La Aljaba has ended the 2018 year feeling very blessed! When we moved on to the new property a couple of years ago it was hard to know what to expect. The neighborhood where we live is still being developed, and with that comes positives and negatives but overall it has far exceeded our expectations. Construction has been slow, which is common in Leticia, but we have amazing classrooms, office space, living quarters and an awesome playground. We are starting to see the fruits of our labor and we are so excited to see what God has in store for 2019, not only for the continued construction of La Aljaba, but for the work that God is doing in the ministry.
This year has been busy just like all the others😊. Time seems to fly by. When you think of how life has flown by in raising your own children, if you're in that stage of life, then multiply that several times until you get to 80 children and that's our life here. The days here are long, but the years are short! Continue reading to hear more about our year and what the plans are for the future.
This year our staff was able to receive multiple pieces of training to equip them for the work here at La Aljaba. They received training in CPR and First Aid, drug and alcohol prevention, and prevention of sexual abuse. We also received an intern, Darian, this year from Canada for 6 months. This was a huge help to our staff and children, especially the children in group one. Darian was very hard working and kind, but most importantly she loves Jesus. She was such a positive influence in the lives of our children.
La Aljaba also received 6 different missions’ teams this year. Mission teams are such a huge part of our ministry. These amazing teams not only come and help run summer camps and VBS, build and fix things, or run medical exams on our children, they most importantly share the love of Jesus with them. We had many children come to know Jesus through these teams and many children rededicated their relationship with Jesus. We are so grateful for the time and finances that Bellevue Baptist Church, Spark Worldwide, Harborside Christian Church, Bethel Church, and Crossroads Church invested in our ministry this year. Thank you!
We would also like to thank Ancla Foundation for their continued support for the children of Leticia. They have not only continued to bless us with our buildings but this year even gave us computers for the children and a new water filtration system that will help keep our children healthier. Also, a huge thanks to Spark Worldwide for blessing one of our children’s family with running water and electricity for their home. Their living situation was very difficult before you arrived!
La Aljaba was happy to serve almost 80 children this year. This means we were investing in the lives of approximately 50 families. We continue to pray that God will use us as a light to lead these families to Jesus and break the cycle of spiritual strongholds that have held these families down for generations. Our goal at La Aljaba is not only to share Jesus with the impoverished children of Leticia but to help disciple them so they can go out and make a difference in the lives of their families. We want to raise up a new and godly generation that can break the cycle of generational sin.
We ended our year at La Aljaba with our big Christmas party. A huge shout out to all our child sponsors and donors that made this Christmas party possible! Because of your kind generosity, we were able to bring gifts from the states, for every child! The majority of our children do not receive gifts at home, so this is a time to fill up a big bag of gifts for all of our kids. Although we do not just focus on giving gifts, which is very fun to do, we also want to focus on the real reason for Christmas. We want to teach our children that we give to them as a symbol of God’s precious gift to us, sending his son Jesus to redeem us.
La Aljaba is now closed for the school break. Our children will start school in February, so this is a time to rest, to enjoy some time off and also prepare for the coming year. Every year La Aljaba is required to keep our building up to code with the Leticia business requirements. This seems to change every year so we are always tasked with many projects at La Aljaba over the break to ensure that we are abiding by all those regulations. We will also begin reenrollment towards the end of January. Families come and apply and we begin the process of screening the “neediest” families first and then add more children on from there. This is a very difficult and tedious process. We would love to accept every child, but we just do not have the funds to hire more staff to do this. Maybe one day God will grow us in that aspect, but for now, we will continue to pray that God sends us what we can handle and that we keep Him at the heart of this ministry.
Our upcoming year will once again include many missions’ teams; they are such an important part of La Aljaba. We are also planning on more construction which will hopefully complete the kids' soccer/basketball court and maybe even our compound fence. We have plans for expansion in the future, but we are content with what God has given us. While many of the routines of La Aljaba will stay the same, this year we are also planning on hiring a social worker. This is a great way to bridge the relationship between La Aljaba, child and family. We want to invest in the spiritual well-being our children, but this also includes investing in the family, so a social worker will be a big blessing to improve this aspect of the ministry.
We pray that you all had a great Christmas and we are wishing you a Happy New Year! We praise God that you have honored us with your love, generosity, and prayers! Thank you to all our donors, child sponsors, missions teams, ministries, staff and board who have all been a HUGE part of what God is doing at La Aljaba! Many blessings to you all!
There has been so much going on over the course of the last couple months. The children have been busy with school and many after-school activities. We are incredibly proud of their hard work and dedication in these areas. These things keep our children very busy!
Along with the busyness of school and extracurricular activities, many of the children have worked together to develop a homemade garden. Each one of our groups has a space to plant, care, and harvest. Their work has started yielding great results! It has been so fun to watch the joy that this garden is bringing to the children. They are so proud of what they are doing. We have had support of the Umata; they brought seeds and some instructors who taught our children what to do and then have been gracious enough to follow up to see how we are doing. The harvest has begun!!
In a few months we will harvest corn and tomatoes. La Aljaba is using the fruits and veggies we are growing but the children have also been able to bring home the "fruits" and veggies of their labor to their families. What a blessing!
It is not always work and no fun around here. In September we had an amazing birthday celebration. We celebrated the 15th birthday of one of our girls, Daniel Tenazoa.
