April 2023

Last month my parents and I hosted a Ruth’s House dinner. The guardians Raquel and Regina were there, along with Ruth (the current participant at the ministry) and Helen (who will be joining the ministry in May). It was the first time that Ruth and Helen were able to meet. They share a number of commonalities: they both like to bake and have worked part time selling baked goods, they are studious, and they have a growing relationship with the Lord. Please pray that they can be more than just future roommates, but good friends too.

March at Talita Cumi children’s home was full of numerous activities, more than I can cover. Here are a few highlights:

We celebrated International Women’s Day. It was a wonderful chance for the boys to do something special for the girls. All of the boys chipped in by cooking hamburgers, setting up tables and chairs in the patio outside, serving the food, sharing a few kind words, and praying for the girls.

A group from my Bolivian church started doing monthly activities with the children. It has been a joy partnering with them and supporting them in their vision. Last month they talked about how the joy of the Lord is our strength and this month they will focus on how God is our Father, a timely lesson since we recently celebrated Father’s Day in Bolivia. This is a particularly important and sensitive topic considering that nearly all of the children have been abandoned, and several abused, by their earthly fathers. Please pray that the children receive this message into their hearts.

One Saturday I took the boys to my friends’ house for an afternoon of hot dogs and soda, swimming in the pool, and billiards. It’s always fun introducing the boys to something new, and little did I know that this would be the first time for a number of them to play billiards.

I’d like to thank Todd and Graciela Spence who shared about Ruth’s House and Talita Cumi during Calvary Community Church’s missions day. Calvary Community is sending down a team to visit both ministries this June, so if you attend there and are interested in knowing more, please let me know.

Thank you for your prayers.

March 2023

Ruth is fully moved into La Casa de Rut (Ruth’s House) and has hit the ground running. As I mentioned in my last update, she is pursuing a career in the medical field, so she’s been busy studying for her entrance exams. She already took one exam and she has another coming up this Thursday. Please pray for her as the exams are very difficult and the content is quite unpredictable. 

Ruth attended a church camp over the Carnival holiday and had a wonderful time. In this picture she’s standing (left) next to the young lady who leads the young adults group at the church:

Below she is pictured with Nadja, a German volunteer at the children’s home where Ruth used to live. The two of them have become fast friends:

A couple of weeks ago, Nicol moved out of Ruth’s House to pursue a more independent lifestyle. My greatest concern was for her safety so it was an answer to prayer that she moved into her own room at Dina’s house. Dina used to work at the children’s home Talita Cumi where Nicol grew up, so the two of them already knew each other. Please pray for Nicol as she learns how to live on her own and manage her own work schedule. Please pray that the Lord would lead her to a church community too.

Two weeks ago my parents came to Bolivia to spend a month here. The children at Talita Cumi have been overjoyed to see them again and spend time together playing board games and sports at the park. My dad plays chess with the boys while my mom has taught the children Skip-Bo.

My parents sponsor three siblings at the children’s home and we had them over for dinner:

My dad even shared his birthday with two others at Talita Cumi: Jesús who turned 14 years old and Aunt Esther who is the house mom at the boys’ house:

Please keep Jesús (pictured above) and his sister Karen in your prayers. They recently moved to Talita Cumi and they’re still getting accustomed to their new life at the home. Jesús in particular was saddened by the fact that he would not be able to celebrate his birthday with his mom. 

Thank you for your prayers.

February 2023

Last month we received Ruth into Ruth’s House. Ruth is an inquisitive and studious young woman who is quite excited about this new stage in her life. She had her suitcases packed two weeks prior to the move. She is currently studying for her entrance exams in February and March to go to medical school, so please pray that she has the energy and endurance to comprehend the material and do well on the exams. We’re thrilled that Ruth is part of the ministry now, and we’re excited to guide and support her in this new phase.

Prior to receiving Ruth into the ministry, Nicol, the first participant of Ruth’s House, informed of us of her decision to leave the ministry and live on her own. Her desire is to live, work, and study independently. While we at the ministry have our share of concerns for Nicol and would have liked to have seen her stay on for another year, we are also thankful for the victories we’ve witnessed.

