April was a meaningful month full of church activities and times of celebration too.
For Easter I took four of the boys from Talita Cumi to Trinity International Church. Trinity is a multi-cultural church with services in English. It has a Scottish pastor, missionaries from the United States, Canada and Great Britain, along with a majority of Bolivian attendees. The boys enjoyed stacking their plates for brunch and then listening to the service interpreted into Spanish.
One Sunday I had the privilege to share about Ruth’s House at Trinity along with the director of Talita Cumi who gave an update on the children’s home. The church supports four ministries in Santa Cruz, Talita Cumi being one of them.
On April 12 we celebrated Children’s Day. We spent the afternoon at a site with two pools, a soccer field, and plenty of space to play games. We ate lunch and served cake as well.
This past weekend, the Talita Cumi team had the pleasure of traveling for a retreat. We saw many beautiful sites along the way.
Nicol has been having difficulty learning how to balance her new liberties with new responsibilities, but we have seen progress over the past couple of weeks. We recently received a message from her Language professor reassuring us that Nicol is on the right track with her studies in his course.
Raquel will be spending more time helping Nicol to learn how to manage and express her emotions rather than shutting down. Please pray for wisdom and patience in this regard.
Beyond prayer for Nicol, please keep the children in your prayers as well. Their return to school has been a blessing in that they’ve been able to interact with their friends at school and participate in fun activities, but it has also opened the doors to bad influences from their peers as well. Please pray for the Talita Cumi team so that we can address these challenges wisely and with discernment.
Last month was full of new, exciting activities and one big gift for the Talita Cumi children’s home.
To begin with, I’d like to thank all of you who took part in the minibus campaign for Talita Cumi. We needed to raise $39,900, and thanks to your prayers and donations, we exceeded that goal! The children love their new vehicle. Thank you!
We celebrated Talita Cumi’s 21st anniversary and Father’s Day on the same night. The children hosted the entire evening by emceeing, dancing, sharing words of encouragement and thanks, reading Scripture, and a couple of girls played a duet on their recorders. The children made cards for all of the men at the home for Father’s Day.
A local church is offering a nine-week program based on material developed by Alpha, an international ministry that utilizes a film series and group-based discussions to help new believers and potential believers to learn about Jesus and/or grow in their faith. It asks questions like “Who is Jesus?” “What is Faith?” and “How can I be filled with the Holy Spirit?”
I’ve been taking the four oldest children at the home (Lider, Juan Pablo, Ana and Helen) to these sessions and they love them! It’s a thrill to see them embrace these questions and the discussions with such enthusiasm. Each one of them is at a different stage in their faith, so please keep them in your prayers.
It is a tradition in Bolivia for children to bring their fathers breakfast on Father’s Day, and while I wasn’t expecting anything, Nicol kindly thought of me. She and Raquel, her guardian, swung by my house to bring me breakfast.
Please continue to keep Nicol in your prayers. She has been progressing nicely in some areas of her life, but also struggling in others. Praise God she is healthy, making new friends at school and at her institute for her computer class, and she is participating in a new youth group at her church. On the other hand, learning how to effectively manage her own schedule with all of its new liberties and responsibilities has been quite the challenge for her. Furthermore, while Nicol is passing her classes at school (seeking to obtain the Bolivian equivalent of a GED), we would like to see her grades improve. Please keep these things in your prayers.
Thank you again for your prayers and support.
“How good and pleasant it is when God’s people live together in unity!” (Psalm 133:1)
February was one of the most thrilling months of ministry that I’ve had since arriving in Bolivia back in 2017.
Three of the boys made the decision to be baptized and follow Jesus Christ as their Lord and Savior. The boys were quite pensive about the occasion, realizing that baptism is not salvation itself, but that they were making a public declaration of their faith, and that the submersion in water was a representation of the eternal life and resurrection we have in Christ. Please keep them in your prayers, that they would continue to advance in their faith.
