A little over a year ago Justin and I were discouraged as we repeatedly found ourselves standing by helpless, watching our efforts slowly fizzle away. We began praying for God to show us where he was already at work, Peruvian established services we could connect to, where we would become his hands, feet, and voice.
About eight months ago the pastor of an orphanage our church has served in contacted us. He asked Justin and me to consider working along side him as spiritual developers of the children, youth and staff of five boys' and girls' homes he was connected to. My jaw dropped open. What an answer to prayer! We prayed with him and later as a couple and dove into the unknown. It took a couple of months just to get to know the locations of all the homes and have meetings with the staff, another few months to establish relationships with the kids, then furlough came and everything was put on halt for a few months. It has been a slow but blessed adventure.
There are various activities we have been and will be involved in, including the possibility of a summer youth camp. The main endeavor, however, that both us and the staff have been looking forward to the most is forming small groups (of three or four) of the youth, especially the teens, that meet once every couple of weeks for a time of discipleship, accountability and spiritual growth.
Of the five homes, there is a boy's and a girl's home called Casa Verde founded by a German man, that has the least amount of spiritual support. The staff is entirely Peruvian and there are always a couple of German volunteers helping out. The children are for the most part rescued from traumatic family situations, and most have a history of abuse. We decided to concentrate the majority of our time with this group. We have spent many hours bonding with the kids and trying to get to know the staff, which has been the most difficult part. With the help of Benji, our apprentice, we organized an extra show for their Christmas party this year.
It was during this party the director talked about us as "parte de la familia". God knows exactly what I need, exactly when I need it. I had been wondering how the staff viewed us, our efforts, our dedication. We had had no feedback. But hearing him consider us as "part of the family" filled my heart's longing and my soul's questioning.
We have had to interrupt the small groups we had just begun to work on the Christmas party presentation. My prayer is that as the new year begins and we slowly resume meeting with the small groups, we will be filled with God's wisdom and Spirit, to be able to reach the hearts of these young men and women and play a small part in guiding them to become adult men and women devoted to God, to their neighbors, to their future families and to their society.