The last month has quickly passed and we’d been quite busy. In the past month we started school, enrolled over 100 children, celebrated birthdays and women’s day. We’ve encountered multiple snakes invading our land, dealt with a popped tire on one of our vehicles, battled multiple illnesses running it’s course through all the children and staff, preformed yearly check ups. We’ve fundraised for our monthly donations and then went into countrywide lockdown because of Coronavirus.
The beginning of the school year is always more difficult than other times because we enroll many new children who are not accustomed to our routine, rules or structure; it takes a bit for everyone to settle in. This means a lot more work for our staff. Our tutors are not only caring and teaching our kids at La Aljaba but they also run to and from multiple different schools, all the time. They meet with the children’s teachers, ensuring that they are excelling, attending class, behaving, making friends, that they are healthy and much more. They’ve been seen cleaning wounds, tying shoes, teaching, spoon feeding kids, breaking up fights, running errands, decorating for birthday parties, playing games, and so much more. Their jobs are not done lightly and we are so blessed to have them!
While children have been adjusting to the routine and rules of La Aljaba we were able to celebrate all of the birthday kids from the months of January and February. All of the children came together for a time of games, music, prayer and of course gifts and cake. It’s so fun to see many of the kids experience cake for the first time! We are so grateful for all of our children and so excited we get to celebrate a year of their lives with them. I hope you enjoy the birthday video below.
We hosted our first parent meeting on the evening of our first birthday party of the year. We invited all of the parents of our children to La Aljaba and the tutors shared with them about helping their children through school. We taught about the responsibilities of the La Aljaba staff compared to the responsibilities of the parents. We also gave advice in helping their children excel. Really you could compare this meeting to new student/teacher orientation or an open house. We will have many more workshops for the parents throughout the year in hopes of being a good support system for them in raising their children.
We also completed our first of two health check-ups for the children for 2020. It is a great way to track our kids growth, monitor their health and it’s a way to administer parasite meds that everyone in Leticia needs to take every 6 months. We also take this time to teach our kids about hygiene and taking care of lice. Many people in our community are plagued with lice and with the humidity and lack of hot or clean water the lice seem to flourish. We work hard at teaching our kids how to shampoo them away, continuing the process of removing eggs and preventing them from returning. This is a very common hygiene practice in the jungle that we want to ensure all of our kids understand.
Two weeks ago we were able to celebrate International Women’s Day. The male staff at La Aljaba planned a whole ceremony for all of the women/girls. They showered them with encouraging words, gave them all their very own flower and Brazilian chocolate and prayed for them. We used it as an opportunity to show them the love of Jesus.
Lastly, what everyone is waiting to hear about, Coronavirus. Unfortunately, due to coronavirus all of our missions teams for the next few months needed to reschedule. We are all very sad they won’t be arriving but we knew that it is for the best. The week one of our teams was to arrive, Colombia closed its borders which would have trapped the team from the states here until May. Colombia has not only closed its borders but we are on complete lockdown for the next 20 days. Not only is it devastating that all the businesses and schools had to close but we even had to close La Aljaba. We are praying for the protection of all our children and the people of this city. We hope these strict precautions will prevent the spreading of the virus and allow life to go somewhat back to normal in a few weeks. We are praying for all of those impacted by the coronavirus and know how hard it must be to buckle down and wait it out. It is a strange time in our world right now but we are reminded of Psalm 23 and that God is our Shepherd and He will continue to watch over us.
All in all we’ve had a very good month, until Coronavirus that is;). Our children are learning and growing and most importantly they are hearing Gods Word! Thank you for your love for La Aljaba! Hopefully when you hear from us next month La Aljaba will be back in full working order. Below you will see our specific prayer needs and praises!
Michael and Julie
-Two snakes have been captured on the property before any children came across them.
-Our last pig was so large it filled our entire deep freezer full of meat which is a huge savings in our food expense.
-We’ve had several issues with our vehicles this last month and all have been repaired!
-Our sports court that was completed last year has been the biggest entertainment for our children. We even find our ‘cool’ teenagers out there playing games;).
-We were able to get almost all of our children into homes for this legal quarantine. We had less than 24 hours to get all the kids out of La Aljaba and everything closed down. Praise God for His help and for the amazing staff that worked together in a quick and crazy amount of time.
-Pray for the healing and stoping of the Coronavirus.
-Pray for the protection of our La aljaba children. We are unsure of their living conditions as they wait out this 20 day lock down.
-Pray for Leticia as they will greatly suffer financially without work for 20 days. We don’t know how they will provide food for themselves and their families. This can lead to a lot of thieving as a result. Pray for provisions for the people and for safety.
-Pray for our monthly support for La Aljaba, we are in GREAT need of 19 more monthly sponsors at $100 a month.
