What a busy year we've already had in 2018. The kids have been in school for two months and received their first school break, which they really enjoyed. We have 20 new children in the program this year, bringing our total to 75 for 2018. We also have several new staff members. It has been an adjustment but we are all getting along nicely and have settled into a new routine.
We have been incredibly blessed this school year to have already been visited by two missions teams.
The first missions team came from the high school group at Bellevue Baptist Church in Memphis, TN. We have never seen so many teens on fire for the Lord and so quick and willing to share the gospel. Bellevue has definitely equipped them for obeying God’s call to ‘go and make disciples’. What an encouragement to see our next generation winning souls for Jesus. They were led by a godly young man that pushed the teens all week to step out of their comfort zone and it definitely paid off. This group brought almost 20 children to the Lord at La Aljaba and through a teen conference, they hosted at a local church. This group touched the lives of our children at La Aljaba, especially our new children, and we are forever grateful! Aside from being soul winners, the Bellevue teens ran a VBS with our children and were able to help with some much-needed painting.
Our second group came to us from Canada. They were a smaller group of six, but WOW what servant’s hearts they had!! They came ready to work and even after working all day in the heat, didn’t hesitate to spend a lot of time with our children. Our Canada team helped fix our sidewalks at La Aljaba, so we can get from one building to the next without “drowning” in muddy waters during the rainy season. They also completed the painting in the newly constructed bathrooms located in the new building. They also held a VBS with our children, took them out for pizza and spent a day at a local water park. On top of blessing our home and children, they took the entire staff down the river for the day, including Lucy! What a nice break this was for the staff to relax and enjoy some time away from their daily work at La Aljaba.
This year, we welcomed to our staff a young lady who grew up in La Aljaba, spent the last two years in Memphis, TN, attending the local university learning English. Many of you know her and love her dearly. When Kimberly returned to Leticia at the end of 2017 it was a natural fit to bring her back as a staff member as she continues her studies in Leticia. She has been a huge help to Lucy and also has been a great asset to the English speaking missions teams that visit! We are very grateful for her heart and love for La Aljaba.
In March we had to say goodbye to our 6-month intern from Canada, through Camino Global. Darian has such a loving heart and gave up her life in Canada to live in Leticia investing in the children of La Aljaba. We are so grateful for the impact she’s made on the children emotionally and spiritually. We were so sad to see her go, but we are trusting she will make her way back very soon.
We want to take time and write how grateful we are for Orphanos, our mission partner, who not only manages all our finances but has been such a blessing and support to our ministry. They go above and beyond what is required to ensure we are supported. Thank you, Wayne and the Orphanos staff for all you do!
Starting in May we will have a mission team visit us almost every week until August. In some ways, this interrupts our weekly routine at La Aljaba but it is so important to have a plethora of godly men and women invest in our kids. What an impact you all will make spiritually in the lives of our children! Thank you for everything you do for us and for your commitment to what God is doing in Leticia.
These our prayer needs at La Aljaba, we ask you to join us in prayer over these things! God tells us in Mark 11:24 “Therefore * I say to you, all things for which you pray and ask, believe that you have received them, and they will be granted you”
Thank you for taking the time to read our blog and catch up on our lives here at La Aljaba. We ask that you continue to share our blog and social media posts to raise awareness of God’s work in Leticia. Social media sharing is one of the biggest ways we raise awareness and get new donors for La Aljaba. Thank you for your continued faithful prayers and support. We love you all!
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
As September comes to a close, we move further along into 2017 and this means that the end of our school year is fast approaching. The school year in Leticia typically starts in February and goes through the end of November or the beginning of December. Our kids are currently out of school this week but will come back Monday to finish up their last few weeks before their much-needed break. We are very proud of all of the accomplishments in school from our children. We have several that are at the top of their class academically or are in the Top 10. We also have many gifted athletes who have had much success this year with the school’s sports teams. All in all, this school year has been a big success. Praise God for that!
