Thursday, November 30, 2006

Close Enough...

"In a contagious world, we learn to keep our distance. If we get too close to those who are suffering we might get infected by their pain. It may not be convenient or comfortable. But only when you get close enough to catch their hurt will they be close enough to catch your love." - John Ortberg

Read this quote a couple years ago when I had started to read a book called Love Beyond Reason by John Ortberg. Didn't completely finish it and picked it back up this evening and was flipping through and in one of my highlighted sections I read this quote and remembered it and it moved me differently than it ever could have before.

I have now been infected by "their" pain. When the tears cease, I remember I would want it no other way.

I pray you're being infected by someone else's pain too. I believe when we start getting that close to a hurting world we are walking out the purposes which God intended us to fulfill.

Lord, help us dare to get that close...and help us to remember that Your Son touched the leper before He healed him. I am encouraged by the fact that He touched him while he was yet unclean. May we be willing to do the same.

Monday, November 27, 2006

Please Keep Praying...

Every once in a while we have a day or an evening where we are in some way reminded of the baggage that these precious little people carry around from what they've experienced in such short lives. Had one of those evenings tonight. Sweet Mario who I love and adore has witnessed and experienced things at Casitas that sometimes show up in his actions toward us or toward other kids and it makes me sooo sad because no 5 year old little boy should know the things he knows or be burdened by acting out in ways that he sometimes does.

Please continue to pray for all of us. For them and the wounds they carry, for us and the ways we attempt to be Jesus toward them, for patience and wisdom beyond our years and experience, for so many things. We couldn't do this without the strength of your bent knees!! We need ya, keep praying please!!

Saturday, November 25, 2006

And Today...

The Christmas spirit has definitely hit. Today we hung the Christmas stockings (which take half a wall :) by the imaginary chimney we wish we had...IT IS FREEZING HERE...ok I realize 50 is not freezing but most of us keep our houses at 68 or 70 in the States unless you are my mom or Mary Ann who prefer it just slightly above meat freezer temperature, but that's not the point...anyway 50 isn't so cold unless it's nightime and your whole house is 50 because they don't build in furnace ducts and put in furnaces here cause most of the time you don't need them at all, and most often feel like you are in a furnace...but ummmm well let's just say my beloved down comforter ain't cutting it alone anymore!!

And I divert...anyway, we hung the stockings today with their little names on them and I bet they have asked me 50 times today, now which one is mine?? So cute. Something about taking a kid who feels as though they have been forgotten and reminding them that they are cherished here that's making me do all sorts of crazy things I've never done before. Like cooking turkeys and hanging stockings on the wall!! :)

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Friday, November 24, 2006

Ok so we started out our day at Casitas for a visit with the mother of the boys, (she was the only one that showed up for visitation), had to visit there today because two of the girls had to see the doctor at IHNFA for follow up appointments. So far so good with everyone's reactions afterwards.

Then it was fun for all at this zoo that is on the same road as the Jesus statue that we never knew was there. I mean it's not like the Columbus zoo but it has alligators and tigers and deer...yes I have now seen my first deer in Honduras.

AND YOU ARE NOT GOING TO BELIEVE WHAT ELSE, they have a mountain lion there caught right up by the mission house and now trapped to show off. Will post a picture later but right now I'm so busy having it framed that I don't want to ruin the effect for later for those of you I will be sure to order a framed copy for!! :) Posted by Picasa

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After the zoo I got to find my friend Miguel and pass off the crutches that a sweet sweet lady gave while I was home and he was a happy guy. His mismatched uneven crutches are a thing of the past now and he's got a brand new sturdy set. Thank you thank you for seeing a need and being the hands that reached out to touch my friend that I have grown to just love so much. You were Jesus today and I was grateful to witness the holy moment. You know I am gonna frame his picture to keep forever because I want to remember how sacred the friendship of a beggar has become in my world, and I want to NEVER forget that underneath it all we live on even ground.

We finished off the night with a movie and popcorn in the living room tonight and it was sweet to see the great big circle surrounding the popcorn bowl and smiles on those precious faces. Have I mentioned how much I love them lately??
And this is just a sweet picture of an 8 year old boys lovins cause they are few and far between and so when I get these moments I stock them away and treasure them bunches. It was a Yovani cuddle day and I loved that!!

