"Summers Over" Update...

MARIA TERESA… Some of you already know via Facebook that God has brought Maria Teresa back into our lives and to the Casa. So many of you joined us in praying fervently for this gal as she was unexpectedly removed from our care last December by her father.  This was very difficult for a number of reasons.  Her parents are very unstable and are at times more drunk than they are sober.  What we thought was going to be a one week trip to visit her sick mother, turned into eight months of unanswered questions and phone calls.  For those eight months, despite multiple attempts to make sure she was healthy and safe, we were unable to contact any family.

However, nothing is to great NOR impossible for our Great God, who answered our prayers two weeks ago on a Sunday morning.  My phone rang and an excited little girl on the end of the line said, “soy Maria Teresa” (I am Maria Teresa).  I honestly had no idea who it was at first and it took me a few seconds to put things together.  How did she have my phone number?  Why after eight months was she all of a sudden calling?  She went on to ask me when I was coming to pick her up so she could come back and live with us.

I was overwhelmed with joy and tears as we planned the details to get her.  The following Sunday, we made the two hour trek out to La Junta, where she was, and met with both her mom and dad.  All the questions that I had wanted answered quickly faded away as I saw the beautiful smile and joy in Teresa’s face.  A moment I will forever treasure.

GOLF TOURNAMENT… Jackie, Ayantu, and I had a wonderful time in Seattle this past July, spending a few weeks hanging out with family and friends, relaxing, and participating in our annual Golf Invitational.  People came from all over Washington to play golf, help serve, and help raise funds for the orphanage.  We had a great turnout and raised $5000.  Thank you so much to everyone who played, served, donated, supported, etc.  I am GREATLY looking forward to the invitational next year as it will mark our 10th anniversary for the golf tournament.  We hope that many more of you will be able to make it out.  Save the date: Saturday, July 28th, 2018!

Back-To-School Drive… All 17 of our children have successfully been enrolled in school and are already off to a good start in their studies.  We now have children in four different schools: two in the kinder, seven in elementary, six in jr. high, and two in high school.  Both the children and staff were very anxious for school to start and to get back into the routine of things.

It certainly takes a lot of work and money to do all the school supply shopping, purchase uniforms, pay school fees, etc. for 18 children.  Some of these things we are still purchasing and working on.  This year we are doing a first ever Back-to-School Drive.  We initially were hoping to raise $2500 to cover the costs.  We have been blessed beyond that, as we have already received over $3000 in donations.  Now we are able to purchase the 2nd wave of items that will be needed in the coming months, as well as items for our new computer lab/resource room for the children.  We will be collecting funds until the end of this month.  If you are interested in donating specifically to this drive over the remaining week, please let me know or check out our website www.thehouseofblessing.org for more details.

Back To School Drive Slide.jpg

Julie Ruse… The flier that you are seeing for our back to school drive was done by none other than our friend Julie Ruse.  Julie has just finished her three month internship down here and now feels like the Lord is calling her to stay an additional nine months.  We are VERY excited for this as Julie’s primary focus will be on assisting me in the office with administrative tasks, graphics, design, etc., as well as helping me oversee our sponsorship, missions, and internship programs.

Prayer Requests… Lots of exciting things taking place right now, as well as, lots of things we need prayer for.  Please join us in praying specifically for the following things…

  • The children as they adjust to the new school year.  Pray that they would develop good study habits early and have an eagerness to continue to learn.
  • We have a number of children who are very far behind in their academics.  Pray that they might be able to get caught up and not get frustrated because they are behind other children.
  • We will be receiving 2-3 new children over the next week.  One young boy this very weekend.  Please pray that their adjustment goes well and that the other children here at the orphanage would be loving and accepting of their new family members.
  • I was suppose to fly out to Florida next Wednesday to teach and share at a church there.  However, because of the hurricane, that trip is postponed.  We have a lot of friends out there and a great supporting church.  Please pray for them all, as well as all of Florida, as they prepare for what might come via hurricane Irma.
  • Instead of Florida, I will be flying to Washington on Thursday to teach at two churches and to be at the Northwest Pastors Conference.  I love the conference because the orphanage is able to have a booth there and it’s a great way to meet new people and share about the ministry.  I will also be teaching at Calvary North Thurston on September 17th and Calvary Whidbey Island on the 24th.  Your prayers for my travels and time of sharing will be greatly appreciated.

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Spring Break & The Children...

I'm sure most of you can relate to the feeling of your first day back to work after a wonderful, relaxing vacation.  “Painful”, “exhausting”, and “miserable” are a few words that come to mind.  Having had the past 2 weeks off for spring break, the children and staff were in for a bit of a rude awakening this past Monday as it was back to school and the daily grind.  Alarms went off at 6:00 AM and long gone were the days of sleeping in.

All but 5 of our children went to spend time with their families for vacation.  Those who stay behind love when the other kids leave, because they know that there will be extra movie nights, day trips, lots of activities, and just a few children with whom to enjoy them.

This break we decided to take the kids to Chihuahua city, which we have done before though we've never stayed the night.  I found an incredible deal on Expedia for 3 hotel rooms, which happened to be at the nicest hotel in Chihuahua city.  When we arrived, the children could hardly believe it.  I could hardly believe it.  It was indeed one of the biggest and nicest hotels I've ever stayed in.  This was the first time the children had ever stayed in a hotel and seeing their excitement and reactions was priceless.  

We had a wonderful time swimming, shopping at the mall and Costco, playing laser tag, jumping on trampolines, driving bumper cars, lots of arcade games, and eating out.

I LOVE this picture, especially with Luis' face seeing the hotel!

I LOVE this picture, especially with Luis' face seeing the hotel!

