Wednesday, April 30, 2008


Yep all too often my blog begs for prayers. However, tonight I'm begging for prayers for Carlos and Eduardo. Both have been getting in their fair share of trouble the past couple of weeks. Carlos keeps getting jumped because he hangs out here. The boys in the village apparently think he getting too much from us. They think he feels like he is better than the others. His life is in danger every day simply because he formed a bond with us. Every day that he is even around me gives them reason to jump him.

As for Eduardo...heaven help the children this boy needs your prayers every second of every day. In the last week alone he has been in jail twice and was kicked out of school for having marijuana in his book bag. Let me just tell you we had a wonderful little chat the other day ....gave me a chance to smack him around some. Although he obviously isn't even paying much attention to what I have to say these days. However, he did mention that the peer pressure of where they live is so strong. (I don't doubt that for a second) He spoke of how few other options kids have to occupy their time. So as a result they end up in trouble. For a few moments he was the old Eduardo...being open and honest with me. However, short lived it may have been it reminded me that the old Eduardo does still exist. He is just so confused and lost in life...and making terrible decisions. So again I ask you to pray for these two boys. They truly are great boys...just confused teenagers.


Our little man is turning into quite the ham. Yesterday for whatever reason he piled 3 hats on his head and ran around like that ...playing with Maryuri as if nothing was out of the ordinary.

Tuesday, April 29, 2008

Karen and Dorian

I don't know how many of you can honestly say that you enjoy who you work with. I pray that it is true for all of you. If you had asked me anytime in the past 16 months if I like who I work with I would have told you yes...yet it has only been within the past couple of weeks that I have truly come to see how much I truly love working with Dorian and Karen. I love the routine way we work together to provide for our kiddos. I love watching both of them interact with the kiddos. Most of our kids come from families where men rarely respected women, where the kids were often without their father AND mother, where love was far from what God intended, where right from wrong was never clearly defined. I am thankful that God sent Karen and Dorian to show our kids different. Their example of love within a healthy (Godly) relationship is one that I pray becomes embedded within each of our kiddos and one that they learn to gravitate towards. More than that I love the way each of them deals with our kiddos. I sat at Pizza Hut the other day fixated on the scene Karen made with our kiddos. She sat in the midst of them tearing up their food, passing out napkins, reminding them to eat their sandwich before they got full on fries, and doing everything a good mother does. Of course our kids couldn’t just eat their food and listen to the momma….Cindy had to complain about not wanting to eat her sandwich. I’m not sure now exactly as to why she didn’t want to but I believe she gave the “it’s cold” excuse that comes out when she doesn’t want to eat something. Just as quickly and without a moment’s hesitation Karen reminded her to give thanks for what she has. Those instantaneous responses seem to always come flowing out of her mouth to remind the kids what God would think/want in a situation.

Yet the thing I love most is simply the give take of our relationship. The way we compliment each others strengths and weaknesses or the way one kid has come to respond better to one of us or the other. It is all a balancing game that I feel we become better at by the day. We each have our respective roles, responsibilities, and techniques in this place but when I need one of them to flex or bend they do so willingly. No amount of thank yous would ever be enough for the ways they have stepped up these past couple of weeks. 4 or 5 times now they have jumped in a car to rush Izzy to the hospital. No matter if it was morning, night, or an all day adventure they didn't hesitate when they realized I needed them. They both went above and beyond anything I could have ever asked of them and never once complained. (and believe me they've went through/put up with a lot) They were always there asking what I needed and offering up advice....yet in the end they always made it clear that no matter what I needed or wanted to do they would make it happen. Yet this went far above simply serving me....they both have fallen in love with little Izzy and have stood beside me in this fight. They are praying her through each step and holding their breath waiting for clarity. I’ve listened to each show their concern or get choked up about our girl. They’ve fought doctors, nurses, and anyone else that gave us grief. They’ve played translator, nurse, friend, and even parent. They’ve put in late nights and long days…and done anything that Izzy or I needed. As I said…thank you doesn’t say enough what I feel in this heart.

So I pray tonight that each of you has a Karen or Dorian in your work place or even just in life.


