Tuesday, December 11, 2012

Jesús Emanuel

When little Jesús arrived at our door, he came with a stack of documents from the DIF that told the story of his first 7 days on Earth. While I am not legally able to share those details with you, the Lord has given me a vision of what those days may have looked like from His perspective and has encouraged me to write it down and share it with you.

"For You formed my inward parts; You covered me in my mother’s womb.” Psalm 139:13

This little one’s journey actually began 40 weeks ago at the moment of his conception. For 9 months God formed his little inward parts. During that time a battle for his life was building between the forces of darkness and evil and those of light and goodness. The battle reached its climax on November 29th when little Jesús drew his first breath. In this moment, angels were sent to minister to this little baby and protect him. For seven days this battle waged as our enemy the devil sought to destroy this life, but God was determined to save it as a testimony to His gospel and His glory.

“Take heed that you do not despise one of these little ones, for I say to you that in heaven their angels always see the face of My Father who is in heaven.” Matthew 18:10

This battle has been going on since the beginning of time. Satan hates new life and has sought to destroy it at every chance. We see his efforts in Scripture with the decree of Pharaoh to kill all the newborn Jewish boys during Israel’s time in Egypt and again with the same decree given by Herod after the birth of Jesus. Throughout history we have documented evidence of superstitions regarding the destruction of twin babies in native tribes from Africa to Asia. The belief is that one of the twins is an evil spirit and since one can’t know for sure which one is evil, they are both killed. Finally, in what our enemy must see as one of his greatest accomplishments, we are witnesses today to the legal killing of unborn babies through abortion.

“For we do not wrestle against flesh and blood, but against principalities, against powers, against the rulers of the darkness of this age, against spiritual hosts of wickedness in the heavenly places.” Ephesians 6:12

Thus, this same well-documented historical battle for new life was waged over our little Jesús. His angels fought to protect him while he slept and traveled. They ministered to him while he was poked and prodded by nurses and doctors. A spiritual battle waged in the heavenlies until little Jesús passed through the doors of Grace Babies’ Home. There his angels met ours and he entered a place of refuge and protection.

Every day our staff prays together. In those times we call on the Lord to send us a legion of His angels to stand guard over this place and protect its inhabitants. I am sure that these prayers are answered and the peace that our little ones feel here comes from the presence of these heavenly protectors.

When Jesús arrived at our door he had not yet been given a name. I texted Martin Castro, our Mexican Director and asked what we should do about it. His reply was that we should give him a name. I mentioned this to our staff and to my family. Within about 15 minutes, six of us had all independently selected names. Four of us chose Jesús and two of us chose Emanuel. Thus, through us, the Lord gave this little gift a name: Jesús Emanuel. His name says it all; The Lord who saves is with us. Though only 12 days in length, his entire life is a testimony to that name.

Posted by Juan Strutton at 10:32 PM

Friday, November 9, 2012

Eight-Week Update On The Girls

Eight weeks ago Maria and Daniela arrived at GBH. Everyday since their arrival, our GBH family has worked to be the hands and feet of Jesus in their lives. Some of the time has been blissful, and other times trying. But all of the time it has been our privilege and joy to serve Him by caring for them.

Please be encouraged that your prayers for these little ones are being heard and answered. We see God’s hand moving strongly in both of their lives.

Both girls are officially mobile and crawling all over. Daniela is pulling up to a standing position on anything that will hold her weight. They especially enjoy outings to the market in their new jogger stroller. Basically, they eat well, play hard, and sleep like babies (most of the time).

One of the most delightful things for us to watch is the difference in these girls’ personalities. Daniela is expressive and busy. She is a little ham and keeps our home fun and laughing. Maria is sweet, smiley and more contemplative. They are so different, yet they equally bear His image.

Please continue to keep Maria and Daniela in your prayers. Pray for their continued healing and development. Pray for their “forever families”. Whether they are biological or adoptive, pray that God would prepare homes that will grow them in the nurture and admonition of the Lord.

There are costs to running our home and caring for these precious little ones. If you feel led to financially support the Lord’s work here at GBH, please consider making GBH your ministry to orphans and becoming a baby sponsor. By sponsoring our babies, for any amount monthly, you become a part of our GBH family. You can click here to set up your monthly giving. Thank you in advance.
Posted by Juan Strutton at 7:36 AM

Sunday, October 7, 2012

Three-Week Update On The Girls

This past Friday marked three weeks that the girls have been in our GBH family. Though it has been a learning process for our team, the general feeling in our home is one of God's peace that passes understanding and joy that remains.

The girls are sleeping 10-11 hours a night with morning and afternoon naps of two hours during the day. In week two we introduced solids with rice cereal, and they now have three veggies in their repertoire of acquired tastes.

Developmentally, God's hand of healing cannot be denied in their progress. Both arrived with little body strength and were generally floppy in their necks, torsos and legs. Maria is now bouncing like crazy in the exersaucer and Daniela is sitting up on her own. Both are more and more communicative with their eye contact, facial expressions and attempts at speech. This past week Maria's two bottom teeth came in.

Thanks to your prayers, Maria is almost completely healed of her cold. Please pray for Daniela. She has a nighttime cough that wakes her up and can frustrate her sleep. Pray for God's continued touch on both of His princesses.

For those of you who would like to contribute, we are in need of formula, baby food, and diapers. We have created an amazon baby registry list where you can purchase items and have them shipped to our YUGO office in National City.