When we received Nicol into the ministry about a year ago, she had great difficulty articulating and processing her emotions, she was two years behind in high school, and she was unemployed. A year later, we’ve seen her exhibiting more self-control with regard to her emotions, she earned her high school diploma in an accelerated program, and for the past month she has been working full time in the food sector at a large market. She also enrolled in night classes in order to pursue a technical degree in beauty (styling hair, painting fingernails etc).

For those reasons, we are proud of Nicol, and we’ve assured her that she will always be a part of the Ruth’s House family, and we expressed our hope to remain a part of her life. Please keep her in your prayers as we help her transition out of the ministry this month.

At the Talita Cumi children’s home, the big news is that we have received two siblings and another girl into the home. This brings the total number of children to 19 girls and 11 boys, which is our full capacity. Luciana has joined us, pictured below baking bread:

Jesus and his sister Karen have also joined the children’s home:

All three children are quite lively, chatty, and seem to be handling the transition to a new home well.

School starts today (Wednesday), so on our last day of summer vacation we went to a small resort with a soccer field, pool, and a barbecue. The children had a blast, and since it’s the rainy season here, it stormed like crazy too.

Thank you for your donations, prayers, and encouragement!

Grace and peace be with you.

January 2023

Happy New Year!

I’d like to thank all of you who have partnered with Ruth’s House in 2022 to help make it a thriving, Christ-centered ministry. Much has happened since the ministry officially launched in February of 2022. I’d like to share with you a few recent highlights of God’s faithfulness and mercy:

First, Raquel has been instrumental in teaching Nicol how to manage her life more responsibly and to become more independent. This process has not been without significant challenges, but Nicol is progressing in certain areas of her life.

For example, she graduated from high school, completing two years in one, and she recently took on a full time job cleaning and preparing food at a restaurant. She likes her job so far and she’s working hard at it.

Last, Regina joined Ruth’s House as another mentor and has been living with Nicol while Raquel is visiting her family in Spain for the holidays. Regina has been guiding and advising Nicol as she transitions from the life of a student to a full-time employee. She has also been establishing relationships with the older girls at Talita Cumi children’s home who will be a part of Ruth’s House in the future.

Now, I’d like to share with you, in broad strokes, the vision for Ruth’s House during the first half of 2023:

1. January: Ruth, whom I’ve introduced to you in the last couple of updates, moves into Ruth’s House and commences her studies in the medical field.

2. February: Nicol scales back to a part time job and continues her education in a field likely related to art.

3. April: Ruth’s House will move from its current two bedroom apartment to a large house in order to accommodate future participants.

4. May: Helen, who currently lives at Talita Cumi children’s home, turns 18 years old and will move into Ruth’s House.

All of these future plans are thrilling to consider, and I ask that you pray for wisdom for the board of directors, Raquel, Regina and me as only the Lord can establish our steps.

Above: at the Talita Cumi Christmas dinner, from left to right: Helen (who will join Ruth’s House in May), Nicol, Geraldine and Clara (two of the older girls at Talita Cumi who may live at Ruth’s House in the future).

Above: Regina (middle) and Nicol (in blue) hosted three of the older girls from Talita Cumi at Ruth’s House over the Christmas weekend. Helen, who will join Ruth’s House in May, is standing far left.

For a few days over Christmas I had the joy of hosting two brothers from Talita Cumi, Jhon (13 years old) and Yamil (11 years old). I spoiled them with donuts, tacos, Papa John’s pizza, and trips to the pool.

My mentorship of Juan Pablo (15 years old) in 2022 was an adventure. As some of you may recall, he was ensnared in a trafficking ring and ran away, but we were able to find him and bring him back to the home. Despite that rupture, I’ve witnessed Juan Pablo grow in his faith, his maturity, and his studies. 

At a recent event at the children’s home honoring the mentors and their mentees, I shared a few words about Juan Pablo and gave him Timothy Keller’s “The Prodigal Prophet: Jonah and the Mystery of God’s Mercy.” Jonah’s impulsivity, his complicated relationship with the Lord, and his life circumstances are in many ways similar to that of Juan Pablo. I hope to read the book along with him.

Juan Pablo completed an accounting course for adults at a nearby institute. Usually students are accompanied by their parents to receive their certificate or diploma, but since Juan Pablo didn’t have that option, he asked me to accompany him, which I was quite pleased to do.

