The answer to all your questions:
I bought a plane ticket last night to come home on March 8th. I'll be home from then until May 14th. I have no idea what I¡ll be doing while I'm at home. I want to go back to work a little. Mainly spending time with my family and I cannot wait to go to Planet Rock. But it will be very hard to leave these girls.
I feel glad and sad that I know now when I will be going home. It's nice to be able to tell everyone a date, but to think that I will be leaving Guatemala for two months, makes me sad.
So, anyway, now you know.
The girls got a trampoline for Christmas and I believe they are the most blessed girls in Guatemala. They have been on it non-stop since Saturday. Only a few petty arguments have stemmed from someone not taking turns or something like that. All in all, it's been so nice.
This week a girl named Janèt has been here helping. She'll leave tommorrow. She has been a huge blessing. She speaks perfect English, but we have not been using it. We have been having these really interesting conversations and I wonder if God didn't send her here for me just as much as for the girls.
It's been a good week. ´
I finally got the visa in my passport updated. I am now legal again. ;)
Tomorrow I go downstairs with the older girls again until Friday. Then we will got to Rebeca's church to spend New Year's Eve. It should be good.
OH! And another girl from Texas comes the 10th. I'll be glad to get some more help around here.
Joanne has an appointment the 11th at the Embassy to try and get Barbara's visa. Then it should be around the middle of January and she will get to go live with her new family, awaiting the adoption. Please continue to pray for that.
Tuesday, December 28, 2004
The answer to all your questions:
Saturday, December 25, 2004
Last night, Joanne spoke from Luke. When Mary found out she was going to give birth. Can you imagine back in those days? Finding out that you were going to give birth, and you were an unmarried virgin? Would you respond as Mary did? 'I am your faithful servant, do with me as you will.' So, maybe it's not word for word, but you get the idea. Would you give up your will for the Will of God? How many times have you made a decision because it was what you wanted and not necessarily God's Will? How many times has selfishness gotten in the way of His plans for your life? I couldn't even count the times. But how lucky are we that Jesus chose His Father's Will? Where would we be?
The question is this: who are we letting down by not doing God's Will? Who will miss out on the kingdom because of our laziness? Or our selfishness? What if Jesus would've said no?
If we could just remember that His Will is the BEST for us, we would be more than willing. Even through the pain and trials, He is with us, teaching us every step of the way and the good times are always extra good because we know that He has given them to us as a special gift.
Merry Christmas to everyone!
Last night was crazy! After dinner there was an amazing fireworks show put on for us, by the entire city of Guatemala. It was so pretty! Imagine standing on a mountain side, overlooking an entire city, and every house in that city shooting of fireworks... the good kind too, not just the noise makers. It was so pretty!
So, that was at midnight. After that the girls got to open presents. Joanne spoke for awhile, but then decided if we waited to much longer that we would loss about half of them to sleep, so we went on. It was a lot of fun being with all of these girls. It really was special. To see all of their faces and how excited they got to open their gifts and even more excited to give the ones they had chosen for other people. It was a good time and I will never forget my first Christmas here in Guatemala.
We ALL went to bed about 2:30AM and the girls were told not to even think about getting up until 9, which will be here in a few minutes. I don't know what I have planned for the day, but I'm sure it will be a good day.
I came to get on webcam and see what my nephews got for Christmas. Will got three guitars! Do you think he's taking after his aunt Amanda and uncle Haven? Yep. I will try to get on later to see them all together at my dad's.
Friday, December 24, 2004
Well, it's Christmas Eve. Or 'Buena Noche' here in Guatemala. The sound of fireworks have already started, and have been going on since the beginning of December really. It's 11PM and the girls are just now eating their traditional meal of tamales. But... no thanks... none for me.
I keep thinking about how much I used to love Christmas Eve. I loved it more than Christmas morning. My moma, my sisters, and I would go to my Grandmother's house for dinner and gifts there with my mom's family. But afterwards was what was the funnest. My sisters and I would go back home, with their families, of course, and we would eat cheese dip and chips by candlelight and the light of the Christmas tree. Then we would have gifts from Moma and each other, stay up late, and just enjoy each other. Sometimes one sister would even stay the night. That was my favorite part of Christmas. Christmas Eve with Moma. I have missed her a lot today.
