I guess you have all gotten an e-mail from my sister that says that my address was incorrect. I guess '14' and 'H' kind of look the same, right? :) So now it's:
Miss Amanda Tomlin
Apartado Postal 26-H
Guatemala, Guatemala 01911
Sorry if anyone has already sent something. I hope I can still get it.
We've had a busy few days. On top of everyday work, we've had a few extra things to take care of as well. Sunday night we had a birthday party for Barbara. They usually have one party a month for all of the girls that had birthdays in the month. But this month Barbara was the only one. I have some really good pictures that I'll try to post as soon as we get our internet back up at the house. Right now, Jill and I are at the Texaco up the street. We both have the day off today, so it's nice to spend time together.
Yesterday we went to the Embassy to apply for an absentee ballot. That was my first time at the Embassy. It was nice only because we didn't have to wait in any lines. :) All we had to do was fill out the form and give it to the lady behind the desk. Now she will mail it and then whoever in Huntsville will mail me the ballot. It's kind of cool.
Last night Jill and I slept at the Simpson's house. They will come back from the States in the middle of the night tonight. I am excited to meet them.
I went by Buckner's office today. Steve and Shyrel weren't there, but Brennan was. It is so nice to see old friends here. I hope to see Steve and Shyrel tonight.
Oh!! And news from home: My almost 1 year old nephew Clay walked yesterday. I am so happy, but sad because I'm not there to see him. Congratulations, Clay!
I guess that's all for now. I hope to get the internet at the house working soon.
Monday, September 27, 2004
I guess you have all gotten an e-mail from my sister that says that my address was incorrect. I guess '14' and 'H' kind of look the same, right? :) So now it's:
Thursday, September 23, 2004
Tonight it has been such a blessing to me to hear Melvin and Zaidy in their room singing praises with the girls. I began this past Monday, giving guitar 'lessons' to Melvin. He has an old classical guitar... and I mean OLD. The thing will hardly stay tuned. So, tonight he asked to borrow mine to sing with the girls. They want to begin a praise team with the girls that want to and sing to sick people. I'm not sure if that would be in the hospital or what, but I think it's a wonderful thing for them to do. I hope to be apart of it.
I have been off for the past two days. Yesterday, I went to eat lunch with Laisa. We got to visit for a few hours. It was great to see her. We have become good friends. And she bought my lunch... sweetheart. Jill and I were supposed to go the Embassy to get our absentee ballots with Carroll, but it was too late when Carroll got back, so we will go Monday. I went with Carroll in the afternoon to Hyper Paiz (like a Super Walmart) and she treated me to an ice cream. :) I also bought Barbara a birthday present. They have one birthday party a month and this month it's this Sunday. Barbara was the only birthday this month though. We will have cake and give her presents. This is one time when we are allowed to give individual presents.
Tonight Keyla asked me to help her with this book she had. It was a Veggietales book and it has stickers. She wanted me to give her ideas as to where to put the stickers. I translated the stories and then we decided which sticker was best for each page. She is so sweet. I also got to spend some time talking to Ana. She had lots of questions to ask me about my family. Like, Does my family love me? Why do I live with my sister? Very serious questions for an 8 year old to be asking. She said she wanted to see her brother, but he is in another home.
OH! Also, the girls put on a drama for Melvin, Zaidy, and I. It was so funny!! They did the same little drama, six different times, in different ways. Once they did it normal, once in slow motion, once in fast motion, once with everyone laughing, once with everyone angry and screaming.. it was great!!
I finally talked to my friend Tono today from San Lucas. I had the wrong phone number, but I ran into Ester who is marrying his brother and she gave me the new one. I may get to go to church with them tomorrow night. :) Also, I talked to David Mitchell at Casa Aleluya and may get to see them tomorrow afternoon. It's their day off and I get off at 1:30. That will be great!
I ate chinese today and I gave my leftovers to Mama Elena. She said, ¨God bless you!! God bless you!!¨ HAHAHHAAA! She is precious!
