Tuesday, June 28, 2005

visits, doctors, and picnics... not in that order

I finally am done making the menu for next week. WHEW!! The harder task is picking what goes with what, when you have no idea what "what" is. But it's done, and I'm learning as I go.

I took three girls to see a medical missions group this morning at a mission house called, "Principe de Paz", or "Prince of Peace", in English. They are here for a week. It is a group called, "Moms on a Mission", made up of a group of mothers who have all adopted children from Central American countries and they have come back to give back to their home countries. It was really interesting to me.

The girls will have visitation today and tomorrow from 3 to 5. I will sit in on the visits to make sure they are kept positive and that there are no mean comments made, etc. These girls need to be encouraged, not made to feel bad for not being at home or abandoning their family. Which is not the case, but can seem that way sometimes to the girls who want so badly to be with their families, in spite of the situation.

We had a picnic today in the garden. The girls are out of school for a week for semester break, so they are getting special priviledges. We had ham sandwiches and corn on the cob, watermelon, and my favorite jugo de mora (blackberry juice).

After visitations this afternoon, I will go to the mall to pick up some blankets and pillows for the groups going to Monjas. The mattresses finally came today for the 8 bunk-beds that Gib made, so all they need are the dressings.

I forgot to mention that Evelyn called me last Saturday. She's the girl that left last week. I gave her my phone number, in case she ever needed anything, and apparently she just needed to say hi. It was great to hear her voice. Very comforting for me. She said she is doing well. She gave me numbers where I could reach her. Sandra will probably be going home with her father this Friday. Carroll said that this is only the second time that she has felt good about a girl returing home. Her father had been looking for her, and she had been praying for a family. Isn't God so good to give her that? I am really so happy for her, but I will be torn to pieces to see her go though. She is extra special to me. But I know that God has great plans for her. I must trust him in that.

Sunday, June 26, 2005

"Its the white rabbit!!"

These girls reminded me of Alice in Wonderland today, my second favorite Disney cartoon after Peter Pan. They chased after a rabbit in our garden like it was gold or something. It's the simple things that fascinate children, isn't it? Was I ever fascinated by something so small? I suppose.

Believe as a child. Do I learn anything from today? (excuse me as my thoughts pour through my fingers a while) If we were to see God, as these girls saw this rabbit, would we chase Him? Would we get so excited? It's nice to think about it that way, I think. Simplicity. God Chasers. (Good book, by the way) Those girls chased and ran after that rabbit until they at least caught a glimpse of him, at least a bit of his tail would have thrilled them to no end.

What are we searching for? Are we looking for God? Do we try to see Him in all we do? Would we be satisfied with a glimpse? As Moses was able to only see Him from behind, would we be satisfied? Isn't that what Heaven is all about? It's not about getting to see our loved ones who have passed away. Although believe me, that is something I long for with all of my heart. But isn't it constant companionship with our Lord that drives us? It's not the streets of gold, even though it will be amazing to walk them. The crystal sea? No. And I do love to swim. But no. It's being in the presence of the One who gave His all for all of us.

Thursday, June 23, 2005

Head of the class

Ok. Tuesday I took my camera to the Osborn's to get a picture of Hannah. I was disappointed because I thought she wasn't going to let me. She said she didn't want to. Ok. So, I just kept taking pictures of everyone else and eventually she came around.

My "class" seemed to have grown from last week. Elaina, who I know from working in Angelitos at Casa Aleluya, was there substituting for Carmen on her days off. I was there at Casa when she had her daughter, and I got to see her again for the first time Tuesday, and she is beautiful. So sweet. I had all of the kids coloring. It wasn't much of a study time though. I did go over some papers with José and Hannah, but then we all just colored.

Errands yesterday. I went shopping and had lunch out. Banks, and this, and that, make the day fly by. I got the room ready for the new intern that's coming tomorrow night. I don't know anything about her yet, just that she is staying at Joanne's house with me because there is no more room in the intern room.

