Each journey begins by faith and a first step. In August of 2020 our family took another first step of many first steps. This step was the beginning of a journey to help Tanya’s mother move from Virginia to the mountains of West Virginia. Some may ask, “Why would this decision take faith?” There are many answers to this question.
We would have to leave our Guatemalan children for an extended period of time. Keep in mind we have never left them for more than 3 weeks in 7 years.
We did not know how long it would take to accomplish moving Tanya’s Mother. We also needed to help her find a home in West Virginia. Her mother had been looking for 2 years without success.
Kids with traumatic backgrounds suffer from Reactive Attachment Disorder (RAD). When their routine is broken and something new happens they do not react positively to the situation. Some of the children in our home have been with us 5 to 7 years. Some less than a year. It takes many years to break through this trauma and gain a connection with the child. The love of Christ is the only way. When their routine is broken they regress back to that traumatic kid to protect themselves from abandonment. This will set back all the gains we have made with them. This is no easy decision.
What will our donors think while we are not in Guatemala? This was a concern for us. We did not want you all to think we were wasting God’s money.
Taking all this into consideration we decided that helping Tanya’s mother was the correct course of action. Tanya’s mother lives with her handicap son. She has no one to help her in her day to day, much less moving all of her stuff 8 hours away. This was something we felt the Lord directing us to do. We packed a few things, said goodbye to our Guatemalan kids, boarded a plane during the height of COVID-19 and flew to Virginia.
The next two months are spent searching for a home. Both online and multiple visits to West Virginia. The market switched from a buyers’ market to a sellers’ market. It seemed as if everyone was moving to West Virginia. Every time we found something that was decent, it was gone before we could call and ask about it. These two months were very frustrating for us. We were having difficulty speaking with our kids in Guatemala because of bad internet and we felt like the move was not going forward due to the home buying spree that was currently happening.
Finally Tanya had a notion to look for auctioned homes. It was during this effort that we were able to find a home for Tanya’s mother, but again it would take FAITH. It meant packing everyone up and driving to the mountains of West Virginia for a home we were not sure we would even win. Our family visited the home prior to the auction, but Tanya’s mother was unable to go. She was only able to see the home through a video we took on a phone. So, again, she was buying this home on FAITH.
The day of the auction came and to say that God was all over it, is an understatement. Not only did Tanya’s mother win the auction, she won it for less than her top bid. There were so many people at the auction, we did not know what to think. Turns out, most of the folks there were neighbors and did not have plans to bid very high. Finally, after about 3 months, Tanya’s mother had a home. A home with plenty of space for all her things. It was a huge blessing and gift from our Lord.
To say that the house needed some work was the understatement of the year. The home had been vacant for the last 8 months. During this time a water leak happened in two places in the home. The laundry room from the washer and the master bathroom from the toilet. With this in mind, Tanya’s mother hired a local handy man. With his help and the help of my son David, we got to work on her house. Right from the beginning the contractor told us it was going to be a lot of work. Here are some of the work we had to do to make the home livable.
Completely gut the kitchen including all the cabinets
Remove the wall between the kitchen and the laundry room
Dig up the bad subfloor in the kitchen/laundry room area that was ruined by water. (which was all of it)
Move gas, electrical and plumbing to accommodate the larger area (We combined the laundry room and kitchen to open up the area)
Replace the subfloor with new flooring
Replace the Hot water heater
Fix the water pump that pumps water to the house from the cistern.
Clean up and place the cabinets back into the kitchen
Remove all the nasty pet urine infested carpet from the living room, hallway and master bedroom
Clean up and fix the sun room, which was being used to fix car parts or something very greasy.
Put the finishing touches all on the interior doors of the house. Trim and stain.
Lay down 2000 square feet of flooring.
This took another 3 months to accomplish, we are now in February of 2021. This was a time that was physically exhausting for our entire family. Everyone pitched in, in some way. This was just to get the home livable for Tanya’s mother and her brother. Then came the move from Virginia to West Virginia.
