The past couple months have been more than busy. In February, a 19-year-old girl moved into our home. I have known her since I was 12 and she was 8 when she was living at a children’s home my family used to serve at over summer break. She reached out for help and we soon found out she was expecting a baby. “A” is due in May so we are in full baby prep mode.
I am so thankful that God wove our lives back together after 10 years. For now, she is living at our home and working part-time for The Mango Home helping with our ministry outreaches and around the house. I am not sure how long she will stay with us once her baby girl is born, but I am thankful for every day she is with us. She has such a kind personality and is a joy to be around. Please keep her in your prayers as she prepares to become a mom very soon.
In March, another girl moved in! “K” was taken out of her abusive home and placed with us for temporary care. She is 14 and is very…VERY extroverted. For anyone who knows me, I’m pretty introverted so it has been a challenge and I have done a lot of growing these past couple weeks. I traveled down to Tacloban last week with our social worker to locate safe relatives of “K.” It was a successful trip and we are hoping to place her with these relatives in the coming weeks. It will be hard to say goodbye but The Mango Home is designed for girls that have absolutely no family or no safe family to live with. Since “K” has safe family that are willing to care for her, it is best for her to be with them. Please pray for all of us and “K” as the process to place her with these relatives begins.
I had the opportunity to teach more TBRI (Trust Based Relational Intervention) here! In March, I did a two-day training to teach the principles of TBRI. A friend of mine is a jujitsu competitor and coach and asked if I would train her and some of her fellow coaches in TBRI. She has started her own movement called Fight to Protect which advocates for different child rights and sexual abuse victims. Part of her ministry is to teach kids that have experienced abuse jujutsu to help them learn self-defense and self-confidence as part of their healing process. I love partnering with people who use their God-given talents to serve kids in unexpected ways.
We are still working on our licensing process with the government. We knew it would be hard and a long process…and I guess that’s exactly what it is. To be honest, it has been really frustrating. We have a house, a social worker, an administrator, and a part -time caregiver but what is holding us up is paperwork! The process here to get permits and other legal documents is so tedious. I am trying to be patient, and I know deep down that it is all in God’s perfect timing but it is easy to look past that and try and figure out by myself how to get it done. So, I am also growing in being patient and waiting.
Having “A” and “K” in the house has also been really hard for me. I know that everyone says you can never really be fully prepared for this kind of thing but it is hard! Making sure the kids are always fed, taking them to their activities, making sure they have stuff to do, teaching them how to do chores (and actually do them!), caring for their emotional needs, helping through meltdowns and anxiety attacks, the list goes on of course. Teens are hard. I have joked that teaching little toddlers at preschool is far less exhausting than caring for teens but it’s so true! I have had a fair number of my own emotional meltdowns over the past month. But for all the hard moments, I know this is where God has placed me. I am constantly being reminded by little things that I would not be here without God and I cannot continue without Him either.
You know the saying, “God never gives you more than you can handle,” is not true. He does give you more than you can handle so that you have to lean on Him. I heard this from a pastor of a church that supports me and I am constantly reminded of it. Every moment that anxiety rises up and the current challenge seems impassable, I have to remind myself that it might be impassable on my own but I am not alone. I joined a weekly Bible study and it has been such an encouragement and a personal challenge to not lean on myself, but lean on God. To fervently pray instead of worrying. To bring my struggles to God and trust Him…fully trust Him. I was watching a sermon from Francis Chan and it really challenged me to pray without doubting. For me, it’s easy to pray and talk to God about my challenges, prayer requests, praises, things I am thankful for, etc. but to not doubt God in his promises or His plan isn’t as easy for me. I see all the hardship here and the horrific things these girls have experienced and it is easy to let Satan’s voice creep in and doubt why God would allow these things. I do not understand and I know I won’t understand here on earth, but I am choosing to not doubt.
Thank you all for continuing to pray for me and the ministry. I know I am bad at writing these personal updates enough, but for the ministry, I am much better at updating. If you want to receive The Mango Home newsletters, just email me and I’ll add you to the list. We also update our Facebook page called “The Mango Home” regularly so you can follow that page as well to receive more updates!