A September Update

Dear Friends,

Many of our friends have asked about the crisis in Ukraine, and truly, seasons have changed politically and socially within Latvia as a result of the conflict between Russia and Ukraine. Questions are raised about Latvia’s own future, and the conflict is a reminder of the painful events of the past. While the overall atmosphere is one of confidence in NATO and the European Union, there are undercurrents that make this a stormy season for Latvians.

While clouds may be gathering in the political arena, the Sparrow’s Nest team remains in faith that God is in charge of our future. The past several months have seen much activity at Sparrow’s Nest with another adoption taking place, new children arriving, and volunteers coming and going to help with the care of children and the facilities.

At the end of July, Dans and Alise were placed with the Miller family from the United States. The wait for their adoptive family was long, and they literally grew up in the Sparrow’s Nest family for seven years. Adoption is always celebrated at Sparrow’s Nest, but there can be a bit of heartache for the staff as we say goodbye, especially when the children have been with us a long time. However, because the Miller family has been connected with Sparrow’s Nest as volunteers for the past ten years, we all felt that the children were moving from one branch of the family to another!

As these children joined their adoptive family, four new children found a refuge at Sparrow’s Nest. New children mean new challenges and new relationships for the Sparrow’s Nest family. Each child received needed medical care, and it seemed that this was the summer of adenoid and tonsil removal. It is amazing how much better a child feels and behaves when they can breathe freely! Thank you for your help in providing this medical care.

One of the new children, ten-year-old Anetta, came to Sparrow’s Nest after the foster family she had been living with for seven years was no longer able to care for her. We are staying close to her as she battles with grief and depression. When a staff member recently shared her own testimony with Anetta, this young girl prayed and asked Jesus into her heart. With God’s love and peace filling her heart, she is already on the road to restoration. She is pictured here on her way to her first day in a new school. Thank you for your gifts that help provide a place of refuge for hurting children.

Each year we have volunteers who help fill the gaps with childcare and facility maintenance at the Sparrow’s Nest. This summer we had a unique team from Switzerland who volunteered to help us improve our “IT department.” To be honest, I was not exactly sure that we had an IT department! When the team arrived, they made simple changes that greatly improved our computer performance. They taught us, made suggestions, and connected us with Latvian professionals who are willing to donate their time when help is needed in the future.

Two volunteer teams came from churches with the goals of helping to maintain the farm and orphanage buildings and spending individual time with the children. We welcomed a team of ten from Lithuania and a team of fourteen from the United States.

Each child was touched and changed by the love of God that these teams shared. The Lithuanian team brought music and the willingness to hold each one of our little ones as much as they wanted. Men and boys from the volunteer teams braved mosquitoes, helping our younger boys “grow” into the outdoor adventure of sleeping outside in the tree house or tents for the first time. Projects that would have taken us several months to accomplish ourselves, the American team completed in a week even as they embraced the children and made them part of each project.

Volunteers are an integral part of our work, and we have both short-term and long-term volunteer positions available. If you or your church sense the leading of God to serve as volunteer team members in the future, please contact me at: alissastemple@gmail.com.

School started on September 1st, and the children of Sparrow’s Nest are off to a good start. Our staff and the senior citizens who help with reading and tutoring are ready to help make this a good school year for the children.

In our last newsletter, I shared of our need to replace old and broken bicycles—and that need was met immediately! The children were thrilled to ride on bicycles that had both pedals and a seat as many of our older bicycles were in bad shape. We were able to purchase nine new bicycles and one adult bicycle with a toddler seat on the back.

I want to thank you for your continued prayers and support. Several emergency needs have arisen with our facilities and God has provided for us to begin needed repairs. Please join us in thanking God for meeting every need as we move towards the end of this year. Sparrow’s Nest belongs to God, and He has faithfully met every need we’ve had for over seventeen years. We give Him glory and praise for every child rescued, for every biological family restored, every adoptive family that has stepped forward, and every child made whole.

God bless you in your sphere of influence, and we pray for you as we pray for ourselves—that we will accomplish the good works that God has ordained for each one of us.

With love in Christ,

Alissa Stemple

 


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