Five months ago we moved into our new house. We were so excited to move into this area away from the richer part of town. From the beginning we have started forming relationships with the children in our neighborhood, the children that walk daily in front of our house. Their faces peering in from our gate. At first the children were just hoping to get a look at the Americans who moved into their barrio (neighborhood). They wanted to play with the toys of the american children, and see what was different about these white faced, blond children.
As time as passed these faces have become real people, real children, with real stories, and real families. People our children play with on a daily basis. Our family genuinely loves these children in our neighborhood, and we love their parents as well. We love our 11 year old neighbor boy, who has become one of Autry’s closest friends, who doesn’t know how to read. The idea of the sala de tarea (homework center) came from him because we know that we may be his last chance to learn how to read. We love the 12 year old boy down the road whose mom died 5 months ago, and who had to move in with his dad who he barely knows. He told me Emilie that she is the only one that even asks him about his mom. We love the brother and sister and cousin who live around the corner who have a grandma who loves them and cares for them. We love the little, stubborn, competitive girl, who says a lot of bad words because that is what she has always been around. We love the wild 8 year old boy boy a few houses down who’s mom is out partying every night
I could make a list that goes on and on about the different stories of the children in our neighborhood and their families. I could go on and on about the adults who live here and how much they need Jesus. The reason I write this is for people to have thoughts on how to pray for these children we are doing ministry with. Please pray that the seeds of the gospel that they hear week in and week out will be planted firmly in their hearts.
Many of the children we work with are just about to become teenagers, and in all honesty this scares me. I see that here in the Dominican Republic the teenage years can be really rough on kids. I know, I know, the teenage years are rough on American teens as well. But, here it is a different kind of rough for kids. Teenagers are expected to and act like adults. The amount of teenage pregnancies is staggering. The amount of partying from these children is out in the open, at times right next to their parents. I pray that our relationships with these children will continue into their teenage years and that we continue preaching the gospel to them over and over again. If you would like to pray for one of the children specificialy please contact me and I will send you their name and a little more information about them. But, no matter what please pray for our community that through our presence here it will be changed by the power of the gospel.