Wednesday, November 25, 2009

So Many Things to Be Thankful For

I decided to join the rest of the blogger world and write about a few of the things I'm thankful for.  I can't even begin to include them all.
1.  My relationship with God regardless of what is happening in my life.  He shows me his love daily with the most normal and mundane things and with elaborate presents wrapped in bright colored bows. 
2.  My amazing and crazy immediate family.  They bring me so much joy.
3.  My extended family that has come to include so many non-blood relations.  They show me what heaven must be like.
4.  An adopted son I've been able watch grow from a scared defiant boy into a responsible and loving young man.
5.  My church families, of which I have several.  It's so amazing to be with brothers and sisters in so many different places. 
6.  My friends around the world.  I've been so blessed.
7.  Having a job that fulfills needs I never knew I had and that I'm excited to wake up to each morning.
8.  A ministry that is taking off before my eyes.  What a blessing to be on the ground floor of something so new and exciting.
9.  Brussel sprouts, chocolate, and cheese ravioli
10.  Day to day struggles that help shape me into the person God wants me to be.
11.  My snuggly puppies that seem to know just when to romp and play and just when to take a break.  Toby is quick to come to our rescue if he thinks somethings wrong and Tasha is the comforter when we're sick or sad. 
12.  For laughter, love, giggles, and hugs, things God didn't have to give us but make life worth living.

I could seriously go on all day but I should probably stop before you get bored.  I love you guys.  You are a huge part of the happiness and blessings in my life.  Have a great Thanksgiving.

Tuesday, November 24, 2009

Doctor's Without Borders

I don't have any pictures from yesterday but it was an interesting enough day that I thought I had better blog it.  Last week I met with some people from Doctors without Borders and set up a site tour for yesterday.  We got up really early in the morning because I had parent teacher conferences first then we headed over to the clinic to make sure Darwin's healing tooth was still on the right path.  Then we headed over to Doctors Without Borders which is very near the park where we hand out food.  I was given a tour of their facility then spent about 45 minutes talking to their social worker in charge of public relations (David).  It was a great conversation.  I learned a lot about the people we have been serving and will continue to serve with the Breaking Chains facility.  David told me that they have about 250 people visit them regularly and 850 people registered with the program.  That means there is a HUGE number of people that we can help them reach.  Doctors without Borders in Honduras was set up to be a 5 year program and they've been in existence for 7 already, for that reason, and funding they are planning on closing their doors at the end of the next two years.  They are also ending their feeding program at the end of this year.  We talked a lot about partnering and helping make that transition easier.  Right now they provide medical treatment, counseling, shower and laundry facilities, and recreational activities.  They told me that there is only one program in the area, and possibly in Tegucigalpa that serves this population outside of the morning and early afternoon hours.  That existing program only serves children under the age of 18.  They talked at length about the need for a safe place for them to go in the evening times and offered to come do medical treatment, provide referrals, and do basic health talks at our facility.  I'm excited to have a partnership with a program that already knows the ropes and is more than willing to share advice.  God is definitely working in this as we continue to move forward.
Last night we headed out to feed as usual and it took us TWO HOURS to get where we were going.  It was insane.  There was a political rally at the stadium that was causing horrible traffic.  We ended up just going to La Chimbomba and the park but it was a good night.  We got to spend some extra time at those two places and develop our friendships a little bit more.
Afterwards, Alli and Tess came over and we had homemade chicken noodle soup, which I love and just hung out.  It's always nice to have friends over. 

Sunday at the Circus

Sunday was a good day.  I spent the morning relaxing and recuperating from Saturday's craziness then Darwin and I went to lunch at the mall.  Initially we had decided to get crepes, very healthy and delicious, at this really neat little restaurant that we both love, but then we decided not to because it's fairly expensive and takes a REALLY long time.  So instead we head upstairs to the food court.  Darwin decides to get Honduran food which is not my idea of a yummy lunch (please quiet your boo's and judgements of my cultural inadequacy) so I head over to KFC.  I don't know why I continue to eat at KFC, especially in the mall, it's not very good and it's DEFINITELY not healthy.  I probably only eat there every couple of months, if that, but every time I do I'm disappointed.  Sorry KFC fans out there.  Their french fries are amazing though.  

Anyway, after that we picked up Alli and Tess and headed to church.  I had 28 kids in my class, which was less than I had expected but definitely plenty.  Church ran long because they are planning a church wide all night "vigilia" (basically a lock in but for the whole church) on December 19th.  Everyone is really excited and it should be a great success.

On the way home we passed a circus and since Tess had never been to the circus and it was just about to start, we decided to go.  The Honduran circus never disappoints.  It was mostly clowns and it was a little sketchy but we had lots of fun.  Here are some of the highlights from the evening.  (Please forgive the photography it was dark and I couldnt' use the flash.)

