Saturday, February 24, 2007

God is my homeboy part 2

So I promised that there would be more to come on our crazy adventures so here it is.....

After we slept the night away on those amazing beds we got up the next morning and started our day off right with one of the most amazing breakfast bars. I am sure however that we looked like we had stumbled in drunk the night before needing a place to sleep and had slept it off. Then got up the next morning, put on the same clothes, pulled back our hair, and walked out of the hotel looking very much like we hadn't had anything with us. Oh and I should mention that we were staying at the Marriott under a missionary discount. I'm sure they were thinking...yea right they sure look like missionaries. After that amazing breakfast we went back down to find Gracie and see if she would maybe start today. We just needed her to get to the mechanics.
So we prayed our way down the elevator and into the car and guess what...that's right she started. We weren't sure how long she would last but she started. So first things first we drove her to the car rental place and got another car. We didn't want to get stranded and figured as bad of shape as she was in the repairs would probably take longer than just a day. So yes we rented a nice truck that Jen has fallen in love with for sure and headed to the mechanics. Did I point out that since Jen was driving the truck that meant Deborah was driving the van. This was only her second Honduran driving experience but she did great! So we get Gracie safely to the mechanic only to find out that they not only couldn't work on her that day but also that we couldn't leave her there for the night. Which meant we had to figure out another place in the city to leave her since there was no way she could make it back up the mountain.
We decided our best option would be to park her at the airport and pay the money so we headed back toward the airport. Jen led the way and we continued to pray that we would just make it to the airport. Well we made it to this big hill between the airport and the mechanics when Gracie decided she needed a break. I mean seriously this car picks some great spots to break down. First the speed bump and now this....she needs to work on that for sure! So there we sat. 3 gringos broken down in the middle of a busy Honduran highway. If you think people never stop to help in America they most certainly don't stop to help in Honduras. I kid you not at one point a car went around us on the RIGHT side. They had 2 tires up on the curb and the other 2 tires on the road. Talk about impatient. They didn't even have an off road vehicle...I mean seriously. So we sat and waited and I was praying like mad that she would cool off a bit and then get her butt up the rest of that hill because the way I looked at it my back side had yet to see that drivers seat and there wasn't much chance they were going to let my first experience be while they both pushed! However, I needn't have worried because after about 10 minutes or so of holding down that piece of road on that ever so busy highway Gracie decided she was cool enough to move on. So we continued on and finally made it to the airport. We had gotten right to the little ticket booth thing at the entry way of the airport when Gracie died yet again. This time she wouldn't click, turn over, or anything. She was dead. So of course we have a huge string of traffic behind us going beep beeep beeeppp BBBBEEEEEEPPPP! Like that was helping anything. I seriously sat there praying that God would disable every stinking horn in this city. People here need to learn to use their horns in moderation.
So back out of the van I went. However, I'm happy to say that this time about 10 men came over to help push. I choose to believe that they would have been just as eager to help had we not been 3 American women in need of some assistance. So we pushed Gracie the rest of the way and then were forced to leave her unlocked with the windows down because we seriously had not power. Nothing...nada...not a thing. OK so you get the point. However, I wasn't so concerned with leaving her unlocked. I was actually hoping that someone would come in the middle of the night and take her apart and sell her piece by piece. Needless to say my prayer wasn't answered and the next morning she was right where we left her. Still as dead as ever.
We had to coast her back out of her parking spot and then push her to the top of a hill with the hopes that by the time she got to the bottom she would have started. Thankfully she did or that busy intersection that we had just pushed Jen into would have gotten real scary real fast. So she was up and running again and with Deborah back in the drivers seat we were headed back to the mechanics. We made it all the way this time with no problems....well except for the time that Deborah and I almost missed our exit and had to cut some people off. Don't worry though because upon Deborah's request I stuck my arm out the window and gave them a perfectly clear signal that we would be turning to the right. Yes of course we had a perfectly good turn signal that we could have used to get that same point across. However, apparently in a panic Deborah's first reaction is to scream "put your arm out the window" and I was only too happy to comply. So yes we made it to the mechanics in one piece and Deborah and I glad handed over the keys and joined Jen in our nice new Toyota.
We went back into town to run some errands and accomplish some things that might actually leave us feeling productive before returning to the place to see if Gracie was fixed. When we arrived they informed us that it would only take an hour more and she would be done so we decided we were perfectly OK with finding other random errands that needed to be run while we waited on her. However, we made it back to the place just in time to watch them pour a bottle of coolant into her and then watch it promptly flow right out the bottom of the car. Apparently they had missed the part where we told them she had a problem that needed fixed and had only cleaned her out or something. Who would know. So after examining this new found problem they came to us and let us know that they needed a new part to replace the old one. Now this is the part that I find amusing. They informed us that we needed a new part and then told us where WE needed to go to get it.
This definitely wasn't like the states where they either have those parts on hand or order them for you. So ok we were fine with having to go get the part until they mentioned that we had to go to the one part of town that we have been warned to never go. However, not really having any other options but to get the part, we decided to take Gina with us for directions and headed out anyways. We made it there and back safely with the necessary part and sat waiting for the car to be done. Once they had the correct part it really didn't take them long at all. However, when they finished they informed us that they had only fixed part of the problem but we would have to take her somewhere else to fix the rest of the problem. Oh yes and again...we couldn't park our car there over night.
So we headed to our other mechanic in hopes that they could fix her and at least let us park her there for the night. However, when we got there the gates were closed and no one was around. That clearly wasn't going to be an option. With few others choices we headed back to the airport to leave her for the night. We made it up the big hill and through the ticket area with no problems and bedded her down for another lonely night in the city. Friday came and we found ourselves back in the city dealing with the car. This was day 4 of dealing with Gracie and making that trip to the city and back. It was getting quite old. So we got Gracie from the airport and headed to Baxter where we were glad to rid ourselves of the problem and hand Gracie over to Timo. Who by the way called today to say that she is fixed. A mere 24 hours after receiving her he has managed to have her fixed. So we will go into town today I am sure and bring her home. Lets just hope that is where the adventure ends. Let me explain for a second just why I ended up with the title of "God is my homeboy." I kept saying that the past few days as God would work yet another thing out for us. He seriously watched over us and got us to every place we needed to go. We were never stranded and things could have gone a LOT worse than what they did. It is times like the past 4 days when God's presence is undeniable. So many things just kept happening. We would pray to make it to the Marriott and die in the driveway. We would need to push Gracie up a hill and find 10 men eager to assist. We needed a room to stay in and even though they were all full they some how found us a room. It worked out too well to be anything other than God. He truly did have our backs (and our fronts as Deborah would say) the past few days.