I think I'm forgetting some English. I know I'm forgetting how to spell some words. Like just then; precious in Spanish is 'preciosa', and I kept typing 'precios' and I couldn't figure out what looked funny about it. heheh.
Well, right now I'm talking to Connie and Stephanie (my sisters) online at the same time, writing this... my brain is about to explode. This is hard. So, I'll end here.
Wednesday, September 22, 2004
I woke up this morning to two things: 1) the sound of 14 voices singing 'Happy Birthday' to Barbara. Barbara turns 13 today. She is the one who has to get dialisis 4 times a day and desperately needs a kidney transplant. Out of 12 children that were in the hospital with her a few years ago, she is the only one still alive. I know it's through prayer and the love and care she recieves here at The Shadow of His Wings.
And the #2 thing was the dog outside my window barking. :/ We are dogsitting Joanne and Gib's dog, Babe, a doberman. :/ You know how much I love dogs... <-(do you sense my sarcasm?) But she's really sweet.
Now I'm up and ready to relax today.
I'm hoping to meet up with Laisa today and at least grab some lunch or somthing. Laisa is a friend from Casa Aleluya. I'm waiting right now for her to call me back. Carroll, Jill, and I are also going today to the Embassy to turn in our forms to get an absentee ballot sent to us to vote in the upcoming election. We have to do it soon, like, this week, so we are just going to do it today.
I'll write how that was later. I've never been to the U.S. Embassy here, or anywhere else for that matter. So, I'm anxious to see how it is.
Last night, Jill and I ordered Domino's and stuffed ourselves! It was a nice change and we have leftovers for tonight!
Well, I'm going to go wait for Laisa.
Tuesday, September 21, 2004
Today was pancake day and I think I'm getting the hang of it. I'll be able to open up my own IHOP if I ever come home. :) After work, we had a staff meeting in the office. But first, Rebeka, the secretary, hada game for us to play. She lined up 7 chairs and had each of us sit in one. Then she named us each a day of the week. I was domingo (Sunday). Then she would point to a chair and name a day of the week. That person had to go sit in that chair and everyone else fall in to place accordingly. It was so funny! We had to practice a few times because Mama Elena didn't get it. heh. Then the last one to sit would be called 'rotten potato'. The funniest part was watching mama Elena. She was so confused! It was hilarious!! Rebeka called for 'jueves' to sit in one chair, well, mama Elena ended up in that chair and she wasn't even 'jueves', she was 'martes'!! So, Zaidy, who was 'jueves', was yelling, 'PERO YO SOY JUEVES!!!' (I am Thursday!) I was crying I was laughing so hard. The meeting was good. They just gave us some information to be praying about, and then we had a small devotion. We were each given 7 points that we were to pray over one other staff member. It was a really good time. Carroll spoke from Colosians, where it says that His strength in us will overflow in us and become our joy. It was really precious. When we don't feel like we can do whatever task is before us or when we don't want to do it.. we have to remember Who it is we are working for. He is our strength. Isn't that comforting? To know that I don't have to do it by myself? It is to me.
Tomorrow begins my 'weekend' or my two days off. It's crazy that I get 2, but it's good and helps that staff not to get burnt out. I'm not sure what I'll be doing yet. But I'm sure it'll be fun. I'm not too picky.
I was invited to my nephews skating birthday party in a few weeks. Unfortunately, I won't be able to make it... it's in Alabama... but if any of you go.. I better get pictures!!! I want a picture of Daddy skating... hehhehe!!! :) Just kidding, Daddy.
Monday, September 20, 2004
Today the girls gave a presentation of their 'gymnastics' that they have been working on the past week or so. Each grade had written a song and made up dance and they performed it for us. After that they performed their gymnastics routine. It was so exciting to see the girls doing their thing. They were all so nervous, even though it was just our family their: Papa Melvin and Mama Zaidy, Tia Elena and Rosaelba, Mama Carroll, and Jill and I were the ones there watching. They did really excellent. It was such a pretty morning for it too. It was hot though! I felt bad for them doing their aerobics in the hot sun. They also had to do it all in the street.. on the concrete!! Thank goodness no one fell. It was a great morning.
