Wednesday, August 25, 2010

A Homeless Man and his Tostones - A Modern Day Widow's Mite Story

A Toston is a 50 cent piece of a Lempira, equivalent to about 2.5 cents of a dollar.
Osman is a 22 yr old homeless kid who goes by the name Payaso (clown).  He's a bit of a trouble maker and to be quite honest I'm usually not too excited to see him walk through the door at church.  He tends to wind people up more than he participates in the service.  
At the end of the service on Sunday I announced that next week we would start taking up an offering.  The first destination for our offering will be chairs so that we can get up off of the floor for the church service.  Everyone was really excited about pitching in and several people said that they would bring chairs to donate next week.  I'm excited to see what next week brings.
So as we're getting ready to go have dinner Payaso scoots over next to me on the floor and puts 4 tostones in my hand and shyly says, "this is all I have, but you can have it."  Then he gets up and goes to have his dinner.  
I was incredibly humbled.  I've never been in the position where in order to give I had to literally give all that I had.  I have a feeling there will be more of these stories to come.  I learn more from these people than I could ever hope to teach them.

Bologna Sandwiches and a Gift

Yesterday between Shine! and receiving a large donation of toiletries and toys for the homeless ministry, Darwin and I both forgot to pick up the pots and pans from the building in order to cook for the homeless feeding.  After a short moment of panic we decided to pick up stuff to make bologna sandwiches.  
I really expected everyone to be disappointed and possibly even angry about their sandwiches, they are pretty set on their rice and beans.  But everyone was EXCITED.  It was so neat to watch them grin from ear to ear as they ate their sandwiches.  It looks like we'll be adding bologna sandwiches to our dinner repertoire.
Sorry about the pic, it took me literally 28 tries to get this one of my own wrist :)
Last night as we were frantically putting together bologna sandwiches Hector grabbed my wrist.  My first reaction was frustration.  I didn't have time to stop making sandwiches!  Then I realized he was tying this bracelet on my wrist.  When he was finished he lifted up his arm, showed me a bracelet he had and said "Look, I carry Alli with me and now I go with you."
Alli is one of my interns that recently returned home and is much missed by our homeless friends.  The love of these simple people means so much to us all.  It means so much that we are finding our way into their hearts and hopefully showing them a much greater Love.

An Update

The Ochoa Kids - The kids that were living in our building decided to move back in with their mom yesterday.  The freedom of the streets has been calling them and their mom has a new place.  I pray for their safety and that their mom will dedicate more time to caring for them now.

Talanga - Talanga is home from the hospital now and healing.  I'm not positive what the final diagnoses was and I'm not sure he is either, but the antibiotics are doing their job and he's excited to be home.  Thank you so much for praying for him.

Best Friends Napping Together on the Couch

I'm not a huge fan of the cat but Rosie sure loves him and I think the feeling is mutual.

Monday, August 23, 2010

New Babies

Yesterday at church we had THREE new babies.  They are so precious.  I pray that God frees their parents of their addictions so that the babies can have happy healthy lives.  I only managed to get pics of two of the kids but here are their stories.
This is Rut Sarai (Ruth Sarah).  She is Leslie's 22 day old baby girl.  She is such a doll.  Leslie and I have been friends for a long time and it's a joy to finally meet her new little one.  Leslie is addicted to glue but seems to be staying off it since the baby was born.  Rut seems healthy and unaffected by her mom's prenatal addiction.  I pray that that continues to be true.  

This is Karla and 2 month old baby Steven.  I've met Karla a couple of times before but don't know her very well.  She seems to be a great mom.  She brought Steven yesterday to church to see if I would take him because she couldn't afford to buy him diapers and baby formula.  I can't imagine having to make that decision.  After talking to Karla for awhile I learned that she is HIV positive and can't breastfeed.  I told Karla that I would get her some milk and diapers for the baby and I pray that our church family can be the support system that she needs right now.

This is just a cute pic of my kiddos that I threw in for good measure :).

