God´s word will prosper

11:55 AM   //   by Emily Garrett Peña   //   Blog, The Other Way  //  No Comments

On her last day with us, we gathered around to pray for “Maria” and her baby. She has been part of our weekly discipleship program in a government home for adolescent mothers for the past six months. Like most of the girls there, she loves her son and wants a better life for him. Maria is happy to be going out from the program, but we all know she needs further help if she is going to beat her drug addiction. Her baby was born with some health problems due to her substance abuse, but is doing well now.

Most of these teen moms have no “support network” of family, church, or community to help them carry their babies full-term and then raise their children to healthy adulthood. Many of the fathers are involved in drugs and crime, and few of them want to try to have a functional family with the girls; they don’t even know what that is like. Since the girls are minors, the government takes them in during this critical time.

Here in “Seeds of Hope” (Semillas de Esperanza) we’ve been sowing in Maria’s life. This week as we prayed and hugged her goodbye, we release those seeds of the gospel into God’s hands. He is good and He is all-powerful. We are confident that He will continue watering those seeds in her life and in her little son, according to His wonderful plans for them.

“So shall My word be that goes forth out of My mouth: it shall not return to Me void [without producing any effect, useless], but it shall accomplish that which I please and purpose, and it shall prosper in the thing for which I sent it.”

Isaiah 55:11 (AMP)

Prayer requests and update for the new year!

07:08 PM   //   by Katrina Paez   //   Blog  //  No Comments

A new year, time goes by so fast! We wanted to give you all a little update

on each area of the ministry, and how you can be praying for us.

Friends Club

The children have anxiously been coming to the door to ask when the club

would start again, and to their joy it did on February 10th! For a lot of the

children, Friends Club is one of their only opportunities to play, be a child,

feel loved, and to learn about Jesus! This year Mary is continuing to have 5

recreation clubs, 2 teenage discipleship groups (boys and girls), and 4 Bible

clubs a week along with the monthly mom and baby group. Please be

praying for the children’s hearts and minds to be able to fully understand this year’s focus, the Kingdom of God.

The Jungle Club

The Jungle Club opened on February 8th with 73 children! It was such a

blessing to see their faces again, welcome them inside, watch them play

and have fun, but most of all to see how hungry they were to hear about

Jesus again. During the teaching time they were all so well behaved, sitting

and really listening to what they were being taught. Please be praying that

we can continue to build relationships with the children and their families.

Also, we are praying about making some changes to better serve the

different age groups, please pray that God would give us wisdom and

guidance in making these decisions.

Seeds of Hope

This outreach ministry to pregnant teenagers is growing! There was so much

interest from the young girls that the government run center has asked us

to come twice a week in order to work with more girls. The desire of the

team is to disciple and to be examples of the love of Jesus to these young

girls as they prepare to become mothers.  This year the center moved it’s location to a different neighborhood making it difficult to bring the girls into one of our buildings. The solution has been that they have given us a space to have the group inside of their center. Please be praying for safety for our team as they travel there, it is a very dangerous neighborhood full of prostitution, drugs, and violence.

Light and Life school

This new year has brought some big changes to the school. As a team we

began to pray and ask God what He wanted for the school this year. God

clearly showed us that the full-time school was to be shut for a time, but

that the afternoon discipleship and homework help time should continue. So

this year we are still receiving the children that have been a part of the

school for years, many of them now teenagers and in high school. Please be

praying for unity among our team and that we can be examples to the

children. Please also pray for our teenagers as they are going through a

stage of their lives where they surrounded by temptations and learning to

make their own decisions. Please pray that they would understand who they are in Christ

and how He desires for them to live.

Restored Heritage

There is always a lot going on at the farm and in our 24-hour care homes. There are so many children of different ages, which makes it challenging but fun at the same time. All of the children are back in school now and are enjoying their new teachers and making new friends.  Please join us in praying for all of the children who live full-time in the ministry, that they would excel in school, grow into more intimate relationships with Jesus, and for healing in their hearts from all of the rejection and pain they have received.

On March 1st, one of the girls who has grown up in the Kiwi house is leaving to do her Discipleship Training School with YWAM in Venezuela. She is excited to see what God has planned for this time in her life, but also nervous as it will be her first time away from home. Please be praying for her as she makes this big step with the Lord!


This part of the ministry is made up of all of the young people who have grown up in the ministry and are now entering into adulthood. Many of them are beginning their university studies and working to save money. Please be praying for them as they are learning to become more independent, manage a budget, work and study in a secular environment, and begin to understand more the plans that God has for their lives.

Thank you so much for your prayers for this new year in the ministry! We are blessed and encouraged to know that so many people are praying for the children and our staff!

