Embraced by Jesus Colombian Children's Home - Pereira, Colombia, South America

Saturday, January 30, 2016

A new Year- New Challenges

                    Colombian Children’s Home
Inline image

Teen Girls
 Amos Schwartz, the father of James who is acting director in Colombia at the Children’s Home recently sent out a news letter. Amos shares how they got involved with the home about 10 years ago and their continued involvement.  They have established a board of directors to oversee and coordinate volunteers who want to go down from the Mennonite churches. They are also very involved in the chicken farm project at the home.  Income from the farm is providing some income for operating expenses.
At this time we are covering their weekly food cost of $300 a week.  We also send down some money for utilities from people who regularly donate for this.  A big THANK YOU to each of you.  Your care of the children is felt in real “shoe leather” down there, providing a secure environment.
We are so very grateful to our youth who have volunteered and spent 6 months and some much longer serving at the home.  These children come with huge hurts of loss and rejection and each one needs the comfort and love of God shown in a real person.  You have made a difference for eternity. 
The directors of the home have faced one of their most challenging years.  Jaime has been hospitalized several times with life threatening infections stemming from his long term battle with cancer.  He has also been facing some long term legal challenges that have been draining emotionally. So please remember him in your prayers.  He has been replaced by James Schwartz in most daily duties but is yet so needed as a constant consultant.  Reubella continues dividing her time between the home and caring for Jaime. Her son Cesar and his wife Jenny oversee child care.  

Thanks again for caring and sharing!                                                                                                                  Anna Marie Nissley

Tuesday, April 29, 2014

Sondra leads Praise Singing.

A beautiful new baby calf born at the Home's Pasture
The boys learn to care for them.

Saturday, March 16, 2013

  A Blessed Trip 
My three weeks stay at the children’s home in Colombia was a blessed experience. I thank my heavenly Father for a place like that to provide for so many children. Even though they are not able to reach around to all the needs there, I admire Jaime and Rubiela to heed to God’s call and making the best of it to care for and raise children that so desperately need homes, persevering by faith, and trusting God for provisions. I felt blessed to be part of their answered prayers to get a new roof and ceiling on the kitchen and dormitory building.

My friend Rueben Yoder and I arrived in Pereira the fifth of February. We joined about twenty others from 8 different states over the course of three weeks. We were able to finish three projects and more that included a stairway from the dining area and dormitories to the laundry room and a wall along the sidewalks to the girl’s dormitory. We also had a wonderful time of fellowship. I was privileged to meet some of the people who were involved with the children’s home for quite a number of years.

It was especially a delight to spend time with the children, playing, working, and talking with them the best I could with my limited Spanish. They really liked to help one way or another and they were sometimes quite good at it. They need older godly people they can interact with in the play and work area to help shape them to be stable and godly adults.

I was also blessed to worship with them in the worship services they have of singing and preaching, Saturday evenings for the youth and Sunday mornings for everyone at the children’s home and for whoever wants to come.

It is always a highlight for the children when people come to serve and hard to part ways.

I would be glad to serve there sometime again. 

project closing in
a willing helper
preparing chickens for the market
a fun ride home from school
behind the fundacion
in the coffee region
Reuben with two little friends

