When the behavior of a few regularly affects the performance of the rest, that’s when we have to draw the line. When the behavior of one puts others at risk, that’s when the warnings stop. When someone chooses to bully another, making them no longer feel safe, this can’t be tolerated. These were the difficult situations (described in our previous email of urgent prayer requests) we, the Honest Hands (HH) team were faced with just less than two weeks before our family’s departure for Canada. Unfortunately, we had to permanently dismiss 2 students. This was a tough decision!
These youth are with us at HH because they are in need. Some have deep-rooted character issues that we are more than willing to work through if they are also willing. However, when there is no repentance, only momentary sorrow, and no change of behavior, we need to take serious action. When their actions and behavior do not align with their choice to be at HH, or with the standards that we have set for all students that’s when we have to make the tough decision to dismiss them.
I want to see these guys change! And what if this is their only chance to change? This might be their last hope? Whoa, whoa, there. I had to have not a reality check, but a spirituality check when I started going there and putting that pressure on myself and the HH ministry. I need to remember that we are just the change agents, not the One who gives life-giving change. He’s in charge of that, not me. Our prayer is (and please make this your prayer for the two who were dismissed): that R.M. & P.F. will continue to surrender to the Holy Spirit, that they would allow Him to continue the good work in them, and that they would seek after Him. God’s not finished with them yet, and He still has a wonderful plan for their lives.
Honest Hands Batch 12 Update
The staff at Honest Hands are now teaching Bible sessions in our 2nd section of classes. The first section is entitled, “KNOW” and focuses on a condensed Old Testament history, and basic doctrines and practices of our faith. The second section is, “GROW.” Here we focus on topics that would help them grow in their faith now and equip them to continue to do so in the future. We are excited to see how they are growing in their faith and taking an interest in the Bible sessions. Pray that all the students would continue to surrender to the working of the Holy Spirit and apply God’s Word to their lives.
Each group of students brings unique challenges and all the guys struggle in real and personal ways throughout the program as we described above. These struggles can be attributed to spiritual warfare, learned behaviors, past experiences and an unwillingness to fight for change, just to name a few. Their current and past way of life no matter how dark and hopeless it may seem is what is familiar to them and draws them back, making it difficult to strive for God’s best for their lives. With this group, we’ve seen some of them wanting to give up, laziness or lack of motivation, disruptive behaviour, disobedience, and skipping church. Add to this usual teenager behavior, plus everyday rubbing shoulders of 12, now 10 youth who come from rough backgrounds in the same home and it makes for some challenging days for the HH team. Please pray for our team: Mel (head houseparent & discipleship teacher), his wife Tess (cook and mom to the boys), and Ron and Aram (houseparents and discipleship teachers) while they lead the program in our absence. Some of the students have dealt with sickness over the past few months too. Please pray for R.D. as he has been dealing with fatigue, and weight loss. There has been no clear diagnosis though tuberculosis is suspected. Pray also for healing for K.L. He has had hearing issues ever since he was a child. He has recently been dealing with swelling and pain in his ear.
Third Culture Kids
If you have been following our updates, you will know that we have been including some information on Third Culture Kids (TCKs) and how to specifically pray for Sam and Asher. We can’t thank you enough for remembering Sam and Asher before our loving God in prayer. We realize that every child needs to be covered in prayer and that each one faces different challenges throughout their life. As TCKs there are some unique things that are faced as they grow up in different cultures.
It has been great to be back home. We have called this home many times to Sam and Asher without thinking about what “home” is to them. Over the past couple of months we have seen a bit of the confusion that the word “home” brings to TCK’s. There have been several times that Asher has cried and said “I want to go home” meaning the Philippines. We are trying to be aware and sensitive that to Sam and Asher and even at times ourselves, we have another home. This morning at breakfast we asked Asher where home is and he pointed to the floor at grandma and grandpa’s and said “here.” We asked him about the Philippines and together we came to the conclusion that we have the privilege of having two homes in totally different parts of the world. Although this can be confusing to young children we want them to know the uniqueness of this and be able to grow in a positive way through these experiences. Ultimately, we are all just travellers of this world and we look forward to being “home” in heaven with our Heavenly Father one day.
- That we will be able to provide stability for Sam and Asher in the midst of any change.
- That our children will talk openly to us and to God about any ups and downs in their life.
- That our children will always feel safe and secure in God’s hand no matter where they are.
“…if I settle on the far side of the sea, even there your hand will guide me, your right hand will hold me fast.” – Psalms 139:9-10