Again, I thank all of you for supporting Ruth’s House and my work at Talita Cumi. I am indebted to all of you for your prayers, financial resources, and encouragement that make this life possible.

Grace and peace be with you,


December 2022

I hope that all of you are having a wonderful Christmas season. There have been some exciting new developments with Ruth’s House. 

Nicol earned her high school diploma, completing her accelerated program to finish her last two years of high school in one year. The next big step in her life will be to look for a part time job as we strategize about how she might take technical courses at an institute to further her education. Please keep these next two steps in your prayers.

Ruth, the girl who will be moving into Ruth’s House next January, graduated from high school, finishing near the top of her class. She is preparing for her entrance exams to get into a public university in order to study in the medical field. I recently had the pleasure of celebrating her graduation at an event held by the ministry that currently cares for her (pictured below):

From left to right: me, Raquel (the guardian of Ruth’s House), Ruth (who will be joining Ruth’s House in January), Regina (a missionary from Germany), and Nicol (the current participant of Ruth’s House)

One common question I’ve received over the past several months from supporters is whether the transition house will need additional staff to help with the projected growth of the ministry (we anticipate having close to 10 girls within the next four years). The Lord graciously responded to that need far in advance by providing Regina (pictured above).

Regina is a German missionary who will not only be serving at Ruth’s House, but the children’s home Talita Cumi as well. This is particularly strategic because she can cultivate relationships with the older girls at the children’s home before they move into Ruth’s House. Furthermore, Regina will be living with Nicol for a month while Raquel returns to Spain for Christmas. Please pray for Regina as she fosters a relationship with Nicol.  

The children at Talita Cumi couldn’t be happier. Their summer vacation commenced the first week of December and they won’t return to school until February. Talita Cumi set up a number of fun workshops to keep the children active: wood painting, fabric painting, graphic design, dance, flute, arts and crafts, pastry making, sewing, and making bracelets and necklaces. Here are some of their creations:

Of course, the rage in Bolivia right now is the World Cup. The boys and I eat popcorn and watch the matches together. 

We also spend a lot of time playing soccer at the park, and we recently took our annual group photo there too.

Please keep the kids in prayer as they rest from the rigors of school and homework and enjoy some rest and recreation.

Grace be with you.

November 2022

As I send out this email, Santa Cruz is in its 12th day of an indefinite strike over the Bolivian government’s refusal to carry out its decennial census which should have happened this year. The census is important, not only for Santa Cruz but for every region of Bolivia, because the distribution of the nation’s population determines which areas will receive greater governmental aid for education and health. It also is a determining factor for the allocation of seats in government. Santa Cruz’s population has boomed over the past ten years and it rightly wants to see those changes reflected in policy as soon as possible.

The short term consequences of the strike are the shuttering of all major businesses and blockades throughout the city that make vehicular circulation for anything larger than a motorcycle nearly impossible. This strategy by the people of Santa Cruz (which I support) is a peaceful way to use economic pressure to motivate the government to act justly and swiftly to carry out a census as soon as possible.

Unfortunately, violent pro-government forces have reacted dangerously and mercilessly by sabotaging and blockading roads needed to bring in food and gasoline to the city, and they have clashed with peaceful protestors. Food prices are rising and the cost of petrol is selling for four or five times the normal cost. Trash collection has stopped, leaving more than 8,000 tons of garbage at homes and in the streets.

Please keep the strike in your prayers, that it would be resolved quickly and peacefully in a way that will benefit as many Bolivians possible.

Before the strike, I had the pleasure of catching up with Nicol in person. She visited the children’s home Talita Cumi to celebrate Women’s Day with us. Nicol continues to spend time with her friends at school and she’s looking forward to her graduation on November 15. Upon graduation, we will help her transition into the next phase of her life: looking for a part time job and pursuing her higher education most likely taking art-related courses at an institute. 

Ruth, who will be joining Ruth’s House in January, will be celebrating her graduation soon as well. I’ll be sure to include photos in my next update.

Please be in prayer for the two of them as they wrap up their high school education and enter the university phase.

