Sunday, September 26, 2010

I couldn't be more proud

Darwin, my sweet boy, is growing up.  He has become the leader of our small congregation of misfits and does a wonderful job.

Darwin preached today about thankfulness and the fact that no matter what our background we have so much to be thankful.

It's amazing to think how far this sweet boy has come and to watch everyone hold him in such respect.  

Our congregation continues to fluctuate between 30-60 people but we seem to be getting the service down.  They are much more respectful now and we rarely have an interruption.  We try to involve everyone in the service and Darwin is great at allowing everyone to have a turn while reigning in those that want to take over the conversation.  
A couple of weeks ago a young lady stood up and told us how lonely she has felt lately but that because of our church she knew she wasn't alone.  She now recognizes that she has us as friends and God in her life.  
That's what our work is about.

Sweet Oscar

Reina found this sweet little old man Saturday, sitting outside of the Red Cross building near our building, and brought him home for a hot meal.  

Oscar came to the city from Amapala (a fishing village about 3 hours away) on September 15th to celebrate Independence Day and was hit by a truck.  His foot is severely infected and he has several sores along the side of his body.  He has medication given him by the hospital but when he went on Friday they told him to come back in 5 days.  

God just happened to bless us with some volunteers on Saturday night with some medical background and they spent about an hour cleaning up his wounds.  We got him some antibiotics and plan to take him to the clinic on Monday.

A beautiful face full of gratitude. 

Oscar and his friend Gregorio will stay in our building until we can get Oscar taken care of find out what needs to happen with him.
I am overwhelmed with the blessing of being able to help these sweet people and also at being witness to Reina extending a helping hand to others.  She makes my heart swell.
God's gifts are so undeserved and so sweet.

Some New Faces

This sweet man just stopped by to ask if he could pray in our building.  He went over to a corner at the front, knelt down, prayed fervently, gave us all hugs and left.  We haven't seen him before or since, but he is an encouragement.

This is Marcos
And his brother Junior

This rambunctious twosome has graced us with their presence a couple of times now and they are quickly finding a place in our hearts.  Their mom is pretty rough with them, but seems to be trying.  Her name is Judy and she suffered a miscarriage this past week.  Please keep them in your prayers.
and finally Felipe.  I have a feeling Felipe will be our next success story.  He's a struggling alcoholic but an absolute sweetheart looking for a reason to change.  God is throwing wide the doors to so many hearts, I pray He gives us the strength and wisdom to minister to them all. 

Meet Junior

This is Junior.  Junior is another great success story and unexpected blessing of our ministry.
Junior is a recovering alcoholic who used to be a mariachi singer.  Now he's our song leader at church and has a beautiful voice.  He also seems to have a great grasp of God's word, we're working on teaching him grace and forgiveness. 
Junior moved into our building last week and it's amazing to me to see the difference in him since he's been clean.

Amazing us with his magic tricks

And making us laugh with funny faces.

Junior is truly a blessing and one that I never saw coming.

My New Girls

Meet Courtney Mathews and Heather Moore
These sweet girts are my new interns.  They will both be here until mid-December and I'm already loving having them here.  
Courtney has been here a few weeks longer so I've got more pictures of her but now you'll know who they are as they show up in the blog.

Vanessa and Courtney have become fast friends

Juana doesn't care that Heather can't speak Spanish she loves her completely anyway.
Oscar is an old favorite that we haven't seen in a while but we sure love seeing his face again.
This is Isaac's favorite place to sit, inside the fireplace, and he's Courtney's favorite conversation buddy because he slows things down for her and also makes us all laugh with his random comments.
Random comment of the day from Isaac: "Hey, when is the FBI coming to fix our roof?" :)

A Lesson and A Blessing

Well I'm going to tell a tale of my own stupidity here, but also one of God's grace.
Last Sunday we arrived at the building early for church and I came in and set me camera down in one of the inner windowsills (I am notorious for not being as vigilant with my things as I should).  I sat down nearby and chatted for a while then I decided to take Rosie to the nearby pulperia (snack market) to get a drink.  On the way out a not so trustworthy young man was walking in but I didn't give it much thought.  Then Reina decided we should go together to another pulperia around the block and we stopped several times along the way to chat with people.  By the time we got back I had completely forgotten about my camera until Reina came out of the bathroom with my camera bag.  She was yelling at me for leaving my camera bag laying around when I said "umm, Reina, is my camera in the bathroom too?" (knowing it was probably long gone).  "You don't have your camera!" was Reina's response.  I immediately knew that Osman, the kid that had been on the way in as we were leaving had taken my camera.  Everyone else inside was fairly reliable. She ran outside to alert Talanga and Darwin and by the time I got out there they had jumped in the car and were getting ready to take off to find Osman.  I'm yelling at them to forget it that it's gone.  I definitely don't want them to get hurt trying to get it back, but they are determined and take off.  I was furious with myself.  I was completely to blame and I was worried sick something was going to happen to Darwin or Talanga.  I decided to take a walk around the block to clear my head and pray for my boys.  By this time it was getting late and we decided to go ahead and start church services and try to forget about what had happened.  About 10 minutes into service here comes, Darwin, Talanga, two guys they picked up along the way, and Osman WITH MY CAMERA!!! I sent everyone inside and sat outside with Osman for a little while talking.  He was very repentant and felt terrible, but I was so glad he came back to face me and receive forgiveness.  He's had such a rough life and the temptation to steal is overwhelming.  After church I learned that he had sold my $650 camera to a pawn shop for $10!  Once Darwin found him, he just had to go to the pawn shop and buy it back for the $10, I think they were eager to see him leave since they had obviously been buying stolen goods.
I was worried that we wouldn't see Osman for a while but he was at church today and seemed nervous that we wouldn't let him in.  Once he was inside he gave me a big hug and just kept smiling at me.  It was heart warming.  They have so few opportunities in this world to receive forgiveness I think it makes heavenly forgiveness seem almost impossible.  As a result of this situation I've been much for vigilant of my camera (as has everyone else :) ) and we're a lot more aware not only of what is coming into the building but also what is going out.  God truly can make any situation a blessing.

