Wednesday, March 10, 2010

My Cup Runneth Over

This is one of those posts I struggle about posting.  I hope you all realize this is not about me, but about sharing some of the love that has been shown to me with all of you. 

Yesterday was full of a lot of wonderful moments.  I just wanted to share them with all of you.

The day did not start off so hot.  We found out that the sickness we were struggling with could be swine flu and had to go to the hospital to be tested.  In the case of swine flu in honduras you have to be quarantined in the hospital.  We were a lot more worried about being quarantined indefinitely than we were about the swine flu.  So we hop in the car and head over to the clinic to get our reference letter for the hospital and find out WE DON´T HAVE TO GO TO THE HOSPITAL!!!! There was much rejoicing, the hospital is a scary place.  But we do still have to go get tested so we go over to the health clinic in charge of testing and spend about 4 hours wandering around there and trying to figure out where we´re supposed to be.  Once we finally get to where we´re supposed to be it is a pretty quick process and we find out that we DON´T HAVE SWINE FLU!!! We just have the regular flu and we should be towards the end of the cycle.   That was a huge relief and a major blessing.  So then we head home to rest, rest, rest and drink lots of water.

I was feeling great in the afternoon so Darwin and I decided to head over to the boys home again.  We had promised them we would come on Sunday and I was feeling pretty crummy about having to break that promise so I was very glad when it worked out. 

At the boys home as soon as we walk in one of the counselors we´ve made friends with lights up and starts introducing me to some other spring break volunteers that were there for the day.  He kept finding them across the yard and bringing them over to say hi.  It was really neat to see how happy he was to have us there.

Upon arrival all of the kids immediately start trying to sell you these bracelets that they make.  Last time I bought a bunch, this time I wasn´t buying any.  So later on as I´m sitting down playing Rummikub with a few of the boys one of the kids comes up and is playing with my hand.  The next thing I know he´s putting a bracelet on my arm and I´m saying, no, no, I´m not buying any bracelets today.  His response, "No, this is for you, it´s a gift." and ducking his head.  I look down at the bracelet and it says "I love you mom".  When I looked back up he had disappeared.  It was all I could do not to tear up right there.  He came back by later to give me a hug and talk for a while. 

Julio Cesar is making some dangerous choices with the friendships he´s making so Darwin and I both spent some time talking about how important your friends are when you are trying to change.  Evidently he later on told Darwin that we were the only people that ever worry about him and that we were his only family.  He´s trying really hard to make the right choices and we´re hoping to get him into a home that will help him do just that.

Just in general, visiting the boys is a very rewarding time.  I love all of their smiling faces and their sweet words.  God is definitely using them to bless my life and I pray that they are being blessed in return.

At the feeding tonight things went really well too.  Everyone was in a good mood and just playful to be around.

At the park I was sitting on a bench talking to one of the teens when a mid-twenties guy walked up and started to lean in.  My first thought was, "uh-oh, watch the hands and the lips, he´s probably going to try to kiss me", not an uncommon occurance.  But instead he leaned down and whispered, "You´re an angel" and sat down on the end of the bench.  It was a really sweet exchange.  He wasn´t hitting on me he was just letting me know that he saw God´s hand in what we were doing.  What more could you ask for?

And finally, sweet Nelson.  Nelson is 16 and really eager for us to open up the building so that he can get off of the streets.  Nelson is always helpful and never tries to start fights.  As you might imagine, Nelson is another of my favorites.  For a couple of weeks now Nelson has been asking me to take him to see a movie.  Not in an obnoxious way but more in a teasing playful way.  So on Saturday I told Nelson that if he came on Monday without huffing glue we would take him to see Alice in Wonderland.  Well on Monday we were all sick and I had a group with me and Nelson had been huffing so all of those things led to us not taking him to the movies and being a very sad kid.  So last night he was deciding whether he was still angry or not as he sat down to talk with me.  These kids have so much disappointment in their lives that it´s so hard for me to see that in them but at the same time it´s vital that we establish boundaries and stick to our word.  So I talked to Nelson for a long time about how much I cared about him and I make the rules that I do and at the end of it he starts digging around in his backpack.  He finally comes out with a small wooden necklace that he wrapped twice around my wrist as a bracelet and gave me a big hug.  I have to believe that even in the midst of frustration and disappointment, these kids know that we love them.  And our deal still stands with Nelson, when he shows up without huffing Darwin or I will take him to the movies.  Pray that he is successful in taking this small step towards freedom. 

Wow that turned out to be pretty long.  Thanks for sticking with me if you made it this far.  We´ve got a team coming in starting tomorrow so I´ll probably be hit or miss for a while, but I love your comments, they keep me writing.  Love you guys!

Monday, March 08, 2010

October 21st....

