At the end of March, the pastoral group that we oversee was in charge of the church service. We decided to develop a PowerPoint presentation in order to illustrate to the congregation the daily happenings of the children’s homes. In order to take all the photos necessary for the presentation, we had to arise early in the morning (5:30 a.m.) so that we could get all those candid “pillow hair” and “rubbing the sleep out of your eyes” shots. The kids had no clue we were coming so it was definitely a big surprise to them. Needless to say, we did get a lot of really good pictures and it gave us invaluable insight to how a typical day flows in the children's homes and that’s what we’d like to share with you!
Have you ever thought about what it takes to get ten kids (in one house) and seven kids (in the other house) “up and at’em” in the morning? It could be chaos, but our house parents, Esteban & Gabriela and Aaron & Candace, really make the process look easy. At 5:30 a.m. the tios head upstairs making sure that all the kids get up and begin the day with baths and making their beds. Some of the children have their own alarm clocks. This allows them to begin developing personal responsibility. The tias in the meantime are busy preparing breakfast. As soon as the kids are dressed in their school uniforms, they head downstairs to eat their morning meal. After breakfast, they wash their own dishes and brush their teeth. In the house with the big kids, Ericka helps her Tia Gabriela comb and fix the younger children’s hair. The tias faithfully apply piojitico to the girls hairs (a special lotion that keeps them from getting lice!). During the morning rush hour, showers are taken, shoes are shined, snacks are packed, backpacks are readied, and lotion is applied. The big kids help the little ones get ready and the tios are doing a little bit of everything.
At 6:30 a.m., the kids (11 in all) load up in the van and it’s off to school! This year the kids are attending a new public school that has a private school schedule. That means that they don’t go to school half days anymore. They go all day from 7:00-2:00 p.m. This has made life a whole lot less complicated for the tios. Once they’re gone, the tias start getting the little people (5 kiddos) ready for daycare at the Abraham Project. The children start at 7:30 in the morning, and enjoy a snack and hot lunch before returning home at noon for naps. Once the big kids get home from school it’s time to do homework, study for exams, and play a bit before dinnertime. The children help their house parents prepare for dinner by setting the table and serving the drinks. Afterwards, they head upstairs to put on their pajamas, brush their teeth, and have devotions and prayer before going to sleep.
You see, much of what our house parents do during the day is exactly what you and I do, only on a greater scale. The job of house parenting is raising excellent kids who love Jesus. One of our tios recently told us that they instill “family” values into the kids in their home. They remind the children that although they are not brothers and sisters by blood, they are brothers and sisters in Christ, because we are all part of the family of God. What a sweet lesson our kids are learning right now.
Our house parents are definitely our “heroes!” The Lord has blessed us with parents that truly see their work as a “calling” and not just another job. Without a true calling, this mission would be incredibly overwhelming. God regards their work as a labor of love that He will not soon forget. Hebrews 6:10 “For God is not unjust to forget your work and labor of love which you have shown toward His name, in that you have ministered to the saints, and do minister.
Thank you Esteban, Gabriela, Aaron, and Candace for your love and dedication “to the saints” the forgotten children of Costa Rica/Nicaragua!