Ok off to bed, thanks for your prayers, your love and support. Together we're touching the lives of some kiddo's in ways beyond imagination. Just because God is beyond kind!! Posted by Picasa

Thursday, November 23, 2006

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And after lunch it was time to decorate the tree. I called my mom today to apologize for making fun of her all those years about getting so excited about Christmas. I didn't know that all it took to get ridiculously excited about Christmas was having kiddo's around. I turned into a crazy lady today as Yovani reminds me. Anyway...thanks to all of you who donated the Christmas tree and the ornaments, you made some little people sooooo happy today!!

It's been a great day. I look into these eyes sometimes and I am beyond touched at the simplicity of their joy and how much we often miss in the clutter. Pillowing my head tonight grateful for the gift of them and how much they are teaching this heart that had no idea how much could be learned from a 3 year much an 8 year old's joy over a Christmas tree could warm deep deep places you forgot existed in your pure and right and good it felt for a little girl's 4 year old arms to wrap around your neck at the end of the day and say thank you for the turkey and the Christmas tree.

Pure and undefiled religion in the sight of God our Father is indeed this...thank you Father for the honor of being just a part, getting to witness the beauty of this with these eyes and be touched so often by the healing power of love. You are beyond kind!! Posted by Picasa

Turkey Day...

Well woke up this morning at 7 ish to baste and bake my first turkey. I like it a whole lot better when mom does that whole business and I specialize in the eating it part, but hey, don't get that luxury this year and so the kids and employees are all excited that we're cooking a Thanksgiving feast today because they don't celebrate this day (obviously because it's an American holiday) and never with a $30 turkey so it's a party day for sure around this place!! Karen bought 50 potato's I think so she can have homemade mashed potatoes for a week. :)

I am going this morning to the city to take Miguel his new set of crutches, just seems the right day to do that and to buy him lunch. Some very sweet lady saw his picture in my presentation and noticed that his crutches were different lengths and falling apart and brought a new pair of crutches that she had at home and had used only one time and said, here take these to your friend. So I hauled them proudly all the way through the airport the other day knowing that when I got them here they would be such a blessing. So gonna go try to love on him this day a little.

Will post some pictures from the day in a little while after the feast!! Happy Thanksgiving to all. We miss you today!!

Tuesday, November 21, 2006

Back at the Home...

Well about 2 weeks at home in the States and 10 presentations later my fundraising marathon for those 14 days has now passed and I am back hugging little kid necks. Right where I want to be at this point in my life. Walked in today and saw these precious little ones all sitting around the table and thought yep God this is good!!!

Had a GREAT 2 weeks of sharing with so many precious folks about this project and God showed up in mighty ways. We are still in need of partnerships but many gracious folks signed on or helped us with a one time donation and became a part of making a difference to these kiddo's that God has blessed us with. We could not do this without you and I will attempt to say thank you in more detail in a day or two when I've rested this brain. Going on an hour of sleep and so anything I say at this point, may not be so well worded. :):)

In every presentation I did, I showed this video and many people asked if they could have a copy of it, so I'm going to give it a shot at posting it on here and allowing it to stream and then you can save it in your media player library to view whenever you wish.

Take care and continue to be blessed as you are a blessing!!

Kiddo's" video

Saturday, November 18, 2006


Well my fundraising trip is coming to a close and God has been good. Imagine that. ;) We are still in need of support for the kiddo's but some very gracious people helped so much while I have been here the past couple weeks, talking about these sweet kiddo's. I miss them and I am excited to get back and hug their little necks.

Gotta be honest though, I woke up this morning with butterflies in my stomach. Those same butterflies I used to get before every single basketball game. That fluttering stomach feeling. It's not that I don't know I am where I am supposed to be for this time in my life. I believe that with every ounce of my being. It's just that in being there I can't be here with people I love soooo much. I keep waiting for that part to be easier and it never really seems to. It is still the most difficult thing to give up. Joy and sorrow existing in the exact same moment again!

I cherish so much my time with friends and family while I'm here and I always leave feeling like there was just too little and feeling like I wish Honduras and here were so much closer. Being far away has done some neat things for my relationship with God and grown a new sort of dependence that I didn't know before this. I appreciate that so much! I just miss them!!! I always miss them!!

