This newsletter has been delayed several times due to wrestling with the effects of COVID in our stateside office and welcoming new children during COVID in Latvia. It is the first time in 24 years that we have not sent out a Christmas card or photo. For this reason, this letter is full of photos and wishes for your continued joy and peace in this New Year that is already speeding past. We are still in lockdown for COVID, and our farm continues to provide a safe outing for the children. Because the farm is full of rolling hills, it is perfect for sledding, and both children and staff enjoy the fresh, outdoor exercise.
I especially chose this series of photos to highlight our “angel” Valerijs. Valerijs has been our driver and maintenance man and resident “male figure” since 2007. He is 65 years young, and as you can see by the photos, he gives the children his all. At home, Valerijs is a busy husband and father with his youngest child only two years old, and yet, he still has energy and loves to spend it on the children at the Sparrow’s Nest. Inese is another staff member who gives her all and has served with the Sparrow’s Nest for over ten years.
Inese is a licensed social care worker, and over the years, she has made it a practice to regularly attend seminars which help her stay fresh and energized in her relationships with the children. Inese has raised three sons of her own and is active in her church and community. She knows God’s Word and lives by her faith. These qualities make her someone the children turn to and in whom they find confidence, hope, and joy. Here she is after sledding all day—warming up with the children by the fire.
With your support and prayers, five new children were added to the Sparrow’s Nest family over Christmas and New Year’s. Little Baiba came for short-term care after her family suffered a setback due to addiction. Baiba has hip dysplasia and needs to wear a brace for 15 hours each day. With the help of our doctor, we are learning how to keep her comfortable and how to distract her so that the time passes as pleasantly as possible. We have won her trust, and she is now smiling and interacting with the staff and children. Rebekah has come to us struggling to find a place to “grow up” until she is 18. She has suffered abuse in past placements, making it difficult for her to connect and trust. She is a good student and plays the flute. We are hoping to see the weight of depression and anxiety fall away as she receives God’s love through us. Please pray with us for Rebekah. She is 15 years old, and she desperately needs hope for her future and a sense of belonging. Kristers, Markuss, and Adriana came to us when their grandmother suffered a stroke. She had been raising them for nine years after their parents moved to Western Europe for a better life. Two days after the children joined us, their grandmother passed away. As I write this letter, we are comforting the children and helping them prepare for her funeral. The children’s birth parents are not interested in caring for them, so they will need a new family. Please pray with us for a strong, loving family.
Recently, a partner designated their gift for therapy that would benefit the children during this pandemic. So many important therapies are not possible right now; however, we learned of an animal therapy that’s in its developmental stages. They agreed to a visit, and the rest was magic! Many of our children are afraid and awkward around animals, but these big, fury friends put everyone at ease. Please continue to pray for those children who have been identified for adoption but whose new parents are unable to travel due to the pandemic. The long wait is wearing on the children so we ask you to pray for renewed hope and patience for their weary souls. Please pray for the families who must renew their documents and continue to pursue their adoption journey. We live each day in gratitude for every gift and every prayer that has enabled us to work for these 24 years. We wish you continued peace and joy in this year and thank you for being a friend and partner of the Sparrow’s Nest.