I don’t think I have had so much news to share at one time ever. We have so many NEW things happening at Destino right now that it is mind-boggling. God is answering your prayers and, again, I thank you for your faithfulness in partnering with us in prayer and giving.
First new thing is that we got our baby boy finally. We have been waiting for him since before he was born and he came to us about a week ago to live permanently. He is now 2 1/2 months old and he is the brother of Dariana (age 3) who has been with us since she was a month old. His name is Cristian and he is adorable and so easy to take care of. He smiles all the time and is a joy to the family already.
Not only did we get this baby, we also have been approved to be the new transition house for many babies in the future. Our home will be the place where any babies or toddlers that are abandoned and retrieved by the government in any part of our department (or state) of Comayagua will be brought to us while they are finding foster homes for these children or until they are adopted. The desire is to place all orphans and abandoned children in foster homes and to increase the interest among Christian families in Honduras to act as foster parents. I will receive those that have no foster homes lined up for them yet and so they may be here with us for only a week or a month or so. If one of the babies ends up here for more than 4 months without finding a foster home, then we will keep them at Destino until they are adopted. If they do not get adopted after one year, then we have the option of keeping them permanently. This may be how God intends to grow Destino into the 6 children’s homes that we had originally thought we should have. Please pray for us in all this transition. We won’t ever know how many children we may have at any given time so we have to be flexible with staff. We have almost completed an extension room that joins our first house to the second house so that we can grow into the next house without actually opening it separately (at least until we have a lot of children). I’m not really sure how all of this is going to work yet but we are sure that God has led us to open up this ministry and so we will rely on Him to walk us through each new step. Thanks for your prayers.
Although we have had church at Destino since the very beginning, it feels like we have a new church. About two weeks ago, after many battles with teens in our school whose lives are not changing as we had prayed for, and after parent conferences where the parents will lie for their children rather than take the chance their children will lose their opportunity for this free education, I felt a STRONG urging from the Spirit that I was to make a new policy for Destino. I knew it was God speaking to me because I CERTAINLY did not want to do this. I don’t want people to hate me and I am a people pleaser to a fault and this would never be MY idea to make a new demand on the families that I believed at that time would infuriate many. What I heard the Spirit tell me was that I was to start requiring every family to be in church weekly at Destino del Reino or their children would not be allowed to continue in school here. We cancelled school on Monday and had a school-wide parents’ meeting where I could announce the change and also share my heart with them for the reason this change was necessary. I love their children but with no help from their parents, the battle for their children was becoming impossible. We sent a form home the next day to the parents where they would either check “yes, I will be at church every week” or “no, I will not be attending church at Destino and I will not continue with my children in school next school year.” I was expecting to maybe lose at least one-third of our children. Instead, out of 300 students, we lost 2. (They are both part of a church that says it is a sin to visit another church). So my first fear of losing a third of our students was alieviated. My next fear was that even though they came to church, they would come reluctantly and it would be a very cold church service with a bunch of angry adults there. NO, instead there was JOY in all their faces. We went from an average of about 75 on Wednesday night to over 500 people. We had covered the basketball court in the fall and (on what I thought at the time was a whim) I asked Erick to put in big court lights and electricity for us to use the court at night. We had to buy 500 more plastic chairs but other than that, we could start off immediately with a huge attendance. Then my next fear was that they would not continue to come — instead a majority of the families are coming both Sunday afternoon and Wednesday night to church and loving it. I think the Lord just knew it was time to bring in the harvest. We have invested 10 years into their children’s lives and many parents had come to accept Christ through our meetings occasionally where we would share the gospel with the parents but they had never attended church or started to really grow spiritually. We have had many come to Christ already in the few weeks of this new requirement and it is AMAZING to see the wisdom of God. When He tells us to do something, He knows exactly what is best and when is the perfect timing. I am so amazed at what is happening here. I praise God for Pastor Pablo who speaks the truth in love and his sermons are powerful.
As a result of the above, we also have a new bus. We had received a huge generous donation from a foundation to go towards building our gymnasium and we asked for permission to use a part of that to get another used bus. We have to have 5 buses to bring the people in for church. We actually already need another additional bus and I am not sure what to do about that. We completely filled to overflowing all 5 buses on Wed. night this week and I know there were more who wanted to come. We need to pray that some people with some pick-up trucks will start coming to church and help bring the people. All of our families are too poor to have cars so we have to bring them in on the buses. Thanks for your prayers for this great problem we have — too many people.
Another new thing coming up soon is a university. We were at the end of our process to receive our accreditation for high school and they informed us that we cannot choose the high school careers (agriculture, computers, electricity) that we had chosen if we were bilingual. So I simply said, we will teach English but not be officially bilingual. They came back with: if you are not officially bilingual, you cannot operate on the American calendar schedule (Sept. to June) and we would have to go to the Honduran schedule (Feb. to November). We just could not do that so we had to stay classified as a bilingual high school, which only offers pre-college courses and also only has two years (10th and 11th grades). Therefore, we will have kids entering 11th grade this year and they will need to start university classes by a year and a half from now. We have believed that we were to start a university for a long time now but now it is really coming up on us. We will not have a lot of majors but we want to have education, teachers of English, agriculture and electricity and computers. These fields will well prepare our kids to be missionaries in any country as well as assure them of jobs here in Honduras if God keeps them here. We need a lot of prayer for the accreditation process to go smoothly and of course for funds and wisdom etc. etc. I believe the class time will only be 4 hours a day so we will keep all our students the other half of their days to work as assistants in the school and work on the farms and help in the abandoned babies houses, etc. I think we can save enough salaries to cover the salaries of our professors in the university. Thanks for your prayers. God is going to equip these kids completely and then use them in mighty ways for His glory and for the furthering of the Kingdom of Christ in this world.
Thanks to all of you for all your efforts in collecting for the container coming by the end of May. John Turner is working with some of you to get his trucks to come through various points in Texas to retrieve your collections. I am so amazed at how much you are all doing for us. Thank you so much.
We are in the middle of our annual soccer competition in Siguatepeque. It is always fun but exhausting. Each of our teams won their first game so far. Two teams lost their second game by one point and the third team hasn’t played their second game yet. I have to be at every game because I have my own kids on each of the three teams so I can’t miss!! It’s only once a year though so I am enjoying it.
Thanks for your prayers — I have again battled my fears lately (as you probably picked up in my paragraph about the church growth) — I need to reflect on God’s faithfulness ALWAYS. I am nervous about the money again and all the new believers and who is going to disciple them, and nervous about a UNIVERSITY???? but God is GOD and He has NO limits and this is HIS ministry and HIS problem. Please pray for me to REST IN HIM!!!!
Love all of you so much and praise God for your faithful prayers that keep this ministry on track and fruit coming in.
In His amazing grace,