Tuesday, August 29, 2006

Day 6...

Well it's official as of about 2 pm this afternoon, I am a resident of Honduras. Crazy!!

It's so funny how God works out the course of your life isn't it. Growing up I thought missionaries were some weird people who never had any fun and wore long skirts all the time wore their hair in a bun always and slept in tents somewhere. Ok maybe a slight exaggeration but not far off, but I did not grow up with some very holy desire to be a missionary in a foreign country somewhere. As a matter of fact I walked some other roads that probably if anything disqualified me from being worthy to be here. It's just that God never works like that, have you noticed? He says you, yeah you, I want you...and you can deny Him all you want but you'll never have a moments true peace until You walk in His will His way.

So here I am, residing in Honduras. Living as a foreign missionary and knowing with peace in my heart that this is His plan for my life for such a time as this. Feels good, to live in the knowing of that!

Here is today's day of praise...

I magnify You, my God, for Your absolute purity, holiness, and justice as the Judge to whom all people must give account. I praise You that Your fairness is intertwined with everything You do...that when the time is ripe You will end all sin and injustice, all corruption, all immorality...that You will right all wrongs and reward all loving service and suffering for Your sake.

Thank You that Your Son will return from heaven with a shout of triumph, that the dead in Christ will be raised imperishable...and in a flash, in the twinkling of an eye, we shall all be utterly changed. We shall see the radiance of His face and the glorious majesty of His power. It will be a breathtaking wonder and splendor unimaginable to all who believe! Thank You that "whatever we may have to go through now is less than nothing compared with the magnificent future" You have planned for us.

What a joy it is to know that the government will be on Christ's shoulders, and that there will be no end to the increase of His government and peace...that His kingdom will be established with justice and righteousness from then on and forevermore. Your kingdom is an everlasting kingdom...a kingdom that cannot be shaken. You will never be voted out; no coup will ever dethrone You. For all eternity You are the King of kings and Lord of lords. To You be the glory and dominion forever and ever. Amen!

(31 Days of Praise by Ruth Myers)

Monday, August 28, 2006

8 Years Ago...

Having a sappy day, week, month, life :) but just got off the phone with one of my FAVORITE people in the world, and I use that term very sincerely. His name is Braydon and he's 8 years old today and he is my nephew. HAPPY BIRTHDAY BUDDY!!!

I remember exactly what I was doing 8 years ago today, I was in a hospital room and my sister had just given me the incredible privilege of allowing me to share in the experience of this little guy entering the world. I remember thinking I could not believe how cool God was when I watched all of this happen, how He had designed all of this to work and when I watched Braydon Bug take his first breath and exhale his first wail I was completely in love with being an aunt and my first little nephew. I remember walking over to that little warming bed they place them in and just staring at him, totally caught up in the moment of life happening and my getting to watch it. I think my sister and I both stayed up all night that first night in the hospital just looking at him and marveling at how amazing he was. Was sweet sweet time with my sister and with this new little guy.

You know it's kinda been like that with him ever since. It just so happened that my break from college that first year happened right after he was born and my sister had to go back to school and so from mid November until January I got to stay every day with him and watch him and smooch his chubby little cheeks and cuddle him and watch him sleep and we got a pretty special bond during those first couple months. One that gratefully we still share. I love him and he loves me and it's obvious and I love that. I tell him often he better never get too old to love on his aunt Jen and he just smiles that ornery grin.

My sister calls me every once in a while to lay the guilt on and tell me Braydon went to bed crying last night cause he misses me. It is part of her we want you to come home tactic. :) Truth is sometimes I go to bed crying cause I miss them too!

Talked to him tonight on the telephone and he's such a little man these days. Telling me all about his soccer games and how he's playing goalie and his trip to the beach and how he now has two hermit crabs, two lizards, and a turtle...something every 8 year old little boy ought to have. We talked about how important it was to listen to his teacher and to be a good friend tonight, I love those talks most where I am reminded of his tender heart. Then we had fun talking about how he needed to be thinking about fun things we could do together when I see him in just a few short weeks when I'm home. And then he got that somber little sweet voice, and I got that I AM NOT going to cry voice and he said ok goodnight aunt jen i love you thanks for calling me on my birthday. I MISS HIM!!!!!!!!!