Please pray for this heart as I go back to do what God has purposed for my life right now. I DO want to take my place in the times to which I have been entrusted in this world. I am grateful to have been given this privilege truly. It will be difficult to be away for Thanksgiving and Christmas this year though and I covet your prayers. Gonna get to spend Christmas with some kiddo's who have never known what that means really, and that's a gift. I sure am gonna miss those my heart calls family though too!!

Thanks for walking with me through this. I appreciate you all so very much!!!

Wednesday, November 15, 2006

Through US????

So I've been doing presentations like a mad woman over the past week or so but it has allowed God and I some really neat time as I have tuned in a little more closely I'm sure and have asked Him what it is that He really would like for me to share about what He has graciously taught me over the past year. Tough to try to put this years lessons into a 30 minute presentation for sure, but I continue to ask for His help to speak through me, to help me be bold and courageous and not say the popular fluffy stuff, but things that will challenge us to be different and do better at some things we have perhaps turned our heads to.

In studying and preparing for all of this, this verse keeps coming up..."For we are Christ's ambassadors, as though He were making His appeal through us." Through us???? Now I've read that verse no less than a hundred times I feel sure, but it hit different this time. Perhaps because I know Christ differently, perhaps because I understand His appeal is all about love now, just understand it from a different heart. As I look at a hurting world and I realize the invitation God has given me to be His Son's hands and feet, to appeal to hurting broken people to run to His arms of love, I find myself once again humbled. I get the privilege the honor of walking through this world and attempting to make an appeal for the one who wowed and wooed this heart. HUGE isn't it??!!!

Don't you ever doubt the impact you are able to have on a life. I remember well the people who made Christ's appeal to me through the way they conducted their lives. Hadn't thought of it that way before, but that's exactly what it was. An appeal to run to Christ because I wanted the relationship they possessed with Him.

Keep loving Him with reckless abandon, a hurting world is watching!! Blessings.

Monday, November 06, 2006

Prayers Please...

Headed home tomorrow morning again for 2 weeks, with a schedule full of presentations and reports to give. Would so appreciate your prayers that we are able to raise enough funds to continue to provide for these sweet children for the next year without wondering where next month's money is going to come from. If that is God's will for us to trust Him then so be it, but I'd sure prefer to trust Him to just take care of it a little further ahead of time. Don't doubt He'll come through, I really don't, I've seen Him show up way too many times for that.

Above any of the financial things, I covet your prayers that I might be a voice for those who don't get one. That I might do some sort of justice, as flawed as it may be, to mothers who stand beside the cribs of babies who are dying because they can't come up with the $100 needed to get the medicine their sweet one needs. That little boys like Jefferson and Delmer might be ever present in my mind, that I might speak on their behalf, that I might speak of their life, even though it will always be from the outside looking in. That I might remember every single good morning snuggle, goodnight hug, kiss, and prayer, that I will speak of healing because I've seen it first hand in these ones that live here that God has allowed me to love and be loved by. I just covet your prayers, that as much as I felt called to be here, I now feel just as called, perhaps more so to share what I've seen, in the hopes that it might change us, all of us, including me, perhaps most of all me! That we'll no longer turn our heads to the injustices of the world but that something within us will rise up and say, if we as God's people don't help, who will?

Oh Father, please be near, and speak through this servant of Yours. My words will always be flawed, so please let Your Spirit hover over this heart before I ever utter a word that I will come before You first and beg to offer only what You would want spoken. God You are unbelievably good and You do not fail me or forsake me and so I rest there knowing You will go before me to prepare hearts, walk beside me as I do my best to share and represent You well, and You will linger behind me to continue to mold and change hearts long after my few words have faded as a distant memory. You are so kind. Thank YOU!!

Sunday, November 05, 2006

Selfless Giving...

So speaking of learning to attempt to give more selflessly, I've learned a thing or two about that from these sweet little guys in my world.

Yesterday I had to run to town to get a few things and so one of the kids wanted to come and then all of the kids minus the 3 itty bitty ones wanted to come so we set out with a full van to go to the edge of town to run a couple errands. While I ran in to get money and go to the pharmacy the kids, except for Yovani and Cristian (one of our employees sons) stayed in the van with Katrina and Alorra. Most times when we go to the city we eat lunch somewhere and let them play on the playground or we go get ice cream or whatever, but some of that has changed now with 10 kids cause it's way harder on our pocketbook. :) So thought ok what can I get for them as a treat, so we were walking through this little grocery store and I said ok guys let's see what we can find for all the kids. At which time Yovani reaches in his pocket and pulls out 1 lemp which is a nickel in our terms hands it to me and says here use this to help buy it. Awwwwwwwwwww!!!!!! I tried to give it back to him and tell him to save it but he would have nothing of it. Selfless giving from a little guy who gave me the only lemp he had to his name to buy treats for all the kids. Thank You Lord for his heart!

