Saturday, September 20, 2014

A Special Relationship

The relationship between these two is something that I truly believe God has future plans for.  Kevin was Rosie's mom's boyfriend when Rosie was a little baby.  Kevin is not her biological father but he is the only dad she has ever known.  Kevin is an alcoholic and so far hasn't been able to successfully keep himself off of the streets.  But he loves Rosie completely.  On Friday nights when we hand out food on the streets he is always waiting for her.  When we meet him at the park he buys her a sucker or other small candy.  Before we leave for the night he buys her a carton of juice and a bag of chips, without fail.  This young man does not have money to spare but it is important to him that Rosie knows he loves her.
Kevin has recently been making an effort to come to church and usually manages to do it sober.  Rosie loves him deeply and is very disappointed when she isn't able to have her little visit with him.  I pray that God can use her precious heart to break through the hold Satan has on Kevin and allow him the freedom of a life with Christ.

Wednesday, September 17, 2014

Some Amazing Teachers and Friends

I had a different blog written for today but it's Teacher Appreciation Day here in Honduras and I need to take the time to recognize some very special people in our lives.

The teachers at Interamerican School and Escuela Santa Monica have blessed our lives in ways we never expected.  When our kids were in a state run orphanage and we weren't allowed to visit them, their teachers visited them and reminded how much they were loved. When they struggle with their past and have extreme behaviors in the classroom, they work with us to develop discipline plans.  And when their learning disabilities or home lives cause them to struggle with their classwork, they stay after class to help them catch up and offer them multiple opportunities.
God blessed us with two schools and many teachers and administrators that make our jobs easier.  I am infinitely thankful for the love and joy they bring into the lives of our kids.

Rosie's teacher Miss Kimberly is one of her favorite people.  Ms. Kimberly is very young and this is her first teacher job but she's doing an amazing job.  Rosie is not the easiest kid to have in class (and there are several other challenging kids in her kindergarten class of 25 kids) but she does a great job of making each child feel special.  I am so happy that Rosie's first school experience has been a positive one.  Ms. Kimberly and her assistant Ms. Elena make each day a learning adventure for my precious girl.

And of course, there's our favorite teacher Mr. Corey.  Corey is a huge reason why our kids are at Interamerican School and a huge help in them succeeding.  Corey has been volunteering with Breaking Chains for the past three years and dedicates hours every day to helping kids have the best educational experience possible.  I am so blessed to have him as not only a partner in ministry but as one of my best friends.

I am also extremely blessed to be the Bible teacher for 5 classes of adorable little guys at Interamerican.  They bring a lot of laughter to my Wednesdays. Thank you God for all the teachers in my life.

Tuesday, September 16, 2014

Creative Expression

Almost two years ago the National University of Honduras renovated a building around the corner from us and made it into their art department.  Since then they have been periodically meeting with me about wanting to work with our teens on some art projects and eventually on a project to add art to the streets in our area.  Last year they and the psychology department held classes for our kids for a couple of months to help them develop conflict resolution skills.  About a month ago they started having art classes with our kids.  They are teaching them to collect recyclables and make art of them.

The kids were very hesitant at first and still are pretty hesitant on the days that the classes are held at the university but when they are in our building they have a blast.  I love watching them get excited about things.

The plan right now is to work until Christmas making things and learning how to make things then to have a booth at the University's annual Christmas Arts Festival to sell what they have made.  They will also finish the class at the end of the year by making a large mural out of bottle caps.

Our biggest challenge right now is convincing them to save their art work instead of giving it away as gifts. :)  They are very sweet kids and I am excited to see where this opportunity leads them.

Monday, September 15, 2014

Sweet, Smiling Lupe

15 year old Lupe spent a couple of weeks with us after being raped by another kid living on the street.  The resources and response of the police here is often little to none and she had no where to turn.  One of our kids met her one day on the street and told her she would be safe with us.  She has since moved on to a permanent children's home more suited to 15 year old girls but she left a deep mark on my heart and I don't want her to be overlooked.  This sweet girl ALWAYS has a smile on her face.
Most kids that come through our doors, especially the first few months, try to get as much out of us as they can.  They are eager to take advantage of whatever they can get without giving too much of themselves.  Lupe was not that way.  I don't know if it was her young age or just her general vulnerable personality but she loved us from the start.

Lupe was always eager to help with any project put before her and loved to just sit and talk, without the needy characteristics a lot of our girls give off.

I pray that Lupe is able to feel loved and accepted in her new home and that God will heal the hurts she has suffered at the hands of others.  She is a precious girl and deserves a chance at a normal life.

**I'm sad to report that after writing this I found Lupe back out on the streets huffing glue.  She is very lost right now and feeling very unloved.  Please pray that we can break through the chains of abuse and addiction in Lupe's life and find a place where she feels she belongs.