This took four trips using a 26’ U-Haul truck. You see, when Tanya’s mother bought our house, she also did this in FAITH. She was living in a beautiful home in Cape Coral, Florida. This home was her dream home and oh by the way, it was completely paid off. That is right, completely paid off. The Lord told her to help us, when we were starting our ministry here in Guatemala. Even though it was hard to do, we moved all of her stuff from Florida to our house in Virginia. We sold most of our stuff so she could fit hers, but she still needed a storage unit. She did not know exactly where things were, so she ended up buying duplicates of things. Therefore, she ended up with more stuff. Also, she had been accumulating stuff for the past 60 years.
Oh yeah, did I mention she did all this during a time when the market was horrible? That is right, by FAITH, she bought our home and sold her home in Florida. At the time she bought our home, it was not worth what she gave us. FAITH, FAITH and more FAITH.
Once Tanya’s mother was moved into her new home in West Virginia, our family returned back to the Virginia house to prepare it for the market. It took 3 weeks to add a fresh coat of paint, declutter and finish the basement. We enlisted the help of a Christian relator. We sat down, after he went through the home, and decided what to list the home for. Now, the times had changed for sure! The market was completely opposite now compared to when Tanya’s mother bought our home. It was now worth eight times what she gave us for the home! Talk about God’s perfect timing. Especially since she would need this money to help fix up the West Virginia home! Once the house was fixed up and placed on the market, it sold in 3 hours. Yep that is right, THREE HOURS! We give all the glory and honor to Jesus Christ! This was His doing and confirmation that our decision to come help Tanya’s mother was correct.
OUR MINISTRY GOING FORWARD
As we sit back and reflect on the last 7 years of our ministry, we can see that it was a revolving door. What do we mean by this? We believe God used us for short periods of time to plant seeds and help multiple children that would not stay with us. 20 children have come and gone through our home and we have loved them all the same. Some of them are thriving and doing well with their biological families. Some have not done as well and still some we don’t know. This last part is where the Lord is leading us in our new ministry here in Guatemala. All of the Guatemalan children that are left in our home have family waiting for them. They will return soon to those families and then what?
We are moving on from full time house parents to a ministry that is assisting families and children to stay together. Educating and coming alongside the parents of these children, so that families are not separated.
Making sure they understand what their children have gone through and why they are acting the way they are. Also, to assist them in their daily life and show them what God has for them. To break the generational curses of poverty and illiteracy. We are teaming up with a new 501c3 called Isaiah 61 Ministries started by Jessica Holt. This ministry should be finalized at the end of the year and we will be in full swing! Going out to visit the children that have returned to their biological families to help them.
Help them physically and spiritually.
Help them gain skills that will feed and provide for them.
Help them understand the love that Jesus has for them.
Show them that there is another way to live and that God wants them to be prosperous
How is all this going to happen? Well for one thing we are praying and seeking the will of our Lord and Savior Jesus Christ. We want to make sure that the path we go down is the path He prepared for us. The plan we implement is the plan He has for us. We will have more information on this part of our ministry as we work it out. This new season will be challenging and difficult! However, like we stated before, a journey starts with faith and a first step.
PLEASE PRAY FOR US!
In this time of change we need your continued support! Both financially and spiritually. We have so many important decisions to make and we are praying for the Lord to lead us in everything we do. Please help us pray for:
OUR KIDS! That they will transition back to their biological families smoothly
That they will adapt to a new way of doing things (remember kids with RAD hate change)
That the families they return to will adjust to the children they are receiving
Pray for Isaiah 61 Ministries. That it will blossom and become a huge force for the Kingdom of God!
Finally please pray for our family! All these changes in a short period of time are very stressful. The not knowing and the waiting is very stressful. We know the Lords perfect peace is upon us and we are laying these burdens at his feet. We are so thankful that we serve a Great Big God that is bigger than any of our problems!
God bless you and thank you for all the support, both financial and spiritual, that you all have given our family. We are so blessed to have the Body of Christ along with us on this huge rollercoaster! Stay tuned for what is coming next! Here are some pictures of what your financial support can provide for the kids.
PLEASE SUPPORT OUR FAMILY
Please follow the "Support the Rules" link below to support our family for the year 2021. You can commit to any monthly amount or a one time donation. Your support will be vital for our continued work in Guatemala! Make sure you sign up for our newsletter at www.followingtherules.net to keep up with the latest news.