She is a Child of God~Wendy Boyle

Today’s blog comes to us from Wendy Boyle, ROOMs Transition Home Director. Wendy and her husband, Todd, along with their four children came to Honduras after founding Abba Padre International. API’s partnership with ROOM has been such a blessed representation of the many membered body that Paul discusses in Scripture. We are so incredibly thankful for Todd and Wendy and their faithful service to the Lord!

Over the past five years, our family has had the opportunity to partner with various organizations and ministries here in Honduras. One of the main aspects we admire most about ROOM is that they’re not just focused on one dynamic of caring for orphans and vulnerable children.

Just like our triune God, ROOM is threefold.

ROOM focuses on orphan prevention (family preservation), orphan solutions, and orphanage care.

If we’re being honest, we would all admit that orphanage care is the most well known dynamic of caring for orphans and vulnerable children. Many people have taken trips to volunteer in orphanages and children’s homes. Many people choose to come alongside the staff, and to extend the Father’s love to the children who live in orphanages and children’s homes. And although this is definitely one of the dynamics that ROOM was founded upon, and still continues to do currently, they’ve made room for growth.  The beautiful thing about ROOM is that over the years they’ve grown in their understanding, as well as in their vision.

If you can focus on orphan prevention and family preservation, as well as orphan solutions, the need for orphanage care lessens.

The Bible is clear, children belong in families, and children are a blessing from the Lord. We desire for families to be able to keep the blessings that the Lord has given to them, as long as it’s a safe and viable option for them to do so.

At times children have to be removed from their families for a season for their safety and well-being. Here in Honduras, usually that reason is due to poverty, and/or a lack of resources or knowledge. But when you know better, you rise up and learn to do better.

Such was the case with Amanda.

Amanda’s family lives in the Bordos of San Pedro Sula, which are basically the slums/shack villages of the city.

She was removed from her family (of six siblings) due to severe malnutrition, and prior to it’s closure, she was placed in the public orphanage by the former branch of Honduran child services. While she was there, everyone thought she was two years old. She only weighed 22 pounds, and she was not walking or talking. She was somber and at times angry, quite lethargic, and never cracked a smile while in the public orphanage.

One of ROOM’s missionaries felt strongly that Amanda needed to be brought out of the public orphanage and placed in a transition home family setting for a season until she could either be reintegrated back to her family, or be placed with a long-term foster family.

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So, in September of 2014, Amanda was the first child to be placed with our family in ROOM’s Abba Padre Transition Home!

 

We praise the Lord for prompting ROOM to ask child services to place her in our home! Amanda was so sick, and lacking in nutrients, that besides discussing her dietary needs, our pediatrician also prescribed 14 different vitamins and medicines for Amanda, as well as parasite medicine.

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By the time we arrived at our house that evening, she had formed a bond with our third daughter, Hannah. Moments after being in our home, while playing with Hannah, Amanda began to smile! That same evening at bath time she came alive, and began to laugh and splash, and pour water over her head. It was one of the most beautiful experiences our family had had since our arrival to Honduras.

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Over the next week and a half we got to see Amanda change before our very eyes. And then we received a phone call from child services letting us know Amanda would be reintegrated back to her family via a ministry called The Mama Project. (Which strives to come alongside single mothers in their own homes, in order to teach them about hygiene, nutrition, finances, and most importantly about the Lord.)
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It was a beautiful moment to witness Amanda go back into the arms of her mother. And to know that her mom would now have the tools she needed to begin to grow and thrive as a mother to the children (blessings!) God had entrusted her with.
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Over the past year and a half our family has kept in touch with Amanda and her family, and we’ve now watched her celebrate two birthdays. (She recently turned six in June.)
During the most recent visit with Amanda’s family, it became clear that the severe malnutrition she suffered from for years has affected her development. So we ask for your prayers as we REACH OUT to our pediatrician once again on her behalf, in order for her family to receive the help they need to stay together, and for Amanda to begin to walk, talk, and thrive, rather than just simply survive.

 

Amanda’s story shares all three dynamics of what ROOM is called by the Lord to do. ROOM started with the orphanage care side of the vision, and visited Amanda and the other children (and staff members) while she was at the public orphanage. Then moved into orphan solutions when she came into ROOM’s Abba Padre Transition Home. And now we are focused on orphan prevention as we continue to come alongside Amanda’s mother to help equip and empower her in her calling to the children she has so their family can stay together.