a delicious meal
me with some fine young men
ready for stucco

Tuesday, March 12, 2013

A Rich Experience In Colombia

Three of my friends and I who hail from Ohio had the privilege of serving at the Embraced by Jesus Children’s Home from February 13th-22nd to help with a remodeling project. We arrived just as the new roof and trusses on the kitchen building were being completed. Our work entailed block laying, mixing mortar by hand with shovels, and installing new tile on interior walls. Youth from Montana and Michigan completed our crew of hard working, fun loving, yet serious minded volunteers. The work was hard but very rewarding. We four from Ohio - James, Joe, Steve and I (Jared) praise God for this amazing time in Pereira,
More importantly then work were the dear children. With approximately 60 of them ranging from young babies to early twenties and all desiring love, attentions and relationships there was never a dull moment. They had in a very short time captured my heart. When a young boy with no mommy or daddy of his own climbs into my lap, wraps his arms around my neck and affectionately says, “amigo” he takes a little piece of my heart. Things like this were really the highlight of our stay for me. Even with a language barrier we were still able to develop friendships with many of the children that will hopefully draw us back to serve them many more times.
The Children’s Home is located in a beautiful, mountainous area that is part of the “coffee region.” The landscape consists of lush green hills covered with banana tree, coffee bushes and bamboo groves. All this plus being surrounded by distant mountains that tower into the clouds make the scenery awesome!

New roof being completed

Concrete being mixed by hand. This is hard work!

Steve laying block for a new retaining wall

A picture of me with most of the youngest children

Playing Volleyball

 Joe sharing love with some of the little girls

Not all memories were made at the Children’s Home.
Some great ones are from a day spent with the oldest
children at a coffee/amusement park. Here we are just
beginning a roller coaster ride.   

Some of the buildings at the home

 Coffee bushes and banana trees beside the Home’s driveway 

Bamboo grove

Jaime & Rubiela are the parents of the Children’s Home.
This amazing couple faithfully serve God and unselfishly
provide a loving home for the dear children.

Wednesday, March 6, 2013

"Let all the children come onto me'- Jesus

Embraced by Jesus Children's Home

I had the wonderful privilege to spend 7 days in Pereira, Colombia at the Embraced by Jesus Home. Words cannot explain the blessing that it was to meet Jaime and Rubiela and all the children. 
When we got there on Monday Feb 18th I was delighted with the warm weather as soon as we stepped out of the airport. Then we headed to the Children's home. We got there around 12:30am. It was a very long day for the ones that travel from PA. ( Naomi & Ivan Wipf and myself)

Our days were spent like this...

Drinking the best coffee in the world and doing lots of translating.

Anna Marie showed pics to the children a lot.They enjoyed that! 

Need a helping hand?? The children also loved to help the guys work.

Playing with dolls..All girls love that :)

Us ladies went to town for the day and ate Bandeja Paisa a delicious dish from Colombia. Rubiela(on the front left) walked us around the town and showed us where alot of the children came from. Was a blessing to know that and how our Lord Jesus has saved them from that world! 

Cake for 70 people! Everyone loved it!! Thanks Anna Marie for the great idea.

The guys making steps. Good job everyone!!

I could say more and more. I am VERY thankful that God gave me this wonderful opportunity to visit Colombia! I want to thank the children's staff for everything they did for us. Gracias!! Y Dios los bendiga a todos! Estare orando por ustedes! Los extra~o! 

Monday, March 4, 2013

A week at the home

One project I did was make cake for everyone.
They seldom have cake and it was challenging to bake in a gas oven
without a thermometer. Topped with whipped 7 min. frosting. 
Cake For dessert.
Naturally gifted Artists.
A Wonderful group of lively children!
I was very blessed spending time with these children. I learned a new appreciation for Jaime and Rubiela for their leadership and constant dedication to look after the physical and spiritual needs of these children. All come with needs for love and affection. Pray for them!  

