Friday, August 26, 2016

Visit to the States 2016

Greetings!  We are home again after a ‘fast and furious’ visit to the states this summer.  We were able to meet and be encouraged by so many dear people that God put into our paths.  As we see the ministry grow here in El Salvador, we also see that God is on the move in many hearts to come alongside us and provide the vital support that we need, relationally, spiritually and financially. 

Gelmarie, Christina and Sherry with our gals!
It is always difficult to leave the country, thus leaving our ministry for a time unattended by us.  This year, however, God brought some very dear friends alongside us to keep pouring into the ladies of our women’s home in our absence.  What a blessing to know that they were in such good hands!  Gelmarie, Christina and Sherry, thank you so much for loving and serving our precious women!  These three ladies are solid gold!  Our women were well loved!

Gathering at the Friesens home in Lake Oswego
It was our desire, on this trip, to share with small groups and make new connections with folks who might want to join with us working in El Salvador.  God opened doors and we walked through them, in Vancouver, Lake Oswego, Seattle and Anacortes.  We are so thankful for those of you who opened your homes and your hearts to give us space to share and to be encouraged by you.   Also, to a very special person who loaned us their pickup truck and a gas card to go with it…. THANK YOU!!!   
Knowing we had our own transportation when we needed it was priceless!  And we needed it a lot! 

Maddie and Kath with Skyler, Lisa and Raeleigh.
At the front of our trip, Maddie and I flew into Appleton, Wisconsin to visit our dear friends, Lisa and James Schuenke, and their four kiddos.  Maddie had been invited to go to a youth conference in Kansas City with their daughter, Skyler.  God put it on the hearts of our brothers and sisters at Sun City Calvary Chapel, in El Paso, Texas, and Calvary Chapel Downtown (Vancouver) to raise the necessary funds that she would need for this conference.  In addition, family and friends helped, and Maddie also was able to dog-sit here in El Salvador for some sweet friends to earn some money.  Altogether, she was able to raise exactly what she needed for the conference and airfare!  Praise God!!!  Thank you to all who gave and kept her in your prayers!  She had a wonderful trip and God really ministered to her through the time there.  I surprised Lisa by showing up with Maddie!  It was FUN!  That week with Lisa was so special for both of us.  We met in El Salvador when they were missionaries here, and since have left the field.  Lisa is definitely a kindred spirit, and God has used her to bless my heart in so many ways.  It was so special to be able to meet their newest member of the family, Chaesen James!  He is such a sweet, happy baby! 

Our church in Vancouver, Calvary Chapel Downtown, was going through a very big change when we arrived.  Our pastor and friend, Daniel Gettemy, was in the process of retiring as pastor of the church, and moving back to New Mexico, with his wife, Karen.  The church was merging with another fellowship in the area, and so we were able to experience a little of that process, which was good.  We met the new pastor, Jake, and enjoyed a few hours of getting to know each other. We were able to listen to him preach a few times, as well.   We believe that the church is in good hands.  The united churches now have a new name, Union Chapel.  A few weeks before the merge, we were able to share on a Sunday morning with the then, Calvary Chapel, and update them on what God is up to in our lives in El Salvador.  It was a sweet time and we left very encouraged. 

Grandma planned a fun 'minute to win-it' competition!
God gave our family some special moments together as well.  Our dear friends allowed us to stay at their families’ beach home in Manzanita, Oregon.  It was lovely.  It was us, the girls with their hubby’s and their kiddos, all 8 of them!   So, we had a house full of fun and energy!  Having that concentrated time with them is rare, so we soaked it up and enjoyed every minute.   We were also able to go with all the kids to a family amusement location that has water slides and pools indoors.  Even Sam and Jonah came for that time, and we had so much fun together!

Auntie Maddie planned a treasure hunt on the beach for her littles!

