Phone: (786) 845-9985

February 2017

The Answer to the Question

“Where is your brother…?” The Lord questioned Cain, who should have loved and cared about the well-being of his sibling. Cain’s response, less than honest or compassionate: “I don’t know. Am I my brother’s keeper?”

“Am I my brother’s keeper?”

It’s an uncomfortable question for most. Jesus ran into a guy one time who, when faced with the responsibility of caring for others, posed a similar question. We are told the young man was an expert in the law and that he stood up to test Jesus, but ultimately it was his own heart that ended up being tested. You know the scenario: seeking to justify himself after being told to love God first and to love his neighbor as himself, the “expert” asked Jesus, “And who is my neighbor?” In perfect wisdom, Jesus proceeded to “hang the truth on a man” by telling the parable of the good Samaritan, and then turned the question right back to the asker: “Which…do you think was a neighbor to the man who fell into the hands of robbers?” All justification now aside, the young man answered, “The one who had mercy on him.”

received_1224978767585159“Am I my brother’s keeper?” Miguel Estrada Ramirez would say, “Yes.” It is because of him that we can report to you this month about his younger half-brother—9-year-old Leonardo Palomino Ramirez. You see, Miguel—at age 23—is the oldest of his mother’s 6 children, the youngest five of which are from a different father…a father that abandoned the family 2 years ago for another woman. The four youngest boys are 19, 17, 14, and 9, along with their 2-year-old sister. Six children are a lot for a functional single mom to handle, but their mother isn’t functional. She is addicted to alcohol, to the degree that she neither attends to the children nor sees to it that they eat, bathe, or have their basic needs met. As the oldest, Miguel has taken a factory job moving wood, but he is the sole money-maker trying to support his half-brothers, half-sister, and dysfunctional mother. Sometimes, when the children’s hunger was unbearable, the youngest two boys would go to their neighbors or to an aunt to beg for food to feed themselves and their siblings. While their mother spent her hours in a drunken stupor, 14-year-old Mauricio and 9-year-old Leonardo spent their hours on the street or in the Internet café where pornography, video games, and movies robbed them both of innocence and direction. They often stayed out until the wee hours of the morning, and neither attended school. Miguel recognized that his youngest brothers were headed down the wrong path and desperately needed help, and as his brothers’ keeper, Miguel chose to do something to get them into a better place. He came to the orphanage and asked if Mauricio and Leonardo could enter the home. They have been in the orphanage for three months’ time.

IMG_4723 Leonardo has only attended school for six months of his entire life. He neither reads nor writes. His weight and height are well below average for his age, due to the malnutrition he has experienced. He is getting along well at the home and is tender and friendly with adults, but in the face of difficulty, Leonardo sometimes reacts with foul language and physical violence towards the other children…but we know where it comes from; it comes from his pain: the kind of pain that only abandoned, neglected, or abused children experience. Though created to naturally derive love and security from their parents within a healthy home context, they are instead met with devastation.

Here in an environment of love, however, Leonardo has the opportunity to heal, grow, and learn the skills he has never been exposed to before coming to the orphanage. Above and beyond school subjects, we are teaching him proper table etiquette, better hygiene practices, and how to properly respond in situations. Thank you for making this possible through your financial giving and your prayers.IMG_4733

So, what is the answer to the question? “Am I my brother’s keeper?” “And who is my neighbor?” I think Jesus answered it. And looking at his actions, I think Miguel did, too. What about your answer?

For the children,

Tony and Rosa Rivera

Home of Refuge International, Inc.


Tony and Rosa are very faithful, reliable, honest people.  They are the hardest workers we have ever seen; their leadership qualities have encouraged many people to help others.  Whatever Tony and Rosa decide to do, they do with excellence and perseverance. They are great people and we are privileged to know them.

Ed and Mona Shirley
Mountain High Christian Center
Conifer, Co.