Monday, April 30, 2007
We are still looking for a few people who will come and work with us here from June through August. You will have the opportunity to fall in love with some precious kiddo's and draw closer to the heart of God as you sacrifice some things and He meets you there. I can't make many promises, but that one you can take to the bank, I'm sure of it!!
If you're interested please send us an email at firstname.lastname@example.org
It's gonna be a great summer, don't miss it!!
Wednesday, April 25, 2007
We turned in the rest of the paperwork she needed from us, and said she'd have the paperwork done on her end this week. In Honduran time I'm guessing that means next week, but hey we'll settle for that, when we didn't think a few weeks ago it was even gonna be possible. :)
I'll keep you posted and take lots of pictures when they finally get here.
AND YES LORI I AM PRAYING!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!! ARE YOU KIDDING ME?????????????
Monday, April 23, 2007
the meeting with the judge has been scheduled officially for tomorrow at 2 pm, so I should have more information then. Keep praying. We're close to bringing them home and everytime we have opened these doors to more children it has been so incredibly special in it's own ways. This one has it's own tender moments all wrapped up in it, because some little boy took me at my word to help him, to take care of him, to welcome him home, and he held onto those words with all his might. (Don't you ever doubt that God uses you in this world to be someone else's hope, when they have none left.) I have no idea what it was about this flawed, clay footed girl, that made him think he could trust me, but it makes me want to live up to every one of his crazy ideas about her. :) Just because he thinks I will.
Oh Lord please help me in the moments that I am human and he will be disappointed. Thank You that you never are and when we take You at Your word to help us, take care of us, and welcome us home, we are never disappointed in Your faithfulness to do just that.
Wednesday, April 18, 2007
May I just say to you dear ones that I've had the privilege of working beside for the past week and a half that you walked in a manner worthy of the calling. I saw within you servant hearts and beautiful spirits bent upon reaching out and touching and growing and changing while you were here. You encouraged me in ways you probably have no idea.
A few moments will always stick out to me from this trip...
Vicki, Debbie, and Rachel in the backseat of the truck after they'd spent the day with the San Miguel kids with tears streaming down their faces. I was reminded of some very important things through your tears and was refreshed by the way people are touched by the children here after one short day.
Karen and Devin, you moved into Marvin's heart and took up residence. He loves and adores you both and it's so funny because God makes that happen and people have come and loved Marvin, but he hadn't become anyone's "boy" (of course aside from us) until you came. Now he's yours. We're grateful to share him.
Papi Pelon (aka Tio Jeff) I wish you could know how touched I am when I watch you with Francisco. Most guys your age are way too cool to come for a summer fall in love with a little guy and miss him everyday thereafter. He loves you so much and if I could have picked a guy that I hope he models life after, I would have made the same choice he did. :) I love you brother!!
Miss Jessica, your heart just touched mine so much this time. I watched you become so soft to so many things over the past year and then watched it manifest itself on this trip. Yovani wanting to sleep in your bed and you being so gracious with the kiddo's. Your encouragment to me and offering to help raise our support. I just saw so much Jesus in that heart.
John and Ashley, you made the dynamic of the team so much richer, by your servant hearts, and your hearts for God. You were so kind and jumped in wherever whenever and you just made yourselves a part of us and we were delighted to have you with us.
Lauren, I don't think there was a day when you didn't say hello and ask me how I was. Your attentiveness to the people around you was kindness exemplified. Thank you for caring how we all were and taking the time to talk to each of us and wanting to learn about who we were as people.
That's enough for tonight. I'll write some more tomorrow. So many sweet memories and special people. It's worth stringing out for a few days!! :)
I MISS YOU GUYS!!!
Monday, April 16, 2007
As I begin to share with you let me tell you that this is the first time that I remember feeling as though God was answering my prayers the moment I spoke them. He didn't ask me to wait and grow (as we're all familiar with that one), He didn't tell me the timing wasn't best, He didn't say no, He just went ahead of me by a step and prepared the way. It was beautiful and I am just now getting to fully reflect on how it happened and how tender it was that He took such beautiful care of my heart.