Yesterday was a great day.  When I left Julio Cesar on Thursday the counselor there said that Sunday morning was a great time to come visit the kids and that they would love for us to do some stuff with all of the kids.  So since we always have Sunday mornings off we decided to do just that.  On Saturday I decided that maybe we shouldn´t just drop in on Sunday morning since we hadn´t met any of the day staff.  I want to have the best relationship I can with this place.  So Saturday evening we went by to make that Sunday was really a good time and not just the whim of the night guard.  I was told that definitely Sunday "morning" after 11 was a great time to come.  So we went out and bought a giant bag of oranges and a couple bags of bananas and loaded up some of our board games and headed out to October 21st (an interesting name for a boys home, I know).  At first I just went up to the door, leaving everyone else in the car, and explained that I wanted to visit with Julio Cesar.  The guard (whom I hadn´t ever met) was very stern and serious and told me he needed to see id.  So I go out to the car to get my id thinking well this probably isn´t going to go as we had planned.  When I get back inside the guard says "So you want to see Julio Cesar?"  and I launch into an explanation about how I would love to see Julio Cesar if that´s all I can do today but that we brought all this stuff for the kids and we´ll do whatever they want us to do, we don´t want to be a bother (there were lots of run on sentences there, I tend to talk fast when I get nervous)  Well the guard´s whole demeanor changed immediately. "You want to play with all the kids, well come on back, do you need any help getting anything out of the car".  It was amazing to watch.  They immediately led us into the back and called all the kids out and the next thing we knew we were standing in front of 45 kids looking at us expectantly.  That was a bit of an awkward transition but once we got the kids off of the benches and into playing games it was a great day.  We gave lots of hugs and shared lots of smiles.  And as I´m sure those of you that know me can imagine all 45 of them marched right into my heart and decided to stay for a while.  The counselors there (never more than 3 at a time, usually 2) are eager for any help they can get with these kids.  God has definitely flung this door wide open for us to be a bit of a bright spot in some very very dark lives.  This home is a transition home so most of the kids won´t be there for more than 6 months or so, but many of them return.  It´s a home for kids that they can´t find placement for.  Most of these kids have spent the majority of their lives being the kids no one wants.  Our goal is to show them that they are loved, both by God and by us, and to help them as much as we can in the little time that we have with them.  Please be praying for these precious, precious boys.  I´m sure I¨ll have lots of stories to share in the future. 

Julio Cesar is doing a lot better emotionally and has made some friends in the home.  I´m talking to a friend of mine here about some options for his future and we are prayerfully making plans to help him have a better life.  I will let you guys know more about that when we´ve moved a little further down that road. 

Thank you guys so much for all the love you´ve sent this way.  I love you guys so much and it means the world to me. 

Friday, March 05, 2010

An Update on Julio Cesar

It´s been an emotional roller coaster of a week. Yesterday Julio Cesar was released from the hospital and we were pretty sure he was going to get to come home here to recover and then make decisions from there. But before I could get there to pick him up social services got involved and after several hours yesterday sitting in a police station they sent him to a children´s home here because his aunt refused to come down to the office and sign a piece of paper. It was frustrating. The home he´s in is kind of a last stop for kids here and there are some REALLY rough kids there. He´s been there before and he´s pretty scared right now.  There were a lot of heartbreaking tears yesterday when he found out where he was going and then this stoicism that makes me fear for his heart.  I´ve seen too many kids decide to harden their hearts in order to avoid the pain in their lives.  I pray that he is able to keep a tender heart towards God and those that want to help him. I spent a lot of time at the home last night and they were very open to visits.  When I walked in I saw Melvin, a boy I loved dearly when I was at Jovenes en Camino and had since lost track of.  Evidently there are two more boys from Jovenes there and I´m looking forward to building those relationships back up.  As one of the guards was showing me around the facility he was telling me that they sometimes don´t have enough food for the kids and a lot of the kids are barefoot.  As heart wrenching as today was I think it may be God opening another door to service with these hurting kids.  We´re going to see what we can do to help this place out and keep in contact with Julio Cesar. Please keep this precious heart in your prayers. I love you guys.

Thursday, March 04, 2010

Please be Praying - Warning this is a little graphic

Hey Guys,
Again, Im sorry I keep disappearing.  I wanted to give you a little update on whats going on in my life and why I havent been blogging as much as I should. 
Last weekend Mike and Jason from Park Plaza were here from Park Plaza and I had a great time running around with them, we even made a quck daytrip down to Amapala (the beach) to check it out for their team.  On Sunday Mackenzies dad, Ed and another guy, John, came down from Indianapolis for the week.  So they have been tagging along and we have been trying to show them the ropes of everything we do here.
Having visitors is just part of the job here in Honduras and no excuse for no blogging but, on top of that one of my kids from the homeless ministry was stabbed really badly on Monday and has been in the hospital since.
Julio Cesar is 16 years old and has been in and out of group homes and on the streets since he was eight.  Before 8 he lived off and on with his dad who is a drug trafficker, his senile grandparents, and his aunt, who didnt really want to be bothered with him.  His grandparents have since passed away and his dad has disappeared.  When the hospital called his aunt she told them he was an orphan and hung up the phone.  This kid has had a rough life and done some terrible things, but right now he is just scared to death. 
At one point in his life he was involved in some pretty heavy gang activity, and he believes the stabbing was backlash from that.  He and another kid were riding the bus when a man walked up to him and stabbed him just below his elbow on the underside of his arm, severing an artery in his arm.  He also stabbed him less severely in 3 or 4 other places on his arms.  On Monday night, when I got to the hospital, they werent sure he was going to live because he had lost so much blood.   Once they were sure he would survive they werent sure they could save his arm.  So Monday and Tuesday were really rough emotional days for him but last night he was doing much better.  The swelling from the blood loss has gone down and it looks like hes going to get to keep his arm.  He is probably going to have to do a lot of physical therapy to regain usage of his arm but he should eventually be fine.  Ive spent a lot of time with him over the past three days, more than anything just reasurring him he is not alone and that this is an opportunity to turn his life around.  He has such a sweet heart and has always been a favorite of Darwin and I.  Please pray that Julio allows God to intervene in his life and turn it around.  And also please pray for wisdom as we decide the best way to help him once he leaves the hospital.  I will keep you guys posted on his progress and I thank you so much for taking the time to pray for us.