Felt like you were swimming on the edge of Chihuahua City!

Felt like you were swimming on the edge of Chihuahua City!


Thank you for your continued prayers regarding Teresa.  Unfortunately, there is nothing new to update you all with other then she is still gone.  After multiple tries to make contact with her parents and family members, we have been unsuccessful.  I think things finally set in when some of our staff cleaned out her closet and things.  This was a pretty sad day.  Obviously, we get incredibly attached to the children when they come into our care and it’s always hard to see any of them go.  Yet, I think we are all realizing this is an aspect of the ministry that will always be there, therefore we look to the Lord for strength, encouragement, and hope.

A little over a month ago, Tonio and Esmy, whom we’ve cared for over the past 2 years, also left and went back to live with their mom.  We got a call out of the clear blue from their mom informing us she was coming the next day to take them.  Now that she is married, she is able to be available more for her kids and put them in school in the town she lives in about an hour away.  Again this was very difficult and sad, however, we’ve been able to talk with Tonio and Esmy on the phone a number of times.  Although they are no longer living here, they still feel very much apart of our extended family.  We are continuing to build a good relationship with their mom and they plan on visiting us in the coming month.

This morning, I was reading in Isaiah and Joshua, and came across one of my favorite verses.

“Have I not commanded you? Be strong and of good courage; do not be afraid, nor be dismayed, for the Lord your God is with you wherever you go,” (Joshua 1:9).

This is my prayer for Teresa, Tonio, and Esmy.  I would ask that you all join me as well in praying that these three precious children will be strong and of good courage.  That they might know that the Lord their God, Creator & Sustainer of all things, is with them no matter where they are or go!

We are reminded in the book of Job, that the Lord GIVES as well as TAKES AWAY.  Yes we have lost 3 children, however, God blessed us with a wonderful, precious little girl this past weekend to begin to care for.  Diana is 3 years old and is the younger sister of Idali, who has been with us for 2 years now.  Because she is Idali’s sister, we’ve gotten to know Diana a little bit over the past few years as her mom has visited Idali from time to time.  We are excited to begin to love on and minister to her precious little heart.  Please pray for Diana and her new transition.

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Update On Bachiniva Happenings...

It has been two weeks since I sent out our blog post regarding the things taking place here in our town with the drug cartels.  As you know I was hesitant at first to share with you all, not quite sure what the response would be.  However, through you're outpouring of prayers, words of encouragement, scripture verses and support, it confirmed all the more how vital, important and special the body of Christ is.  We received more emails, texts, phone calls and messages from this blog post then any others in the past.  Many of you thanked us for sharing what’s been taking place and how it has encouraged and strengthened you as well.

So, thank you again, from the bottom of our hearts.  I am convinced all the more about the power of prayer, intercession and encouraging one another.

Many of you have recently asked for an update regarding the situation.

Soon after sending out that initial post, 2 weeks ago, things actually escalated to an all time high.  Small battles continued to take place and there were talks of something “big” that was coming.  It seemed like more and more “soldiers” or cartel members were flooding into Bachiniva.  Reports at one point said that there were 200 in town.

On March 20th I sent out an email to our immediate family letting them know what had taken place over the weekend.  Here is the email below...

“Hola family, just wanted to give you an update on what’s going on down here.  Unfortunately things escalated to an all time high yesterday (Sunday the 19th).  People believe it was the big battle that everyone was anticipating.  There were major shootouts in towns about 25 minutes away.  One of our workers and I stood outside our building and watched truck after truck race by our property full of armed men ready for battle.  I shared with most of you that Jackie and the ladies from our church were at a women’s event in a nearby town when the fighting started. Thankfully they all were okay and made it back home safely.  However, the fighting continued into the night and a bit this morning (Monday).

News reports are saying that amongst the numerous that were killed, one of those was the rival drug cartel leader, who has been trying to take over Bachiniva.  This of course is bringing some peace to people here in town, but worries others as most likely someone will rise up to take the fallen leaders place.  They also confiscated 17 abandoned trucks all over the towns that were left behind by cartel members.

Patrols are still taking place in our town as they are looking for someone/some people, no one really knows exactly who. The children continue to not have school due to cancelled classes.  

In light of all this, we are encouraged, as well as our staff, the children and other people here in town.  We know our hope and protection lays in the Creator and Sustainer of all things.

Last night, as we were laying in bed, I read Joshua chapter 1 to Jackie as she was falling asleep.  Multiple times, the Lord speaks for his people to be strong and courageous, for the He is with us.  What comfort and perfect words to fall asleep to.

Thanks so much for the prayers and we ask that you continue to pray fervently.

Jason, Jackie, Ayantu + Erasmo, Juan, Maria Ana, Carolina, Luis, Jesus, Jorge, Osvaldo, Sandra, Idaly, Natalia, Gladys, Valeria, Edgar and Angel

The days following Sunday’s battle seemed as if everything had completely turned back to normal.  It was almost eery a little bit, as if nothing had happened.  Patrols, checkpoints, random stops and the presence of armed men seemed to fade away.  School for the children resumed and it was back to the daily routine for everyone in town.

Was it because the other team was defeated?  Of their leader was killed? Or the calm before another storm?  Or simply God’s hand intervening on behalf of the prayers of His children.  Some would say it was because of the first two.  However, we know that our God who is ever present with us, had His mighty hand upon his people and this town.  Thank you Jesus!

Please continue to pray alongside us each and every day as we don't worry about tomorrow, but focus on the day at hand!

"For He shall give His angels charge over you, to keep you in all your ways. In their hands they shall bear you up,lest you dash your foot against a stone" (Psalm 91:11-12).


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