The entire bleachers were made of wood planks tied together that would shift everytime you wiggled.  That was a little nerve wracking.

The circus was mostly clowns but they were pretty funny.

The hula hoop girl wasn't super impressive.  I know a kid in Izopo who could teach her a thing or two.

No suprise, I fell in love with this adorable little boy

Here he is selling us some lechas (fruit).

Darwin and the girls during intermission

Me and the girls during intermission

Another clown, this guy played several instruments and was really pretty funny.  He kind of reminded me of Jack Black.

This old man was really impressive on the tight rope.

This, ladies and gentleman, is a trained french poodle.  I have my doubts on his pedigree :)

And if you've ever been to a Honduran circus you know that the "living worm" is a staple.

At the very end they had some kids get up made them do some tricks and dance to win tickets to come back to the circus.  It was probably the funniest part of the whole night. 

Saturday, November 21, 2009

Talk about an emotional night

Birthday Girl!

And finally I'm caught back up to today.  Sorry about the blogs in spurts.  Sometimes it just works out that way.  First off I want to say thanks to all of you who posted about theme days.  I truly love getting comments on my blogs and that was really what that was all about.  I am going to try and incorporate some of those ideas into my future posts and please post any other ideas you have.

Today was exhausting but a good day for sure.  I left the house at 9 to go grocery shopping and pick up a birthday present for Leticia who I thought was turning 4, turns out she was turning 2!, but more on that later.  I guess I had lost my mind trying to shop on a Saturday.  I didn't pull back into the house until 1:30!!! That didn't leave me much time to make cupcakes for Leticia's birthday party.  So I raced around to get the cupcakes made and iced.  And I made WAY to much icing.  Like a hilarious amount of icing.  I did a double batch of cake mix for the cupcakes so I thought I must need a double batch of icing, WRONG!  We're going to have icing for a while. 

Copious amounts of icing.

So we ended up leaving here really late and forgetting to buy tortillas.  So once we were settled Darwin went to pick up the tortillas and I stayed behind to get things rolling.  Soon Brian came up and starting helping me hand out water.  Brian is the kid from Jovenes that's started coming by.  On Wednesday he had tried to start a couple of fights so he was "punished" meaning he had to apologize or not get food for a couple of days.  He was very quiet and didn't try to get any food.  So Darwin came back and Brian walked off and we went on with the night.  After a while it became evident that we were low on numbers and were going to have plenty of food so we told everyone they could have seconds.  I called Brian over to give him a plate of food because he had been so helpful.  As I handed him his plate I said "Brian, look at me." From there I had planned to talk to him about not fighting and being responsible, but as he glanced at me there were tears running down his sweet face.  Oh my goodness, it's times like that that my job is so incredibly hard.  I just put my arm around him and kissed him on the head and told him it would be okay.  We stood there like that for awhile, him with tears dripping off the end of his nose and me trying my hardest not to join him.  He's such a sweet kid and he's really stuck in the middle of wanting to be a boy and needing to be a man to survive.  It's so hard to watch.  Darwin sat down with him and talked to him for a long time and then before I left we talked some more about looking to God when things get hard.  Please say some extras prayers for Brian tonight and for me.  I really want to bring him home, he's 15, and he needs someone.  But I don't think it would be prudent and I don't feel like it's where God is leading me right now.  Prayer for safety and strength.

From there we went to La Chimbomba and Leticia's birthday party.  That was so much fun.  She was a little overwhelmed by it all and the 4T clothes that I bought her aren't going to fit her for another year but we had fun and I am going to return the clothes for the right size.  I have no idea how I got it into my head she was turning 4.  I think I might be going senile early :). 

Darwin was doing the photography and the flash was a little intense.

She had some trouble with the ribbons.

But loved the cupcakes!!

She had some help getting the icing all over her face.  She was actually a really neat eater.

She liked her stuffed frog a lot but her favorite "present" was the crayon box I used as wrapping for one of the shirts I got her.  Somehow we didn't end up with a picture of that.

While they don't exactly look enthused here everyone had a great time and stayed around for the "party" until we left.  Everyone was also really really impressed with my quilt.  Mom, tell Judy her quilt was a hit. 

I also spent some time cleaning wounds tonight.  Javier and several other homeless people were beaten up by the police the other night and I'm still working on getting everyone cleaned up.  Javier was hit so hard in the face with a rock that 4 of his teeth are cracked and went through his cheek.  The police here are very corrupt and often have drunken late night boxing sessions on the homeless.  It's something that has been happening for years and it's so sad.  The homeless guys just accept it and really I don't know what can be done to change it but it's heartbreaking.  I hand out bandaids and triple antibiotic ointment like candy.  Triple antibiotic ointment and gauze are great things to send down if you're looking for a way to help. 

