2017 has flown by and La Aljaba is coming to the end of their year. The children are finishing up one more week of school and the staff is working hard at getting our years “work” submitted to the government. Our Christmas party is planned for December 11 and then the external children will only attend La Aljaba for one more week. The externals will then remain with their families for the break until the new school year resumes in February. La Aljaba will be much quieter for the holidays with approximately 15 children onsite, but we will still have a lot of work to do!
Every December we take time to go through all the applications of all the children applying to participate in our program for the upcoming year. This is not an easy process because we would love to approve everyone who applies but we have to decide which children “need” La Aljaba the most. We can only take in a maximum of 90 children each year due to the number of staff we employ and because of our yearly budget limitations. Along with the application screening process, we need to make sure that our facilities measure up to all the updated business codes for the new year. In addition to our yearly compliance guidelines with the Colombian government, we will be legally required to update our security protocols, change all of the children’s mattresses and add hypoallergenic covers. We will also have to make changes to our accountant and financial auditor processes. Many items need completion and the to-do list changes every year. La Aljaba is a ministry, but to the Colombian government we are classified as a business and these are the standards we are held to. The government has also changed the law about requiring permits to hire anyone outside of La Aljaba to fix or build anything on the property. So I am sure you can understand the way this may affect our future construction projects. Although many of these government mandates can be a financial burden on our ministry they are keeping our home safe and healthy. We trust their knowledge of what is best for the home and our children and we trust that God will provide the funds each year to complete the tasks that the government asks of us.
We are very proud of the children and how well they have done in their studies this year. Many of the children are even at the top of their class. Three of the children have done so well they were given scholarships to attend a school to learn English. This can be a great benefit for the future of those three children and we hope that more will be selected for this program in the future. The children have also participated in many extracurricular activities such as swimming, BATUTA (music school), soccer, and art. Our children are so talented are we are grateful for the activities they are involved in and how they help occupy their time. La Aljaba is a ministry that helps to nourish underprivileged children both spiritually and physically, and filling their time with education and extracurricular activities is one way of keeping them off the streets and giving them something to be passionate about.
This year we also held 6 different sessions of training for the parents. We think it is very important to develop a relationship with the parents of our children and help educate or train them in areas that will help them become better parents. We think this is beneficial for the relationship between the parents and their children but this is also beneficial in showing the parents we support them. We know that being a parent is a difficult job and can sometimes be lonely. When you add extreme poverty and lack of support/education to the equation the outcome can be devastating. We want to give our parents a support system here at La Aljaba. We want to help them learn more about supporting their children in their education, protecting them from the dangers of Leticia. Most importantly we want to show/ teach them about the love of God so they can instill that in their children.
We received 8 missions teams this year and have also received many other visitors throughout 2017. This kept us busy but is always such a blessing to us and our children. We are so grateful for our visitors, many of them returning visitors, and we pray they feel led to return in 2018. The donations and projects that these teams do for us are such a blessing, but the even bigger blessing is seeing our visitors show our children the love of Jesus. Many of our children have a distorted view of what a relationship is, and these teams always set such a godly example of what love and friendship are about. Thank you for that and thank you for loving and giving to God’s work in the jungle.
We also received a special visitor here at La Aljaba from Ottawa, Canada. Darian Allard is interning with us for 6 months through, Camino Global, an organization aimed at making disciples among Spanish-speakers globally. Darian is helping out our team of tutors with all of the children and is specifically helping teach our younger children English. After her time ends in Leticia she plans to continue her education, possibly come back to La Aljaba and would love to eventually work full-time in missions. Darian is such a blessing to us and we are so grateful for her servant’s heart and the joy that she brings to our children.
We have worked hard keeping you updated this year and we pray the updates continue (pending good jungle wifi) at the start of La Aljaba’s new year in February. We thank you so much for all of your support and prayers and we know that you are a huge part of keeping our doors open! We thank God for the privilege of working for Him in the jungle and allowing us all to be a part of His amazing ministry. We hope you all have a very blessed Christmas and New Year and we look forward to our next post in a few months!
Here are a few things to be praying about over the holidays:
-pray for the children over break; that God will keep them safe and healthy and that they will remember to keep Him first in their lives
-pray for the process of approving the 90 children for the upcoming year
-pray for the spiritual warfare we are battling here at La Aljaba; that we keep God first and do not allow Satan to have a stronghold over any of us
-pray for our staff, that they remember to be a godly example to our children and that they are amazing role models that our children can imitate
-pray for all the needed legal changes to remain compliant at La Aljaba and that we can physically and financially complete everything before the New Year
-pray for our financial support that we will be able to increase the number of our monthly sponsors to meet our new and increased budget for this upcoming year
-praise God for all the support and prayers this year. They have helped the ministry of La Aljaba remain open!
Youtube: La Aljaba Children's Home
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.