Rebeca leaves Saturday for a month in the States. :( But she is bringing my flip-flops I ordered back to me. :) I ordered them from and had them sent to her sister's house. :):):)

Tuesday, June 21, 2005

Evelyn Susanna Us

Well, Evelyn left yesterday. The judge decided, but Evelyn said that she had only been rebelious in running away from home and thought it was right to go back. I pray that her family will now not take her for granted. Not send her out to beg. Not mistreat her. Love her. She will be missed terribly.

I had to help her get her stuff together, then take her to meet her parents, who were meeting us at the Texaco on the corner, outside the subdivision we live in. That was hard to actually physically watch her go. She was torn. I couldn't cry though. I told her that God had this in his plan for her and that there was purpose in her going home, and not to forget it. She would be a great example to her younger siblings, and hopefully bring her parents to the feet of Christ as well.

It's comforting knowing that we will all see her again. That comfort, that hope in Christ, is what gets one through the hard times.

Monday, June 20, 2005

Prayer request

Evelyn is one of the older girls here. She lived here more than a year ago and was sent home by the courts. She ran away from home a year later and showed up last October on Gib and Joanne's doorstep. She is an awesome helper and will do anything asked of her. She celebrated her Quince (15) Años this past February.

Evelyn goes back to court today and they will decide whether or not she will go back home. She is almost 16, so she will have some say in it. But when we talked about it Saturday, she was undecided. She misses her little baby sister, Jennifer, so much. But of course, she knows that she has a solid home life here and is loved. She has a tough decision ahead of her. So, I just ask that you pray for Evelyn today. Her court hearing is at 9am, which is 10am 'Alabama time'.

I don't want her to go, but that's just me talking. I really want what is in God's plan for her. I know He is in control.


Thursday, June 16, 2005


Ok. I don't have a picture yet, but I don't want to wait so long that I forget something.

Hannah is José's sister. She has the same bone disease that he has, only worse. Her little bones are so fragile that her arm is bent like a lightening bolt because of all the breaks she has had. Both of their little bodies are tinier than normal, although their heads seem to be normal size, giving the appearance of a larger head, when in reality it is a smaller body. When sitting on the floor, neither reach to 1 and a half feet, and half of that height is their head. Little Hannah's hair almost reaches the floor, when not worn up. They were raised in a village that spoke Kaqchik'el (cat-chi-kel) but when taken from their home, José has been taught Spanish, but Hannah lives with a Canadian, I believe, so speaks better English than Spanish. Rather good English, I might add. Very proper.

The first night I was there, I was tucking her into bed and Omar was playing nearby with Stevie. She asked me if he was a boy or a girl. Then she told me that she was going to have lots of babies, and that she was going to get married. (remember she is 7, so this is a childhood dream) But it broke my heart because of her condition, it would be impossible for her to even carry a baby, let alone give birth to one. It would break her little bones. I know that anything is possible with God (Luke 1:37). Please join with me and pray and if you think about Hannah in your prayers, just ask that God would give her somehow that dream she has to be a wife and a mother.

Then the next night, she was waiting patiently as José used the restroom, for her turn. There she was, sitting on her little piece of cardboard on the floor, and she said, "Poor José, I feel so bad for my brother." I asked her why and she said that it was very hard for them when they had to leave their family. He had to go to a seperate home than she did and it has been very hard. I didn't know what to say at first. I just told her that I left my family too and it was hard. Then she asked, "But it gets better after a while?" I assured her it did and that where ever we are and however lonely we are, that God is always with us. She just smiled and agreed.

When I left yesterday morning to come to work, she rolled her little wheelchair over to me and just hugged my leg as hard as she could. She just kept saying over and over, "I wish you didn't have to go." Then once she looked up at me and said, "Te quiero mucho." (I love you so much) My heart just melted. "I love you too.", I said as I kissed her goodbye and headed to work.

Let me tell you that little girl is a precious gift of God and she will never know how much she has touched my life and my heart. She may not even remember me in a year, but she will always be in my heart.

She is being adopted to the States, I believe, or Canada. I'm not sure how soon. But please keep Hannah and José in your prayers. I will post a picture of them both as soon as I take one.