Friday, February 23, 2007

Family Visit

On the last Friday of the month we load all the kids up and take them into the city. However, it isn't for some fun day out it is for a scheduled family visit at the state facility. Today was one of those days and the entire trip into the city I was praying for the day that was to come. We have 3 sets of kids 5 brothers, 2 sisters, and then 2 sisters ans a brother. Out of the 3 families we never know just who will be there for the visitation. The mother and brother of the 5 boys is there faithfully every month and the mother of the 2 sisters is there off and on. However, the mother of the other 3 has never been there and will probably never come. Needless to say it isn't much more than a guessing game of who will show up. Well today we had the girls mom as well as the boys' mom and brother but as usual that was all. So for 2 hours our kids played and spent time with their families. Even though I had asked questions and prayed for what was ahead of us I hadn't realized how heart wrenching the day was going to be. Not only was it tough on the kids but it was tough for us adults. I stood and watch a mother who was no older than I savor every second with her 5 and 2 year old children. I watched my 5 boys be reunited yet again with a mother and brother whom they love so much. It just wasn't fair that because of bad decisions and the unfortunate hand that life has dealt them that these kids were being robbed of a normal life. That they came once a month to spend time with their "families" only to be pulled apart after 2 hours so they could return "home." I saw the affects it had on our kids. The pull the felt between wanting to be with their moms to wanting to be near us and the safety we provided. I had not been prepared for how hard it would be to watch them with mothers who wished they could have done better and kids who wished the same. As hard as the visit was nothing could compare to sitting in the back seat of the car watching a mother with tears in her eyes as Cindy and Marjuri reached there little hands out the window crying out for their mom. I know that they are better off with us but part of my heart broke for the mothers that so desperately wanted to spend more time with their children. I was reminded at how blessed I truly am. I was raised by two of the most amazing parents in the world. They instilled in me qualities that I could care with me for a lifetime. They loved me and protected me and always were there for me. I'm thankful for that but too often take if for granted. These kids are definitely blessed as far as being here. If they weren't here who knows where they would be. However, it is so sad to see them in such termoil over the pull of this life and the life they long for. I am split between selfishly hoping they never leave this place and a desire to see their families get things together so that they can take them back. For now I will be content to pray that God's will be done and that the kids can make it through each visit.

