Friday, November 23, 2012

So Much to be Thankful For . . .

I miss being in America on Thanksgiving.  It's always been my favorite holiday.  The crisp, fall weather and beautiful leaves.  A day to gather with family (without the pressure of giving gifts).  Delicious food that my mom spends weeks preparing.  Writing on the tablecloth the thing I am most grateful for this year.  And then at the end of the day, the Christmas decorations start to go up.  It's always a beautiful day.

But here I am on the other side of the globe where most people have never even heard of Thanksgiving Day.  And my day was so very different than it would have been had I been in America.  I spent my thanksgiving day with 30-ish street kids at our center, visiting 2 former street boys who are now off the streets and back with their families, and helping one boy begin the process of reuniting with his family.  Not the traditional thanksgiving day at all but it certainly was a good day and a day so full of tangible examples of God's faithfulness.

 Meet the 2 boys I visited and please keep them in your prayers:  Joao (above with Glorianne) went back home at the beginning of September.  He is living with his father and step-mother and doing so well!  Mario (below with Alexis) had been on the streets as long as I have been working with Masana...4 years!!  A couple of weeks ago, he got really sick and was hospitalized with malaria.  I think his sickness was a wake-up call about the danger and loneliness of life on the streets.  When he was released from the hospital, he was ready to go home.

Praise God for Joao and Mario and the transformation in their hearts that has brought them to the place that they want a different life.  Thank you Father for all of the boys who have made that decision this year and who are today, off the streets and with their families.  

Tuesday, November 6, 2012

Happy Birthday Felix!

In 2009, my life was forever changed by the friendship of one of the street boys, Felix.  We became the best of friends.  Often as I would walk to Masana, I would end up a few yards behind Felix.  I always got the biggest kick out of the clothes he wore and the silly games he made up as he walked the streets. A sight I will never forget is Felix in a trench coat and black boots that were way to big for him walking down the street with a large piece of styrofoam that was his "steering wheel" as he weaved in and out of the crowds.  

In October, 2009, Felix decided to go home.  We made the hour and a half drive to his father's house.  The months that followed were filled with ups and downs for Felix as he was put in the middle of family issues.  One of the hardest home visits I have ever been a part of to this date, was with Felix's grandmother and an uncle.  We sat and listened to a family explain that they had given up hope on Felix and that he was no longer welcome to live with them.  It was the first time I cried on a visit.  I didn't understand how anyone could reject this precious little boy I had come to love.

In October 2010, we made the decision to invite Felix to live with us at Masana.  We contacted his father and made arrangements for Felix to stay with us during the week and visit family over the weekends.  Over the weeks and months that followed, I began to see Felix maturing and growing into a strong young man.  Now Felix is respected by all members of his family.   It's a joy to watch him interact with the father that he was once afraid of, now full of joy and self-confidence.

Last week, Felix turned 15.  He is living proof of the impact being in a loving family can have on one's life.  Our Masana family is not your traditional family . . . but we are a family.  And we serve a God who is a loving Father and who takes joy in setting the lonely in families (Psalm 68:6).  

Thank you Father for entrusting Felix to our family.  Help us to raise him up into the Godly man You have created him to be.  May his life always bring glory to Your name.

Happy Birthday Feliz Navidad!!