Wednesday, June 15, 2005

I made the best spaghetti you'll never taste last night. I had a great feast, all by myself. I watched a movie that the interns rented and let me borrow. Hotel Rwanda. Wow. That was such a good movie. I had never heard about the movie, let alone the actual event. I guess I'm not really into the news that much, but over 1 million people died there. I guess back then, even if it would have been all over the news, I wouldn't had paid attention. Busy with my own little life. Sad. Tonight it's Finding Neverland!! YAY!! I have been wanting to see that since it came out in the theater. Oh, and leftover spaghetti. :) AND I'll be making a cheesecake because I finally found a 'dream whip' type substance to make it.

Babe, the dog, drove me crazy last night. She was running from gate to gate to the back yard to the gate again, barking and barking and barking.... etc.., I thought I was going to go crazy. I tried to bring her inside, but she just ran around panting because she was too hiper. I couldn't stand her just looking at me, so I let her back out. She eventually went to sleep.

Today I am baking two huge cakes for the Father's Day/Teacher's Day party that the girls are having tomorrow at school. Father's Day is tomorrow here. Always on the 17th. And Teacher's Day... ¿saber? (who knows?) I bought the presents for it yesterday, for Raúl, Carina, and Graciela.

Carroll dropped some papers off at the Embassy yesterday for Bárbara. I'm not sure how much closer that leaves her to be adopted, but every day has to be one day closer. It's been along time coming. I remember when we thought she would be in the States by Christmas. But God has her in His plan.

Also, Sandra, mi hermanita, will be leaving soon. Her father came last visitation. I always thought she was a true orphan. Apparently, he had been looking for her. He is remarried and has a family of his own. You can see that he loves her very much and that this is a good thing for Sandra. She looks just like him too. It will be hard when the time comes, but she has always dreamed of having her own family. I will be so happy for her.

Tuesday, June 14, 2005

homesick and home bound, don't worry, not like you think

Last night, I went to bed with the feeling of homelessness and I have woken up feeling much the sme. I can't really explain the feeling, nor the reason behind it. I never got without a bed to sleep in and a roof over my head, never have. Those who know me well, know that I'm somewhat of a homebody. Not that I like to stay at home all of the time, but I like my home. I like sleeping in my own bed and relaxing at night amongst my own familiar surroundings. As you may know, I am renting from the directors of the home. It has been such a blessing too. I can't say that it feels like home though. Especially when Gib and Joanne come back from Monjas, which is every two weeks or so, for a few days. I love them to death. It's nothing like that. I just feel like a guest in their home. Also, soon there will be another intern coming and since the intern room is full here at the home, she will be living there. In August, another lady comes for a year and will live there. I'm not mentioning them to complain, I'm just stating the facts.

Every weekend, I am staying at the girls' home for two nights to be with the girls downstairs as their house mother takes her days off.

This week, I am staying at Steve and Shyrel Osborn's, while they are working with a group in Chichicastenango, near Xela. Which I am thoroughly enjoying. That's another story. I'll write about later when I have a picture to go along with it. I do love it.

In the States, I stay with my sister, in the house I lived in with our mom. It's different without her there.

I have all these places to stay, but my heart doesn't feel at home. It's not the being away from family. It's not because I'm in Guatemala. I believe that God is teaching me, or preparing me for something. I'm not writing this for anyone to worry. I'm just writing my thoughts. It's just one of those days. I'm just not used to the feeling. But I do think that there is a reason. Actually, it's the people that surround me that make me feel at home. I've always loved surrounding myself with the people I love. I know, that sounds crazy because now I have gone so far away from them. But you get my point.

Will I ever come home to the same house every night? Maybe not.

It's really been that way for the past year with church too. The only consistent meeting I've been going to for the past year and a half is Planet Rock, at The Rock of Huntsville, on Monday nights. When I can I go there on Sundays too. I've been in Elkmont, Faith- only a few times, Bethlehem, Freedom, Harmony, Cairo, some of those only once, but the people have just grown on me. Here in Guatemala, Iglesia Galilea in San Lucas is the one I would go to every week, if I could, but it hasn't been possible yet. I go with the girls to their church mainly. I also have a church family I love in Antigua, at the language school. So, you could say I don't have one church home either.