A Post For Brian

This is Iris.

and her sweet boy Melvin

Brian is a guy who came down in the spring and had a fun interaction with little Melvin.  Melvin decided to whistle really loudly in his ear and then was very surprised by Brian's shocked face.  
Brian has since been on a mission to find Melvin again.  I wasn't sure who it was but after talking to Brian some more we figured out it's this little family.  They aren't regulars with our ministry but we see them off and on and I'm happy to post updates.
Brian - I hope you enjoy these pics.  They are much better than the last one.
Everyone else - if you've had an interaction with someone specific and would like pics and an update just let me know.  

An Update on Rosie

My little bird, asking for "agua" anything liquid is water.

I hope I can express how appreciative of all of your advice on Rosie's crazy eating habits.  It was most definitely a psychological issue, not a health issue.  She seems to have really gotten it under control now.  A combination of knowing that there will always be food available and a conscious effort on my part to get her on a regular schedule.  She's doing great.  She will still eat more than most kids but I've done a lot of research on portion sizes for toddlers and she's not as bad as I had originally thought.  She will even leave food on her plate occasionally, which was never something I thought I would be excited about, but the first time I did a little dance!  She's an adorable baby and I'm so blessed to be a part of her life, even if it's only for a little while.

Tuesday, September 14, 2010

Mommy Advice

Rosie sharing her "swimming pool" with Tasha

Hi Moms!
I need some advice.  I've scoured the internet and taken Rosie to the doctor several times and still would love some advice.  Since coming to live with me 2 months ago Rosie's appetite has been voracious.  She won't stop eating unless I stop giving her food and then she still thinks she's hungry.  She asks for food all of the time.  She's been treated for a parasite and her bowels are finally under control, but I still worry about her appetite.  I've cut back her food quite a bit but she still eats a lot more than most websites say she should.  Her weight is normal but she has a huge belly, especially by the end of the day.  Everything I can find says that you shouldn't limit a child under 2's food intake or it can cause problems late in life.  Rather I should let her eat as much as she wants, only at meal times.  If I did that she would NEVER stop eating.  
She's a happy healthy kid, but I don't want her to turn into a happy, obese kid.   I also don't want her to be hungry and she often cries and begs me for food.  Flavored water and pedialite have helped.  She drinks over 2 liters of liquid a day, especially when she thinks she's hungry.
Any advise on foods or maybe vitamins (she takes a multivitamin) that could help regulate her appetite would be appreciated.  I'd also love someone to tell me that their kid ate all the time too.  It seems most people have the opposite problem.
Love you guys! 

Coloring Contest

At the beginning of Children's Day we gave everyone a paperbag to collect the candy from the Pinata (which we ended up not doing) and we asked them to decorate their bags.  This was a time filler we did not expect to be a success.  But they LOVED it.  It turned out to be one of my favorite photo ops of the day.  I was amazed at how excited they were to color their bags.  Here are just a few of their beautiful faces.

Children's Day!

Children's Day was a huge success.  We had about 140 people come by and share with us, including several new people.
This is Antony and Helen.  Antony is in a wheel chair and rarely even comes to eat but made it down for Children's Day.  He seemed to have a great time and even helped me keep the peace a couple of times during the movie. 

Thanks to Kathy Elliott and the spring break group's inspiration, we did a cake walk.  It was a HUGE success.  They absolutely loved it but didn't really understand why the couldn't all have a cake.  It provoked a lot of laughing from all of us.

Mural and Suyapa a couple of my favorite ladies

Jasmine decided to dress up as a clown and do some juggling for us.  She cracks me up.

The bounce house was a hit as always.

Going over "the rules" before turning them lose on the carnival games.  All of our games were leftover from a carnival Park Plaza did a few years ago and they were a huge hit.

Winning tickets at the game stations

Turning in their tickets for prizes. 
This picture cracks me up because I sat their and refereed prize choices for a good hour.  
It was hectic but everyone got their prize :)

David and Jenn brought their popcorn machine and everyone enjoyed their snack during the movie.

We ended the day with Daddy Day Camp (we tried a couple of options but that was the one that worked in the machine :) ).  Everyone seemed to really enjoy it.  They loved the concept of a movie, for sure, and we're going to try and do a movie night about once a month.

It was a huge success and a great blessing to watch everyone enjoying themselves and not having to worry about anything for at least a few hours.  

Children's Day Preparations

Friday, after our morning of pampering, we spent the rest of the day preparing for Saturday's Children's Day extravaganza.
It took 2 hours and the help of our security guard

Just to load the car with everything we needed.

When we got to the building several people stopped by to help us set up.

Our work crew when we finished up at 10:30 pm!

Rosie passed out, here she's half in and half out of the wrap because she couldn't get comfortable

Darwin was a hard task master on the letters, Courtney actually did most of that work.

Mural spent hours blowing up and hanging balloons.  I think it may have gone to her head.

But the final product was pretty cool.  This is just a small portion of a LOT of work.  But it was a HUGE success.