A November Update

Dear Friends,

I was walking and praying this morning after my meetings with the staff in Latvia. It has been three years since God led me to move my family home to Oklahoma in order for my children to finish high school in the United States. It was not an easy transition for me, and it seems that only now I am learning how to live with my heart in two places!

I wake up quite early most mornings to coordinate and begin my work with the staff in Latvia. The time difference between the two countries is eight hours, so if I begin at 5:00 a.m., I can work with our staff after their lunch break and also spend time with the Sparrow’s Nest children as they come home from school. Skype and FaceTime allow me to hold meetings, pray with the staff and children, and see how everyone is doing—and all face to face!

To give you an idea of what it’s like, this morning I met with Inga Husko, our acting director, and we finalized the work schedule for this month and the vacation schedule for 2015. Next, I congratulated Andrejs on his 15th birthday, and then talked with little Artis and Reinars, ages 7 and 8, concerning behavior issues. As I finished with the boys, I took a break from my work in Latvia to make breakfast and send my son and daughter off to school. They are both so independent now.

Leza is a senior in high school this year, and Maksim is a sophomore. Both are doing well in school and are involved in sports, band, and other activities. They have both come a long way since the day they arrived at the Sparrow’s Nest and then became my son and daughter. It was God’s wisdom that we spend these years in the States. This time has allowed both children to develop a deeper relationship with their extended family and a greater cultural understanding and appreciation of America.

Once Leza and Maksim headed out to school, I continued my work with Latvia via FaceTime. Valerijs, our handyman at the orphanage, came into the office just arriving home from a four-day trip to Lithuania. (Two weeks earlier, I had received an urgent request for help from a missionary family who needed to get a roof on their church building before the winter snows arrived. So I sent Valerijs to Lithuania to help.) Now back in the office, he gave me a full report on his trip and the work that was accomplished on the roof. Next, I met with two new employees who will be serving as care workers to the children, and then I said my goodbyes for the day to our leadership team.

During my afternoons, I mostly work on the regular reporting and paperwork needed for the orphanage. Today, I am writing to you and spending time arranging visits for adoptive families. I am also making flight arrangements for a trip to Latvia this month. Though we are based for a short while in the United States, I travel to Latvia three to four times a year to provide the leadership and oversight that helps our team stay focused on the call God has given us.

I see God’s provision and wisdom daily in this season, and yet, I must confess that it is not always easy to be willing and obedient. When one of my children at the Sparrow’s Nest faces serious illness or need, it is only sheer determination to trust the leading of God that keeps me from packing up and moving back to Latvia. There have been days when I reasoned with God and pleaded my case to move back to Latvia, but He orders the seasons, and our season in America is not over yet.

You may have faced similar situations where sheer determination to trust God is required. I know that Jesus faced this for us when He was obedient even unto death on the Cross. He determined to trust the Father’s plan for redemption and to play His part no matter what. Jesus’ entrance into our world was at the time set by God, and God assures us that He has determined our times as well. In Acts 17:26 we read: From one man he made all the nations, that they should inhabit the whole earth; and he marked out their appointed times in history and the boundaries of their lands. [NIV Bible]

Our lives and where we are called to be are not random events. God has determined the times we are in and the exact places where we live. He is steadily and faithfully accomplishing His will in the earth. He has planned for us and given us all we need to follow Him—right now in our appointed time. With this knowledge, we can have assurance to do our part and hold our position in God’s plan.

This same assurance gives us confidence to work with the children God brings to the Sparrow’s Nest. No matter how troubled and deeply wounded they are, God has brought these children at this time to receive His touch through our hands, our prayers, and our financial support. Thank you for standing with the Sparrow’s Nest and for being led by God as you pray and support the work of the orphanage. We wish you a wonderful Thanksgiving holiday this month with your friends and family.

With love in Christ,

Alissa Stemple

Year-End Needs . . .

I share the special needs of the Sparrow’s Nest because many of you have asked to be informed. Some are called to pray. Some know that they are called to give towards these needs. If we all follow the leading of the Holy Spirit, every need will be met in the right time!

  1. Three new artificial Christmas trees—one for each of the children’s homes. The ones we own have just worn out over the years with so much celebrating! — $360.00 USD.
  2. New sleds for the upcoming winter, including one ride-and-pull sled for our toddlers (these are a bit more expensive). Altogether we would need $320.00 USD.
  3. Good quality winter boots for our older boys. They are now in men’s sizes and need something of better quality to last through walking to school in the winter. For the four oldest boys, we would need to spend $400.00 USD.
  4. Puzzles and board games. As the winter darkness closes in, the children spend more and more time indoors. We have a need to replenish our board games, UNO cards, and puzzles — $200.00 USD.
  5. Snow pants and bibs for our preschool age children — $180.00 USD.
  6. Dressers or wardrobes for clothing — $700.00 USD.
  7. Our biggest need is to replace two vehicles. We replaced our oldest van four years ago, and now we need to replace our other two vehicles—one a 1996 model, and the other a 1999 model. Both have served us well and are still running, but their bodies have rusted out. For this reason, they will not pass their next safety inspection.

We plan to purchase used vehicles in good mechanical condition from Germany. We have been using the Opel Zephyr, which is a mini-van that seats 7 passengers but is compact and easy to handle. We would like to purchase the 2006–2008 model year. Estimated cost for each van is $12,000.00 USD.

Thank you for joining us in prayer and thanksgiving that every need is met!

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