So little Mr. Braydon this is a prayer I offer for you on your 8th birthday after watching you for 8 precious years and getting to be around at so many sweet sweet moments of your life and treasuring every single one of them! You have taught me sooo much about God's love and His overwhelming kindness and about the story of His grace. Sooo much sweet boy, thank you!!!

Father tonight I thank You for the precious gift of this little guy that's sleeping thousands of miles away in a warm bed with plenty of food and whole bunches of love from my sister and brother in law. I thank You for the gift of His life, that probably has taught us all a tremendous amount about the things that are really important. I praise You for his tender heart and for the sweet sweet smile you've put on his face. He is precious stuff God and I thank You for the opportunity to be a part of his life. God I beg You to plant seeds within his heart right now that will someday turn him into a warrior for You. I pray that You will claim His heart now and that a childlike faith will grow within him that he will trust You everyday of his life. Use me in ways that will make You shine in his life and will you please allow the moments when I am around right now to be moments that count, that we remember for a long time, that are sealed in our hearts and tucked away for moments when we really miss each other. Father thank You for this gift of grace that came to our family in the form of this little guy. He is one of the very best parts of all of us, and we are humbly grateful for this miracle you created in the life of my sweet sister. Thank You for making her such a great mommy who loves and adores her boys. You are all good God and I thank You so much for this day 8 years ago when we fell in love with a little guy named Braydon that we've been loving to pieces ever since. Grow him strong in You Father. In Your Sons precious name I offer you this heartfelt plea, AMEN

I love you to the moon and back Braydon!!! You'll always be one of the most special parts of my life!

Our Newest Project...

So this is just a picture to show you our latest project...Francisco and the potty and so far he is doing AMAZINGLY well!!! Diapers are expensive and when you can look at them and say, "Tiene poo poo?" and they can answer, IT'S TIME!!! He is so doggone cute!!! Posted by Picasa

Day 5...

I magnify You, O Lord, I exalt Your name, for You are great and highly to be praised. I praise You for the glorious splendor of Your majesty and the power of Your awe-inspiring acts. Your power is unlimited...absolute...beyond imagining. You are able to do immeasurably more than we can ask or dream of. "There is nothing too hard for You." Who is like You, "majestic in holiness, awesome in praises, working wonders"?

O Lord Most High, You rule over the heavens and the earth, for You made all things by Your great power, and You keep them existing and working by Your mighty Word. You are exalted high above every star and galaxy in the entire cosmos...yet You are also "the God of all mankind," the great personally present, personally involved God who loves, rescues, and takes care of all who trust You. You exercise Your gracious authority over all nations -- and over each individual in all the world. There is none like You, the true God, the living God, the everlasting King.

I praise You for Your sovereignty over the broad events of my life and over the details. With You nothing is accidental, nothing is incidental, and no experience is wasted. You hold in Your own power my breath of life and all my destiny. And every trial that You allow to happen is a platform on which You reveal Yourself, showing Your love and power, both to me and others looking on. Thank You that I can move into the future nondefensively, with hands outstretched to whatever lies ahead, for You hold the future and You will always be with me, even to my old age...and through all eternity.

(31 Days of Praise, by Ruth Myers)

Saturday, August 26, 2006

Day 4...

Gonna share with you an excerpt from my journal today in the hopes that you might keep it near your prayer heart.

