International Ministries

Deborah’s House: Our One-Year Anniversary

October 11, 2007 Journal
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Dear friends: Sorry that we have been so slow in getting updated information to everybody. We have been overwhelmed at times and are struggling to keep our heads above water. Despite our challenges, we are very happy with the ministry at Deborah's house. At the moment we have 18 people in the shelter, including six women and 11 children (ages one month to 10 years). The shelter has been running full time since February and we have seen many other families come and go in that time. All told, we have provided shelter for 14 women and their children for an average of 4 1/2 months each. There is a need to help more women, of course, but we don't have the resources or space yet for more than six or seven families at a time. This has been a great experience with many new challenges, and through trial and error we are learning how to do the best that we can in helping these women with what they need most. Thank God for dedicated volunteers who have given so much to make sure that the women have what they need. Particularly, our administrator, Tere, works tirelessly spending hours at the shelter almost every day, after her full time job. Others come and do Bible studies, game time with the kids, and other activities to try to make the shelter a warm and fun place. In addition, each of the women is seeing a psychologist and also a social worker once a week. One of the greater challenges has been to provide for their medical attention. Adalia does most of the doctoring, but sometimes their needs have required much more. One of the women came to us in her seventh month of a high-risk pregnancy. She is deaf and cannot read, write or sign. She had a few close calls but her baby was able to make it to full term and was born just one month ago. The baby is beautiful and is a wonderful addition to the house. Her name? Deborah of course! All of the women have received so much abuse and have many physical ailments as a result. One suffers from severe migraines, another is losing her vision, and another has back problems. To make matters a little scarier, we have just found out that one of the women was exposed to TB for several months in the kitchen where she worked before coming to us in August. We just received the news that one of her coworkers died and another is ill. We are waiting for the results on their tests the second time around (the first results came negative six months ago). We don't believe she has contracted the illness, but it's better to be safe than sorry. The kids are all healthy now, but last week we had to treat several for bronchitis. In such close living quarters, it seems that if one child gets sick, they all do. The older kids are all in school and are doing well. They go to a school at one of our Baptist churches which has an excellent program for special needs children. The school has been very supportive and has been very flexible in making arrangements for students that sometimes have to enter or leave mid year. This is something that the public schools won't do. Furthermore, the class size there, about 20 children per room, is less than half of what the public schools have. The kids get some special attention from another of our American Baptist missionaries, Patti Long, who works at the school several days a week. One of many needs we have now is for scholarships. Although far less expensive than most schools, we need about $60 per child per month for books, supplies, transportation, and lunch. It may sound like a lot of work, but believe me, it is wonderful work. For more than one year I spent all of my time going to the shelter trying to get the house built, organizing work teams, buying supplies, etc. It was the job that would not end, and the house was always the "construction site." But now, when I arrive I am almost always greeted by the cheers and screams of these precious children as they run out to meet me. They can't get enough of me, and constantly jump all over me and ask that I throw them into the air, etc. They haven't had a lot of time with men in their lives, especially with ones they can be themselves around without worrying about getting yelled at or hit. I love my role as uncle to them and I know I am privileged to have it. It is hard to believe, that what for so long was a distant dream has become reality. The house is full. It is full of needs and challenges and difficulties. But it is also full of joy, and hope, and love. Thanks for your part in making this dream come true, Ray and Adalia Current needs: diapers, all sizes. clothes for boys sizes 8-10 cleaning supplies feminine hygene products cosmetics non-perishable foods money (our weekly expenses have been about $550, for: school, food, utilities, gas, etc. work teams to help us build the next building on the site (a 20 X 60ft. two-story, wood -framed building for dorms and day care) Prayers!!!!