Monday, September 29, 2008

Clayton Robert Blackburn

I am officially Auntie Ashley to the most perfect little boy in this world. Clayton Robert Blackburn was born September 25th at 10:45 p.m. He was 22 1/2 inches long and 7 pounds 14.7 ounces!  Mother and son are doing great and I LOVE LOVE LOVE my new title as Aunt! :) 

Sunday, September 21, 2008

Little Izzy

Lots of you have been e mailing me wanting updates on Izzy and for what it is worth I apologize for the lack of information that I have been giving. As most of you have pointed out I have been neglecting my blog when it comes to pictures and Izzy info. Truth be told I think I was purposely avoiding such blogs. During my last trip home I missed that little girl so much it hurt. Of course I miss all of my kiddos each and every time I return to the states….but it felt different. I would literally lie in bed and ache from missing her. I missed having her curled up next to me in bed, I missed being able to kiss her cheeks and hug her close, heck I missed just watching her… be her. It was during my time at home that I was reminded that chances are good that Hondo isn’t my forever home. I’ve always felt certain that God had only placed me there until He called me to the next place. That reminded brought a new sense of pain and realization. I can call Izzy mine and I can love her like she is mine but in the end I will never be able to bring her to the states with me. She could be mine for as long as I wanted to remain in HER country… but what about when God told me it was time to move one? More than that the position of “missionary” isn’t one that comes with a cushy salary. (or any salary for that matter) If I wanted to continue caring for her and remain living/working in Honduras I would always have to make sporadic trips to the states to fundraise.  Each trip would bring with it complications of what to do with her and each trip would have me worrying that whomever she was with was caring for her properly. I knew for her sake and for my own heart I had to detach a bit. I needed to find Hondurans or a center that would see her through for life. Hondurans who would care for her and love her like she was theirs. To do so meant letting her go. Not that I won’t always love her and make sure she is being taken care of. I will always help with her medical expenses and I will always carry her in my heart.

All of that to say when I got back and found that the family I had left her with had not only gone above and beyond in the way of taking care of her ….they had welcomed her in as a member of their family. It was yet another reminder that there were people out there who could care for her. I wasn’t the only one that would fall in love with her and I wasn’t the only one capable of handling her care. Watching them love on her and take care of her was hard. Every time they held her, fed her, loved on her I wanted to snatch her back and return to my role as “momma.” Most weeks I see her at least once a week and even when every part of me wants to go back to caring for her I know it is best to leave things be.

That is my apology… I’m sorry that my distancing myself from her came out in a lack of blogs and info for all of you. I’m sorry that I failed you and her as I neglected telling you all what was going on and how you could be praying.

So I come to you today not only asking for forgiveness but prayers. I got a call Monday night saying that Izzy was sick and needed to go to the hospital….and the sooner the better. She had been running a fever, which always leads to more seizures for her. She wasn’t sleeping, eating, or going to the bathroom. She was crying nearly all the time and was losing weight rapidly. We had recently celebrated the fact that she had reached 30 pounds. (13 pounds heavier than what she was when we found her 6 months ago) 

Not wanting to waste any time I told them I thought it best to take her that night so I was ready when they got there that night. I rode into the city with my Honduran entourage and prayed silently over my angel the entire trip. We reached the hospital and I stepped back as she was taken into an ER room where “only one person could be with her.” The fact that their Spanish was obviously better than mine and that they were the ones who knew all of her current information meant that I was not going to be the one going in with her. It was a fact that nearly dropped me to my knees in agony. Instead I stood in the hallway waiting for information.

In the end we found out she had an infection of some sort. She had lost 6 pounds in a matter of days and was struggling for sure. Her body was even more weak than normal and pain was etched in every feature of her little face. It is a pain that I haven’t seen her in since those first few days in the hospital. Her cry was back to the pathetic whimper that it had been in the beginning and her frail form felt all too familiar in my arms.

The doctor gave her a shot and other meds. He suggested what we could be doing and asked us to come back in a week. The fact that I would be in the states in a week registered with me slowly and broke the last of my strength. I wept silently over her as I once again realized I wouldn’t be able to care for her the way she needed me to. She would definitely get to the appointment … the Honduran family would make sure of it but I wouldn’t be there to be a part of it. Yet another reminder that no matter how much I want to be the one caring for her… I simply am not the best for her. I was once again faced with the realization that although my life felt incomplete without her in it….she would be ok without me in hers.

She has been to the hospital 3 times in 4 days. She has had all kinds of tests run and is still not improving. I know well enough to be scared for her. I hate that in her moment of sickness I boarded a plane and headed home. Yet I know she is being well taken care of. So I ask that you continue praying for her. Pray that she gains strength and weight and beats this sickness. 