But seek first the kingdom of God and His righteousness, and all these things shall be added to you. Matthew 6:33

Jessica M

Childlike Faith

01:41 PM   //   by Katrina Paez   //   Blog  //  No Comments

”Have the faith of a child” is a phrase we often use to encourage pure trust, and those words ”childlike faith” have come to mind quite a bit lately in my interactions with our youngest in Casa Kiwi.  Little Mr. B is 3 years old, silly, sweet, and full of joy and spontaneity… not to mention the loudest burps I have ever heard in my life: it is quite the marvel!  One of his favorite things to do is slide down our giant slide at the farm, letting himself fly down as fast as velocity will take him, all the while laughing and holding out his arms as he rushes into my own to be caught at the bottom.  He ignores all pleas to slow down and never seems to notice how nervous (read: terrified!) I get as he travels toward me at lightning speed.  But why would he?  He knows that I’ll catch him every time, he knows that he’s safe.

The other day we were getting off of a bus, and I stepped off first to help him down the three huge steps, but when I turned around I realized he had no intention of walking down those steps… nope, he intended to fly!  He was beaming down at me, and the ”Noooo!” escaped my lips at the same time there was a collective gasp of fear from the remaining passengers, and also at the same time he jumped into the air, arms outstretched, trusting to land safely with me.  He did, and then he laughed and laughed and laughed, and all I could do was shake my head and laugh right along with him.

The truth is, I want to trust God as much as B trusts me.  I want to simply leap into the air, without bothering to worry or fear about crashing on the ground and without listening to the nervous gasps or to the ”Noooo!”s in the background… but to just trust that my Father will catch me.  I want to have the faith of my child.

Brittany Fairbanks

Seed of Hope

12:16 PM   //   by Katrina Paez   //   Blog  //  No Comments

Our ministry to pregnant teenagers.  Between 16 to 18 girls meet weekly for a time of crafts and recreation but most importantly a time to learn in God´s word. One verse that God has put on the hearts of the leaders of this ministry is 1 Corinthians 3:7 So then neither he who plants is anything, nor he who waters, but God who gives the increase. Please pray with us that God will bring to harvest the seeds that have been and that are be sown in the hearts and minds of these young women and their babies. These girls are in government care and are often abandoned by there families. The team has a lot of positive  comments about the changes in the girls from the institution where they live.

One 14 year old thought there was no hope of a future for her or her baby. Her prayer was based on Jeremiah 29:11.  I give you hope and a future… Out of no where her Christian grandmother appeared and welcomed her granddaughter and great grandson into her home.

God is good.


by Evie Bartel

It seemed impossible….

10:23 AM   //   by cpaez   //   Blog  //  No Comments

by Emily Garrett

But with God, all things are possible!

Project BigFoot is paid!


Dear friends, we’re writing you with WONDERFUL NEWS!  Last time we sent a letter to you, we explained that we had a great opportunity to raise $36,000 US dollars, which would be doubled by an American company, to total $72,000 dollars — the amount needed to finish paying off the Jungle Club buildings and complete the initial rennovation.

As of last month, we had raised just over one-third of the needed amount ($13,000).  We continued to pray for God’s provision and share with our faithful prayer-warriors, friends, and financial supporters, but we were getting behind on rent due and wondered, “Where will the money come from?!?!”

As always, God had a plan — immeasurably more than all we could ask or imagine! (Ephesians 3:20)  A donor offered to lend us the money, interest-free.  We asked the match-grant company if a loan like that would be valid for us to receive their funding: they said NO.

Again, it was out of our hands!  … but, praise the Lord, God LOVES to work when the situation is beyond our control!
The donor-lender was informed of the company’s response, and prayed about what to do.  God’s answer was clear:  GIVE the money to Project BigFoot!

So now, brothers and sisters in Christ, let’s all give thanks for his extravagant love and provision!  He owns the cattle on a thousand hills, and $36,000 dollars is a drop in the bucket for our Heavenly Father!  Praise him for his faithfulness — he gave the vision to work with Bogotá’s marginalized children, and he continues to make the way to reach this generation right where they are!

Why do you like the Jungle?

Because it’s really niiiice and I like to learn about God!

-Nestor, 11

Por qué te gusta la Jungla?

Because I play.  Because we sing.  And because they give us snacks!

-Jeferson, 8

Our Identity in Christ @ Light and Life

12:21 PM   //   by cpaez   //   Blog  //  No Comments

By Annie Blakeslee

For the month of March, our devotional focus here at Light and Life School has been on our identity in Christ. I asked several children, “what does God think of you?”. Here are their responses:

“I am a work of art!” D, age 7
“I am his son.” B, age 9
“He is proud of me and he thinks that I am very pretty.” J age 12
“He loves me.” C. age 7
“I am marvellous!” S. age 9
“I am a beautiful creation!” J. age 10
“God thinks I’m an intelligent and friendly girl.” C age 13

Pray with me that the hearts of our children truly believe these truths.
May you know that you are the beloved child of the father, a work of art, a beautiful, marvellous creation!

