Hey everyone!! Hope you’re staying warm wherever you are!
The weather here in Laredo has been especially wet and cold. Hoping for warmer temps soon as I am not a fan of COLD! Ha!
Here is an update on some of the happenings in the Amazon….
Grace House Amazon
Our kids have been on “summer” break so our staff has also taken a break from our Day Program. But that doesn’t mean the work has stopped! We still have the four kids who live full time at Grace House, plus several kids who still come daily for meals. Additionally, those of you who have prayed and given towards our GoFundMe campaign have allowed our team to make improvements on the home while it’s not as busy. This includes repainting the outside, putting up the required divider around the water tank, and putting up a fence to help keep the kids safe as the play around the home. These “small” projects will make a big difference! We are continuing to raise funds to improve our kitchen, current bathroom, and add an additional bathroom (It is required by the government to have two bathrooms in a children’s home, one for adult use and one for children’s use. They have been gracious in allowing us to continue functioning until we are financially able to make this happen! But the clock is ticking!)
It’s rainy season, but our new fence is up! (They are currently painted the outside of the home. I’ll send updated pics soon!)
Repainting the walls (so cute!) and floors
We now have three paid staff members at Grace House and two volunteers. I won’t go into detail yet about Joice’s story because I want to send a special email, but we are so thankful to have her join our family (seen here with her five children).
Marcos and Josi are about to welcome back their boys from “summer vacation”. The boys typically spend their break back in their villages, so while they were away, Marcos and Josi were able to repaint the malokas for the boys and improve the facilities there as well. Pray for them as they prepare for a new year and continue to face many obstacles including criticism (and hate) from others in the area as well as frequent illness and lack of funding.
Freshly painted (and cleaned) malokas!
The Donut Company
We shared with you last time that our donut cook, Priscila, recently gave her life to Christ. We are so excited about this and we continue to see her growing in her faith as we do life right beside her. Please pray for her as the struggles are very real with her ex-husband and the custody situation with her older daughter.
Celebrating “Pepe”‘s birthday! (Priscila’s younger daughter)
We are starting a new breakfast schedule in February! This will allow us to re-employ Yuley who was working with us when we first opened our doors in October of 2015. She moved away after a few months but is back now with her baby girl and we are excited for the opportunity to continue to invest in her and now her daughter’s life. Being open in the mornings will also allow us to serve more customers, offering them a loving environment for community and conversations as well as the opportunity to share the Gospel.
In addition to intentionally living life together and frequent get together throughout the week, we continue to gather together as Brothers and Sisters on Sunday evenings, sometimes at the Donut Company, sometimes at Grace House, sometimes at the mission house, but always for the purpose of edifying the Body and glorifying Christ. It’s such an amazing time as God brings in unexpected guests locally and from around the globe to pray, share, sing, encourage, and admonish.
We had some “hippie” friends who joined us for the last couple of months who love the Lord with a fiery passion. They have been a huge encouragement to our family as they share their stories, boldness, and faith. Pray for them as the continue their journey through the Amazon, heading to Peru next.
Jhon Barrios and the “hippies” headed to Macadonia, Colombia to distribute Bibles
Richard was able to go down to visit our family the first week of January. It was a quick trip, but allowed him the opportunity to encourage our family there, help organize projects and ideas for this year, and also be encouraged himself. So much good is happening in the midst of the trials, loneliness, and difficulties.
Please continue to pray for our GoFundMe campaign!! We are getting closer!
We are only $5,700 short of our $15,000 goal. Visit this link to find out some of the projects and needs this money is going to this year. If you would like to give a tax-deductible donation, you can give through this link and we will still apply it towards this goal!
We “celebrated” one year in our fixer upper home this month. It has been a LOT of work and there is still a lot of work ahead of us, but we are thankful for the way the Lord continues to provide and we anticipate how the Lord will allow us to use this home for building community.
Current project: repairing unknown foundational problems
We recently turned in our foster care application to begin fostering here in our area. God has graciously given us a group of like-minded friends here who desire with us to see the foster care system change for the better in South Texas. In a city with a population of over 320,000 people, there are only around 20 foster families. That’s not nearly enough! Every year, they have to send out hundreds kids to surrounding cities because there aren’t families to care for them in their state of crisis locally. This only compounds the trauma that the child experiences. Pray for us as we pray and work to see how we can make a difference in this area.
As always, THANK YOU for your prayers, encouragement, and financial support of this work! You are so important to the ministry that is happening and the lives that are being impacted by the Gospel. On behalf of our whole jungle family, THANK YOU!!
Follow our Facebook and Instagram accounts for more frequent updates about all the jungle happenings!
If you have questions, feel free to contact us any time!
In His service,
Richard and Ashley