All in all it was a good night at the end of a long day.  I'm pretty tired but happy to have gotten caught up on my blogs.  Thanks so much for reading.  I love you guys.

Time with some sisters and brothers from church

Just a cute pic of Luis
As I've mentioned before some of the ladies at church are making foods to sell as a fundraiser after church occasionally.  I usually miss out on these announcements because I'm in Bible Class and by the time I run the last kid out of the door most of the adults are usually gone.  But on Wednesday night after church Fatima (13) and Midian (10) come running up to me begging me to come to their house on Friday and make tamales.  I tell them I'm not sure what I"m doing on Friday but I'll try.  They are not detered and run over to their mom to get her in on the action and another adult Griselda who is also going to be there.  So I end up promising I will come and we talk about the whens and wheres.  I even told them I would have to bring the puppies because I didn't want to leave them home alone all day.  I leave thinking this is a pretty done deal, I'm going to their house to make tamales on Friday. 

So after Darwin's dentist appointment on Friday we show up (around 11) ready to work.  And the first thing Yoli (Mom) says, "Oh, I wish I knew you were coming, I would have called you.  We're not making tamales today."  WHAT!!! We talked for a good half hour about me coming.  It was definitely a "welcome to Honduras" moment.  Turns out they couldn't find the pots and pans they needed to make tamales, which I have, had they called, so they just called it off.  No big deal though.  Yoli decided to make and sell donuts around her house instead.  So we stayed for a while and had a delicious fried chicken lunch, where I consumed way more rice than I normally would, and helped make donuts.  It was fun to watch them cooking over the fire and seeing the kids running around with the puppies.  We had a great day talking about church and our families and eating fresh fruit off of their fruit trees.

Midian and Toby

Luis and Tasha

Midian climbing a tree for fruit

Fatima, Rachel's bible class helper, cooking donuts.

Toby on the couch.  Notice the red paint on his ear.  Elvis, dad, was painting the house and Toby got a little too close.

I find these little wood stoves really neat.

Friday night at church my Bible class reached their goal of 40 kids, 41 kids actually.  They kept me on my toes.  One more time and they win their pizza, movie and popcorn night.  The great part of the night was that even though there were masses of kids, about 3/4 of them new their memory verse.  Even a bunch of kids that weren't there on Wednesday learned the verse from siblings or friends. I'm so excited that our classes is not just growing in numbers but in knowledge of God's Word as well. 

Friends are such a blessing

Thursday was a great night with Breaking Chains.  Everything went as planned and afterwards I spent a long time talking with Jenny and Cesar, but more on that in a minute.  I'm currently working on some fundraising material so I had told Darwin I wanted to get some unsuspecting shots of the guys walking up or sitting around huffing, something a little more realistic than the ear to ear grins I get when I pull out the camera.  So I go about feeding and Darwin has the camera.  I really wasn't paying too much attention to him.  What I ended up with were ear to ear grins with a bottle in front of them.  Darwin was going up to the guys and telling them to huff so we could take their picture, NOT what I had in mind.  But at least he tried.  I love this first picture.  By this point they were just being ridiculous and really just having a good time.  It warms my heart to see them laughing a smiling.

This is Marvin and this is an unposed picture.  Marvin used to be the sweetest guy.  He was real together most of the time even though he was huffing and a joy to be around.  Then a few months ago he was attacked, I'm not sure of the details but he had some severe head trauma and a broken jaw.  At first he couldn't communicate at all and could barely walk.  He's slowly getting his cognition back but I fear his quick wit and friendly personality are long gone.  It's so sad to see what little they have be taken from them, especially when it's not a material possession.

And this is Alan. Alan is blind because as a teenager he was shot in the head.  He has scars where the bullet entered one side of his head and came out the other. According to some of the others at the stadium he is from a really wealthy family that abandoned him after the accident.  Alan is a favorite of everyone.  He's a sweetheart and is always cracking jokes.

Thursday as we were finishing up at the park Jenny came up so we sat down on the tailgate and talked for a long time about her life.  She is 16 years old and the mother of 2 year old Dulce.  Her mom left her with her step-dad as a baby and at 8 years old her step dad abandoned her as well.  Since then she has spent time in a couple of different children's homes and spent some time in jail for theft.  In the past year that I've known her she's lived in 4 different places and spent some time on the streets.  She just stays wherever she can find a spot.  Jenny definitely tugs at my heart strings and pushes me to do think outside the box for ways to help everyone we encounter.  Cesar, the guy on my right in the picture, has come a couple of times and is very loving and appreciative of everything we do.  He, as well as many that we work with, asks me regularly "You're my friend right?" I of course say yes to which he always responds "I'm your friend too".  Cesar is another of the guys that has taken to calling me mom.  The guy on the ground came that one night and I haven't seen him before or since but he sat and listened to our conversations then jumped in the picture.  He seems like a sweet guy and I hope that we can continue to reach out to him.

