I have seen this truck driving around town quite a bit. I was lucky enough to grab a picture of it parked on the corner down from where we live. It’s called an International. Maybe from the 1940′s? If I ever see the owner I will have a nice chat with him about all those fascinating details. Such an awesome vehicle!
We admire a working antique car in apparent good condition because it represents quality. We recognize that someone takes the time and effort to keep the car running. We respect the investment into the car’s longevity.
Why would we not expect the same attention and care from a person to ensure their own longevity? More personally speaking, why would someone expect someone serving in a foreign country to live in such a way that they deteriorate before their time?
As people interested in making a long term difference in this nation we have taken measures to help us have saner and healthier lives. We could compare these sanity and health practices to the maintenance one would put into keeping a car in good working condition for a long time.
Some of the things we do and why:
Eating out – Oftentimes the price to eat out is comparable or even cheaper than eating in. It saves time and allows us to get back to work more quickly. Our patronage also helps the local economy. We also connect with the Bolivian people and develop relationships.
Working out at the gym – Did you know that some of our missionary friends who work with big organizations are required to go to the gym? Their overseers make sure their membership fees are covered so that they can stay healthy. When we work out we relieve stress. People with less stress are more effective at what they do. We also stay healthier so we can stay on the field longer.
Dates – Can you imagine living at your job? Stay at home parents know what I am talking about. People who work from their home know too. Getting away together to reconnect as a married couple helps us to stay strong. Also, when we make our marriage a priority it is an excellent example to the people we lead to make their marriages important. This strengthens the society.
I’ll stop with three. The purpose I share these is to help you understand that there is a reason behind the things we do. Sanity and health are priorities to us for helping us to be effective as we serve in Bolivia. The idea is longevity. We are committed to the work here. Thank you for standing with us and helping us care for these kids.
Not too long ago some longtime monthly supporters of The House of Dreams Orphanage made a comment, “Those kids really need you guys”. My response surprised them. I explained that I think I need the kids more than then they need me.
I came to that conclusion through a defining moment. I was sitting in my office and the question arose within me, “What tangible difference are we currently making in the lives of others?” At the time we had published several books, we were doing leadership conferences in several different countries, and had planted countless Bible schools around Bolivia. But in all these things I could not see the tangible fruit. I knew they were making a difference in people’s lives, but aside from the occasional thank you letter I could not see the impact being made.
As I looked over all we do I came to the realization that The House of Dreams Orphanage was one of the things we did that has tangible, measurable results that we can see. I do not know how many leaders will be impacted as a result of a leadership conference, but whenever I need to see a life being impacted, I can always go to the orphanage and spend some time talking with the kids. These little lives will forever be impacted by something we do. So the truth of the matter is that I need The House of Dreams Orphanage just as much as the kids do. As I looked in the eyes of that pastor and saw his heart to bring leadership principals to his region I realized that what we do is so much bigger than ourselves. It helps people impacts lives for Christ. For that reason we have, and will do, whatever we can as a ministry to help others.
Roberto, Jose Luis, and Gabriel created a dino safari this afternoon in the grass of our front yard. I love the innocence on their faces. I love the normal-ness of seeing them create fascinating worlds with their imagination. I want to freeze this moment in time so they will never grow up… Peter Pan wishes for our boys.
Yet, grow up they will. And they will look back at their time in the House of Dreams with fondness. They will remember never being short of playmates. They will remember not having to worry about their next meal. They will know they are special and important.
This season, as we celebrate the Incarnation of our Lord, I am grateful that we can bring to life God incarnate as we care for these little ones. Those of you who give, pray, and volunteer can know that you are a part of something holy and truly good. Thank you for joining us as we make dreams come true at The House of Dreams.
The Dreamers displayed their skills in English at school on Friday. Each class prepared posters, snacks, costumes, maps, and other interesting things about their English speaking city or country. It was fun to see them exploring the diversity of other cultures.
Benancio showing the British flag, Anne by the map of England, some of the classmates by their booth
(top) a friend with Emelin, (left) Jhamil with a friend, (right) a friend with Jose Luis
Estefani dressed as Mary Poppins by the model she made of the famed Hollywood sign
Shirley and Jose in very itchy, but very cute Tinkerbell and Peter Pan costumes
The kids work hard on their English with the help of many dedicated volunteers. We believe that dominating two languages will give them a competitive edge as they grow. We are blessed to be able to give them this advantage due to the generous donations of many individuals.
Thank you to all the volunteers, school staff, and donors who help give the children such a high quality education.
In a house full of kids a playmate can always be found, games can be invented and reinvented for hours, and work becomes light when everyone pitches in to help. Mixed in with all the goodness we also find some things inevitably go overlooked. The one on one attention that might make a difference between a pass or fail grade is not often a luxury we cannot afford. Moments slip by when an ear to listen to what’s heavy on a child’s heart take a back seat when the laundry piles high and there are mouths to feed.
Looking at the mass of kids and considering meeting each one of their individual needs seems downright overwhelming.
But could I help just one? I think so.
Starting next year I want to implement a Big Brothers Big Sisters program at the House of Dreams. We have the privilege to lean upon the close relationship the orphanage has with the church. From that pool of believers I think seventeen people would be interested in being a part of this type of program.
This is the part where you come in. I am looking for advice for implementation. Were you ever a Big Brother or a Big Sister (Little Brother or Little Sister)? Have you ever run a mentoring program with children ages 10 and under? I would love to hear about your experiences. Even if you have never personally been involved in a program like this I am still in the formulation stages and would love some input.
