Convivio Familiar

Last Friday, Love & Hope Children’s Home invited the families of our children to spend the day at the pool with us. This is a yearly event where we celebrate family, healing and Christmas. We call it Love & Hope’s Convivio Familiar, or Family Reunion.

This year, our Convivio Familiar was held at Los Chorros. Los Chorros is made up of pools fed by naturally filtered rain water that falls from the cliffs and hills surrounding the pools. The water is crystal clear, fresh, cool and clean. There are even little fish that live in the pools. If you stay still for long enough, they come nibble on your feet.

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Most of the Love & Hope kids had special family members present: mom, dad, aunt, cousins, sisters and brothers. All of the kids had a great time running around together, playing in the pools, running under the waterfalls, trying to catch fish and having water races. We eventually stopped to eat lunch and rest for a while, but afterwards, we enjoyed the pools into the afternoon.

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Around 3:00pm, we loaded up the cars and took everyone to the park. There, the Love & Hope kids gave their families Christmas gifts that they had personally shopped for. We do this every year, and the kids always do a great job of buying things that their families need: cleaning supplies, toiletries, sandals, food, special treats, etc. We were also able to give each family a basket of food staples and goodies, thanks to our friends at Focus.

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The families of our children are very important to Love & Hope Children’s Home. Our mission is not only to raise the children living in our home, but also to foster healing within their biological families. The parents and siblings of our children visit on a regular basis, have “parents’ school” and therapy with our psychologist, and when possible, attend school events. Love & Hope regularly supports the families of our children with food staples.

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We love seeing the Love & Hope kids being able to interact with their families and hope that one day, they will be agents of positive change within their families and in El Salvador. Please pray for our children and their families. Please also pray for Love & Hope Children’s Home as we seek to provide a Christ-centered family atmosphere for our children!

Congratulations, Jocelyn!

We’ve got BIG news! Jocelyn, Love & Hope Children’s Home’s oldest child, is our first high school graduate, and we couldn’t be more proud! Jocelyn first came to Love & Hope when she was seven years old. Jocelyn finished her high school career at Colegio Luz de Israel, in San Salvador. She graduated in early December surrounded by her Love and Hope family. Jocelyn was able to invite several special people to see her graduate. Among those she invited were, of course, Rachel (Mami), and her Love & Hope “sisters”: Michell, Brenda, Raquel, Daniela and Shelby as well as several of her Love and Hope “aunts and uncles.” Afterward, everyone celebrated with Jocelyn by going out to lunch.





Next year, Jocelyn plans to attend la Universidad Evangelica de El Salvador (the Evangelical University of El Salvador) in San Salvador. She will study English translation and interpretation there. While she doesn’t know exactly what kind of job she would like to have one day, we know that English is the right choice for her. She loves it and fluent English speakers are in very high demand in El Salvador! Jocelyn will also be able to use her English skills one day to fulfill her dream – a trip to England!


One common question for us at Love & Hope is, “What happens when your children turn 18?” Well, Jocelyn is our first 18-year-old and she has chosen to continue to live at Love & Hope Children’s Home. We love Jocelyn as if she were our own, and plan on  giving her our support for as long as she needs it! Love & Hope will offer her a college scholarship every year as long as she keeps her grades up. During vacations and breaks, Jocelyn plans to work.


Jocelyn was able to arrive at this graduation milestone thanks to many, many people who have loved and supported her and Love & Hope Children’s Home over the last ten years. Thank you! You’ve made a crucial impact on Jocelyn’s life forever. We are so proud of Jocelyn for taking advantage of the opportunities she has been given because of our donors and Love & Hope Children’s Home. Congratulations, Jocelyn!

Finca la Providencia

In mid-November, Love & Hope Children’s Home was invited to visit Finca la Providencia, a ministry of Fundación Esteban here in El Salvador. Fundación Esteban has provided Love & Hope with rice, beans, corn and fresh produce for a few years now. Their mission is to help provide food to schools and children’s homes, and they do so by running their 85 acre farm, Finca la Providencia, in the western department of Ahuachapan, El Salvador.




From our home in the city, the farm was about an hour-and-a-half drive away. It’s beautiful drive: mountains and volcanoes everywhere. Arriving at the farm, we were greeted by three dogs and the Love & Hope kids instantly made friends with them. After an introduction to the farm, we were led out to see some of the produce. Finca la Providencia has two acres of maracuya, or, passionfruit. We learned that passionfruit grows on a vine and is ripe when the skin is yellow. The vines were overflowing with fruit.



After seeing a couple of interesting trees, papayas trees, and the farm’s vegetable gardens, we were led to the guayaba, or guava, orchard. Love & Hope Children’s Home loves guavas and Fundación Esteban has obliged us several times with donations. It is common in El Salvador for guavas to be eaten with lime, hot sauce, salt and ground pumpkin seeds (don’t say “ew” until you try it). At the farm, we each got to pick a guava, which were wrapped in newspaper and plastic on the tree to protect them from insects. The guavas were huge! After picking them, the kids were hesitant to put them in a basket to be cleaned; everyone wanted to eat their own guava!