Thursday, October 27, 2011

Here is a documentary by Rubiela about the beginning of the Home. 
I found it interesting to read about how attentive God is to the prayer of His People.  
Rubiela #1:       Embraced by Jesus Ministry is a nonprofit organization that is unaffiliated with the government of this world. But it is affiliated with the government of Jesus Christ.
    The Word of God says, “Ask and it shall be given unto you, and if you ask, it will be given unto you”. And that is what we do.  We ask the Lord our God to sustain us. Every time that we are in need, and we cry out to our heavenly Father, we feel embraced by Jesus.
Rubiela #2:     We have 3 strategies to help those that are unwanted and those that are in the streets. (The children’s home, counseling mothers to care for their children, and our children’s church in the city.)
 First of all, we have Jesus Christ and Gideons in Action Foundation Children’s home.
     All that you see here, including all the land and buildings, and all the children that we gather in from the streets are a part of this ministry.
     We go to places where there are many destitute in the streets.  We also go to other places when we are asked to go.  There are mainly about 5 different areas we go to where there is conflict with the heavily armed guerrillas. This fighting has left many orphans and little ones totally helpless by destroying the lives of their parents.  God has put a burden in my heart to go there. It is not easy but it is not impossible with God.  Some of the children that we have are children we gather from the city streets and even from the city sewer systems where they live in hiding. Almost all of them have been sexually abused. We have children who were used as “mules” to carry drugs in their clothing for their mother while she sells the drugs. 
This is how we approach these problems. We try to get those children away from those kinds of situations but when we do, we are very careful not to offend the mother.  We try to learn to know and understand the mother as a person, and when we do, we usually find this mother went through the same thing as a child. The abuse that she experienced when she was young carried her into the same lifestyle. This is the only way of life they know and so that way of life she is repeating in her own children.
       We go to the streets to share Jesus Christ.  We share that He can save them, cleanse them, heal them, and that He gave His life to save their lives.  This is the way we work with the mothers that are in the streets.
           The second aspect of our work is through our Church.  Why did we start a church in the city for children?  Because the church is in the city of Pereira, where we work in the streets, yet we live here in the country. It really is not feasible to bus all those children here to this property.  It would take a lot more resources than we have.
              I used to gather the street children and teach them about Jesus and then tell them to go to local Churches but other churches would send them away harshly because they were prostitutes and the children of prostitutes.   All of these that are rejected of men make up a church, and it is beautiful. The Lord invited all His guests but when it was time to come, no one would come because they were too busy.  So He sends laborers to the highways and byways to gather the blind, mute and lame to come so His house will be full.  So we go and gather the children from the poorest places of the city, dangerous places where others won’t go. That is where you find the thieves, prostitutes, drug dealers, and guerillas.  God has poured grace out on us so we can go into these places.    You have seen the results of Jesus Christ indwelling their hearts and changing their lives.
           The third aspect of our ministry is Women in the breach.  It is a ministry to women with traits much like myself, very aggressive.  Satan had me on a pedestal but I was nothing but a puppet for him. Deep inside of me there was nothing but sadness, pain, and manipulation.  But it was only a facade that made me look like an executive woman.  My heart was totally destroyed and without peace.
      When I came to the feet of Jesus Christ, that’s where I found Peace, joy and love. All this has helped me understand the suffering of these women and encourage them to find the love of God.
    So I invite you to join me in this ministry no matter what country you are in.  God has called us to be one big family.  
Rubiela #3   This ministry did not start here on the farm that you see, but in my own house.  Little by little as the ministry grew, we rented bigger houses but the time came when no one wanted to rent to us because we had 60 children plus the adults.  One day I told my husband, Jaime, that I am going into a 40 day fast to wait for an answer from God that He would give us a farm so I could raise all these children that He has given to me. 
          (It all started on 30th and 5th drive, they threw us out of there because the children were from the streets, so then we went to 17th and 16th drive on the 2nd floor, in downtown Pereira and they also kicked us out of there, not because I wasn’t paying the rent, but because we have street children. And this is where God gave me the blessing.)
         I started the 40 day prayer fast and I waited faithfully on God because “faith is the substance of things hoped for the evidence of things not seen”.   I was 15 days into the fast when my husband told me that that God has touched            Mr. Anival Ruiz’s heart to help us in the ministry. He gave 100 million Pesos – that is equal to $60,000 Dollars.  I had not talked to this man and the only one who knew about this project was Jaime my husband.  Jesus answered my prayer in 15 days.  But all that you see here did not cost 100 million Pesos, it cost 180 mil.  There are about 16 acres.
     When we got here the only houses that were here were the main house and the area where the kitchen is. All the other buildings were not here at that time. 
     When God gave us this farm my husband was very embarrassed because Mr. Anival Ruiz didn’t give us enough to purchase this land.  He said, “How are you going to tell him that this farm cost 180 mil?”  I said,   ”If God gave me 100 mil pesos; He is going to touch the heart of this man to give us the 180 mil that we need.”  So we all went to look at this farm and they fell in love with it, just as I had done.  So, when Mr. Anival Ruiz ask how much does it cost and I said 180 mil, his wife spoke up and said, “Oh that is not much!”  So they gave enough to cover the cost.
       That is when my husband began to believe that God is a God of great power.  He went to the land owner and negotiated the price down some so that we were able to also buy a car and a cow.  We left there extremely happy.
 “As we say down here - looking like pineapples”
This was a tremendous blessing God gave us.  We share this testimony only to show that God is a God who is alive and real.  Some of the buildings Ramon Babilonia contributed.  The bath house was built by the Mennonites from Ohio.  The house for the boy’s dorm was contributed by a man named Carlos Gomez.  He also gave us the 2 story building here. All of these blessings God pt into our hands.  And that house, the girl’s dormitory – the Rotary group from California built. So, this is how God has blessed the building of The Foundation of Jesus Christ Y Gideons, through faith in Him.

