Thanks & Prayers...

THANKS…A few weeks ago, the Lord brought us another wonderful young gal named Sarai (Sarah).  She is 7 years old and is in the 2nd grade.  We were contacted by Sarai’s mother who is in a similar situation as many of the other mothers of the children here.  She is single, working, trying to provide, as well as adequately raise Sarai.  She heard about the Casa through her cousin and reached out to us.

Sarai has adjusted very well.  She is pretty behind in school, but very eager to learn.  She is getting along well with the other 10 girls that live here.  (Yes, that indeed is a lot of precious little gals!) We were able to purchase a bike for Sarai this week, and she has already learned how to ride it.  She also loves playing outside, as well as playing with her new doll.  Sarai is quiet and shy, but seems to be coming out of her shell little by little each day. 

We are so thankful to have her with us, and please join us as we pray daily for her.

PRAYERS…The week we received Sarai was so very exciting; however, it was also a very challenging and hard week as one of our boys is no longer living with us.  After much prayer and seeking wisdom from the Lord, as well as discussing options with the board of directors, it was decided that Jesus Miguel (Chewy) should no longer live with us.  The problems we were having with Jesus Miguel continued to grow and grow.  After countless meetings with him, encouraging him to change, giving him chance after chance, and a desire to help him, Jesus Miguel refused.  He told us he no longer wanted to be here with us, attend school, or go to church.  He only wants to go back with his mom.  We discussed this with his mom and shared the same feelings with her.  It was decided that it was in the best interest of the other younger, more impressionable children that Chewy should return to his mother’s care.

Honestly, I hate decisions like this and always feel bad.  There seems to be a recurring thought of, “maybe we should give him one more chance, or maybe we can do something different.”  However, I am learning that you can’t help everyone, especially those who don’t want help.

So, in the midst of difficulty, we are rejoicing in the 2 years that Jesus Miguel was with us. We are praying that at some point the seeds that were planted in this young man’s life will later be watered and bring forth much fruit.  Please continue to pray for Chewy, for the Lord’s hand of protection on his life, and that his heart would be softened and yielded to the grace and love and forgiveness of our sweet Savior.

“Naked I came from my mother’s womb, and naked shall I return there.  The Lord gave, and the Lord has taken away; Blessed be the name of the Lord” (Job 1:21).

THANKS…A HUGE thank you to all who have donated for our back to school drive and our computer lab/resource room project.  We were hoping to raise $2500 for back to school, however, we received over $5000.  WOW!!  Also, the computer lab/resource room project is almost finished.  The workers are laying the tile this week and then we basically just need to paint and furnish.  With your support we have been able to purchase a few chrome books as well as HP computer monitors for the …. drum roll please …. 8 computers that were generously donated by a company in Washington.  Thank you Jesus!

"Blessed be the Lord, the God of Israel, who alone does wondrous things" (Psalm 72:18).

PRAYERS…Please be praying for me as I am in the transition of becoming a permanent resident of Mexico.  I have been on my temporal visa for 4 years (which is the maximum) and now need to change it.  It’s hard to believe that we on year 5 of being down here in Bachiniva, Mexico.  Boy does time fly by.

I had my first visa appointment last week and it went well.  I will head back to Chihuahua City in a few weeks for my 2nd appointment and then it will be official.  There are a lot of benefits of becoming a permanent resident.  I can basically do everything from owning land, buying a home, having a bank account, working, etc.  However, unfortunately, I can not have an American vehicle permitted under my name.  This goes for Jackie as well, when she changes her residency in April.

With that being said, come April, we will lose our current minivan.  Please join us in prayer for another vehicle for our family.  There are 2 options.  We can either buy a Mexican car here or we can import a vehicle from the United States.  In order to do this, the vehicle must be a 2009 or 2010 model.  It costs about $2000 to import a vehicle.

When we were in Chihuahua City last week we looked at 7 different vehicles and called about 3 others.  The challenging thing with Mexican vehicles is that a lot of them are salvaged (which have been rebuilt or just made to look nice), they don’t have the legal paperwork, or they are ridiculously expensive with high mileage.  For this reason, we are looking in the States for one as well.  If any of you know of or have a good, reliable 2009 or 2010 minivan or SUV, please let me know via email (jason@thehouseofblessing) or phone call (915-316-9496).  The reason we are wanting a minivan or SUV is because we can transport small missions teams as well as a small group of our children down here. 

Thank you so much for your faithful prayers and support.  Looking forward to continually sharing with you all the great things that our God is doing AND will do!

 


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"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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