Friday, September 19, 2008

Going Home Part 2

There is no doubt about it… God is good to this girl! I made it to Miami airport AHEAD OF TIME! I then made it through customs, picked up my luggage, rechecked my luggage, and made it out into the terminal in just 25 minutes! Since I had extra time to spare I decided to run by the Delta counter in hopes that they would be able to simply print my Atlanta – Cleveland ticket ahead of time. That way I could save myself some time in Atlanta and give myself a better chance of making that flight. As I came to the Delta counter I was pleasantly surprised to see that just a couple of people stood in line. Joining them I waited maybe 5 minutes before it was my turn. Explaining what had happened I asked if I could get my ticket. The lady assured me that it was indeed possible and within minutes she handed me both of my boarding passes for the remaining two flights. She pointed me in the direction of the terminal I would need and I was on my way. I made it through security and to my gate with extra time to spare. Even better than that….right beside my gate was a Starbucks where I indulged in my favorite Starbucks beverage. Oh how I had missed such simple pleasures!

I boarded my flight and headed for Atlanta. I arrived in Atlanta, took the tram to my terminal, and made it to my gate with enough time to use the restroom and make a quick phone call. Then it was back on the plane for my final leg of the journey. I landed in Cleveland 25 minutes early and by the time I got to baggage claim I only had to wait a couple of minutes before my bags appeared. Getting home is always nice….until it fully sinks in that I’m not in Honduras anymore. That fact usually keeps me feeling pretty weepy on my first day. However, there was not time for weepy last night as I turned around to find Mike walking toward me complete with a very old VERY small blue suit, tie, and cap. In his hands was a sign that said LAUER across it. In all the traveling I’ve done I’ve always wanted to be one of those people that has someone waiting for them with a sign. I have NO idea why or what prompted this desire but for a few years I’ve longed to arrive at the airport and be greeted with a sign that says my name. Last night I not only got my wish for a sign but the stinkin boy arrived suit in all to be my “chauffer!” So I’m here… I’m safe… and I’m fully rested. J

Thursday, September 18, 2008

Going Home

Today was “fly home day.” I’m sure there are some out there that agree with me when I say “I DREAD flying.” It isn’t that I’m afraid of the actual being in the air thing. On the contrary I feel absolutely no fear of climbing onto an aircraft and trusting that it will get me there safely. No, it is the actual process involved that I hate. I hate the airports, the ticket counters, the unpredictability of it all. It doesn’t help that I see to have the WORST luck under the sun when it comes to flying. As some of you will remember I got stranded in Miami airport in May of 2007. It took me close to 40 hours to get from Tegucigalpa, Honduras to home.  Then on May 30th of this year I was scheduled to fly home again. I arrived at the airport only to find out that the flight I was supposed to be flying out on had crashed and would not be flying out. I ended up having to make the 5 hour drive up North so that I could fly out of San Pedro Sula.

Well I woke up today praying that this day of travel would be without incident or struggle. I got ready, put my bags in the truck, and headed for the city. I arrived exactly 1 hour and 59 minutes before my flight. As I walked up to the counter I saw that there were just 3 people in front of me…. I would be checked in with plenty of time to get to my gate. Heck I would even have time to grab a coffee before I flew out. However, as I stood in line I realized that I had forgotten one small fact… TIH… this is Honduras and nothing is ever quick or easy.  Those 3 people in front of me took just under AN HOUR to get checked in. Meaning by the time I got to the counter I had 67 minutes to do what I thought I would have 2 hours to do. Doing the math I knew that I still had enough time as long as I skipped the coffee run.

I stepped up to the counter, handed over my passport, and waited for her to give me my tickets. This is the portion of the story where the problems started. My original ticket left out of San Pedro Sula and instead of taking a bus the night before I booked a ticket from Tegucigalpa to San Pedro. The guy at the Taca office assured us that I would be fine in doing it that way. He promised that I wouldn’t even have to get off the plane since that same plane would be the one I was taking to Miami.

So when the lady at the counter handed me just ONE ticket I started to worry. I began (in Spanish) explaining that I only had 30 minutes between flights so I needed my ticket for San Pedro to Miami as well. At first she informed me that she couldn’t even find my reservation for the second flight. When she finally found my flight information she told me that she couldn’t possibly print off my ticket for the second leg. Instead I was going to need to get off of the plane in San Pedro, get my luggage, recheck my baggage, go back through security, and re-board the exact same plane I just got off of…. Oh and I’d have exactly 30 minutes to do it ALL!  

The desperation began to set in as I realized I may not make it home today.  I quickly started telling her that she and I both knew that I would NEVER make my flight if I did all that. I also mentioned that the guy had promised that it wouldn’t be a problem. Maybe it was the tears that were streaming down my face, maybe it was my broken Spanish, maybe it was simply because she was afraid I was going to start yelling at her. Whatever it was she finally went and got someone higher up than her. As the lady walked up I felt slightly better as she immediately began speaking to me in English. With new determination I began explaining the situation all over again. After listening to me she promised to be right back … and low and behold she came back and offered me a seat on an American flight. She told me all I had to do was go to the AA counter and check in.

