It has been a time of pushing through and processing as we continue to live with many restrictions. It has been extremely hard to watch the devastation that our friends and family have endured in Louisiana and be so far away. It has been complicated to serve and minister. This seems to sum up our last few months. We apologize for not keeping up with updates. Life has been hard to put into words. Honestly, in one aspect we are doing well. We are all healthy and have things that keep up very busy. One the other hand, we feel more isolated than ever being stuck at home under many restrictions. We would like to pause and say Thank You to so many of you who continue to pray and give despite our lack of communication. It truly is what keeps us going.
We have been blessed to continue to serve and minister at IAS during this time. Gerald continues teaching Bible classes as well as taking on several classes for Seniors and as always, a boys discipleship class. Chapels have been complicated due to the limitations of being online so Sarah stepped into the High School English position as well as continuing with a monthly Chaplain Chat and a girls discipleship class. This has actually turned into an incredible opportunity to get to know the students more deeply. There was always a lack of connection not being in the classroom with many of them. This time of teaching them by grade, although online, has been a blessing in disguise. Please continue to pray for us as teaching full time online is exhausting, physically as well as mentally. Also, both Maddy and Coleman have felt the extreme stress of isolation and hours of online learning a day. It is especially hard for Maddy to be a Senior and watch each milestone date pass by with nothing to mark it by. Pray for us as well as we all try to make this year special for the Seniors during such a time.
Please also be praying for a young girl at the shelter. Erika arrived at Nuevos Horizontes three years ago with her younger sister, without their mother. Her sister was transferred several months back to an orphanage in another town while Erika remained at the shelter. She is a shy girl who has come a long way in her trust of people and God in the past couple of years. Each week as we continued to take bread and food to the shelter she appeared at the gate, with her mask on, ready to help tote things to the house. We recently learned that she was taken to the public hospital for weakness and low blood platelets. She contracted Covid while in the hospital, was sent to the temporary Covid hospital here in town, and has now been sent back to the public hospital. She is currently being tested for leukemia. No one is allowed to visit due to Covid restrictions as well as her immune system being non existent. Please join us in praying for healing as well as encouragement for her during this time of extreme isolation. She has always been easily prone to depression so we are very concerned for her.
We have begun preparations for Christmas at the shelter, although it will look very different this year. We will purchase gifts and Christmas dinner as always. We will also be sending Christmas activities and crafts to help fill their time. Even though we will not be able to be physically present with them to celebrate we will be sending a video of the Christmas Story for them to watch together before they open gifts. We truly miss the freedom to visit, share and pray with them. Please pray that God would be very real to them during this time.
We pray you all continue to be safe and are able to celebrate this season of thankfulness and the birth of our Savior with much joy in your hearts.
Much love to each of you,
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.