The end of the year for La Aljaba is always a busy time but one thing that does slowdown is the number of visitors who come see us. September was a slower month in terms of visitors compared to our busy July and August. We had one mission team from Memphis, TN. The team was able to complete some painting in our new building and host a VBS for the children. They also took all of the children on a “jungle safari” to Mundo Amazonico. Here the children learned about many Amazonian plants and their medicinal and food uses. There was a fun time of learning how to shoot a bow and arrow and blow darts. They also learned about many of the local indigenous tribes and the customs they follow. Mundo Amazonico was a new a “field trip” for most of the children, but it’s safe to say they loved it!
In much of Latin America, what we know as Valentine’s Day is known as “El Dia del Armor y La Amistad”. In Colombia, it is no different and Amor y Amistad is celebrated on the 3rd weekend of September. It is a traditional celebration in which friends and couples express their love and affection to each other. At La Alajba we focus more on the expression of love towards each other as friends. Our children make cards for each other and spend time appreciating everyone who is in their lives. It is a special time of fellowship amongst the group!
In November, La Aljaba will have its yearly board meeting. This is a time where many important decisions are made for La Aljaba, so we ask for your prayers. We are also approaching our yearly deadlines for our license with the welfare office, which can be a very time-consuming task!
La Aljaba also has a new intern on staff from Canada, Darian for the next 6 months. are very grateful for her and the time she has committed to serving God here. We are also very grateful for the extra help. We will have more detailed information about her in our next blog post.
All in all, we have had a very good year at our “new” La Aljaba. Our construction continues to progress in a Leticia time-frame, but it’s still progressing. As we continue to grow, our hope is that the number of staff members and children grows too. We also want to continue to see the fruit of all the hard work and money that has been invested into this amazing ministry. We could never have imagined life at this La Aljaba back when it was an undeveloped land. Now, we have so many teams visiting throughout the year, helping us with construction and investing in our children’s lives. We have faithful donors who continue to keep our doors open and also our construction progressing. Most importantly, God continues to be, and will always be, faithful. We have a desire for La Aljaba to be a physically and spiritually safe place for the children of this city where they can learn about and grow closer to God. Our prayer is that our children can be a light to the lost. We give all the glory to God because none of this could be accomplished without Him.
Así como ya termina setiembre, continuamos moviéndonos en el año 2017 y eso quiere decir que el final del año escolar se acerca rápidamente. El año escolar en Leticia típicamente comienza en febrero y termina a finales de noviembre o principios de diciembre. Nuestro niños en este momento están en vacaciones de la escuela esta semana, pero comenzaran de nuevo el lunes, para terminar las ultimas semanas de escuela antes de su muy necesitado descanso. Estamos muy orgullosos de todo lo que han logrado en la escuela nuestros niños. Tenemos varios de ellos que han logrado estar entre los mejores promedios de sus clases o están entre los primeros 10. También tenemos varios niños muy buenos atletas que han tenido mucho éxito en este año en los equipos de sus escuelas. Tomando todo en cuenta, esta año ha sido un gran éxito. Alabado sea el Señor por eso!
El final de año para La Aljaba siempre ha sido un tiempo muy agitado, pero algo que si baja es el numero de visitantes que viene a vernos. Setiembre fue un mes muy bajo en termino de visitantes comparado con nuestro agitado mes de julio y agosto. Tuvimos un grupo de misioneros de Memphis, TN. El equipo pudo completar el pintar parte de nuestro nuevo edificio y pudo dirigir una escuelita Bíblica de vacaciones para los niños. También llevaron a todos los niños a un "safari de la jungla" al Mundo Amazónico. Ahí los niños aprendieron sobre las plantas amazónicas y sus usos como medicina y alimentos. Hubo un tiempo de diversión educativa al aprender como utilizar un arco y flecha y tirar dardos. También aprendieron sobre varias de las tribus indigenas y las costumbres que ellos siguen. Mundo Amazónico es un nuevo "viaje de estudios" para la mayoría de los chicos, pero es verdaderamente seguro que podemos decir que les fascino.