Thursday, February 22, 2007

God is my homeboy

So I debated for a long time just what I was going to title this blog. It had to be something appropriate that would allow everyone to immediately grasp an idea of what lies ahead for them in the blog. Lets just say that some of the other thought up titles included The Death of Gracie, Living in Honduras 101, The 3 stooges, Always be prepared, and many others. However, no matter how appropriate the other ones seemed in the end they didn’t give enough glory to God for getting us through the past few days. Life in Honduras can be said to be a lot of things but one thing it is could never be called is boring!
It all started on Tuesday when Deborah, Jen, and I decided we were going to take advantage of our night off and head into the city for dinner and a movie. We were also going to attempt to run a few of the errands that needed done so that we wouldn’t have to spend the next day in the city running around but instead could tackle the work that needed to be done here. So we jumped into our wonderful van Gracie and headed to town. We hadn’t even gotten 10 minutes from the house when we heard a loud pop. Then about 5 minutes later our van began to smell like a smoldering camp fire and I was sad to have to tell Jen that there was smoke billowing out all around her. At this point in the trip we are thinking of all the things that it could possibly be as we pull into this tire place where there are lots of guys who know at least something about cars. Now I know what you are thinking… “oh that’s good at least they were near someone that could help them.” Wrong. Just because I say tire place and guys who know cars doesn’t mean that they will know how fix the problem.
Furthermore, let me clarify that when I say tire place we aren’t talking Firestone Tires or Michelin Tires or any other nice big commercial tire place. We are talking good ol’ fashion Honduran style tire place. Meaning it was run down. It served as a business as well as a place to lie their heads at night. (most of you know that as a house) However, beggars can’t be choosers and we have been to the place before for other small problems. Let’s just say we aren’t strangers to the world of broken down cars. So we move from the front seats of the van to the back seats and wait as the men begin looking at the engine, radiator, and whatever else is down there for them to look at. They then decide it would be a good idea to dump some water down with the hot radiator to cool it down faster. Of course anyone that knows anything about cars knows what happens next…. water starts boiling and popping everywhere and the steam is rolling. Needless to say we took that as our cue to step out of the van and continue our wait by the road while they finished whatever it was they were doing. By the time the men finally straighten from their hunched over positions around our car the looks on their faces said it all. We knew even before the owner of the place came to tell us that we wouldn’t be able to drive it any farther that the Gracie was in bad shape.
However, telling us that news didn’t do anything for us. I mean at this point we are 15 + minutes from home and 25+ minutes from the city. Gracie is our only means of transportation so we can’t call home for someone to come and get us. It isn’t safe for us to start walking and we have all been told that white people should never ride the public bus. To top that all off our mechanic was in the city and we had to find someway to get her in there to be worked on. So we were sort of out of options. Seeing no other choice we decided to go against their very adamant advice and attempt to get the car to the city anyway. We figured our only other option was that bus we had been warned not to ride and the closer we could get to town with Gracie the better off we would all be. So we climb back into the van and all began praying our way down the mountain.
As this is all going on we began talking about what our options were. There weren’t going to be any mechanics open at that hour of the night (it was only 6) but there was no way Gracie would make it back up the mountain. So our options were starting to look like 1. Stay with the Kluges or 2. Get a hotel room. The first option might have been the better options had it not involved Gracie having to climb the mountain on the other side of town. So as we were getting to the outskirts of town we began to smell that funny burning scent again and lets just say we weren’t in a part of town that you wanted to be breaking down in at any time of the day let alone the evening hours. We began to pray even more fiercely and that we would just make it to the Marriott which was in a safe part of town. As we were passing the Marriott we saw a tour bus out front and Jen thought it would be best to at least go in and check if they had rooms available for us to even consider as an option.
We had no sooner pulled into the underground parking garage when Gracie decided she couldn’t move any farther. She was dead for good this time. Since we couldn’t just leave her in the middle of the road Deborah and I climbed out and began pushing the van. Let me just paint you an even better picture…2 white girls standing behind a big ol’ 15 passenger van pushing it the rest of the way to its parking spot. Better yet Gracie decided she would get a few laughs out of the sight of us pushing her so she died with 2 wheels on one side of a speed bump and 2 tires on the other side of the speed bump. Therefore, we couldn’t just push her lightly in the direction she needed to go we had to rock her back and forth and back and forth a billion times before she finally went up and over that pesky little yellow bump.
Somewhere in the midst of all that pushing Deborah looks over at me and says “yep of course we are pushing our car through the parking lot of the MARRIOTT!” All these nicely dressed men and women were walking around us or driving by in there brand new SUVs or whatever cars while we were pushing ol’ Gracie to her resting spot. All the while a security guard is standing watching the entire thing making no attempt to help us other than to point to an open parking spot that we could park in. Thanks a lot! What a help he was and then we have Jen who is in the drivers seat clapping her hands yelling mas mas mas mas out the window with a big ol’ grin on her face. She now claims she was being “encouraging” and “cheering us on.” Next time I think I’ll let her be the pusher and I’ll try that position of “cheerleader!”
So we finally get Gracie settled into a parking spot and decided that we needed no other sign from God we were seeing about getting a room in the Marriott. The entire way to the elevator and up to the front desk Jen and Deborah are convinced that there would be no rooms available. However, me being the optimist that I am keep informing them that God has taken care of us so far he WILL get us a room. So we go to the front desk and ask for a room only to be told that they have nothing open! So much for my big ideas.J However, he told us if we waited a few minutes he would talk to the head guy and see about cancellations and such. So we gladly took a seat and waited on our answer. When we went back up to check about the room situation imagine our surprise when the did indeed have a room. We weren’t asking any other questions we just took the keys and headed upstairs to make our next plan of action. Seeing as how it was a Tuesday night and all we were determined that somehow we were going to find a way to watch American Idol.
We had a plan of action made and we headed for a restaurant for dinner. We had carefully chosen a restaurant (Tony Roma’s) that was very close but that also had a television on which we could watch American Idol. We were just finishing our food as 8:00 hit and our waiter so graciously changed the channel for us so that we could feed our American Idol addiction. We must have looked like quite a sight as we sat with our eyes glued to the screen and straining to hear the singing because it wasn’t long before a different waiter walked by and turned up the volume for us. Content to settle in for next hour we moved to a table even closer to the t.v. and sat in awe as the newest season of American Idol happened before us. Again I can’t imagine how funny we must have looked. I mean we were 3 American women (the only white people in the entire place) sitting for an extra hour in the middle of a nice restaurant completely done with their meals but enthralled by the television. The manager kept coming by giving us looks like he wanted to tell us to get out but apparently Jen is some kind of a regular in this place and he knew better. (or so she says) All while everyone else in the place seemed to be throwing us looks that said… “You’re rich Americans go buy yourself a t.v.!”
So once our show was over we got up and headed to the Movie Theater across the street. It seriously was just across the street but we some how managed to be in the middle of the road at one point with cars coming at us in both directions. It was enough “to make our armpits sweat!” We made it to the theater just in time to see the last showing of Step Up. I had forgotten how much I had missed going to the movies and now have a new appreciation for that sweet pleasure in life. Once the movie was over we found ourselves back on the street and looking for a taxi…and oh did we find one. Lets just say we made it the two blocks to our hotel in record time!! However, we did arrive safely and went back up to our hotel room.
Let me remind you that this wasn’t a planned stay at the Marriott so we had NOTHING with us at all. We had to sleep in our clothes, we had not toothbrushes, we had nothing for our hair, etc. This didn’t stop us from going straight in and getting cozy on the most amazing beds we have ever slept on with pillows and comforters that melt around your head and body! I got the best night of sleep I have gotten in forever…really seems like forever too because we have had some sick kiddos that have kept me up a lot of nights lately. I want to add though that aside from the incredible beds we had a fun girl’s night. We ordered room service, watched t.v., laughed until we cried, and simply enjoyed our night out. Oh and I can’t forget to mention that I got to take a BATH for the first time since leaving home. We were spoiled. It also needs to be said that Deborah actually called the front desk asking for “house pants” seriously house pants. She apparently thought they might have some down there for us to borrow for the night. Jen and I were on our cell phones at this point and had no idea what she was doing until we over heard what she said to them…we then promptly lost it! However, they did thankfully have toothbrushes and toothpaste for us to use.

This is by no means the end of our adventure but I will have to tell you about the rest of the week later…so stay tuned. TO BE CONTINUED!

Tuesday, February 20, 2007


SO ....Mario, Marvin, and Yovani started school last week. Originally we thought that we would have 6 kiddos starting school this year. However, due to age problems and such we only ended up being able to send the 3 oldest boys this year. The rest will have to wait until next year to start. The 3 boys are loving school. They get up way early in the mornings and can't wait to get those uniforms on. Which by the way they look so cute in. Let me also tell you that seeing them look so grown up and heading off to school isn't so easy for these mothering hearts. I was up with the one morning this week helping them get dressed and listening to their excited chatter about their excited chatter about the day ahead. Marvin was sharing with me about Yovani's new girlfriend and Mario was talking about his teacher. Jen also shared how the day before Yovani had given her a kiss goodbye when she walked him to school but he first looked around to see who was watching. AND so it began...they start having girlfriends and being embarrassed to have "mom " around. It was then that I was struck by how grown up they seemed. Then as they walked out the front door and I shouted out one last "I love you" and heard those little "I love yous" come floating back as they sprinted across the driveway my heart was pulled by the many emotions swelling within it. They change and grow so much each day that there is always so much to watch in their little lives. For those of you that have children I finally understand when you say that they grow up so fast. Hug your little ones a little tighter tonight because we most certainly have a death grip on ours!:)

Monday, February 19, 2007


So for the past 3 days the electric here seems to have decided to play a game of hide and go seek with us. It started Saturday morning when I woke up to my first rainy day since arriving in Honduras. It rained most of the day and dipped into what I now consider "very cool temperatures." The wind was howling and the sun had disappeared. There were times when I really thought that our tin roof was going to come flying off to leave us exposed to the world and everything mother nature had to offer. It was just crazy. I mean to be 90 one day and like 50 the next made me feel like I was back in Ohio. It was most certainly too cold to send our already sick kids outside to play. So we spent a miserable Saturday locked inside the house. The kids act as though it is about 20 below and at times I would like to agree. So they walked around the house in their long pants, sweat shirts, socks, shoes, and yes even their tabogans!
Then sometime Saturday evening it happened...we lost electricity. It was still out when we woke up Sunday morning and would remain off until early evening Sunday. However, our joy of having it back on would be short lived as it promptly went right back off only a couple of hours after being on. This time when it went off it stayed off until mid-day today. Then when it finally came back on it played the flickering game for the rest of the day just enough to keep us all crossing our fingers it wouldn't go back out for good again. I tell you this not for sympathy because that is the last thing my overreacting emotions need to be playing off of. However, I want you to grasp what we really have been dealing with the past few days. As we belly ached and complained our way through the hours of darkness I realized how pathetic we are. Somewhere in the past years we have forgotten how to do anything that doesn't require electricity and seemed helpless to entertain ourselves and live life without such a luxury. All I could think was "I have so much to do this can't be happening right now." Instead of complaining my time might have been better spent in other ways. Also I began to think of the darkness people experience in life every day. We all have walked through times of darkness and for a lot of us our instant reaction was to complain. We cried out to God and said why am I here and when will it end. We said this isn't a good time I can't deal with this now. We were so busy begging to be back in the light and living the life of ease that we missed the point of the darkness. We missed the lessons that could have been learned. Instead of spending my extra undistracted free time with my bible and journal in hand I opted to sit on my butt and complain about what was going on. I was so worked up about not having electric that i couldn't even enjoy the few moments of peace and slow paced living that it brought with it. So I challenge all of you to in your moments of darkness don't cry out why now but instead see what you can learn from the darkness and move on.