It was a hot day, so everyone was happy to be led back to the hacienda for lunch and shade. We were served chicken, vegetables and rice with corn tortillas made on a comal (a clay griddle which is heated over a fire). To drink we had fresh passionfruit juice. It was delicious. For dessert, we enjoyed the guavas we had picked an hour earlier.

After lunch, the Love & Hope kids were invited to take a tractor ride to the pond. The kids loved riding in the trailer through the corn fields. At the pond, the kids had the opportunity to explore, and a few even tried their hand at fishing. Jacobo caught a tiny, tiny little fish. It was still exciting!






The farm had great views of mountains just over the border in Guatemala. Central America sure is beautiful!


Thank you so very much to our friends at Fundación Esteban for inviting Love & Hope to visit Finca la Providencia. We loved every minute and we are always grateful for your donations. Fundación Esteban has truly been a blessing to Love & Hope Children’s Home!

Gearing Up for a New School Year

Love & Hope Children’s Home recently celebrated the most exciting part of any child’s year: vacation! The Salvadoran school year begins in mid-January and ends in mid-November. We’ve made it and the kids are buzzing (the adults too). We were ready for the break. But supporting 20-plus children means Love & Hope also has to get an early jump on the 2015 school year. We’ve already started the registration process, paid fees and begun gathering the supplies that our kids will need. As Love & Hope prepares for our 2014 Education Fundraiser, we thought we’d take a minute to describe what it takes to get through a school year in our ministry.

During the school year, Love & Hope comes alive at about 4:30am. The tia or tio in charge of breakfast rubs the sleepiness out of their eyes and heads to the kitchen. Meanwhile, the Love & Hope kids take turns showering to get ready for breakfast and devotions at 5:30am. By 6:15, everyone is packed into the microbus, book bags at their feet, poster boards and projects on their laps. Alberto, our driver, made four stops every morning in 2014 to get the kids to their respective schools (we have done our best to match each child with a school environment that best suits their needs). If there is no unexpected traffic, everyone makes it on time.


At noon, Alberto leaves again for pick-ups and by 1:45pm, the kids are home. They change their clothes and eat lunch (they ate a snack at school and on the way home). It is rare that all of the kids are home at one time after school. Many of them are involved in activities outside Love & Hope Children’s Home like soccer, horseback riding and French class. Sometimes they have a medical appointment scheduled.

At 2:30pm, we start homework. Everyone sits down in the dining room to work. We put on some music to make the atmosphere a little more relaxed. Shortly after sitting down, the kids start to call out, “Suzana! Kirsten!” Suzana and Kirsten spend every afternoon supporting the caregivers during homework time and the kids are quite demanding of them: “Kirsten, can you put the password in the computer?” “Suzana, I need posterboard.” “Kirsten, my pen exploded!” “Suzana, can you help me with English homework?” The caregivers, Suzana, and Kirsten spend the afternoon going from child to child, checking their assignment books and making sure their homework is done. As in any household, getting homework done or studying for tests is not always an easy task. Sometimes the kids don’t want to do it, and sometimes they claim not to have anything to do. We try our best to make sure everyone is busy and has the support they need.


Around 4:00pm, someone yells, “HORA DE REFRIGERIO!” “SNACK TIME!” Finished with homework or not, the kids all run to the kitchen for a snack. At this time, some of the kids begin receiving one-on-one tutoring with Kirsten or Suzana. We also have a speech therapist that comes to the house once a week to give attention to several children.

Finding, handing out and buying supplies are another huge part of the school routine. The kids start the school year with everything they need for class. But every day, they come home needing materials to complete projects and homework: permanent markers, glue guns, science tools, art supplies, novels, food to share at school, poster board, huge sheets of Styrofoam, yarn, glitter, photos, clay, foamy, costumes, construction paper, file folders. You name it, we’ve probably provided it for a school assignment (once we sent two whole fish to school for a dissection…seriously). Providing supplies and completing projects for one or two children can be complicated; we are doing it for about 20! Sometimes it is difficult to keep it all organized, but we’ve found that a running “request” list outside the office does the trick.


If all goes as planned, the kids are usually all done with homework by dinner time. After that, they are allowed to watch T.V. or play video-games for an hour before bed if they’ve completed their tasks for the day and have behaved well. By 8:00pm, everyone is pretty exhausted. Bed time isn’t long after as it all starts again at 4:30am the next morning.

For Gloria, Kirsten and Suzana, the evenings and Saturday mornings are also sometimes occasion to go to the schools for parent meetings, parent’s “school” and grades pick-up. There were many mornings this year where Gloria and Kirsten spoke with teachers personally or via email to discuss and resolve issues our kids experienced at school. We also have attended countless talent shows, concerts, sports days, science fairs, family days, etc., in the evenings and on the weekends. There is always something happening at the schools.

Can you see why we’re excited to end the school year and have a vacation in November? We think the kids (and adults!) have earned it.

Love & Hope is able to provide our children with quality, private education thanks to generous donors. This year, we saw many of our children improve, gain confidence and look forward to going to the right school. Without your support, this would be impossible. Love & Hope Children’s Home is already raising money for the 2015 school year, because we know that a good education can mean the difference between a life of sustenance and a life of success. Learn more and support our 2015 education fund by clicking here.