Sunday, October 31, 2004

October birthdays

We celebrated Lili and I's birthdays on the 31st. It was a neat experience to celebrate with the girls. They have a neat tradition of going around the room and anyone who wants can say something nice about the birthday girl or something that they love about her or just something to bless her. One little one, Keyla, cried as she expressed her gratitude toward me for a simple little thing of playing memory with her. That was such a blessing to me. To know that they do notice the little things, and that the little things do matter. Carroll brought me back a gift from Orlando: A coffee mug, chocalate, and peanut butter!! I'm telling you, it was the best gift ever!!

It was a great night, and a blessing for me to celebrate my birthday with them.

Friday, October 22, 2004

Monjas, Jalapa

Yesterday we took the girls to Monjas (moan-has) which is in the department of Jalapa (halapa) which is about 2 1/2 hours from where we are now. Next year, the girls will be moving there. We have just recieved twice as much money as was needed to buy the land, which will in turn pay for the wall around the property, the well, sewer, electricity, etc. It is such a blessing from God and He has truly used those in the States that are praying and faithfully supporting this ministry.

We had an awesome time there. When we first got there we had a time of devotion and prayer. JoAnne had recieved a word that was very powerful and spoke directly to where we are headed. She spoke about this not only being a children's home, but also that these girls will be a light in these three departments of Jalapa, Jutiapa, and Santa Rosa. In these three departments there is not one children's home. Who is in control, I ask? :) Afterwards, Joanne had us all walk around the property praying over it. Declaring it for God's glory. We marched around the whole perimeter, with only music and prayer in our ears, minds, and hearts. I used some of that time also to think about whether or not God would have me stay here and go to Monjas also. No answer yet. :/

We had a picnic under the fabulous tree. Some of you know how I love beautiful trees. I have a favorite tree in Alabama; I have a favorite tree near Escuintla (Guatemala), and now I have one in Monjas. My three perfect trees. Another highlight was that I ate my first apple since arriving. I've been craving one and just hadn't bought one. It was so good. :) A picnic under a tree with egg sandwiches and tuna sandwiches, chips, cookies, apples, and a coke. MMMM... Can you believe I eat tuna sandwiches here?!? I used to not like them.

After lunch, some of the girls played soccer, others played frisbee, while I and some of the older girls hung out under the tree, laughing, cutting up and just relaxing. Irma and I made each other floral bouquets out of all of the wild flowers around. We made one for Jill too since she didn't get to come. She stayed home with two sick girls.

Miriam is our oldest. She just finished 'basico' and will begin 'careera' in January. Irma is adorable. All of the time. Itzel is a sweetheart. She always minds and is very patient with Caty.

The way home, we took a different way and it took longer, but was a nicer view, or so I'm told... it was dark most of the way. We got home about 8PM, had a quick dinner of tostadas, took a shower, and went to bed.

Today Jill and I are out buying ice cream for the girls tonight. We are going to make 'blizzards' with M&M's, Butterfinger, and (I hope, if we can find them) Reese's cups. YUM! They will get that instead of popcorn tonight, but it's a surprise, so don't tell them!

Wednesday, October 20, 2004

Happy birthday to me!!

Last week was crazy.

Friday night I stayed in the hospital with Barbara. That was a new experience for me. That hospital was in the worst condition I'd ever seen any place of medicine. I felt sorry for the children that had to be there, but at the same time thankful that they had a place that they could get the medical treatment they need.

The night was spent doing dialisis and playing Monopoly. I went with another mom to a restaurant on the corner outside and bought Barbara some 'papas fritas' without salt. I ate her leftovers. Also, Barbara and I went upstairs to see the babies. That was so sad. I don't know why most of them were there, but just the fact that they were just about made me cry.

I had to sleep in a plastic lawn chair. It did at least have arm rests. But you should've seen me. I'm sure it was a sight to see. We didn't try to sleep until about 11:30, but I only slept MAYBE three hours all night. I was up every hour for over an hour. I woke up at 3AM and ate some crackers I had brought with me. Then about 4 or 5, I put some chairs together and balled up in the seats. It was the most uncomfortable I've ever been in my life trying to sleep. (and I've slept in some pretty strange places) But it was worth it to me to be there for Barbara.

