We've "Adopted" 3 Kids

Folks often say that kids make the best missionaries because they aren't inhibited by fears related to money, time, logic or anything else. They just do what the Spirit tells them to do - plain and simple!  Last week I was humbled by this truth. Take a look:

This home was vacated a short while ago. All praise be to God,
the owners are allowing our three "adopted" children to live there. 
"So Mom, there's this family..." [Katelyn always starts like this when she's going to try to convince me of something, so I was immediately on-guard.]

[Interrupting her...]
"I'm sorry sweet girl, we can't help anyone else with school."

"But Mom..." [Katelyn said with the biggest, saddest eyes.]

[Feeling a bit overwhelmed by the tremendous need that we're unable to meet I responded...]
"I know, but there are countless families that we've turned away.  It's not fair.  If we have money to help another family we need to help those that came a couple weeks ago.  The fact is, we don't have the money, so the answer is no."

[Taking a deep breath, Katelyn continued her plea...]
"I know, I know, but this situation is different. Please just listen..."

So, I did and my heart broke wide open...

For over six months Jhoner(16), Anthony(15) and their sister Viviana(12) were squatting in a small room in Lima's ghetto after being abandoned by their mom, who ran off with a new boyfriend. Their mom's third husband, who had been living with them in Lima, left the big city after he realized that his wife (their mom) was not coming back.  Without an income or any adult support these kids struggled to survive. Days were spent scouring the dumpsters to find what they needed: food, little pieces of soap, clothes, etc.  And at night the huddled together to keep warm and feel safe. Toward the end of February they contacted their mom's third ex-husband who had been living with them in Lima. He offered to help the kids, simply out of love, if they could get themselves to San Hilarion.

We don't know how they scrounged up the funds for passage through the Andes Mountains (and have learned not to ask these types of questions because people either have to lie or share embarrassing truths). When they arrived the ex-step-dad arranged for them to stay in a humble little wooden house and was able to buy them food....until he had to leave town for work.  The kids were, once again, alone without support or any real resources.  They've been trying to survive, as they had in Lima, but there just aren't the scraps available here because the poor use every little bit of everything.  Feeling scared and alone they didn't know where to turn. "The missionaries can help you," they were told, but felt too intimidated to ask.  Finally, Jhoner mustered up the courage to approach Katelyn in the plaza.  After making small-talk he intended to share his story, but found it was altogether too much.  Lost in his own thoughts and drowning in his own tears, he excused himself and asked if they could talk another day. When "another day" arrived Jhoner found Katelyn with the most compassionate and Christ-like heart. She listened patiently to the details of his testimony and assured him that we could help.  Although sometimes her confident promises leave me feeling pressured into doing something I might not prefer, I'm always thankful for her bold witness and immeasurable confidence in Jesus.

Jhoner, Anthony and Viviana were overwhelmed by the
experience of purchasing food from the market. "There are just so many
options," Jhoner said to me, "maybe you should just pick." 

Jhoner and his siblings came to our house to explain the tragedy which has been their life, hoping against hope that we might possibly be able to help them with some basic necessities: food, soap, toothpaste, etc.

As they recalled the more memorable details my heart broke, leaving me sad, angry and empty.

I wanted to help, but how?

During the previous couple weeks we had spent every extra bit we had (and more) on school supplies for the really poor kids in our town.  As such, we weren't sure if we even had enough to cover the remainder of our normal expenses for the month. Knowing full well that we couldn't solve all their financial troubles, we turned the conversation to the topic of faith. We explained the importance of placing their very lives in God's hands. We explained the critical role that Jesus has in this situation and invited them to pray along with us for his guidance.  Together, we bowed our heads, invited the Holy Spirit to come in power and waited quietly for his counsel...at which point we heard, "Don't worry, it will all be fine.  Get these kids what they need and trust that I'll make sure you have what you need."  Despite our limited resources and the inevitable upcoming expenses, we knew the Lord was asking us to step out of the boat onto the water... 

The first stop was the market, where we bought them enough rice, beans, plantains, onions, and such for the upcoming week. All thanks be to God that Jhoner is a competent cook who can prepare a wide variety of meals with minimal ingredients!!

Although they were all incredibly thankful for the food staples, which would last them at least a week,
it was difficult for them to be "excited" and smile for a photo.
(Vivian   -   Jhoner  -   Chris   -   Anthony)

After returning to their humble little home we inquired about their education, both past and present, and learned that they hadn't attended school the last two years. As they recalled the unfortunate string of events that interrupted their attendance they acknowledged the importance of education, but had obviously accepted their own reality in which school just wasn't a part.  Knowing that the Lord wants us to "give them what they need," we offered to buy them uniforms and supplies, as well as pay their registration fees.  Six big brown eyes widened in disbelief as they considered the possibility. When we arrived at the store the following day, the same hopeful eyes twinkled like the brightest of stars.

Although we weren't able to buy these precious teens the uniforms they need for gym class that same day, we will be able to soon thanks to another VERY generous donation we received from a member of Team Carmody who has asked that his contribution be used exclusively for kids' school expenses.

God is GOOD ~ All the Time!
All the Time ~ God is GOOD!

We were so scared to step out onto the water, even though we heard Our Lord summoning us.  We wanted to help Jhoner, Anthony and Viviana but selfishly worried about our own needs. I thank God for Katelyn's fearless obedience to the Holy Spirit. I thank God that He always provides for us in ways that we never could have imagined. I thank God for Team Carmody which makes this life possible!!!

With Jhoner in school all morning he's unable to prepare lunch. So, the
woman who owns the restaurant in the background with the green sign has
agreed to give the three kids lunch each day for the equivalent of $1.50. 
Each Sunday we'll visit her and pay the outstanding tab.  

The first day of school was filled with an array of emotions. Jhoner, Anthony and Vivian were excited, but nervous, happy and scared.

I walked with Viviana to the campus gates and waited patiently until we saw a familiar face. A young lady that I know invited Viviana to join her group of friends and assured me that they'd take good care of her.  Before Viviana left the security of my side we prayed together, asking Jesus to help her feel His presence inside of each moment.  As we exchanged final glances I could see the peace of His love radiating in her eyes. I recalled Jesus' gentle words of encouragement when we talked with Viviana and her brothers for the first time, "Don't worry, it'll all be fine."  How faithful He is to His promises!!

Although Jhoner, Anthony and Viviana aren't living with us, we've assumed responsibility for their care.  We have committed to providing their basic necessities: food and personal hygiene, cleaning supplies and school fees.  We see them around town often and enjoy their company when they visit our home.  Little by little we're developing nice relationships and look forward to whatever the Lord has in store for us.  We ask for prayers as we try hard to keep our sights set on Jesus so that we don't sink!

We'd love to hear from you via email:

If the Holy Spirit in nudging you to support us financially  so that we can continue serving the poor here in Peru, please visit either:

Call Family Missions Company at (337) 893 - 6111.

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