I hope that all of you have had a good beginning to the new year 2016. Every day is another opportunity to impact the lives of others for the Kingdom of God. I know there are so many battles we all face but we have to wake up in the morning and ask the Spirit to take over our thoughts, words and actions and use us. If you are like me, you often get caught up in “what about tomorrow, or next month . . ” and don’t truly live in the day you have and watch God use your life for His glory. I talked to some of our high schoolers this morning about that very thing. Some of them are discouraged because the classes are hard and their friends in the villages are all doing NOTHING and it looks inviting to be lazy and be the next generation of people without purpose or vision and poor. I encouraged them to just face each day as it comes and that we are here to fight for and with them to see God do amazing impossible things through their lives if they will just be faithful one day at a time.
Thanks for your prayers for us continually. I have been a little saddened about some of the students who have dropped out of the high school recently. I know though that since they are very poor and their parents have never had an education and never dared to dream for bigger things, it is easy for these kids to not be able to dream for anything other than the same lives their parents are living — poor and no work available and barely eating. I know to change this culture it may take a real battle with this first generation — daily trying to encourage them to keep believing that God is with them and in them and wants to use them in His work and that He will do the unbelievable in their lives. When these kids are older and God has established them in careers and ministries, they will encourage their children to dream big. Right now though I really would like to encourage you to be praying for our high schoolers. There are 20 in the 11th and only eleven in the 10th grade now. If one of your sponsored students is in these grades, please recognize just how important are your prayers for them individually. If anyone is not supporting one of these students but would like to pray for one of them by name, let me know.
We are moving onward with the plans for the university starting next fall. God is not finished with His preparation of these students, so I can’t chicken out because this is scary and a new STRETCH in my faith. We are in the process legally with our lawyer to obtain the accreditation necessary so please pray for those doors to open without a hitch. Our nursing school will be the first in the country that has a RN degree instead of just a nurse practicioner (LPN). That situation needs a lot of prayer because we are going to have to determine how to get accreditation for a degree that does not even exist in Honduras. But God is able and we will keep praying for the right contacts. The degrees we are offering will not only be great for mission work (if God calls them to another country) but will also assure them of excellent work in Honduras. We will have degrees in four areas (Lord-willing): nursing, agriculture, education and electricity. Please be praying for every aspect of these plans. We have two teachers on staff who already have the education to be able to teach on the university level for at least the first year of basics and we will be hiring other teachers to fill their spots in the junior/high school levels. There is so much involved in this whole process and we need a LOT of wisdom. One particular area of prayer is how to bring in outsiders who want to attend this new Christian university and still keep up the moral and spiritual standards that we have taught at Destino. We will be interviewing students and also considering what the incoming students should contribute financially since they will not be coming from the poor areas where our elementary through high school children live. There is just so much to think through and pray through and so I ask you toplease keep this on your heart and in your prayers with me.
Thanks for praying for the construction funds. We have enough right now to finish the roof and put in the cement floor and I know God will continue to provide as we need to finish up bathrooms, walls, offices, electricity, etc. We have had some extremely cold weather the past few weeks and had to cancel church on Sunday because we currently meet outside on the basketball court for church. So we are really anxious to get this gym/church built. Please keep praying for the finances to get it all finished soon.
I went through a very hard situation recently. I had to make one of the children in my home return to her parents. It broke my heart. I have had some really tough decisions the past few years where I have had to let students (and now one of my own) leave in order to protect the majority. I cannot just show mercy to try to save each individual when they are harming others. Nicol was a really bad influence in our home with the younger children and in school she was controlling other girls in a negative way as well. Please pray for Nicol that she will continue to go to school and that God will continue His work in her life. This was so difficult but it has been confirmed over and over to me that this was the right decision. I had to keep reminding myself that I am not a parent sending my child off to a children’s home — but this is the children’s home and I am sending a child back to her parents. I truly feel that these children are mine in my heart so this decision was very painful. I had to reach the right decision with God’s wisdom though and through this process, I think he made me more prepared for future problems that may arise with other children and that prepare me to recognize that I cannot save every child no matter how hard I try and fight for them. Thanks for your prayers for me for more wisdom each day and also for Nicol. Her parents are very poor but they are moral people and will keep her safe.
Church is still growing not only in attendance but spiritually and I am so grateful to the Father to see so many more parents coming to Christ. Last week, Pastor Pablo had a parents’ conference on discipline to follow up on the conference my sister, Kathi, taught in November on discipline. The parents are more and more interested in letting God change this area of their lives. The parents were very attentive and obviously convicted about the lack of discipline and control in their homes and at the end of the talk, seven mothers prayed to receive Christ. As I said above, this is a really tough situation to change a whole culture but we are seeing changes in some families and I thank God for that. Keep praying for our pastors, Efrain and Pablo, as there is so much to be done here working with these 300 families.
Please be praying for Eidy. Since she moved in with me at 3 until now at 15 years of age, she has been a battle. She is a born leader though and I know God is going to use her in a mighty way. She has recently re-committed her life to the Lord and I am praying that she will continue to be sincere in her pursuit of Him and not her own desires. As one of my lady workers said, “Eidy takes one person to just supervise her most of the time and another person can watch over the other 21 kids.” She has always been a struggle for me but I love her as my own and ask you to pray for a true heart change that will keep her walking solidly with the Lord Jesus. She has two girls that she leads in discipleship and God is changing them through her and I know this is only the beginning of the ministry God has in store for her, if she will let him change her.
I’m going to Augusta for a few days next month (Feb. 3-9). I have to get my license renewed before it expires. I never learned to parallel park so I sure don’t want to let it expire and have to re-take those tests!! On Friday night, February 5th from 7 to 10 p.m. we will have a drop in for coffee and desserts at the home of Barry and Leslie O’Neill, 4217 Anderson Circle, in Evans. Everyone is welcome to come by and visit with me. I will be so very happy to see any of you sweet friends and I can catch you up on more details about things at Destino.
I have received many encouraging comments about how God is using the book “Just Because I Said Yes” in people’s lives and they are sharing it with others who need encouragement or are not believers. Please pray for the book to continue to make an impact on everyone who reads it — to recognize (1) that God is still the God of miracles and (2) that he wants to use everyone of us to do impossible, incredible works for Him, regardless of our own abilities. If you want more information and have not read it, you can find it on the website www.destinodelreino.org
There is much more going on but I know these emails get too long — thanks for your prayers. I know God is using your prayers to keep us going — physically, spiritually and financially. Please don’t ever stop praying and remembering us over here. Remember you cannot hit “reply” to respond to this message but if you would like to write me directly, my email is email@example.com I would love to know how to be praying for you and your family as well.
In His great mercy and grace,