Saturday, December 27, 2014

Jesus and Peanut Butter Jelly Jars

It all started with a list.  Rockwood Church asked if they could do an Angel Tree to bless our children and we said we would be happy with that.  Each child asked for a specific gift.  Isaac, who loves peanut butter and had just discovered from another child that you could actually buy peanut butter with jelly already in it, couldn't wait to get that on the list.

So on Christmas eve we gathered in our living room, all 40 something of us, and each child received their specially chosen gift.  And that's when it happened, an unexpected moment pregnant with the Presence of Jesus.  Isaac had actually received 6 jars of the peanut butter and jelly mixture but we had a day several weeks ago when the need to eat was greater than the need to give him ALL six the family ate PBJ sandwiches and Isaac was none the wiser.  

When he opened the three remaining jars on Christmas Eve, you would have thought that we had given him the moon!  He was so thrilled!  He lifted them high into the air with a look a sheer victory on his face and then ripped through the wrappings to reveal his three jars of peanut butter and jelly!  It was such a joy to see him so thrilled with his gift.  We had moved on to the opening of the other children's gifts when I sensed him scooting up closer to me on the couch.  "This is for you, Mama Bets," he said as he carefully placed one of his treasured jars in my hands.  He had already given one of the other jars to Tia Elvia and that left him with one jar.  That sweet unselfish gesture brought tears to my eyes.  I couldn't contain them as I gently told Isaac that I wanted him to keep his treasure but that his unselfishness had touched me.....deeply.  Instead of wanting to hoard more for himself, he wanted to bless others.  How could this little eight year old boy, who has suffered so much in his young life already, understand that it is more blessed to give than receive?

The answer, of course, is Jesus.  Isaac has experienced Jesus' love and so he can give away to others, knowing that this honors the very One who has given him a new life.

I am so thankful this Christmas for the gift of Isaac and for the gift of every one of these children that God has brought into our Jericho family.  They teach me of His grace and His amazing love and His sacrificial giving.  They bring me His Presence.

Monday, April 28, 2014

The Assembly

When Elvia told me about it I just knew I had to share it here.  She said they were learning about how an assembly works and decided to practice it instead of doing it all in their heads.  So that's how these assembly meetings evolved at the Villa.  There have been two.

These are the notes from the second assembly taken down by Harold (15 years) and translated by Betsy (up there in years) not in it's entirety however to spare you some of the more tedious details.  

Assembly Notes
The meeting was held on the 23rd of April, 2014 at Jericho Villa at 7:30pm in the living room of the main building.  It was an ordinary assembly with the following agenda:

Opening prayer
Praise and Worship
Roll call of members present
Reading of the minutes of last meeting
Supervisor reports
New Business:     Captain America (this is the funny part)
                         Rivers versus Stagnating ponds (the not so funny part)
Final Prayer

The meeting started with prayer and then several of the leaders tried to sing a song by Dante Gebel about being a river and not a stagnant pond for the Lord but it was too difficult  for the guitar players to play it so they just sang some" normal" worship songs.

After roll call, Harold read the minutes from last month's assembly meeting.  There was much laughter.

Then Miss Keydy gave her report about the school.  The kids at the Elementary School and High School are learning and the classes are going well with only a few of the children presenting tantrums now and then but on the whole things are under control.

Juan Carlos and Daniel
 Angie ( in charge of the kitchen) reported
that the kids are asking for far too many snacks and when she scolds them, some of them walk away with their noses in the air.  She reports that others are wanting to help too much in the kitchen.
too many snacks

Next Eduardo reporting on the older boys, said that he is trusting God to provide a million lempiras so he continues to encourage the boys to dream about studying abroad.  He also reported that he is looking to cultivate these three characteristics in the boys under his care (whom he affectionately calls the Hebrews) that they would:
1.   Have initiative
2.   Be hardworking
3.   Be respectful
He reported on the different boys under his supervision and how they were doing in the three areas.  Some were doing better than others and only one boy was excelling in all three areas.

Noe with Isaac
Noe gave his report and stated that one problem he was having was that some of the boys would only obey if Eduardo told them what to do but not when he did.  The director intervened and ordered the boys to obey Noe and Eduardo alike.  The director then commented that starting tomorrow Noe would only speak in English to his charges to facilitate their learning English.

Vanesa and Kevin
Vanesa recognized Kevin's hard work and improved attitude  before the assembly and asked for applause from the assembly for him.  (Elvia found Kevin begging in the streets in front of the supermarket and he became a part of our family before Christmas.  It has not been easy for him but he has persevered as has the assembly.)

The director of the Villa (Elvia) then brought up some new business.  It seemed that brother Caleb (who is 4 years old and the youngest member of the family) had  asked if all the inhabitants of the Villa would now call him "Captain America".  Eduardo responded by stating that in order to wear the title "Captain America" a person would need to be respectful, and not lie or cry frequently which were activities which were very prominent in Caleb's life at present.
Future Captain America
 Eduardo made a motion to postpone the imposition of the  title "Captain America" until a future time when more characteristics of Captain America become notable in Caleb. The motion was seconded and passed unanimously.  Little Caleb accepted the decision but not without a bit a sadness.

The director then commented on the fact that rivers need to be flowing outward and that part of our vision is to flow outward to reach others avoiding  a stagnant pond scenario.  She then commented on how God had opened up the doors for Carmen and Lizel to give their testimonies and evangelize in Belize with the Princess Warriors.  She related that she has decided to begin the necessary steps to get passports (with the guidance of the Holy Spirit) for those whom God is preparing to minister in other countries.

The meeting was then ended with prayer.