Juan Daniel playing with a magnetic car that defies gravity and rolls up on metal surfaces
The House of Dreams is an awesome place. It is a place where not only dreaming is encouraged, but reaching for dreams is as well. Most of the Dreamers come from situations where having a future beyond the walls of poverty is considered impossible. But now, our kids dream big and we do our best to cultivate those dreams.
Kids that once were destined to a life of poverty now dream to be doctors and teachers. This is the goal.
In the past year or so I’ve noticed in some of the older kids, a shifting in their mentalities. Where the future was once a void, they now act as if their dreams are within arms reach. They are beginning to believe that they can be whatever they want to be.
Is the House of Dreams perfect? Not a chance.
Are the workers and volunteers perfect? Nope
Are we all working together to do whatever it takes to bring these dreams within arms reach? You’d better believe it!
Pray for us as we work to make the House of Dreams a better place, and provide a better future for these dear Dreamers.
We are anticipating some very good things coming along here at the House of Dreams.
There is great potential in a smooth running volunteer program. We are solidifying some regulations to help prepare new volunteers when they come. We have also written up some guidelines for the application process and agreements we have with volunteer finder organizations. It will be great to have a volunteer environment that is positive for the kids, the staff and for the fellow volunteers.
Since getting married last year our current director has been hoping to move to La Paz to start her life with her husband. We are happy to announce that we will be making the transition to a new director in the coming weeks and months. Her name is Marisol Soliz and has been a close friend and missionary in Bolivia for just over 8 years. She will be bringing some refreshing changes and new ideas for the Dreamers and the administration of the home.
Remember the three that will turn three this year that I asked you to be praying for? Our youngest Dreamer, Bridgit, has been assigned to a family! This means that the adoption could take place within the next couple weeks. We will continue to pray that those weeks do not turn into months. Join us as we also continue to pray that Vladimir and Alicia will be adopted soon.
Bridgit being held by Gabrielle Washington
Three years ago I posted the following on my personal blog. In light of the Easter celebrations I felt it appropriate to share again.
They started telling me their stories. It caught me off guard when the children who decided to speak shared about their mothers. “My mother brought me a huge cake,” as the extended arms indicated the enormous dimensions. “My mother is beautiful,” another declared with loving eyes. “My mother is going to come and take me from this place,” the oldest of the group at seven years old crossed her arms in defiant determination. The possiblity may exist due to the foster type care that we provide children. But those words shot forcefully from that little mouth straight through my heart.
Suffering doesn’t touch you until you touch the suffering. And until you are touched by suffering you will not touch a sufferer.
I used to say that I would much rather learn from the Good Book that God has provided for our benefit rather than at the cruel school of hard knocks. That is not the case now. I see value in feeling, to bring me to a new awareness not attainable by facts on a page.
In my ignorance of pushing suffering away from myself I also pushed the sufferers away. As I have learned to embrace the hardships in my life I have also embraced the suffering people. Skirting the valley sent me tumbling down in only to realize that there were others going through as well.
Three days to break the body of Jesus and see it revived again with scars to testify. Thirty-three years suffering with raw and blistering humanity to break his heart, never to see it fully restored. He is a man acquainted with suffering. Can I be acquainted with him yet ignore his empathy and compassion? Doubtful.
…but rejoice to the extent that you partake of Christ’s sufferings, that when His glory is revealed, you may also be glad with exceeding joy. (1 Peter 4:13)
Why not take a moment to go to the Kid Pics page and say a prayer for each of the children by name? Thank you for becoming acquainted with the Dreamers through this blog.
On Wednesday afternoon, one of the members of the church stopped by to bring some candy and snacks for the Dreamers. She was there with a friend for about an hour, chatting with the kids and helping the younger ones get into some of their treats.
Before she left, she began making her rounds, saying good-bye to each kid before she headed down the stairs. As she began walking out, I asked the kids if they had thanked her for the treats. Thank yous instantly came from all directions, and some even rushed her with a hug.
In the midst of the stirring, I heard, “Thank you, Uncle Romon!” I chuckled and told the little guy that I wasn’t to thank, and pointed in the direction of the lady headed down the stairs. He then approached me with the biggest smile and hugged me while saying “I know she gave us the candy, but I want to say thank you to you too.” Puzzled, I asked why. He responded, “Thank you, because you made me the way I am.” Still puzzled, I asked him to explain. He began to explain that he is “obedient and smart” because I’ve helped make him that way by teaching him things and loving him. Shocked, I could do nothing but hug him back.
There is no better feeling than in those rare moments, the ones where you realize that you really are making a difference. And as hard as I try to simply make an impression, I never expected to hear anything as significant as “You made me the way I am.”
Interested in making a difference? Why not consider sponsoring a Dreamer on a monthly basis?
The House of Dreams has been so blessed to continuously receive donations in areas of need. From bags of rice to eat, to school supplies, to computers for the computer lab, all of the donations we’ve received have been more than a blessing.
Some of the donations we receive are not things that we don’t currently have, but a replacement or upgrade for something that we already have. This was the case last week, when one of the volunteers at the House of Dreams, Francesca, decided that she wanted to make donation to the House of Dreams.
Since she sometimes helps out with serving lunch and dinner, Francesca took notice that the table in the dining area could stand to be replaced.
