A Smile Says It All

Have you ever tried to hide a scar or were afraid to smile because you were self conscious of what others would think of you? I know I have and so did a child at El Puente. In a recent report from from of our dentists, Fatima shared that:

"She was very worried about a girl at the Home. (We will call her Elena.) She had lost a tooth while playing in another Home, and she thought it could never be repaired. For 3 years Elena had been covering her mouth to speak and to smile. Fatima worked on her and put a temporary filling, already making it a lot better. Elena was ecstatic, and said she looked forward to the following dental sessions, as she can't wait to show her mom all of her new teeth, when her mother comes to see her. Fatima fought to hold back her tears. Elena will need a special treatment, which both dentists can provide and was promised to be covered by OSA and Friends of El Puente." 

I truly believe that God sees all desires of our hearts, good or evil, and He truly loves to bless us when we delight ourselves in Him, His ways and words (Psalm 37). And God saw Elena's heart desire to have her teeth fixed and to smile again, and these kind of simple desires the Lord enjoys to bring to fruition. God bless you Elena, we look forward to seeing you smiling soon!

Exciting News!

Greetings Friends of El Puente, we have some awesome news that we want to share, the government in Paraguay has reported that El Puente is one of the very best homes for children in the country! We give glory to God for this.

Every month, sometimes weekly, we receive reports and updates about the kids, staff and daily life going on at the Home. Osvaldo, the head director, shared this with us recently:

"I am also very pleased and happy to let you know that today I spoke with some representatives from the Secretariat of Childhood. El Puente Home is really considered to be the best Home and a model to follow in Paraguay. Not only for its infrastructure, work and technical team, but more for the positive achievements accomplished in troubled and conflicted young girls, who arrive at the Home with a lot of rebellion, difficult situations and hopelessness. Even if they don't spend a lot of time with us, they leave with a different perspective in terms of their future and their relationship with their Creator."

We thank the Lord for this wonderful honor and as a team we hope to honor the Lord with the responsibilities He has set before us. Of course, not everything or everyone is perfect, and we're all learning from mistakes and challenges everyday, but God in His grace is good and patient and loving and we definitely need His help in taking care of every precious child at El Puente. Thank you so much for your prayers and support, you are part of El Puente's success.

Well Done!

About ten days ago, Luz and Norma, our psychologist and social worker at El Puente, completed a course in Alternative Care. Luz said," We are committed to put into practice everything we have learned. Thank you very much, and may God bless all of you." Because of your support we are able to pay for classes and other essentials that help equip the staff serving at the Home.

Busy Summer or Busy Winter?

Greetings friends and supporters of El Puente!

Thank you for your patience, El Puente has had a very busy summer, or should I say, winter season. Remember, that continents on opposite sides of the Equator have opposite seasons. So our summer is their winter.

And what a winter, here are several months worth of activities and photos of our kids in action:

First, our Psychologist and Social Worker, who meet with the girls monthly, send us updates and pictures of planned activities they do with the children. In their report, they said:

          The girls interests have been identified: baking, dancing, art, hairdressing, sports, manicure, carpentry and devotionals. Each of these activities will be practiced as a group, to promote a healthier communal living, and to build confidence in the girls. The goal is that through these activities, the girls will develop skills in areas that they enjoy, learn to work together, and start thinking about their futures. 

The first activity was baking, and the end result looked very tasty. (See pictures at the bottom). This happened in the month of June.

Second, in the month of July, the girls were treated to a night out and dinner for good grades as well as to celebrate a birthday. 

Then a friend of El Puente and his church organized an early Children's Day Celebration (a national holiday in Paraguay, on August 16). They brought a bunch of gifts to share with the girls and the children in the community. (Photo below).

Also, as a gift to two of our girls who had their Quinceaneras, they were able to go to their first soccer match and see their favorite team play and win, team Olimpia! This was truly an event they would never forget.

The next monthly activity our staff did with the girls was a traditional Paraguayan dance. They also spent time with with each child and had important group discussion.

