Monday, December 27, 2010

An opportunity...

Okay, I apologize. I've done a horrible job at blogging lately. The reasons are numerous, but mostly just that things got hectic around here and my time was spent in other areas. I need to be more diligent about making sure I post something a few times a week, even if it's just a photo of some of the things going on. For those of you who look regularly to my blog, I'll work harder on doing that.

To catch you up, we had a group from the States here the first full week of December and enjoyed having them with us. My dad was in the group and stayed with us instead of at the hotel with the group. That was fun for all of us, as we got to have more time with him. The kids enjoyed it especially because most mornings he walked to the hotel to have breakfast with the group and the kids took turns joining him for his early morning walk and for breakfast. There were multiple evangelism opportunities that week, with lessons going on in La Palma, San Ignacio, and in Ocotepeque. We also got to make another trip to Chuntrun (see if you don't remember where that is) with the group and had another chance to love on the kids and women there. During that time we became aware of a situation that we want to try to help with and I'd like to ask you to be praying about it.

This is Dora. This beautiful girl graduated from 6th grade last November. (School years here run from January to November.) Because school in Chuntrun only goes to 6th grade, this 14 year old girl has completed all of the school she can. It is an hour or so for her to walk into San Ignacio to go to school and it's just too dangerous and time-consuming. So, her lot in life is to work at home helping her parents with household chores and childcare of her younger siblings and wait for the time when she will have babies of her own--probably sooner than most of us would wish for her. She made good grades and would like to go to school but doesn't have the opportunity because of where she lives.

After we returned home that night we began talking about Dora's situation and whether there's any way we can help. The Christian school here is expanding next year and adding 7th grade. As we began to talk about options, we realized we have enough space to be able to house her here during the week and she could return home to her family on weekends. This would mean opportunities for education and a life beyond what she'd ever been told was possible.

Three of Dora's aunts are members of the church in San Ignacio and I spoke with them. I told them what we were offering and that it would include a place for her to live during the week and all her meals included, free schooling, free school supplies, and clothing. (We believe we can find people who would be willing to help with the funds for her scholarship and expenses so we made these promises based on that belief.) The aunts were very excited about this opportunity and said they would talk to their brother, Dora's dad, but that they were afraid he would say no because he needs her to help with household duties and childcare.

Sure enough, he and her mom said they wouldn't allow it. We have not yet had the opportunity to talk to them personally--all communication has been through the aunts-- but we are prayerful that we can do that soon. We realize that if they do refuse, there is nothing we can do, but we would like to at least have the opportunity to meet them and to let them meet us and talk to us before we walk away from the chance.

Dora was here last week (at the church building in La Palma) while all the kids from Chuntrun came in to get new shoes paid for by various donors from the States. While here, we could see something different in her eyes. She was looking around and talked to Ruth a bit, and seemed very interested in things. I held back tears several times as I watched her taking things in and noticed her surveying the school building and our family. She knows about the opportunity that we have offered her, and she knows that so far her parents have refused. To be quite frank, the emotion I felt was anger. I was angry at her parents who are selfish enough to deny their daughter a chance for a life beyond having babies and hard labor. If that's what she chooses, I could accept it, but I can't, I HATE that she doesn't get a say in it--that she is forced into that life! I know it happens all around the world every day, but this is a time when we have a chance to change it. We are offering her an education and a way to change her life and her family's life and her parents won't even consider it.

So in the next week, I am making arrangements for me and Ruth to go back to Chuntrun for a day. The ladies there asked me to come back again soon, and this is a chance to hopefully meet Dora's parents. The plan is that we will go back and have a Bible study there for the ladies and be able to visit all the homes there as well. At least one of the sisters from San Ignacio has said she'll go with us. Please be praying as we make these arrangements. Be praying for a safe trip and for open hearts and for Dora's parents to make the best decision for her.

In the meantime, we have put out 'feelers' to find other girls who are possibly in the same situation as Dora, and have come up with a couple of possibilities. We are in the process of talking to their parents and at least one is very interested. If this happens, it will mean some changes for our family, but imagine for a moment the different it will mean in the future of these girls. They've thought their whole lives that 6th grade is the last grade they can ever study and after that, they have babies. That's it. Now, they're presented with options. They're welcomed into a family with a mom and a dad and they become part of a church family and are introduced to Jesus Christ. Their entire lives and eternal future could change with this decision. Gives me goosebumps and brings tears to my eyes to think of the possibilities. School starts in about a month here so arrangements need to be finished in the next couple of weeks if this is to happen. God seems to be opening doors for this work and we would ask you to please be prayerful of these opportunities and help us to be attuned to His will in all of this.

Dios le bendiga,


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