Despite the current challenges of the strike, Nicol at Ruth’s House and the children at Talita Cumi are well-fed and they are continuing their education via Zoom. In fact, last week, when the atmosphere was calmer, the boys and I walked a couple of miles from the home to take in the sights of the strike. It was strange walking peacefully through one of the busiest avenues in Santa Cruz that is typically packed with cars, trucks, and buses. The boys enjoyed the adventure.

My devotionals with Lider (17 years old) and Juan Pablo (15 years old) are still continuing. We’re working our way through the book of Philippians, studying themes related to Paul’s joy in Christ, what it means to live as citizens of heaven, and living humbly as explicated in the Kenosis passage.

Juan Pablo attends church with me and takes English classes there before the service. He recently graduated from the beginner’s English class and received a certificate, about which we were both quite pleased.

I also had the joy to take a few of the kids out to the movie theater to celebrate their good grades. We laughed our way through “Tad, the Lost Explorer and the Emerald Tablet.”

Thank you for your continued prayers and support.

October 2022

I am pleased to announce that we have received official confirmation that we will be receiving a new young woman into Ruth’s House. 

She shares the name of the ministry; her name is Ruth. Ruth is from another children’s home called Amparo (Refuge). She recently turned 18 years old, which means that she needs to move from her current children’s home to another safe place where she can continue on with the next stage of her life. 

Ruth is introverted and loves to study; she will be graduating with honors from high school this November and has been the best student in her class for three years in a row. She’s quite ambitious. She received an entrepreneurship grant from a local nonprofit to start her own baking business from home and she would like to pursue the medical field in her university studies. 

Ruth will be moving into Ruth’s House in January of next year. She already knows Raquel, the guardian of Ruth’s House, because Raquel serves at the children’s home were she currently resides. Beyond that, Ruth already knows Nicol and has spent time with her at church and other social activities. So, we are excited to receive her in the near future and we trust that the relationship building with Raquel and Nicol done prior to her arrival will help make for a smooth transition. Ruth (left) and Nicol (right) in the picture below:

We are pleased to see that Nicol is advancing in her studies, and we anticipate her high school graduation by late November or early December of this year.

Nicol was taking computer classes in the evening at an institute, but when we realized that they were not advantageous to her particular skill set, we counseled her to discontinue the course in favor of taking art classes next year. This plays to her strengths as an artist and, Lord willing, will open up more job opportunities in the future. Meanwhile, we are encouraging her to find a part time job. 

While Nicol was more content to spend time alone in the first few months of her transition to Ruth’s House, I’m glad to see that she’s doing more social activities and school-sponsored outings with her classmates. She really seems to enjoy them as she is expanding her horizon with more relationships and experiences. Nicol (far right) in the photo below:

Talita Cumi Children’s Home:

September, in many ways, was a month of routine and more routine at Talita Cumi: school, homework, meals, and playtime at the park. Two major events stand out: 1) we received two new girls at Talita Cumi; 2) our celebration of Students’ Day.

We received two sisters: Luz María (16 years old) and Liliana (12 years old). The girls seem to be taking their new surroundings in stride, although the transition to a new home always comes with difficulties and complications. Luz María is more reserved, though I’ve noticed her speaking with more frequency. Liliana is a child who hungers for love and a nuclear family atmosphere; she asks all of the aunts and uncles at the home if she can call them mom and dad. 

Liliana (left) and Luz María (right):

For Students’ Day we went to a park with two pools, a soccer field with artificial grass, a sand volleyball court, and a playground. The kids were able to let loose and enjoy a day off from school.

Please keep Ruth in your prayers as she transitions from her children’s home to Ruth’s House early next year and Nicol as she looks for a part time job. Please also keep Luz María and her sister Liliana in your prayers as they continue to adjust to a new living situation and grapple with the trauma of their prior circumstances.

September 2022

August was an emotionally charged month.

One of the older boys at the home escaped in the middle of the night, which left us profoundly concerned for his safety and quite confused considering that there were no warning signs. After a long search throughout the city of Santa Cruz, we finally located him at his mother’s house and he willingly returned to Talita Cumi. 