What does God show me through all of this? That is the question to answer today.

My home is not this Earth. I am not home yet. Like that song by MercyMe, "I've never been more homesick than now." Homesick for Heaven. We will get there one day. All of us. Turning my heart from earthly things is not bad, it just hurts a little. And aren't we all, as Christians, the body of Christ. We are all members of the same "church", in Christ.

Well, like I said, nothing to worry about.... just thinking...

Sunday, June 12, 2005

tribute to an old friend

Dear Sanuk flip flops,

Well, our time seemed so short. I wore you everyday the entire 3 years I owned you. You were worth more than the $25 I payed for you, which seemed to be such a splurge at the time. But you earned your keep. I'm sorry that you had that piece of glass stuck in you for an entire year last year. I don't know why I just didn't stop and pull it out. I'm sorry that I tried to move the rug last night with you on my foot, eventually leading to your "death". I promise I will not throw you away until I try everything in my power to try and glue or sew that little piece of cloth that goes between my toes back together. Even then, if it doesn't work it will be hard for us to separate. Who would have thought that the same day I fell UP the concrete stairs and the day I hit my head on the door frame, would be the same say my feet lose their faithful companion. I was even in denial as I drug my foot around trying not to let you fall off as I walked around the apartment. I even tried to laugh it off as all of the girls laughed at me until they cried. But none of that could bring you back. So, thank you for always standing between me and the rock that wanted to hurt my foot, and the hot concrete or hot sand. My feet will forever be inprinted into "sole". Good bye.

... deliriousness creates many a crazy things!!

quick update.. will write more tonight.

Just because I have had a lot of questions regarding where to send me things:

There are a few options.

1. My house is at:

Amanda Tomlin

15 calle B. 13-56.

Sector B-2. Zona 8 Mixco.

San Cristobal. Guatemala.

Central America.

That address would be good for letters, but I am not always there to recieve packages, so if it is a package please send it to the girls' home at:

Amanda Tomlin

Manzana G. Lote 44.

Sector B-2. Zona 8 Mixco.

San Cristobal. Guatemala.

Anything sent to the other address I use to use is fine too.

Apartado Postal 26-H

Guatemala. Guatemala. 01911

Central America.

I hope that is enough options!! :)

Central America.

Wednesday, June 8, 2005

more birthdays

Birthday party last night was fun. I think I picked out great gifts. I can't take the credit though becuase I had help from Zaidy and Carroll. Melvin loved his tiny radio with headphones. He usualy carries around an old transistor radio, like a grandpa because the van doesn't have one at all. He has to sit a lot waiting for girls' appointments, etc., so I think it was a great gift. He jumped when he saw it and hugged Carroll and I both.

For Andrea I bought a pair of black capris and a pink polo type shirt, and purse and lip gloss. I think she really liked it. The only thing I'm worried about is that the "capris" won't be capris. Andrea is really short and her legs are even shorter, duh. But Libni, the house mom downstairs, can sew, so I hope she can fix it. I'm worried about Andrea though. She has really low self esteem, and has been through so much. She is so beautiful, especially when she smiles, but she rarely smiles. Keep Andrea in your prayers.

Tuesday, June 7, 2005

throwing away my walking boots

I did the final shopping for the birthday party tonight. I wasn't able to get Melvin's present yesterday, so I had to go back today. It was ok though because I needed to go get stuff for spaghetti tomorrow. The original menu listed "coliflor revueltos", but can you believe that neither grocery store has had coliflour all week? You can get it in the market, but this time of year it's not really good. So, we just changed the menu to something easy. I feel like I've been in and out of Paiz (the grocery store) all week. I guess when I'm more used to doing the shopping I won't forget as much stuff. I hope so. Going once a week is enough for me. Especially since I walk there every other time, besides when I go on Wednesday. I do enjoy the exercise though.

