Tuesday, March 31, 2015

Father's Day! Feliz dia del padre!!

Father’s Day!
This post is about two weeks late – I had it all typed up and ready to go, but my computer charger died, and this blog was tucked away until I had time to go buy a charger.

Father’s day in Bolivia is always the 19th of March. This year that happened to fall on a Thursday. On Wednesday afternoon. I was at the girls house ironing uniforms, and one of the girls, S, asked me if I could come to a special program at her school as her dad. All of the kids go to the same school this year, so all of the volunteers and staff were invited to go as “honorary dads”.

It worked out that I had a three hour break in-between teaching classes at Carachipampa, so in between substituting for 2nd grade and teaching PE I got on a trufi (bus), and went to the school. All of the littlest kids were dressed up in their father’s oversized clothes, and did a little dance performance. Two of our youngest kids were in this class, and had rented men’s clothes from a costume shop down the street.
K is one of the youngest boys in the black suit jacket.

Waiting for a snack after their performance!

After the dances, all of the volunteers and staff split up to have lunch with the kids. Each class had prepared something different! S’ class had made delicious chicken, salad, fried banana, and of course… potatoes. Each child also made a card for their father – so I received my first father’s day card!!
The potatoes are hidden, but I promise they're there! 

S with her cute card!

Translation: Mom, you are so pretty. (This might not have originally been intended for me since she has NEVER seen me in a dress or heels. hahahah(

It was a fun, but also emotional afternoon. As honored as I was to be able to attend, I am not a father. Although Casa de Amor took the time to find “honorary fathers” for the children, there were other children that were left to eat lunch alone. In S’ class there was one little girl that had brought two plates from home, but no one ever came to eat the extra plate of food. On the way home from the event, one of the girls told me that she still had her Father’s Day card, because she didn’t know who to give it to.

We started to talk about how God has promised to be our Father, and how He is always with us. I am so thankful for God’s promises to us, and the fact that He has shown us what it means to be a good father. Please continue to pray for the children of Casa de Amor – that they would not only know the love of their Father God, but they would also be able to see and experience the love of a father here on earth.

Thank you guys! Happy late Father’s Day! Feliz dia del padre! J

Wednesday, March 4, 2015

Pijamada! (Sleepover!)

Last Saturday, I was invited to a Quinceanera (The birthday party girls have when they turn 15) by one of the women who works at the orphanage.  Tia Anita has worked with Casa de Amor for over 5 years, and has become like a mother to the girls that she works with (and often to me!). The oldest girls got to spend Friday night with Tia Anita to help prepare for the party a day in advance and they were thrilled!
On Saturday morning I went to the girls house and found “B” dutifully washing her clothes. At seven years old she falls right in between the older girls and the little girls. Although she is very smart and capable for her age, her desire for attention often leads her to behave in a way that puts her in the “little girl” group.
As soon as she heard me talking with the other Tia on duty about the Quineanera, she lit up and asked if she could come with me. Usually the girls earn outings with good behavior, and sadly, “B” normally doesn’t earn an outing. I told B that I would have to ask the administrator for permission because she has been perpetually punished for the last few weeks. I called to ask for permission, and was surprised when I was told to talk with the tia in charge, but that it was fine with her!
B was ecstatic when we told her she could come and started running back and forth from her room to the kitchen to tell us what she was going to wear. That night as I was getting ready to pick her up, I got a phone call from the orphanage “just making sure” that I hadn’t forgotten about B.  I assured her I would be there in 30 minutes.
When another volunteer, Hannah, and I got to the house, B was dressed in her nicest dress, and arctic coat, and beaming. I really don’t think I have ever seen her so excited since I met her almost three years ago. She did very well at the Quinceanera, and even got to be one of the damitas ( kind of like a bridesmaid).
All of the damitas! B is the second in line.

B, Tia Benita, Tia Sarin, and I

B is in the purple arctic coat - it might not seem that big, but it was 70 degrees.
Because the party ended very late, B got to spend the night at my house after. As we walked into the house at 11:30, she asked if she could watch TV before bed. That was an easy answer – because I don’t have a TV. I got her bed ready for her, turned around to get her pajamas, and she was already asleep.
The next morning was Sunday so we got up early and went to church. The young people group at my church was having a special lunch, and so I had told B I could take her home, or if she wanted to come with me she would need to help and be on her best behavior.  She of course wanted to come. She was thrilled to get to “help” with the tasks we found for her and helped assemble tables (backwards), place table decorations on the tables (upside down), and rinse dishes (maybe 3 of them). It reminded me of the way God has invited us to join in what He is doing, even though we often make things harder than they have to be.
One of my favorite things about the time with B was seeing the way she thrived with attention. People from my church really took time to ask her questions. To entertain her, to look at the pictures from the Quinceanera on my phone over and over again and to give her the attention she seeks so desperately in all the wrong ways. I am thankful for the community at the church that the Lord has provided – not only for me – but also for the children that I have the privilege of working with.
Please pray for B ( I can send you her real name if you want, I just can’t post it online!). Please pray for the Lord to soften her heart. For B to come to know the Lord, and to know the love of her Father. Please also pray for the staff and volunteers at the orphanage, that we would have wisdom in working with her, and the rest of the children. Lastly, please praise God for the work that He has done.  He has promised in John 14:18, “I will not leave you as orphans; I will come to you.”  Praise Him, for He who promised is faithful!