Well God I suppose it's happened with every mother from Eve to the one that just gave birth today just moments ago...no matter how You created within us a mother heart, if we have one, and desire to follow you, there comes a point in time when with great difficulty we release our clenched fists which hang onto these precious ones that we've been offered the privilege to care for. Think I just realized tonight why my heart hurts way deep. Think you're asking for me to take my hearts fists off that which was never mine in the first place. Don't know that there's been another time when I've wanted to hold on any tighter to anything in my life, or fight with anymore of a vengeance to my right to these feelings of ownership in some ways. These little guys have become a part of me, some days I feel like they've become the best part of me, and I want to hang onto them. I want to watch them grow everyday, I want to pray with them every night, I want to walk them through the moments of life. I want to always play the I love you game with Francisco and montan de pico's with Mario. God that may happen, I may get that privilege, and I may not. That's not really the point though is it?! The point really is whether I'll trust you. The point really is relinquishing my control and trusting yours. The point really is that being a "mother" doesn't mean hanging on with both fists to them, it means hanging on with both fists to you and trusting that You (the one who gave them to my heart in the first place) will take better care of them than I ever could. God help me. Help my selfishness, my arrogance, my disbelief, my pride. Help my heart in every way you know I need it. Tonight God I lay on the altar, Antonio, Francisco, Mario, Marvin, and Yovani and I release these clenched fists that are scared to death to lose them ever. I accept being a part of your plan for them, whatever that part may be, and I beg for You to work out Your perfect plan (not my ideal plan) for their lives. Do within them every single day what might cause them to love you most and grow into warriors for You. God I came to be a "director" or a "manager" of this home, this House of Hope and somehow those words just don't really come close, direct and manage. I didn't know it would mean learning so much about how to open your heart up and love, to develop a mother's love for children you never gave birth to but couldn't tell your heart the difference, I never knew it would mean learning so much about You in these moments. Thank You for all the lessons You had waiting that I had no clue about. Once again God today I will choose to trust You when my heart is afraid and You will bring peace because You love me and are are faithful. Be patient with this new momma heart You've grown within me, cause loving this much in such a genuine vulnerable way is all new territory, scary for your heart to feel so exposed. I will do my very best to follow as You lead, but I need you to continue to stir and sift and tell me to let go when I'm trying to hang on to them instead of hanging on to You and trusting You to hang onto them. I love You Father more than I ever could have without understanding more clearly how difficult it had to have been for You to give up Your Son for me. Help me to love like that, grow in me a love like that!

Here's Day 4 from 31 Days of Praise...

I love You, Father, because You first loved me and sent Your Son to atone for my sins. And I stand amazed that Jesus, who by nature had always been God, did not cling to His rights as Your equal...that He laid aside all His privileges, to be born as a human being...that He totally humbled Himself, submitting to the death of a common criminal, enduring infinite humiliation and pain...that on the cross You laid on Him the compressed weight of all my sin and guilt and shame, of all my griefs and sorrows, and He became sin for me, dying the death I deserved.

And how much I praise You that it was impossible for death to hold Him in its power...that You raised Him from the dead to be my Savior, to make me righteous in Your sight...that You highly exalted Him, giving Him a position infinitely superior to any conceivable command, authority, power, or control, both natural and supernatural. Thank You that He is the Great High Priest...that He is able to save me completely, for He lives forever and prays for me, and for all of us who have come to You through Him. I glorify You, my Father, with gratefulness and joy.

And I bow at the feet of Him who was dead, and is now alive forever and ever. I exalt Him, I yield myself to Him, for He is worthy of the total response of my being. "Worthy is the Lamb that was slain to receive power and riches and wisdom and might and honor and glory and blessing."

Friday, August 25, 2006

Day 3...

Ok tonight is one of those nights when you lay in your bed and you look at your ceiling and you journal and you talk out loud to God and you read your Bible and you look at your ceiling some more just cause you've got so much in your heart that you can't sort it all out really. I'm certain I'm not the only one who has those nights. We went for another visit with the boys mom today and it went well for the most part. Have decided that those days are gonna be hard on all of our hearts though because the momma doesn't really want to live without them, we now love them, they are torn cause they love us all, and the situation is just difficult. She would love to have them back, but having them back means that when they're 9 or 10 they'll beg on the streets or work somehow to help the family income and the life they have now is far different than that. Heard her ask one of the boys today if he wanted to come back and live with her, and he said no I want to live where I am. Sigh. Just not easy, you want to create for them a home, and one where they're safe and secure and loved, but I hurt for that mom today, I hurt for boys who are having a harder and harder time answering that question when she asks. I hurt to think that someday we might have to give them up. I hurt to think that she already did have to because she had no other options. The boys will have a difficult few days after being there so if you could keep them in your prayers that would be sooooo appreciated.

