Tag Archives: Youth Discipleship

2016 Yearend Updates and Prayer Requests

8-year-old Josue who has been in our family with his older sister Jackeline (age 13) for nearly two years and who has experienced great advancements in his general motor skills and ability to communicate. We continue to pray for total healing for this precious boy as he continues to use diapers and still cannot learn in  a normal classroom environment due to his special needs.


Healing With Christian Counselor for Our Girls

We recently had a sister in Christ, an American missionary who has been serving in Central America for several years, come stay in our home for the better part of a week to do all-day group counseling sessions with our girls to aid in their ongoing healing process from difficult situations they went through in their early childhood. We are very thankful for the investment of the counselor in our girls’ lives, and we are hoping to have her back 1-2 times per year over the long haul. Please continue to pray with us for our daughters’ healing and freedom in Christ as chains of abuse and sin are being broken from their past with their biological families.

12-year-old Josselyn, who since moving in with us in July 2015 has learned to read and write for the first time in her life and is now successfully on her way to fourth grade in our accelerated homeschool program for older students. She is one of our pianists who dedicates 12 hours each week to practicing her instrument now that she is on school vacation until February.


12-year-old Gleny, who will be entering our discipleship-based homeschool program in February after having spent the last two years in a private Christian school. Unlike the rest of our kids, Gleny is not very interested in music, so we are currently exploring other areas to get her involved in to discover where her God-given gifts lie.

 New Initiative/Job Opportunity for Local Youth

Last month we began offering a short-term job opportunity for a select group of our students at the Living Waters Ranch. We held three open informational/training sessions with all the youth interested in the job, assigned an in-depth homework assignment as part of the selection process, and then chose 9 youth ages 12-15 who would be the official ‘tutors’ (think fun educational babysitters) for developmentally-challenged 8-year-olds Gabriela and Josue during the winter vacation months.

We are about six weeks into this new initiative, and thus far it has produced abundant blessing both for the young tutors and Gaby and Josue, who are being joyfully occupied with art class, basic literacy, P.E., hide-and-seek, etc, while Darwin and I thus have more free time to dedicate to our older kids and other responsibilities.

As part of the job, the teenage tutors have to read Heidi Baker’s book Compelled by Love, a Christian non-fiction book about how to live Jesus’ command to love the lost and the least. Before each ‘pay day’, the teens have to submit a lengthy summary of the chapters that were assigned in addition to a personal reflection on the subject matter covered.

There are almost zero employment opportunities for teenagers in our poverty-stricken rural area (and almost no one has the habit of reading long chapter books), so the experience thus far has been of great growth and blessing for our young tutors. We are excited about this new initiative because it keeps wiggle-worms Gaby and Josue occupied and growing while at the same time makes a lasting investment in the lives and development of the young people who are learning for the first time what it means to hold a real job, read a very impactful book and deepen their walk with Christ.

8-year-olds Gabriela and Josue (those who are now in daily sessions with our young team of dedicated tutors) enjoying an afternoon playing in the rain


Miss Isis, one of our treasured Honduran teachers who has committed to serve alongside of us again next year, giving Gaby and Josue a fine motor skills class with paperclips.

Educational Field Trip to Local Nature Reserve with Our Students; Darwin’s Recorder Ensemble Plays During Lunch

Several weeks ago we were invited by an internationally-known nature reserve in our small town to spend the morning bird-watching with professional guides, hiking through a forest, wandering through a butterfly farm and seeing many snakes up-close in a Serpentarium. It was a very special experience for all of our students, teachers and live-ins as they had never participated in such an event in such a breathtaking landscape. During lunch on-site, Darwin organized his small group of dedicated student musicians to play several pieces as a thank-you to the owners of the reserve who had received us that morning.

Who needs traditional hair barrettes when you can use the plastic clips we use on our clothesline? You’re a great hairstylist, Gleny!

Prayer Needed for Continued Protection Against Local Violence

There is much senseless violence and fear in our immediate context. Just this week two of our beloved teachers were kidnapped by a masked taxi driver. One of them began praying out loud that God would protect them, and finally the masked driver miraculously let them leave as he was taking them to a very isolated part of the city. Weekly we hear about (or personally see) large commercial buses being burned by extortionists and rampant gang-related murder taking the lives of innocent citizens. Please pray with us so that we do not fall prey to this spirit of fear and that Father God would protect us from the deeds of evil men so that we may continue to peacefully fulfill His will for many years to come.

