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Birthday Wish Provides a Home for Orphans
by Julie Cramer
Posted on Thursday, February 13, 2014
On the morning of her 42nd birthday, Edith Suazo Fernandez (a former nun) arrived at the newly constructed home for orphaned and abandoned children in La Paz, Honduras. The country’s president's daughter, the mayor, many of Edith’s family members and friends, and hundreds of residents had gathered on January 20th to celebrate the new San Jose home. Involved parties made speeches, teens tottered on stilts and formed a drum line to pound their joy into percussion. Then Edith cut the ribbon and opened the door to her long-awaited dream.


It all started in 2006 when a drug-addicted mom gave her children away to Edith,
who was then a practicing nun. With the two children came a calling to serve as many young people as she could. In 2007, the mayor of La Paz donated a building that had stood vacant for 20 years.

“The space they had been living in looked like a bombed-out shelter,” Katherine Cheng, Orphan Outreach’s director of missions, said. “Edith was overwhelmed with the reality of it all, but full of joy and, as always, so humble. This new building is a physical reminder of God’s faithfulness and provision for these kids, a reminder that He desires to keep them safe, and give them a hope and a future.”


Eighteen children call San Jose home. They range in age from 4 to 12. The reasons why they are orphaned or abandoned are as vast as the mountains surrounding the region. Some parents have died, others suffer from alcohol and drug addictions, and still others are jailed or in such dire economic straits that they have relinquished their parental rights to Edith in their desperation to see their children survive, Austin South, director of Honduras programs for Orphan Outreach, explained.

“All of the children are beautiful and intelligent,” Edith said, going on to detail the accomplishments of several children in her care as any mother would: “Maria Elia is a very intelligent girl; she has been given a diploma for academic excellence several times. Milagro gets good grades and is a girl who concentrates well and is focused in what she does. She is very loving and takes care of the younger kids. Maria Jose applies herself in her homework and always asks, ‘How can I help?’ I would love to have a scholarship for her to study in a bilingual school. Jonatan is creative and witty. When he talks, he sounds like an adult. Marisol is just a little girl and she still can’t talk much, but she understands a lot and communicates in many ways. Anael is skilled and has a grand artfulness in drawing dinosaurs and sharks. Misael is intelligent and learned to read and write very quickly, just like Oscar Eduardo. The truth is that each kid is very special to me and all have their different graces.”



One of the biggest challenges Edith faces is finding qualified caregivers to help her at San Jose. Orphan Outreach is working with Edith to create a solid basis of operating support to pay skilled caregivers, provide scholarships for the children to attend private school—“the public schools are not up to par,” Austin said—and hire a psychologist to work with the children who need such support.

“People can help by praying, sponsoring a child, serving on a mission trip, giving a one-time gift toward one of these items, or a reoccurring gift,” Austin said of ways people can help. “Just as Edith has a new physical building with a firm and strong foundation, we want to help her build a strong foundation in how the home is run and the care given to the kids” he added.

“I give thanks to God for loving me, and I want these kids to know and love Him as well,” Edith said. “It is my desire to serve Him until the last day of my life.”

It is certain that from birthday to birthday, Edith will be nurturing children in her home, giving thanks for them by name at the close of each and every day. She calls these efforts, “a grain of sand in this immense beach of love.”

To help the children at San Jose, click here.

SIDEBAR

Your gift is important! How it will help:
  • Hire additional staff to care for the children
  • Enroll the children in quality private schools
  • Hire a part-time social worker
  • Implement a system to track inventory such as food, medicine, donations, clothes, and school supplies
  • Supply educational games
  • Develop a library
  • Create a computer room
  • Furnish the new home
  • Provide a doctor to check the children quarterly

 


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