Prepare Your Provisions...
“Prepare your provisions, for within three days you are to pass over this Jordan to go in and to take possession of the land that the Lord your God is giving you to possess.” Joshua 1:11
This was a command that Joshua gave to his people after receiving word from the Lord that he would be leading the people into the land that He had promised them. God had been preparing them for 40 years for this time when He would take them into this new land that was described as “flowing with milk and honey.” It was the place where God had said his people would dwell, the fullness of life with Him.
After this time, they would soon be going into battle to claim the land that they had been promised. God would lead them, but they had to be faithful to fight for the promise. I write this to make an application to the ministry of Rayo de Esperanza. We are standing at the shore of the Jordan.
Over the past 13 years, Rayo de Esperanza has been taking care of the children that God has placed in our care out of a single home. By the grace of God working through our faithful friends, family and churches we have been able to establish this ministry and provide a loving home for orphaned, and most times abused children. We have been limited in the number of children that we could care for by the number of beds in this single home.
But just as Joshua was preparing God’s people to go into the land He had promised them, we are being prepared to realize the vision that was given to Mike and Karen when this ministry was founded. Additionally, as it was with God’s children, they were going into a land of battles, but God promised that He would lead them through and give them victory.
What is Changing?
As many of you have seen in the social media updates, Lidia’s aunt and uncle were given custody of her and she has moved into their home. They had been going through the process that the government has laid out and had been visiting the Ranch regularly to establish a relationship with her. She was excited to be able to move into the home of her aunt and uncle.
This is the direction that CNA, the government agency for the children, is moving and encouraging for the orphans in this country, for the children to be placed back into the home or into the home of a close relative. It’s a noble idea, and the direction that they need to go in, for the families to take care of their own. Our prayer here, as it is in the U.S, is that the child’s best interest will be the criteria for making these decisions.
How do we Adapt?
It has long been the vision of Rayo de Esperanza to be our own entity, meaning we could receive children directly from the court system. Up to this point, we have been under the umbrella of FundaNinos, an orphanage near the city. It has helped us get started, and allowed us to be a family for many children over the years.
However, recently it has begun to limit the number of children we receive and has created logistical problems by not having our own social worker to represent our desires during the court hearings. Because of these hindrances, it is now time for us to move out from the umbrella of FundaNinos and being a new chapter of Rayo de Esperanza as our own orphanage, recognized by the government as such, and able to receive our children directly from the courts of our local area.
By moving out from under FundaNinos, we had to sever ties with them which required Gabriel and Chus to be placed in a new home. Additionally, Maria will be taking steps to take legal guardianship of Danny so that he will be able to stay at Rancho Esperanza.
The paperwork has been completed with the help and encouragement of a representative of CNA that the Lord has brought to us as an advocate. With his help, the process has been moving forward much faster than it had been in the past.
Additionally, we are making some changes internally to be able to expand from a single home to multiple homes. There are many administrative details that will be addressed with expectations, rules, guidelines and regulations being established for the house parents.
With the addition of the new home, we will add another set of house parents and at least 8 more beds so that we can receive up to 16 children. Our vision, as you can see in the sketch above is to have 5 homes and up to 40 children being cared for at any given time.
As the ministry grows, so does the need for more people to come alongside and help us meet this need. The immediate needs are:
Septic tank, kitchen, bathroom sinks, drop ceilings in the bedrooms, appliances and furniture.
Budget Increases ~ We are required by law to have a psychologist and social worker on staff.
Psychologist - part time salary
Social Worker - full-time salary
With the additional staff members, we will need to build new office space for them to work in. Plans are being made to build a new office near the bodega and divide the current office space in a cubicle type layout.
From the book “Letters to the Church” by Francis Chan, we read “If you can accomplish your church’s mission without daily, passionate prayer, then your mission is insufficient and your church is irrelevant.” We took this personally and as leaders, we are committed to praying together every morning and asking you to join with us in praying for us as we “cross the Jordan” to move to realize the vision that He has given us for the ministry of Rayo de Esperanza.
As you pray, please ask the Lord how you may play a role in the future of this ministry.