We also got to hug Leslie and Mike Freeman! (In the middle)
From there were drove up to Seattle, met up with dear friends there for a lunch and then, an a dinner date, and then, continued on up to Anacortes to reunite with some precious friends we hadn’t seen in years, Mike and Keri Hoffman.  What a blessed time we had re-connecting with them!  While there, Mike had set up two different opportunities to share with small groups from their church, The Bridge.  This church has just begun to support us financially, and it was so wonderful to be able to make one-on-one connections with many dear people who are part of the church, including the pastor and his wife. 

On our way back to Vancouver, we had another stop to make in the Seattle area where we met another of our supporters whom we hadn’t had the chance to meet face to face. 

While in the states,we also received tragic and heart-breaking news on two fronts.
The first: we learned that Lupita's nephew, (her sister, Dinora's son),  a young man of 18 years old, Miguelito, had been murdered by the gangs here in El Salvador.  He had been threatened by the gangs: join or die.  He chose not to join, and when walking home from work with his mom, in San Julian, where we used to live, a gang member walked up to them and pulled a gun.  He tried to run, but was shot in the legs, and then, repeatedly shot, at close range until he was dead.  Because his mom, Dinora, looked the killer in the eye, she was in danger.  She and all who live in their home, are now being given refuge in a secure location: mom, grandma, little brother and little sister.  Miguelito was Lupita’s nephew.  She was a second mom to him and had led him to the Lord.  He loved to cook and wanted to be a chef.  He worked as a cook in a little restaurant in San Julian, with his mom. We had hoped to open a home for young men and invite Miguel to be our first young man in the home.  There he would have been given the opportunity to study to become a trained chef.  But, it wasn’t to be.  The gangs got him first.  This has hit us with such force.  We have walked through some heart-wrenching days here since returning.  One thing we know:  we will, by the grace and help of God, be opening that home for young men sooner than later, and it will be named after Miguelito.  (For security reasons, please don't make any comments about this on facebook, nor post this blog on facebook or any other public site)

After this, the week before we left to return to El Salvador,  we learned the heart-breaking
news that my sister, Janie, has pancreatic cancer.  It had metastasized to her liver and spleen.  This type of cancer is very aggressive and very painful.  She needs all the prayers and support she can get!  Please keep her daughter, Tarah, in your prayers as she is caring for and advocating for her health care. If you feel led to help her, please click on this link and read more!  Please keep Janie and her children in your prayers. 

All in all, we left feeling encouraged and loved.  Physically and emotionally, we were pretty exhausted when we returned to El Salvador.  We ask for your prayers as we walk through the difficult task of helping Miguel’s family start over again.  Next week, we are taking them to begin grief/trauma counseling which our dear friend’s ministry is providing for them.  They have a long road ahead.  They need jobs, a home to rent, they need healing and to feel safe again.  The situation in this country is so difficult.  It is tempting to despair.  Our hearts are raw and hurting.  Please pray for wisdom and provision for us as we seek to minister here in El Salvador.

Thursday, June 23, 2016

A Life Redeemed

 This is Maggie's testimony.  In her own words... 

 I was born in 1970 in El Salvador.   My father was a soldier in the National Guard of El Salvador during the civil war.  He was an explosives expert and because of his skills, the guerilla forces tried to get him on their side, but he refused.  So, in 1979, when I was 9 years old, the guerillas assassinated my father.  Because of the war, my mom decided to take us to the United States.  We arrived in L.A. when I was 14 and we settled there I attended high school.  After school, I became trained and graduated as a Certified Nursing Assistant.  I worked in private hospitals, daycare centers and private homes as a C.N.A, and I also worked at Mc Donalds.  When I was 19, I married my first husband and I had my firstborn son, Joseph, when I turned 20 years old. 
The day Joseph was born was one of the happiest days of my life.  I knew there was so much I didn’t know about being a mom, but, oh, how I loved being a mommy to that little precious child. 