Then on the last visit that we had with the mother of the boys we met them at Wendy's instead of at Casitas cause it does horrible things to Mario to have to go there, and so we have found another meeting spot. They have an older brother who is 10 also, his name is Johnnie and they are as excited to see him as they are anyone else when we go visit. So when I was home the last time my mom had bought each of the boys an outfit and a bag of gummy bears. They loved them, one of the boys ate all of theirs the first night. Most of them were gone within two days. I thought they all had disappeared. Little did I know that one of the boys had saved their whole bag to give to their brother, because when we walked into Wendy's he was holding the bag in his hand with a huge smile on his face. His special treat, saved to bless someone else.

Yep, certainly learn as much as I teach here. Probably more. Father continue to grow within them hearts that look for ways to selflessly give. You are doing good things in them and I praise You for all that You've done and all that we'll watch You do in the days and years to come.

Saturday, November 04, 2006

His Name Is Jefferson...

Didn't have my camera with me tonight, so let me see if I can paint you some sort of picture through my words of what knocked me to my knees this night.

Karen and I had run to town to get groceries, which by the way is a WHOLE new experience in and of itself attempting to buy groceries for 10 growing kiddo's for a month. GOODNESS!!! I think the people at PriceSmart thought really are you serious as we pulled the third cart through. So we did groceries tonight in a BIGGGGGGGGG way!! :)

Then we're heading back through the city on our way home and stopped at a traffic light and it's probably 8:30 or so by this time. Dark outside and rainy and cold tonight. Up to my window comes this 10 year old little boy who looks pretty disheveled and more than a little high from the all too familiar coke bottle filled with glue that they sniff to numb the pain of hunger. From whatever gas station he'd stolen it from, he had the treasure of a windshield washer, and on my side window because he couldn't reach my front one, with a totally dry washer and in no sort of pattern he starts moving it across the window hoping that by his act of service I will feel compelled to pay him. Then he peers his sweet little eyes into the van trying to see who is in there. I roll my window down, cause God and I had a moment the other day, where I feel like I heard in a very loud voice, "we're done with turning our heads young lady, you do anything but turn your head. We've got enough turning our head in the world and you will not add to the crisis of that. So you look at them, you really look at them, at least give them the courtesy of that." Been a different RAW heart inside this girl since then. Anyway, I roll my window down expecting to give him 10 limps perhaps to make myself feel better, perhaps to ease my conscience, perhaps well perhaps just because my heart hurt for him. In the stretching of my hand to give him the ten lemps which is about 50 cents in American money, I looked into his eyes and heard his teeth chattering. Looked down at his feet and standing there in the middle of the wet road he had no shoes on, a tattered t shirt, a pair of pants that had holes in them, and he was cold. Really cold. Wet and cold. In a desperate look and a sad voice he said, do you have any clothes in there. We didn't, not his size, not the right color, not any of that.

In one of those moments though that you know isn't you, God said Jen take off your jacket. So tonight some 10 year old little boy is walking around a street in Honduras with a white girls jacket that is 4 sizes too big, that tomorrow will be black with dirt, but for tonight as I took it off and wrapped it around his shoulders, and his face lit up with an ear to ear smile, I was reminded of how little of me I really willingly give away. 10 limps was easy, my $20 jacket was pretty easy in reality. Made all the difference in the world to a cold little boy in a street tonight though. I'll be very honest with you and tell you I don't always show up for those moments and walk them out well. So this isn't about Jen's good deed for the day. It's way more than that.

It's about a little boy who was walking the streets while your children were tucked into warm beds tonight, who will wake up tomorrow with choices of which shoes to put on their feet, and more choices of outfits than we dare to count. It's a plea for prayer for the Jefferson's of the world who scrape windows in the dark to try to get food. It's a reminder of what goes on in other parts of the world, because I didn't know until I got here...and if I don't share what God teaches me while I am here, I am the very worst kind of selfish!