Saturday we got home about 1PM and I was tired. But Jill invited me to eat lunch with her family. So, of course, I accepted. It was a great time. Her family is awesome... and huge. Her cousins invited us out for the night, so we went bowling and had ice cream and later ordered pizza. I let them know how special it was since Sunday was my birthday and I was going to have to work all day, that was sort of my birthday celebration. They offered to put candles in the cake, but we didn't. :)

Sunday, as soon as I walked out the door, they girls started singing Happy Birthday to me. My dad and Jami called and sang to me. As we were leaving for church, the older girls sang to me. That afternoon, my sister had my nephew Clay's 1st birthday party. So, all of my family was together on my birthday, except for me. But they called me and all sang to me too! I could hear my nephews the loudest. Brennan even sang it again on his own. I got to talk to everybody. It was really great.

That night we got the roller skates out and let the girls try it out. I was in charge of teaching them. HAHA!! (you may not know that I CANNOT roller skate... at all) It was the funniest thing I have seen in a long time. I haven't laughed that hard in awhile. It was so fun.

Then Jill and I ordered McDonald's McFlurry's with Butterfinger. That was her treat to me on my birthday. :) And yes, here McDonald's delivers!!

Monday I worked a split shift and rested that night.

Yesterday, Jill's cousin Estefani, Jill, and I went out to eat. Again for my birthday. Jill is so sweet for trying to make it so special for me. She even bought me a picture frame because I had told her I wanted to hang my mom's picture up in the room. She is very thoughtful. We went to the new TGI Friday's restaurant in the city. Then we went to see a movie.

Last night, we were to have Bible study, but they weren't having it for some reason. So, Jill and I went out with a guy from church and I had a banana liquado.

You're so jealous, Haven!! :)

Today I am in Antigua on a day off. I will go to Casa Aleluya tonight and get presents that my family sent by a family friend.

Tomorrow we will all go to Jalapa, where the home will be moving in a year. It will be a fun trip, I think. I am excited to see the place. I plan to take lots of pictures.

I hope you are all having a blessed week.

Wednesday, October 13, 2004

A different week

This week truly has been different.

I had the best time off this weekend. I spent it in Antigua. I got to go to church in San Lucas on Friday night. That was the first time I had seen anyone from there since I've been here. It was such a blessing and a refreshing experience for me. I had so much fun. Tono took me to Antigua afterwards. It was a nice break.

Sunday was the best day! I got to go to church in San Lucas and see Merari and his wife, Lucky. It was such a blessing and I felt so honored to be able to be there again.

We had a typical Guatemalan lunch afterwards and then they took me to Casa Aleluya. I had a wonderful visit there. I had to get Duke to go wake Bro. David up from a nap. haha. It was good to see him again. I saw everyone I had wanted to see.

Also, I found out that the boy that my family sponsors, Jon Henry, had just gotten to go home for the first time, since living at Casa, to visit. This was the first time he had seen his mother in 8 years!! Can you imagine? He was grining from ear to ear.

I found out some bad news yesterday that a young man from Casa Aleluya passed away Sunday night in his sleep. He was only 19 years old. It is horribly sad and I don't even have the words to say, only that I know he is in a better place now and that we will see him again some day. Praise God!

Byron de Leon passed away, Sunday, October 10th 2004

Today we took the girls to the movie theater to see Vacas Vaqueras (Cowboy Cows??) For many of them, almost all of them, it was there first time in the theater. It was a heart-warming experience for me to be able to witness such wonder in their eyes. It was amazing! Not only the movie, but even riding the escalator and the elevator were fun experiences for them. It was hilarious watching them try to get on the escalator!! I cried laughing so hard!! Andrea put one foot on and not the other and almost fell!! Astrid was scared of it altogether! It was great!

We called my nephew, Brennan, on the way home and the girls sang 'Feliz Cumpleaños' to him. He loved it!! He turns 7 today. Happy Birthday, Brennan!! I love you!!

Also, today we found out that Barbara can get her visa to go to the States. They are going to Disneyworld on the 25th. What we didn't know was that she is going to be spending time with the family that will be adopting her! She just found out today and is SOOO excited. It is bittersweet because we will hate to see her go. But it is such a great thing for her. And she will get the medical treatment she needs. (she is the one that needs a kidney transplant) She showed me pictures tonight of her 'mami' and 'brothers' and even the dogs and the house. It's so cool! Today was a good day.

And Guatemala is playing tonight against Honduras... we're winning so far... 1-0!!!

Thursday, October 7, 2004

A great day!

For some reason, today has been a great day. Well, for many reasons, I suppose. The sun was shining. I made french toast for breakfast. We had tostadas for lunch... frijol (beans), guacamole, and salsa!! mmmm... my favorite!! Then for dinner, burritos and atòl!!! YUMMY!!! OK. So, that's not why it was a good day, but that was good too.