Fertile Soil at the Jungle

08:07 PM   //   by cpaez   //   Blog  //  No Comments

By Emily Garrett

“Some of the kids came into the Jungle and immediately started playing and enjoying their time there, there were some whose game was escaping from the devotional time, and then there were a few kids from the coast who just wanted to keep me from winning the board game we were playing!”
-Bibiana Peña

The last Saturday in January, the Jungle team got together and opened up the Bible club for the first time in 2012. During this year, the kids will be learning the great Bible stories, like Daniel and the Lion’s Den, Jonah, the Fiery Furnace, stories from Jesus’ life and ministry. They started with the Creation during the first Jungle day, praying that the kids can learn and believe that God created them, loves them, and has good plans for them. Their lives have meaning and purpose, because they are individual creations of a personal God.

During the puppet show and craft time, it was evident that God heard those prayers: the children really wanted to participate, affirming that “God made the sun and moon… and he created me, too!” It even became obvious that those kids who spent the devotional time breaking through the “human wall” of teachers had been listening, as they answered questions and participated right along with the others! Let the prayers continue that the spiritual seeds planted this year will grow and give fruit in their time.

Over the past thirty years of ministry with Formando Vidas, we’ve seen how God brings his word to fruition in due time. Nowadays we are blessed to see how He uses the children whose lives he has transformed to sow in the lives of others. One such young man is Juan, staff at the Jungle Club. He came to live in the ministry as a child and proved to be fertile soil for the seeds of God’s truth planted in his life.

On Saturday, two little boys took a toy car from the second floor down to the first floor, which is against the rules. Bibiana, who is a full-time staff member in residential care but who doesn’t usually go to the Jungle, tried to convince them to return the car upstairs, to no avail. Then Juan stepped in, and calmly said, “You need to take the toy upstairs. Come on, let’s go.” And off they went, with no complaints! THAT is natural authority with the children based on Juan’s own life as an at-risk kid, and hard-earned authority because of his consistency with these children at the Jungle!

God is using the Jungle Club to continue touching kids’ lives in Bogotá. Remember that right now we are in a fund-raising push to finish paying off these buildings! A company in the USA has offered us a matching-grant of 36,000 US dollars. If we raise $36,000… they will double it… to $72,000. This is enough to pay what we owe on the buildings and FINISH the planned renovation of The Jungle!!! That means we will be better able to reach the kids in the area, and up to four times as many of them!

If we can get 1,000 people to each donate $36, we can meet this goal! Please help us by praying, and by sharing this information with your friends, family, or church! Check out the website for giving information! Thank you so much for your support of Formando Vidas! We couldn’t do what we do without people like you!

Light and Life School 2012

10:20 AM   //   by cpaez   //   Blog  //  No Comments

By Annie Blakeslee

We’ve started a new school year here at Light and Life school! Teachers spent hours cleaning and decorating classrooms and preparing lessons before our students walked through the doors on February 1. We have 4 new students and 11 returning students, plus 16 continuing education students.

We’re also starting something completely new this year- cyber school! Some of our continuing education students (students who have “graduated” from Light and Life and continue to study at private schools through sponsorships through Formando Vidas) will be doing cyber school at Life and Light. We’re excited about the opportunity this will give some of our students who are older for their grade to advance more quickly and graduate closer in age to their peers. We’re also excited about the greater ability to continue to disciple our students and encourage them in their academic growth. Since it is new for us, we need lots of prayer for wisdom as we work out the details. Our biggest need right now is for a full time supervisor for the students who will oversee their work and be available when they have questions.

Please pray for our students and for their teachers- that this would be a year full of growth spiritually, academically, and emotionally.

The Lord’s Prayer

07:18 AM   //   by cpaez   //   Blog  //  No Comments

By Emily Garrett

Our Father, who art in heaven, hallowed be thy name.
Thy kingdom come, thy will be done on earth as it is in heaven.
Give us this day our daily bread,
and forgive us our debts as we forgive our debtors.
Lead us not into temptation, but deliver us from evil.

(Matthew 6:9-13)

Happy New Year, from the Formando Vidas staff!
We all had a good time of rest and vacation after the hustle and bustle leading up to Christmas. Several staff members were able to travel to visit family, while others stayed in Bogotá. The weather cleared up, as it always does near the end of December, and we enjoyed a warm, sunny Christmas and New Years’!

The whole Formando Vidas team spent a week together to kick off 2012 and to refocus our hearts, minds, and energies for the work to be done this year. The leadership feels that God is leading us to study the Lord’s Prayer during 2012, so each day during the induction week we studied a section of the prayer, as we also shared info and plans from each of the ministry’s areas, and spent time fellowshipping together.

