Monday, September 1, 2014

We'll Keep The Lights On For You

As long as the blow dryer is not on at the same time.

After packing and cleaning for a week, Julia, Camille and I left Jackson on August 29 at 7: 00 p.m.  Camille and her next door friend were both crying, breaking Grammy's heart.  After a stop in Winona, we arrived in Hernando at 10:00.  We were exhausted and slept late on Friday.  Nathan arrived on Friday afternoon.

 We had a fun weekend.  We ate hibachi on Friday night.  There was a baby shower on Saturday morning, allowing all of us to see family and friends.  I managed a trip to Dillard's with a friend.  Camille and Julia had friends coming and going all afternoon, with more tearful goodbyes.

I thought our plans were to leave at 6:00 on Sunday morning. Actually, the time was supposed to 5:30.  Not that it really mattered.  Things did not go as planned.

We had 4 people, one 150 pound Great Dane, a cat, tons of luggage, computers, other electronic equipment, a guitar, cat food, dog food, cat litter, pillow, blankets and miscellaneous other stuff to fit in two cars. In the pouring rain, a disposable litter box broke all over Nathan's car and it had to be cleaned up.  We left Hernando at 7:00 a.m. with unceasing rain.  The first three hours of the trip was so tense and stressful.  Once the rain stopped, the trip was much better except when we thought the air conditioner was out on Julia's car.  Fortunately, that was not the case.

Nathan was traveling with one Grammy, one pregnant wife, and one nine year old child, all of whom, need to stop often for the bathroom.  Nathan did an amazing job of keeping us on schedule.  After all, he starts a brand new job tomorrow.

Nathan had made a reservation at the Motel 6 in Harrisonburg, Virginia last night.  We have to stay  where the pets can stay. 

Lady, the Great Dane, will not work on tile or wood floors.  Julia has runners she has to put on the floor for the dog to walk on.  And the dog can't bend over to eat and drink and has to have it elevated, thus the need for carrying a stepladder and runners to all the above mentioned things in the car. 

When we got to Harrisonburg, we only unloaded what was absolutely essential, which was still a lot.  The floors in the motel were wood.  Nathan had to force the dog into the room.  Once she was in, she made herself comfortable on her bed that was also being transported. 

After unloading and grabbing some food from Wendy's, Julia jumped in the shower.  As soon as she finished, Nathan went into the bathroom.  Julia began to blow dry her hair and the light in the bathroom went out.  When Julia turned off the blow dryer, the light came back on.  When she turned it back on, the light went off again.  Poor Nathan.

This morning everything had to be loaded back in the car.  We left Harrisonburg a little after 6:00.  It was a beautiful drive today.  Tonight, we are at La Qunita, a definite step up from last night.  The floors in the hallway are tile,  Nathan tried to force the dog into the hotel.  Finally, he picked her up and carried her.

We are thankful to be in New Hampshire.  Nathan, Julia and Camille begin a new chapter in their lives tomorrow.  I get to be a part of it until Friday.

When you stay at Motel 6, don't use the blow dryer and the bathroom light at the same time.


Saturday, August 9, 2014

Quinceañera For Rosy

In most of Central America, turning 15 is a huge deal for a young lady.  Many girls receive a party called a quinceañera.  I knew Rosy turned 15 yesterday, August 8.  And, I knew I was supposed to have a cake at the school because of her birthday.  I guessed it to be for her class.  Nicole ordered a cake from PriceSmart on Thursday.

Nicole and I are sharing a car right now because hers is broken.  Nicole buys feeding center groceries on Friday and was going to pick up the cake and get it to the school. 

Thursday afternoon, Karen, Elena and I received pretty invitations to an quinceañera for Rosy at 10:00 on Friday.  I discovered it was for the whole school, not just Rosy's class.  I have become quite good at changing plans and rolling with the flow.  Nicole and I were at PriceSmart when it opened at 10:00.  I grabbed the cake she ordered and chose one more that had no writing on it.  Nicole dropped me and the cakes off at the school at 10:30. 

I was so glad they waited on me to get there before they started the party.  This was a huge deal and it was a complete surprise for Rosy.  I walked up stairs to the room where the party was being held.  Both sides of the stairs were lined with boys holding flowers which were to be given to Rosy. 

I could see her in the courtyard and was able to get my camera ready and shoot as she entered the room.One of the teachers had brought a dress for her to wear.  Her hair had been done and someone had put a little makeup on her.  She was beautiful.  She was radiant.

One of the boys escorted her to the front of the room.

Rosy was asked to say something.  She said she was very excited and surprised.  Happy tears welled up in her eyes, but she never let a single tear fall from her eyes.

