Monday, January 26, 2015

Sunday Afternoon

Yesterday afternoon we took the kids up to the Cruz de Chatara.  I could tell as we started up that it was going to be foggy.  We went there for no reason.  Just to play.  And, it was foggy.  And, we played.

When the fog became so thick that it became drippy, we left.

A good Sunday afternoon.

Sunday, January 25, 2015

Guess Who Is Learning To Sew?

Our friend, Donna, is back for another round of sewing classes.  Her goal this time is to let the little girls start on the machine.  That included Haley.  This will involve a lot of one-on-one time with each girl.  While everyone else was in nap time yesterday, Haley got to sew.

And, of course, Emma Kate wanted to be included, too.  So both of them came in to choose their fabric.

Emma is so excited about her choice that she cannot stand to look at it.  Not really.  I just could not shoot fast enough to capture Emma looking at it.

Both girls are shown how to measure the fabric.

 Emma was ready to wear hers immediately.

Emma really was excited about her dress.  She carried some of the scraps all afternoon saying, "Emma monkey dress, Emma monkey dress.

Haley got to cut the fabric for both dresses.
When cutting fabric, it is important to hold your mouth just so.

 And,then it was time to sew.

When the bobbin was empty, Haley filled it.  She said it sure made her arm tired.

After the strap was sewn, Haley and Mrs. Donna turned it right side out.

She threaded the strap through the dress.

Much, Much later there was two finished dresses and two happy little girls.

You can be assured of more pictures this week as the other girls learn to sew their dresses.

Thursday, January 22, 2015

Here's My Cup Lord, Fill It Up Lord

I love my job and the children with which I work.  But, sometimes it is stressful.  Sometimes, I work too hard.  Sometimes, I forget to take my day off.  More and more, I love worshiping in Spanish, but I still miss worship in my native English.

I arrived in the States on December 20 with an empty cup and I return home tomorrow with one overflowing with blessings and love.

After really long travel, I arrived in New Hampshire for Christmas.  I love Nathan and Julia's beautiful home.  Sweet Camille and baby Thatcher are enough to fill anyone's heart.  We had so much fun as we shared Christmas, danced our way through the game of Life, worked puzzles without the pictures (well, we did not quite finish that one), shopped, and ate.  And, of course, Camille and I took plenty of whopper breaks. 

I then spent a way too short of time in Borger with family. This heart needed more time there.  One morning Janet and I hit the donut shop, Sonic and Braum's.  Shame on us.  But it was fun.

Our board met for two days in Little Rock.  That was exhausting, fun and rewarding.  I love how we are working together to make Casa de Esperanza and Honduras Hope better. 

Lunch with a friend.  Time with Alison and her sweet family and on to Searcy.  Will Susan and I ever learn we are too old to stay up half the night?  Maybe not.  I was blessed and encouraged by that time. 

I ate lunch with dear friends in Tupelo as I made my way to Columbus.  Due to technical difficulties beyond my control, my time in Columbus was limited, but still enjoyable.  I lunched and coffeed my way across the state of Mississippi as I drove to Baton Rouge.

Matt and I went to Gulf Coast Getaway.  We went to work a booth.  We saw old friends and met new ones.  That was great.  But the lessons and the songs were designed for this heart.  They spoke way down in the depths of my soul.

Each home that welcomed me, each "do you have time for a cup of coffee", "meet me at the Grill for dessert", trip to Sonic and Krispy Kreme helped to fill my cup.  Each prayer and hug and "I wish we had more time" helped fill my cup.  Each voice message from Emmy and Haley filled my cup

Of course, I left a trail of tears every where I went.  I cried when I left Nathan's.  I miss them so much and my time there goes so quickly.  I cried when I left Borger.  I cried almost every where.  I know I am blessed to have so many friends and family.

Tomorrow, I leave for Honduras with my cup overflowing.  I am ready to be home.  Ready to get back to work.  Ready for new opportunities. 

Pray as I travel tomorrow.


Wednesday, December 31, 2014

The Closing Of One Chapter And The Beginning Of Another

After more than nine years at Casa de Esperanza, today was Karen's last day.  It is so sad to think of Casa without her.  It has been an honor to work with her for the last nine years.   I cannot imagine what the kids are feeling right now.  Some of them only know their mommy as Mommy Karen. 