On top of the emotion of all of that I just get this sickening feeling everytime I am at Casitas. The place just has so much evil lurking around small children that it sort of sucks the breath out of you, at least it does me. At one point today while our boys were playing with their mother, I had a chance to sit with a small group of girls, probably 8 or so of them all under the age of 10 whose faces were just sort of empty, who hadn't had any attention in a while you could tell, cause they hung all over you and fought for it. So we just sat there and talked for a while and I put my sunglasses on each of their dirty little faces and told them how pretty they all were and they grinned and we laughed, and I told them that God thought they were so special and made them each look me in the eyes and reminded them that was true. It was sweet time. I got into my car later and every single one of them stood at the playground and watched until they couldn't see me anymore. Watched these 5 little boys that used to live there get in with me, and I have no doubt those sweet girls wondered when this would happen to them, if it would happen to them. As I was getting into my car, and I blew them all kisses, one of the little girls yelled, "Thank you." I drove much of the way home with tears in my eyes for some little boys who don't have to be there anymore and for some little girls who tonight still do.

Please cover that place in your prayers. Everytime we go there we see things that are more disconcerting. Children in the trenches of sin who shouldn't have any idea what that even is. I know it grieves the heart of God in ways we'll never know.

Thank you for helping to bear the burdens of this precious land from your knees!! We need you to rally with us for these precious kiddo's and the people who live here we love so very much! The people who live here that God loves so very much!

Here's Day 3 and I'm reminded today that even when our heart is heavy we still have a thousand reasons to thank God for being who He is...and still we praise, maybe even moreso now we need to...(31 Days of Praise by Ruth Myers)

I praise you that the Lord Jesus lived His life sinlessly, in total accord with reality, with no falseness, no self-deception, no dark secrets, nothing to regret, nothing to be ashamed of...that He proclaimed the truth, the one utterly reliable foundation for our thinking and living. Thank You that He delighted to do Your will...that He withdrew for time alone in Your presence...that He was attentive to Your voice and sensitive to Your working...that He lived in complete dependence on You, so that You in Him spoke those gracious and live-giving words and performed those mighty works.

Thank You that He demonstrated how I am to live and serve, completely depending on Him as my indwelling Lord, focusing on His life as He walked on earth, and beholding His glory, "the glory of the one and only" who came from You, full of grace and truth. What a delight to know that as I focus on Him, You transform me into His image by Your Spirit within me. You work in me that which is pleasing in Your eyes. You strengthen my heart in every good work and every good word, so that more and more I honor Christ by the way I live.

Thursday, August 24, 2006

Day 2...

Well Karen's back and the boys are delighted to see her and are loving all over her which is good for her and them. Definitely feels like it's time to get things more regimented now that the summer is over and most of the visitors will come and go now more scattered throughout the year, so we're working today on chore charts, and school schedules and things like that. It will be easier for all of us when we bring more kids in if we iron some of this out now, so we're working on that. Please pray as we try to catch the boys up to be ready to do public school when a new school year begins in February. They are way behind. Ok we'll put some more pictures on here soon, maybe tomorrow.

Here's Day 2 from what has become one of my very favorite devotional books. (31 Days of Praise by Ruth Myers)

Thank You, Father, that You so loved the world that You gave Your one and only Son, our Lord Jesus Christ...that when the time had fully come, He wrapped Himself in human form, being born as a helpless baby in a poor family. Thank You that He walked here on earth radiating the brightness of Your glory and flawlessly expressing Your nature...and so, through Him, people saw You in action, involved with them, available to meet their needs. Thank You that He focused Your almighty power into the lives of common people with deep needs, just like me...that He preached the gospel to the poor, proclaimed freedom to prisoners of sin and recovery of sight to the blind, and set free the oppressed victims of sin and Satan -- the downtrodden, the lost, the hurting, the broken. Thank You for the way He rebuked the arrogant and looked with favor on the humble-minded opening wide the door of His kingdom to those who were destitute and helpless in spirit. I delight in Your tender mercies, O my God, by which the Sunrise from on high has come to us!