 

To come alongside ROOMs orphan prevention programs, solution programs, and orphanage care programs and become part of healing stories like Amanda’s please visit our Razoo page or sending a donation to our physical address in the states: ROOM, PO Box 5882, Concord, NC 28027.

 

To learn more about Todd and Wendy and Abba Padre International, check out their blog, Abba Padre International

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Everything I Know About Life I Learned From Children’s Movies~Cassie Murray

Today’s blog post is written by Cassie Murray.  We heard from Cassie in What does ROOM do?~ by Cassie Murray and To the One Who Doesn’t Feel Brave… by Cassie Murray.  Cassie is the Country Director for ROOM Honduras, managing the people and programs that seek to empower children and families in Honduras’ orphan care system.  Cassie is a mother to four children and is wholeheartedly pursuing the adoption of her fifth.  While serving as the Co-Director of ROOM’s largest Transition Home in Honduras (along with her husband, Kyle), Cassie welcomed infants, toddlers and children into her home, mothering them right beside her own.  It’s not surprising to learn that she gains so much inspiration from children’s movies.  Today’s blog reminds us of the big things we can learn from children’s movies, and the kids who watch them.  This also presents a great opportunity to steward our children’s passions and interests in making the world a better place.

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Currently I am sitting in the living room of a cozy, two-bedroom apartment breathing in the uncharacteristically cool evening air. (By uncharacteristically cool I mean that I am currently not dying of heat exhaustion) I am surrounded by the stillness of night and sounds of heavy, restful breathing of the 5 children sleeping in nooks and crannies of the remaining spaces unoccupied by furniture or stuff.

We didn’t set out to live this crazy life. Not many people do. I never could have dreamed to plan something as outrageous as living in San Pedro Sula, Honduras with my 5 kids (what?, when did I get 5 kids?) while Kyle takes care of life at least 3 borders away. Yet, here we are. And you know what? Many times its the crazy love I have for these kids that has inspired us to be obedient to the crazy love we’ve been asked to show others.

In fact, I’ve learned so much from my kids. Just recently, ROOM launched their newest campaign called the Sugar Project. My 11 year old daughter, Harper, thought of this concept all on her own and the gravity of that shakes me to my core. I’ve quoted 1 Timothy 4:12 as many times as possible to win a good ol’ fashioned Sword Drill.

Don’t let anyone look down on you because you are young, but set an example for the believers in speech, in conduct, in love, in faith and in purity

But how or why am I still amazed at what kids know? Or what kids can accomplish?

Just as much as kids are inundated with misinformation and terrible doctrine, they are presented with opportunities to develop really solid characters. This thought made me think through some of the profound lessons with Biblical legs my kids have been presented while I drive, cook dinner, or sit beside them on the couch. I’ve compiled a list of my favorites:

  • “Some people are worth melting for.” ~Olaf, Frozen

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This quote has some serious Biblical merit…sure it’s a magical snowman that can walk and talk..but Olaf also understands sacrifice. Love is all about sacrifice; which is why John told us that, “Greater love has no one than this: to lay down one’s life for one’s friends.” Seems that Olaf understands a few things about life, even though he’s just water, sticks, coal, and a carrot.

  • “Oh, yes, the past can hurt. But you can either run from it, or learn from it.” ~Rafiki, The Lion King

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Sometimes Disney movies seem more like they are for adults than kids; I mean, our hope is that most kids do not have a past that they are trying to run from. However, I’ve met kids with pasts so hard, I can imagine they would love to escape into the jungle to eat bugs with Timon and Pumba. Rafiki even used the running theme that Paul used as he instructed the Philippians about running the race set out for them saying, “But one thing I do: forgetting what lies behind and straining towards what lies ahead, I press on toward the goal for the prize of the upward call of God in Christ Jesus” (Philippians 3:13-14). Whether you are an imprisoned disciple or some sort of ape-like creature, everyone understands that no one likes extra running. Running the race set out is enough without adding extra mileage by trying to avoid a past that has been redeemed.