Two of the ministries most of our groups do when they come down is food bags (they hand out bags full of staple foods that will last a family 2 weeks) and house building. While my group was here in December they handed out food bags in a poor village call Isopo. It was a new village for us to be working in and doesn't get a lot of help. So we went out early on a Sunday morning and did church with the people. Afterward we were planning to hand out food bags. The pastor (whom I met with days before) had told me there would be 60 families in need of food and he would take care of handing out the tickets to those that needed it. The morning came and as church was over he told those who had a ticket to stay in the church until everyone else had cleared out. The plan was they would then file out and we would give them a bag. As I sat in the bed of the truck watching the dirty hungry faces of those who would not be receiving a bag that day leave the church I got more and more sick. Then I watched as the pastor walked up to Jen (who was handing the bags to the people) and informed her he would take the first bag. I couldn't have been more proud of her as she politely refused his request and gently reminded the man that a shepherd tends to his flock first and foremost. After words were exchanged the pastor walked off.

If I felt frustrated then the news I heard yesterday left me rigid. Through word of mouth Dorian found out that same pastor charged those people for the ticket to get a food bag. So yesterday Dorian, Richard, (the pastor in Ojojona) and Marc set out for Isopo to ask around and see how much truth there was to the story. They came back ready to confirm the accusation. The preacher had gone door to door offering up a ticket and those who could pay got one. Those who didn't went without. What is worse those poor people had no idea that this was in any way out of the norm. They simply believed that 75 Lemps was what it took to get a food bag.

It isn't the first time people have taken advantage of the situation. I suppose it goes on here as much as in the states....pastors are no exception in either location. It fires me up that they carry the name of leader, pastor, shepherd.....and then so poorly represent the title. This pastor deprived people who were in desperate need of food; of a bag that could have fed them for days. More than that he led them to believe that we were their to give their village a gift but that gift came with a price. That goes against every message we are trying to portray to them. The thought that his actions may have led even one of them to believe that God's gift comes with a price makes me sick. So I pray that this man changes his devious ways and learns to tend to his flock in the way God intended. I pray for his heart as well as the heart of those we encountered that day...those who got a bag and those who stood watching.

Monday, April 28, 2008

Young Love

Not sure when our kids got old enough to start noticing the opposite sex but it has happened. For the past week I'll I've heard about is Yovani's girlfriend Nicole or the crush that Pamela has on Saul. I keep reminding them they are far too young to be dating and that they aren't allowed kissing until they are 30. However, I'm not sure they are really listening to me since the girlfriend - boyfriend talk continues. Every day brings a new "love letter" or story. Marvin loves to spill what he knows I use that to stay "in the know." That in itself is pretty funny. I watched Yovani chase Marvin around the island in the kitchen as Marvin screamed out the latest on the love birds. It is amazing what he will tell with the bribe of a little candy..heck he'll tell without the candy! It is funny. Yet I still am confused how we got to this point. They are growing up far too quickly!

Sunday, April 27, 2008


Ever been so terribly cold that you thought you would never be warm again. Maybe you just came in from playing in the snow, maybe you got wet in the fall ...and though it was fun at the time was chilly afterwards, maybe you just walked across Malone's campus in next to freezing weather, maybe you were driving to work in the dead of winter in a car that has a really slow heater...... What did you do to get warm? Add more layers? Take a hot shower? Wrap up in a blanket?

Now that you are sitting there with goose pimples (yes goose pimples) just thinking about the last time you felt that cold .....imagine living in house made of scrap pieces of wood, cardboard, bark, cloth, and anything else you can find. Picture that house on the tip top of a mountain to any rain, wind, or bad weather that sweeps through. Your own shivering body is no concern to you at all as you pile every scrap piece of cloth around your 7 month old baby. With only the one cloth diaper you are scared that the soggy diaper will get your baby sick but he just keeps soaking through everything you wrap around him. As if that isn't enough you have the two other kids to worry about....they are cuddled up in the corner of the house with cardboard around them in an attempt to block the wind that is almost tearing your house apart. You whisper a silent prayer of thanks that today it is only windy and that as of now the raining hasn't begun.