So many details to share...please bear with me, I promise you'll be reminded of the faithfulness of God. Look past my inadequate words and please see a Father who loves His children, every one of them no matter where they are!
So you might remember several months ago my post on two precious little guys that we had met one night while we were going through the pharmacy drive thru. They had come up to my window to ask for some lempira's and had coke bottles under their shirts and eyes that were cloudy from the effects of the frequent sniff's. As I looked down into their little eyes, my heart was caught and I remember thinking oh Heavens I want to take you home, give you a bath, cut that hair, and sit down and hold you and remind you how much you're loved. They asked for some food that first night that I met them and we were headed to Pizza Hut and so I said well meet us over at Pizza Hut in 5 minutes and yes I'll buy you some food. I am ashamed to say that my thought initially was that we would go into Pizza Hut and eat and I'd either get them some food to give to them or we'd give them our leftovers. (I still shudder at the fact that my brain in the moment was malfunctioning.) Their idea when I said I'd feed them was that they were going in with us and before I even had time to think about it, my 5 boys and these sweet little dirty guys with barefeet just trucked right through the door and into the play area at Pizza Hut. We all sat down at the big long table and they all played together and we had soooooooooo much fun. They ate so many pieces of pizza I was scared to get the bill and delighted to pay it all the same. :) As we said goodbye that night I wrote my number down on a piece of paper and handed it to one of them and told them to come back tomorrow with their mom and that I would help them file the proper paperwork and get them help and that they could come and live with us. We left with hugs and a prayer.
We went back the next day and couldn't find them anywhere. Over the course of the next month we drove through that same part of the city and looked for them sooooo many times. Our boys prayed for them every single night and asked me every day when they were coming to live with us. I didn't have any answers, I had felt so sure that God had led us to them and couldn't figure out why it wasn't working out. Felt so hopeless in some ways because we were here had a home and couldn't find a way to get these sweet boys in it.
When we were in town a few months later when Kay and Joyce were here we were driving by the Mariott and these two little guys came up to my window and they were way familiar faces. I stopped at the light and got super excited to see them and asked how they were and told them to come on we were going for ice cream. Had a ball. That was January 18 and the next day was my birthday. Told them to come back to the same place in the morning and that we'd buy them breakfast and bring them some things. Once again they were barefoot and in ragged clothes. So there they came early the next morning and we all sat down and ate breakfast and I loved on them and AGAIN I wrote down my name and number and I said put this in your pocket, don't lose it, and tell your mommy to call me, I WILL HELP YOU!!! Didn't hear anything from them again and I am still thinking, what in the world??!! God I don't get it, we have a place to help them, I want to help them, I feel called to these two boys so strongly for some reason and I have to believe that's from you, why is this not working?? No answers.
So we went to visitation on the last Friday of March to take the kids to visit their mothers and as soon as I stepped out of the van I saw this little guy running and I couldn't make out who it was until he threw his arms around me and yelled TIA and I looked into a little face that made me want to bawl. It was Brian, one of the brothers that I'd met so many months ago and had prayed for nearly every day since. One of the ladies that was sitting with him walked up to me and she said, you need to know that he has cried every day since he got here because he said some lady promised to help him but he couldn't find her phone number but he wanted to go live with her. She said when you drove up and he saw you get out of the car he said, that's her. Awwwwwwww...ok so I was smitten with this little heart all over again. So I went inside to talk with the social workers and told them about the fact that we'd built a relationship with this boys and that I really wanted to take them to live with me. They told me that that wasn't going to be able to happen, that Rudy (his brother) had already been court ordered to another children's home and that Brian was to go there tomorrow. I wanted to bawl. I said, but he doesn't want to go there, he wants to live with me, and I want them to live with us and our boys have prayed for them nearly every night, and it was a futile effort, they weren't budging. I left feeling very defeated...but praying that God would protect those boys and draw them to him.