But, I do have something in common with these girls here. They too would love to spend Christmas with their families, but can't. I am at least lucky enough to talk to my family and now see them on webcam. They don't even have that. A few of them have had a mom or dad or both pass away. But we have come here together as a family to celebrate the birth of Jesus Christ and we do it joyfully. I will open gifts tonight with the girls and then tomorrow I will open the ones from my family on webcam.
I spent this week wrapping presents, painting nails, doing hair and straightening hair. It's been exhausting, but fun!!!! The girls are about to open presents, after the firework display. Pretty soon it will sound like a war zone around the city. Then the girls will stay up 'all night' or as late as they can. That's the Guatemalan tradition anyway.
Well, I feel like I'm making nonsense, so I'll stop here.
Merry Christmas to you all!!
Tuesday, December 21, 2004
I just got back from taking my dad to the airport. It was very sad to see him go, but at the same time, it's hard to be sad because I think we had such a wonderful week. We were together almost every minute of every day, except Saturday, when he went to help out Steve Osborn for a few hours. Other than that, he was all mine! I didn't have to share with my sisters, who think they are his favorites. (they know that truth, but are afraid to admit it) ;) Just kidding. But honestly, I did have a wonderful week with him and I know it will make my Christmas away from home that much easier, having seen him. I am so lucky to have the family I do. If they love me half as much as I love them, I am the luckiest person in the world.
Also, for Christmas my family bought me a webcam and each of them bought one also. This was our Christmas as a family. So, Saturday night my Grandma had her Christmas gathering and Stephanie took her laptop and her webcam. I got to see sisters, brother, aunts, uncles, cousins, Jami, Grandma, and all four nephews!! It was so, so awesome!! Also, last night I got to see my nephew Clay walking for the first time. That was so special to me. He's been walking for a few months now and I missed it all. He's getting so big. It blessed my heart to see Will's face when he recognized me. I guess I had feared that because he was so young, he would forget who I was, but Connie said he was saying, 'Hey Manna!' :) I was doing good not crying until that. But I didn't cry when I saw Clay walking; I was just happy and excited to see him.
Last night, Daddy was saying good-bye to the girls upstairs and he said a few things to them about how much he loved them, and how they were like his daughters too because they were like daughters to me. Then a few of them had blessings to speak to him, little Ana even cried while saying thank you for sharing his time and love with them. Then Melvin and the girls prayed for him with their hands over him. One little girl, one of the twins, Andrèa, had her little head laying in his lap while we were praying and she was just sobbing. It was so heart warming. She really seems to cling to him more than the others; holding his hand walking to church and sitting in his lap during the movie. She left tears on his jeans. She really has a sweet heart. I think all of the girls really liked having him around. As Zaidy said last night, she liked my relationship with my dad and not many fathers and daughters here in Guatemala have that kind of relationship with each other. She said it was a great example to our girls how a relationship with our Heavenly Father can be, as well as our earthly fathers. My daddy is one of my best friends and he is also a father to me. I love the relationship that we have and I love him very much.
He made a comment last night how blessed he was to be able to spend a whole week with me. It made him think how God must feel when we spend time with Him. He is just there waiting for us to come to him. It can be good every day. Isn't that amazing?
Well, today I have to go to Inguat to renew my visa in my passport.
I am off Saturday and Sunday. I am still not sure what I will be doing yet on Saturday. I may just stay here with the girls. If I do decide to go somewhere, maybe I'll call Steve and Shyrel or Jon and Robin and see what they're going to do and if I can become another child of theirs that day. ;) Whatever I do, I'm just going to spend the day the best I can and try to have a great time, no matter what. I want to try this year to really focus on what Christmas really is and give thanks to God for His Son. Without whom, where would I be?
Sunday, I get to go to church in San Lucas!! I am so excited about that. I even may get to lead worship at a church in Antigua, if a ride home works out for me, because I will have my guitar and there's no way I would ever take it on the bus. Nobody's taking my Big Baby!!! :)
Dork- *points to self*
Well, I think today will be a good day.
Oh, my friend Jill sent me a scarf belt for Christmas. She is the sweetest!! So, thanks Jill!!!! We miss you!!
Merry Christmas everybody!!!