Maggie's Children
My first marriage was very difficult as my husband suffered from a mental illness, and both of us didn’t know how to handle it.  Due to this, we divorced in 1992.  Soon after the divorce, I took my son and moved to Oregon, where I met my second husband, Luis.  In April of 1995, I gave birth to a set of beautiful twins, Luis and Luisa.  This was the second happiest day of my life.  My marriage to Luis was very difficult as well.  My husband was an alcoholic and also had a private problem that turned abusive towards me.  My daily life was miserable and I wanted out.   I took my kids and fled to a shelter for abused women in The Dalles, Oregon.  Shortly after that, in 2000, we moved to Portland, Oregon
Moving to Portland from the small town of Maupin, Oregon, was a big change for me.  But, I got a job at a Mexican restaurant, we had our own apartment, and I bought a car.  I felt I was doing pretty good on my own with my three children.  But, I started going to nightclubs with friends and began drinking alcohol.   I often drove drunk, which led to four DUI charges and 5 visits to county jails. I started using drugs and became addicted. 
Maggie during her years in prison
In 2004, my probation officer put me in an inpatient treatment center.  During the six months there I became clean.  I felt that I was getting a new beginning.  
So, I started a cleaning service and named it, Genesis.  I knew I needed to stay away from the people and places from before to stay strong and do good.  I did good for a year, then, one day, I ran into an old friend, and went back to using again.  This time, even more than before, and I even started selling it.  It was December of 2005 when the police raided my house and found drugs.  That day, they took my kids away.  That was the ugliest day of my life.  In my heart, I can still feel that sad, grey day.  DHS took my kids and I was taken to county jail.  I laid there and cried and cried until I fell asleep.  Thank God, my mom petitioned the court for custody of my three kids, and they gave them to her.  I was only in the jail for one month when they decided to deport me back to El Salvador.  I didn’t think they could do it since I had a green card, but, when I gave them the green card, they put it through a shredder in front of me. August 21, 2006, they sent me to El Salvador

By September, I was back in the United States!  I had turned right back around and left El Salvador with a coyote.  I could write a book about all that happened on that long, dangerous journey.  But, the most important thing to know is that God had his hand on me, even then.  He saved me over and over from rape and death.  I should have died.  It was only by His mercy that I arrived back on the soil of the United States again! 
Sometimes I wonder what my life would have been like if I had not come back.  I had to live under the radar, hiding from the law.  I started to use and sell drugs again.  I wanted desperately to see my kids, but, because I was using, my mom wouldn’t allow me to see them.  Although I understood why she didn’t want me to be around them, this was so hard for me, and it drove me further and further into depression and drug use.  I felt hopeless and wanted to be high all the time to numb the pain.  I didn’t care if I died of an overdose, as long as I didn’t have to feel the pain.   I began to sell more and more and get further and further into the drug scene.  I became well known as a dealer in the Portland area, as I sold bigger and bigger quantities.  To survive, I blocked out all thoughts of my children.  In 2007, a friend invited me to church.  I went and I can never forget one phrase that the pastor said, “Come as you are.”  I remember I cried and cried as I prayed to receive Christ.  July 7th of 2007, I was baptized. 

Sadly, I continued to use and sell drugs.  I also became a big time gambler winning a lot of money each week, then, putting it back into the machines.  Even though I had accepted Christ, I kept on with this life.  I didn’t understand what it meant to follow after God. 
From 2007 to 2009 I was almost killed three times by ‘friends’ in the drug business who were trying to rob me.  I knew that if I didn’t stop and get out of this life, I was going to die.  Something inside me was telling me, “Enough!”  But, I didn’t listen.  So, in 2009, God made me stop.  I began selling drugs to an undercover cop.  I was busted.  In 2010, I  was sentenced to 40 months in an Oregon women’s prison.  I thought I had been living the “good life”.  All that stopped for me, then.  There I was, in prison, living in a cold cell. I was surrounded by so much brokenness and pain in the other women, so much violence and perversion.  I knew about God from my experience in 2007, but, I didn’t have a relationship with Him.  I didn’t know how to pray, and thought God would not want to hear me, even if I did. 