We have big shoes to fill.

After much prayer and discussion, the board has hired Luci Mondragon.  Luci is our preacher's wife.  She has worked for Casa since February  She has been taking the kids to Teleton.  She did not know it, but I was watching her closely as the board considered her.  I liked the way she interacted with the kids and the way she loved them.  I watched the kids interact with her as well.

I am sad to see Karen leave, but I look forward to working with Luci and expect good things to happen.

Here's wishing all the best to Karen and Dorian in their new life. And to Luci in her new position.

Saturday, December 27, 2014

Finishing Strong

December 27.  Another year is essentially gone.  Normally, I would say where has all the time gone?  I am glad this year is nearly over.  I want it in the history books.  It has been an awful year.  Through the awfulness and through the sadness, a lot of good things have happened.  I choose to remember the good about this year.

I will start with the good things in my personal life.

After studying the Bible for many months with my sweet granddaughter, I not only got to be in the States for her baptism, I got to baptize her.  Tears of happiness still flood my face when I think of that joyous day.  It was Easter.  Both of my kids and their families were together that day.  There are very few opportunities for me to be with both families at the same time. 

I was at Nathan's house when Julia found out she was expecting another baby.  And now, I get to close out this year with them and the new baby, celebrating Christmas and Camille's birthday

In September, I got to visit many churches and many friends and family.  I was blessed to visit with some very old friends and some I have known for not so long.  Some of those friends I was reconnecting with after several years.  It was a delight.  I went to my class reunion.  And, I helped Nathan and Julia move to New Hampshire.  It was work, but I had fun being with them and helping them.

I was loved on and encouraged by family and friends.  And groups.  I received an outpouring of love from everyone and I needed it.  I allowed myself to receive that love. 

Baptisms. Babies. Celebrations.  Holidays.  Family.  Friends.  Love.  All important and good things, but the most important of all, my walk with God was strengthened.  Who could ask for more?

I was not sure I had the strength to continue.  Yet, we saw an outpouring of blessing on the ministry as well.

In March, Fernando was baptized.  And, what a difference that has made in him.  In July, after a drowning accident, we witnessed Brayan make a complete recovery.  We stood at his bedside in the hospital thinking there was no way he could survive this.  We serve a great big God

My friend, Donna Griffith, has made three trips to Honduras and is teaching the girls to sew.  The older girls made an outfit and then modeled for us.  They were so proud of these garments.  These girls need this skill and need the self-confidence that came by learning to sew. 

Five of our children graduated from sixth grade.  The children were challenged to make 85% or better for the year.  Two of them rose to this challenge and were treated to pizza and ice cream.

Through none of our efforts, two new churches were planted.

In Santa Ana, Ojojona, Los Pinos and Lomas Diamante, ladies Bible studies were started.  Our friend, Michelle Goff did ladies' seminars for these ladies. 

Fewer and smaller groups came.  And they were ready to work and share the good news of Christ.  There were men's workshops, marriage seminars, VBS, Bible studies.  It was an exciting time and most of the churches were crying for more.

In addition to sharing the good news, our groups showed Jesus as they built houses, fed in the dump, distributed food in poor communities and loved on children at Casa de Esperanza, the feeding center and every community in which they entered.

Our devotionals were rich with singing and sharing and fellowship.

Some new churches and some new individuals became supporters of this ministry, blessing not only the ministry, but themselves as well.

The employees of Casa de Esperanza and Honduras Hope have always stepped up and done what was necessary.  This year was no exception.  Richard and Yesenia and Dorian were willing to do whatever they needed, whenever it was needed.   And still are willing to do whatever.  But, I just do not think we would have survived without Luis.  He went way above and beyond the call of duty.  He is a valued employee.   And friend.

I cannot say enough about the job Matt and Nicole did.  They stepped into the roles of leading and organizing the groups in a tremendous way.  Yes, they are my kids, but I would have been proud of the job they did no matter whose kids they were.  I had no idea my fly-by-the-seat-of-her-pants-daughter could organize anything.  She did an amazing job.  Matt and Nicole brought a spiritual focus back to the groups that had been missing for far too long.

