I know we are already 3 weeks into 2016, however, seeing this is the first blog post of the New Year, I thought I’d begin with the greeting, Happy New Year!

I’d like to start with a verse that has been greatly on my mind the past 3 weeks and actually going back to the end of 2015.  It is found in the book of Ecclesiastes, written by the wisest man ever to live.

There is an appointed time for everything.  And there is a time for every event under heaven" (Ecclesiastes 3:1).

I believe the reason why the Lord has been speaking this verse so dearly to my heart is because of a few significant events that took place as 2015 drew to a close and we ushered in 2016.

As I shared in our last post, Christmas time was very quiet and relaxing, mainly due to most of the children spending time with their family.  In fact, as we celebrated the New Year, we only had Luis and Juan staying with us.  The other 13 children had left.

Your prayers were greatly felt, because as the children began to come back to the orphanage, they transitioned very well.  Probably better then any of the times in the past.  It seemed as if they all were excited to be back “home.”  Most of the children were eager to share stories of their time spent and show the presents that they received.  Others were a little more quiet and didn’t really want to talk about the difficult time they had with their family.  Nevertheless, our staff was more then happy to have our kids back home and to once again here the sound (often very loud) of our lovely children.

We were anticipating that all 13 of the children who left would come back home as promised by their mothers or other family members.  However, sadly, that was not the case for our sweet little Valeria.

Valeria came to the orphanage in August of last year.  She is such a sweet little girl and was doing really well in kindergarten and got along with everyone here at the Casa.  Valeria’s mom worksin another town about an hour away.  As she came to pick up Valeria, she was pleased with her progress here and expressed her desire for Valeria to continue being here.  Unfortunately that changed during the time she was away and Valeria never came back.  We were able to reach her mom on the phone and encouraged her to bring Valeria back.  You could tell that part of her wanted to, knowing this is the best place for Valeria right now, however due to other difficult circumstances, here decision was made.

Anytime we have a chance to care for children, get them enrolled in school, have a warm bed, hot showers, healthy food and a chance to learn and know about Jesus, it’s a huge blessing.  At the same time, our desire would be to see children restored to a right, healthy and safe relationship with their moms and families.  But, its those times when a mom (like Valeria’s) expresses that she doesn’t have a plan or know how Valeria will be cared for while she has to work, is difficult to hear.

We encouraged her to mom to pray and really think on this decision and that our doors would always be open, should she choose or desire to bring her back.

I miss sweet little Valeria so much and so does Ayantu.  They are the same age, were in the same class at school and best little buddies.  Its incredibly hard to try to explain some of these things to your soon to be 6 year old daughter.  That’s why words like those found in Ecclesiastes can be so helpful, “there is an appointed time for everything.  And there is a time for every event under heaven.”

There are appointed times when children will be in our care and then there are appointed times when they will be removed.  Those appointed times need not shake or move us because it all happens for a reason and has been appointed by God.

“He (God) has made everything beautiful in its time…” (Ecclesiastes 3:11).

Please continue to pray for Valeria and her current situation and rest on the hope that God will make this beautiful “in its time.”

Okay, so I know I mentioned a “few” significant events at the beginning of this blog post.  However, since this blog is already a bit long, I will save the other event for another time, hopefully next week!

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