Can you imagine?? Remember with me once again what that cold feeling is like. Now think of your kiddos being that cold and being unable to get them warm. You long to provide for them but your limited resources prevent such luxuries. Any extra cash that week had to go to medicine for the baby....

This story is more true and real than I could ever put into words. We will never know "cold" the way people here know cold. I shamefully admit that I am guilty of uttering the phrases "I'm freezing!" "I'm going to freeze to death" "I've never been this cold in my life" or even simply "gosh it's cold." Yet again...we have no idea what that word even means. Try walking into a meat freezer with nothing on but a bathing suit. Then try spending an entire night in there like that. (ok so I don't really want you to do it...just think about doing it) That is what these people are dealing with here. Literally. When it gets in the 40s at home we crank up the heater and snuggle up under a blanket. Let me tell you...HEATERS DON'T EXIST IN HONDURAS. Although Casa doesn't have a heater that we can click on it is a strong structure with windows that close (fairly) tight. We have blankets, sweatshirts, socks, and plenty of other layers to put on when the cold comes. Yet I can be found whimpering about being so cold my toes might fall off.

Let me just say it again....we don't know what it means to be cold. I don't know what it means to be cold. How often do we use the phrase "freezing to death?" People here are literally freezing to death....while people in the states just talk about it. If someone in the states froze to death we would think what a pity it was because it was preventable. When someone here freezes to death the people think it is part of life. They have NO WAY of preventing it. The people on these mountains not only live in less than structurally sound houses but they also have no blankets or "extra layers" to keep them warm.

I'm by no means want this blog to come across preachy or condescending. It is written as much for this heart as it is yours. Yet I do want it to make you think. I want the words above to hit a note in your heart that leaves you unsettled. I want you to join with me in a fight to do what we can. If your house is anything like mine then you have a place where you store your "extra" blankets. You pull them out when you have company or to use while you wash other blankets. They just sit there waiting. If your house is anything like mine you have those few blankets that have gotten worn over the years so would be your last choice when picking one out for company. Therefore, it gets shoved to the bottom of the pile or the back of the closet. As I sit thinking of the blankets we just have sitting around in our house I'm sickened by the thought. Why did I get born into a country, a family, a life that offers blankets and warm? Why are there people out there who really are freezing to death while I just think I am every time I get a little cold?

I've started a blanket ministry for here and I'm asking begging you to partner with me in it. Start digging out those unwanted blankets and give them away. Don't stop there. Get the word out. Do a blanket drive at your church, work, neighborhood, school, etc. Lets see how many blankets we can get collected. Starting May 1st I'm going to begin counting each blanket that is brought down and given away. There are lots of ways to get can collect blankets, make blankets, dig out old blankets, or even just set aside money intended to be used for the "blanket ministry." You can send blankets or checks (made out to Stockport United Methodist Church...with a note inside stating that it is for "Ashley's blanket ministry") to Teresa Lauer 3515 St Rt 266 Stockport OH 43787. OR you can save them and give them to my mom or even me when I am home this summer. If all else fails shoot me an e mail at telling me you have a blanket and I'll send someone to you. Regardless of what it takes lets commit to doing this. Here today I'm setting a goal....I want to have collected and handed out 500 blankets before May 1st 2009. I will remind you along the way to keep it fresh in your minds but start now. Make a plan of how you personally can come up with 5, 10, or even 20 blankets to donate.

Saturday, April 26, 2008

Tough boys

My boys just keep seeming to grow up....far faster than I am ok with! Yet they are still my boys. Yovani has started calling me Mom more and more often these days. It speaks volumes coming from a boy who likes to keep people at arms distance. It is pretty much music to these ears and breath to this soul. It looks like Brayan is going to remain with us instead of going back to his mom. I sat holding him for an hour the other night as he sobbed over that fact. Yet despite his grief I know in my heart this is best for him. Fitto has still been going to see the psychologist and is still his normal lovey self. All in all they just seem to make me fall in love with them more with each passing day.