Visiting Laura, Beto, and baby Santiago

You could also call this blog post "The Rosie and Santiago Show" :)
Darwin and the kids walking hand in hand at the park 
(before I realized my camera was set on black and white)
One of my good friends and old roommates, Laura lives in Esperanza with her husband, Beto, and 17 month old son Santiago.  Esperanza is about 3 hours away on a good day but we found out this trip it's about 4 hours to get there and about 5 to get back due to construction traffic and rainy weather.  Regardless of the traveling conditions we had a wonderful time visiting each other and watching the babies play together.  Friends who truly understand where you're coming from are hard to come by on the mission field and I've found a great one in Laura.  God has blessed us both with a wonderful friendship.

Holding hands, awe :)

The babies at the park enjoying their juice boxes, a special treat for both of them.

Laura and Santiago at the local (AND FREE!!) little water park. It was GREAT!

My beautiful Rosie in front of the waterfall

In front of a beautiful waterfall, there are very few pictures of the two of us so I'm glad we got a few this weekend.

Laura teaching Santi about water and why it runs :)
How can I not love this kid?

The only picture we took with both of us.  Darwin did a pretty good job.
Friends who truly understand where you're coming from are hard to come by on the mission field and I've found a great one in Laura.  God has blessed us both with a wonderful friendship.

Thursday Night with Breaking Chains

Because of a huge hole that has developed in the middle of the biggest highway in the city all of the traffic is being diverted through downtown Tegucigalpa.  Thursday night this caused a bit of a problem for us trying to get down to our building to pick up our plates, water jug, and other supplies.  So we call up Reina and Talanga to see if they can walk the stuff down to the bridge about 3 blocks away where we can pick it up.  The next thing I know I look out the window of the car where we are waiting and this is what I see.
Reina and the sweet, sweet kiddos that we are taking care of walking down the street bringing all of our supplies and grinning from ear to ear.  It was PRECIOUS!  Of course I get tears in my eyes and hop out to give them all big hugs and kisses before we take off to feed some friends.  It was a great night.

Meet Reina and Talanga (then say a prayer for Talanga)

Reina and Talanga are a couple that I met in September of last year.  They immediately struck me as sweet people who were eager to help those around them.  They were living under a bridge with Jenny, Brian, and Dulce as well as several other teens and had kind of taken on the role of parents to the whole clan.  Reina often took our leftovers to cook up for whoever happened to stop by later in the night or the next day.  However, they both have a strong alcohol addiction that would often lead to big fights both between themselves and with others they were living with.  Talanga has several health problems related to his alcoholism and also has epilepsy.  

When we first rented our building for the Breaking Chains ministry Reina and Talanga happened to live in the abandoned lot across the street and made it their job to make sure no one messed with our building.  It soon became evident that with the building being rewired and with new plumbing being put in we were going to need someone to live in the building and watch over it.  Talanga asked if they could be those people.  I was very hesitant at first but decided to try it out while the building had little in it that could be stolen.  Since moving in at the end of May Reina and Talanga have had no alcohol and have been a  HUGE blessing to our ministry.  I don't know what we would have done without them.  They take wonderful care of our building, they minister to sick people who can't take care of themselves, they give homeless mothers a place to stay for the night (often in Reina's own room), and they are currently watching over Rosie's brothers and sisters.  

When we started having church in the building I decided that after church we would have a meal that included a meat of some kind, in contrast to the rice and beans that we have during the week.  We've been having church for about 7 or 8 weeks now and I cooked the first two Sundays, after that Reina asked me if she could cook.  Again, I was skeptical, we don't have a stove at the building and we cook for about 60 people on Sunday.  She encouraged me to let her try.  Now every Saturday Reina takes the money set aside for that week's Sunday dinner and goes downtown by herself to shop.  She always stays within the budget and she's cooked Sunday dinner every week over this little fire pit Darwin built for her.  It is amazing to me.  
Reina and Talanga are amazing to me.
God is amazing, He has provided for needs I didn't anticipate having with a wonderful couple that is seeking Him.
I love this picture!!! This is the day that we brought over the toys for the after school program room.  Of course we ended up playing with the toys and convinced Reina to jump rope with us.  Reina has had a rough life and is usually pretty serious but this day she was able to just let go and laugh like a little girl.  It brought tears to my eyes more than once watching her giggle and laugh and take turns singing silly jump rope songs.  I'm blessed with some great interns that were right there with her laughing the whole time.
Reina and Talanga recently found out that they are expecting a child.  They've lost 4 babies and praying for a healthy baby this time.  The fact that they are away from the alcohol and influences of the street will greatly increase those chances.  They have also decided to finally get married!! They have been a committed couple for many years now and in this country most people don't actually have a marriage ceremony, they just remain faithful.  But we've talked to them and we are ALL very excited about planning a wedding.  I'll let you know when we set a date and you are all invited.

