April 2020: Build Hope
In a recent chapel service Susan used a Giant Jenga game to represent this extraordinary time. The youngest boys expertly constructed a steady tower with the blocks. She asked the question, “What ‘losses’ or ‘hurts’ have you experienced lately? Remove one block for each hard thing.”
- “I missed my brother’s birthday.”
- “I haven’t seen my mom in a month.” (Most said this.)
- “My family can’t come to visit.”
- ‘“I can’t see my friends at school.”
- “Panchito went home.”
- “Arturo is home and can’t come back.”
- “We can’t leave campus.”
- “I am afraid.”
- “The Covid-19 virus.”
As staff and children removed blocks, the tower got wobblier and wobblier, until we had to support it with our hands. Then Susan said, “What are some things that have encouraged you? Made you feel stronger?” So we rebuilt the tower, filling in the gaps one block at time, while mentioning something that made us feel “built up.”
- “We have all we need at Rancho Del Rey and we are safe.”
- “We can play outside.”
- “I know I am healthy.”
- “The food is good.”
- “I have friends here.”
- “I talked to my mom on the phone and she says everyone is fine.”
- “My brother is here with me.”
- “I am learning how to build robots.”
- “Javy and Jenny take really good care of us.”
- “Every night after supper we go to the prayer plaza to chat and pray.”
- “We have a new puppy.”
- “My friends share with me.”
- “I know God is taking care of my family.”
Finally, we read this text together: “Build up hope so you’ll all be together in this, no one left out, no one left behind. I know you’re already doing this; just keep on doing it.” (I Thess. 5:11 Msg.)
We know you are together with us, supporting us through our hurts and losses and building up hope. Thank you!
WHAT’S HAPPENED ALREADY
School was suspended 5 weeks ago. House parents homeschooled for 3 weeks. Two-week spring break: most staff continued working and most boys stayed on campus. Now 5 weeks in quarantine mode, no family visits, no visitors, only necessary off-campus trips with hygiene precautions.
WHAT’S HAPPENING NOW
On-campus staff agreed to continue working indefinitely, even through the summer. Social worker and child psychologist are working remotely. Families now deciding either to care for their sons at home or allow them to remain on campus indefinitely. Quarantine protocols intensified. Limited family contact via phone only, especially tough for the little boys. Schooling on campus (a new venture, expense and responsibility).
WE ARE COMMITTED
To pay full salary, social security and health insurance, for all staff, even those not on campus. To provide food assistance to our boys’ families (many with several siblings, parents out of work), which has already begun. There is little emergency assistance here in Mexico. To provide care for those who may get sick, using our visitor’s apartment for quarantine. To educate our children, beginning with an organized program of ‘home schooling’ on May 1.