Tuesday, December 14, 2004
My daddy's coming today!! NAH NAH NA-NA NAH!!! My daddy's coming today!! NAH NAH NA-NA NAH!!! My daddy's coming today!! NAH NAH NA-NA NAH!!! My daddy's coming today!! NAH NAH NA-NA NAH!!! My daddy's coming today!! NAH NAH NA-NA NAH!!! My daddy's coming today!! NAH NAH NA-NA NAH!!!
Did you hear me? I said, "MY DADDY'S COMING TODAY!!!"
Steve Osborn and I are going to the airport to pick him up at 12:30!! I've been awake since... early... getting everything ready. :) :) :) I bought him all of his favorite snacks, washed the sheets, cleaned the room... really good, not just how I normally do, and... what else... I don't remember. But I am SO excited!!!
Well, that's all I have to say about that. :)
Yesterday, I went to visit Steve and Pam English, who were missionaries at Casa Aleluya, but have since started their own children's home in Sumpango, Guatemala. They are the sweetest people. Their own two children, Phillip and Andrew, are absolutely adorable. They reminded me of my own nephews. So, it was nice to play with them for a minute.
Well, I have to go get ready because my daddy's coming today!! NAH NAH NA-NA NAH!!! My daddy's coming today!! NAH NAH NA-NA NAH!!! My daddy's coming today!! NAH NAH NA-NA NAH!!! My daddy's coming today!! NAH NAH NA-NA NAH!!! :)
Have great days!!
Thursday, December 9, 2004
Jill's last day is tomorrow. She will be missed so much by everyone. By me because she is my English speaking companion and coworker, sister in Christ and friend. But it's great to know that this will not be the last time we see each other.
Her church is so generous and gave her money to do something special with our girls and Jill's family on her last night. So, we just got back from a very long day.
We took sack lunches to the park where the girls play their sports and ate there before going to the Children's Museum here in the city. It was a blast. I think I had as much fun as the girls. Especially this one room that was filled with Legos. I could've stayed in there for hours. My sisters and I used to play Legos ALL OF THE TIME!! And they had a life size Operation game. You know the one where you take out the bones without touching the metal or it beeps and you lose? Yeah, well, I took out all of the bones without beeping!! I was the only one! :)
Then we took all 29 of us, plus Jill's family, which is like a small army, to Burger King. The girls have never eaten out at a restaurant before and they had a ball. They also got ice cream!
So, I just want to say thanks to Jill and her family and her church family for everything. We will miss you, Jill!!! God bless!
Wednesday, December 8, 2004
One of our 'training exercises' was to keep from falling in the 'black hole', we had to get across on tire swings without touching the ground. If anyone touched the ground, the whole group had to start over. Our group was almost all over in record time, when the next to last guy, Josuè touched the ground. So we ALL had to do it again. I think I did it a total of three times. After that everyone just kept falling. We never ended up doing it. Everyone got across at one time or another, but it didn't count. Oh well.
At camp last week there was this totally awesome swing that hung about.... if I had to guess... 20 ft. from a tree branch. It swung out over a small drop off about another 10 ft. below. I felt like a little girl swinging on that thing. It was so much fun. Especially when some of the taller guys, like Renato and Levi would push...! I felt like I was flying!
The thing to do though was to see how many people we could get on the swing at once... The record was 7 guys!! The girls tried to bet them, but could never hold as many. Then there were both guys and girls, and it was even more hilarious! I snapped a pic right before Betzie fell and was miraculously caught by Hugo. She pretty much strattled his arm to keep from falling more than 15 ft. She would have surely broken something or worse. But that became another joke of the week.
I never tried it with more than one person. I was content just a swingin'.
We were only told to bring down our best shirts. Period. When we arrived in the salon, we were told of the plan. We were going to go door to door in the small village of San Pedro Sacatepequez and ask whoever that answered if they would recieve our token of love. No one was forced to give away their shirt. If they choose not to, that was completely fine and no one would think twice about it.
Almost all of the kids said they wished they could go get more stuff to give away. It was really a blessing to be able to give.
How many shirts do you have in your closet that you could live without? ... I'm asking myself here too. I have tons at home that I didn't even bring with me. I'm sure I could lve without that, right? Why do we attach ourselves to material things so easily? My treasure is in heaven!!