It was then told that Rosy was the first girl in school to turn 15 and they were making this special for her.

The entire room was decorated for Rosy.

Each of the teachers said something about her.  One said something about how tranquil she had become.  We all laughed because we all remembered the days she was no where near tranquil.

They asked me to say something.   I am not usually confident enough to speak in Spanish in front of people I do not know, but I was not going to say no.  I told her congratulations on her special day.  I loved her and that she was a beautiful young lady. 

A few of the male teachers and boys danced with her.
Then came the cake. 

While the cake was being cut ( and was I ever glad that I picked up that second cake) every person in the school and said something to her and hugged her neck.

Her dress was flowing.  The teachers had her sit down on the floor.  They spread the dress around her and then placed all the presents on her dress.
She received headbands and hairclips, lotions and perfumes, bracelets and necklaces.  All the things fifteen year old girls love.  She smiled and was gracious as she opened each present.  It was clear to me she really liked the purse.  Her smile was just a little bigger and a little brighter when she saw it.

There were many group pictures. Many, many group pictures.

Rosy was so beautiful.  I just could not stop taking pictures of her.

Elena showed up at the end of the party and asked if she and Rosy could ride home with me.  I told her I was waiting on Nicole and Nicole still had more errands to do.  Elena said they would just ride the bus.  I waited an hour on Nicole and then we had to go to the feeding center to unload the groceries.  When I finally arrived at home, Rosy was anxiously waiting for me.  I had all the presents.  She showed everyone what she got.

She asked to see the pictures.  We came to the house and looked at all the pictures on the computer.  She was happy.

Yesterday was Nohemy's birthday, too.   Rosy shared some of her presents with Nohemy.  She has become a beautiful young lady, hasn't she?

I was extremely honored to be included in this special day.

Wednesday, August 6, 2014

Los Pinos

In 2003, I was part of the team that built a church building in Los Pinos.  That summer as we built, we were able to watch many baptisms.  That church has continued to thrive and grow.  And, has even planted a church where there has been 33 baptisms this summer. 

We have not worked in Los Pinos much in the last few years.  Yesterday two houses were built in Los Pinos and a medical clinic conducted in the church building.  Friday, there will be a food give away.  Nicole and I went to the church building to take some zip-locs to the doctors.

Los Pinos is still as impoverished as ever.  There is still hundreds of kids running around every where.  But the church is thriving and growing.  But the road to get there is much improved.

It has been a long time since I have been up there.  The people in the church have improved their building considerably.  I was happy to see that.  As usual, the church yard was a beehive of activity.  The clinic was being well-run and was of the most organized clinics I have ever seen.  The doctors were able to see over 200 people yesterday.

I talked to Yoselin.  Her family is still struggling just to bet by.  A little help was provided.  Linda is in high school.  I think I found someone that will sponsor Linda's high school so she can finish.  I got another Humano Y Santo Bible study started.  Michelle, I am going to need more books.

Nicole and I were not there long.  But, it was good for my soul to be in Los Pinos for a bit.  To see the church building.  To hear the happy sounds of children playing. And, to feel God's love as it is being shared.

Monday, July 28, 2014

A Lesson From Daniel

This morning I read the first four chapters of Daniel.  A story I have heard in Sunday school since I was a little child.  I know it by heart, but I really read it this morning. 

The story says as soon as the people heard all kinds of music, they were to fall down and worship the image of gold that King Nebuchadnezzar had set up.  And those who refused would be thrown into a fiery furnace.  Meshach, Shadrach, and Abednego (when I was a little girl, I thought that was To bed we go) refused to bow down to anything or anyone but their God, the one and true living God.  When Nebuchadnezzar heard this, he was furious and demanded the three men be brought before him.  He was so furious that he ordered the furnace heated seven times hotter than usual.  Shadrach, Meshach, and Abednego were bound and thrown into the furnace.

These three men should have died almost instantly.  But instead, the king could see not just three men walking around in the furnace, but four.  And the king knew it was their God protecting them.  They were removed from the furnace and not a single hair was even singed and they did not smell of smoke.

I am walking through the fire right now.  I wish I could say that I would not even be singed.  I just hope everyone around does not catch on fire.  I know my God is leading me through this.  I hope that people can see my God walking with me and holding my hand.   I may be singed and charred, but He will not be.

Sunday, July 27, 2014

Starkville Group

The group from Starkville, Mississippi is here.  I love the Starkville group.  Really, I love all the groups.  Someone from Starkville has been with us every single year since 2001 except 2009 during the political crisis when no one came.