Oh Father, sometimes I give so little. I hoard so much. I don't look, I can't see, I forget or I'm just too caught up with me to notice. Then in those rare moments of life you take an ordinary day and you place desperation right in front of my face and out of necessity I remember everything I have is yours and you didn't give me an option, you told me to share it. Something in that moment reminds me that this is what you made us for. To love You and love others out of that and even in the ache of moments that scream NEED and spotlight my inadequacy to fix the injustices of the world, I am so thankful that You continue to teach me and grow me. Please Father release this grasp on anything that doesn't honor or glorify You. Help me to use every single thing You've given me to help grow Your kingdom. I thank You tonight for Jefferson and his sweet little face and his place in Your world and His call to my heart to remember that I so desperately want to live with a kingdom heart. Keep him safe Father, and could You keep him warm tonight please. Send someone to rescue him so that he might not spend another night attempting to clean windows for enough money to eat.

Thursday, November 02, 2006

Living and Loving...

Every once in a while I get the privilege, and it is that, to take one or two of the kiddo's at a time with me somewhere and just spend time with them without the whole brood of children we have with us most moments. Don't get me wrong the brood is it's own kind of fun, but there's something really precious about quality time with one or two of them individually.

Last night was one of those times. I had to run to town to get some money to pay our employees out of the ATM so I took Marvin and Cindy with me. We went to eat dinner first and it was one of the cutest things I'd seen in a while. Cindy is one of our new girls and so she'd never been to a restaurant before so she walked in her eyes lit up and she had no idea how to behave...she was yelling because she was so excited and I know the proper thing was probably to get her actions all in order but I couldn't stop smiling. Think that's how we're gonna be when we get to Heaven. Probably won't have a clue how we're supposed to act but I think God's just gonna grin from ear to ear thinking yep all this for you cause I love ya. we sit down and Marvin (Mr. experienced one at all of this by now he thinks) shows Cindy that you're supposed to put your napkin on your lap and tells her to tell the waiter please and thank you and he's leading her through the whole thing. Sweet. All through the meal it was hilarious though, the waiter brought out the bread and she yells "pan, que rico." Which means bread, GREAT!!! basically. Then he brings her meal which was chicken tenders and papas fritas and she yells pollo (now I should mention that I did try to attempt to tell her not to yell in the restaurant, she just couldn't contain her excitement). Then the waiter, who is our regular waiter when we're in there, and is very kind, brought them a treat of ice cream and oh dear the child was in Heaven. But the cutest thing was when he brought my check for me to pay and he laid the mints on the table, which we all know is a typical thing, she got right up out of her seat and threw her arms around the waiter's waist and said "oh thank you for the candy." He had no idea what to do and we just smiled at each other and delighted in the moment of a child's innocence and joy.

Then on the way home, we sang at the top of our lungs, some songs in English, some in Spanish and then it started raining and Marvin wanted to roll his window down. Another one of those times I know I was probably supposed to say Heavens no children, it's cold out there you may not put your head out the window and catch the raindrops in your mouth. I just couldn't. I know I know. It's just that it was one of those nights that just seemed like you were supposed to soak up the joy in the moment and I figured if God sent the rain and they were getting so many giggles out of trying to catch the raindrops on their tongue, they were teaching me a thing or two about making the most of every moment. Just a note, neither of them are coughing or sneezing today so I think we're safe. :)

We giggled all the way home. All of us. Even me. I was in my seat trying so hard to keep my eyes wide enough open to drive because they were cracking me up, all three of us in the front seat, and at times clearing the tears from them to see the road. Have you ever heard children who have seen and been exposed to horrendous things giggling? I promise you it's one of the sweetest sounds you'll ever hear. I sometimes just stand back and watch them play and laugh and I cannot get the knot out of my throat. It touches me to my toenails and I think yes Jesus this is what kids are supposed to get to do. Catch raindrops on their tongue and make mudpies and slide down the sliding board and ride bikes and get loved on. Yes Jesus, yes!! Thank You.

Every day I'm amazed at how much healing takes place in such a short amount of time. The kiddo's that got here a week ago have changed already so much in a week. They walk up to us already and pucker up their little lips wanting us to kiss them. Today I got so many arms thrown around my legs wanting hugs that I couldn't begin to count them. There's a reason that God says the greatest of these is love, I think. Love heals things. All kinds of things.

Keep living and loving the life out of every moment!! Blessings.