Hello everyone! We pray that you all had a blessed Christmas and New Years. The 2019 school year has ended at La Aljaba at the beginning of December and the children visited their families for their summer (Christmas) break. 2019 was a busy and great year: we welcomed many missions teams this year, had a sports court built for us, the water tower was improved for cleaner water, a new gate was built to better protect our property, the playground was painted and sealed, buildings repainted and much more. Most importantly our children are continuing to thrive as they learn more about Jesus. We are so excited that so many of our children came to know Jesus this year. We look forward to continuing to disciple them in 2020. We are also so proud of the work they did in school this year and we are excited to see what this next school year brings.
La Aljaba also held their annual Christmas party. We were able to bless all the children with multiple gifts, eat a large dinner and watch the children preform many songs and dances that they had learned through the local music arts school. We are always grateful to see the parents come and celebrate with their children and get to see their kids preform after all the hard work that went into the practices. The Christmas party always closes out our year in such a special way. We are able to see all what the children have accomplished and we get to celebrate the birth of our Savior.
Though many of our children went home to spend time with their families over break we still kept our doors open for those who were unable to go to family. We even opened our doors for birthday celebrations! Sweet Zaray got to celebrate her quinceañera right before Christmas. For those who are curious what that is it is similar to how we celebrate a ‘sweet 16’ only in most Latin countries they celebrate a ‘sweet 15’ for the girls. It was such a beautiful celebration of Zaray and we are so grateful to her family, the staff and volunteers, donors and sponsors who made this whole party possible! In addition to Zaray’s party we also got to throw a surprise birthday party for our awesome house mom, Derly. What a blessing!
We entered into January fellowshipping with two of our friends from Ancla. This awesome organization built all of our buildings in our current location. They do amazing work here in the jungle region and we are so grateful for their generosity and love for us and this city.
Shortly after the first of the year we started the enrollment process for our 2020 children. We enrolled over 100 children this year, many returning and some new. We are so excited to have our classrooms full of noise and laughter! Thank you for the prayers for our team as they went through this very detailed process. There are so many children in need but we only have the space and staff for approximately 100. Thank you for praying for wisdom for us as we made those decisions.
We will continue with updates at the beginning of each month. It is our desire to communicate with you as frequently as possible. If you have any questions or would like to connect with your sponsor child please do not hesitate to reach out to us!
Thank you all for your continued support and prayers. We are grateful to have made it through another year with you and we are so blessed to have you on our ministry team!
Many blessings to you all,
Mike and Julie
-registration went smoothly and all of our children have arrived
-we have over 100 children at La Aljaba this year, with a huge increase in teens which is usually the most difficult group to bring to capacity
-all of our staff members returned and we added 2 extra positions to help care for the children
-please pray that our children would come to know Jesus and that we are efficient in discipling them
-pray for Lucy as she continues to train Michael for the next 1.5 months
-please pray for Michael and the staff as they are all learning to work together
-pray for the safety and health of our children
-pray for our funding that we are working on increasing
THE CHILDREN. They have been working hard, growing in every aspect, loving and worshiping Jesus. The end of the year 2019 is approaching; their main effort is to finish the academic year well. Several children have reached the best records in the school; they have given an important positive effort and change.
We started a vegetable garden, all groups from the youngest to the oldest work and learn to plant and care, they will soon have a good harvest.
Sports Field, the construction finished and the contractor handed us the court. We are very happy. It is gorgeous and we have received good comments and congratulations. Our total gratitude to God, may He bless our brothers, the Spaugh family in North Carolina who honored God with the generosity of their heart. On November 23rd we had an opening party with the children, parents, the Local Board and the friends of La Aljaba here in Leticia who currently support in different aspects our ministry to the children in need in the Amazon region.
DIRECTORS.- We received the good news from Brother Michael Hogue, the Colombian visas were approved for the whole family, praise God! Now they must move to Leticia and begin this new stage of service to God in our ministry and we are ready to support them in the new changes. They will be arriving next week on the 27th. A new stage will start for them, for La Aljaba and for me too. From my side, the process of closing a stage that started 18 years ago has a purpose: first of all I want to be closer to my family, my daughters and grandchildren, and secondly I want to serve the Lord in another way. I am sure that God has a plan for me. I am very grateful to Him for allowing me to lead this ministry to the children from it's beginning; praise Him. Fundacion La Aljaba, is really an inspiration for many.
Blessings to all of you,
I appreciate your prayers for:
✓ The closing of the year 2019, the goals achieved and the children are happy and grateful to God for their achievements.
✓ The work team committed and encouraged for the end of the year.
✓ The Annual Meeting of the Council of Founders and Benefactors that will be held the first week of December; the presence of God in this event and His direction.
✓ The process of accommodation and adaptation of Michael & Julie with their children, may God provide adequate housing soon and let us see His hand of love in everything.
✓ The process that flows with the presence of the Holy Spirit of God and the next stage continues blessing this work for the children in need of the Amazonian region.
This blog is written by a collection of individuals aimed at sharing the love of Jesus and caring for the needs of the children of La Aljaba.