The children are back in school after winter vacation. They really enjoyed the break but were all excited about starting the new school year. Well that is, except for Danny. He is in second grade this year and is overwhelmed. There is no special education here and his teacher doesn’t even know what Aspergers or autism is. His last year teacher was really good with him. We work with him every day but the amount and type of homework is too much, too soon.
Dan, the constructor, is progressing in his extra ciricular studies (home construction) very well, however. He is building on a bigger scale now. He asks Pedro, Esperanza and Michael for help sometimes, but only if he needs laborers. They had a strike one day when Danny failed to pay them their pretend wages. It was hilarious, quite a racket ensued. Danny gave in when I reminded him of possible future needs for helpers and the limited labor pool situation. He got it!
Thank the Lord and all of our supporters, the children are all in the same private school that Danny is in. The class sizes are so outrageous in the public school that Pedro’s and Esperanza’s grades were suffering last year. In the past they always made good grades but the increase in the number of students (38-40) per class is not a good learning environment for our two most timid children. Michael is doing better as well.
The children went on some field trips during their winter break. We took them to the hot water falls at Finca Paraiso a couple of times and they all had a wonderful time. Danny likes to stand on the boulders in the river and let the hot water beat down on his back. He will befriend anyone who is using “his” spot so that he can enjoy it with them. Amazing! Michael has graduated to jumping off the boulders into the river with Pedro and Jairon. Almost all of them have worked up to going into the little cave at the foot of the waterfall to enjoy a facial steam bath.
Teresa, a cruiser who lives on her boat in Rio Dulce, has been volunteering every Saturday here at the ranch. She is such a blessing! She brings ideas, supplies, patterns, and her expertise to work with the children. She has taught them how to make jewelry out of wire and beads, beautiful! They have sewed purses, glasses cases, and wallets. We are now learning to cross-stitch. Last year we entered two arts and crafts fairs and the children sold some of their things. It was a great experience for them to learn a little about business and was very motivating. They really like having some personal spending money.
We hosted a team from Sarasota, Florida that did a great VBS for the children in the community and the younger children of the ranch. Everyone on the team was a big blessing to Mike and me as will. Our older children were able to participate by helping with the different crafts and games groups. The team was wonderful and our children were so blessed to be able to work side by side with them. So were we!
Rebekah was part of that team and she came back months later with her son Jesse and they worked with our children to teach them the order of all the books in the Bible and had daily devotions with them. I was amazed when Rebekah attained her goal of teaching the kids every single book in order. She was only here for a few days! She also brought supplies and tools and taught the kids another way to make jewelry. We had a lot of fun and even adventure when we explored a wet cave not far from the ranch.
We have Bible study three times a week and church service on Sunday. It is a lot easier to follow pastor Benito to all the reference verses now that the children know where to find everything. If I don’t know, I look to one of them for guidance. Note: I wasn’t able to make it to Rebekah’s classes, maybe next time!
We are so blessed by the children’s’ love for the Lord and their serving hearts. Angelica, Suleidy, Maria (Francisca), and Lucia still lead worship on Sunday and do a good job. Idalia (Benito’s wife) and Angelica teach Sunday school for the children. It is wonderful to see the Lord at work in their hearts through the decisions they are making and the morals they display. Some of the teenagers at their school refer to them as “Karen’s Angels”. It is meant as a put-down (like goody-two-shoes) but we take it as a complement and trust that they will continue to be beacons for Jesus Christ.
We would like to thank each and every one of you for all your prayer and financial support. And with your love, involvement, and encouragement, Rayo de Esperanza continues to be greatly blessed by God through you all in so many different ways. We are truly blessed to be a part of the Body of Christ with you. Apart from Him, we can do nothing. With Him, all things are possible. All praise and glory to our Lord and Savior, Jesus Christ.
Be blessed and joyful in the Lord!
Karen, Mike, Angelica, Maria, Suleidy, Lucia, Esperanza, Pedro, Danny, Michael, Vilma, Benito, Idalia, Nataly, Idania, Fabiola, Fernando, Don Oscar, Oscar, Chivete, & Anibal