Restoration After The Storm
When the tremor shook the island of Bohol last fall, everyone at the Arms of Love Children’s Home was in shock. In the aftermath of the 7.2 magnitude earthquake the children experienced sleepless nights and fevers.
At first inspection there were visible cracks in the homes, and with uncertainly of structural safety, we decided to evacuate the homes and put up temporary shelters to replace each home. All the staff stayed with the children to comfort them. Everyone had moments of fear during aftershocks, even the adults.
In these first couple of weeks internal relief operations ensued as Arms of Love used existing budget funds to buy necessary supplies. But water became scarce and we still had no electricity. Then thanks to the outpouring of support we were able to purchase a desperately needed power generator, and with our well we were able to meet basic water and electrical needs for our surrounding community. What a blessing!
After a week staying in our “tent city” we experienced some 4,600 aftershocks and 5 new earthquakes. We felt that indeed our world was being shaken! Of course a typhoon of unprecedented size would soon follow. Luckily Bohol missed the eye of the storm and was spared the devastation that other areas experienced.
In our devotional time we were all reminded how prayer is powerful and that God listens to a legitimate and sincere petition for help. We attended church at Vineyard-Tagbilaran and the Lord brought a restorative feeling to our souls.
We also had a special time of prayer and healing with a Christian youth group that came to bring relief supplies and spend time with us. Then came a group of professionals whose line of expertise included physiotherapy exercise applicable for trauma interventions, complementing the psychological care that our Social Worker had initiated with the kids. The kids come from past lives of abandonment and uncertainty, so it was challenging for them to have their usually stable homes in such disarray. We urgently needed to make repairs so the kids could be back in their homes. An expert opinion was solicited to evaluate our structures and to determine how to restore the water system.
Thanks to our generous donors and partners we were able to make the necessary repairs to ensure our homes were safely livable again and to help repair the homes of staff that were badly damaged.
The grounds of the Arms of Love property served our neighbors well and our resources enabled us to bless our community. We provided our neighbors with much assistance and even the Arms of Love kids became relief workers to other children.
Perhaps most importantly, we are preparing to accommodate children that were abandoned or orphaned. The call to protect and restore these children’s lives stirs our hearts. The local government has identified children in need of our care, and we are excited to welcome them into our family!
Randy Pepito, Filipino Director
In His Own Words
In Nicaragua 15 year old Juan Daniel had a medical scare. Translated below is the story in his words.
Hello I am Juan Daniel. I am writing because I had a problem with my right knee and shin. I am going to tell you how it happened. When I was playing soccer I was hit in the knee several times. I didn’t take care of myself and I didn’t pay attention to it either. I just thought it was a bump from playing. But after months went by, around August or September (2013), I realized that the lump was not going away. Then I went to the health center and they gave me an appointment with an orthopedic specialist. She sent me to do many tests from December 2013 to January 2014. They detected a bone tumor in my right knee. After that they did a biopsy and it came out that it was not going to spread throughout my body because it was benign. After that they did various X-rays and tests before the surgery that was on February 7th.
Through all of this I had people giving me words of encouragement and talking to me about God. They told me that only he could protect me and that I didn't need to be afraid. They said that although I was going through something bad, everything was going to pass and everything would turn out fine. And now I am recuperating my knee with some physical therapy exercises. Now I can almost walk just fine. Also to those who prayed for my health, I thank all those who prayed to God for my health. At home with Mr. Augusto and Mrs. Evelin, I felt peaceful and more loved than even by a parent, as they gave me much care and love. With all the house parents I feel that they love me as if I was their own child. Regarding the other kids, with the guys I feel great, like we are soul brothers. We share and talk about everything we can about ourselves. These guys and I are happy and content, and we have been growing like brothers.
We are grateful for the prayers and financial support of our sponsors and donors who make this kind of comprehensive care possible. Thank you!
The God Who Moves Towards Need
Life has taught me that God is not repelled by our need for Him. Our broken condition does not cause Him to hide from us and withdraw. Just the opposite. As Jesus showed us in His earthly ministry, He is actually drawn toward us when we are in need of Him. When we call upon Him from a place of brokenness and need, He responds. He does so because He has the heart of a Savior.