13-year-old Jackeline, who is making great strides in her overall recovery from many difficult situations she had been through prior to arriving in our family in January 2015. She is another one of our pianists who is practicing 12 hours per week during the vacation months and just participated in her third public recital last night.


Twice-Weekly Bible Study and Worship Continue During Vacation Months

During the winter vacation months before our new school year starts up again in February, we are continuing to meet as a family twice a week to study God’s Word and grow in Him. A small group of our students and neighbors continue to attend as we are taking turns leading the discussion as a way of allowing leadership/growth opportunities to the precious young people God has placed in our lives. Brayan and Josselyn led the discussion on Thursday, and sisters Dayana and Gleny are scheduled to lead on Tuesday of this upcoming week.

Our 9-year-old son Jason, who is always ready to lend a helping hand. The other day he was helping me move a few pieces of furniture around the house, and his older sister told me, “Hey, Ma, what a great assistant you have,” referring to her younger brother. Jason slouched over good-naturedly and said, “Assistant. That’s what everyone calls me. My Pa calls me that. And Dayana. Everyone always calls me their assistant…”

Prayer Needed for Sleep Issue and General Vitality

More than local violence, police corruption or behavioral problems confronted in our household, the biggest struggle I’ve come against day after day has been insomnia. Despite many natural and prescription sleeping aids and other treatments I’ve tried,  I frequently spend the entire night wide awake or sleep only a couple hours. It is very easy to become discouraged and/or fall into hyper-adrenaline rushes to combat utter exhaustion as I daily struggle with general irritability with those around me. Please pray for this very real battle that oftentimes has my sanity hanging from a thread as I’ve been constantly sleep deprived for several years.

Cristian (one of our night watchman’s sons who is in school with us) and Brayan (the one whom the prior blog was written about), enjoying lunch in our front yard. Cristian will be entering 5th grade and Brayan 6th in February as they continue to seek God’s protection and will for their lives in a country where too many young men turn to violence and despair.

Christian Youth Conference Participation

This past week we drove six hours across the country with two of our beloved teachers and our two oldest kids (Dayana and Brayan) to attend the first-ever Christian youth conference held by a respected  organization that seeks to help at-risk youth and those growing up without their biological families to base their identity in Christ. It was a very busy three-day event with several speakers, team-building activities and small group discussion/prayer time. Events such as these are very uncommon in developing countries such as Honduras, so to be able to participate and continue growing in Christ with those we love was a very huge privilege. It was a very healthy experience to get out of our immediate context and meet other Christ-followers from around the country and be exposed once more to the truth we’ve come to know and love.

12-year-old James Bond, er, I mean, Yexon, enjoying one of our new trapeze bars hung from the porch of our school building.


Amen! Glory to God!

Trampolines, Proverbs, Beach Balls and Letters of Gratitude: God’s Grace Experienced in the Classroom

This past Friday our beloved high school teacher, Miss Ligia, was away from the classroom during the morning hours to attend an appointment in the nearby city of La Ceiba, so we searched long and hard to find a suitable substitute teacher…

Well, we found one, but her teaching methods were a little off-the-wall (sometimes quite literally as her inflated beach ball bounced off the walls…)


Where’s the ball going next?


15-year-old Sandra, the newest addition to our household in February 2016,  eyeing her crazy substitute teacher…


Heads up, kids! It’s comin’ your way!


Each student had to be ready to drop whatever they were doing  to catch the roaming beach ball when their name was called, stand up, and declare the Biblical statement I had scribbled on the very, very full whiteboard.


Our 15-year-old daughter Dayana, one of our two live-ins who study in our new discipleship-based high school program


14-year-old Messy, a local student in our program


18-year-old Exson, Messy’s older brother, who is in my twice-weekly prayer group and who has begun to ask the Lord to grant him wisdom above all else. Every time we ask who has a prayer request, he always says with a smile, “Wisdom.” We give thanks to God for Exson’s participation in our program because truly a large portion of the young men in our rural neighborhood who are his age are involved in gangs or drug-trafficking or simply roam the streets and engage in utter purposelessness.