**I will try and keep this updated**
Talanga was admitted to the hospital on Sunday with Pneumonia, they have since done an ultrasound for possible appendicitis and last we knew last night they thought he had some kind of infection in his stomach.  I don't know how you can be suspected of all three of those things with the same symptoms but right now he's in the hospital and they are still running tests.  I've talked to him and he seems to be doing okay but please pray that he recovers quickly

Wednesday, August 18, 2010

A Day of Relaxation and Shine! Kids

I'm going to do my best to keep you guys posted daily so that hopefully I get at least a few posts a week in.  So get ready for lots of picture blogs.  I'm also going to try and put in some catch up blogs periodically about things that have happened since I stopped blogging.

Rosie thoroughly enjoying Darwin's Ramen noodle lunch
Today I spent most of the day resting and trying to recover from a bout of strep throat that is rearing it's ugly head.  Darwin was a big help today and ran errands with Rosie most of the morning.
This afternoon was our first tutoring session for Shine! for the year.  Dyana was sick today so I only had 3 kids but we had a great afternoon.
We quickly finished the little homework they had on nouns and verbs and then spent some time practicing reading in Spanish.  
We also started a longer book in English that I will read a little bit of every day to strengthen their reading comprehension.

Rosie likes reading too :)
We ended the afternoon with a quick trip to the park before the rain set in.  It's exciting to watch their potential grow.

Tuesday, August 17, 2010

Back to School

After a false start yesterday, I guess there was some confusion over what day the 16th was :), the kids started back to school today. 
 They were all very excited to meet their new teacher and see their new classroom.  
On the way home Darwin took the kids for a treat and did a great job of getting some pictures along the way.
  I'm excited to see what this school year holds for these wonderful kids.

Rosie's Story

For those of you that have been here recently, or if you have facebook, you've seen and heard me talk about sweet little Rosie.  This is her story as far as I know it.

Rosie is the 15 month old daughter of 39 year old Belkis and one of two potential 17 year old fathers.  She is Belkis's 11th child.  I don't know anything about the older children but the youngest 5 have become a huge part of my life, and my heart.  Pamela is 12, Arol is 9, Jonathan is 7, Dyana is 4, and Rosio (Rosie) is 15 months.
4 of the 5 kids
 The 5 kids and their mom were kicked out of the apartment they rent on a monthly basis about a month and a half ago.  After finding Arol and Jonathan running barefoot around downtown Tegucigalpa by themselves on more than one occasion, I started investigating.  Evidently Belkis's mom is in the hospital so she has pretty much left the kids to fend for themselves while she takes care of her mother.
Dyana the 4 yr old
Pamela (the 12 yr old) was doing the best she could but she's a baby herself and the kids are all pretty wild.  So after talking to mom and with Reina and Talanga, all 5 kids moved into our homeless ministry building and Reina is watching over them.  When Rosie moved into the building she had a horribly infected rash all over her body that ended up causing 104 degree temperatures and several frantic calls from Reina.  I ended up bringing Rosie home to get her well.  We've had several scares with her health but she's a happy healthy baby now, and I have completely fallen in love with her.  She's obviously had a rough little life and frequently has terrible nightmares, but seems to be adjusting well.
Rosie - before
I don't know what is going to happen in the future with any of the 5 kids.  They've been in a children's home before and spent a lot of their lives on the streets.  All that I can do is love them for today and pray for their futures.
I love this laugh!
Rosie made dinner while I washed the dishes this afternoon.

Monday, August 09, 2010

The Hiatus Is Over!

Hey Guys - If you're still checking this you're a better person than I am :)   Sorry I've been gone so long.  My computer crashed then the summer groups hit and the blog just got put on the back burner.  I HAVE SO MUCH TO WRITE ABOUT.  I'm sure things will get left out, and if you know of a story I should blog remind me, but I'm going to attempt to update you all on our amazing summer and then keep the blog up and running from there.  Thank you all so much for your love and support.
Love ya always!