Here is a copy of the e-mail we sent out to friends and family yesterday. Please let us know if you would like to be on our mailing list.
Hello friends and family! God bless you all.
We are on the verge of completing our 3rd week with the children and yesterday was the one month anniversary of our arrival in Bethlehem. It would be accurate to say that this adventure now feels like real life. We no longer get confused and think we are on vacation. All the things that accompany normal life (being easily irritated by minor things, not getting enough sleep, taking joy in getting to sleep in, etc) have started to return as well. Praise the Lord!
One of our chief frustrations at this point, is figuring out the culture of the House of Hope. To us, it seems that the communication and conflict resolution styles that are used are sometimes ineffective. This has caused us (especially Jason) to be occasionally discouraged. The children really are wonderful, but (just as in most cases) working and living in an institution can be emotionally tiring.
All 12 of the children who will be living at Beit 'Araja (House of Hope) this school year have now arrived. For those of you who are keeping track, we have seven boys (Forest, Mhamad, Nabil, Kais, Ismael, Ahmed, and Eyad) and five girls (Asma, Shedha, Hiba, Aya, and Razan). Each letter we want to send you pictures and descriptions of one boy and one girl so that you can pray specifically for that child. We believe that prayer for the children can have an incredible impact on their lives, please join us in this vital endeavor.
Ahmed is 11 years old and has lived at Beit 'Araja for around 4 years. His family is from Hebron, and he also has a sister who used to live in the boarding section here. Ahmed enjoys riding bicycles, playing catch, and lots and lots of attention. He does not enjoy school or sitting still for long periods of time. Ahmed has autism and we are working with his family and the doctor to establish the appropriate amount of medication. Since he has been here, he has had a difficult transition and he may have to return home for a time due to behavior issues.
For the leaders at Beit 'Araja to exercise wisdom in deciding Ahmed's future.
That Ahmed would receive the appropriate medication.
For the teachers and house parents to care for Ahmed in the best possible way.
For Ahmed to know Jesus more completely all the time.
Asma is nine years old and has downs syndrome. This is her second year at Beit 'Araja. She loves to play futbol, ride on the back of bikes, play the "guitar" and sing. She is usually very loving and affectionate and loves to give hugs and snuggle. She can also be very stubborn and throws fits when she does not get her way or feels that she is not getting attention. She can be very mischievous, especially during nap time and early in the morning.
That Asma will know how much we love her, and more importantly how much Jesus loves her.
That she will display her obedient heart more often.
For the workers, that we will praise her for the positive things she does so that mischief will not be her preferred source of attention.
We are so thankful for all of your prayers for us over the last few weeks. We know that they are making a difference and ask that you continue to pray for us. Here are some specific request that we have this time around:
Continue to pray for our language acquisition.
Pray for the House of Hope; pray for unity of the workers so that we can effectively minister to the residents and the community around us.
Pray for the children as they go home this weekend (Thursday, Sept. 28) that their visits will go well and that they will not be too homesick when they come back.
Pray that God and people around us will be encouraging to us, and that frustration with Beit 'Araja will not be overwhelming.
Pray for Muslims during Ramadan, that they will be aware of their need for Jesus.
A financial update: As of our latest calculations, we have raised $10,430 out of a desired $13,627. We trust that God will provide for our financial needs over this year. We are so grateful to all of you who have given us money and we praise God for His provision. If you wish to give financially, send a check to Every Nation Ministries with Bethlehem Ministry on the memo line. The mailing address is PO Box 94564 North Little Rock, AR 72190.
Sarah and Jason