Kevin’s Story: Part I

This week, we want to tell you a story in several parts. It is a story about God’s grace and timing, his provision and amazing plan. This is Kevincito’s story.


In July 2006, an elderly man came to Love & Hope Children’s Home looking for a home for his three-year-old grandson that had severe disabilities. The boy was also extremely underweight for his age. We thought that with a good diet and a lot of love, Kevin’s health would improve quickly, as it had with other children who had arrived at Love & Hope in a state of malnutrition.

Kevin’s grandfather had been doing his best to care for him, but knowing that someone else would be able to offer Kevin better care and medical attention, he lovingly trusted us with his sweet, frail little boy.

When Kevin arrived at Love & Hope that summer, he was in serious condition. Unwilling to make eye contact, uncomfortable in every position, seeming to be constantly in pain, not able to support himself, and unable to keep even milk in his stomach, Kevin needed substantial medical attention and therapy. His caregivers experienced many sleepless nights caring for him and many long days trying to help him keep food down, stay cool and remain reasonably happy.

Still unable to gain weight but improving slowly, Kevin started receiving therapy at Funter, a therapy center here in El Salvador. Several times a week, he would receive physical, occupational and swim therapy. We could see over the next few years that our little man was getting stronger.

Gradually, with the help of doctors and nutritionists, we learned what an appropriate diet for Kevin would be. He started holding food down and eating regularly. He still wasn’t gaining weight, but he wasn’t losing it either.


Every so often, Kevin would get sick and end up in the hospital. His time in the hospital usually meant he lost some weight, but he would also come home healthier, hydrated and happy.

Kevincito is now nine-years-old. Though still extremely small and unable to gain much weight, Kevin is the happiest, healthiest and strongest we have ever seen him. Over the last two years he has improved immensely. Most nights he sleeps like any nine-year-old should and wakes up last despite the loud environment provided by the other little boys in his room. He eats a variety of natural foods and is able to keep them in his stomach most of the time.


Kevin loves sitting in his highchair while everyone else is eating. He finds their energy, conversations, songs and even crying very funny. It is not uncommon to walk into his room and find Kevin sitting up in his crib on his own and playing with his light-up and musical toys.

On Fridays, Kevin receives riding therapy. When he started a year ago, he sat like a baby on the horse with the instructor. Kevin has improved to the point of being able to sit-up on the horse by himself. When he is done with the session, he is covered in sweat and breathing deep from all the hard work!


Probably our favorite time to watch Kevincito is at the beach. He loves it: the pool, the sand, the waves, the sun. He can sit by himself in the sand for a long time, curling his fingers into it, licking the salt water off of his lips.


Kevin’s improvement over the last seven years has amazed us. The resilience and strength present in his little body is inspiring. The best part is that for Kevin, a new journey is beginning. Kevin is being adopted! Before we tell you that story, though, we need to tell you about how this sweet, handsome boy has captured the hearts of everyone at Love & Hope Children’s Home. Check back in a few days to read about the special relationship Kevin shares with the rest of our children.

10 Futbólistas

Soccer, as we like to call it in the United States, carries a lot of weight down here in El Salvador. Futból is everyone’s favorite sport. It is the sport that everyone cheers for, everyone understands, and everyone knows how to play (even if just for fun). The children at Love & Hope Children’s Home are no exception! 

Every Monday and Wednesday at 4:00, about 10 of the children get dressed and ready to go to soccer practice at our local park. They walk down the hill, cleats on, water bottles in hand, tote bags strapped to their shoulders, excited to see their friends and play their favorite game. The three girls from Love & Hope that play are the only girls on the team. Even our two littlest boys participate!

All of the participants convene on the cancha (field) and split into groups by age. They stretch, exercise, run and practice fundamental soccer skills at the direction of their coach. Toward the end of practice, the teams scrimmage. Before heading home for the evening, one of the players leads the entire group in prayer. 


Saturday is game day. Early on Saturday morning when most kids would be groaning about getting out of bed, our futbólistas (soccer players) pop-up, take their showers and put on their red and yellow uniforms. They have so much to look forward to! Sometimes games are at the local park and other times a little bit of travel is involved. Either way, they all come home in a good mood ready to recount the highlights of the game.