This past week the group had a visit scheduled to Casitas on Tuesday and I was running late because I had a meeting that I had to go to between the blind school and Casitas and so was an hour or two late. When I pulled up in the car Ashley was sitting beside this sweet little face that I love and I recognized immediately as Brian. My mouth dropped open because he was supposed to have left a week ago to go to the other center. I got out of my car and asked lots of questions about what happened and he said, I didn't want to go I want to live with you. Ok tears!!!!!!!!!!
So my feet went trucking back into that office and said to the women in there, what do I need to do to take this little guy with me...I will do whatever it takes. I asked for the name of the center where Rudy is because they refuse to seperate the brothers which I completely understand and so I said I'd take them both...they still wouldn't do the paperwork required to change the orders. I was getting way frustrated by this point and felt like we weren't doing what was best for the kiddo's which certainly was getting my feathers ruffled. Left the office way upset and so I went back out to face Brian and tell him there was nothing I could do. I couldn't ever get those words out of my mouth though. So instead I looked at him and I said, I want you to know that I want you to live with me. You are such a special little boy. So you pray and I'm gonna pray and I'm gonna go talk to some people tomorrow and see what I can do ok??!! All of this was said with serious tears in my eyes praying that I wasn't doing the wrong thing by giving him false hope. He just kept sitting beside me putting my hand up to his little mouth and kissing it. Broke my heart. It was time to board the bus and I hugged this little guy with all I had in me, and his eyes filled up with tears. I said hey don't be sad, God is great big and you pray tonight really hard ok, and I'll have all my friends that are here with me pray too ok. Let's just pray. Then I said let's pray right now and so I knelt down there in the dirt on these knees with this precious little guy and I put my head against his and I just basically said ok God we just are gonna trust you and we need your help. I got on the bus and I put my head on the seat in front of me and I cried like I haven't cried in a LONG time!!! I was heartbroken and didn't have a clue what to do and wanted to help rescue this little guy soooooooooooooooooo bad!!
We had a devo at the Jesus statue that night and after devo was over I just explained the story and told them that I wouldn't be with them because I had to go fight for a little boy because I promised him that I would and I begged for their prayers. So we all prayed together for two little boys and for God to work all of this out in the very best way whatever that was because we just weren't sure what to pray for exactly.
After I shared, this sweet gal, Iris, that was with my dear friend Gina that night came up to me and asked for more details and said that her mother worked for IHNFA and worked with adoptions and that possibly she could help me. Gave me just an ounce of hope at least and God used her in that moment. Didn't have any idea how much He was about to use her. The only thing I had to go on at this point was that Rudy was at some center called Amor Y Esperanza and that possibly Iris's mom could help me the next day. I knew though that I only had until about 2 pm because the other center was coming to get Brian then. So I needed a plan and fast.
We were headed back down the mountain to take Gina home and I wanted to take donut's up to the team for a treat and so I asked Gina and Iris if they'd like to grab a donut or would rather just go home. They said yeah they'd like to go with us. (Which is a rare deal as well, because Gina never eats junk food so the fact that she said yes to a donut is worth noting.) There were two other people in the Dunkin Donuts besides us and when we pulled up Iris said hey I know that lady, she's a doctor with the Baptist mission in a village out of the city. So we walked up to the counter to order and Iris went over to talk to them and she came over a few minutes later grabbed me by the arm with enthusiasm and said hey you need to come over here right now this guy is the director of Amor Y Esperanza. WHAT??????????????????????????? I had to pick my jaw up. So I walked over introduced myself, told him the story of Rudy and Brian and just asked him if there was anyway we could work together to help them and do what's best. He said, well I'll tell you what we have 3 centers, let me give you the name of the one where Rudy is and the name of the director there, and you'll need to call her in the morning and explain the situation to her, and we'll go from there. I could not believe it. Out of 1.6 million people in this city, God allowed us to be in the same place at the same time, and I couldn't decide if I wanted to do cartwheels or cry at His tenderness and relentless love.
