Wednesday, May 30, 2007

A Huge Shout Out...

To my heroes who came out in the pouring rain to help 3 white girls and a little boy get out of the flood waters on Kennedy last night.

Only in Honduras do you call your "little brother" who is in for a 10 day trip and say look I'm on Kennedy and I got stuck in the water (because there is no drainage system that's worth anything) and the truck stalled out and I can't get it started...then not only does he show up but has his posse with him.

So to all of you sweet guys who came and bailed us out last night and were willing to stand in the foot of water with your pants rolled up and get drenched while helping us get to a safe place so we could get the truck started, you have earned an extra jewel in your crown.

Nate, Mark, Luis, and Justin huge thanks for coming to the rescue.

Saturday, May 26, 2007

It's late. It's quiet. I'm sitting in my office that I just shifted around tonight, with my lamp dimly lighting this room and my candle making the office smell really good. Hillsong is singing praise music and for the first time this week I am taking time to relive the events of the past week and take them in. It's been an eventful week to say the least. Busy. Beautifully busy.

As many of you know, if you've read Karen or Ashley's blogs we took in 6 new children this week. 6 broken children who needed a place to live. Brayan and Rudy have finally come home, can we shout HALLELUJAH??!! And to my sheer surprise God had other plans and decided to send 4 more with them.

You know it's always a time of huge adjustment here when we bring in new kiddo's. There are those moments when overwhelming is the best word to describe it. We all have moments of "God I can't do this, this is so hard, and I have no idea how to reach this one." There are tears there are always tears as we collapse into bed at night exhausted because we are emotionally spent with giving and trying to be Jesus and attempt to be balm for their wounds in some very small way. It's a difficult time always and we covet your prayers. But I maintain that it is during these times that I learn the very most about God's sufficiency. The whole when we are weak He is strong promise.

This week some of my most poignant lessons have come from a little boy named Luvin. He's a handful in no uncertain terms. And if you knew nothing of his background you'd be able to send him away and not give him a second look, unfortunately. He's one of those kids that would be so easy to give up on and overlook. He has been beaten, has scars on his body as signs of hot water thrown on him, all at the hands of his parents. So his answer to problems in his world is anger and force, as has been evidenced.

After an "episode" where his anger erupted I had come home and walked in and was attempting to calm him down and talk with him. In that room with his 12 year old self on my lap just bawling and me rocking him back and forth and saying Luvin, God loves you, God loves you, God loves you, his heart settled. As we were talking I felt God giving me words to say in 12 year old language that was very unscripted and on the spot (which I happen to be way bad at most often).

Got to sit with a little guy who has never felt loved in his 12 years of life and explain that God loves him on his good days and bad days moment by moment and that we were going to attempt to be God's love to him in this house. I explained that he needed to apologize to Ashley (who took the brunt of his anger with the heart of Jesus) and that he would need to stand in front of the other kiddo's that night before dinner and tell them he was sorry because this was a family and he had hurt one of the members of our family and when that happened we all hurt. He said, "but I'm embarrassed." Whewwww don't know how many times you've been there but it broke my heart, I said I know buddy, I am always embarrassed when I have to tell God that I'm sorry because I did things I shouldn't have done, that I didn't really want to do, but it's still necessary and you'll feel better afterwards. We talked for a while longer about God and how much He loves us and how when we ask Him to forgive us He does and He doesn't remember it anymore and we're gonna do the same. I said to him, are you ready to go tell Ashley you're sorry? He looked at me and I said, I'll go with you but you're gonna have to tell her yourself ok?! He nodded his head.

So with all his courage mustered and his head buried in his hands, I called Ashley inside and told her he wanted to talk to her. She sat down at the table next to him, hugged him first (after he'd spent an hour or so wailing on her) and lifted his head to look at her. He said with much sorrow, I'm sorry for hitting you and making you sad. We both explained to him that we all make mistakes and that God loves us through them and the important thing is that we make better choices and that it was our job to try and help him learn how to do that.

So at supper time, I walked up and I said Luvin are you ready? He looked at me as if to say for what, and I said remember what we talked about earlier. He stood up and walked up in front of everyone else as he was holding onto my hand and in words that came straight from him he said..."I want to live here and I want to be a part of this family and I'm sorry I hurt someone you love today and I need you to forgive me." Whewww puddle of tears in this heart. Those weren't my words they were his. Then Marvin, bless his little heart said, "It's ok Luvin we all make bad decisions, we forgive you." We had a great "family discussion" about God's love and His forgiveness and what that means.

Funny how when you're supposed to be the teacher you find yourself learning the best lessons. Not ones you didn't know but ones you hadn't yet fully realized perhaps.