Tuesday, July 12, 2011

Fun in Colombia

By: Jaci
Age: 13
2:30 a.m. comes fast! Before we knew it we were bound for Miami and deliriously happy! We ended up getting to the Air Port 4 hours early, oops. We boarded the plane, everyone but dad not knowing what to expect and in my case kinda freaking out! It was a long day, we landed in the Air Port of Cartegena, Colombia but unfortunately didn’t get to leave the plane and see the sight. Within the hour we were back in the air, bound for Pereira! We landed in a small un-air-conditioned airport about 1 hour’s drive from the children’s home. Within 30 minutes we collected our luggage and some of the directors’ friends were there to pick us up. The driving was CRAZY! I would have thought I would have been afraid but I had complete peace! Me and Kayla sat, looking out the window, fascinated by how different it was from North America. We kept pinching each other to make sure we weren’t dreaming! The winding mountain roads seemed endless until we finally arrived at the Embraced by Jesus compound. One of the teenage boys helped unload our luggage and we were greeted with the directors’ smiling faces and a GIANT meal! When we arrived I was a little freaked out; it was pouring rain and the compound was really dark! I thought, “I just need some sleep.” I was right! 

I woke up at 4:00 a.m. to much commotion.  Kayla and I were eager to meet the kids and explore. We hurriedly got ready and zoomed out of our room (which we shared with 12 other girls from the home!) The place was AWESOME! We met some of the kids during breakfast, but most of them left for school by 6:00 a.m., except for some of the teens that went to school on Friday and Saturday. The compound was beautiful and soooo mountainous! Everything was uneven. I was so tired but happy. We went to Dad’s and Galen’s cabin to pray the first day and Dad told us that a YWAM team from New Castle, Australia, was going to arrive that morning. Well, the YWAM team was awesome. They were so nice and fun and cool. 

One night, we went to a women’s meeting where Kayla did a dance. Another night, we went to a youth meeting that was amazing and the whole church was just great! We also taught the kids a drama. It was so fun and later they performed it at an outreach. 

I would take up a zillion pages if I wrote down every awesome thing that happened on the trip but I had to keep it short. I loved how easy-to-make-friends-with the kids were. I loved the food. The place was beautiful. My relationship with God grew to a new level and my view on things has definitely changed for the better. I can’t wait till God brings me back!