Sunday, September 19, 2004
Well, I survived last night. It wasn't so bad except that the water went out. But thank goodness it came back on this monring and I was able to take a shower before church. It was a good service, but I sat in the back with Jill and Carroll because they were getting the translation. But I like to translate myself, but I wanted to sit with them. But between the LOUD headphones they had, to the nursery right next to me... and the man preaching was hard to understand to me anyways... I didn't get much out of it. I know it was able the parable of sowing the seed. Matthew 13. But they worship was great!
We had hot dogs for lunch and we always have leftovers from the week for dinner on Sunday night. Jill and I want to order a pizza sometime this week. Maybe tonight.
I'm just taking 15 before we start setting out the tienda. Then all the girls will get showers tonight since we ran out of water last night.
Saturday, September 18, 2004
We now have internet working at the house!! I am so happy! This means I will proabably be able to update much more often because I won't have to wait until Jill and I are off at the same time or a day off. I can check mail on my breaks or on my afternoons off. It's nice to know because having to wait makes me forget important details that you would want to know... like the other day when we ran out of water!!
I had just gotten off from work. I wanted a shower SOOOO bad!! But all we had was purified water in the 5 gallon bottles... hmmmm... you can guess what I did. I filled a pot with water and headed off to the shower. :) It was cold, but better than nothing. I have already taken about 3 cold showers here anyways. (only because I was turning on the cold water instead of the hot.. heh.
So, yeah, it's been an experience already in some cases. But I'm used to things like that... somehow.
Tonight I have to do showers and get all of the girls in bed... all by myself!! PRAY!! I'm sure it will be fine. Thinking about it is more of a stress than the actual job of it. These girls are really well behaved. It's the product of a close family.
I'm working on getting my pictures up. I have pictures of the whole house to show. I'm having trouble getting it started on this computer. I'm sure it won't be long.
Friday, September 17, 2004
Wednesday and yesterday I had two wonderful days off.
Wednesday was Guatemala's Independence Day. The city was crazy. Everyone was celebrating in different ways. Guatemalans use any excuse to miss work and celebrate. It was fun. And the food was great!
Tuesday, as part of the celebrating the girls ran around our neighborhood with a torch and Guatemala's flag, and their school banner. It was raining, but it was so fun. Carroll, Rebeca and I rode in the car behind them and honked the horn... continuously. So fun! The girls stopped on EVERY street corner and prayed over that street. That was really special to me. They also sang songs as they ran and did a few human pyramids.
Wednedsay they had tipica foods and a ceremony at school. They told about all the different departments (states) of Guatemala. And they went swimming in the morning too.
Tonight is movie night, so I will make all of them popcorn. This is a weekly thing that the girls really look forward to.
For me, everything is going well. I am getting the hang of cooking breakfast for 20ish people. I was worried about the pancakes last Tuesday, but they turned out ok. And there were enough for everyone, which is what I was worried about. Like when the water in the pitcher didn't run out in the Bible... that's how I felt like my pancakes were. I really thought I would run out. God is good.
Sunday, September 12, 2004
Today I went to church, Verbo Sur, with the girls for the first time. It was a great service. It reminded me a lot of the Rock in the way that they worship and praise God. It was really cool to watch that some of the girls dance in the front of the santuary. It was such a beautiful expression of praise. I think I will really enjoy being apart of that church.
After church, Jill and I fixed lunch with Carroll's help. Then we had the tienda, which is a really neat idea, I think. During the week, the girls get points for various chores and jobs around the house. Every Sunday, they have la tienda that we set up in the play area. There they can buy candy, hair accessories, toys, stuffed animals, etc. It's a really creative incentive to be good during the week.
