Cooling Down and Heating Up
As you read this you may have the gentle hum of an a.c. on in the background, but here we are in fluffy sweaters and heavy socks.
As the temperatures drop, the climate is close to brisk autumn days and are just as fun. The kiddos are flying their kites, helping to rake leaves (just to be able to jump in the, I am pretty sure) and begging the house moms to make “peanut tea” (it is better than it sounds! hot mile with ground peanuts, sugar and cinnamon) and roasted corn on the cob.
The house is a little quieter now. Six children have returned to their homes. Five were Leonardo and his siblings. We saw Leonardo and Daniel take such big steps forward, and it was hard to see them leave and go back to where all their problems started! I spent a lot of time with them reminding them that they don’t have to go backwards, but instead, they can bring the love of Jesus to their mom and step-father, and we are continuing to work with them in their home. Please continue to pray for Leonardo, Daniel, Maria Vitoria, Ana Julia and Janderson.
The other recent departure was also touching, but for a different reason. Adriana had been with us for just a few months, and during that time we saw a precious, affectionate, joyful young lady. We were concerned that Adriana arrived with a long list of medications she had to take (some very strong), and many warnings because of the violent, erratic behavior she had at home. The problem was, she showed none of that behavior in the Miriam Home. We took her to a neurologist and a psychiatrist, to confirm the need for the heavy medication the girl was using and the doctors agreed to slowly reduce the levels of medication; the result was extremely positive! When we were able to make contact with her father we better understood the situation. Adriana was adopted as a baby, but her adoptive parents separated several years ago. Her mother went into a severe depression and later her relationship with Adriana began to fail. Because her mother didn’t want contact with the father, he didn’t know about the problems or that Adriana was in the Miriam Home. As soon as he found out he did all he could to receive custody. It was a happy day when she left to join her father and make a new start.
But it never takes long, after a lot of kids leave, for new children to arrive. Leonardo and company had barely settle in at home when Alli (8 years old, his brother Miguel (6 years old) and baby Pedro (8 months) walked through our door and into our hearts. These boys are truly amazing. Alli and Miguel have been here before, always for the same reason, complete abandonment. Their mom leave the boys alone for days on end, and the neighbors call social services because the baby cries for hours on end, or they see the boys trying to get by on their own. But you would never know that these loving little guys came from a place of neglect – they are happy, friendly boys, and they get along well with the other boys their age without taking part when Vitor or João get up to mischief.
Along with the boys we have a new girl, Maria (5 years old) who happens to be the little sister of João. Sadly, they really don’t even know each other. João was given away to a family when he was little because his mother had no interest in being a mother. Maria just arrived because her mother’s parenting skills have not improved. Please pray for this sweet child, that she will feel safe and secure with us, and learn to trust in Jesus!
The Good Seminarian…
Though most of the time we use this newsletter to share about what God is doing in the Miriam Home, your prayers for SETELL (Brazil’s Bible School and Seminary and the protector of the Miriam Home) are also precious and needed!
It is wonderful to see the Word of God being taught, but it is even better to see it being applied. With that in mind let me tell you a little story that I like to call “the Good Seminarian”.
A few weeks ago, Thiago, a student in his last year at SETELL, took a visiting family to the bus station to catch the last bus of the night to Foz do Iguaçu. Returning to the campus just after midnight Thiago was reminded of a specific prayer he had offered up just that morning, asking God to help him always be open to doing what he could to help others. Suddenly he saw something unusual – a man and his motorcycle in the ditch by the side of the road.
Thiago stopped the van, lowered the window, and quickly assessed the situation (he was on an unlit stretch of road that is famous for robberies after dark). At first glance it seemed like one more sad case of someone who drank and drove, but as soon as he began to talk to the man he saw that was not the case. Thiago found out that the man was on his way to work on the late shift at the local chicken processing plant, when he started to feel ill. Thiago helped him take the bike out of the ditch and then went with him to the emergency room. Waiting to be attended, Thiago heard the man’s story; recently abandoned by his wife, he was in a deep depression. Having lost his appetite, and gone for days barely eating, it was probably from simple hunger that he had become dizzy as he was driving to work. The two young men had ample time to talk and pray. Thiago took the man’s information and they have remained in touch.
Thiago came home much later than he had planned and certainly was deprived of a few hours of sleep, but he laid his head down with a joyful heart. His specific prayer had been answered, and a needy soul had received words of hope and life!
Praise and Prayer
In February I mentioned that the Miriam Home was having difficulties paying the house moms that work in the home, because the city government, responsible for that portion of our budget, had not provided the funds. We thought that the delay (caused by reorganization of a new municipal administration) would be settled in a month or two. It is now June and the situation has still not been resolved (the home for the elderly and a school for special needs children are in the same boat). Praise the Lord, by His grace, we have been able to meet the payroll each month, but the alternative resources are running low and we need the city to step up. Thank you for continuing to pray!