Maggie in during a visit with Barb and Gerry in prison
In prison, there were three things we could do.   Work, study and go to church.  I opted to do all three to stay busy.  I started going to church every day.  On Thursday evenings, a group called Prison Fellowship would come and do the service.  It was there that I met my friends, Barb and Gerry, and another friend, David.  They were such nice people.  I started to listen carefully to all of their sermons.  That is when I really learned about Jesus.  I started to read the bible and learn more about what salvation really means.  It was then that I started feeling His presence in my life.  I learned how powerful and merciful God is.  I learned that Jesus Christ was in the beginning with God. Before all creation was made, Christ was from eternity. My heart and my life began to change.

Maggie's son, Joseph
In 2012, after two years of incarceration, I received the news that my firstborn son, Joseph, who was 22, was killed in a tragic car accident.  I was devastated.   I wasn’t allowed to leave the prison for his funeral.  But, God gave me the strength and grace to cope with my son’s death.  It has been four years since my son’s death, and I still ache for him, but, God’s promised to be with me and He is near to the broken-hearted.

After I served 5 years in prison, they decided to deport me, again.  This time the judge said, “Never come back, ever.”  I had to say goodbye to my family, my twins.  It was devastating.  I was so nervous and scared, but, through my relationship with Barb and Gerry, they connected me with people they had been working with for years in El Salvador.  God went before me and prepared me a family.  I knew that God was with me, and that He had a purpose and a plan for me.  Jeremiah 29:11 says, “For I know the plans I have for you,” declares the Lord, “plans to prosper you and not to harm you, plans to give you hope and a future.”
Maggie's twins, Luis and Luisa

When I was deported, I didn’t know anyone! Day by day, God provided for me and put people into my path to help me. I met Kathy Porter while I was in a community volunteering with a church, and she was there sharing a bible study with the women. Eventually, we realized that God had brought us together, and she and David invited me to be a part of the Hope House Ministry. Now, I am now living and working at their women’s home where I am the house administrator.

I care for the little children while the mom’s attend
Maggie with Keiry and Emely
from Hope House
universities.  I plan the meals, shop, cook, clean and lots of other things!  The young women at the home are like daughters to me and they call me Tia (Aunt) Maggie!  I love living there with them.  It is home.

God has also allowed me to be involved in two other ministries as well!  One is a ministry for deportees!  Yes, I get to go with a group of awesome people from a ministry called Envision to meet airplanes full of my brothers and sisters being deported back to El Salvador to be a kind face, give a glass of cold water, a sandwich, and to encourage them that God is with them, that they are not alone. We invite them to our bible study, church service and to be involved in an American football league that is part of the outreach to deportees.  Because I understand exactly how they feel  I have a sense of great joy knowing that we are waiting for them and they are not alone.  

Finally, the Lord has allowed me to be on the worship team of my church.  My church is called Union Church of San Salvador and it is a church for people who speak English.  I love it because I can sing the songs I learned to worship Jesus with while I was in prison!  It is my passion to worship God!  I can tell you that God is doing good to me.  He has me where I am needed.  I remember I once asked Him to mold me into the woman He wants me to become, and even though He is not done yet, I know I can trust Him to finish the work. I believe God can take something ugly and make it into something beautiful.  God took me out of the PIT!  "He drew me up out of the pit of destruction, out of the miry bog, and set my feet upon a Rock, making my steps secure!" Ps. 40:2

Maggie waiting for deportees to arrive
 with her team
Now, I, Kathy, would like to share a few things about Maggie.   It has been such a privilege to know and love Maggie; to know her story and to be witness to God's continuing story in her life.  She has blossomed where God has planted her.  It has NOT been easy.  Maggie has shed MANY tears as she has had to let go of her dreams of mothering her own children and grandchildren.  She knows that what she is experiencing is the results of her own decisions.  Painful consequences.  But, she also knows that if it weren't for the fact that God rescued her from herself, she would most likely be dead.  It is only by the grace of God that she is alive, and not only alive, but thriving.  God has given her so many opportunities to serve, and she serves with gusto!  We love our Tia Maggie and we thank God He brought her into our lives!

