As we look back at all that God has brought us through in 2014, our hearts are filled with abundant gratitude. First and foremost, we want to extend that thanks to you, our support system. Thank you for your prayers and financial support. We could not do the work God has called us to alone.
With that said, we would like to give you a glimpse into our lives over the past few months.
Christmas was a time filled with wonderful firsts for our families. Breaking the orphan mindset is a process that comes in steps, and Christmas was a huge milestone. Our children enjoyed their first family Christmas tree. Each of our children had the privilege of opening gifts picked out for them individually. This was a huge blessing, and some of our kids were even moved to tears. In the warmth of this happiness and love, we enjoyed tamales and hot chocolate for breakfast, followed by warm chocolate chip cookies later in the day.
New Years was another time of celebration. Our kids ran and played all day in excited anticipation for the festivities that night. As the sun slid down behind the mountains, we hiked to the tank house to watch fireworks being set off in the neighboring village of Llano Verde. We ushered in this New Year of 2015 as families happily munching on popcorn. We savor the simplicity of these moments, recognizing that huge victories lie in the small things for each of the children in our care.
As for regular life, the days are getting steadily warmer which means we are taking more trips to play in the river, one of our favorite outdoor excursions. School resumed in mid-January, so our kids are back to their normally scheduled routines. The Monk family has two five-year olds who just started school this year, which made that first day extra exciting for their family. Construction on the Rule’s home has begun – praise the Lord! They are looking forward to settling into their more permanent dwelling in the near future.
The art of being a family is a learning process. For many of our kids, we have had to start at the very beginning – teaching, empowering, loving, and restoring the concept of family into their lives. Our kids are learning responsibility as they are held accountable to do their chores and take care of their belongings. The older ones are learning to model the actions and behavior of their parents, and the younger ones have begun to call us “Mami” and “Papi”, a sign of trust and security. Most importantly, we are seeing the kids grow spiritually and in love, and we couldn’t be more thankful. Even the kids who had the hardest time accepting love at the beginning are now opening up. They want hugs, ask to spend time together as a family, and freely share Bible verses. We praise the Lord for every step of progress made, and we ask you to continue praying for His complete work of restoration and healing to be accomplished in each of our children’s lives that they may be able to fully comprehend the love of their Father in heaven.
- Protection from Chinchingunya, an illness similar to Dengue fever. Many people in our area are catching this mosquito borne illness. While not life threatening, it can be very painful, often accompanied by a rash, high fever, and swelling. Please pray that the Lord would protect our homes from sickness.
- Permanent vehicle – it would be a huge blessing for our families to have transportation available at all times
- A/C – with the heat quickly approaching, we are praying that we will have A/C in at least our bedrooms
- Continued healing for our children to be set free from the orphan mindset and live out of their identity as deeply loved children of God
- Our missionary children – please pray that they would remain strong, healthy, and safe, and that they would know their purpose in Guatemala as they serve the Lord at such a young age
Again, we could not accomplish the work God has called us to without the body of Christ. In the words of Patti Monk:
“A family is something every child is created to have . . . you have made it possible for our family to grow and provide the love, care, and guidance for children in Guatemala who otherwise would have lived out their childhood in an institutionalized setting. We see every day the impact Love has in the eyes of the children we are raising. Thank you for giving them the opportunity to grow into the men and women God created them to be.”