I’m back at Casa de mi Padre people! It was wonderful catching up with many of you while I was in the U.S. in September, but I was definitely itching to be back towards the end and missing my kiddos. Upon returning, this was my welcome!
I was met with much excitement, big hugs, and beautiful drawings from the children. I will cherish this moment for many years to come!!
I’ve jumped right back into the swing of things, and have been working on setting us up for success for the upcoming audiences in court. On September 25th, we were supposed to have two audiences in two different cities. I wrote a letter for Jeshua and Andres for theirs in Guatemala City, stating my recommendations that the boys not be returned to their previous home. Their mother did not want the responsibility of being their guardian, and their grandmother left them unattended during most days when she had to go work. Due to their lack of supervision, they ended up joining a gang in which one of the boys was shot in a deal gone bad. This case was one of the more concerning ones for me, as I knew that should they return to the care of their mother or grandmother, they would both end up in the same dangerous situations. Fortunately, the judge ruled in our favor and we have the boys for at least three more months.
I stayed behind for Lucrecia and Elda’s court case, which ended up being cancelled due to a change in our local judicial personnel. This was a true answer to prayer, as I really wanted more time to prepare for their case. Lucrecia’s mother’s ex-husband (no relation to her or Elda) wants them both, and we fear that he has evil intentions. Neither of the girls feel comfortable or safe around him, and don’t want to live with him.
As I’ve written about in a previous post, the government is working tirelessly to remove children from institutions and place them into family units. The big issue is, they’re so desperate to get them out, there’s not a lot of investigation into what constitutes a “good home”. This push to place children is relatively new (within the last 6 months), whereas before there were less audiences and no families would show up. We’ve had several children placed recently, all of which were a shock to us. Some were good placements, others were not. Therefore, I’m now creating a framework for an informational packet for the judge as well as a way to prepare the kids for the questions they will be asked. When I say “prepare”, I’m not putting words in their mouth, but helping them understand the full picture of what that home could look like, good or bad, and how it will affect their future.
Additionally, I had the pleasure this week of having a Guatemalan family over for dinner! I’ve been building a relationship with Ana (age 16, one of the youngest daughters) and Wana (the matriarch of the family) over the last few months. On Monday, I told Wana that I wanted to learn how to make some Guatemalan cuisine, and that I wanted to have her family over for dinner sometime. Ana piped up, “What about Wednesday! You don’t work that day… right?” Caught off guard my response was, “Uh. You’re right… Wednesday works great!” I left that conversation thinking, “What have I done? I still don’t know many customs in this culture, my Spanish is still relatively poor, and my house isn’t ready for guests yet… Am I cooking American cuisine? Or Guatemalan? I’m still relatively unsure as to what I can make with what is available here… what if they don’t like what I make?” After my initial panic subsided, I realized I was creating excuses not to step out of my comfort zone… and the decision was already made for me anyway! (Thanks Ana!) I ended up really enjoying my time with them. Wana and Ana came over in the late morning, and helped me grocery shop and navigate the market. Wana and the rest of her daughters came over at 4:30 to help meal prep. Well, they really ended up just taking over which was fine by me… I got to watch and learn! The rest of the family trickled in until 6, and we had a wonderful meal of steak, rice, grilled green onions, cucumber/radish salad, and Coca-Cola! It felt a little awkward with some uncomfortable silences, and poor attempts at communication (on my part), but overall it was a good start to a great relationship with them. I’m excited to build more relationships with the locals, and serve not just the kids but my new community as well.
Please pray for Andres. He so desperately wanted to be with his mother, and when the court ruled in our favor something in him snapped, and he had a mental breakdown. He was one that we initially thought would be easier to help of the two, but it turns out he has weaker coping skills and has been struggling a whole lot more to adapt. I’ll be meeting with him multiple times in the upcoming weeks, so please pray that the Lord gives me wisdom in our conversations, and that I can help him wade through his feelings and discover the truth. He also does not know God, and I’m hopeful this will open the door to some good conversations!
Please pray for Lucrecia and Elda. Their case was rescheduled for later this month, and it will definitely be a tough one. I’ll be helping them prepare for either outcome, and create an “emergency plan” should they have to go with that man and it become an abusive situation.
I’m so thankful for all of you who have given support, but I’m not fully funded for the year yet! Please prayerfully consider becoming a monthly or one-time donor so I can continue doing God’s work here. An additional expense I’ll be needing to cover, is a mode of transportation. I need $3,000 to buy a four-wheeler so that I may drive to and from Casa and around town.
Thank you all for your prayer and support!