Friday, February 16, 2007


So this past week has been one for being pampered and spoiled. It all started on Tuesday when Jen and I went into the city to stay the night with Melissa and Randy and their two daughters. Let me start by saying that they have a BEAUTIFUL house with an even more gorgeous backyard. So almost as soon as we arrive Melissa informs us that there is food on the stove for us. She had kindly made us an amazing home cooked meal complete with monkey bread for dessert. So after we filled our tummies it was time to settle into there nice leather couches and fix our eyes on their big screen t.v. to watch the real reason for our visit...AMERICAN IDOL. I don't watch a lot of t.v. even while at home but I do love my American Idol and hadn't realized how much I had missed the luxury of being able to watch. So we cozied in and watched to catch our first glimpse at America's next idol. After the show was over we promptly watched two movies back to back before deciding it was time for bed. I awoke the next morning and had the privilege to shower in a real shower. Now don't get me wrong I am not complaining about the showers we have here because they are great. I'm just paying tribute to a shower that tops all the rest I have taken since getting here. After spending a little bit longer than normal in the shower I spent a little time out back in the garden catching a few moments of tranquility with my Savior. For a few moments while we were there I could easily forget that I was in Honduras and instead felt as though I were back in the states visiting old friends. When we finally left Jen and I spent the rest of the day in town running errands and such. It was a good way to start my Valentines Day and as most of you have read it just continued to get better from there.
So as if that wasn't spoiling enough today just happened to be Karen and Jen Arnold's birthday and to celebrate we took them to the Marriott for some spa treatment. I sat in an overstuffed chair with one women giving me a manicure ...and yes another women giving me a pedicure! (for those of you who don't know I HATE FEET) The thing is we..and by we I mean Jen because I don't speak enough Spanish yet.... had told them I wanted a manicure. Well they got me all set up and such for the manicure when in walks another lady with the tub to soak my feet in. Before I could do/say anything she had picked up my feet slipped off my sandals and set my feet into the warm soapy water she had brought. So I went through with it and even with my foot phobia even found myself relaxing enough to enjoy the fact that after a month of walking around with gross feet from being here my feet were once again soft and clean. Talk about a week of pampering! It was much needed though and I would say even well deserved. However, after all of it all I can think is ..."man I could never do pedicures for a living!"

Wednesday, February 14, 2007

Family Night - Valentine Style

So our second "family night" happened to fall on Valentines Day. I was in charge of planning the lesson and activity. So since my church family had send suckers, cookie cutters, and Valentines Cards from our kids back home I decided that we would use those supplies for our night of fun. After our time of singing and what not I handed out the Valentine Cards from the little ones in my church. Even though there were no names written on the cards I stood and called out each of their names and then presented them with a card. The looks on their faces as they heard their name called and the sound of their shouts of joy were enough to bring tears to my eyes. They so enjoyed receiving those simple handmade cards. When the night was over they took their cards and stuck them in a special place. Some placed them under their pillows while others placed them in their box of stuff in their rooms.
After that we took the homemade heart shape cookies and decorated them with all kinds of fun colored icing. Once the kiddos had spread the icing all over not only their cookies but also everything else within reach the focus turned to the lesson of the evening. The lesson was on how different God had made each of us. We are very much like the cookies we had made and decorated. When looked upon from the outside we all looked different and unique. However, on the inside we are all made up of the same stuff and God loves us all the same. I'm not sure the kids quite grasped the whole meaning of the lesson being taught but I found that if nothing else there was a valuable lesson in those words for even me to learn. It doesn't matter how much money we have or what kind of clothes we are having. It doesn't matter if we have a terrible haircut or are carrying around a few extra pounds. No matter what we look like if you were to crack us open (ok not such a pretty picture but stick with me) and look at the core of who we are you will find that each of us was made in the image of God and He loves us all equally.

Monday, February 12, 2007


Are you listening
To anything that I say
'Cause I been praying
How many prayers can I pray
I'm still waiting
Maybe You'll show up today

I know You're here, but I can't feel You
And if You're speaking, I can't hear You
How much longer will this last

Chorus:So okay Answer me with silence
It's okay if You don't say a word
You're testing me to trust You'll be faithful in this quiet
So okay
Answer me
With silence

Why do I question
Your intentions for me
When Your affection
Is a proven legacy

Oh Father, Father
Turn my fears into peace
I know Your love will never leave
I know You want what's best for me

You're testing me to trust You'll be faithful in this quiet

Oh, it's okay
If You answer me with silence
And it's okay if You don't say a word
You're testing me to trust You'll be faithful in this quiet
So okay
Answer me
With silence

Silence - Joy Williams

Matthew 10

So I changed my mind and decided that Matthew 10 was so good that I really did want to type it out for you all to read because I think by typing it out more of you will actually read it. However, I encourage you to still read it on your own at some point.