We also celebrated the quinceañera (15th birthday) of Geraldine. The 15th birthday in Latin culture is the most important one. We had a wonderful celebration presenting her with roses, reading Bible verses, singing, eating, and praying over her. I had the distinct privilege of accompanying her for her entrance. Later in the program I presented her with a watch signifying that this is a special time in her life where she’s leaving her childhood behind and entering into her young adult years. I encouraged her to make the most of every moment to glorify the Lord with respect to Psalm 90:12: “Teach us to realize the brevity of life, so that we may grow in wisdom.”
The night of the quinceañera, we also saw off Valeria and Nicol, two young women who have turned 18 years old and are commencing the next stage of their life outside of Talita Cumi. Valeria will be living with the family of the director of Talita Cumi and Nicol will be living in the transition home Ruth’s House with the guardian Raquel, a Spanish missionary.
This momentous moment marks the official inauguration of the Ruth’s House ministry, bringing to fruition a dream shared by many within Talita Cumi for many years. Please keep Nicol in your prayers as she continues with her studies and integrates into a new church community. Thank you for your prayers and offerings to care for Nicol and launch this project.
January was a fun-filled month for the kids. We took full advantage of their school break to take countless trips to the park to play soccer, to play summer games with water balloons in the 90+ heat, and even take a trip to Güembé: a large park with a butterfly sanctuary, a lookout, pools, trails, and biocenters to learn about different animal species.
The children returned to school today (February 1) and the current plan is that they will be attending classes virtually four days per week and one day a week in person. While the children have enjoyed all of the vacation activities, they are excited to return to school in large part to see their classmates again.
My role at Talita Cumi will be expanding to include new responsibilities. I will be playing a heavier part in helping the boys with their studies and homework. Furthermore, I will be tutoring Juan Pablo (15 years old) who has taken a keen interest in learning English. In a recent effort to care for the children on a much more individual level, each child has been assigned a worker as his or her own personal mentor. Juan Pablo has been assigned to me. So, not only will I support him in his studies, but I will take on a more individual effort to help him grow closer to the Lord and advance in all areas of his life.
Beyond that, I’ll resume my weekly devotions with Lider (16 years old) and Juan Pablo at my home. We’ll continue going through the book of Proverbs to learn what it means to be a man of God.
As for Ruth’s House, Nicol commenced her studies today (February 1) in her course to finish her last two years of high school in one year. She is also enrolled in an institute to continue her computer course that she started last year. Due to complications related to the pandemic, Nicol has not moved into the Ruth’s House apartment yet, but I expect that she will within a week or two. Yesterday I asked Nicol how she’s feeling with all of the changes and she said she was “excited.” I’d like to thank all of you for your prayers and financial support to launch this ministry.
~ Please keep the Talita Cumi team in your prayers as the kids resume their studies. It’s no easy task assisting 27 children in virtual classes simultaneously. ~ Please pray for Nicol’s transition from Talita Cumi to Ruth’s House. This will be a challenge for her to get accustomed to an entirely new living situation and mode of studying.
I hope that all of you had a blessed Christmas and a Happy New Year.
The children at Talita Cumi are in full vacation mode at the moment. All 27 of the children were able to spend Christmas with a family. My parents and I hosted six children at my house for three days and three nights. We shared meals together, took the children to the park to set off fire crackers (a Bolivian Christmas tradition), and also spent time in the 90+ degree heat at the pool.
Talita Cumi put on a big Christmas celebration. The children look forward to this evening all year long: they sing, dance, read Scripture, put on a Christmas play about Jesus’ birth, and of course there is a lot of food. They did an amazing job. That night I asked a few of the children what they like most about Christmas and all of them replied similarly: they enjoy getting together to celebrate the holiday as a big family.
In a couple of weeks Ruth’s House, the transition house for the girls aging out of Talita Cumi, will officially launch. Nicol will be the first girl to participate in the ministry and she will be moving out of Talita Cumi around January 15. This will be an immense transition for her since she has lived at Talita Cumi since she was 10 years old. Please keep her in your prayers. The following is a picture of her at the Christmas celebration.