Thank You that through the gospels I can watch this beloved One walk among ordinary people. I can hear the gracious words that came from His lips. I can see His compassion and tenderness toward needy people, His anger at hypocrisy, HIs faithfulness, His intense love for His followers.

Fairest Lord Jesus! You alone are my heart's desire...my chief delight...my soul's glory, joy and crown. Every advantage life can offer is like rubbish, compared with the overwhelming gain of knowing You. You are worthy, Lord - worthy to be thanked and praised and worshiped and adored.

Wednesday, August 23, 2006

Favorita Musica...

Ok sorry just had to share this today too...two in one day, I know crazy huh??!! So we're driving in the car today to pick up Tia Karen at the airport and I have two of the boys up front with me because they love to put their hand on the gearshift so that when I change gears they can feel as though they are "helping me drive." It's very cute actually and so about 10 minutes into the journey Marvin looks over at me and says Tia Jenny necessita favorita musica (which means we need our favorite music on and he said it adamantly which really means we need our favorite music on RIGHT NOW :) ) To which I said well what is our favorite music and he said you know, and he started humming and bouncing his little head to the tune and beat of My Savior My God by Aaron Shust. I about melted and so I turned it on and we had count them 5 little bopping dancing beings in this van. Can I just say that whether they realize what they're singing to yet or not, I LOVE that "our favorite music" is now My Savior My God.

Oh Lord may it stick somewhere deep in their little hearts, not just a tune but someday soon those precious words and may they live like you are their savior, their God, and their very best friend, everyday of their lives. Thank You for the moments in every single day where in the simplicity of life's precious moments You take my breath away!

31 Days of Praise...

Well it amazes me at the way Father works, truly...I started this blog because it was a way for me to get all of these jumbled thoughts out of my head and into something I could read. I am a writing girl for sure. I can gnaw on it for days and days and suddenly when I attempt to put it down on paper or on this screen it makes more sense than it ever has in my head. So I am grateful to God that it has been an avenue for me to process and think and rethink things that deserve to be rethought and things like that. In the process of doing so though, I continue to hear from those of you (some of whom I have never even met) who ask me to please keep writing and to update this blog more frequently and some of you even crazy enough to send me emails telling me to write a book. Heaven help us all!! Thank you soooo much for your kind words however, I am humbled and honored that anything that God may be teaching me would be of any benefit to you. Truth is I'd love to have the time and the insight and the diligence for my brain to stay on one topic long enough to be able to put it between two covers and call it a book. I'd love to do that someday but for today it ain't gonna happen! :)

In an effort however to use this blog to bless those of you who may still be reading it, for the next 31 days I am going to post something special on this blog. My dear friend Donna bought me a book before I left to come here and it's called 31 Days of Praise, if you have an opportunity to buy it it's a great little book that helps keep you centered. This will be my third time through it and it gets richer for me everytime. I have made notes all over the pages and written out my heart to God and it has just been a book for me to "experience" and not just read. Can't share the whole book with you but thought I would type out for you on here a day to read through with me for the next 31 days. It will help me be diligent about keeping up and hopefully be a blessing to you as well. Please know this is not my work, it is written by a lady named Ruth Myers whose heart definitely touches my own.

DAY 1:

My heart rejoices in You, Lord, for You are my strong shelter in times of trouble and danger and stress, my hiding place to whom I may continually resort...my Father who lovingly provides for me...my Shepherd who guides and protects me...my Champion who upholds my cause as His child and defends my highest interests...my Bridegroom who delights in me...my God who is mighty to save, who rests in His love for me and rejoices over me with singing, with shouts of joy. You are my inheritance, my share in life, the One who satisfies my longing soul and fills my hungry soul with goodness.