One afternoon Claudia, a teacher at Light and Life school, gave each team member an egg and told us to take it home with us, take care of it, and bring it back for the next day’s intercession time. Some carefully transported their eggs in the crowded public buses, creating systems of protection so that the fragile shells wouldn’t be broken. Others safeguarded their eggs in the office, where they waited, untouched, until the next day. A few eggs didn’t make it through the night, and their caretakers arrived to the meeting the next day empty-handed.

When the time came, Claudia told us that the eggs were an illustration for prayer and intercession. She had heard some say, “I don’t know how to take care of this egg!” Or, “I live with and take care of children; you can’t expect me to take care of an egg, too!” Oftentimes, this is our stance about intercession as well. We feel too busy to make prayer a priority, or we feel unsure about how to intercede. But, said Claudia, just like some protected their eggs by constructing barriers around them, the Holy Spirit covers us and prays for us when we don’t know how or what to say. Thanks to Claudia and everyone on the team for leading us in great times of prayer, intercession, and Bible study, seeking the Lord together and as individuals, and allowing the Holy Spirit to align our hearts to God’s.

Along with the Lord’s Prayer, we as a team will be focusing on living with fear of the Lord, and improving our relationships with each other this year. Please join us in prayer for these focus areas!

Firm Foundations

05:55 PM   //   by cpaez   //   Blog  //  No Comments

By Steve Bartel

Finishing high school and stepping out into the adult world can be daunting, especially if your first steps in life hadn’t started well. That’s why our hearts are always glad when a young person raised by us in Formando Vidas tells us they’ve decided to begin adulthood with a firm foundation in God. They long to continue being discipled, but more deeply than before, even hearing God’s voice for their future.

They can do this at a Discipleship Training School (DTS), investing six months of their lives in learning to “know God and make Him known.” This helps them tremendously as they leave their childhoods behind.

Last year Julian (age 19) finished high school as valedictorian of his class. What an accomplishment for a young man who lived his earliest years surviving day to day in the worst ghetto of Bogota! Now Julian dreams of becoming a Christian Psychologist. By volunteering full time as the teacher for a Formando Vidas’ ministry boy who needs individual attention, Julian received valuable experience. He did wonders with the child! But before he starts his university studies, Julian wants to have his foundation firm in God. A couple of weeks ago he left for Argentina to attend a DTS, stepping out in faith and putting God first in his life. He had saved some personal earnings, a donor helped, and the DTS leadership is willing to trust God with him for the rest.

Jenny is also a recent high school graduate. She lived in a Formando Vidas’ ministry home full time with her three siblings for ten years while her mother got her life in order. Then, for four years, Jenny lived with mom during school days and stayed in her ministry home during weekends and vacations. Her mother and recent stepfather became Christians and now earn an honest living selling snacks on the streets. When Jenny also expressed her desire to have a firm foundation for her future, knowing her heavenly Father in a way she could never trust in her biological father, everyone pitched in. Jenny and her family saved enough money to pay half of her airfare to Chile! (This is an incredible feat for people who live day to day)! Formando Vidas’ staff raised the other half. So with nothing in her pockets or bank she stepped out in faith and started the school in Chile. It has not been easy as the actual school fees are US $1500.00, but Jenny is learning that God is her Provider.

This coming January, three more of our young adults will be leaving our Formando Vidas’ nest to do either a DTS, further Youth With A Mission training, or university. They join almost half a dozen other young people who grew up with us and are already studying and preparing for their future.

It is because of youth like these that we’ve started a scholarship fund. We need your help! Please pray about becoming a regular “gifter” to the scholarship fund. Be a part of transforming lives and help these youth have a firm foundation. You can give through pay pal or send a check; just put “scholarship fund” on the payment.

One more true story: Doris.

Twenty years ago, Doris was one of the first pre-schoolers at Light and Life, our ministry school. Her background was horrible; her future bleak. She lived occasionally with her mother or a sister until, by God’s grace, she finished high school. She then came to live with some Formando Vidas volunteers as God worked deeper in her life. Today Doris has finished her DTS in Chile and is now a student at a Youth With A Mission counseling school there. She is receiving Father’s healing, and, long term, she wants to help kids who come from dysfunctional families like hers. Because of her triumph over her past, Doris has the moral authority to do so. Yet governments require university degrees. Doris’ training will take years of her life, and cost much.

These young people, and others we haven’t even mentioned, are willing to make the effort. They’ve already broken the cycles of generations past of the curses and destruction their parents and ancestors lived. They have been transformed. But they can go even much further! Not only will their lives be changed… they will change others.

Thank you for considering our scholarship fund!