Friday, November 20, 2009

This is a blatant scam to get people to post on my wall....

Hello Everyone!!!
I've tried subtle hints and quizzes to get people to post comments on my wall and some of you are my favorites...but for the sheer number of people that say they read my blog and comment on my blog in person I'd like some more comments.  I've been known to squeal out loud when I see that I have a comment on a blog post, that's before I've even read anything.  I love to blog and will continue to do it regardless but I also love to hear from all of you and would love your input.  I feel like my blog is becoming a little redundant, which is okay with me but not great for continued readership so here's where you come in.  Several of my friends do theme days like Funny Story Friday (Allison) and Family Photo Friday (Ann) (I guess Friday is a good theme day) and I'm considering doing one or more myself.  Things I've considered doing:
Profiling a homeless person
Profiling a church family
Funny stories
Special Cooking days
Theological, biblical days (though I sometimes worry that I'm going to frighten some of you off :) )
Where did I see Jesus today/this week

Well there's a few of my ideas.  I want to hear your ideas.  I want to know what you'd like to read about.  This will also help me not trickle off with my blogging as I've been known to do.  I have a couple of posts that I plan to do tonight or tomorrow morning but for now I"m awaiting your comments with great anticipation.  Love you guys!!!!

Wednesday, November 18, 2009

A Busy Day in Black and White

One of my favorite pictures in a long time.  This is one of Darwin's cousins outside their house

Walking the puppies around town.  The kids had a blast.

This baby has the strangest name I've ever tried to pronounce but she's really cute :).

Sweet, bare, baby feet.

Steven LOVED Tasha.

Selvin LOVED getting his picture taken :).

Playing Pictureka.

They're not all black and white :)

Isn't Raquel Beautiful?  Definitely my favorite little old lady.

So Serious, So Distinguished

Darwin and his girlfriend Seylin, they were NOT thrilled with Mom's camera

Packed Church.

Packed Bible Class. 
We had 35 tonight.  They've almost reached their goal of 40.

Exciting News and the 2012 Saga

Really pretty rainbow on the mountain.  Everyone was EXTREMELY insistant at the stadium that I take a picture of it, which I thought was really cute.
Last night we had quite the adventure trying to see the movie 2012, but first off some exciting news.  The realtor for the building I would like for Breaking Chains has negotiated us down to $600 a month rent (down from $1000) for a year with the option to buy at any time.  I have also gotten approval from Park Plaza to begin fund raising.  Both of these things are huge!  I really feel like God is working in this situation. 

Hector and Jessica, a couple that rarely comes together but have been a couple for longer than most that we meet.
Today we are going to check out Doctors Without Borders, which I recently found out is working in the area.  I'm hoping they have some more information on existing programs and what needs need to be addressed most urgently. 

Brian, this is the kid from Jovenes that I mentioned a few days ago.  He's a sweetheart.
Last night went well.  We had mostly regulars and Alli and Tess came along to help.  They've been joining us a lot lately.  It makes things so much easier when there are more than just Darwin and I there because we can spend a lot more time talking to people and loving on them. 

Armando, Jorge and a kid whose name I always forget.  They aren't nearly as tough as they look in this picture.
Since it was Tuesday, half price movie day, we decided to go see 2012 once we finished feeding.  We raced around and made it to Metro Mall just in time for the 6:40 showing.  The line to get into the movie was turned back on itself about 4 times and we still hadn't bought our tickets so we decided to try another theater with an 8:10 showing.  We didn't want to pay to see a movie and miss half of it.  So we drove all the way across town to Multiplaza Mall.  Alli, Tess, and Darwin headed to the food court to get some dinner and I ran upstairs to get our tickets.  The 8:10 showing was already sold out at 7:15!!!

Sweet Michelle waiting for her food.
The next showing was at 9:35.  So after some debate we decided to get tickets for the late show.  We got in line at 8:15 and were already out the door and at the top of the stairs.  I have no idea what time the people at the front of the line got there but it was insane.  The movie was almost 3 hours long and was showing in 4 of the 6 theaters but it still had an insane number of people to see it.  I've not seen anything like it before in Honduras.  It was a good movie.  Darwin LOVED it. 

Noe showing off for the camera.
I probably wouldn't recommend waiting around for 3 hours to see it but we enjoyed it.  So last night was a late, late night but we had fun laughing and waiting around for the excitement.  Today after we check things out downtown we're going to spend some time with the kiddos up in Mogote.  I'm sure I'll have pictures to share.

And finally Josue, so so lovable.