We Need A Pool

The kids and I spent another Saturday in a water war. The weather seems to get hotter and hotter...perfect for soaking each other! :) However, as I looked around at the kiddos I realized that we are in desperate need of a pool! They were sticking their heads in buckets of water to see who could hold their breath the longest, sitting in tubs trying to stay cool, or dumping water on themselves as part of the fun. It was quickly evident that a pool would be an awesome well as tons of fun. So I'm looking into that. None the less we had a blast splashing around and just inventing ways to play in the water.


So I made the mistake of telling someone the other day that Mario had been better lately. He seemed calmer, was having fewer fits, and just behaving better. Let me tell you it was the calm before the storm....within the last 24 hours or so the boy has blown up 3 or 4 times. The latest of those happened just over an hour ago at morning devo. Karen had taken Katty's chair away for tipping in it so 3 minutes later when Mario started tipping his she asked Marvin to remove Mario's seat from the circle. That did it...Mario went ape. He ran around yelling and knocking everything over he could. When Karen finally got him he bite her arm...thats right we are talking hard enough to leave a bite mark! She then had to restrain him for awhile to get him to start calming down. Knowing that dealing with him (or Cindy for that matter) can be draining I offered to take him for awhile. Karen passed him off to me so that she could go help the other kids get dressed.

As I pulled him down on the floor with me I told him we were going to pray....pray for a less angry Mario, pray that God would help him find an outlet for his temper, pray that he could learn to listen. He didn't so much want to at first so I started. I pulled him into my arms and started to pray out loud over him. Before too long his eyes went shut, his hands came together, and his posture became one of prayer. Marvin who had been listening to music just a few feet away immediately turned it off and bowed his head where he was sitting. Seconds after that Daniela and then Fitto made their way out of their bedroom and over to where we were. Without saying a word Daniela wrapped her arms around my neck and Fitto knelt beside me on the floor...both with their heads bowed...both muttering prayers of their own. I didn't ask them to join us. Heck I didn't even know they had come out of their rooms until they were beside me. It was one of those moments that I wished someone would come along and take a picture of so that I could keep it forever.

In the past when Mario has had a bad fit I've asked the kids to pray for him. More often than not they stop what they are doing, drop their hands, and beg the Lord to "help Mario be good." It is a habit I want them to form now while they are young...but more than that there are moments when I so helplessly just don't know what else to do for Mario besides create his own personal prayer circle. Today spoke volumes to how far our kids are coming. God is placing within each of them such a tender God fearing spirit. I'm just one of the lucky ones that gets to be here to watch it develop.

How often do we walk by a situation instead of joining in prayer. Sure maybe the scene we pass isn't a group of people circled up crying out to our Father...but I know I personally have walked by far too many groups that could have used my added prayers and yet I walk on by without even thinking to utter one. Today was a good reminder that more than just encouraging our kids to constantly have a prayerful attitude that I need to work on my own as well.

Continue to pray that Mario learns to deal with his anger in healthy ways.

Friday, April 25, 2008

Casa life

I am very committed to sticking to the 15 blogs a month promise that I made. For those of you that have been keeping up with my blog this month I know you are sitting there thinking..."honey you have a long way to go." You couldn't be more true. April has flown by and is coming to a end in just a few days. Meaning if I'm going to get my 15 blogs in this month I'll have to blog almost twice a day every day for the rest of this month...but have no fears I will get there. Buckle your seat belts ...I'll try not to get too windy but at the same time not give cheap pointless blogs.

I will not make excuses for my lack of blogging this month. Sure life has been crazy busy ...but that is typical for any month around here. It always seems to be something. Yet I wouldn't trade it for anything. We are falling back into a routine around this place and it feels good. Granted the routine looks a little different for me now that I have Izzy. (who is eating 5 times a day, gets meds 4 times a day, needs the Nebulizer every 4 hours, and has to have a diaper change more times in one day than I can count) None the less I can't help but LOVE the every day life. I love walking them to school every morning and standing in front of the school building as they shamelessly kiss me goodbye in front of God and everyone. (I realize that this won't last much longer but I'll enjoy it while it lasts) I love watching them as they remember to say sorry when they hurt someone, excuse me when they need through, please and thank you when they need help, or anything else that reminds me that they truly are learning. I love tucking them in at night or snuggling in beside them at nap time. I love skipping, dancing, running, and playing right alongside them as if I'm one of the kids. I love to listen to their giggles at shower time, prayers at meal time, and their "I love yous" anytime. So often in a day here I catch myself smiling just because. I cherish these memories and tuck them away in the pages of this heart...praying that I will never forget the joy of the moment. Makes me wonder how any mom could ever not want to be around for the little moments that really count.