Starkville has built some houses, been to the dump and to Casa.  One thing that Starkville does that no one else does is go to the prison.  They did that on Friday.  Yesterday, they worked all day long at Casa.  Some of them worked on the wall and some began painting the outside of the buildings, a much needed.  I was a bit jealous, as I love to paint.  At times,  I wanted to go yank one of those rollers from someone's hands and start painting.  A great stress relief.

A few of them patiently taught the kids how to scrub the wall and/or paint.  I was most impressed that someone would let Maryuri near bleach or paint.  Most of the group left for lunch at the cafe.  But four of them stayed to finish painting what they had begun.

At the end of a hard day's work, they took the children down to the fair.  The kids were so excited.  The group even rode the rides with the kids.  Perhaps, more of a labor of love than painting in the hot sun.

As usual, it has been a great time with Starkville and a lot of things have been accomplished.  But, it has been a hard week for them as well.  Thursday, there was a chainsaw accident and Parker cut his leg.  Nicole called me and said it wasn't too bad and the leg would not have to be amputated or anything like that.  It did require 40 stitches though.  And, then last night, after I crawled in bed around 11:45, my phone rang at 12:00.  It was Wesley saying Tony had had a seizure.  I jumped up and dressed.  I was picked up at the back gate and we rushed to the hospital, after to make our way through the late night rowdiness of the fair.

We arrived at the hospital at 1:00 a.m.  As always, we were seen immediately.  Around 2:00, John left and found us some Dr. Peppers in the middle of the night.  Was I ever glad for that.  Wesley and John and I dozed on and off through the early morning hours.  After an IV all night and a CT scan at 6:30 this morning, it was deemed we could come home.  Tony was to rest, take his medication, and not watch TV.  Since there is no TV in the mission house any way, this is  kind of a mute point.

It was a long, long night.  I was glad to get home and get some coffee, a shower and some clean clothes.  But, more than that, I was thankful that Tony is okay.

The Starkville group has three more days here.  Please pray for their safety and protection.

Thursday, July 24, 2014

Ladies' Classes

Many exciting things are happening this summer while groups are here.  One thing that I am excited about is some ladies' classes and Bible studies.

Vickie Cubillos recently did a ladies' day in the churches in Los Pinos and Ojojona.  Both were well received.  The class in Ojojona was small because it was on Monday morning.  Even with the small numbers, Vickie was excited.  She said there was time for interaction from the ladies attending.

Some of the ladies' groups are starting a Bible study by our friend Michelle Goff called "Humano Y Santo".  The preachers' wives and other ladies are excited about  these studies beginning. 

There may soon be some other exciting ladies' events on the horizon.

My prayer is that many ladies will get to know God and each other better.

Monday, July 21, 2014

Haley's Big Day

Yesterday was Haley's birthday.  Five years old.  Seems like it was just last week that I was in Baton Rouge helping take care of her and her mommy. 

We had a full day of birthday partying.  Nicole told me to come to her house at 8:30 so that Haley could open presents before church.  At ten minutes before eight, my phone rang and Haley says,"Grammy, where are you?   I am ready to open presents."  I said , "Mommy told me 8:30."   I could Nicole in the background saying I did say 8:30.

Grammy arrived promptly at 8:30 and the birthday girl was ready to go.

 New gardening tools

 All my granddaughters like all things sparkly.

Emma's birthday was last week.  I decided to give my presents to both Emma and Haley on Haley's birthday.  I bought them carry-ons, or bags to bring to Grammy's house when they spend the night.  I was sure Haley would love hers.

I was surprised how much Emma loved hers.  She grabbed it and said, "bye-bye" and she was off.

Nicole told Emma she could not take it to church.  And Haley replied with, "why can't we take them to church?"  Nicole won that one.

Haley had to try on the new soccer shoes, soccer socks and shinguards.

Ready for the first soccer game, I mean church.  Haley won that one.

After church we went to Casa y Campo for a delicious lunch.

Nicole took Emmy home and put her down for a nap and then she came to Casa and started decorating for the party.  Haley wanted a Miñon party and thanks to many of our friends in the states, she had a huge Miñon party.  People brought Miñon plates, cups, table cloths, banners, games, everything.  Haley thought it was just perfect.

Then the party began.

There were miñons everywhere.

 A game, Tape the pocket on the miñion.

And then, the piñata.  Everyone got a turn at the piñata,

even the little ones.

The big kids swung hard.

 Mr. Miñion was pretty beat up and still would not turn loose of that candy.

Brayan went for the bottom of the piñata. 

Nicole put 13 pounds of candy in the piñata.  When it broke, candy went every where.  And, so did the kids.

Candles, cake and coke.  A great way to finish a special girl's birthday.

Emma had so much candy, I was sure she would never go to sleep, but tired won over candy.  Haley had a great day and was exhausted.