Sunday, September 14, 2014

Meet Antonio

I'm going to periodically try to introduce you to our kids.  They hold great places in our hearts and I would love for you to feel like you know them.  Even if it's just a little bit.

I'm going to start with Antonio because he is currently one of my favorite stories to tell.

3 years ago 15 year old Antonio came into our lives with his head down, frightened of the world and with a very large chip on his shoulder.  He doesn't have a bad word to say about his mother but we know from his siblings that he has been severely abused throughout his life.  If ever a child felt worthless, Antonio was one.  He has never attended traditional school and was always very quick to say "I can't" and give up on any task put in front of him.  Antonio had very little interest in anything related to God.  He had been hurt by every person that was supposed to love him and trust just wasn't on the agenda.
When I think of little Antonio I always envision him shyly walking up to one of us and just leaning into our sides.  He craved affection but had no clue how to get it.  We, of course, lavished as much love as he would allow on him.  But he was shy and angry and repeatedly chose to follow his fear and addictions back out onto the streets.
It's been over a year now since almost 18 year old Antonio has spent any significant time on the street.  His head has come up and he has found his smile.  With the help of a humanitarian organization that we work with called Casa Domingo Antonio has learned how to read.  Acceptance and knowledge has made Antonio blossom.  He is still hesitant when it comes to God and struggles with needing someone to blame for his pain without blaming himself or his mother.  But he is searching.  Most Sundays you will find our Antonio near the front row with a reluctant face but a very much in tuned ear to the lesson.  God is softening his heart.  It is taking patience and a lot of grace but I have no doubt the light of God is shining through those cracks.

Antonio thrives on attention and is usually the first to volunteer for any task he feels up to tackling.
He is also incredibly precious with little ones.  We often find him taking care of the babies and if Rosie is upset he is the first to come running to comfort her.

Finding classes or work for a kid who has very little reading and writing skills has proven to be quite the challenge.  Pair that with his terror of feeling inferior and we have a hard time finding activities for him.  I'm not sure what the future holds for Antonio but I know that God has a plan that will leave us all amazed.

Please pray that our sweet boy continues to open up his heart to God's calling and that we have the wisdom to guide him down the right path.

(If you are interested in supporting Casa Domingo, a non-religious organization aimed at educating and teaching life skills to teenage street boys, please let me know.  They have had to shut down operation due to lack of funds and will soon close all together if they aren't able to find sponsors.They have been a huge blessing to our ministry and the kids that we work with.)

Saturday, September 13, 2014

Independence Day Parade

Interamerican School has been a huge blessing to us.  The teachers and staff have opened up their hearts to our kids and care as much about their lives outside of the classroom as they do about their school work.  Yesterday, September 13th, they celebrated Honduran Independence Day with a parade.  It was a fairly expensive and work intensive endeavor for 2 hours of a parade but the pride on the faces of the kids was worth every moment spent practicing.

Rosie woke up 3 different times in the night and an hour early ready to prepare for her baton twirling debut.

There were more than a few times I teared up thinking about the opportunities being afforded these kids that literally came from the streets.  Thank you so much for pouring your love into their lives and making this possible.  Escarlen and Melvin from BC had a blast.

We have all become a strange hilarious family here with lots of love to hold us together.  David and Corey's kids are like my nephews and Rosie's cousins.

And Michael and John's kids play the role of both sibling and cousin.

It was a blessing to watch them all enjoy being important in a world where they have often been treated as less.

Friday, September 12, 2014

Wow, It's Been Longer Than I Thought...

As I mentioned on Facebook, I've been having inclinations toward blogging again.  We'll see how this goes.  It might be a short lived endeavor or I may blog happily for years.  Only time will tell.  This new found desire is based heavily on access to a great camera and wanting to tell the stories behind the pictures.  Please be patient with me.  Know that what feeds my heart may be of no interest to you.  But several of you have expressed an interest in reading about my comings and goings so we will see. This blog will be many parts mom blog, many parts BC stories, and probably a lot of random things I just don't want to forget.  I LOVE comments! I'm not a huge fan of "likes".  If you like it, tell me why. If you have something you'd like to know more about then let me know.  Many of these will be reposted on our Breaking Chains blog.  Feel free to comment there as well. 

Each of you that takes the time to share in this journey through prayer and encouragement shares a big part of my heart.  I've been blessed to be "mom" to many, both here in Honduras and young volunteers that have come through our ministry.  The lives that come through mine have made lasting changes to my heart and I feel blessed to be a small part of a ministry that touches hearts.  God uses even the strangest of creatures to work His plan if we will only allow Him in.
I'm excited to share more of what we do and hopefully hear back from you about how your life has been affected by God's love working in the world. So far I've come up with a list of 14 blog posts I want to write, with many more pushed to one side.  So as not to completely overwhelm you day one, I'm going to write them as time permits but set them to publish either once a day or every other day until we are caught up.  Then we shall see how long this urge lasts.  Thank you again for your love and your time.  Let's see where this goes...