Report from Bolivia

In front of the finished addition

We look back on the past year 2023 with gratitude. On December 3, 2022, we traveled as a family with our two children and the Willi & Larissa Bese family, also with two children, from Herford, Germany to Bolivia. After much prayer, we felt convicted to take over the directorship of the children’s home for a year.

Right next to the children’s home is a beautiful apartment with three bedrooms, a bathroom, and a large living and dining area. As soon as we had unpacked our suitcases and looked around the children’s home, we felt at home. Our children, Alina (14 years old) and Anne-Marie (9 years old), also immediately felt at home.

Since Willi Bese is a bricklayer and project manager, he worked intensively on the extension of the dormitories for the boys. After six weeks of work, the Bese family returned to Germany and subsequently came back to Bolivia for five weeks in October 2023 to complete the brickwork.

Our arrival marked the start of a different kind of work under changed circumstances. When we arrived, only ten children were living in the children’s home, but the house filled up before the end of the year.

Our main task was to manage the children’s home. This included drawing up duty rosters for the staff and children, conducting devotions, taking the children to the doctor, providing childcare, sewing, and all the janitorial duties. The care of the animals (chickens, cows, and pigs) was also performed with the help of the children.

The early morning prayer meetings with the staff and the morning and evening devotions with the children were particularly important to us. Our deepest wish was to tell the children again and again about God’s love and to impress on their hearts that God is there for us.

Over the course of the year, many people from different countries visited us. Some only stayed for a short time, others for three months, and some even for a year. We are grateful to God for everyone who helped. Without this support, many excursions with the children and other activities would not have been possible.

Because of the building site, many helpers also came to work on the construction project. We are grateful that no one was injured during this time, and, after a lot of hard work, the first boys were able to move into the addition in the summer. Since November 2023, all boys and male employees have been housed in the new building.

Nine children now live in the home permanently, while others come to the children’s home for the duration of their parents’ stay at the rehabilitation center, usually for a period of three months. A maximum of 45 children at one time lived in the children’s home. Over the course of the year, we took in around 100 children. We are also very grateful that the children can attend school at the children’s home during their stay. This is a special privilege, as not all children have access to schooling.

During this time, our own children attended an online German school so that they could go back to their old classes when we returned to Germany.

A particularly difficult time was when dengue fever was raging in the children’s home. The course of the disease was so bad for many that hospitalization was necessary. But with God’s help, we also got through this trying phase. To God be the glory!

At the children’s home, three women work in the kitchen, three in childcare, two employees run the school, and a young woman tidies up and does the laundry. Leo Grötzinger has been working at the children’s home since October 2020. After our departure, he took over the directorship again. All of the staff do a great job. It’s not just a job but a mission in action. We are often asked whether this work is meaningful. The answer can be found in the happy eyes of the children!

During the year, we experienced God much more deeply and got to know Him better. “Unless the Lord guards the city, the watchman stays awake in vain.” We experienced this anew every day. God is our protection.

We arrived home in Germany after an eventful year, immensely grateful and enriched by many experiences with God. To God be the glory and praise for everything!

Hagel family, Herford (DE)

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