I thought about how every single time I go before God to say, I am so sorry...I want to live here and be part of this family and I hurt you today and I need you to forgive He so willingly says, it's ok Jen I knew you'd make some bad decisions, I forgive you. Thought about how every single time I have to do that, in a sense Jesus says it's ok Jen I know you're embarrassed but it's the right thing to do, I'll go with you and He's my advocate, my partner in my confession in a sense.

Guess in part I just got caught up in the beauty and simplicity of the love and grace of God and as I was attempting to explain it without flowery words or intelligence that would be admired or doctrine that lined up or any of that I just got overtaken by the pure and simple love of a God who would take me in as much of a mess as I was, who would clean me up, put me in new clothes, and wait patiently for the process of my transformation, believing in what I could be instead of what I was.

Oh Father may we please do the same! Thank you for the visualization of Your love through the eyes of this one You gave to our keeping. May we think and act in the shadow of Your cross as we deal with him.

We continue to covet your prayers. Thank you for them, every last one of them.

Live loved....You are!!

Tuesday, May 22, 2007

A few pictures from the house and with the momma yesterday...see story below!
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Monday, May 21, 2007

Oh Dear...

So yep it's been almost a month, how in the WORLD does that happen?? I wish I had some great story of why I've been deterred in writing a post, it's just that...hmmm...well I don't. It's just that one day on top of another day added to another day happened and busy and meetings and well life happened and I didn't take the time to sit down and write about it because at the time it didn't seem noteworthy I guess. Then it's like you look back and realize how much has happened in a month or so's time and feel as if you ought to catch those people, (those faithful people, who watch for a blog every morning) up on what's going on. Except then you sit down and think oh Heavens there's so much. So how about that for a rambling paragraph....

Well the last that you heard from me we were being wow'd by God's amazing providence and provision over Rudy and Brian and their sweet little lives. We had been amazed at how He had worked all the details out to be able to have them call this home and how we felt that we needed to take our sandals off in Dunkin Donuts because it became "holy ground" in a sense. Who knew, you could get donuts and a good dose of God in that place, I knew I loved it for a reason. I frequent it often still just in case He might want to make another grand appearance :)

I went to meet with the judge today and it is official, Rudy and Brian are moving to Casa. I'll pick them up on Wednesday morning at 11:30 am and they'll be ours for such a time as this. Please know that I write these next words humbled to my knees because I don't deserve this, it is merely God's favor for reasons that I'll never know, but I got to meet their mother today. I watched this beautiful 29 year old woman walk in who has 6 children and lives a life of desperation but who was as warm and tender as anyone I've met. When she walked into the room and I told her my name was Jennifer she hugged the stuffin's out of me. Then with tears in her eyes, she said, you're HER. In the next several minutes she explained to me that for the last year her boys had been telling her about me and how I wanted to help them but she was scared and didn't know who I was or what they were talking about. She looked at me with tears in her eyes and said if I would have known it was a children's home, I would have let them come a long time ago. We needed help. She told me that Brian asked her if she would give him a wallet so that he could keep the note that I gave him with my name and phone number on it because he didn't want to lose it. He kept walking around saying, isn't it pretty handwriting mom, isn't it pretty?! The judge told me that a children's home wanted Rudy and Brian to come live there, but I didn't know anything about the people. She said I wanted to come today and make sure that Casa de Esperanza was run by the person that my little boys fell in love with and when you told me your name was Jennifer I knew it was you. Ok so tears...yet again!! It's not that there's anything extraordinary about me, it's just that God gave me the opportunity to connect with these two little hearts and when I had no clue He was working and all seemed hopeless, there He was, preparing the way, being who He is, and allowing this flawed girl to somehow for some reason hold out hope for two little boys.

After we had a meeting in the judge's office, we went to their house to "see" where they had come from and if ever I forget what desperate looks like, I'll go back to remember, cause it's that important. It was destitute. It was a sheet for a door, it was a dirty mattress on a dirt floor, it was a 3 year old watching a 4 month old while the mother was in the city, it was tin covering a floor with holes in it, a staircase with the most wobbly stairs you have ever seen, it was poverty in the form of a mother who could not care for her children. With tears in her eyes in the meeting yesterday she said to me, "I wish there was some other way..." to which I responded, "so do I." I so wish there was some other way. Thought about all the momma's I know who would have their heart ripped out if they must give their children to someone that they barely know so that they could be fed and taken care of.

It was a great reminder day to me of why we do what we do...even while it's soooooooooo far away from our families and people we love so very much. I connected with this sweet woman yesterday and realized that this ministry goes so much further than taking care of children, it's also being kind and befriending a woman who has been looked down upon and who feels has lost most of her dignity. It's attempting to be who Jesus would be to the oppressed, the seemingly forsaken, the impoverished and hurting. It's living out the red letters...

oh God help me please live them out and then give you all the credit!!

That's only part of the story...just from yesterday! God showed up yet again.

As for the rest of the month that I left you out of, well I'll catch you up on that as well. Gonna take several posts in the next few days to cover it. So stay tuned...