You have been a refuge for the poor, a refuge for the needy in his distress, a shelter from the storm, and a shade from the heat…
As another day draws to an end I make my final round checking the house to make sure everything is ok. In the darkness as I pass by one of the children’s rooms I hear the softest most innocent voice, “I love you Papa Shane.” It is the day’s final reminder and reward for my labor of love. I softly reply, “I love you too.” It is always Jimmy. Throughout my day every so often I will hear his sweet voice utter these same precious yet powerful words. It is the only English he knows. But he fully understands its meaning.
Jimmy came to us at the end of last year. When he was six months old his mother abandoned him to his aunt and left for the United States. At age six, his mother returned to Guatemala and reclaimed Jimmy. She kept him for a little while and then again gave him to his aunt. Within the next few months Jimmy ran away. He told the police he ran away because his aunt often abused him. When he came to us Jimmy had whip marks on his back and front. His aunt used an electrical cord to beat him, and she also burned him with fire because he repeatedly wet the bed. The judge ordered the mother into court but she made clear she did not want Jimmy. No one wanted Jimmy. But we did. He has been placed with Casa De Mi Padre permanently.
Jimmy’s first months here were a little difficult. At one point he had repeatedly disobeyed one of our staff members and was brought to me. It was time for Jimmy’s first paddling. When he was brought into my office he was crying and literally shaking with a look of terror in his face. It was obvious his fear was wildly out of place. He was in total panic.
I sat at my desk and put the paddle down and called Jimmy over to me. I explained in my broken Spanish when he hurts other children and does not obey when he is told to stop, he will receive discipline. I said here is how we do it. I use this paddle on your behind and that is all. We do not use fire, we will not hit you in the face, we will not punch you. That’s it, the paddle goes here, that’s all.
Jimmy took a deep breath and exhaled with a sigh of relief, and immediately began to calm down. The look of relief which came over him was almost comical. This emotional expression communicates the words, “That’s all, that’s it.” His terror completely subsided. Jimmy was quite relieved to understand he has limits for behavior and so do we. He received his swats, cried a few moments, and went out to play. I think he has been paddled a couple of times since then, but he steps up and takes it like a trooper. It has been a long time since we have had to discipline him. Jimmy now responds exceptionally well to all the adults here and at school.
Since those early weeks and months Jimmy has grown to become a joy to us all. He is a little scrawny and kind of goofy, but he is what I call a sleeper kid. By looking at him you wouldn’t know it but he is a straight A student. His grades are almost all perfect. And he hardly has to try. His teachers love him, and he is a joy here at the house. Jimmy has become very special to me. He constantly reminds me of his love, and is always genuinely thankful for everything we provide for him. He has also matured in his relationship with the other kids in Case De Mi Padre. I look forward to seeing him grow up here. Yes, we want him.
He still does have one little problem. Jimmy is a faithful kid. He faithfully wets the bed every night. He doesn’t get beat or burned for it, he just has to clean it up. He hates having to clean his bed. Pray for him.
The other day I was listening to a song from one of my favorite artists, Steve Camp. The song is titled, “Shade For the Children.” It made me think of Jimmy as well as our other kids. Here are some of the words:
Unless the Lord builds the house oh they labor in vain
How it is good to be under construction under His name
Like mighty warriors our quivers full for them
Like an arrow they will go where we have never been
As for me and my house we’ll serve the Lord each day
We’ll draw our strength from him as we make our way
Oh Lord we pray
Let us be shade for the children
A shelter from the storm
Be a place where they can grow in the ways of the Lord
To train up my child to live a pure and godly life
Through the struggles and fears, dreams and tears of every day
To be shade for the children
Several times I have responded to Jimmy’s words, “I love you Papa Shane,” with a question. “Why do you love me Jimmy?” His answer is always the same, “Because you care so much for me.”
My words could never express how precious Jimmy and all our other children are. I pray God would make me and our house, Casa De Mi Padre, as He is, a refuge for the poor, a refuge for the needy, and a shelter from the storm, and shade for the children.
Every day we are busy from morning till night meeting the emotional, physical, spiritual, and educational needs of all 22 of the children we have. It is a big job. I have made it clear to the children and staff here, I am not rich, I am only a steward of what God has provided through His people. I am just a steward. Thank you for being Jesus’ answer to little ones who were poor, distressed and battered by the storms of life. Thank you for helping be shade for the children.
On a needs note, when we had our 22 beds built, they included 22 mattresses. The mattresses are really nothing more than wads of rags covered in colorful cloth. They weren’t much when we got them and now they are less. Over time they have become pretty lumpy and raunchy. They need to be replaced . We want to replace them with foam mats. The mats we need are $30 a piece. That is not a big deal until you multiply times 22. If you would like to send an extra gift to “Bed the Kids” or know someone who would like to help it would really be appreciated.
Thank you from all of our hearts. Thank you for all you have done.
Trying to be a “Shade for the Children,”
OTE: Since Shane posted this prayer letter on Facebook earlier today, friends reposted his message and shared the need for mattresses. In a span of only a few hours, God’s people stepped up to meet the need! All 22 mattresses were “sponsored”!
Just try and tell us that social media isn’t effective! Thanks to Jodi Brager and Andy Charles for stepping up to spread the word, and for all of the donors who committed to make a difference today!