I feel like pairing up the kids with qualified individuals in a well structured program could have a positive impact in the lives of the Dreamers.
Oh, and if you have any suggestions for a name for the program that would be great too.
The end of the year is quickly approaching, and just like most of you we at the House of Dreams are making plans for 2012.
One of the things we are looking and planning for is people who are interested in coming down and working with the House of Dreams long term or short term. From tutoring to cooking to just playing with kids, the areas where you could help out are limitless. Volunteers are a huge help. It’s always great to have a few extra sets of hands. This is your chance to make a difference in the lives of our Dreamers!
If you’re interested in coming to the House of Dreams in 2012, check out our page and click the visit tab for more information.
The other day I was talking with a supporter about our victories and struggles in The House of Dreams Orphanage. During the conversation the name George Muller came up, “You guys are like a modern day George Muller living day-to-day by faith believing that the money is going to come in for the needs of the kids.”
Me with Roberto and Alicia
For those of you unfamiliar with George Muller I suggest you Google him. What a wonderful life of sacrifice. As a Christian evangelist he started his first orphanage in 1836. His organization cared for over 10,000 orphans in his lifetime. He established 117 schools which offered Christian education to over 120,000 children, many of them orphans. What an awesome example of someone who made their life count.
All the talk of George Muller got me thinking. If I could ask the famous missionary one question what would it be? My question would be: How do you deal with the “tomorrow question”?
For example, on one occasion, Muller and the children gave thanks for breakfast. All the children were sitting at the table, even though there was nothing to eat in the house. As they finished praying a baker knocked on the door with sufficient fresh bread to feed everyone. What a wonderful testimony. His life was filled with stories like this one. But my question would be: how do you deal with tomorrow?
As a director of an orphanage tomorrow is always on the forefront of my mind. Beyond our own personal needs we have chose to be responsible for the needs of many small children. Their necessities exceed those of basic survival. By the grace of God up to this point the children have not lacked a meal, a warm bed, an education or a loving home, but to tell you the truth, tomorrow scares me a bit. It is a good scare because it forces us to find solutions. It is amazing what solutions one finds when failure is not an option.
In studying the life of Muller I am almost sure his answer would have something to do with a life of prayer and doing the best with what we have. I could not imagine having the challenge of meeting the needs of thousands. It is a struggle for us with just 17. But if doing our best is enough then we can face the tomorrow question with hope. Hope that we can provide for the basic needs of our children, give them a quality education and most importantly teach them about Christ’s love. I hope that is enough.
“You are living my dream,” a woman said to me. Having heard this statement before I nod my head and ask the standard follow up question.
“What’s your dream?”
“To live in a foreign country and work at an orphanage,” she says in a matter of fact tone. Then I ask another question.
“Why aren’t you living it?”
Some get quiet and thoughtful. Others stammer for excuses. Some look as though a light bulb just turned on in their mind.
Not everyone can handle living in a foreign culture. I understand that. Along that same thought pattern I do think that some people need to be on the mission field who haven’t yet taken the first step to make it happen.
If you have ever considered giving part of your life, or even all of your life away as a missionary Bolivia might be your launching out place. We can train you to be a successful missionary over a period of three to four years.
It all starts with a spark, a twinge, a hope, a dream. Get in touch with us and we can send you the info to look over.
Contact us telling us a little of your heart.
We send you the full step by step process in detail along with an application that you fill out and send back to us by email.
Upon acceptance we begin right away helping you prepare to come on a two or three month scouting trip. This means Skype calls, emails and phone conversations to help prepare you.
During the 2-3 month scouting trip here in Bolivia you get a feel for who we are and we get to see you in action. We lead mission classes and you start to learn how to acquire a new language. You help out in every area you can.
At the end of the trip we extend to you an invitation to return and make a three year commitment or we suggest to you other options that we feel might be more conducive to helping you fulfill your dreams. It is also at the end of this short trip that you can decide if missions is what you want to do with your life or if you think there might be another path for you to take.
The time between the scouting trip and your return we help you to raise funds and prepare for a life overseas.
When you reach the goals required to return you come back as a missionary for three years. The training and work continue during the duration of your time in Bolivia. You will be equipped and you will know you have made an investment that changes eternity.
Sounds great right? You could be living your dream. Singles, couples or families welcome. Let me know if you want to take your first step towards being a missionary.
Every so often a question makes its way to my inbox that I believe deserves public attention. This question came from a faithful advocate of The House of Dreams and the Dreamers who live here. It’s a great question.
Q: What happens when they turn 18?
Shirley with an 'helado' (ice-cream)
A: This is one of the main reasons that we decided, at this time, to devote all of our attention to the kids we have now and not receive any new ones. We have set in motion plans to care for the kids until they get out on their own. Purchasing land and building a house for them is a step in this process. We also plan on facilitating employment for them within the ministry (our church, the school, in the international office, etc.) or with a business owned by a church member. These jobs can start when they are teenagers but might extend beyond that. There are many scholarships available if they desire to attend university here in Bolivia. Since at this point we are looking at a maximum of a dozen Dreamers staying with us until that age I feel as though we will be able to prepare them for entering into adult life. In my hearts of hearts I would really like to start a Dreamers Fund that would provide each of them with some kind of start up money when they get out on their own. We’ll see how it goes building the house and then after that I might start a campaign to get that fund going.
Have a question? Go ahead and leave a public comment below or submit this private form: