Monday, November 26, 2018

Giving Tuesday 2018--Reason #2 to Support Reason to Hope: The Women's Home is Coming in January

After many years of dreaming and anticipation, God has, without a doubt, opened the doors for us to begin a home for women with disabilities.

This is the house in which I am currently living.
The women's home will be located just to the left
of the driveway shown in the picture
and is similar in construction.
About a year ago, I moved out of Casa de Esperanza to enable it to become more self-sustaining and independent of my daily care.  It has been a good move, both for me (I love having my space after four plus years of living with Guatemalan young men) and for the guys themselves (who now actually know how to warm up dinner and wash dishes!

It had been the desire of my heart that when we started Casa de Esperanza we would accept both men and women, as is done in the L'Arche homes in the US.  Given the culture here in Guatemala, it soon became apparent that this model would not work here, and we restricted the home to men.  Serving women, however, never left my heart.

In the past year, it has become evident that two of the girls who have graduated from New Life School where I work needed to live away from their families for a number of serious reasons.  I held back, partly in financial caution, partly  in outright fear, but these two weighed heavily on my mind.  I daily prayed for guidance in how to proceed, and, God honored this prayer.

As He did when we started Casa de Esperanza, God has once again "dropped a house in my lap" for the women--and He graciously put it across the driveway in the small residential area where I am living!  I will be able to maintain my own living space, and still oversee the women's home on a daily basis.

Leah, a young woman missionary who works with Building Guate, has been living in the house we will rent, will continue to live with the women during the opening of the home.  She will be more of a house-mate than a caregiver, but will provide a sense of stability for the women as they transition to independent living. Oh, and it just so happens that Leah has her degree in special education, working with individuals with severe disabilities! Isn't that just like God?

Petronila at her high school graduation, 2016
Petronila, a young lady 26 years old who has graduated high school, will be our first resident.  She has spina bifida, but unlike our men, is completely independent in self-care, and will not require us to hire a companion-caregiver for her.  In fact, she will be training to manage the house, and has the personal and intellectual abilities to do so.  One of her goals is to sell Avon--yes, we have it here, as well as Tupperware--to earn her spending money.  As she grows in her responsibilities in the house, we will also begin to pay her a small stipend each month.

Griselda as a little girl
just starting at New Life School
Our second resident will be Griselda, who is 18 and graduated in October from New Life.  Griselda has Down Syndrome, and while needing supervision which Petronila will provide, is also very independent and will be taught more life skills while living in the home.  I have known Gris for 6+ years, and she is very near and dear to my heart.  It will be a challenging adjustment for her, but I think she will fit in.

Griselda at her graduation, 2018
A special confirmation came today as we talked with Griselda's mother.  In planning with Leah for what the house might look like, Leah asked if I thought Gris would be interested in coming with her once a week to work at the Building Guate childcare program which cares for infants while their mothers are in Bible Study.  Today, as we asked Gris's mom what her goals for Griselda would be, she said that Griselda loves to care for babies.  Neither Sandra, our psychologist, or I knew this, and it was as if God used this "God-incident" to confirm we were moving in the right direction.

So, we will open in January with our first two permanent residents and one companion. We don't have the budget for this, but we didn't have the funds available when we started Casa de Esperanza, and the monetary commitment for the men's home was much greater.  Once again, we are stepping out in obedience, relying on God to provide, confident that He will.

Out estimated budget for this home (which does not have a name yet; the women will help us name it) is about $1200 a month.  If you would like to help these two women begin their adult lives with us, you can donate here.  A one time donation of any amount, or regular monthly giving will support us as we move forward with this expansion of our community living program.

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