Jesus Sends Out the Twelve
1He called his twelve disciples to him and gave them authority to drive out evil[a] spirits and to heal every disease and sickness.
2These are the names of the twelve apostles: first, Simon (who is called Peter) and his brother Andrew; James son of Zebedee, and his brother John; 3Philip and Bartholomew; Thomas and Matthew the tax collector; James son of Alphaeus, and Thaddaeus; 4Simon the Zealot and Judas Iscariot, who betrayed him.
5These twelve Jesus sent out with the following instructions: "Do not go among the Gentiles or enter any town of the Samaritans. 6Go rather to the lost sheep of Israel. 7As you go, preach this message: 'The kingdom of heaven is near.' 8Heal the sick, raise the dead, cleanse those who have leprosy,[b]drive out demons. Freely you have received, freely give. 9Do not take along any gold or silver or copper in your belts; 10take no bag for the journey, or extra tunic, or sandals or a staff; for the worker is worth his keep.
11"Whatever town or village you enter, search for some worthy person there and stay at his house until you leave. 12As you enter the home, give it your greeting. 13If the home is deserving, let your peace rest on it; if it is not, let your peace return to you. 14If anyone will not welcome you or listen to your words, shake the dust off your feet when you leave that home or town. 15I tell you the truth, it will be more bearable for Sodom and Gomorrah on the day of judgment than for that town. 16I am sending you out like sheep among wolves. Therefore be as shrewd as snakes and as innocent as doves.
17"Be on your guard against men; they will hand you over to the local councils and flog you in their synagogues. 18On my account you will be brought before governors and kings as witnesses to them and to the Gentiles. 19But when they arrest you, do not worry about what to say or how to say it. At that time you will be given what to say, 20for it will not be you speaking, but the Spirit of your Father speaking through you.
21"Brother will betray brother to death, and a father his child; children will rebel against their parents and have them put to death. 22All men will hate you because of me, but he who stands firm to the end will be saved. 23When you are persecuted in one place, flee to another. I tell you the truth, you will not finish going through the cities of Israel before the Son of Man comes.
24"A student is not above his teacher, nor a servant above his master. 25It is enough for the student to be like his teacher, and the servant like his master. If the head of the house has been called Beelzebub,[c] how much more the members of his household!
26"So do not be afraid of them. There is nothing concealed that will not be disclosed, or hidden that will not be made known. 27What I tell you in the dark, speak in the daylight; what is whispered in your ear, proclaim from the roofs. 28Do not be afraid of those who kill the body but cannot kill the soul. Rather, be afraid of the One who can destroy both soul and body in hell. 29Are not two sparrows sold for a penny[d]? Yet not one of them will fall to the ground apart from the will of your Father. 30And even the very hairs of your head are all numbered. 31So don't be afraid; you are worth more than many sparrows.
32"Whoever acknowledges me before men, I will also acknowledge him before my Father in heaven. 33But whoever disowns me before men, I will disown him before my Father in heaven.
34"Do not suppose that I have come to bring peace to the earth. I did not come to bring peace, but a sword. 35For I have come to turn " 'a man against his father, a daughter against her mother, a daughter-in-law against her motherinlaw— 36a man's enemies will be the members of his own household.'[e]
37"Anyone who loves his father or mother more than me is not worthy of me; anyone who loves his son or daughter more than me is not worthy of me; 38and anyone who does not take his cross and follow me is not worthy of me. 39Whoever finds his life will lose it, and whoever loses his life for my sake will find it.
40"He who receives you receives me, and he who receives me receives the one who sent me. 41Anyone who receives a prophet because he is a prophet will receive a prophet's reward, and anyone who receives a righteous man because he is a righteous man will receive a righteous man's reward. 42And if anyone gives even a cup of cold water to one of these little ones because he is my disciple, I tell you the truth, he will certainly not lose his reward."ity to drive out evil[a] spirits and to heal every disease and sickness.

trust and obey and the sacrifice that brings

So I feel that I need to clear up any misconceptions that I may have given. As I read back through my blogs and the image of joy and discernment that come from their words I realize that I am not being completely honest with myself or those of you that are faithfully reading my simple words. I have always found it hard to express my struggles or my short comings. AND I always choose to pretend like I am fine rather than burden someone else with my problems. However, that means the image I am sharing with people isn't the true image of me. I am human I mess up...I struggle....and at times I fall on my face. I am just like all of you. We are not different at all. I don't have some crazy direct line to God where I simple have to push speed dial one and find His voice on the other end of the line. I battle to find His will and I struggle to hear His voice. We have our moments when I feel that I couldn't be wrapped more tightly in His arms but frankly there are also moments when I feel angry with Him. I get confused and frustrated...and I tell Him about it.
I had one of those moments shortly after arriving here. That fact may surprise some of you but I really do NOT have it all figured out. When I left home I knew God had a lot in store for me and that things were about to change in my life in drastic ways. However, I wasn't prepared for the contentment I found here. I was ready for changes and ready for challenges but the only changes I found were in the changes of my heart. I felt at peace here and a love for the people that should have taken months to form not the mere days I had been here. So I sat one morning praying and talking with my God. However, it wasn't a peace filled talk where I praised Him for every part of this place. Don't get me wrong I spend plenty of time doing that...this day though was different. I was struggling and I was hurting and I wanted to tell HIM about it. I wanted answers. I wanted to know why He would bring me to a place that was thousands of miles from those I loved. I wanted to know why if this was His plan for my life that He would bless me with so many AMAZING friends and such an INCREDIBLE family. Why couldn't I have just had a few close friends and family whom I could stay connected with and still invest in from where I am. Instead HE made me a people person. HE made me love every person that was brought into my life and HE "blessed" me with some great heart people. It didn't seem fair that HE would allow me to have so many people that I was close to heart was screaming-"don't you see that this isn't just hurting me but You are forcing me to hurt the heart of so many others!" Then as He always does He whispered to my heart to be silent and gave back some of that peace that I was losing my grip on.
I have continued to question since that day and my struggles have not left me but I am learning to come to grips with those struggles. God didn't tell us it would be easy to follow Him. He promised to go before me and promised that the reward would be great but NEVER did He say the path to that reward would be smooth. In fact He warned that the His way would not be simple or easy. Our lives are full of sacrifices. We are constantly forced to choose which things in life are worth the sacrifice and which ones are worth sacrificing. The moment I realized that I also realized that my God was NOT one of those things worth sacrificing but instead is one of those things worth sacrificing for not. So this morning as I sat reading my bible and spending some time searching I began to look up every verse in the bible that dealt with sacrifice. I wasn't so sure I truly knew what the word meant. So how could I properly sacrifice without knowing what it meant to truly sacrifice. My search overturned a lot of verses that I haven't read for awhile. 1 Chronicles 21: 22-24 -- Matthew 8: 18-22 -- and many others. They spoke of how following Jesus in fact is not always easy or comfortable. Often it comes at great cost. However, they explain that the sacrifice must be great because while the cost of the sacrifice is so high the value of being Christ's disciple is even higher and yield such great reward. Not earthly reward but eternal reward.
However, the verses that hit me the most would be all of Matthew 10. It left me sitting in tears, bowing my head, and letting the words wash over me. I won't write it all out but I encourage you to grab a bible and read through it for yourself. It is pretty powerful. When I began this crazy journey ...back before I even set foot on the plane...I struggled with leaving home and those I loved. It was in this moment of weakness and struggle that I cried out to a few of those I was closest with. One of my friends said these 3 words to me - trust and obey. As we continued to talk of my questions and struggles he simply continued to repeat those and obey and and obey. Needless to say at the time that wasn't what I wanted to hear. I was searching for big answers and he simply gave me 3 words. However, I look back now and see that those 3 words are all I needed. They reminded me of a song then and still remind me of that same song. It gives such promise and brings such joy to my struggling heart. So for now and hopefully for always I will live my life by those 3 small words and the promise that the song that goes with those words brings to me.