So Gina agreed to go with me to speak to the director the next morning and so we went early in the morning to meet with this sweet lady named Claudia. She was a delight and if for no other reason than getting to meet her it would have been so worth it. She agreed to let me shadow her and learn from her and she is obviously a woman who is in love with her Lord. I am looking forward to that. When I explained the situation to her, the one thing that stands out is her saying, "if you feel this strongly about being called to these two little boys and the bond you've formed with them I have to believe that's from God and I want to help you." And she did. She gave us a copy of the entrance papers with their full names on them and their id numbers and gave us the judge's name and said that we'd have to go talk with her.
So we went from the director's office to attempt to go to the office of a lady we have some affiliation with from when Tim worked with her with Dona Aguas (the prior first lady). She is what we would call the D.A. over the children's courts and we attempted to call her several times and couldn't get ahold of her and so Gina said well let's just stop by. So we went into her office and she recognized Gina and said well come in. It was crazy, she was crazy busy, and she is normally not in her office but she just "happened" to be this morning. She listened to the story, she looked at the papers we had, she said oh yeah I know this lady she's one of my best friends I work with her often, I'll call her right now. So she got her on the phone explained the situation, told her she thought this was in the best interest of the children and I only heard her end of the conversation so all I could hear was, yes I know we'll need to do an inspection first, so how about tomorrow at 1:30?? I looked at Gina like yeah right, you wait for a month for things like this, they are not going to come tomorrow, and then I heard her say, tomorrow at 1:30 ok I'll see you then. WHAT?????????????????????????
And so the meeting was in place and in a 24 hour period of time God had blown me away. I went from hopeless to hopeful and remembered that if God could create the world, part the seas, calm the ocean, He could certainly bring a couple little boys to this home if He so chose.
The ladies came out the next day to do an inspection and everything went well and the judge walked into my office and said, well I do believe this is best for the children. I will be changing the orders next week. Congratulations you have 2 new boys!!
I am floored and humbled and touched to my toes that God would wait until the perfect time. That He would nestle two boys in my heart long ago and teach me so much through this process. That He would allow me to learn that they were worth fighting for and that the battle will never be mine but His and that He will walk ahead of me and prepare the way. That He would love me and these two little guys so much that He would work this all out in the beautiful ways that He did.
SO I HAVE AN ANNOUNCEMENT...Rudy and Brian are coming home...home to Casa...home to this heart...home to these brother's and sister's in this family that God had prepared for them before the beginning of time.
I am honored to be a small part of all of this...thank you for you prayers. It was such a sweet gift to be able to share the moments of all of this while the team was here. I will never forget the ways you all encouraged and prayed hurt and rejoiced with me through the events of this week. You are precious!!
Saturday, April 14, 2007
Maybe one of the best things about broken and raw however is the lack of the ability to hide the need, to wear the mask, and in the innocence of a broken child, arms and love is really all they want and they certainly are not afraid to show you. They jump into your arms, they hang on for dear life when you leave, they hold your hand the entire time you're near them, they stroke your face with tenderness all for the sake of a loving touch that they go days/weeks/perhaps sadly longer than that without.
Here are some lovin on them pictures. Might I just say, that as difficult as it is, we are always the blessed ones who have been stretched and grown and our hearts made better for having seen and entering into their life if even for a few hours.
After Casitas we went to the mall to get some fast food and then headed up the mountain for one of our favorite devo's of the trip, at the Jesus statue. It is this HUGE statue with Jesus' arms outstretched that is lit up at night just looking over the city. It is powerful stuff. It was a great way to end a night where you felt as though you needed to be hunkered up underneath the arms of Jesus because hearts were weary.
Got up Wednesday morning to once again be builders both on this earth for some families and prayerfully for the kingdom of God as well. Let's just say the children's song about the wise man building his house on the rock will forever have new meaning. One team built an entire house on a HUGE slab of rock...I don't mean some dirt covering a pile of rocks, no I mean one huge slab of rock is all you see. It is the foundation of this house. The other house site provided it's own difficulties as well and it was certainly the hardest building day we've had. When the day was done however, we had built two houses with hours of pounding and spudding and sweating and two families would now have a home. The team felt a sure sense of accomplishment after this one.