I started reading a book that Jami gave me called, The Heavenly Man. I couldn't put it down. And you have to understand, I'm not a reader by nature. I wish I was, but I have to make myself like it. I pretend I like it, but I don't. But this book was is unbelievable, except it IS believable!!

Then after work, I exercised a little. There is a treadmill downstairs. Then after my shower, I called Tono, from San Lucas, and talked to him about going to church tomorrow night. It worked out good because Eliud, his brother, will be here in San Cristobal in the afternoon anyway and I can just go when he goes back. I get to go Sunday too.. did I mention that already?

But the best news was that God was awesome once again!! I have been desperately searching for my friend, Zarhim, ever since I got here. She didn't have the same phone number, didn't work in the same restaurant, and I didn't know where she lived. I was just going to go to Antigua on Saturday and walk around hoping I would find her. Well, when I spoke with Tono, he says, 'Hey. Do you rememeber Zarhim?' 'Yes.', I said. 'Well, I saw her yesterday here in San Lucas.' !!! So, I explained to him my attempts to find her and then he said, 'Well, I have her work number here, do you want it?' How amazing is that! How can it be anything but God that Tono saw Zarhim and got her number that day before I talked to him?? I was so excited that I was jumping up and down and wanted to scream, but I didn't. Ok. I did, but just a little scream. No one heard me. So we are planning on getting together this weekend sometime. I am so excited.

This girl, for those of you who don't know the story, lived beneath Marisa and I last year when we studied Spanish in Antigua. We meet her one night, when she came up to our apartment crying. We didn't know her and she didn't speak any English. She was having problems and just needed someone to talk to. We ended up getting to share Christ with her, between our broken Spanish, translating between her and Marisa, she accepted Christ. Now talk about God breaking barriers!! She was 16 years old and had been on her own for over a year. Now she's 18, and still working. So anyways, we ended up being there for her, spending time with her, and just being her friends. She is very special to Marisa and I. She is like a little sister. I can't wait to see her!!

And now I just got off the phone with my daddy.

Buenas noches!!

Wednesday, October 6, 2004

My roommate Jill

My roommate's name is Jill Lyle. She is from Texas, but her mother is from Guatemala. She has lots of family here. I am very fortunate to have her here for awhile. I will be alone for about a month in December, so it's nice to have a friend to talk to daily. We get along great.

Barbara's birthday party

Well, by the time we had this party, the internet was already down. So, I wasn't able to post these pictures. The internet is still down at home.

Jill iced the cake, but we wanted to decorate it a little more, cince Barbara was the only birthday this month. So, I made a funnel out of notebook paper and poured in the sprinkles to write 'Feliz Cumpleaños Barbara' It was hard to read, but it tasted good. :) The older girls asked Barbara if her party was elegant or casual and Barbara said, 'Elegant', so they came all dressed up. I thought it was a really cute thing for them to do for her.

At the birthday parties, the girls each take turns saying something nice about the birthday girls. I think that is a wonderful tradition and I can see it in their everyday lives too.

It was a fun night, but I ate too much.

This month we get to celebrate mine and Lili's birthdays!!! YAY!!

Tuesday, October 5, 2004

Sitting at Texaco

Wow. It seems like so long since I have been able to check my email. It hasn't even been a week. ha. I think I'm spoiled with it. Oh well. I do hope that they get the internet hooked up soon at home. It would be nice to be able to just go down to the office when I have tiem off instead of having to wait days to write home. It's ok though. I'm lucky to have it every so often.

This weekend was a good one. I was very busy, working all day Saturday and Sunday. But I really enjoyed it. I like spending time with the girls. For awhile Saturday, I was alone with all 18 girls! I felt overwhelmed for a minute, but it wasn't bad at all and it wasn't for THAT long.

Sunday, we had service in the new church for the first time. It is a lot smaller, but I think it will save the church some money on the rent. This church is actually a really big church, but they have grown actually into many different churches, so the need for a large building was gone. It still has a lot of work to be done on it. The older girls got to go last Saturday to help paint and are going again this weekend, I believe.

Jill's church has sent her money to do something special with the girls. So, next Wednesday afternoon, we are going to the movie theater to see a movie. The majority of these girls said they have never been to a theater. If there is enough money they will have popcorn and a drink too. Actually, even if there isn't enough money, I think I will offer to get the snacks. You can't have your first movie theater experience without popcorn and a coke, right? The girls are so excited for this. The screamed when they heard the news. It will be such a treat.