Maggie and the Envision team planning
their activites

Maggie and the Diaspora team headed
to the airport

Receiving a donation from of food.from a friend
 of the ministry
Maggie loving on our friends sweet baby!
She has such a momma heart!
Maggie is such a trooper!
She was bitten by a mysterious bug while
traipsing through the bushes in the country
translating for a team. It gave her a nasty,
big oozing wound, but that didn't stop her.
Just a quick visit to a country doc!
Maggie cooks for our visitors!  They LOVE her wonderful Mexican food!  
Maggie working with the girls clubs in Nuevo Renecer
Maggie translating for a team
Lupita and Keiry love Tia Maggie

Fatima and Maggie
Mely and Maggie

Friday, May 27, 2016

Fatima spent Thanksgiving 2014 with us.
Fatima is the second young women to move into the Hope House.  She came to us in October of 2014.   Fatima has a love and passion for Christ that shines through everything.  Because of some intense family issues, Fatima wasn’t able to live at her home.  She was desperate for help, and she was trusting that God had a plan.  When we met her, we knew that she was the next one that we were to invite into our home.  Over the course of the last ten years, Fati has been working and struggling to graduate from university with a degree in social work.  She is tenacious.  She has a desire to use her knowledge as a ministry tool to reach families and youth in El Salvador with the hope and love of God. 
She is now in her last year of studies and we anticipate watching her graduate soon!  She has been a great help to us in our ministry, as well.
With our dear friend, Rachel Dimond and Lupita
  She knows enough English to help do some translating when we have a delicate issue that requires precise understanding, which sometimes we lack.  But, wait, there’s more!  Because of her years of experience with the university system here, she has taken on the role of “education assistant’ in our women’s home.  When a new gal comes, Fati helps walk them through the process of deciding on a university, enrolling, using a computer, and basically shows them how to navigate the confusing world of scholarly studies.  This has been INVALUABLE!  Working with Fatima, we have begun two other projects under our foundation, Hope for Families.  One, in a small village where we have various ministry connections, called, Nuevo Renacer. 
In Nuevo Renecer 
Working in relationship with a couple from Oregon who has served in that specific community for about 9 years, we have begun a youth education project.  This project reflects a desire to help the youth of El Salvador to rise up and bound over the hurdles in their lives.  Fatima has begun to work with the at risk youth of this community to give them the motivation and support they need to stay in school and graduate, and to go on to pursue their dreams.  Our desire is that they would believe that they can change the course of their lives with God’s strength and with hard work.  Then, along with Fatima, we have begun a very exciting arm of our ministry called, The Daughter Project Girls Clubs, which you will be hearing a lot about in coming blogs! 
Fati leading a girls club 
 Suffice it to say, we are keeping Fati very busy!  She is overjoyed to see how God has given her these opportunities already to begin putting her knowledge and gifts to work for His kingdom.  Fatima is always a lot of fun, and can usually be found right in the center of the mischief! She has become like a big sister to Jonah and Maddie here in El Salvador, which has blessed our hearts so much!  

Christmas and Bella!
Fatima and her sisters

Our 'office' in Nuevo Renecer with Gerry Freisen and Maggie
Oar fighting with Ginny at the lake

When Krysta and Bobby came to visit we had a lovely day at the lake...with Ginny, too!

Fati leading our girls club leaders training (with her new hair-do!)

Christmas 2014

Goofin' with Natalie, Jonah, Amy and Kelsey at Christmas

I will never get a serious picture with these two!