Thank you for all of your prayer and financial support through 2021. I’m so thankful for all of you supporting Talita Cumi and Ruth’s House, and giving me the opportunity to serve the Lord in Santa Cruz, Bolivia. I look forward to another year of fruitful work in the Lord.
¡Feliz Navidad! I’d like to wish all of you a Merry Christmas coming up soon! May you have a blessed time celebrating our Lord’s birth.
November was a pretty hectic month for the Talita Cumi kids as they wrapped up their school year. Luckily, with all of the busyness, we were able to squeeze in a group shot of the children.
When the boys would finish with their homework, I would take them to the park to play soccer, basketball, and climb trees. The boys could burn off energy while the tías “aunties” who work at the home could have a couple of hours of quiet time to relax and prepare dinner.
The women and girls at the home threw a little celebration for the men and boys for International Men’s Day which falls on November 19. The aunties and some of the girls baked bread and had some very kind words to say about the men who serve and work at the home. It was a pleasure to receive their encouragement.
While most of the children’s education is done virtually at Talita Cumi, a number of kids are able to take workshops and educational courses outside the home. At the local Christian university some of the children graduated from a workshop called “Strengthening Social Skills.” The kids were so thrilled with their achievement and we’re quite happy for them too.
Please keep the children of Talita Cumi in your prayers in the coming weeks, that they can enjoy their time off from school and have a special time celebrating Christmas. Please keep Nicol in your prayers as well. She will be moving into Ruth’s House, the transition house for the young women of Talita Cumi, in mid-January.
I’ll have much more to share in the next update. Things will be quite festive and lively over the next few weeks.
I’d like to thank all of you who have been praying for Ruth’s House. Nicol’s transition from Talita Cumi to Ruth’s House will be in January. In the meantime, I’m excited to share with you a Ruth’s House video that you can watch. Feel free to share it with churches, friends, and family to raise awareness about the ministry and raise funds for Nicol and the future young women at the transition house.
Thank you for praying for my devotional times with Lider (16 years old) and Juan Pablo (14 years old). As I mentioned before, we are going through the book of Proverbs. We recently touched on Proverbs 6 and how we should be industrious and hardworking like ants who lay up provisions for the future. We also learned from Proverbs 9 what it means to fear the Lord and why fear of the Lord is the foundation of wisdom.
As many of you are aware, I taught English to university students at El Alfarero (The Potter) for about three years. I moved over to Talita Cumi and Ruth’s House full time in July. One of my former bosses at El Alfarero, Pavel, expressed his gratitude for my years of ministry and presented me with a beautiful plaque at the El Alfarero café. I’m thankful for his words of encouragement and I look forward to introducing the boys and girls of Talita Cumi who’ve turned 18 years old to the community at El Alfarero.
We’re expanding the silk screen printing shop at Talita Cumi and a group from a high school recently came and did some painting; for example, a large heart on a brick wall. Next month I’ll send along a picture of the completed print shop.
Please keep the children in your prayers as they near the end of their school year in late November and early December. The kids have been working very hard and could use a break. Please continue to pray for Ruth’s House and Nicol’s transition coming up.
It’s been quite the eventful month since my return to Bolivia. The kids were excited to see me, and I’m delighted to begin this new chapter of ministry focusing exclusively on Talita Cumi and Ruth’s House.
At the children’s home I’ve started a new tradition of bringing the older boys Lider (16 years old) and Juan Pablo (14 years old) to my home for weekly devotions on Saturdays. Free from the distractions and noise at the children’s home, we’ve been able to dig into what it means to grow into a wise man of God. We’re making our way through the book of Proverbs, a book geared toward encouraging young men to be responsible, industrious, and fear the Lord. Please keep this special time of discipleship in your prayers.