Wednesday night out of the graciousness of some servant hearts we brought all the "Casa kids" up to the Mission House for the night and had an "adopt a kid" night. They slept with folks who their little hearts had gotten connected up with and played and played and played. It was great fun, with laughter, lots of laughter and hugs and investment time for some kiddo's who need it. Was a precious thing for me to watch as some of my favorite people on this earth loved on some kiddo's who have now captured this heart tightly.
Thursday we woke back up early to head back to Santa Ana and have the food/clothing/shoe distribution. Here's the great news from that day, this was the first time we have not had to turn anyone away at the end of the day and that was a great thing. Everyone got a bag of food to take home to their families, thank You Lord. At the same time another group of folks was holding a vbs with the kiddo's from the community in the park next to the church and from what I hear went really well. Came back Thursday night and had devo and the highlight of the day...grandma joyce and her servant heart made us cinnamon rolls for all of us to have after devo. OH JOY JOY JOY!!!!
Yesterday was another full day of great things as we built 2 more houses in Nuevo Oriental and got to play with the children there. A small group went to help at the feeding center there and enjoyed it very much. It is another great project, where 200 community children are fed each day, and are taught about Jesus while doing so. Some precious ladies serve there and I always love to see them. The kids are always the highlight though and they surround wherever you are building and it's my favorite part of building days. Little boys hammered nails yesterday til their little arms couldn't hardly swing the big hammers. Little girls blew bubbles, and colored, and got their nails painted. It was great.
We ended last night with dinner and devo at the Kluge's. Now let me just say...#1...it is my favorite diner in this country. Melissa always outdoes herself with the whole hospitality cooking deal. Once again we were not disappointed. There was cookie dough in a big bowl with plastic spoons to eat for dessert (among about 10 other choices) but NEED I SAY more??!! We had devo on their back patio with candles and it was great. Karen and I have certainly learned to love them as family and now the group has done the same and that's a beautiful thing. They are special people who are serving without a lot of hype and fanfare and are just day by day changing an entire community with their love and service. I am honored to know them, I really am!
This morning we are off to the Mi Esperanza house (and just for the record gonna try really hard to squeeze in a La Creperia run.) The boys are hanging out here for a bit and then coming down the mountain to meet us at Valley of the Angels and then tonight we'll go to the Santa Lucia resort and then on to the Santa Lucia Cathedral for our last devo together for this trip.
Gonna offer a way selfish prayer request at this point...it has been a great team this year and we've experienced 10 days of some really great things together. And while I always have a hard time coming off the group "high"...this one is especially hard on this heart because I go back to doing life hundreds of miles away from some of the people I love most in this world after having been with them nearly 24/7 for 10 days. If you could just pray for this heart that knows it's in the right place, but wishes it didn't have to be so far away from some of my nearest and dearest. Not a complaint. Just an honest prayer request from a grateful heart. Tagged onto that and maybe more importantly, please pray for our kiddo's who have locked heart with this group as well. Some major tears the past couple of days for them as well. We just all could use a dose of those prayers as we do this goodbye stuff. Thank you for praying us through.
Ok it's time now to get on that bus again, so I'll post pictures to catch you all up on these days later tonight. Just never seems to be enough time to get it all done at one time. Thanks for your patience. We love you all!!
Thursday, April 12, 2007
Then we had a great devotional on Sunday night just talking about the places we had witnessed Jesus on this trip, either in another member of the team, or in somewhere we had been, or the children and people we had touched and who had touched us, it was precious stuff. Prayed over the children and Jorge and rosa as we sat there and the difficulties that they faithfully live through. Unknown finances, needing more help than they have, and yet still walking out the call they believe with all of their heart that God placed on their lives. Teaching children about the love of Jesus and they are doing that well. Tremendous people they are.
We woke up Monday morning to spruce up the place a bit and put on our painting clothes. The rollers and brushes came out and we went to work to paint the front of the children's home. It was great. What was once dirty and dull became clean and bright in just a few short hours and when the kids got out of school and saw it they were so excited. Here are a few pictures from that experience.
Went back to the Mission House on Monday night feeling as though we had been the ones blessed to be able to feed into a ministry we completely believe in and to "enter in" with some people we have grown to love sooooo much!!
