update, or get to busy to write, (not speaking for my husband though;). I just go through times where I can't write. I don't know what it is but it's like in those times I literally can't seem to transfer my thoughts to words. So then when I do write, I really write, and usually do a bunch of blog posts all at once. Awhile ago I decided to not let this frustrate me anymore. Maybe God is reminding me that there is a time to speak, and a time to remain quiet, and He will let me know when it is time to speak. Today I felt like it was time to speak, so after praying for Holy Spirit to guide my words and for all that I say to glorify God alone, here's the latest...

2015. There's something different about this year. Of course every new year is different and full of change, but while most changes seem to happen gradually and over time, this year so far has been like an explosion of change.
We were barely into the new year when our pastor here decided to quit on very short notice and take off to Mexico where the Lord was calling him. I guess when God says go, you go, right? We do wish pastor Willy and family the best in their new ministry, but the way they left with hardly a warning left us unprepared for what was next. But thankfully we serve a God who we can rely on for all things, and He knew that He hadn't given Jake a passion and gift of teaching for nothing.:) Jake has had this prophesied over him since he was a young teen that one day he would be a great pastor, and here he is now pastoring a church. It's been wonderful to see the church fill back up, and the music team back together.. so much restoration is happening!, I got to watch my husband baptize 10 young people who have trusted in Christ as their Lord and Savior (3 of which were our girls from the orphanage). It's just awesome and we are full of praise and thanks to our Awesome God who is making all this happen. It's so good, but it hasn't been all easy. God reminds us that when much is given, much is required. I've never seen my husband work as hard as he has these past few months. Our women's bible study and kids club ministry is no longer meeting at Flor's house out on the dump, we have moved it back into the church now that everyone feels welcomed again.

As busy as my hubby has been, I've also been busier than usual this year. This is the first year since moving to Peru that we have decided to not enroll our kids in Peruvian schools. I am homeschooling the kids this year. So far it's been a bit crazy and unstructured and I really have no idea if I'm doing it right, but I'm doing the best I know how, and if they're not learning anything then at least I am :) Overall, as tiring and time consuming as it's been, I'm having as much fun with it as the kids are... I love being somewhat in control of what and how my children learn, and nothing beats the feeling of accomplishment when you see the look on their little faces when you know they finally 'get it'. And the fact that we get to stay in our pj's for class is pretty cool too ;)

With all the changes that happen around us, I think it's safe to say that the ones that happen within us are the biggest and most important. Because what happens within us will usually effect what happens around us. Well, the Lord has been doing some major reno's in mine and Jake's hearts for awhile now.. I don't really know when exactly or how it happened, but all I remember is having a deep yearning to be closer to God. You know how sometimes when you're with someone (sometimes even a whole crowd of people) and you still feel alone? Well that's how I had been feeling in my relationship with Christ for quite some time. Feeling far from God is the worst feeling :/ I know we cannot base our relationship on feelings and that even when He feels far, He is still there, and as bad as those times feel, they are probably good for us because they cause us to seek Him more. And that's what I did.  I called out to God with all my heart. And every time I prayed, the same words came to mind as His reply "Seek Me with all your heart and you will find me."  I knew that the two best ways to seek God are in prayer and in His Word, and I felt convicted as I knew I hadn't been in the word as much lately.  After that I opened my bible prayerfully asking for a renewed passion for His Word, and he gave me not only that but also new understanding of the scriptures. It seemed like every time I opened my bible, I was hit with new truths. It's amazing, I have read the bible through from front to back, twice, and there were, and still are, verses in there that I'm sure were not there before! Of course they were there all along, but the scriptures just seem more alive now than ever. God is faithful. He says that if we seek him with all our hearts, we will find him, and if we lack wisdom, we should ask and it will be freely given. If you've got the Holy Spirit living in you and you truly seek the truth, you will find it,.. and then you will wonder why not everyone knows the truth and like a little child when they discover something new and exciting and want the whole world to know about it, you too will want the whole world to know it! The sad thing is though that a lot of Christians these days don't really want to know the truth. They are satisfied just hearing the 'feel good' parts, because that's much easier. This saddens me, because it is to their own loss. But it is something Jake and I pray for often now, for eyes to be opened, and hearts to be softened to receive the Whole truth of the gospel. I'm so glad that the Lord is doing this work in not only me but my husband too. We grow together in our walk with the Lord, and grow closer to one another in the process. I can't express enough how grateful I am for that!

There is more to be said, but we'll leave it for another post because it's 12am and I'm tired now. :) Good night, and God bless you.

 "If you abide in My word, you are truly my disciples. Then you will know the truth, and the truth will set you free." John 8:31-32