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July Newsletter

Dear Friend,

We have just finished celebrating Independence Day in the USA and the freedom we enjoy as a nation. Though we are seeing upheavals and struggles in our nation, we are blessed beyond measure to live in a country where freedom and personal rights still matter. However, the effects of the oppression of Communism continue in nations like Latvia which are working towards freedom and full expression of culture and history.

Latvia’s rich culture is on display this summer with the summer solstice holiday “Ligo” and the famous youth song and dance festival that happens every four years. The festival dates back to 1873 when 1,000 singers and dancers came together. This year there will be over 40,000 participants coming from every region in the nation of Latvia. For the first time, three of our children are active in Latvian dance making the Sparrow’s Nest family more involved and interested than ever before. These children have been with us long-term and have stabilized and are able to explore their interests and develop their talents. Confidence and positive self-image develop as our children try and succeed!

Recently, our sweet, little Dina was placed with a foster family, and we are thrilled for her. After visiting with her over the course of two weeks, her foster father arrived to take her home. She will be the only child of this young Latvian couple who hopes to be able to adopt Dina in the future. At three years of age, Dina came to the Sparrow’s Nest after severe neglect. With your help, she celebrated her third birthday with us, received all her immunizations, and participated in speech and physical therapy. She is on the path to a brighter future.

I shared in our June letter about a new child named Arturs who had just arrived at the Sparrow’s Nest. Arturs had a visit from a relative he had never met so a staff member quietly supervised and observed the visit this week. Our staff member overheard the relative promising Arturs to try and get him out of our center. Arturs responded immediately, “Why will you take me away? This is God’s house. This is a sweet and kind house.” Arturs explained patiently to the relative how we live and the help he has received. It is a beautiful and unscripted testimony of the power of love and kindness in a child’s life. We will work with this relative and support their desire to help, but we are thankful that Arturs feels so loved, protected, and accepted while awaiting his forever home.

We had a special camp for our children at our own farm. A group of youth and several families from a church in Lithuania came to put on a four-day camp. The youth group planned many fun games and activities, and they even brought and cooked all the meals! Everyone had a great time and together created sweet memories and friendships. We are so grateful for these volunteers and the opportunities they provided for our children. God worked through them to touch the lives of our children and staff.

Thank you for your generous support that goes directly to make our service to children and families possible. Your investment in children’s lives is carefully stewarded to yield huge returns of safety, hope, and new destinies. We are changing history together as our work affects not only the children and families in our care but generations to come.

As evidence of this, during July, another Sparrow’s Nest “grandbaby” was born to a woman who was placed as a child in our center in 1998. As a little girl, this woman was diagnosed as legally blind, severely mentally handicapped, and autistic. At the time of her placement with the Sparrow’s Nest, all the hospitals and institutions had turned her down. Through the intervention and help provided by our center and her adoptive family, she went on to finish high school with honors, achieved her associate degree, and served for four years in the United States Marine Corps. She and her husband have just welcomed their second child—a little boy. The contrast between her destiny as an abandoned, misdiagnosed child and her real potential is enormous! Together, we have power to effect change for these children for generations to come.

We send big greetings from the Sparrow’s Nest family and baskets full of gratitude for your continued support and interest.

With love in Christ,

Alissa Stemple

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