I praise You for Your love and Your wisdom. You are too wise to ever make a mistake, too loving to ever do anything unkind. You act on my behalf, accomplishing what concerns me and fulfilling Your purpose for me as I call on You. Thank You that You love me deeply and tenderly. You are compassionate and gracious, full of lovingkindness, ready to forgive, patiently considerate, and generous beyond imagining. You desire my love and rejoice to do good things for me. You delight to give me the desires of my heart as I delight myself in You. How precious is Your love to me, O God! I sing for joy as I take refuge in the shadow of Your wings!

Psalm 91:1,2

Saturday, August 19, 2006

The Best Gift...

Well a couple weeks ago one of my young friends Delaney asked me what the best gift I had ever received was and honestly I couldn't come up with an answer. Told her I'd have to think about that cause I'd received some really really sweet ones (have a lot of terrific "givers" in my world).

Well sweet Delaney I now have your answer...the best gift I ever received up to this point in my life, was when my best buddy in all the world walked off the plane last Saturday to spend a week with me as a surprise. I didn't know she was coming for sure and had been praying literally since the first time I came here that she would come because every one of her gifts was waiting to be used here. Her heart is as big as Texas, her hands that touch with His love, and her joyful spirit that loves to pour all over kiddo's, just a thousand things I knew God would use in sweet ways.

It was one of the best weeks I've ever had truly. Touched by God's kindness every step of the way.

Her sweet hubby, and my like a brother Tony, went to lots of trouble to give her a ticket to come and see me for her birthday last year. Then my dear friend Mary Ann worked hard with him to find a date when she and Sarajane could come together so she wouldn't have to come by herself. THANK YOU THANK YOU THANK YOU!!! Not sure it was fair that the best gift ever given to me was her birthday present, but hey??!! :):) Hopefully her heart was way blessed as well.

Don't think I could do justice to all that went on within my heart as I watched her love these boys that I now love as my own. If situations were different and these were my own kiddo's and I was near home I would be diligent about making sure that they got invested in by her heart and while that's just so much harder to do hundreds of miles apart, watching them get to know her this week was beautiful truly!! She invested herself in them and they in her and when walking away at the end of the week they all were better than they were when they started I think.

Sometimes people walk into our lives and become such a huge part of it that to not share things with them somehow it seems incomplete. It had sort of been like that when this heart got passionate about Honduras. I so wanted her to see what had stolen my heart and why. I am more "me" here or the me I want to be here, than I am most anywhere else and I think she saw that in hungry kiddo's beside a road, or bedtime prayers, or I hope in a number of ways.

So while I know in her world it was a HUGE sacrifice to overcome some fears and to give up a week and to walk into a land of unexpected's, it was nothing short of love in action to this heart and truly was a gift to my heart.

I love you my sister, so very much! Thank you again for saying yes to this. We were all "changed for good" because of your presence. Posted by Picasa

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Friday, August 11, 2006

Our First Slumber Party...

Yeah so we had our first official slumber party the other night when after a night at Pizza Hut, Dennis and Cristian and Saul asked if they could sleep over in the empty bunks. I'm a sucker for a good party, and our boys were begging, so they ALL got showers and got put into clean pairs of Pj's and it was so doggone fun to watch the boys who don't normall get that evening ritual, get so excited about the simplest things, like the shower and pj's and then brushing their teeth later. Good stuff!! It was complete with all the giggling at bedtime and not wanting to go to sleep and just good times. I love having little boys around, have I mentioned that lately, they are so incredibly FUN!!! Posted by Picasa

Tuesday, August 08, 2006

Arms of Love...

So in Tio Jeff's absence, I became runner up to tucking in this little feller and what sweet time that has been. He just is a delight truly with this little grin and sweet little voice and it touches these places in your heart that are reserved for right and good. He is awesome, so every night we lay down and he gets his little body up just as close to me as he possibly can and he snuggles his little head into the crook of my one of my arms and then he takes my other arm and puts it over his little body so I'm hugging him. Dare I move my arm, he reaches up and places it back around him again. If I'm not hugging quite tight enough he pushes my hand out so my hug is tight against his little body. It's the cutest thing.