By: Galen

I had very few expectations upon my departure for Colombia. The small number of expectations I did have tended to be unfounded: the food was not spicy; the humidity wasn't that bad; among all the individuals on the compound (adults included) there were about a dozen words in English to be heard. While my Spanish was only slightly better the first day, by the last I could almost convey a coherent idea. Although my language skills were distinctly lacking, I held a tool more powerful than the most thorough dictionary: my camera. If a picture is truly worth something in the vicinity of a thousand words, I was chatting up a storm. I did spend much of my time shooting stills and video of the facility and its surroundings, but I tried as frequently as possible to capture the fleeting moments we had as we interacted with the kids of the facility.

Not necessarily an expectation, but rather, a fear of mine was that we would arrive to the sorrowful faces and grief-stricken spirits of 60 kids. To see children whose prior life, as it were, subjected them to a world that was far from loving or caring, a world that found them to be an expendable commodity; a tool to be used. I am most pleased to note that this fear was absolutely obliterated by the joy, silliness, and compassion of scores of healthy, happy, active children. This isn't to say they are want for nothing. We often are told by friends and family that traveling to another (specifically, poorer) country changes your view on life, the universe, and everything. I, for one, have heard this adage more times than I can easily recall. However, in my case, this is quintessentially true. I am well aware of the fact that it is a great inconvenience when you fall out of 3G range and the funny cat video you were watching on your smartphone fails to buffer completely. While it may be difficult to imagine yourself in a place were electricity is intermittent (when the bill can be paid), hot water is a far-off luxury, and you sweep, mop, wash clothes, cook, and do dishes every day, they exist in a greater number than most American suppose. Though each week is filled with tasks to be completed, every day seems to be greeted with some measure of gratitude.
The impression that has remained most vibrant is just this: the Embraced by Jesus family not only cares for one-another, but they do it with gladness in their hearts. I am exceedingly grateful I had the opportunity to travel to Colombia and meet a group of people who were able, in all of about six days, to not only teach me about a culture of which I had little knowledge, but also confirm to me that through love, compassion, and, most of all, family, any wounds can be healed.

My Trip to Colombia

By: Kayla
Age: 14

Oh, I never thought I would go out of the country, but I did!! It seemed like a dream until we actually got there, and even then I couldn’t believe it. It was amazing!!!! The scenery , the city, but most of all…the children! I couldn’t believe how happy they were. I mean, how could you be happy if you didn’t have any parents or you knew you had parents but they didn’t care about you?? And they were so…….loveable. You could make friends with them so quickly if you just smiled and at them and said “Hola.” Then they would smile back and hug you and be your friend. It was great!!!! You don’t see that in America. A lot of kids in America are too prejudiced to be that friendly. I liked the way they were in Colombia!!

The language barrier was very annoying, and how I longed to know more Spanish!!! I am planning to learn more Spanish so when we go back I’ll be fluent!!! Even with the language barrier, it didn’t prevent Jaci  and I from having fun with the children!!! We would stumble around, trying to communicate things and actually, that was kinda fun in itself!!! But we played soccer, played on the playground or just sat there and a child would  be there with you, either lying in your lap or with their arm around you. And they would say something and we would try to understand it but I think the thing we said most was, “No entiendo.”
Whew!! Hardcore work. I don’t think I’ll ever complain about doing dishes again after that!!! Oh, and washing clothes by hand!! I’ve never done that before!! Hardcore work, too! But it was kinda fun to try and get all the stains out. They had two washing machines and four dryers, but I guess the expense is too much to run them often. And dancing at the woman’s meeting. . . . I was so glad I did that. It was great!!!! And ya know, I felt at total peace with everything.  

I was surprised at myself that I didn’t even want to complain. Before we went I said to myself that I shouldn’t complain because we are going on a mission’s trip, and mission’s trips are all about working and so I shouldn’t complain about work. But even in my head I didn’t want to complain. I have missionary books and I read them again before the trip to see what I could possibly face in another country I don’t know maybe that helped prepare me or maybe it was just God. I could go on and on, but I would take up about 1,000 pages so I’ll close with this: I had an AMAZING time and I would LOVE to go back!!!!!