So it looks like we are about to grow in numbers. Sometime in the next month we are supposed to add 3 more kiddos to Casa. We have agreed to take in Izzy's sister, (8 years old) and cousin. (6 years old) As well as Katty, Fernando, and Monica's sister Doris. (12 years old) We saw Doris today and like every other time she has been around she was quiet...almost scared to be around people. However, it was encouraging to watch Monica take her by the hand and lead her towards the others to play. Sometimes the kiddos are the best medicine for the hurting and the best at helping them adapt. All 3 girls are going to bring on new challenges that we've yet to deal with. None of them have ever attended school or had any type of social interaction. In the 4 or 5 times I've been around each of them I've only heard Izzy's sister say a handful of words. The other two don't talk at all. Doris has been at the state orphanage for a month now and hasn't talked at all. She is well behind what she should be mentally and looks like she could be 8. They each have a lot of developing to do and are in need of some good food, warm beds, showers, and of course lots of lovin. So I once again come begging for prayers...please lift up those precious little ones. Pray that God gives Karen and I wisdom in how to best reach these ones....and that He leads us to specialists that will be needed at some point. Pray for our kiddos as their worlds are going to once again get rocked with the coming of new kids. Pray for mommas and grandmas who are having their children taken from them. I believe that the truly do love them...they just are lacking for taking care of them. Lacking in education and know how for being a momma, lacking in resources to provide proper care for them, lacking in funds to supply a child with the basic needs of life, ...lacking.

Wednesday, April 23, 2008


Not sure if everyone knows this or not but about a month ago Rudy ran away for good. He has always been more than a bit headstrong and struggled with abiding by the rules set in front of him. So he chose to leave to escape those rules. He amazingly enough made it all the way to Teguc and back to his mom's house where he has been ever since. She has been working on getting Brayan back too. We should know within the next week or so if that is really going to happen. I keep praying for what is best for Brayan but so badly want to beg God to let us keep him. We know his mother well enough to know that the boys will end up back on the streets begging and that isn't a life I want for either of them. So I ask you all to join me in praying that what is best for them both is how this situation plays out.

Wednesday, April 16, 2008


Due to the fact that I was in the hospital with Isabel on Easter morning they voted to wait until I returned to do the actual Easter Egg hunt. We dyed eggs the day I left for the hospital but just got around to actually hunting them last week. Better late than never!:) Either way the kids loved it. It was the first Easter egg hunt for the kids we just got last May so they had a blast for sure.
Maryuri guarded the pan of eggs
Brayan LOVED the dying part of the process
Some of the decided they liked coloring on the eggs better
Pamela was showing Mario which cup she had put her egg in
They were so amazed by the process
Monica finally found a plastic egg full of goodies
Antonio was in no hurry to get to the eggs
Francisco ... so proud
Pamela was first done
Daniela with her first egg
Mario sorting out his goods
Antonio followed Mario's lead

Water Ballons:)

Thanks to Jessica who left us a whole bag of water balloons the kids and I were able to have a water balloon fight a couple of days ago while it was nice and hot. We spent an hour or more filling up water balloons the other day....they were gone within 5 minutes of course. BUT it was so worth it. We had a blast seeing who could get the wettest. ...Some days I really think I'm just one of the kids!

Tuesday, April 15, 2008

Lost shoe

"Suppose one of you has a hundred sheep and loses one of them. Does he not leave the ninety-nine in the open country and go after the lost sheep until he finds it?"- Luke 15:4

I was in the girls' room yesterday helping them get dressed for the day. As you know Katty and Maryuri neither one go so they simply put on play clothes and really are in no hurry. The other girls are the ones that need to rush to get into their uniforms so they can eat and get out the door. At some point during this process Katty (who was completely dressed) realizes she can only find one of her sandals. She very persistently tugged, prodded, and wined for me to help her look for the missing shoe. My one track mind was focused on getting the school girls out the door so I paid little attention to her.