Thank you for your continued prayers and support for God's work here at GBH!

Daniela Sitting Up

Maria In the Exersaucer

Posted by Juan Strutton at 3:42 PM

Friday, September 21, 2012

How Are The Girls Doing?

A week has passed since Maria and Daniela arrived to our GBH family. Aside from Maria struggling with a bad cold right now, they are both doing extremely well. They are settling in to their feedings, naps and general daily routine. Both of them especially love bath time! Developmentally, they are improving everyday. It is really amazing to watch. When they arrived they had no strength in their legs and trunk, and little strength in their neck to hold their heads up. We had a dear friend, who is an occupational therapist, come evaluate them. She gave us some exercises that are helping to strengthen their core which is helping all other areas. By Wednesday of this week Daniela was able to play in an exersaucer, holding her upper body up and using her legs to push up and down. Maria is a little more behind, but we have seen great improvement in her too. You can pray for Maria, that this cold would quickly pass. It is frustrating her when she sleeps and eats.

Daniela loving the exersaucer!

Maria loving her bath!

Posted by Juan Strutton at 8:43 AM

Friday, September 14, 2012

New Additions to Grace Babies' Home

Towards the end of October, Grace Babies' Home opened its doors. On November 8th, the Mexican social services (DIF) placed our first baby into our care. Three weeks later, she was adopted into her forever family. As days turned into weeks, we waited but did not receive more babies from the DIF. We were informed that they were putting us on hold while they reworked some of their own policies regarding the placement of babies and worked to create a new system of requirements and standards for orphanages receiving babies.

On December 21st, we began earnestly seeking the Lord and His favor throughout this process. In daily prayer and Bible study, He was faithful to confirm through Scripture His absolute sovereignty and control over this time of waiting. One of the first Scripture verses He gave us was from Isaiah 66:9: "Shall I bring to the time of birth, and not cause delivery?” says the LORD. With this encouragement, we took heart. After all the miracles He had already performed to bring GBH into existence, God would be faithful to deliver on His promises to care for the fatherless.

Meanwhile, we worked with the DIF to meet every request made of us with excellence. This process was tedious to say the least. We would complete a list of requirements with the understanding that we were finished and ready to receive babies. Later we would learn that the DIF had come back with more requirements. This cycle repeated itself over and over. As recent as this week, we attended 14 hours of classes including varying themes from child psychology to the organization and mission of the DIF.

Yesterday afternoon we received the call that two babies from the DIF would be arriving today. After the call, we began to add up the weeks and months that we have been waiting, praying and preparing for these precious little ones. From December 21st to today, 38 weeks (269 days) have passed. This is the same amount of time God uses to create human life, and deliver that which He brings to birth. His timing is always perfect.

Please join us as we welcome Maria and Daniela, and worship the One who has delivered them to our GBH family. He truly does, set the lonely in families!

Maria and Daniela
A father to the fatherless, a defender of widows … God sets the lonely in families… Psalm 68:5&6

We can’t say “thank you” enough to all who have labored with us in prayer through these last nine months. Your love, prayers and support are what have carried us through to this day.
Posted by Juan Strutton at 6:58 PM

Wednesday, May 23, 2012

Baby Home Update

Dear Friends of Grace Babies’ Home,

I want to give you an update on our current situation with the Mexican social services (DIF), and where we stand in the process of receiving babies.

We have been working closely with the DIF for several months now. As they attempt to create new policies and procedures around the placement and care of babies in orphanages, we are cooperating with each new demand and requirement they are implementing. While we continue to accommodate those in authority and government positions, we are certain that the king’s heart is a stream of water in the Lord’s hand that He channels towards those who please Him (Proverbs 21:1). As well, we are encouraged to know that ALL Mexican orphaned babies will benefit from the tedious process we are currently walking through.

Though we are still in a season of waiting on the Lord to fill our home with His babies, we can see evidence of His unseen hand moving all around us.

    Daily time in prayer and the study of God’s Word has knit our GBH team together. Through the study of Nehemiah, James, and now Joshua, we are being made like-minded towards the ways of God and how those ways are to be reflected in His vision for GBH.

    We have had the opportunity to be purposeful in the area of staff development. In April our GBH team attended a three-day orphan conference where we were flooded with the latest information on orphan care. Between the five of us we attended twenty-five different breakout sessions on various topics from attachment and trauma issues to laws and legalities with international adoption.

    After much time and effort, all of our staff now have Mexican Visas, Sentri passes, and are working on Mexican driver’s licenses. When we received the latest list of requirements from the DIF, we were pleased that we were already prepared with nearly everything they were asking for; including visas, police background checks, drug tests, etc.

    As well, we have been working on fine-tuning our own policies and procedures at GBH. During a recent visit from the head of the state DIF, she was pleased to know and see our policies for visitors and volunteers.

    We are also still hosting volunteer work teams. Some of our current projects are: wiring the cameras in the nurseries, finishing the fire sprinkler system, and installing a generator to power the facility in the event of emergency.

We are more certain than ever that this time of waiting and preparation is God’s plan. Day after day, He continues to affirm His control over our circumstances, and we are resting in His good and perfect timing. I want to take this opportunity to thank each and every one of you for your continued prayers and support during this time.

Whoever keeps the fig tree will eat its fruit; so he who waits on his master will be honored. Proverbs 27:18

Blessings in Jesus,
Juan Strutton
Posted by Juan Strutton at 8:50 PM

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