First... Many many thanks for your prayers and well-wishes for Sam's surgery this morning. Everything went well and, as I expected, the doctor said both ears were FULL of fluid and his adenoids were very enlarged. Also as expected, Sam wasn't the biggest fan of being there, and he put on quite the show removing his own IV, screaming bloody murder, spilling coffee all over the waiting room (oops, that was me). Irregardless, he is home and - for now - acting just like normal. (I was actually kind-of looking forward to a day of napping and cuddling, but he isn't having it.) I will try to post more of the details of our progress to surgery, the procedure itself, and recovery at some point for those of you that might be in a similar situation; but, for today, I'm excited to introduce Destino del Reino to you... Read on!
Destino del Reino is the organization that my lucky Get & Give Away winner, Hollie, selected to receive the $100.00 donation last month. Since then, I have absolutely loved getting to know Hollie and learning about this wonderful ministry that E, Myself, & I now has a tiny investment in. To share some of that joy with you all, I invited Hollie to write a little something about Destino and why it is so close to her heart... Hopefully you will take some time today to read what she has to say, explore the Destino del Reino website/blog, and pray for the leadership and children that are a part of it.
Here she is:
Hiya! Hollie here from Blog-o-holl*ic. After winning E's a-may-zing Get & Give Away, she asked me to write a little something about my charity of choice, Destino del Reino. This wonderful place is so very dear to my heart and I just adore the woman behind it all. I just love sharing with others what Rhonda is doing and I hope that after learning a little about Rhonda & Destino, that you'll also have a passion for these sweet children.
Here's a little back story: Rhonda Jackson felt the Lord tugging at her heart and stepping out in total faith, moved from the US to Honduras. She lived for a while in the city until she realized that she was not learning Spanish quickly enough and moved to a small village in the Yoro mountains. She not only learned fluent Spanish there, but her eyes were opened to the incredible needs of the people in these villages. Essentially, they were dying off. The people were living in abject poverty and had no education and no way to cultivate the land. Not only this, there had been no Christian outreach to these people prior to Rhonda's arrival, and so they were practicing pagan rituals (superstitions, witch doctors, etc.) Remembering the story of Hannah and Samuel, Rhonda knew what God was calling her to do.
"In due time Hannah conceived and bore a son, and she called his name Samuel for she said, "I have asked for him from the LORD"...She said to her husband, "As soon as the child is weaned, I will bring him, so that he may appear in the presence of the LORD and dwell there forever"...And when she had weaned him, she took him up with her... and brought the child to Eli... For this child I prayed, and the LORD has granted me my petition that I made to him. Therefore I have lent him to the LORD. As long as he lives, he is lent to the LORD." 1 Samuel 1: 20-28
The idea behind Destino del Reino (translated as Destiny in the Kingdom) is that parents would willingly give up their children to be raised by Rhonda. She provides the basics: food, shelter, clothing as well as love, laughter, an education, and the Word of God. These children are not orphans-- but will one day return to their family educated both in life skills and the Scriptures, able to provide for the physical and spiritual needs of their people.
Rhonda and a team of other people manage the children's home and an elementary school, which also serves children from surrounding villages. My numbers may be off a little bit, but to my knowledge, she has held as many as 19 children at the home (whose ages range from babies to teenagers) and has somewhere between 250-275 children at the school. They have a church on the property, a guest home and are currently building a middle school. When finally completed, Rhonda would like to have additional homes for children and visiting parents, a medical and dental clinic and a vocational center.
|L: Interior view of Elementary school. C: Front gate to Elementary school. R: Middle school-to-be|
I have been blessed to serve Rhonda at Destino not once but twice during short term mission trips. I came to know of Rhonda when I was in high school because she was a member of my church. I had the opportunity to go on a short term trip to Destino while in college and have been excitedly watching God work there ever since. Jordan (my husband -- a youth pastor) took a group in 2011 and is taking another trip this spring. I am reluctantly choosing to stay home with baby Isaac this time around. Seeing firsthand the love and care these children get is just incredibly touching. Rhonda is a woman of truly unyielding faith, who has seen God do some truly miraculous things there at Destino. (I would love to encourage you to read her stories of "Water" and "Electricity." They will amaze you!) This Valentine's Day, she is hoping to have a purity seminar (like True Love Waits) for the older kids at the school. The concept of abstinence until marriage is completely foreign in Honduras, so this seminar will have an incredible impact on the lives of her students.
There is such a great need for support, from prayers to financial support and even in person help, such as house parents, school teachers and short term mission groups. Jordan and I sponsor a child at the Destino school, and we adore his pictures and updates. You should take a few minutes to check out Destinodelreino.org and go "like" their Facebook page! God is moving in the hearts of the people there in the mountains of Honduras and it's because of the faithfulness, perseverance, and obedience of one woman.
*For more, read Hollie's "initial reaction" post about her big win & her charity of choice here.
I would really love to NOT stop with just a one-time donation here. What else can we do? I know there isn't much time, but it has been on my heart that maybe I could organize something through the blog where women (and men) write heartfelt letters about purity to the older kids participating in the seminar in February. Or, maybe we could just "adopt" a child to sponsor at the school as a group. What do you think? Would you be interested in doing MORE?
Thanks Hollie for introducing us to Rhonda and Destino!!