Finally, I got down on the floor and looked under the dresser, beds, and anything else that it may have slipped under. Not finding it there I quickly gave up and told her to grab another pair. I promised to help her look once everyone was out the door. I was out the door before I could even notice her bummed out and very discouraged expression. By the time the door slammed behind the last of the school goers I had forgotten all about the misplaced sandal and went about my day.

It wasn't until that evening as I was sitting in my room did I hear little Katty squeal like it was Christmas. She came tearing into my room, face all lit up, barely able to contain herself as she held up not just one sandal but both of them. With the proudest voice I've ever heard she raised both sandals over her head saying "I found it!" I may have forgotten about the missing shoe but she sure hadn't. She had spent the entire day scoping out every nook and cranny for her missing sandal. It didn't matter that she has 17 other pairs of shoes to pick from....she didn't even put the sandals on after she found the missing one. She was simply content in the fact that what was once lost was now found.

I shamefully wrapped her up and apologized for not looking harder. I didn't take the time to realize how important it was to her that we find her shoe. I let my busy day get in the way of taking more than a few minutes to look for something as simple as an old sandal.

I began to wonder how often we are this way in life in general. The bible says that even with 100 sheep when one gets lost you go in search for that one. I was ever so quick to say "oh well you lost a sandal...grab one of the other 99 you have there. ...they work just as well." I didn't want to take the time to search out that one that was missing. I didn't have time to worry about just one when there were so many. Makes me glad that we serve a God that isn't that way because if He was there is a good chance that He wouldn't have come looking for this lost sheep. I would have been the one that slipped away from the flock and got lost in oblivion. I pray that I can be as diligent as Katty about seeking out the lost.

Wednesday, April 9, 2008

One month

So yesterday officially marked one month to the day since we found little miss Isabel. To me the time seems to have flown by! I have watched her grow and change so much in that short amount of time. She is making eye contact these days and holding it. She is starting to lift her head and look around. She can now role from side to side and moves all over the bed. All four of her limbs stretch all the way out now and lay more normally more often than not these days. She looks like a completely different from the little girl we found that first night. We've definitely walked some miles together she and I......I can tell you what the names of every med she is on and when she needs to take it. Heck I even know what they each smell like. I know which meds she hates and has to have mixed in with something else to get her to take it at all. I know the stubborn gleam she gets in her eye that means she isn't going to do anything you want her to until she decides to. i know what her mad cry sounds like...her hurt cry...her scared cry. I know every scar, bump, bruise, and speck on her little body. I know that she likes her hair played with when she is going to sleep and her feet rubbed when she is hurting. I know that she loves the color red and finds music/singing to be soothing. When she was in the hospital they would bring each of her meals on one tray and a meal for me on a second tray...the card on my tray always said "para la mama." (for the mom). All the nurses (whom I know the names of as well as most of their life stories) referred to me as Isabel's mom and talk to Isabel about her momma (me!). We have bonded on the deeper level than I even thought possible. I have no idea how long God is leaving her in my life but I am thankful for each day we are given. I love this little one...she is mine in every way I know how to say it. Heck while she was in the hospital she needed a blood transfusion and when it came time for it all eyes (of the doctors) turned to me to give the blood for it. I of course rolled up my sleeve and stuck out my arm. I would give it all to her if it is what she needed. So you know that saying flesh and blood...we are well on our way!:) For those of you who don't know me so well let me just say I HATE NEEDLES! I'm a baby ...plain and simple. So yea...she's mine. I think that makes it official! For now I'm going to be done with this update. However, my sweet friends have created a blog address just for Izzy. Between all of us there should be fairly frequent updates and pictures going up. It just saves those of you who want Izzy updates from having to sort through my blog to find it. So check out entice you a little I put up a blog on there about her condition and updates from the past couple weeks. I will also be adding pics very soon:) ENJOY.