We started the afterschool program when the kids returned to school this semester. We’re very thankful for all the help we’ve recieved from volunteers these past couple of weeks and we’re hoping to have a more organized and routine schedule now that college classes have started back. The afterschool program is organized kinda like soul station and kids club combined. It runs from roughly 3:30-5:30 M-F and is targeted for kids grades K-5. We start off the first hour with the kids playing at different stations (Puzzles, Legos, Computer/Video Games, Board Games, etc.) while we help everyone who has homework. Next, we have a bible story time followed with an activity or game having to do with what we learned. Then we all play a game together either outside or inside (hide and go seek, dodgeball, etc.) until it’s time to go. Things have been great so far but we’re trying to get more organized with volunteer scheduling and bible story lessons and activities. If you’re interested in helping in any way just let me(Emily) or Erica know and we can plug you in however we can. If you are looking to donate supplies our needs right now are snacks (preferably healthy because most of the kids don’t have access to healthy snacks) and toys (Mr. Potato Head, Action Figures, Tea Sets, etc.). So…now it’s time to meet the kids!!
This is the Cruz/Mendez family from Guatemala, the first kids we made contact with at Wherry. They were just playing on the playground behind John Key’s office and we introduced ourselves and we fell in love with them. From left to right it’s Natalia, Jaquelene (5th), Rosie (K), Rosa (3rd), Josaline (5th), Betti, and Marvin (1st). They also have two baby brothers not pictured. The nine kids and two sets of parents all live in a three bedroom apartment close to the Community Kids Center. They are all so eager to learn about God and ask so many good questions. The second day we hung out with them was the night everyone went caroling. When playing bingo that night, Jaquelene won and got a bible out of the prize box. This has opened a lot of doors with their family. The time after that she said her stepdad had asked her if I could get him a Spanish Bible, which I gave her to give to him. I have also been blessed with many opportunities to make breif contact with their parents and they even invited me into their house last week. The five oldest kids and their cousin, Alex, came with me to church this Sunday for the first time and absolutely LOVED it. Please pray for more opportunities to share the Word with this family as they are so hungry for it. Also pray that I will not let any uncomfortableness get in the way of God using me to speak to this family (As my Spanish is not perfect and I found myself very insecure and uneasy when talking with the adults). We found out today that the Mendez family (Josaline, Rosa, Marvin, and Betti) will be moving by Wal-Mart in about a month so keep them in your prayers as well, that we can hopefully keep contact.
This is Jesus(bottom) and Vincent(top), the second family we made contact with. They also have a younger sister, Ariel, who’s in Kindergarten and sometimes comes. We met them one day walking around the neighborhood praying for God to use us however He needed at that time. They’re fun but crazy at times, so pray for patience :). Also, their aunt dropped them off one day and asked if we had room for her three kids, which we haven’t seen yet, so pray for that to workout however God wants it. As far as I can understand Jesus, Vinny, and Ariel go to church with their Mom regularly which is awesome.
This is Day Day (left) and Mu (right). Their family lives across the street from us. Their family belongs to the Karen people group from Burma/Myanmar. There are several Karen refugee families in the Wherry Housing community. This people group faces much persecution for being Christian and, although I’ve never heard any stories first hand, the brief descriptions from some of their experiences I’ve heard from John still haunt me. Their mother speaks pretty good English and we’ve given her one of the preschools old rocker chairs because she recently gave birth like two weeks ago to a fourth son. Mu, the oldest, blows me away with how much he knows about the Bible. The Karen people seem pretty hardcore about God–I guess when you’re facing persecution for your beliefs you’re gonna be–the Lord has shaken me with this concept recently. Please pray for healing among the Burmese Refugees, as many have lost loved ones and are separated from family and are in an uncomfortable environment. I can’t imagine the struggles they endure and they still look so happy. The Lord is Great.
Paw (Left) and Jamoo (Middle)(no idea how to spell or pronounce his real name, but we call him Jamoo) are brother and sister. They both don’t speak much English. Paw is the most loving kid we have, latching on to anyone and everyone, and Jamoo is AMAZING at sports and games. He wins EVERYTHING we play. Taw (Right) is their cousin. His English is great and he is Hilarious. They are from Burma as well. They have an older brother and their parents are currently taking English classes at Wherry twice a week. I’d say the biggest prayer request with this family is learning English and adapting. I’m not sure how long they’ve been in the country.
Martha and Jimmy (Don’t have a picture) are in the 4th and 5th grade. I met them at a Wherry work day about two years ago and have visited them frequently. They live right beside the Community Center with their Mom. She has been going through some surgeries since I’ve known her so keep her in your prayers.
We met Gabriel, Austin, and Reese through Jimmy and Martha. They live across the street from each other and we met them one day as we were walking around visiting and they were outside playing on their scooters. We don’t know much about their family, so pray that we are able to make a connection somehow.
Overall, please pray for Erica and I to continue to keep our focus on God and what He wants us to do and to not get distracted with work and classes. Pray that we will be humble and give God the glory for everything that happens at Wherry. Continue to pray for connections with the families we haven’t met yet as well as opportunities to share God with the one’s we have met. Pray that God will continue to mold us for the calls we both feel toward cross-cultural missions. Thank you for you interst and support in out ministry! We love and appreciate you all so much!