Another special moment occurred a few weeks ago when I was able to visit Cristian who used to live at Talita Cumi, but ran away and consequently was placed in a new children’s home. Once you’re a part of the Talita Cumi family, you’re always a part of it, so we seek to make sure he’s taken care of in his new home and that he knows we still love him.
Ruth’s House, the transition house for girls aging out of Talita Cumi, is marching forward nicely. Nicol is on track to move out of Talita Cumi on December 1. She has been facing some challenges from her mother and other family members who have been pressuring her to move in with them. Needless to say, this would be a dangerous and tragic option, so we’ve been coaching Nicol on how to stay strong and continue with her plans to live at the transition house and pursue her education. Raquel, the guardian of Ruth’s House who will be living with Nicol, has been inviting her to her home for overnight visits so she can get used to the new surroundings. She has also included Nicol in ministry outreach in the countryside, which Nicol has really enjoyed. Thank you again to everyone who has been praying for Ruth’s House and for Nicol. Please continue to pray that she remains firm in her decision.
Recently I was able to get my Bolivian driver’s license and I hope to purchase a vehicle soon. This will give me more options to take the kids out on special trips and will help facilitate my work for Ruth’s House. This past Sunday I drove the younger boys to church in the Talita Cumi minivan.
I’m grateful for your prayers and support. Blessings.
I’d like to extend my sincere gratitude to all of you that I saw and spoke to during my seven week stay in the United States. It was a pleasure spending time with so many of you, and I hope to return next summer for another visit.
Praise God, Ruth’s House, the transition house for young women aging out of Talita Cumi, is moving forward nicely. I’d like to thank all of you for listening to the needs of the new project and giving generously. The ministry is on firm financial footing for year one and the board of directors and I are finalizing our five year budget projections and plans for the future. We estimate that we’ll need to raise about $108,000 to provide a home for nine girls over the next five years. If you would like to help contribute toward that goal, please visit our website.
Nicol, the first girl who will participate in Ruth’s House, recently spent one night at the guardian Raquel’s apartment to get accustomed to what the permanent change will be like come December. Raquel said that Nicol felt awkward at first, but then warmed up and engaged in conversation with others. I believe that this is a good sign of things to come.
I’d like to thank every individual, life group, and church that invited me to speak about Ruth’s House and Talita Cumi. It was a joy to see all of you and I’m thankful to God for your donations and prayers.
Please keep the following prayer requests in mind:
1. Inocencia (the director of Talita Cumi), Raquel, Nicol and I need your prayers as we work together to launch Ruth’s House by this December. One of the next major agenda items is to find a place for Raquel and Nicol to live.
2. Please lift up the children of Talita Cumi. I will be returning to the children’s home soon (I’ve had to quarantine for 10 days per COVID protocol). I’m excited to disciple the older boys and share Jesus with the younger ones as well. May the Holy Spirit bring healing and salvation to the children.
It has been a pleasure to be back in the United States, sharing with many of you about the transition house we are launching to disciple and accompany the young women who have aged out of the Talita Cumi children’s home.
I’d like to thank all of you who have expressed interest in helping to see this new ministry flourish. Since my arrival in California a few weeks ago, there have been some exciting developments.
First and foremost, we have officially launched the Ruth’s House website where you can gather more information and donate via check or PayPal. All of the Ruth’s House team are either volunteers or missionaries with raised support. That means that 100% of the donations go to support Nicol (the first participant who will transition from Talita Cumi to Ruth’s House this December) and the future girls who will age out in the coming years.
If you would like to partner with us in this mission, please visit our website at TheHouseOfRuth.com to learn more and donate via PayPal.
Or make out a check for “Ruth’s House” and mail to:
861 Paseo Tosamar Camarillo, CA 93012
The children of The Bridge and Nueva Vida have been collecting offerings for Ruth’s House for a few months now.
I’ve also been sharing with numerous life groups. This one has members from The Bridge and Nueva Vida.
If you or someone you know would like to learn more about the transition house, please respond to this email. I’m in the U.S. until August 24 and I’d be happy to meet with you.