A Great End to a Crazy Year (Nov/Dec 2020 Update)
It truly was a great ending to the year. Not much happened in these two months, but from what did go on, God remained faithful and moved through it all.
We started to have church for the kids outside since some of the COVID-19 restrictions let up. The kids were so happy to be back together again, playing, singing, and learning together. After every service, the kids always are asking me when the next one will be (every Saturday!) I'm so grateful to be able to still reach them during this time, even if it wasn't exactly what I had hoped for. Please keep the kids in your prayers, that God continues to draw them close to Him during all of this, and that more kids come, too!!
The soccer team has been practicing since October, and the older ones have been playing league games and made it to the playoffs! We may not have won, but I know the kids learned a lot through it all. One thing I teach them all the time is about respecting others and building each other up. At the end of the season, it seemed that they finally started getting the hang of that. Please keep them in your prayers: that God truly moves in them through the soccer team and that they become more and more disciplined in the things of God (respect, fraternal love, living righteous, etc.)
A huge thank you to all that donated for the backpacks!! We were able to pack a total of 21 backpacks, plus some more that have some school supplies with them! The kids truly were so happy with the backpacks and were so thankful. We can't thank you all enough for your help!
During the whole pandemic, I've been doing in-home tutoring. Every Friday, I go to Bairon and Hernan's house and study with them. Hernan just barely started school last year, and, although he should be in 4th grade for his age, he's doing 2nd grade work since he's never been to school. When Hernan came to the classroom that I volunteer in for the first time, I noticed that he needed help, as he struggled a lot with reading and writing (like I mentioned, he never went to school before last year). I started to help him in class, and then invited him to be a part of the soccer team. After getting to know his dad, I learned more about their situation:
Hernan's dad sells donuts for a living. He makes the donuts, then his kids go door to door selling these donuts so that they can have something to eat that day. With the pandemic, things have been pretty difficult since not many people are out buying donuts. Not to mention that Hernan's dad never even finished elementary school, so he can't help Hernan study. Learning all of this, I explained to Hernan's dad that I do tutoring for free and can help Hernan learn how to read. He agreed, and I started going to their hous every Friday. I mentioned this to the school principal, that I was studying with Hernan every Friday, and she basically made me his personal teacher for this school year!
Hernan barely knew his letters when we started, but now he can read short sentences all by himself! He also can write short words with no help! I'm so proud of him for how well he's learning, and I am so excited for when the principal sees how much Hernan has learned! I've also invited him and his brother, Bairon, to our outside kids church, and they love going! Please pray for Hernan, Bairon, and their whole family: that God continues to iluminate Himself to them, that they truly see who He is and truly accept Him, and that God continues to move greatly in Hernan and helps him learn even more!
*If you would like to help Hernan's family with any kind of donation, please email me at firstname.lastname@example.org, as they dearly need it during this time.*
Honestly, I cannot thank you all enough for your support this past year. I honestly was worried (just a little bit) that things would be difficult this year due to everything that went on, but God proved faithful through it all, and you all were part of that. I was (and still am) blown away by all that you guys did this past year for the kids and me: the backpacks, the new car, the amazing letters, the prayers, and all the financial support. With tears in my eyes (happy tears), I say once again, thank you. So, so much. Without all of you, I wouldn't be able to live this amazing life, being able to bless these kids and their families every day and truly being able to bring the love of God to them through all that I do.
May God truly bless you all overabundantly this 2021.
Alexander, me, and Yerico kids I met back in 2015 at the dump
"For I know the plans that I have for you, declares the Lord, plans for wholeness and not for evil, to give you a future and a hope." - Jeremiah 29:11