12-year-old Dariela, an exceptionally bright student from our rural neighborhood who is in the beginning stages of being transformed by her knowledge of God’s Word and His love for her


14-year-old Arlen, whom we’ve known consistently for two years now and who is acquiring a very precious maturity, wisdom, and love of God. He used to be extremely childish and lazy, but in the past few months he is emerging as a leader in our Bible studies and is being transformed as a son of God in a very real way.


Here’s the good news: if you’re really talented, you get called upon to come shout out the declaration with the beach ball and jump on the mini-trampoline at the same time.







We all enjoyed an incredibly blessed morning together on Friday. I implemented a partially-Montessori-style learning environment geared toward older kids while including hands-on stations such as “architecture” (blocks/Legos), painting, and Chinese Tangram puzzles.


14-year-old Rolan, a very artistic young man from our rural neighborhood who has fantastic questions about life, God, what comes after death, etc. He is very open to hearing God’s word and is one of our better students academically.


For the majority of our teenage students, something so simple as playing with blocks is new to them because they never did so in their early childhood. As much as we are moving forward with our students, much of our work with them is also going backward with them and providing what they didn’t receive in the beginning stages of their development.


Rolan, Charlie and Exson enjoying a painting project on the tile floor after having finished their desk work


The sit-in-your-chair stations were: an independent study on several chapters of Proverbs, written thank-you letters (one to Father God and one to any family member or person who supports them in their daily life), and a discussion-based study guide of questions based on chapter 13 of Ted Dekker’s novel “30 A.D.” that we are currently reading as a class.



13-year-old Charlie, another student who is undergoing a very surprising transformation. He came to us in early February as a little jokester, constantly making fun of others or turning everything into a big joke, but as of late he is very active in Bible study, is becoming a much better student academically and is truly finding his niche in our hidden little discipleship center in the foothills of the mountains. Please pray with us for his continued transformation, salvation and protection as seeds of Life and Truth are being planted in his life.


13-year-old Elalf and 12-year-old Sindy working on their letters of thanksgiving




Reading several chapters from Proverbs and writing on index cards the verses that impacted them most






This is 12-year-old Cristian, one of our 7th-grade students who has had many struggles with constancy and work ethic in his first several months in our program due to the general indiscipline that reigns in our neighborhood and undoubtedly defined his education and outlook before arriving at our front gate. In these past couple days he has begun to work a bit harder after a very productive meeting we had with his mother. Please pray with us for him as he continues to be exposed to the liberating Truth of Jesus and the purposes that God wants to involved him in.






Seeing as the 12 students had spent the first part of the morning in their socks after having been instructed to leave their shoes at the door (to protect our little mini-trampoline from dirt clods, etc), after an hour or so had passed it was time to rotate stations.

To shake things up a bit and ensure that no one fell prey to boredom or restlessness, I informed the students that on the count of 10 they would jump up from their seats, find and put on their shoes as quickly as possible and then run 2 laps as fast as they could around our little schoolhouse before returning, taking their shoes off again, and sitting down in their new stations.


Go, go, go! Get your shoes on!




Here come Sindy and Dayana! They’re on Lap 2!



Stampede of young men!


Who knew that running laps would be so much fun?


I definitely didn’t think it would turn out as well as it did; everyone came in laughing hysterically and panting.




As each person collapsed in their seat, I informed them with a huge smile: “I liked that so much, that you’re gonna do it again. 1, 2, 3 — 10! Go!”

Eyes wide and still panting hard, everyone jumped up again and repeated the whole process!


Do it all again!




Oh no! Elalf cheated! He’s carrying his shoes rather than wearing them!



I think Sindy’s tired!


Go, Sandra, go! She’s heading back to class after having completed her two additional laps!




Well, the lap-running had the exact effect I had hoped for: it canalized their energy enough to persevere a few more hours with our focused activities in the classroom. Worship music continued to play from our little CD player in the classroom as each student worked independently at their designated station, the entire morning marked by such tangible peace, gratitude and joy as can come only from our good Father who is beyond this world of ours that is stained by just the opposite. Truly we thank Him for granting us a morning of such grace as we continue to grow together, fervently seeking the One who holds all answers, all hope, all joy.