And none of us could have accomplished anything without depending on God.  He made this a great year.  I am thankful for the blessing of this year.  I look forward, with eager anticipation, to see what God will do in 2015.

Thanks to each and everyone that prayed, encouraged, and/or contributed.  You helped to make 2014 a great year in spite of all the bad things.

Saturday, December 20, 2014

Traveling Day(s)

It has been a long busy week.  I did not get much paper work done and I did not start packing until very late last night.  I am on my way to New Hampshire for Christmas.  Back in April, I asked Nathan and Julia if I could spend Christmas with them. They said yes, but they had no idea where they might be living. 

I have spent very few Christmases with Camille.  And, now there is another baby.  Thatcher was born Thursday.  I cannot wait to meet him.  I am sure I will fall in love with him at first sight.  I think Camille and I can work a few puzzles.  And, make our guacamole.  At least once. 

Christmas in New Hampshire.  It is going to be so much fun.  I have lived in Central America for seven years.  I am sure I do not own anything that can keep me warm in New Hampshire in December.  We may have to stay inside and love on the baby and work puzzles.

We all left my house at 10:30 this morning.  I was on the 4:00 Delta flight.  Matt and Nicole were on an earlier flight.  I was okay until they left.  Then the tears began.  Again.  Tears of happiness, tears of tiredness, tears of sadness.  I have cried a lot today.  I said good-bye to Karen last night.  I could easily start crying again just thinking about that. 

I have never traveled this close to Christmas.  I have never left Tegucigalpa so late in the afternoon or arrived in Atlanta so late.  I am really glad my connecting flight is in the morning and not tonight.  I might not have made it.  I stayed in the international terminal to eat because I thought there would be a better chance of more things being open.  That was a good plan.  Several things were closed and closing in that terminal.  They definitely were closed in other terminals.  Even though, I have plenty to read, I was sure hoping for a good browse in a bookstore.  That was not to be.  But, at least I got to eat. 

I am in the Atlanta airport tonight.  My flight to La Guardia leaves in six hours.  And, then on to Manchester.  And, then the hugging will begin.

None of my checked luggage arrived in Atlanta with me.  There were two Delta flights today.  There is a chance that my luggage will arrive in Manchester with me tomorrow.  If not, at least I have a toothbrush,
 hairbrush and makeup with me.

Hope I get some sleep tonight.  This Grammy has a busy day of seeing kids and grandkids tomorrow.

Thursday, December 18, 2014

Karen's Despedido

Yesterday I had many errands to run.  Rarely do I leave Tegucigalpa until they are all done.  But, yesterday was an exception.  Karen's despedido (going away party) was yesterday and I was going to be back for it.  Due to December traffic, I was a few minutes late, but I made it.

The nice things said to Karen were all so true.  The children were crying.  The employees were crying.  I don't need much of a reason to cry so I joined in. 

Karen has been here 9 years.  She came before Casa de Esperanza even opened.  She helped build the place.  She was here when those first five children arrived in June, 2006.  She has seen kids come and go.  She has been the mommy and loved each and every one of the kids in a great big way.

I have been here seven years.  I did not go hand pick Karen to come down here and work in this children's home.  I did not know Karen until she decided to move down here.  I could not have hand picked a better person, though.  God knew that we would make a great team.  Her strengths enhanced my weaknesses.  My strengths enhanced her weaknesses.  On most issues, we thought alike.

We have laughed together.  Remember when Daniela went to the bathroom at the market.  We have cried together.  We have sat in the office holding hands and praying.  Sometimes praying for each child by name and sometimes for only one who was having a difficult time or making bad decisions.  We met at the hospital when we thought one of the kids would not make it.  Praise God the child lived. 

We have encouraged each other and we have been discouraged together.

I have seen Karen give of herself.  She has lived the life that was the greater example than any words she could have spoken.

I cannot imagine this place without her.  But, I do know God is in control and He will continue to lead us and provide for these children.

Today we met in the office for a few minutes.  We talked of personal things.  Of Casa things.  We held hands and prayed together for the very last time.  My voice could just barely speak the words that were on my heart.

It has been a privilege and an honor to work in the trenches, side by side with Karen.  We will miss her.  I wish her, Dorian and Korbin all the luck and all the happiness that God can bestow.