When we walk with the Lord in the light of His Word,
What a glory He sheds on our way!
While we do His good will, He abides with us still,
And with all who will trust and obey.
Refrain:Trust and obey, for there’s no other way
To be happy in Jesus, but to trust and obey.
Not a shadow can rise, not a cloud in the skies,
But His smile quickly drives it away;
Not a doubt or a fear, not a sigh or a tear,
Can abide while we trust and obey.
Not a burden we bear, not a sorrow we share,
But our toil He doth richly repay;
Not a grief or a loss, not a frown or a cross,
But is blessed if we trust and obey.
But we never can prove the delights of His love
Until all on the altar we lay;
For the favor He shows, for the joy He bestows,
Are for them who will trust and obey.
Then in fellowship sweet we will sit at His feet,
Or we’ll walk by His side in the way;
What He says we will do, where He sends we will go;
Never fear, only trust and obey.

Friday, February 9, 2007

My friend

I have a friend...she knows who she is. She is what I would call a forever friend. The type that has seen me through the good years and the bad. She means a lot to me. However, this same friend spent the earliest years of her life in an orphanage much like the one I am currently serving in. This is a fact that I have been aware of since the beginning of our friendship but one that is easily forgotten as you get to know her and spend years being her friend. However, since arriving here we have talked about her stay and the type of place that she lived in. I have begun to wonder about the type of people that took care of her and how she was treated. Furthermore, since our talk I have begun to see each of my kids in a whole new light...they have each become that friend. Each of their little faces reflects the face of that very special friend. AND my way of treating them has changed. I have always loved them but now love them with a new kind of love. I not only want to love them but also to invest in them. I want them to grow up and have a life like that of my friend. Someone somewhere along the way helped my friend and I long to be that for these kids here. I am thankful for everyone that played a part in caring for her and bringing her into my life. I think that often times it is easy for people...even view these kids as just another parent less child. However, they aren't just another parent less child they are our children. They will grow up to be someones mother, someones father, someones neighbor, and even someones friend. They will make a difference in the lives of others and touch the hearts of many. The ARE NOT just another parent less child...they are my friend and everything she is to me. No matter what earthly parent they have they all have the same Heavenly Father and that makes them special.

Thursday, February 8, 2007

Family Night

So we had our first "family night" last night. We have decided that every Wednesday night we won't have shifts or only a couple of us working but instead we will all just spend time with the kids together. So our goal is to eat as a group and then have activities planned and a bible lesson of some sort. We just want them to see us all together and spending time with God more than just on Sunday. Our first night went off great...the kiddos loved it and so did we. We sang with them, prayed with them, spanked them a few times, and then had an activity and lesson. The lesson was about the love God had for us and that we should have for others. We then traced and cut out their feet so they could paste them together to make hearts. We then helped them to decorate them. They turned out so cute.

Wednesday, February 7, 2007

A servants heart

So since I arrived at Casa de Esperanza I have struggled with the fact that we have people working here for us that at times seem more like slaves than friends. There are 3 guards that take turns watching over us 24 hours a day and there are 3 women who work doing our dishes, laundry, cleaning, and making our meals. All 6 people serve us with smiles on their faces and without complaint. I often times return to my room to find my bed made and my clothes returned to my room clean and folded. Not only do they serve without complaining but they are so polite and kind in every way. They ask permission before entering a room I am in and hug and kiss me every time they arrive or leave. They apologize for the littlest thing that they feel might offend me and get offended any time they see me doing any cleaning or picking up. They feel that if I am doing something it is because they weren't working fast enough and feel bad for that too. The amazing part is they seem to enjoy what they are doing and love being here to do those things. Today the girls and I decided we were going to create a path to run on around the property but quickly found that the brush, weeds, and briers made it very difficult to get through. So we enlisted the help of one of our guards who was off duty but was still on the property doing some work. He graciously walked with us as we retraced our steps and showed him just where we wanted our new running path to be made. Then we left to go take our showers and powder our pretty white noses (ok I may be exaggerating) while he stayed in the heat doing what we had asked. Later in the day that same guard assisted us in finding a way to hang our new hammock so that we might enjoy the beautiful afternoons swinging back and forth between the strong branches of two perfectly positioned trees. Again we showed what we wanted done and then left as he stayed to work and rework a plan to make sure the job was done perfectly. I tell all of this to paint a mental image of just how hard but willingly these people serve us. I understand that we are paying them and providing for them in many ways that most here never get but still they definitely define the saying "above and beyond the call of duty." As I sat today thinking of just how much they do but how willingly they do it I couldn't help but look at the way I serve. Sure I'm in Honduras serving its people and doing what the Lord asks of me. ...but do I serve as willingly? Do I serve and spend all my day working with a smile...a genuine smile...pasted on my face? Do I serve patiently and graciously? Do I do what is asked of me and then some? I mean sure they are getting paid...but God promises me a payment that surpasses any kind of payment that we could be giving out. Yet they do such a better job than I at truly knowing what it means to be a servant. Their examples have helped to remind me just what kind of a servant God is calling me to be. I only hope that when people look at me they also see such a selfless, gracious, loving, patient, and humble servant. So instead of looking at our workers and feeling sad my heart is refreshed. For the first time in a long time I am reminded of what it looks like to serve another so completely.

