Thank you for taking a moment to allow us to fill you in on the last several months. God has been so faithful in keeping our momentum at Lost Sparrows, even during the quarantine. We have spent a lot of time planning and organizing our next steps. We have also been able to support some of our ministry partners overseas as they also struggle with the pandemic. We see God’s will being done and know that He is still in control, even as the world seems so out of control. Children need families now more than ever, and we are working diligently to help children and families thrive around the world.
Highlights from Croatia and Bosnia
January 30 to February 7 was an exciting time for us as Stacey was able to travel to Europe one last time before everyone was shut down. For the last few years, we have had some terrific partners in Bosnia, Josh and Taylor Irby, that we have been working with. Now Josh and Taylor are consistent partners with Lost Sparrows, and due to the pandemic are stateside after living in Bosnia for 10+ years. During Stacey’s time there, so many positive things were accomplished. Here are some highlights:
Stacey and Taylor went to Zagreb, Croatia to join 43 people from several nationalities representing 8 countries across Eastern Europe. The meeting was hosted by World Without Orphans. Across 2 days we participated in networking with others involved in orphan care. We learned what others are doing and were able to share what we can offer in trauma-informed education.
We partnered with a nonprofit in Sarajevo called “Give Us a Chance.” This organization supports families who have children with special needs. In Bosnia there is very little government support and help for these people, so “Give Us a Chance” helps by providing respite care, education, therapy, equipment, and relational support for families that often feel forgotten. We had three events with this organization during the week. First, we did a Night Out for parents of special needs children. Lost Sparrows paid for the food and brought special gifts donated by special needs families in the US. Registration was full at 35 moms within 8 hours. We were able to share our passion for these children and listen to the struggles of so many incredibly sacrificing women. The dinner ended with impromptu dancing. It was clear these moms were so encouraged!
The next day Stacey led a training class for the staff of this organization. She covered the topics they said they needed most help with: aggressive children and children who are nonverbal. At the end of the class, Stacey shared the heartwarming story of bringing our son home from Bulgaria. She was able to share what the trauma of an institution did to him, and how he is healing from it. She encouraged the staff that what they are doing keeps kids out of institutions. There was not a dry eye in the room. Another day we did a training for moms of these kids with special needs. It was another very powerful day and ended with the director presenting us with gifts and being invited to coffee by the moms. It was such an encouraging time for everyone.
Stacey then led a seminar for students on stress, anxiety and growing up with second hand trauma. Several students attended and were engaged as they learned more about how to manage their stress, as this generation is known as the most anxious generation. Although the seminar ended at 9:30, students stayed until almost 11 talking.
“Just as man cannot live without dreams, he cannot live without hope. If dreams reflect the past, hope summons the future.”Elie Weisel
Zorey is not impressed.
Our plans sure changed when the pandemic hit. We were scheduled to do a conference in Sarajevo, Bosnia in April that we had to postpone. We are hopeful that we will be able to hold the conference next April as there is much need for education and support of local families. We have been able to remotely support several partners in Bulgaria and Bosnia that are supporting families through this very challenging pandemic. We are also working on translating training videos and books into native languages.
God is moving in so many ways with Lost Sparrows.
There will be much more info to come in our next newsletter. Thank you for supporting and praying for Lost Sparrows as we continue to share God’s love and help children thrive in families.