Dear Supporters, Prayer Warriors, Friends and Family,
Ted and I have been in Guatemala for a month now. Many changes are taking place at the house and we are working hard to complete the many tasks before us. Currently, we are expecting Josh and Jamie Stoneman any day now with a crew of 11 to serve at Casa Agua Azul. I would like to share with you some of the inner stories of the house and we ask for your continued prayers for our children, our staff and the inner workings that come with caring for abused children.
This October started out in a whirlwind of challenges, has been filled with many joys, and ends in more challenges.
Casa Agua Azul as with any house or family it is not without challenge. Perseverance, patience and keeping our hearts dedicated to our mission to provide a safe house for abandoned and abused children is foremost in our mind. Casa Agua Azul's purpose is to provide a stable long term home where the children are loved, cared for and educated to become well adjusted and productive members of society. Creativity and faith in a loving God whose love never fails keeps us going.
Three of our boys lost their grandmother, she was the only one in the family that showed them any form of love. After Jerry our house father shared the loss with the children, we gathered the other children for a time of prayer. All the precious hearts gathered at the table, the bonding and love for each other was beautiful as we prayed to the Spirit of God which came in great peace, quietness and stillness. The moment was one to cherish. Then we all went down to the water front. Ludwin our carpenter had made a small wooden cayuco to place beautiful flowers in, to release their loved one to God. The three boys along with one other paddled out in the big cayuco and set the small, flower-filled boat into the current and returned. We served cookies and lemonade ending the day together.
A couple days prior we received a child at 2 a.m. in the morning. Jerry heard commotion outside the gate but put it off thinking it was noise from up the way. Finally he recognized someone was outside the gate. He went out to find a crowd. We live in a small indigenous village. Many villagers circled around the police officers outside our gate and in the hand of one villager was a gallon of gasoline not meant for good. The police came in an unmarked car to drop off a new child and our neighbors were concerned seeing them as strangers . The mayor then alerted the village with the conch horn and many of the village men gathered believing someone was taking one of our children. They came out to protect us saying, ”no one will steal our children.” How is this for feeling loved!
Unfortunately, after a a couple of days and observing the new child's behavior, we had to return him to the officials so they could place him in a home that could care for his specific needs. Often a child can be dangerous to the rest of the house and that was the case. The child has altered personalities. He is a very smart 12 years old. His demeanor is also cool as a cucumber and goes with the flow. His manners are excellent, very personable, and he is a hard worker. At first we thought he was a good story teller but it turned into delusion with defiance and aggression towards others. Your heart goes out for the one that has been so hurt and damaged but at the same time you have a precious group who is healing and coming in to the light. To allow a child with this type of special need to continue going from house to house becomes a severe danger to others. It took three trips to the officials to alert them of the danger this child presents to others and the security required to keep him from harming others along with receiving the help he needs.
Experiencing first hand the situation opens your eyes to the global situation and the evil which has plagued the earth, taking captive the minds of once innocent people and children. I believe the only understanding of the damage done to a child to this degree that exists is to see though the eyes of God. Evil exists to a great measure and to understand evil one must believe God and accept evil as evil, apart from God.
The authorities refused to release us from caring for the child despite the danger to the rest of the group. For two days Ted and I housed him on our mission vessel until we are able to come into an agreement with the law and be released from legal responsibilities. What a catch 22!
Another event happened with good intentions. We purchased baby chicks for the children and they have been so excited to care for and love them. One of our children had placed them in a bucket in the evening trying to protect them from the bigger chickens. Then he decided they would need water and he placed water in the bucket with the baby chicks. In the morning Jerry goes out and finds the chicks in the bucket . It was the concrete bucket and had concrete dust in it. When the water was added the concrete became mortar then started to harden and the chic were covered . Jerry quickly washed them and their feathers were all crusty. The chicks did not look to good, we lost one and Jerry washed them again. Thank God the next morning they are fluffy yellow again and running around the yard as happy chicks again!
To end the month we took all the children and staff aboard Vientos Azul, the catamaran, down to Livingston which is the port town at the mouth of the Rio Dulce River. There was 29 of us in total! It was a fun day; many have never been to Livingston, the beach, or on a sailboat! The day was greater than we could imagine. We are so grateful for such a lovely trip, as the next day is court for 4 of our children. The judge ruled for them to live with their grandmother and our car came home empty, along with our hearts. We may not agree with the decisions of the judge and we do present our case before the judge. During the time the children stay with us, we learn about the family and situations they have come from. Romans 13:1 gives us our instructions, "Let everyone be subject to the governing authorities, for there is no authority except that which God has established. The authorities that exist have been established by God.”
The children are precious and it is important to remember our job is to love and care for them. Casa Agua Azul is a safe refuge standing in the gap. The children ultimately belong to Jesus and our trust is in Him. It is hard to let them go as we all have fallen in love with each one of them. As we see them grow, heal and come to life, we can know when they leave that Jesus has come into their hearts and will care for them.
The system in Guatemala has changed since we started. It appears through our current experiences that the courts are pushing the children too quickly to rehabilitate the family unit. When they are unable to reconcile them, the courts place them up for adoption. In the beginning of this year, there has been talk in the NCFA (National Council for Adoption) of opening up international adoption. At this time we have not heard of anything officially.
In closing, we experienced a car mishap after having the oil changed at the garage. While driving into Guatemala City the oil plug came out draining all the oil at a very inopportune time and place. Needless to say motors without oil are not good. We are faced with a giant garage bill or buying a new car. The good news is that no one was hurt. We have also have found a great mechanic and the option of another car. Pray for wisdom! Jesus promises to provide for his children.
Psalms 82:3 " Defend the cause of the weak and the fatherless: Uphold the cause of the poor and the oppressed.”
Thank you for your love and support!