Tuesday began with a visit to the blind school, which we look so forward to and each time we're there it holds it's own unique splendor. I'm not sure what worship in Heaven will sound like with young and old alike, all nations and tribes, but everytime we walk in there to sing with those children and I hear them start clapping out of sheer joy at the sound, and then I hear hands start pounding on the table to the beat, and I see them smile as we sing, I imagine that Father is watching ALL his children with glee, thinking yep life as worship that's just what I intended.
There's so much more to tell you about, and this will be continued TONIGHT I promise. As for now, I must go with Timateo to make sure the house sites are ready for today (Friday) and we will be building in Nuevo Oriental and visiting a feeding center up there on that mountain. It is for sure one of my favorite mountains to build on because of all the relationships we've built. Special stuff. Thank you for your patience with this. Please continue to pray.
Sunday, April 08, 2007
We began our day today at Good Shepherd Children's Home and it is always such a treat. The children run up to the bus and eagerly await the procession of the "gringo's" cause when they arrive playing WILL happen!! We painted fingernails, we played soccer, we hugged, we colored, we laughed, we cried, we gave ourselves away only to find out that God would replenish whatever we gave in His name. Beautiful how that works.
We sure needed the refill, because next on the agenda was the hospital and it always takes about everything we have. We had a neat addition to the agenda this year, in that the group was able to help some specific patients this year which was a tremendous idea that some of our team members came up with. The children selected were children here who have hydrocephalis (which is basically fluid on the brain). It is common in this country because of the deficiency in the mothers diet. So we were able to contact the sweet lady named Mida who works with hydrocephalis babies, (as a sidenote she does this because she lost her 8 year old daughter and because of her broken heart was inspired to help others), and were able to find ways to help provide shunts, which will allow the children to live. Initially we thought with the money we had dedicated to this project that we would be able to help 2 to 3 children, but yesterday when Miss Mida arrived she told us that some medical supply store which had heard about what she was doing and how we were willing to help agreed to discount the price enough so that we could help 4 children. AMAZING...our God is AMAZING!!! That was the high point of our day.
The hard parts were seeing a mother on her knees in the hallway on the floor because she had just lost her 2 month old daughter, or seeing children without hair lying in a bed with amputated arms and soon to be legs because they had cancer and that's the way it is treated in an impoverished country in a free hospital. Forgive me if the details are hard to hear and read, it's just that I'm certain now that we do no favors to one another by leaving out the parts that remind us of the injustices of the world. I know now that God expects us to do something with what we know and part of our responsibility is honestly sharing with you.
Please continue to pray that as we are attempting to be the hands and feet of Jesus that we will extend the grace, compassion, and love that this country and these precious people so desperately need.
I will post more pictures when we get back from Didasko tomorrow and until then stay tuned!!
Saturday, April 07, 2007
Thursday, April 05, 2007
It was a great day, we met the team at the airport today around noon and with the exception of about 10 pieces of luggage all was well. Had a slight bus mishap but everyone is great and that's being taken care of. Welcome to Honduras!!
We were able to bring the boys minus Antonio with us today to stay with the group for a couple days. They are having a blast!!! It's so fun to watch them. Feels like we're on a little family vacation. Was thinking today every year they've watched people leave for Semana Santa and they've never been able to. Could never have afforded the bus fare to go anywhere outside their village, and today they got to go away for Semana Santa. In their mind they're staying in a hotel and this is Disneyland and it is a joy to watch.
Tonight we packed food bags that will feed 200 families in a village somewhere where tonight momma's are praying that they will find food enough to feed their babies, and God will help us find them and send us to them. He works like that I know!!
Tomorrow we set out to build 2 houses and to help in the feeding center in San Miguel. It will be a great day, but please pray for rest as there are some tired eyes tonight from a long day of travel.
Thank you for your prayers and support to make this possible. Pray that in the brokenness of this world we might be a poured out offering for God to use in any way He sees fit.
Will write more tomorrow but as for tonight it's sleepytime for all of us.