And here we go as happens to me often, I thought hmmm wonder if this is something like what God was talking about when He said, love like little children, be like them. Francisco wants my arm around him as he's falling asleep to feel safe and loved. I want to live like that with God. He doesn't ever move His arm, but when I feel like the hug isn't quite tight enough because I've scooted away I want to reach back up there grab His holy arm and tighten it around this heart. Want to be as close to Him as I can get. Just want to rest there.

Was talking to Cara, a dear friend of mine last night and was describing this journey with 5 little guys to her and I said you know they are just so pure and innocent. Their prayers are simple and yet profoundly precious and they just remind me of the purity of this loving God stuff so often. They live it the way we would if we wouldn't have grown up and got civilized and started to think we had to do it all "right." I like the reminder that it's never been about that.

The other night Kelsey and I were tucking the boys in and the room was quiet and we had just finished praying with the boys and all of a sudden in the quiet Mario throws his hand up in the air and shouts "En la sangria de Cristo me libro" which means by the blood of Christ I'm free. I thought we were going to pee our pants laughing, but over the past few days I have thought of that a thousand times. Sometimes I want to be that uninhibited, and just scream and get excited, even when it's out of place and makes no sense to anyone else. Sometimes I want my prayers to be as simple as "and God watch over the people I love and thank you that I got to play ALOT today, " without worrying about the right words or the correct way to say what's in there.

I'm just loving the God pictures there are all throughout this journey with them. Out of the mouths and lives of babes. :)

Thursday, August 03, 2006

BUFFTRUCK of the Summer...

Didn't necessarily take a consensus except among 5 little boys before I declared this award, but I think it's safe to say it is well deserved. The term "bufftruck" I understand came about, here in Honduras, when someone went above or beyond what was expected and surpassed what most other people are willing to do. Such is the case with my like a brother, and my dear friend, otherwise known as "Tio Jeff."

It's funny, Jeff came here at the very end of May. He had a sales job in the states, but just felt as though he really wanted to spend some time serving. In his mind, he was coming here to build houses and help with teams and things like that. It just never really worked out that way, and I think God had other plans. What happened was when it was time to bring the kiddo's home from Casitas, these 5 great little boys walked into Casa and he became "Tio Jeff." Now the term really means Uncle Jeff, but to them he was the tickle master and the throw me high in the air guy, the guy with big muscles, and Superman who slept with his machete and would beat off all the bad guys if they came near. Which to little boys are all super important things.

Deeper than all of that though he was a male figure who modeled for them gentleness when they wanted to curl up on his lap and watch a movie. He modeled for them love every single time they wanted to hug his neck or kiss his cheek, and for little boys who haven't always had that in their world it was huge. Every single night he laid down with Francisco until he fell asleep, every night. No one asked him to sleep in the boys room with the other kiddo's, his heart just sort of found it's way in there one night and never found it's way back to his own room. For several weeks out of this summer, he has gotten up at the crack of dawn, because one out of the five had jumped on him to wake him up, or said those infamous words, "Tio Jeff, necessita pee pee." He never complained about getting up early and I never heard him begrudge going to bed late or runnig after little boys all day long.

Tio Jeff left yesterday and I watched him bend down and bury his face against each of the boys little faces and hold onto each of them for just a minute and give them a genuine I really love you hug. With tears clouding my vision, I watched one of the coolest sights I've ever been privileged to witness.

I've been begging Jeff to move here for a while since I moved here, just cause I love his heart and have so much fun with him. He's a goofball, and we laughed a whole bunch this summer. I saw a different side of him this summer though and if I appreciated him a bunch before, it grew by leaps and bounds in a couple short months. I am proud to call him my brother, and blessed to call him my friend.

Thank you Tio Jeff for all of your help this summer as we were adjusting and trying to figure out the beginning of all of this. You were an awesome supporter, encourager, and friend to us and a bufftruck Uncle to these boys. You went above and beyond and it was fun to watch you even be surprised at all that grew in your heart through this.

I love you buddy and we miss you here so much!!!
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