We offer up our lives as a sacrifice. It can be the tiniest thing that sets it off, the weighing of the sacrifice for the reality of the life we are living. Yesterday it happened to be a FaceTime home to wish my Dad a Happy Birthday when all of a sudden all of the faces of our family are popping up on the screen. It was a whirlwind of "hey, how's it going" and "Happy Birthday" over a ton of background noise. It was fun to see those precious faces. But, as soon as good byes and I love you's are said and the computer screen goes black you can hear a pin drop in our house. Each one of us lost in our own thoughts of all the fun and laughter going on across the blank computer screen. The snuggles of babies who will not recognize us next time we see them, the fun cousins are having on the 4-wheeler, and the stories and jokes we have heard hundreds of times but would give just about anything to be sitting in the heat on that back porch in Louisiana listening to at that moment. We all retreat to our own corner of the house to reflect on what we are missing. Then we all pile in the car to head to our friends house to play games. Friends who willingly let our kids in on the fun even though they have no kids of their own and a little of our life here is redeemed. Then we go to church this morning and participate in something way bigger than we are and we learn and we worship and we are reminded that our hearts burn at the feet of Jesus, that we bring all that we are to the feet of Jesus and our lives are redeemed at the feet of Jesus. We offer up once again the sacrifice of all we are missing out on living so far from family so that others can not miss out on the hope of eternity with their Savior.
1- A government orphanage, in Guatemala City caught fire Wednesday leaving 31 children dead and 40 more injured. The orphanage was meant to house 400 and was actually housing 750! There are many reports being posted locally and internationally and we have received information from the head social worker who works at Nuevos Horizantes where we minister. All reports describe the conditions as horrendous. Girls were being drugged and trafficked within the walls of the home. She tells us the girls decided to protest and apparently this fire was a repercussion. We are heartbroken to hear of such corruption still taking place in government facilities and also because two of our sweet girls at the shelter have siblings at this facility. There has been no personal information released yet so they do not know to what extent their siblings have been affected. Please pray with us for all the children and for the judicial proceedings coming up, for safe placements for all the children and specifically for Reina and Alma (pictured below) as they await information about their siblings. Also, for Nuevos Horizantes as there is anticipation of some of the abused girls from the city being placed here in Xela. This will be a blessing for them but a hardship for the shelter as they are currently struggling with the food and toiletries budget as it is.
*Click the grey button at the end of the blog for an article in English on the orphanage fire.
2 - This month Sarah is working on writing 3 new lessons for the Bible study at the shelter. Each lesson is written with these particular girls and their stories in mind and also includes a craft that helps reiterate the lesson for those who do not read or write. The first is on Daniel and the other two have to do with the Easter story. Please pray that God would speak to Sarah about what to prepare and speak through her as she teaches. For some reason she feels a heavy weight of responsibility with these three particular lessons.
3-Prison Ministry - As usual ministry is constantly changing its form. The one on one discipleship time on Wednesday has turned into more of a small group Bible study, this change has opened up free time for Gerald on Mondays at the prison. Please pray that God would lead him in what to do with this time. He has some ideas but is starting from scratch again. For someone who loves structure this is always challenging.
4- In the past two weeks Gerald and Sarah have both been down with an aomeba. We have both recovered but, as always after dealing with illness, there are lots of pieces to pick up. Please pray for us as we get back on track. It is easy to feel overwhelmed at times.
We covet your prayers!
Gerald and Sarah Lastrapes
Along with their two children are missionaries in Guatemala. They will be sharing stories of discipleship through prison and shelter ministries.