In two short weeks, things have changed. Right now the world feels like it’s being tossed in the waves, one moment racing to the shore and the other quickly moving away. Sometimes we feel like we are being tossed under or dragged out by the fierce tow. Things seem to be in chaos.
The coronavirus pandemic has touched all of our lives. Here in El Salvador, it has placed us under government ordered quarantines, only allowing one representative of the family to leave the home to purchase essentials, sent students home to study and do their assignments, urged everyone to run to the stores for toilet paper (news travels fast around the world), closed all non-essential businesses, halted flights in and out of the country, and placed military in the streets. The news changes daily as we all sit and watch both the number of people who have contracted the COVID-19 and those who have not made it through this frightening virus around our world. It’s easy to get worried about our families, our parents, our grandparents, our friends, our neighbors . . . the world. We worry if this country’s medical system can handle the crisis. And you know what? We are all in the same boat. Each with our own set of freedoms we feel infringed upon, insecurities, worries and fears. And although we are all practicing this word of social distancing that came from out of nowhere, we need each other now more than ever. We need each other for encouragement and to keep our eyes focused on our God who is faithful. Always.
A little over two weeks ago, the children in La Casa were sent home from school. Assignments were created by their teachers at school and duties handed over to parents. We all knew this was going to take everyone joining together to do this. 16 children, grades preschool through grade twelve. 3 working computers. Online assignments. 1 university student. Online classes. But our staff all jumped on board and decided that we all needed to be in this together. Everyone began to help. A schedule was devised so that each home had use of our small computer lab during the day to download assignments and do research. Time for work, snacks and play was all contemplated. Our university gal used an old laptop that had been stored away because it was on its last legs, but it started up. We thought we could maybe, just maybe do this. The first week went well, but we decided that there were changes that could make this better, alternating time for our staff to both work and have some time off. The plan was in place and agreed upon by all on Friday.
Saturday came and the government quarantine was announced. The only staff that could travel in were our tias (caregivers that our children call aunts), counselors and social workers. That chopped our plan. A new plan was created whereby our two social workers and two counselors split into two teams to go in and help. Zoom staff meetings, figuring out the never ending regulations that seem to pop up daily . . . and the huge hearts of our houseparents that have shouldered the majority of the responsibility . . . all equals teamwork. And by the grace of God, we are doing it. Is it easy? No! Do we wish we could suspend students from homeschool at times? Yes! Do we have to forgive and ask for forgiveness? Yes! Are kids learning? We hope so! Take a moment and look at some of the pictures of our homeschooling attempts. We are surviving!
During these times that seem so uncertain, we can rise. Our staff has risen. And even when the future seems so uncertain, we know that we have today. And we will make the best of today. The best of today means extending grace, coming alongside each other to raise one another up, and on our knees in prayer to our God who hears us, sees us and has a plan much larger than our today.
Thank you for your support that makes taking care of the children we serve possible and for your prayers. We are lifting our gratitude and praying for YOU!