This update was shared by missionary Danelle Putnam, who serves in the Dominican Republic. Photo: Danelle (far left, back row) stands with Good Shepherd “aunts” and “uncles” along with their six residents.
This past year, the Lord has given us not one, but six children who have been received into our home: Estefani, Francis, Randy, Junior, Moíses and Ramona. It was in December 2010 that we suddenly received a visit from the director of the government home who announced that they would give us the children that we had worked so hard to procure. Just like that, we received six very special people whom we have grown to love and who have, in turn, loved us. All this is so much more than we had anticipated.
Our director, Dr. Marisol Martinez, and our ‘aunts’ and ‘uncles,’ Ariel, Elizabeth, Carmen, Ingrid, Dania, Jackie and Julieta, continue to be wonderful Christian parents to our children. At Easter time, the six children were baptized and the entire church stood in solidarity and to be witnesses that they are their godparents. The children are weekly and daily in the prayers of many. As a result, the changes in the lives of the children have been dramatic.
Francis studies during the week at a school for the deaf and is learning to sign along with the aunts and uncles. Every week, Francis sits between the pastors and loves to observe all that transpires from this bird’s eye view. He continues to delight all with his magnificent boyish smile and his impish attitude. Estefani and Junior are also in school at Concordia Lutheran. Estefani and Junior are socialites and have made many friends, not only at the school, but also in their neighborhood where they live. Moíses greets everyone who comes to the home with a warm hug. He has just started to go to school at Concordia this month and we cannot wait to see how he will continue to grow and develop. Randy loves to go to church and Sunday school. This is the highlight of his week. He sits in church with his Bible open and often can be heard repeating what the pastors are speaking. Ramona is a wonderful help around the house and loves to help others. Her favorite activities are listening to music and dancing. She has an infectious laugh that will brighten anyone’s day.
The aunts and the uncles along with Marisol continue to do daily therapy with each of the children. The therapy varies according to child and their need(s). We have been blessed to have different therapists visit us from out of country this year and we look forward to the visits of more. The children also have weekly outings to the store, baseball field and occasional outings to the beach and other fun such activities.
Three significant steps in caring for the children took place in recent months. In June, 22 acres were donated to Good Shepherd Lutheran Home and we are establishing how to raise cash crops or food for our children and our school breakfast program. We started a child sponsor program so that people can give directly to the group home to support the children in a tangible manner. An Internet café is also slated to open within the next few weeks and the proceeds will go towards the continued care of our children.
We would like to thank each and every one of you who have participated in making a difference in the lives of these dear children and wish to you and yours a very blessed New Year and thank you in Jesus’ name for your care for the ‘least of these’ who are now loved and thriving because of your generosity.