This afternoon the girls were going to take a quick dip in the pool (with about 6 inches of water in it.. they didn't care though) and then watch a movie. So, Carroll sent Jil and I out to check e-mail and just take a break. Which is nice. We may stop and get ice cream on the way back at Pop's.
Tomorrow will be my first whole day by myself. The house parents, Zaidy and Melvin are gone until Tuesday, so tomorrow, after breakfast, I will be watching Caty, who is the only girl that doesn't study because of mental problems. Then I will be in charge of getting the girls' showers and getting them to bed. I will also get them up Tuesday morning.. I guess... I'm not really sure. So anyway, please just pray for me tomorrow. I'm a little nervous.
Friday, September 10, 2004
Well, here I am sitting in the Texaco near the home, checking my e-mail. (The interns' computer's e-mail is not working right now, but they hope to have it fixed next week... *crosses fingers*) So, Jill (another intern from Texas) and I walked down to the Texaco on some free time to check e-mail.
My trip Wednesday went very well. I could not have asked for a better flight. It was all very relaxing. The leaving was hard, when I actually had to cay good-bye to my family, but we all knew what we had to do. I miss them so much. I rested yesterday and then started unpacking, settling in, getting to know the place a little and some of my responsibilities. I also met a lot of the staff. Elena is the cook. She is awesome and I love working with her already. Rosealda helps her and does a lot of the cleaning. Rebeca is the secretary. Melvin and Zaidy are the live-in Guatemalan house parents. Carroll is a missionary that lives here as the 'on site' authority. They are also very nice and easy to get along with.
I didn't meet most of the girls until last night and still this morning. They are so adorable. One of the youngest ones came up to me this morning and said, 'Bienvenidos a la casa del Señor' which means, 'Welcome to the Lord's house' Her name is Ana and she is about 7 years old. I ate dinner with the older girls last night. There are 6 older girls that live in a seperate smaller house called La Casa de Jardin (the garden house) and they were excited that I could speak Spanish and was able to talk to them. They asked me every question under the sun!! :) They live in that house with Carroll. The 12 younger girls live in the big house (Casa Grande) with Melvin and Zaidy.
So far I have really enjoyed my time here. I know it's only been two days, but I don't expect any less.
Thank you all for your prayers. They are strongly felt.
Tuesday, September 7, 2004
...until I'm in Guatemala that is!!
Well, today was a busy, but very productive day. I got a lot of last minute things done. I believe all loss ends are now officially tied.
I have had so many emotions running through my heart today. Especially today. Just knowing all the things I had to get done today was only the beginning.. in the back of my mind, I knew I had to start saying my good-byes tonight too. My two older nephews came over for awhile, so I could see them before I left. They won't come tomorrow to the airport; it's just too hard on them. I don't want them to cry. They made me the sweetest cards and drew me pictures to take with me and their hand prints and a photo of me with each of them from Tanner's Pizza Hut birthday party. (thank you, Stephanie) It was so hard not to cry before they left. But I got extra hugs, kisses, and "I love you"s to last me for awhile. Then one of my best friends in the world came over. She helped me finish packing; then it was good-bye for us too. I will say good-bye to the two younger nephews early tomorrow morning. They are so young, they won't understand.
I'm not sad about going, at all.. it's the 'leaving' that sometimes makes me sad. There is a difference. But I know the cause for which I go. God has been preparing my heart for this for many years now. I have known since I was about 7 years old that I would be doing something like this.. sure, I forgot for awhile, but the children of Guatemala brought back the desire of my heart.
I am anxious to get started doing His work. I want to learn what I will be doing daily; I want to meet the girls; I want to experience the church they attend; I want the unknown to be known... but don't we all? I guess that's what faith is really. Not knowing fully the call of which we chase so persistantly, but knowing the reason of our desire to grasp onto it so tightly. hmm. Yeah.
He is my strong tower and my refuge. In Him, I find my strength.