Sunday, May 22, 2016

The Ladies of Lupita's Hope House (part 1)

Ladies and their families at Christmas
God has been at work here in our lives and in the lives of the several young women that are now a part of Lupita’s Hope House.  (We have started to call it Hope House for short)  We have seen God move and connect the dots to bring us together with some awesome young women.  Every one of them has a story.  Every one has experienced deep hurt in their lives in one way or another.  The pain of poverty, physical suffering, hunger, lack of a secure home, abuse, heartbreak, grief and abandonment weaves its way throughout each story.  But, God has a plan and purpose for the suffering of each of these beautiful young women, and we know he is weaving a beautiful tapestry to display His glory in each of their lives.
I want to introduce you to the women we God has blessed us with.  Some of this will be review to many, but, it will also give you a good update on the Hope House!


Lupita and Keiry right before they moved to Hope House
Lupita is 34 years old and a single mom of Keiry, who is four years old.  We have known Lupita for about 8 years. She and her niece, Daniela, were the inspiration for the Hope House.  The youngest child of the family, Lupita was working in a small shop in her village from 7 to 7 every day with one day off every two weeks.  Earning $200.00 per month, she was the principal support for 13 members of her family, who live in two separate houses.  Lupita dreamed of going to study at the university and becoming a business woman some day.  But, she thought that that dream would never happen.  There seemed to be no hope in sight. 
Then, God put on our hearts a vision for a home in the capitol city where young women could come from the country villages, study at local universities, or technical schools, and
"One of these things is not like the other"... Lupita's fam
receive encouragement and support in all areas of their lives.  We invited Lupita and her daughter to come and move to the home God provided in the city, and Lupita’s Hope House was born.  That was January of 2014. She is now in her second year studying at one of the best universities in the country and she has hope in her eyes.  It has not been easy.  She has had to work harder than the average student, as it has been quite some time since she graduated from high school.  Add to that, she is a single mom caring for her small child and trying to do homework and complete her responsibilities at the home, as well.  We are very proud of her and are excited to see where God will take her.  Our hope is that this opportunity will help raise her family out of the extreme poverty that they live in and give them a better future, and that Lupita will continue to grow in her relationship with Christ. 
Lupita's first day as a university student!
Understanding the truth of God’s great love for her has been changing her heart and healing her wounds.  If you would like to know how to pray for her:  pray that she would understand Economics!! She is struggling in this class, and needs to raise her grade.  Also, that God would give her wisdom on navigating the relationship with Keiry’s father.  It’s a difficult circumstance that she really needs discernment and clarity about.  Thank you for your support, both financially and prayerfully to make a real difference in the lives of Lupita and Keiry!   Next blog: Fatima!!!

Lupita helping to lead our girls club in her own city!
Lupita with her mom, Ana, at our Christmas party

Snuggling with Tia Maggie our house mom.

Lupita scores a perfect 10 on her recent math exam.

Wednesday, March 11, 2015

Full Circle

Tuesday morning, out in a very, very poor village close to the ocean, I had a moment.  The only way I can describe it is, ‘full circle’.  It was a moment that I REALLY needed.  The past five years living in El Salvador have been full of so many ups and down.  Usually, many more downs.  We are fighting a battle here with demonic forces.  They hate our family.  They hate our work, and they especially hate our God.  Inch by inch, we are advancing.  The process has been slow and very painful.  BUT, Tuesday morning, God gave me a big, glorious hug. 

Last November, at the Missionary Retreat we attended here in El Salvador, we were blessed to meet, among so many others, Sherry and Ron Latka.  They are a couple from Canada, and have lived and served in El Salvador for seven years.  They have been planting churches in extremely poor villages that are difficult to serve in.  They disciple, love, and serve their people in many ways.  While at the retreat, David and I spent time sharing our stories with them.  One of the things I mentioned was my heart for young moms.  I have such a passion to come alongside them and encourage them in their roles as moms.  In this country we have seen the GREAT need for biblical teaching on parenting.  Parental anger and abuse is what we see as a fruit of this lack of education. Single moms are especially affected as they struggle to raise little ones without the knowledge of how to do it. Without help, they continue to repeat the dysfunctional patterns of their own mothers. This has been a great burden for me, as a mom. 