Tuesday, February 6, 2007

More about the little moments

I caught a glimpse of Your splendor.
In the corner of my eye.
The most beautiful thing I've ever seen
And it was like a flash of lightning
Reflected off the sky
And I know I'll never be the same
Show me Your glory
Send down Your presence
I want to see Your face
Show me Your glory
Majesty shines about You
I can't go on without You,
LordWhen I climb down the mountain
And get back to my life
I won't settle for ordinary things
I'm gonna follow You forever
And for all of my days
I won't rest 'til I see You again
Show me Your glory
Show me Your glory
I can't live without You

In my earlier post I spoke of my difficulties to share the little moments of this place with those that I love. However, I wasn't able to convey at that time the part of all of this that is the most difficult to portray to people. For me the hardest part to explain is the feeling that comes along with this experience. The protective nature that grips your heart not only for these kids but the people of this country. I seen the way these people live and have seen the way these people hurt. I have seen the way these people love and I have seen the way they worship God. My heart has been affected in ways that could never be put into words. The closest I can come is with the words of the song above. It is a song that I had not heard for awhile but was reminded of a few days ago by someone I had met here. I have caught a glimpse of God here in all His glory and when I come out of these mountains (literally) I will never be the same. I'll never be able to rest while not walking in that glory I have found here. It is hard to come here and not be affected and changed but is harder still to take those changes that have occured in your heart and explain them to those you love. It is easy to see pictures or hear stories or watch a television program on how bad things are for people in other areas but being here is different. Until you have stood in the midst of it you never truly understand or simply....get it. God is doing some big things with my heart and I am loving it. I just wish He would also give me the words to make is so real for everyone else.

Sunday, February 4, 2007

The little moments

I sat today thinking of how hard it is to be here and have everyone else at home. Not necessarily because I long to be home but because I wish those from home could be here. I want them to experience what I get to experience because no matter how many times I try and explain it my words will never do justice to the precious memories I am making. It isn't so much the big things that happen here like Marjuri getting hurt or Fernando riding his bike for the first time that I struggle to find the words for but the little moments. It is those moments where I wake up in the wee hours of the morning to find a little one with their head snuggled up against my neck. It is those moments when one kiddo has candy and instead of eating it all themselves they share with all the others. It is those moments when they are swinging on their stomachs on the swing singing and talking and giggling to themselves as if they are having the time of their life. They are moments that I can tell you about but never truly share with you because you will never get to hear the sweet harmonic sound of their laughter as they simply enjoy life. It is then when my heart is so full with what I get to do and see here that I miss those from home most and long to have them here with me.

Thursday, February 1, 2007

A mothers heart

I am learning what it means to have a mothers heart. I now know the fear that grips your heart when you see one of your own get hurt. Today little Marjuri was washing her hands for lunch when she slipped and feel and busted her mouth on the sink. I didn't witness it happening but walked in moments later to see her in the arms of Carlos. Her mouth was open wide and she was doing a little raspy thing she does when she cries. She holds her breath for WAY too long before finally letting it out along with a long wail. As her mouth was hanging open I could see the blood filling up the tiny space between her tongue and the roof of her mouth. Fear gripped my heart in a new way as I found this little one being shoved into my arms. Without thinking I reacted and instantly did what I could to take control of the situation. It took awhile to get the bleeding to stop and even longer to convince her that it was OK to stop crying but eventually she was OK. However, it took a lot longer for my racing heart to return to normal and will be a long time still before that fear is completely erased. I have seen people get injured before and have suffered my own share of injuries. However, none of these compare to the fear one experiences when the one hurt is one you hold so close to your heart and whose well being rest in your hands. As I think of the fear and pain one bloody mouthed child can bring to my heart I think of the pain God must have felt to have to watch HIS son be injured and then killed upon the cross. I wouldn't have allowed anyone to harm little Marjuri and yet God stood back and allowed his son to be crucified because he loves US that much.

I also am learning the ways of a mothers heart as I have to punish these little ones here. There are times when their actions and stubborn nature drive me nuts. However, more times than not it pains me more than them when I have to punish them or reprimand them. Furthermore, I find myself struggling to reprimand them for doing something that I really want to be taking a picture of. For example, today the girls were playing with chalk on the side walk. They were told they could only write with it on the sidewalk and nowhere else. However, when I turned around they were drawing all over the slides and play area. OH and that isn't all...not only were they using their chalk on the slides but they were then putting their mouths on the surfaces they had just covered in a fine layer of chalk. So that when I called out to tell them no I could barely hear their excuses as I struggled to control my laughter. What a sight they were with those innocent eyes and their mouths so covered in chalk that they looked like a little girl who had found her mothers lipstick. If I wasn't afraid of sending the wrong signal I would have taken a picture that I would have cherished forever....because in that moment they were cuter than I thought possible.:)