The old table.
After talking with the HOD director, she decided that she was going to replace the table.
Francesca enjoying the new table with some of the Dreamers.
Thank you, Francesca, and thank you to the rest of you who have made a donation of some type to the House of Dreams. You are truly changing lives.
Interested in making a donation of some type but not sure what the House of Dreams needs? Check out some of the projects that we need help with!
Saturday morning the whole student body of Colegio Cristo Nacion, the school where the kids from the House of Dreams attend, assembled for the annual field day. Family and friends watched as the children ran relays and played sports. As you will see in the following photos it was great fun.
(you can see enlarged versions by clicking on the images)
Special moments to be remembered from the day:
- Jose and Shirley getting medals
- Emelin winning every race she was in
- The older girls cheering and being cheered on
I know that events like these are part of raising confident and able bodied people who will be productive citizens. Thank you to all who have chosen to participate in the education of the Dreamers be it financially or with moral support. Together we are making a difference.
Here in Bolivia, Tuesday was a holiday called “Day of the Child” (In case you missed Wednesday’s post). This day is set aside to show appreciation for children.
At their school, most of the Dreamers had a party with snacks, games and prizes. Grades 3-6, which includes three of our Dreamers, went to the local bowling alley instead of partying with the rest of the School.
Estefani posing while awaiting her turn to bowl.
Anne giving it all she's got.
Jhoselyn trying to maintain her lead.
It’s always a pleasure to see the Dreamers be able to get out and have fun. They always make the most of the opportunities.
It doesn’t matter whether it’s lunch or dinner, the meal is almost always the same. First, there is soup. Then comes the second part of the meal, which is referred to as “segundo”. The second portion consists of rice, veggies, and some form of meat. The cook at the House of Dreams serves the children more food than I can eat in one sitting. And yes, they eat it all. But rarely do they have variety. Yesterday was an exception.
So what made this day so special? Yesterday, Bolivia celebrated the “Day of the Children”. While the school aged children celebrated this day in a special way (Read Friday’s post for details), the younger one’s celebrated with sweets. The children enjoyed chocolate doughnuts and Coca-Cola. Yum Yum!
The Dreamers are such a huge part of our lives. One day out of the year is barely enough to celebrate their lives and our love for them, but they sure do enjoy the extra day of sweets!
You think Vladimir enjoyed the doughnut?
Take this day to show the children you love how special they are to you. I’m sure they won’t forget it.
Please pray that the Dreamers will always know that they are loved by many.
Old enough to dress himself he pulls clothes on his tan frame. Over all the other hand-me-downs he pulls the daily garment from his shelf, the green sweater. His green sweater. The day he came to us he was bundled in this same sweater. Everyday he wears it.
He brought it from the home he lived in before ours. As far as he knew the place before gave him all he needed. I can only imagine the processing taking place since he has came to us just a few weeks ago.
In the same way his small frame wears that same sweater every day his soul carries the cloak of his short yet colorful history. He bears what he has seen and heard from the mouths and lives of people he put his childlike trust in.
The precious boy clings to this one possession for security. The choices of the adults in his life define his existence. I only hope that this will not always be the case for Juan Daniel. I hope that he will one day find he does not need the green sweater to feel safe but that he will know we care for him. I hope that one day he will see his past a a gift from Our Father that carries him to his creator.
12 Since God chose you to be the holy people he loves, you must clothe yourselves with tenderhearted mercy, kindness, humility, gentleness, and patience. 13 Make allowance for each other’s faults, and forgive anyone who offends you. Remember, the Lord forgave you, so you must forgive others. 14 Above all, clothe yourselves with love, which binds us all together in perfect harmony.
Colossians 3: 12-14
Please pray with me that this truth defines the Dreamers.
Some people just know how to pick my brain. They know the right questions to ask to get me dreaming of bigger and better things for the Dreamers at The House of Dreams orphanage. They dig to the heart of the matter because their abilities to match the monstrosity of the “what if…?” with a definite “we can!” is an actual reality. They are the Dream Makers. Their unending creativity matched with abundant generosity floors me and puts me to my knees thanking God for the gift that they are to us.
High on the list of these special individuals is the long time partner in the United Kingdom: Steyning Grammar School. The students, staff and parents at this institution have banded together to make a difference in Cochabamba, Bolivia. They continually astound me.
Currently the project they have taken on is putting long term wooden bunk beds in the bedrooms of our Lifetime Dreamers. These kids will most likely be with us into adulthood. The little metal beds they have are okay for now. I wanted to give them something that was big enough to last through all the growth spurts they will have in our home. I wanted wooden beds they could call their own. That we could put their names on and make them feel as they belong.
The Steyning group went over and above to get the first half of the bunk beds funded, which includes new mattresses, pillows, blankets and sheets as well as the wooden frames for six of our kiddos. Their efforts were even recognized by a local paper in their area.
The bunk beds are still being put together and we still need to do the shopping for the rest of the items. Here is a mid way video I put together at the carpentry shop where they are being made.
If you are interested in helping out The House of Dreams with an Action Project check out our Projects page. Not seeing anything that suits your fancy? Got a new idea? Contact me and we can brainstorm together about how you can be a Dream Maker too.