  • “The flower that blooms in adversity is the most rare and beautiful of all.” ~the Emperor, Mulan

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ROOMs blog, Become Part of the Story, relays story after story of the beauty in redeemed lives. I love that we serve a God who promises to bring beauty from ashes (Isaiah 61:3). In fact, one of my favorite quotes is from Elisabeth Elliot where she says, “Of one thing I am perfectly sure: God’s story never ends with ‘ashes.” We are promised that we will have hardships (John 16:33) and we are promised that He will be victorious. From the Emperors perspective, Heaven is going to be quite the garden of rare and beautiful flowers. 

  • “You think the only people who are people are the people who look and act like you. But if you walk the footsteps of a stranger, You’ll learn things you never knew you never knew.” ~Pochahontas, Pochahontas

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Pochahontas gets a little sassy in this song. I love it because she says some pretty hard stuff to hear, but it’s easier to swallow with a catchy little tune. I think Jesus would sing this song to the Pharisees. In the Great Commission, Jesus instructs His disciples to go into all nations. All. And you know what, I know that Jesus knew/knows that worship would look a little different on each continent. I know that Jesus knew/knows that all the things we allow to divide us regarding tradition and culture would be difficult for some of us to navigate. But He told us to go. And love. The irony that John Smith was learning this from Pochahontas is not lost on me. I also think that the table-throwing side of Jesus would appreciate the irony as well.

  • “Even miracles take a little time.” ~the Fairy Godmother, Cinderella

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How quick are we to give up on miracles? I’ll be the first to admit that the minute things seem like they are not going to play out, I lose hope. It’s a great quality. I’m super-proud. But the Fairy Godmother was turning pumpkins into carriages and mice into stage horses right in front of Cinderella’s eyes and she still stood there with a hint of expectation and impatience. Reminds me a little of Thomas AFTER JESUS ROSE FROM THE GRAVE AFTER BEING CRUCIFIED ON THE CROSS and Thomas was all, “unless I see it myself, I won’t believe” (John 20:24-29) and Jesus had to go over and show him the scars. One of my friends shared what has quickly become my favorite verse that helps remember, in those moments where I am quick to lose sight, that I serve a God of miracles: “And these are but the outer fringe of his works; how faint the whisper we hear of him! Who then can understand the thunder of his power?” (Job 26:14). If all the blind seeing, waters parting, dead living, and Savior resurrecting is just the fringe of what He is capable of then I can wait. Yep. Miracles are worth waiting for.

  • “Your story may not have such a happy beginning, but that doesn’t make you who you are. It is the rest of your story, who you choose to be…” ~Soothsayer, Kung Fu Panda 2

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This movie, really, the whole Kung Fu Panda series, has been one that has really impacted me in my new role as a hopeful adoptive mother. I watched this movie just recently with my kids and I just cried. Adoption is beautiful. And hard. The reality is that the emotions are complicated all around. This series did a great job of capturing the heart of the adoptee, the adoptive parent, and biological parent. The final series just conveys God’s heart for the redemptive plan for adoption so perfectly.  When Po can finally reconcile, “Who am I? I’ve been asking the same question. Am I the son of a panda? The son of a goose? A student? A teacher? Turns out, I’m all of them.” Paul tries to help the Romans understand a similarly poignant concept of sonship in Romans 8 when he writes, “For those who are led by the Spirit of God are the children of God. 15 The Spirit you received does not make you slaves, so that you live in fear again; rather, the Spirit you received brought about your adoption to sonship. And by him we cry,’Abba, Father.’ 16 The Spirit himself testifies with our spirit that we are God’s children.” Paul tried to reconcile for us the fact that we can be fully human and sinful yet coheirs with Christ! In many ways, we are all a bit goose and a bit panda. It’s a tough concept to grasp; I see why it took three movies for Po to figure it out. 

  • “Sometimes the right path is not the easiest one.” ~Grandmother Willow, Pochahontas

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I know I already quoted Pochahontas but Grandmother Willow just gets it. I think she is going a little soft on Pochahontas because my heart wants to scream IT’S NEVER THE EASIEST ONE…but I’ve already screamed in bold once in this blog and that is just me being frustrated with waiting on miracles. But the reality is, the Matthew wrote, “But small is the gate and narrow the road that leads to life, and only a few find it” (7:14). Sounds Feels like a pretty difficult path. But, to quote Sid the Sloth from Ice Age, “I choose life.”