A large part of our experience having Lupita and Keiry live with us, has been watching this unfold right before our eyes.  But we have had the opportunity to do something about it.  Lupita has been very open and teachable.  When she was pregnant with Keiry, she would cry and pray and ask God for help.  She was SURE that she did not want to repeat the cycle of broken parenting that she had learned from her mom.  But, how?  She was so afraid that because she didn’t know any better, she would be the same kind of mom.  Now, Lupita’s mom is not a horrible person.  She loves her children.  She just doesn’t know anything different than what SHE was taught as a child.  This means that in her attempts to love her children, without any guide to show her otherwise, she falls into the trap of frustration, anger, abuse, guilt, shame, overindulgence she was shown. Since Lupita came to live with us over a year ago, she has been learning and growing as a mom in beautiful ways.  I will share more about that at a different time.  But, she is hopeful, happy and grateful. 

Sherry Latka called me last month and asked me if I’d consider coming to one of her bible studies out in a very destitute community called, Chelama.  She has a group of young mommas out there who desperately need encouragement and teaching on parenting.  She thought it would be better if someone, other than herself, came and started a series on parenting, and she remembered me mentioning my heart for moms.  I KNEW at that moment, that this was God, opening a door for me that I had to walk through. 

I also knew that this would be a great opportunity for Lupita to share what she had been learning.  She has everything in common with these young momma’s.  So, I asked her to join me, and she excitedly said, “Yes!”  She and Keiry and I headed out to Chelama Tuesday morning to join Sherry and her ladies.  After I shared, I asked Lupita to speak to the ladies.  It was a moment I will never forget, watching this young woman God had brought into our lives almost 8 years ago, share with passion, conviction and joy about the work God had been doing in her life.  I looked around at the other women in the group, watching Lupita intently, connecting with her struggles.  My heart was so full, so blessed.  My Father knew I desperately needed that moment.  I thank you, friends and family , for your faithful support during these years.  Lupita thanks you.  Keiry thanks you.  The mommas of Chelama thank you.

Saturday, February 14, 2015

Game Changer - Education!

She had a hard time believing that HER name
was on that little official paper stating that
SHE was going to the University!  
We are so delighted to announce that Lupita has begun her studies at the Universidad Centroamericana "José Simeón Cañas.  Everyone here calls it the UCA…pronounced ‘ooka’.  It is one of the best universities in the country.  We decided to aim high and see what God would do.  Lupita was educated in the public school system out in the country here, which is a very low quality of education.  She graduated high school 15 years ago. So, the possibility that she could pass the entrance exams was not very high.  But, Lupita is a very intelligent, hard-working young woman, and she jumped at the chance to accept the challenge.  We found a wonderful tutor that worked with her a mere two weeks prior to the entrance exam, and, Lupita diligently applied herself to study.  We trusted that if it was God’s will, she would succeed. We had to wait a few weeks to know whether she had passed or not.  Oh, what a glorious day!  She was OVER THE MOON with joy!  She just could not believe that it was happening.  Now,she is nearing the end of her month-long pre-university course, and will start her first
Love these faces!
semester March 9th.  Lupita has chosen to work towards a Business Administration degree.  Please pray for her as she continues down this path to a new future for her and her family.  It has not, and will not, be easy.  She is a single mom, and must continue to be a mommy while she attends school full-time.  For us, that means that we are taking on the financial responsibility or her school costs and caring for her daughter.  We are so proud of Lupita and so full of joy to see our dreams for her starting to materialize.  It has been over seven years in the making, since we met her and began to ask the Lord for a chance to make in a difference in her life and that of her whole family.  This is BIG! Thank you to all our supporters who are making this dream a reality.  Education is such a key to pulling people out of poverty.  It truly can be a game changer!

Lupita in front of the U. (bad lighting, but you get the idea!)

First day of school!  I'm a proud Momma!  (They call me Momma Kathy)

Go forth and conquer. Lupe!!! (She was a little nervous!)