Now that we have had some time to get into the swing of things, our typical week has settled into a rhythm…which seems to get faster and faster towards the weekend, leaving us Sunday nights and Mondays to enjoy a stanza of rest before another week begins.
Here are some aspects of our week that are fairly predictable:
Mornings: Quiet times, visiting the jail, hospital or feeding center. Liesl teaches saxophone 2 mornings a week.
Afternoons: Tutoring English. On Saturdays, we have begun teaching English to about 35 of the older kids who are especially motivated to learn. Pastor Earl and Damaris would really like each of the kids to speak English as a long-term goal. Lord-willing, this will make it easier for them to transition into the regular community and open up new opportunities. Transitional care is one of the greatest needs here. It is difficult for young adults who have grown up with no picture of stable family, love, and even normal aspects of life like working and managing finances to find their own way once they reach adult-hood.
Evenings: Monday evenings are spent at the feeding center with other church members and some families of that community. Wednesday and Friday evenings we love singing and praying with the kids, and have enjoyed reading aloud with groups of faithful listeners. On Thursday nights, the church holds a service, which is always refreshing to attend. Fridays and Saturdays, we open our little house for sleep-overs with small groups of girls. We are hoping to start this Friday, having over the oldest girls, one at a time.
|Liesl's sunny porch quiet time spot|
|Sifting the bugs out of our potential soup...(mmm!)|
|Baptisms this past Sunday at Tawapi River|
|Escarleth and Julieby being baptized by Ibriel, (one of the care-takers,) and Don Rafael, an elder in the church, who also leads morning devotions at the orphanage.|
|The 5 little chicas from Casa Bernabe who were baptized:|
Cherly and Janina, (sisters), Jenny, Escarleth and Julieby
|We're hoping to schedule in a flip-flop shopping trip soon =)|
Months before we left for Nicaragua, when we were together making plans and praying over our time, God placed Isaiah 62 on our hearts as something to pray for the kids at Casa Bernabé. Now, as we’ve been here, and seeking God’s heart over our focus in the time we spend with the girls: he has been consistently placing ideas centered on names and name-meanings on our hearts. God so blessed the time that we spent with the younger girls making the name and bible verse poster. As we escorted another group of slightly older girls over to the house for another sleepover this Saturday they were all discussing their names and their name meanings. With so many kids coming from such hard backgrounds growing up in an institutional setting where they receive so little individual attention, it is so clear that the girls are desperately hungry to find identity and value in something. They are so hungry to be sought out and delighted in. I think for a lot of them, if you were to get a truthful answer about what they think their name should be, it would be “Forsaken” or “Desolate” or “Abused” or “Forgotten”. Our prayer is that God will fulfill his promise to speak into their hearts and completely satisfy that craving with His steadfast love:
For Zion's sake I will not keep silent, and for Jerusalem's sake I will not be quiet, until her righteousness goes forth as brightness, and her salvation as a burning torch. The nations shall see your righteousness, and all the kings your glory, and you shall be called by a new name that the mouth of the Lord will give. You shall be a crown of beauty in the hand of the Lord, and a royal diadem in the hand of your God. You shall no more be termed Forsaken, and your land shall no more be termed Desolate, but you shall be called My Delight Is in Her, and your land Married; for the Lord delights in you, and your land shall be married. Go through, go through the gates; prepare the way for the people; build up, build up the highway; clear it of stones; lift up a signal over the peoples. Behold, the Lord has proclaimed to the end of the earth: Say to the daughter of Zion “Behold, your salvation comes; behold, his reward is with him, and his recompense before him.” And they shall be called The Holy People, The Redeemed of the Lord; and you shall be called Sought Out, A City Not Forsaken. - Isaiah 62:1-4, 10-12
An eleven year old girl’s name means: Dear One. Her passage was Jeremiah 31:20, “Is Ephraim my dear son? Is he my darling child? For as often as I speak against him, I do remember him still. Therefore my heart yearns for him; I will surely have mercy on him, declares the Lord.” We inserted [Cherly] in place of Ephraim when we copied the verse onto a little card for her. After she carefully read over the verse, she asked for a Bible and looked up the passage. And called us out, asking: “What does Ephraim mean?” We explained who Ephraim was and how, often when God is making a promise to all his children in Christ, he calls us “Ephraim” or “Jacob” or “Israel”. “So God is making that same promise to you, as his precious child”, I finished. Cherly, (pictured above,) responded with a grin and a whoop of triumph.
Another, 12 year-old girl, Nelsi, who only arrived a few weeks ago from Krin Krin, had the name “Light”. In the past four years, she has lost her mother and three siblings to sudden and unexpected deaths. Her mother and two siblings died of fever. Sickness and injuries are attributed to witches and demons here. “Crazy Sickness” is a common curse from the witches and demon mermaids that are said to live in the Rio Coco. Her biological father abandoned her after all the deaths. Another family from the village took her in but, with so many deaths traveling around the village, they were afraid that the curse would come to their home and that Nelsi would be next. So they sent her here with the Lee family. The hope of God taking His precious Nelsi and naming her His beloved child and making her identity “light in the Lord” is so exciting. Nelsi’s exclamation and grin over her Ephesians 5 passage was radiant: “Therefore be imitators of God, as beloved children. And walk in love, as Christ loved us and gave himself up for us, a fragrant offering and sacrifice to God. … for at one time you were darkness, but now you are light in the Lord. Walk as children of light.”
- Please pray that God would be melting the hearts his children here with his zealous love and delight over them. Pray that Christ would free them from their old identities and give them new names in Christ. We have been so, so humbled and blown away by God’s favor and steadfast love over us even though all we are able to give back is more and more sin, weakness and idols. Pray that what God is teaching us would overflow in our words and lives.
- We would like to start having over the girls one on one as well as in groups. We crave your prayers for each Friday night. Each week we will let you know who will be coming over, so that you can be praying for them specifically. Lord willing, Anielka will be over this week. Anielka is Flordina’s half-sister. Her parents became believers some years ago, but she and her little sister Jhorleny came to Casa Bernabe for protection and an education. Anielka has expressed her desire to grow in her relationship with God; she is open and hungry to learn. Her desire for God is so encouraging and exciting, but it is hard to actively and openly pursue God in this place where so many of the other girls look down on those with thriving faith. Pray that she would find the joy and strength in Christ that she needs to whole-heartedly follow God and resist the pressures, temptations and mindsets that are so prevalent among the girls here. Pray that God would use her to point the other girls to Christ. Anielka means Gracious or Merciful. Pray that the grace and mercy of her Lord would define her life.
Thank you for your prayers! Have a lovely week!
Emily and Liesl :)