God’s saving power and activity on our behalf are dramatically portrayed in Psalm 18. “The cords of death entangled me,” the Psalmist writes. “The torrents of destruction overwhelmed me. The cords of the grave coiled around me the snares of death confronted me.”
These are the words of a desperate man. His words are expressions of need and crisis. The Psalm goes on to portray God’s response. In intensely poetic fashion, God’s activity on behalf of the one in need is swift and effective. ”He reached down from on high and took hold of me; He drew me out of deep waters.”
In our work at Arms of Love we rely upon the kindness and power of God to bridge the gaps in the lives of the children for whom we care. We pray for His providence, rely on His power, and call upon His healing grace. We depend on The Lord not only to rescue the lives of the children but to rebuild them. We know we can call upon Him in this way because of how God has made His character clear to us in His Word. Our experience of caring for the children bears this out again and again.
Thank you for standing with us as we call upon God’s healing grace and His power to change and restore the children in our care.
Bill Faris, Arms of Love Child Sponsor, Pastor, Professional Counselor
Pray With Us And For Us
Change is guaranteed! But when we pray for God to enter into our changing lives He brings blessing! It is His nature to bless those He created and loves.
After 15 years of ministering to the most vulnerable, orphaned and at-risk children, the staff of Arms of Love have witnessed many changes and experienced over and over again God’s blessings because of the prayer support for our mission.
First, please join us in prayerfully thanking God for all He has done to protect, strengthen, guide and grow the mission. He calls us as a team.
Second, please accept our personal invitation to be part of the team by regularly praying for one of our staff so they will be spiritually and emotionally prepared daily to be part of God’s blessing to the kids by extending compassion and strength through an Arms of Love hug.
Here is how to let us know of your pray commitment. Below you will find a list of staff names from our two in-country locations, our International staff and International Board Members. Please prayerfully consider who you would select from our team to regularly pray for and then email us at prayfor @armsoflove.org. Your name will be added to our Kingdom Prayer Partners list and the staffer will be told about your commitment to lift them up in prayer.
Dr. Steven D. Bagley, Board President & Chairman
Nicaraguan Staff: Mayra del Carmen Garcia Acuña, Xiomara Dolores Aguilar, Jose Alejandro Arellano, Narciso Joel Baldelomar, Augusto Vladimir Ruiz Cordero, Maria Luisa Gomez Estrada, Perla Marina Villavicencio Flores, Luis Francisco Garcia, Ewner Zuniga Jimenez, Guadalupe Aburto Matus, Isabel Victoria Traña Narvaez, Eveling Iveth Obando, Juan Ramon Garcia Perez, Alvaro Mejia Quiroz, Segundo Rafael Rocha, Kelly Rodgers, Ted Rodgers, Olga Carolina Zuniga Roman, Dora Emilia Ruiz, Francisco Javier Sanchez.
Philippines Staff: Emerlito "Bobong" Alturas, Elsa Buchan, Meliton "Lito” Buchan, Celsa Curayag, Eve Gabato, Lovely Granada, Roger Granada, Norand “Randy” Pepito, Julia "Didith” Potot, Geraldine "Den-Den" Sevilla, James Sevilla, Gino Valles, Ines Valles, Editha Zabala, Gerry Zabala
International Staff: Jess Burge, Geoff Cowles, Jason Simpson
International Board: Steve Bagley, Dave Brobeck, Jenn Gaskin, Adrian Koehler, Paul Llopis, Pablo Paniagua
Things We Are Thankful For
The outpouring of support following the earthquake and typhoon in the Philippines
100% funding pledged for the roof replacement and earthquake repairs project in Nicaragua (work is underway!)
Both locations hosted teams from The World Race
Visits from generous mission teams, new and repeat volunteers alike
Ted, Kelly & Teddy Rodgers are settling into to their new home in Jinotepe
Jess Burge spending time in Nicaragua on her summer assignments prior to joining the International staff full-time in August
Both locations have successfully started Community Outreach Programs
Our ministry partnerships, including ORPHANetwork, Extreme Response, i-61, Action International, Cross International, all church supporters, and our committed donors and child sponsors
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