Thanks to our sponsors and donors our children are able to participate in soccer. Futból has been a great way for many of our children to find recreation, discover their talent, make new friends and gain confidence. We love watching them find motivation to practice (constantly) and learn about team work and commitment!

¿Qué es el Amor?

Here in El Salvador, Valentine’s Day is more commonly referred to as El Día de Amor y Amistad, or Love and Friendship Day. We had a lot of fun this past Thursday celebrating love and friendship together.

We started early with heart-shaped pepperoni on top of heart-shaped pizza for dinner on Wednesday. On Thursday morning, the children were excited to go to school in jeans (rather than their normal uniforms), and they enjoyed heart-shaped pancakes, eggs and bacon for breakfast. At school the kids had parties and ventas, or sales, from which they could buy flowers for their friends or a special snack. 


When the kids came home from school, they worked on putting together a costume. After lunch, the caregivers put on a short skit for the kids about the true love of God, and then we had a costume contest. The winners received quite a special treat: a meal from Burger King!


Later, we went up to the terrace for a few games. The kids had to try and get a cookie from their forehead to their mouth without using their hands! There was also a little sock-wrestling. At dinner it was time for more heart-shaped food, but not before everyone took a minute to write down what love means. ¿Que es el amor? Here are some of the answers the children came up with:

Amor es felicidad. Love is happiness.

Amor es sinceridad. Love is sincerity.

Amor es ser amable con nuestros hermanos. Love is being nice to our brothers.

Amor es jugar con amigos. Love is playing with friends.

Amor es armonía. Love is harmony.

Amor es paz. Love is peace.

Amor es respeto a los demas. Love is respect for others.

Amor es confianza. Love is trust. 

Amor es que Dios nos dió la salvación. Love is that God gave us salvation. 


After everyone had completed the activity, dinner was served on decorated tables and plates: heart-shaped cheeseburgers, heart-shaped twice-baked potatoes, and ice cream floats. Yum!


The last Valentine’s surprise was a scavenger hunt. Every child was given one clue. If they figured out their clue, they were rewarded with a bag of candy! Don’t worry, some needed a little help, but everyone figured it out.

Special activities and holidays have a way of reminding us how much fun we have together. We hope that wherever you are, you and yours felt a lot of love this Valentine’s Day. Here at Love & Hope Children’s Home, we discover everyday that love never fails. 

It sure doesn’t. 


Tarea has been a popular word around Love & Hope Children’s Home the last three weeks. In English, it means homework. The children have been in school for a few weeks now and with school comes homework: lots of it. 

Every afternoon the kids get home from school around 2:00pm. They eat lunch right away and by 2:30pm, everyone is expected to be seated with their books and materials, ready to work. Each group of children has a specified area to do homework. They spread out with books open, pencils and erasers in hand, and colored pencils, glue and scissors within reach. 


All of the adults in the house help out, sitting down with one or two children to get them started, help them focus and cheer them on. If the kids finish their homework quickly, they engage in academic reinforcement or other activities provided by our caregivers until 4:00pm.


Some of the older children have also worked out a “contract” with our social worker; when they finish their own homework, they go to work helping the younger children with homework. The results have been great so far. The little ones love the attention and have been working great with their older counterparts. The older kids are also thrilled that their work contract designates Friday as their payday!

The children have been working so hard! Please pray for continued motivation and for wisdom in how the staff and voluteers can best support the kids as they do their tareas every afternoon.

Meal Time Songs

Every home has a meal time tradition. Here at Love & Hope Children’s Home, our tradition for the last nine years has been to sing and pray before eating. Back before Rachel opened Love & Hope, she worked at another children’s home and with children on a garbage dump. Before eating, the children in both locations would lead each other in a song. That tradition carried over to Love & Hope Children’s Home, and even our older kids still join in the songs.

Usually there are so many willing leaders among the little kids that the adults have to specify who will pick the song and lead the others. Below our house is a valley, and you can be sure that when the kids want them to, all of our neighbors can hear their song!

After singing, everyone takes a moment to pray. Then we all dig in to another meal together.