The girls get out of school next week to start their break. (Like our summer break, but it's during November and December) This will be the end of their school year. We have lots of things planned for them during this time. They will hopefully get to join a gym where they can take swimming lessons, gymnastics, tennis, etc. I hope to get to go and do it with them. I also have made a schedule for the girls to start cooking breakfast and to help Moma Elena with lunch and dinner. They have asked to learn to cook and need to learn anyway. It such a necessity especially here to know how to cook.

Oh, and I am SO excited about this weekend!!! I have both Saturday and Sunday off! Actually, Jill and I both do. She is going to Tapachula, Mexico with her aunt. She invited me, but I had to take advantage of this opportunity to go to my church in San Lucas. I haven't seen any of them yet. And to hear Merari preach...!!! I can't wait!!! I will call Tono tomorrow to let him know and make plans.

Also, my pastor from the States, Bro. David, will be coming this Friday! I am planning on working a trip to Casa Aleluya in there somewhere. My mind is working it all out as I type. :) It will be a good weekend, I'm sure. I may also get to see another man who used to live at Casa on Saturday. We'll see how it all works out. I hope I'm not trying to fit too much into two days. I also want to go to Antigua to try and find Zarhim. She is a girl who lived in the apartment beneath Marisa and I last summer when we studied Spanish. She is only 17, and has been on her own for 2 years now. She accepted Christ while we were here and I am dying to see her!

I am going on the 15th to stay with Barbara in the hospital. She goes once a month for dialisis and a check up in the national hospital and the lady who normally stays with her can't got this month, so I volunteered. She was excited that I am going. She said I needed to bring lots of games and stuff for us to do. She is so adorable. She just got her passport and will go on the 13th to try for her Visa to the U.S. If she can get it, she and Carroll will go to Orlando the last week of October. !! She is so blessed and I can't wait to hear her stories and see pictures when she gets back. Please be praying that she gets her Visa with no problems.

Also, if you could pray for the director of the school's wife. She has been having health problems... blood sugar problems, and she passed out at school today.

We got a new girl Sunday, her name is Evelyn. Actually, she is an old girl. She lived here before and has been gone a year. She experienced horrible abuse from her family. Her parents had her begging for money in the streets, so she ran away and came back to where she was loved. We are all excited that she is here. She is 15 years old. She also has two siblings we are praying for. There were 6 girls in all that came when she did. They are thinking a few more will come as soon as school is over.

Friday, October 1, 2004

You say good-bye, and I say hello

I was just about given a heart attack by the bombas (firecrackers) that Melvin just set off for the girls. Today is 'El dia del niño' and the girls have been celebrating all day. They had special activities all day in school and this evening they had a pizza party and candy and cake and 7up and we rented them two movies. They are just now getting done with the second movie. I ate way too much. I don't know how they will go to sleep with all of that sugar. :/

I finally met Gib and Joanne. They are great! Rebeca has been staying here the past few nights, taking Carroll's spot while she takes a few days off. I really like talking to her. Jill and I are going down later to play cards with her. I may regret it tomorrow, but tonight I will have fun. My weekend is full, so I want to enjoy tonight as much as possible. I work tomorrow starting at 7am and not ending until Sunday night at 9pm, or after the girls go to bed. It will be long, but I think it will be fun. I'm looking forward to getting closer and closer to these girls. Every minute I spend with them is another opportunity to be a witness or a role model for them. It's great to see our relationships growing already. These girls are so accepting. They really are great. I love them already.

I cut three more of the girls hair yesterday. One was just a trim, and one just a straight cut, but one wanted layers in the front. I was nervous and she had thick hair too. But I did what she wanted. I really don't think she likes it, but it's what she wanted and now she must live with it, at least for awhile.

Some of the girls have been borrowing a cd of mine for a few weeks now. They have made a dance to the song, 'De Los Montes' (I can't remember the name in English... 'from the mountains, to the valleys...something) They are performing it now for the other girls. They love dancing.

Our church has bought a new building and this Sunday will be our first service in the new building.

Also, The Shadow of His Wings has bought property in Jalapa and will start building a home for 200 girls there. They will be the only home in 3 departments. Carroll has already been talking to me about staying with them and moving to Jalapa. They won't move until the end of next school year in October or November. I'm just praying about what God would have me to do. Right now I have no clue and am only living each day.