Some big news is that the construction of the new home should be complete as you read this and the girls have moved their belongings in. They were also able to add a small addition to the volunteer's house. Everything is looking lovely.

And the most recent report and pictures show the girls participating is dancing, painting and making homemade chocolates.

Of course El Puente has its ups and downs as well. The kids and staff and family that hosts the home all need prayer for different needs. What they and we can rest assure of is this: that our God is in control, He already knew every what was coming and what to do. He's given us His Son, Jesus and His Word to guide us, and give us wisdom. Please continue to lift up all these amazing, brave, beautiful kids as well as the hard working, compassionate staff at the Home. We thank you all for your love, prayers and support. No matter the distance, what you do will be a great help and makes a difference.

 

 

 

Roof is Up!

Just three days ago we received these photos of the new little house built at El Puente, now with a roof! Construction is really coming along despite some harsh, rainy, winter weather.

Praise be to God who works out all things for the good of those who love Him (Romans 8:28).

We were very excited and needed to share the good news. Please continue to keep everyone at El Puente, the leaders, staff and children in your prayers. Until next time!

Wonderful News

Last month Friends of El Puente received a great update regarding one of our girls, she was safely and carefully reinserted back into her family. Since El Puente and the team are working together to change the Home into a transitional home, this is a great step in the right direction.

Earlier this year a girl was brought to the Home and the El Puente team was able to work together to get to know her, her needs and development and were able to contact some of the girl's family.

After meeting with the girl's family, and interviewing them, the Recaldes, the Social Worker and Psychologist from El Puente decided to help her be reinserted back into family. This occurred just last month and we arestill going to keep her in prayer, that the Lord would bless her, her family, for healthy growth and bonding in Jesus Name.  And to everyone who is reading this update, please keep this girl as well as the rest of the kids in prayer, each are a blessing and deserve a loving family.

CAFO Conference

It's hard to believe that a month has already passed, but in early May, three ladies from the Friends of El Puente team went to Nashville, Tennessee for the CAFO conference.

CAFO is the Christian Alliance for Orphans, an international organization that meets once a year in the United States and allows for people who are interested in Orphan/ foster care, adopting, care giving, supporting, and/or have a whole lot of questions, to come together to worship, pray, meet and take classes to educate and teach on various subjects concerning orphan/ foster care in this country and multiple others.

So we were blessed to have the opportunity to go and be educated in different areas regarding the girls' benefit, such as caring for and disciplining children and teens with trauma, using art therapy, how to prepare children who can be safely returned to family/ family members, and how Caregivers need and should nurture themselves.

We saw many families with adopted children, Care givers from many different countries and adults who shared their story about how they became orphans and were adopted not only by a new family, but also how they were adopted into God's family, through our Savior Jesus Christ.

From a Soccer Ball to Baseball

Happy to see the kids open to trying to new things! The girls had been wanting to learn how to play softball for a while. Steven and Jessica (missionaries from the US living a block away from the Comedor) had the idea of not only teaching them, but also organize outings where the girls would visit nearby communities and show others how to play -using it is as an outreach event.

Laurie, a Paraguayan who had been living in Orange County for many years, heard about El Puente and wanted to visit. She was there two weeks ago, and she brought softball gear for all the girls! Thank you Laurie!

Brick by Brick

Progress on the new smaller home for the girls is coming along brick by brick. We are encouraged by the pictures we receive and want to share them with you all.

Meanwhile the kids are going to school, meeting with the psychologist, playing games, having dental check ups, reading and praying on Sundays, and doing other activities.

GOAL!!!

Back in early March of this year the El Puente girls had their first "official" soccer match against a team from Asuncion. They played very well, and confessed to being quite nervous as they have never done anything like this before. Some played barefoot! They were overwhelmed by how new this experience was.

After the match, they were all given lunch and medals.

They also went on a boat ride together. Thank you to all our supporters who make it possible for these kids to experience activities outside the home and visit the outside world around them.