All of these quotes are just a silly way to remind us parents that our kids have opportunities to learn good character every day. We are surrounded by excuses to run and hide and fear the worst. But we hold the power to change the future just by empowering our children to use their voices.

How are you empowering your kids to use their voices? What issues do they care about?

If you are looking for a way to steward them into service, consider joining our Sugar Project this summer. We are raising a generation of World Changers!

 

 

 

Redefining the Village ~ Kacey Bolin

This week’s ROOM contributor is Kacey Bolin. Outside of being a full-time foster mom to Jesús, Kacey is note-taker, problem-solver, fact-checker, prayer-warrior, time-saver, and life-giver. Kacey’s heart to serve missionaries and empower caregivers allows her to lead by example as she constantly pours out what is poured into her. This most recent blog captures that essence of who she is as she redefines what it means to ‘lean on a village.’ 

It has been nearly two years since my life collided with my little man, Jesús’. Becoming his foster mom opened my eyes to the very real need all mothers, parents, and caretakers have for support. Raising children, advocating for their lives, and stepping into the brokenness of the orphan care world is not meant to be done alone. The saying, “it takes village to raise a child” became a reality for me over these past two years because there  have been days when I truly could not do it on my own. The days I do manage to do everything on my own are typically a result the support and encouragement I receive from days prior. I am able to fulfill this call because I know I am not alone. I know there are people I can call if I need help; I know there are people praying for us, believing in us, and invested in us. I know there are people supporting us in many ways and because of that I can do this.

It is the support of people that spurs me on and empowers me to walk in the call. Being so supported in the call that often seems larger than I can handle has grown a passion in me for supporting others.
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I believe in people and their potential to thrive in the place God has called them to. Without the support I have received, neither Jesús nor I would be thriving. We thrive because we have people believing in us, praying for us, investing in us, and loving us in tangible ways. People thrive with that type of love.

 

Invest. Pray. Believe. Love.

 

This support is active and engaged. It is committed. It reflects the heart of the Father and brings unity to the body of Christ.

 

As a ROOM missionary one of the things I am most passionate about is supporting others the way I have been supported. Orphanage Care is a vital element of support for the children we serve. A large number of the children we serve are living in orphanages and raised by staff that need support. The staff at these children’s homes are present day-in and day-out. They are the ones these children look to. They are the ones investing in and shaping these children everyday. We cannot be there everyday, but the caretakers are.  With a community of support they are empowered to serve each child in their care with deeper love and renewed energy. When ROOM goes into children’s homes my heart is to support the caretakers and staff. I want them to know I am there for them, believing in them, invested in them. I want to help ignite the passion they have for the children they serve and tangibly love them however they need.

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I am passionate about pouring that support out into others. I love being a part of a ministry that is passionate about this, too. Together, as the people who make up ROOM, we see the importance in supporting one another and the people we serve. This is our call.

 

Hogar Emanuel is a children’s home that has become so special to me. Through weekly visits we have built relationships with the staff and are seeing caretakers and children thrive. Our visits are full of laughter, play time, and encouragement. We strive to meet practical needs, pray for the caretakers and children, and share the love of Christ through our interactions.

 

My love for this home has grown deeply over the time we have invested here. Through prayer we are seeing hope renewed and obstacles overcome. By believing in the staff and children, we will see them reach their potential. Through our love the staff and children will encounter the even greater love God has for them. When we know we are supported we can fulfill the call God has given us and be encouraged as we do it.

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I understand the need for the kind of support that I am writing about. I have received it.  I am still on the mission field because of it. This is the kind of support we all need in order to fulfill the call God has for us. This is the kind of support the staff and children at Hogar Emanuel and all of ROOM’s partner orphanages and programs need.

In many ways, I am learning to serve out of my very needs. It was not until I was a caretaker that I understood the need for community and support. But in answering one call, He has Divinely inspired within me a heart to rally around the village.

The expression “it takes a village to raise a child” is built on the recipe of investment, prayer, belief, and love. We all need that type of village.

Invest. Pray. Believe. Love.

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Join us in supporting Hogar Emanuel and all of ROOM’s partner orphanages and programs by becoming part of our village. 

 

To find out how you can partner with ROOM and become part of the village that invests, prays, believes, and loves the lives we support through ROOM programs please visit our website Reach Out Orphanage Ministries.