I should have written y’all last week but school was starting and we had so many last minute things to get together. Things are going well though and everyone is settling down in their classes now. The first few days were very frustrating. The director and Carlos and I had made a decision that we were not adding any more children after the week before school was to start. On the first day of school, Iris was cooking and said she didn’t have enough food — I couldn’t understand what was happening and checked and found that Sandra, the director, had added 10 more students without checking with us. I made her explain to the parents that she had been in error and we are not taking in any more children. That is a big request for prayer for us right now. Sandra has a problem with authority and it is really putting a lot of stress on Carlos and I. We hired her to be the director but we don’t really trust her enough to put the responsibility on her and so that responsibility is still on us for every decision and to double-check on what she is doing. Please pray for us to know what God would have for us this next year — I am sure we need to make some major plans but we need grace to get through this year right now. Then this week, she decided with the teachers (without permission from Carlos or I) that they would only have one day of reinforcement classes for the kids instead of two. We had made this decision to have 2 back in June and she just changed things. Well, now she has changed it back after I had a talk with her about authority and her responsibility. The teachers think it is a lot for them to stay until 4:00 two days a week. They are accustomed to half days here and we just are not going to do that because our goal is for these children to be well-educated and that cannot happen in the short hours the teachers want to put in. Thanks for praying that God will provide the teachers from the States for us next year that He would have for us and that we can work out priorities here. It may be that He is showing us to look for another director as well — I would rather have an American for that position as well. Thanks for your prayers as we need wisdom for each new day.
Our final number is 110 students this year. It is quite full but I think we can do it. I need to find about 20 more sponsors since we added so many new students at the end but I know God will put that on hearts. Please share with your friends to pray about that as well. They can sign up on the web site if they are interested.
I started teaching English classes yesterday at the school. The kids were so excited and love to learn. The biggest problem is that I have about 55 four and five-year olds in one class and it is pretty hard to teach that way. But I am going to just pray for wisdom and that they will continue to be so well-behaved and will learn quickly. Thanks for praying for me. The first and second graders had a year of English already and are so well-behaved but I still think I need to turn that into two classes so they can get more individual attention. There are 29 in first grade and 28 in second grade. I was so excited when Martha told me that she would like to be my assistant in teaching English. She is really going to enjoy it and I love having her help me. She is doing so well now and I know that God is going to use her at Destino del Reino for many years to come. She knows she can’t leave because we are her family!! ha.
I haven’t heard anything further from Carlitos’ mom. She didn’t show up this weekend for family visit so maybe she is already showing her lack of interest. She had called and I was very clear with her that she had let her mom raise Carlitos for his first 3 years and I had the next 3 1/2 years so she has a lot of proving to me and the judge that she is ready to take on caring for him. I really believe that God called Carlitos to Destino for a purpose and so please pray for this situation to pass and God will keep him here with us. I will have the judge declare him “at risk” if necessary to keep the mom from taking him though. His grandmother (the mother of Carlitos’ mom) even has told us that it would not be good for him to leave with her. Thanks for your prayers.
We are working a little at a time on the cafeteria. For some reason, the funds are not flowing in as they have in the past and I don’t know if God is trying to tell us to not finish it this year or if we are just having our faith stretched each week — thanks for praying for us in this. It is always such a test of faith to wait each week to see what we can do and not do with the construction. We are praising God already for the school and we can function without the cafeteria if necessary but I don’t believe He started it and will not finish it for the kids.
The church is going great. Every week there are more people and I am so impressed with Carlos’ way with them. He calls the teenagers down when they are talking in church and then they just keep coming because they know he loves them and wants them to learn the Word of God. We had a neat thing happen last week. Carlos was praying at the end of the service and felt there were two people that God wanted to heal — one of a physical thing and another had a huge burden that God wanted to answer for them. He didn’t do anything dramatic or have them come forward but just prayed for everyone and we waited on God. The next day a man came to him that has been coming to church regularly and told him that he believes he was the one that God was talking to about healing that night before. He said the woman he had been with was dying of AIDS and he believes that God healed him the night before. A few days later, Carlos got a call to come to the carpenter’s house. His wife was in our church that night we prayed and Carlos was not aware that it was her that was in such deep need. She said that she KNEW it was God talking to her and that he would answer her prayers when Carlos prayed for her that night. We did not know that her husband (the carpenter) had left her for another woman several weeks before. The next morning, he showed up at his home and asked his wife to forgive him and had all his clothes with him to return home. He told Carlos that he wants so much to walk with the Lord and be restored in his relationship with Christ. God is up to amazing things and we just need to continue to trust him and believe the power of His promises.
AWANAs is going so well we don’t know what to do – ha. We have more and more kids on the bus every week and they LOVE it!!! We did recruit a few more leaders this week from the neighborhood so we can have a better ratio of leaders with kids for memorizing their verses, etc. Also, another missionary friend in the next village has offered to help us and she took over the directorship of the smaller children — about 70 of them. She is so organized and we don’t even need to think through that part of the program. Thanks for your prayers. When the next container comes in, we will make it the AWANA store and paint it up really pretty and open it up for the kids to spend their AWANA dollars each month. Thanks for all your prayers. We know that God is really going to build a lot of Kingdom leaders out of this program. We had more than 160 this week and new ones every week coming.
Please be praying for the container that is being packed this week. So many people gave generously and they have to go through the items now and pick out the most necessary to send to us. That is a nice problem to have. Please pray for all those that have given so much of their time to get this together for us. Also, the friends in Houston are AGAIN buying the container and shipping it to us. We are amazed at the goodness of God expressed through these friends to us.
Please pray for Travis Bennett from Houston too. He knows that God is calling him to Destino and needs to be able to come soon. We are very anxious to have him here because he will be a huge help to Carlos in the construction. We need someone else to get materials and oversee the workers. As much as we love our workers, they do not work hard unless someone is watching and Carlos cannot be watching all the time and still handle all the other business of Destino.
Thanks for praying about our accounting situation. I know that God is working in so many situations for us. The new accountant here is almost through with the books from January to July and we can really get organized with her help. Please pray for Carlos and I — this is not our gift — we are people-persons — so we need a lot of discipline and wisdom in this very important part of the ministry. Pray for the Board as they try to help us — it is hard in different countries and different perspectives on how to do things and also just the frustration of being so far away and unable to talk things out.
The kids are doing wonderful. The babies are trying to crawl — Ana (6 months) is about to catch up with Emily (9 months). I have 6 of the little kids in school now. Cokie is thrilled to be in pre-K and loves every minute of it. Carlitos is in pre-K as well because he was not mature enough to move up to kindergarten. Cesar moved up into the kindergarten class and Fernando and Eidy are in there as well. Blanca is now in the 2nd grade and is reading so well already. Sammy stays at home with Jonathan and Josue in the mornings and they play great together. Eduard and Erick are doing well in school and are so mature for their age. I praise God for their help and sweet attitudes and the way they are growing in the Lord — they are not typical teenagers — praise God for that! ha.
Thanks for your prayers for us personally here. We seem to be slowing down and are noticing the richer times with the Lord than through the summer months and that makes a HUGE difference in every way here. Please pray for us continually for more wisdom and to make no decisions before praying about each step. It is easy to start just “winging it” when we are so swamped and there are so many decisions to make. But God has a very specific plan here and we don’t want to miss any part of it. We count on your prayers and are so grateful to all of you.
Love to everyone — let me know how to be praying for you as well. Some have said they don’t want to write me because they feel that I would have pressure to write them back — please don’t hesitate to write me. I need the encouragement and I type about 150 words a minute so can write everyone back and I love doing it.
In His grace,