By Neisha Roberts, (un)adopted Coordinator
Build hope. Break the cycle. These are two main goals at Las Lomas, a children’s home found deep in the Amazon Basin of Peru. Iquitos, where Las Lomas is located, is only accessible by boat or plane, and that extreme isolation is partly why the area sees social issues that arise and can fester—problems like broken families, poor health, poverty, and substance abuse. Because of these social issues many children are left “abandoned, neglected, forgotten or uncared for by family,” according to Tyler Fuqua, president of Not Forgotten, which founded and runs Las Lomas and is an (un)adopted® partner. As a result, the cycle of social issues remain.
Las Lomas desires to break that cycle one child at a time by giving these children a family. Through the leadership of Gene Idlett, the home’s Peruvian director, the children at Las Lomas are first provided with family to care for them. Believing that families make a difference, Gene hires families to care for the children instead of only individual caregivers, as most children’s homes do.
Here, within the loving boundaries of a family, physical needs are met in such ways as a safe bed to sleep in, healthy food to eat, and proper hygiene. Children need more than food and housing, however. By providing love, hugs, a welcome home after school, encouragement, and discipleship each child is provided with a safe and nurturing environment in which they can see the cycle of mistrust broken. Tyler said, “They begin to see what a true mother and true father would do for them. Things they’ve never experienced before.”
Gene loves to see the way that family changes the lives of these children by helping them heal through teaching them about the love, faith, and hope that is found only in God. Gene remarks, “It’s the greatest happiness I have when I know that a child decided to accept Christ. I feel that we have fulfilled God’s purpose and that it was worth every second and all that has been invested in the life of the child.”
Gene, who has the chance to serve as one of many father figures to the children, said he feels fortunate to be serving at Las Lomas. He understands that the children look up to him as a father, which brings great responsibility to the way he lives his life. As a father of three, living as a model of a Christian to those who look up to him is no easy task. “It’s a challenge and makes me responsible for caring for each detail of my life. But with the help of God it can be possible,” he said. Knowing that these children watch him daily motivates him to seek God’s help to disciple these children in the ways of the Lord.
For children that call Las Lomas home, Gene desires much for these children, but his hopes can be summarized simply in what he wants for them, “That they serve God. That they find healing for their wounds. That they find healing for their souls . . . As a result we will have good fathers, good citizens, good men.” Good fathers who know the Father can help break the cycles that destroy the surrounding community.
Because of people like Gene, who obediently serve where God calls them and seek to be godly examples themselves, lives are being changed in Peru. That’s why (un)adopted works alongside Not Forgotten—to share the hope of the gospel with orphaned and vulnerable children.
And that’s how cycles begin to be broken.
Find more information about Las Lomas and our other (un)adopted partnerships here!