En mucho de Latinoamérica, lo que conocemos como el día de San Valentin, es conocido aquí en Colombia como "El Día del Amor y La Amistad", pero es celebrado en el tercer fin de semana de setiembre. Es una celebración tradicional en donde amigos y parejas expresan su amor y afección por cada uno. En La Aljaba nos enfocamos mas en la expresión de amor hacia cada uno como amigos. Nuestros niños hacen tarjetas para cada uno de sus amigos y tomamos tiempo apreciando a cada persona que este en sus vidas. Es un gran tiempo de compañerismo entre el grupo!
En noviembre, La Aljaba tendrá su reunión anual del gabinete. Este es un tiempo donde muchas decisiones importantes serán tomadas para La Aljaba, así que les pedimos sus oraciones. También nos acercamos a nuestros plazos anuales para nuestra licencia con la oficina bienestar, que es una tarea de mucho tiempo!
La Aljaba también tiene a un nuevo internista en su personal, proveniente de Canada, Darian por los siguientes 6 meses. Estamos muy agradecidos por ella y por el tiempo que ella a comprometido a servir a Dios aquí. Estamos muy agradecido por toda la ayuda extra. Tendremos mas información detallada sobre ella en nuestro próximo blog post.
A pesar de todo, hemos tenido un gran año en nuestra "nueva" La Aljaba. Nuestra construcción continua en progreso en "tiempo de Leticia", pero continua progresando. Asi como continuamos creciendo, nuestra esperanza es que les numero de los miembros del personal y los niños crezcan también. También continuamos viendo el fruto de todo el trabajo duro y el dinero que ha sido invertido en este maravilloso ministerio. Nunca nos hubiéramos imaginado la vida en esta La Aljaba en el pasado, cuando era una tierra no desarrollada. Ahora, tenemos varios equipos visitándonos durante el año, ayudándonos con la construcción e invirtiendo en la vida de los niños. Tenemos fieles donadores que continúan manteniendo nuestras puertas abiertas y nuestra construcción progresando. Pero lo mas importante, Dios continua siendo y siempre será fiel. Nuestro deseo para La Aljaba es que sea fisicamente y espiritualmente un lugar seguro para los niños de esta ciudad, donde ellos puedan aprender sobre y crecer mas cerca de Dios. Nuestra oración es que nuestros niños sean la luz para aquellos que están perdidos. Le damos toda la gloria a Dios, porque nada de esto pudo hacerse sin El.
Peticiones de oraciones:
-Primero y principalmente, oraciones para poder resistir al diablo y todo ataque de el. Que continuemos poniendo a Dios primero en nuestras vidas y en el centro de La Aljaba.
-Oraciones por nuestros ingresos mensuales, ya que no completos nuestro presupuesto. Dios siempre suple, pero si eliminaría el estrés si se pudiera conseguir mas nuevos patrocinadores.
-Oraciones para poder completar nuestra construcción de el tercer edificio. Los niños podrán mudarse a sus nuevas aulas cuando este todo terminado. Esto seria una bendición para nuestros niños y nosotros!
-Oraciones continuas por los corazones de nuestros niños, que ellos reciban a Jesus como su Señor y Salvador, y que puedan crecer en su relación con El. También, que puedan ellos ser una buena y santa influencia a otros dentro y fuera de La Aljaba.
-Oraciones por nuestra ciudad, y que últimamente esta una plaga de ojo rosa, si, ojo rosa! Donde sea que vayamos la gente lo tiene, y continuamos agotándonos de las gotas para los ojos de las farmacias.
-Oraciones por nuestro personal, para que sean líderes llenos de Dios, que puedan enseñar a nuestros niños como seguir a Dios y ser un buen ejemplo a otros. oren, para que todos podamos trabajar juntos y estar de acuerdo en cuanto a nuestros niños y nuestro ministerio.
-Oren por nuestra próxima reunión del gabinete, que Dios multiplique nuestro tiempo y que podamos lograr todo lo que tenemos en nuestra agenda.
-Oren para que podamos rápidamente completar todo el trabajo de renovar nuestra licencia con el departamento de bienestar del estado.
Muchísimas gracias por sus continuas oraciones y su apoyo en el maravilloso trabajo que Dios esta haciendo en La Aljaba y en nuestra ciudad.
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.