Sunday, December 5, 2004
Another big thing for me this week was the fact that I got to lead worship every day, at least twice a day. I didn't even know it until the day we left. It was such a huge blessing. It is such a miracle to me that I am able to lead someone else unto God's throne to worship. Of course, I know that it is of no power of my own, at all, and if it was all me I would totally mess everything up, but this time it was different. I was so focused on those kids and hoping there were no distractions between them and the Lord. God sure blessed me through it though. Every time I heard someone singing a song we sang that day, wow, I cannot describe that feeling! I taught them one song that some friends of mine had translated into Spanish. It became our theme song for the week. Throughout the day you could hear the kids singing it. It was so cool! It wasn't 'worship' as in 'singing a few songs'; it was WORSHIP! I almost lost my voice and my hands were killing me, but we kept on for God. I wish you could've been there!
Also, every morning we had quiet time, which is honestly something that I easily neglect in my normal routine. But it was nice just to sit and listen to what God might have for me that day or a passage he led me to. Some days we had specific passages to read, but they always seemed to be just what I needed. Who da thunk it?
At night, we would have a special time with our cabinmates. We called it the 'cirlce of friendship'. There we could complain or just talk about what happened that day, a prayer request, or just get to know each other. It was a nice time too.
The last night was very powerful. We had a fire in the fireplace and I led worship. Rebeca spoke a minute and everyone came up for prayer. You should've seen 30 something teenagers on their knees in front of this fire. ... Worship went on for a good hour along with the prayer. We ended the night all praying together in a big 'group hug'. It was awesome and I know those prayers reached the ears of God.
Saturday, December 4, 2004
Nov. 28 - Dec 3, 2004
This week at camp was really so awesome. It is the most fun I've had like that in a long time. There are so many things to talk about that I don't even know where to start. I'm not sure if I should go by days or just tell stories. I'll try to keep it as organized as I can and not be too boring.
When we arrived Sunday evening, we met our cabinmates and were given instructions to name ourselves and create a theme. The camp's theme was 'The War of the Galaxies'. So, my cabin became the space cadets.
This was our cabin. It was nice, considering. The first two days there was no hot water and this water was not just cold, it was like dipping yourself into a bucket full of ice. After washing my hair, I got brain freeze!! Wednesday no one had a shower, but Thursday finally we had hot water. NEVER TAKE ANYTHING FOR GRANTED!
The first night we had introduction to the theme. The 'war of the galaxies' represented the war between good and evil. All week we focused on preparing to defend ourselves against the enemy.
Danielle and I fighting our battle. So, right off everyone got to make fun of the gringas! :) Danielle was dressed as "evil" and I was "good"... hence the black and white garbage bags we were wearing. It was so funny because Rebeca wanted us to talk to each other as her and another counselor translated. It didn't matter what we said, because they were going to say whatever they wanted to get the point across. But once we got out there, our minds went blank. So, I said in a mean voice, "Why did the chicken cross the road?!?" Rebeka and Jisilla had the hardest time not laughing.
Monday, we started our 'basic training' against the enemy. We had different activities planned for us, and believe me, they were hard! After the first day, I thought surely I wouldn't make it until Friday. The day passed by so slowly, I thought Friday would never come! By Friday, I didn't want to leave.
This was 'La Silla'. It was so hard. I really thought I was going to hurt my back bad. I was even getting frustrated and wanted to quit... sound familiar?
Everyone was split into 3 groups for the week. In this activity, each member had to carried around the campo on this stick. This is Marìa, one of our girls.
This one is called 'Gelatina' and was super hard. We climbed uphill all connected by their feet. And in every group someone passed gas. Funny and gross because we were all so close. But the gelatina was definitely a highlight of the week. It was featured in many skits we did.
Poor Sandy couldn't really do it.
Our skits that night we based on what we learned from the day. But they all turned out to be comical and making fun of the things we had done and of the counselors. This is me being Rebeca during the gelatina. It was fun exaggerating and making fun of her. She loved it... even though she said she hates me now. :)
Danielle got to make fun of the other counselor, Jisilla. (not sure how that's spelled) But it was funny because Danielle doesn't speak hardly any Spanish, so her parts were always funny because of the mistakes too.
And that was just the first two days. I have so much more to write, but it is late and I am tired. I'm sure the story of this week will stretch out across another week.
More to come...