Speaking of walking, did I mention that I sold my car in the States? Well, I didn't, my daddy did it for me, well, really God did it because I had been praying for that for awhile... if I should, for how much, what would I do without a car when I'm at home, etc. But it's done and the people who bought the car even said I could use it when I come home to visit. It's an extra car for them because they have a daughter that is about to turn 15. God really doesn't want us to worry about anything, you know? So, why don't we trust Him sometimes? He is so good.

So, my next step is to look for a car here. I'm talking to people and keeping my eyes open. I will want someone to help me because I don't know much about cars, and I don't want to get cheated. But I'm sure that if God has helped me this far, why would He stop now?

Well, I'm off to tutor at the Osborn's. I am excited about it. I really enjoy this part of the week most of all.

little creatures attack!!

I screamed last night as I watched a huge (I swear it was 2 inches long) cockroach crawl out from under the chair in the living room. I whined about it for awhile and then decided I had to kill it. I climbed to the stairs walking on all the furniture. First the coffee table, then the chair, finally I reached the stairs and ran and got the heaviest shoe I could find. I came back and threw it at him. He ran under the chair and I screamed as tears came out of my eyes. I puched the chair over with my foot and threw it at him again. He got smart and stayed under the chair. I climbed over the chair to the other steps and puched the chair the other way. He came out and stood there right by the step I was on, just looking at me like he wanted to bite me. I gasped and cried as I squished him with my shoe. My heart was racing and my breath was short, but I managed to sweep him up and put him in the garbage.

When I get to heaven I want to ask God what the purpose for creating cockroaches was?

Saturday, June 4, 2005

Congratulations, Haven!!

My baby brother (I can't say "little" because he's bigger than me) graduated from high school today. I just first want to congratulate him and tell his that I am very thankful he wasn't hurt in the wreck and that I'm very proud of him and I love him very much!

I cooked dinner yesterday. I made my favorite recipe that my mom used to make for me. It is actually my grandmother's recipe for chicken casserole. But my mom always made it for me as my last meal before coming to Guatemala and the first meal when I returned home. It was hard to find exactly what I use at home, but I got close enough and it worked good.

Mexico just beat Guatemala 2-0 in the German alimination.

We're eating lunch at church tomorrow I hear. I'm excited. It will be a typical Guatemalan meal of carne asada, arroz, frijol, y guacamol. MMMMMM!!! Oh, y tortillas!!

Well, I need to go get the girls to bed.

Buenas noches.

Thursday, June 2, 2005

Camp in Monjas

This weekend was a blast. We went with all of the girls to Monjas for a camp. This camp turned out to be more like a mission trip for these girls. They saw 7 souls won for Jesus!! They painted to curbs on the streets of Monjas, taught Sunday school at a local Christian church, did crafts with children at a local public school, witnessed with dance and prayer at the local central market, and we had tons of fun doing it. It was a hot weekend there. You could sweat just trying to get out of the shower. But the breeze was nice and the rain was plentiful.

Speaking of rain, what a sight to see the first day we arrived. The girls went out to the property to play games... as soon as they arrived... downpour!! Joanne and I arrived just in time to see them all running around like chickens looking for their coop. They jumped into the back of the pickup and we headed home.

Church Sunday was a blessing. I felt so proud to watch them teaching Sunday school to the younger children. My group had a class of young boys. Irma was great. She is a born teacher. I hope she sees that someday. She was just great. It was nice to see some of our shyer girls taking up with the kids as well.

We had a nice game of soccer Sunday afternoon. My team lost 2-0. But our goal was downhill, so they had the advantage. :) I woke up so sore the next day.

I lead worship at the devotions. But the theme song of the weekend was a beautiful song called "Heme Aquí". It talks about there being so much need in the world. It says, "Send me, I will go". I don't think there was a time that song was played that there was a girl that wasn't crying. I believe God touched some hearts in Monjas this week.

Tuesday was the best because we had a day of fun in the sun!! There is a local natural spring in Monjas and we took advantage of the heat and took a dip. I taught a few of the girls to dive, but some were just too scared to even get in the water.