Daniela has grown up in La Aljaba and thanks to God, she has developed into an amazing young woman. She has incredible character and a love for Jesus. Her family situation has always been quite difficult so she has relied on the care provided to her from her heavenly Father and from La Aljaba. Her birthday was a very fun time and she was excited to have Michael and Julie Hogue in attendance. They have been her sponsors for nearly 7 years and they have been able to strengthen her with their love and sound wisdom. Her quinceanera is a time she never will forget. It was a night of laughter and happiness. She was able to spend a lot of time with her family, friends, and also with the La Aljaba staff.
We love you all so very much! We thank you for your prayers and your on-going support. We are truly blessed by your love.
June was a wonderful month with several important events! We love you God for everything you have done for us.
THE ANCLA FOUNDATION, which is an organziation who has been supporting us for sometime with construction of building have helped us again. This time through their Entropika program, they donated a water purification system. Now we have clean drinking water and the local Coca Cola factory that donated the purified water and will now perform the periodic laboratory tests. Thanks to the Ancla Foundation, the Entropika program and Coca Cola.
CROSSROADS CHURCH from North Carolina visited us with a team led by Dr. Steve O'Brien. It was wonderful to receive the love of the brothers who made the children their traditional Vacation Bible School full of creativity and fun. They also collaborated with some work in our facilities. The medical and therapeutic team did health check-ups to our children and also with some children of the community. We give thanks to God for them, for their love and dedication, and for showing the love of Jesus at all times.
ANNUAL 2018 CAMP was held on the island of Ronda on the Amazon River. 55 people with the leadership of Joy Ellcessor and Jeff Brown of Harborside Church, from Florida. 16 people who were in charge of the entire program, ministry and teaching on "Who are we in Christ?” Many of the teenagers from this group shared wonderful biblical teachings, each with a reflection from their testimonies of Christian life that touched our hearts, worship, service, ministry, advice and ended with the Lord's Supper. Thank you brothers; our gratitude is immense and we are waiting for you next year. Our teenagers were challenged to follow the footsteps of our Savior, Jesus Christ!
ROBIN PAIMA, our young guy, who by the grace of God is studying in Memphis under the tutoring of Wayne Sneed and his family, is on vacation and is updating his documents, and is obtaining a driver's license because he turned 18 years old. He was one of the translators in the Camp and also helps children with homework. We thank God for him and we hope that his life will honor and glorify the Heavenly Father.
We hoped you have enjoyed all this news. We love you all and thank you so much for all of your support. Please keep us in your prayers and we continue forward in the next few months. We continue to receive a smaller amount of support each month compared to what we need to meet our budget but God continues to meet our needs. Praise God!
Lucy's update - May
I have many things to share with you, first of all something personal. I went to Dallas, Fort Worth, to attend the CAFO SUMMIT, please see this in the web, it was time for many Christian ONGs working with orphans or children in need to be together and receive different teachings. It was a time to refresh many concepts and also needs in the development of my role as Director of the ministry to the children. When finished the event, I received the privilege to attend the retreat prepared for Orphanos. It was a time to rest but also to exercise the discipline of hearing God’s voice instead of asking Him all the time, great to share with our brothers and sisters working under the partnership of Orphanos Foundation, learning all the time too. Then I went with my friends of Spark, they have been also working and giving love to many in the Amazon and since our starting our supporters through Open Doors Church, the Brewer Pastors and friends. I have the opportunity to go and pray for a Godly sister’s little boy staying in the hospital since he was born 3 months before completed 9 months and now I knew he went home with his lovely parents. Praise God with all my heart to the ones who gave me the support with finances, covering my needs, home to stay and honoring me in many ways, I just want to say “thanks to all of them” and my deep gratitude to the Heavenly Father for their lives.
Ancla Foundation from Sweden wanted to install in our facilities a big filter for potable water so that we will have good water all the time. It is compound of a similar tower and 2 big tanks joined to our current water system. What a useful donation, I am grateful for their generosity.
UWC Colombia (please see the web). By their invitation we submitted 5 of our oldest children to a selection with hundreds of teen’s students in Colombia, to a Camp close to Bogota. Carlos Manuyama and Katherine Andoque were accepted and got scholarships to go. We covered only one ticket. We are very happy for these good students, we will be very well represented in that event and will have experiences and learnings. We are the only participant from the Amazonas.
The children are receiving musical instruction in La Aljaba. The instructors are preparing them for a tour we will do to all the Christian Churches in Leticia and Tabatinga, this is a project suggested by the President of our Council to introduce the ministry to Christian community.
We celebrated “15 year’s Birthday” to Emma Cruz. It was the occasion to share and congratulate her with her family, friends of the school, some teens of La Aljaba and the staff and also came the pastor of Foursquare church here in Leticia where the mother is attending. Good time for Emma, she has been with us since she was 5 years old, we are happy to celebrate and pray for her.
We did with our staff the training to handle emergencies and first aids. We now are granted and certified. We made simulation of evacuation with the children and staff.
I highly appreciate your love and support, may God bless you all.
Please keep us in your prayers to the Father:
We have not completed our monthly budget. The income resource is not enough to cover our expenses. I trust He will provide through new supporters who love the children and the work we are doing. His bless to those who are committed with our ministry to children in need.
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.