Update on the Situation with Sandra’s Step-Dad
15-year-old Sandra, a student in our new discipleship-based high school program who moved in with us in February of this year due to an abusive situation with her step-dad, is doing incredibly well under our care.
Surprisingly, the police finally did show up at her mom and step-dad’s home, he went to court the next day, confessed to all that was being said of him, and then returned home with Sandra’s mom. The details are still somewhat gray to us, but I believe Sandra’s mom – a sincere Christian who is illiterate and has three other young children at home – decided not to send him to jail because she needs him to continue working so that she and the other three kids do not starve or find themselves on the streets (there is no government welfare program or widespread help for single moms/abused women in Honduras).
This is obviously shocking and frustrating and, as you can guess, has led to zero change in the step-father’s behavior. Sandra’s mom wants to leave him and rent a small one-room apartment for her and the kids, but she is having a very hard time finding something she can afford (even if the apartment doesn’t come with light and running water), and we feel that even if she did move to another house in our same neighborhood he would very easily find her, move in by force or threaten her, and continue onward in the abusive relationship without any real legal consequences.
We want to see Sandra reunited with her mom because they truly do have a healthy, loving relationship, but we sense that it may be quite some time before her mom is able to get away from the step-dad and secure a home that is far enough away from him that he can’t find her. Please continue to pray for Sandra’s mom’s protection during this time and that she and Sandra would not become discouraged in the face of what seem like insurmountable odds. Let us give thanks to the Good Father for Sandra’s current safety in our household and for the physical health she has been able to enjoy under our care (she came to us extremely underweight and with severe dental issues). She is blossoming in our high school program and is quickly becoming one of the best students. Darwin recently began teaching her violin, and she and our other older girls (15-year-old Dayana and 12-year-old Jackeline) enjoy a very positive relationship.
Prayer for Struggling Students
In just two-and-a-half months of classes thus far this year, 6 students have dropped out of our primary school and 4 out of our secondary school. We are currently left with 9 students in primary and 13 in secondary.
There is such a strong cultural pull toward laziness and utter purposelessness in our rural neighborhood that many students literally give up and give in, preferring to wander the gravel roads aimlessly, spend their days goofing around at one of the many natural swimming holes, stealing from neighbors, participating in illicit sexual behavior, and watching an unreasonable amount of television, basically condemning themselves to a lifetime of ignorance and suffering.
This is not at all surprising to us due to the fact that we live here and daily experience the very, very low educational and behavioral expectations of many of our neighbors, but it is still extremely saddening and frustrating. We are blessed and encouraged with the students who have decided to stick it out and persevere a bit, although there are a few more who are currently in secondary who don’t show the least interest in learning and are on the verge of flunking themselves out due to having put forth zero effort thus far.
About half of our 7th-grade students don’t know the times tables and aren’t interested in learning them (something they should have learned early on in primary school), and many if not all come from the local public school system in which a student can miss up to 30 days of school or more and not do a single homework assignment and still pass their grade without having learned anything at all. For this reason and many more, much of the work we do with our students (who do not live with us but are in our home/mission five days a week for school and discipleship) is very similar to the intensive, individualized effort we invest in the lives of those who do live under our roof – praying with them and counseling them one-on-one, seeking to heal and transform that which is broken, being Christ’s living, breathing body to them, teaching them a Way that is completely different from that which they have known. Looked at under this lens, it might actually be a blessing to have fewer students, because that allows us more personalized time with each one.
Please pray with us for our students – both those who remain and those who have dropped out – that God may grant them an ounce if not a pound of perseverance and wisdom to continue onward in the good fight so that we may have the chance to mold them according to God’s perfect will. Please pray also for any potential candidates for the future, that the right students would be brought to us and that those who truly are not interested in being transformed would eliminate themselves before entering our discipleship program. May God’s will be done and His name be glorified whether we have 50 students or only 5! Amen!
New Saturday Routine: the Dentist
During the past few months, we have developed a new routine nearly every Saturday morning with our 8 kids: going to the dentist. Our kids are in such drastic need of dental services that we have literally spent 3-4 hours at the dentist at least 6 or 7 Saturdays thus far, and we still need to complete 2 or 3 more visits to get all the work done. We’ve done root canals, molar extractions, general cleanings, and more cavity drillings and fillings that can be kept track of. The dentist, a local woman who is a wonderful Catholic believer, has been such a blessing to us, and she and I have grown to develop a very sincere friendship (I’ve sat right next to her dental chair as we’ve shared stories and gotten to know one another during the 20+ hours she’s been working on our kids’ teeth!). Let us give thanks to God for our dentist’s life and for the generosity and love she has shown our kids.
Prayer for Ongoing Insomnia
Please join me in prayer for my ongoing battle with insomnia. I felt like my sleep issues improved somewhat for a week or two in March, but in these past 3-4 weeks I have been sleeping 1-3 hours per night, and I’m on the brink of total exhaustion (as I have been for several years). I still do not know the root to this issue, and I’m currently on several natural supplements, relaxing herbal teas, etc, to help with the problem, but they have not produced any results whatsoever.
Grocery Bills Extremely High
Now that we have 8 kids/teens under our full-time care along with providing twice-weekly community lunches for about 45 people and providing breakfast and lunch 5 days a week to our laborers (teachers, nurse/cook, cleaning ladies, etc), our grocery bills have been through the roof these last few months. We’ve taken measures to cut back on our food spending, so we are currently on a strict rice-and-beans diet 3 times a day, whereas before we also spent money on milk products (our cows are not currently producing milk because their calves are already sufficiently grown up), cereals, fruits and vegetables, chicken or beef one day per week, and snacks for our kids to take to school. We’re considering continuing this diet for the rest of April and possibly May in order to get a handle on the grocery bills, but long-term we are still trying to figure out how to most wisely steward the resources the Lord has entrusted to us while also providing for the legitimate needs of those under our care. Please pray with and for us about this, and may we continue trusting the Lord for His provision for all of our needs.
Official Adoption Process Begun with Dayana (15), Gleny (11) and Jason (8)
We’ve begun the official adoption process with the sibling group of three that has been with us two-and-half years and were the first of the now-8 kids to move into our household. Two of the lawyers involved in this process with us have been doing a phenomenal job, moving and shaking more in a few weeks’ time than other lawyers would in a full year, and it is literally shocking the advances we’ve experienced just this past week in the potentially intimidating legal process of adoption. We continue onward with great hope that we may become family to these three for the rest of their lives, and another blessing in the midst of all of this is that the adoption itself is free (the only cost is what our privately contracted lawyer charges). Please join us in giving thanks to God for the lives and effort of the lawyers, judges, secretaries, etc, that have been involved thus far both in the nearby city of La Ceiba and in the capital, and let us pray that the process may continue onward in efficiency and transparency for God’s glory. Amen!