In the aftermath of his return, we discovered that a group of men from a human trafficking ring were trying to lure him across the Brazilian border with promises that they would cover the costs of his passage from Bolivia to Ukraine so that he could fulfill his dream of fighting in the war. Thank God we found him before they were able to get him across the border or we might never have seen him again.

Please keep this situation in your prayers. An escape creates a lot of emotional turmoil for the entire home. We’re thankful to the Lord that he is safely back with us, but an escape typically awakens false hope in other children that they too might be able to realize their dreams or solve their problems by running away. We certainly don’t want any child to put his or her life at risk in this way.

On a brighter note, we celebrated Yessica’s quinceañera, the most significant birthday for a girl in Latin culture. One of the highlights was hearing Yessica, in her own words, commit to serving the Lord as she grows into a young woman. 

Recently I had the pleasure of spending one-on-one time with Lider at a cafe. He is the oldest boy at Talita Cumi, turning 17 years old this month, which means he has about one more year to live at the home. We talked about his life, his studies, and his future aspirations.

Lider is a good kid with a good heart. In addition to his studies at high school, he’s attending an institute at night in order to become a certified electrician. One of his highest priorities upon leaving Talita Cumi is to help take care of his mother who is paralyzed.

This week the children finish their second trimester of school. A number of the children are up to date on their studies and homework, but several are not. This has meant long days and late nights as they scurry to catch up and finish the semester strong.

The past month has not been without some recreation and relaxation. The younger boys love going to the park to play soccer and race bikes. 

Thank you for your support and prayers. I’ll have more to say about Nicol at Ruth’s House in my next newsletter. She’s doing fine, advancing in her studies and continuing to work on her art in her spare time.

August 2022

Goal Accomplished!

It was a great delight seeing so many of you gather together at our Ruth’s House Banquet a couple of weeks ago at The Bridge Church. We had about 100 people in attendance. That evening I shared with you our goal of raising $20,380, and we raised $20,135. Beyond that, a number of you expressed interest in partnering with the ministry in prayer, with your special skills, and coming down to Bolivia on a short term mission trip. 

Your generosity means that we are in a sound financial position to receive three young women (Ruth, Helen and Ana) into the home next year. All additional funds raised this year will be saved and earmarked for future participants at the home and longer term goals like purchasing, rather than renting, a house for Ruth’s House. We will keep you up to date on these exciting developments.

I’d like to thank all of you who, by the grace of God, have provided such a strong foundation for this growing ministry. In the coming weeks we will be reaching out to those of you who expressed your willingness to join with the ministry in other ways. Thank you!

Upon my return, I was also able to catch up with Nicol, the first participant at Ruth’s House. Her transition from Talita Cumi to Ruth’s House has been quite the challenge for her, but in the past month and a half we’ve seen progress. Nicol passed all of her classes at school, she’s more communicative with her feelings, she’s been interacting more with people at church, and she has taken on a more active role in maintaining a clean home. Please continue to pray that she will mature more in her personal relationship with the Lord and grow in the area of taking full responsibility for her own school schedule.

Being back in Bolivia means that I’ve been able to get back into the swing of things with the children. Last week they wrapped up their final week of vacation. The children were kept busy with tons of fun activities like arts and crafts, soccer tournaments, painting the house, singing praise songs and doing devotionals in the mornings, riding bikes, and visiting nature parks. 

June 2022

In the month of May, Talita Cumi held a fair to sell arts and crafts and baked goods made by the kids. The money that they earn is saved in their personal accounts. The turnout was large and even a young orchestra showed up to provide music!
The Alpha course with the two oldest boys and the two oldest girls at Talita Cumi came to a close after 9 weekly sessions. The kids really enjoyed learning about the essentials of the faith such as: who is Jesus Christ, who is the Holy Spirit, the purpose of prayer, and the importance of evangelization. I believe that the course helped strengthen them in their knowledge of the faith.

My weekly devotions with the two oldest boys Lider and Juan Pablo (pictured above in the grey sweatshirt and green t-shirt) is still continuing. We’ve completed 21 chapters of Proverbs so far.

The kids finished their first trimester of school and recently endured a bunch of final exams and projects, so getting the boys out of the home and taking them to the park and pool for some recreation was more than welcome. May was a beautiful month as the toborochi trees were in full bloom.

Thank you for your prayers and support! Blessings.