Feeling lots better I headed that direction and was immediately greeted by a cute older gentleman who I would adopt as a grandfather figure if I could! As he took my passport and began checking me in he said the dreaded two sounds… “uh oh.” Looking up at me he was like “honey you will never make your connecting flight if you fly American.” Seeing my tears he quickly reassured me that he wasn’t done yet that he was going to see what he could do for me. Within minutes he had found me a new flight from Miami to Atlanta. He printed off the ticket to save me from having to check in while in Miami. He also checked my bags all the way through Cleveland so that I wouldn’t have to recheck them either. All in all the man saved me a lot of time ….he gave me hope for maybe actually making it on time. I mean the new flight left 45 minutes later than my original flight but that still only gave me an hour and a half to get through customs and get to my flight. And inevitably it would only give me an hour to get to my gate for my flight from Atlanta to Cleveland.

Then to make things worse the gentleman (grandpa) informed me that he couldn’t find the information for my last flight of the day. There weren’t enough people booked on the flight so Delta had dropped it and rerouted all the passengers to other flights… the catch: I hadn’t received an e mail telling me about the changes so we had NO idea what airline I was now booked on let alone the flight number.

Thanking “Grandpa” profusely I left the counter and started thinking through how to figure out the last leg of my trip. The first problem: I had no minutes on my phone and no lemps (the local currency) on me. Seeing one of the moneychangers that we are friends with I quickly made my way toward him. I asked him for a favor and he graciously told me “yes…anything.” When I explained my problem he, without a moment of hesitation, reached into his wad of money and handed me a 100 lemps. (5 dollars) I’m guessing he doesn’t make $10 - $20 a day doing what he does… meaning he gave me a large part of the days wage. As I promised to pay him back he told me that it was fine… that I didn’t need to worry about anything. As soon as he handed me the money he showed me where I could go get a phone card.

I made my way across the street and returned with my card. I quickly began calling my mom, dad, sister, Mike, Colby…. ANYONE that could help me track down the information for my last flight. An hour later my amazing (very pregnant) sister had not only found the number but had tracked down all the information I needed.

I’m now sitting on the plane about 30 minutes from Miami. So at the least I know I’ll make it to Miami. I’ll get back to you on what happened with the rest of my day….such an eventful morning already! 

Tuesday, September 16, 2008


Yesterday Honduras celebrated its independence. No one worked... everything was closed... families had picnics together.... people let off fire works. In a lot of ways it felt a lot like our Independence Day in the states would feel. However, Casa was celebrating for a different reason. Yesterday was Brayan's 10th birthday. Heavens how fast they are growing up! He was 8 when he first came here. Seems hard to believe he is 10 already. The kids and I had a picnic in the park for lunch and then spent the evening having cake, playing hide and seek, and watching a movie. It was a wonderful day. So Happy Independence Day for Honduras... and Happy Birthday Brayan.

These are some of the flowers the kids picked me on our way home from the park. I had 2 HUGE handfuls of flowers, weeds, and even a branch in my hand by the time we returned but the kids loved giving me stuff so I loved everything they had to offer. These orange flowers were by far my favorites. 

Wednesday, September 10, 2008

Feliz Dia de Ninos

I've told you numerous times how I'm struck by the differences between here and home. Well today was another one of those days. September 10th is officially "kids day" here in Honduras. I mean in the states we have Mother's Day and Father's Day. Heck I think there is even a grandparent's day, teacher's day, secretaries day, etc. etc. etc. Yet there isn't a Kids Day! I suppose we think that EVERY day is kids day. Well here that just isn't good enough. Today the kids got to go into school late. Then when they did go the entire day was spent having a party... complete with decorations, Pinata, candy, face paint, cake, and who knows what else! They got little presents and were truly just spoiled today on "their" day.  It is really kind of crazy how big of a deal it is here! 

Tuesday, September 9, 2008

Hospital Escuela

You have all heard me speak of Hospital Escuela. It is the free government hospital in Tegucigalpa. It is lacking at best and yet is overflowing with need. Too often you see patients with an IV secured to their arm by a simply piece of string instead of the typical tape you would find elsewhere. More often than that they don't have proper medicine or equipment necessary to take care of the most simple needs. They use supplies that are out of date or out of style and they reuse equipment that should NEVER be reused. Being a free hospital there is no money for things like blankets, food, and basic luxuries that we take for granted when we enter a hospital in the states. My handful of experiences in Hospital Escuela have all left me aching for the patients and families that find themselves entering the Hospital's doors .... no matter what reason brought them there. 

However, today as I stood in the hospital's rooms I could barely contain the emotion that swirled within me. Maybe it is the fact that my past experiences have soured me to the mere building that holds the name "Hospital Escuela." Maybe it is the fact that walking through its doors evokes more heart wrenching memories than any other doorway in this country. or... maybe it is because I stood at the bedsides of babies who would likely not see their first birthday. I hugged Mothers who have spent countless days praying that the little ones they just gave life to wouldn't have life taken from them so quickly. 

Whatever the cause this heart found the hospital more than I could handle this day. I wanted to shield those poor mommas from the pain that had taken up residence in their lives. I wanted to pour my strength into those little babies that had so little strength of their own. I wanted to hold up nurses who were working around the clock to care for each and every patient in that hospital. 

I ask that you pray for that hospital. Pray for the people that seek its care more because it is the only hope they have... not because it is really something to be trusted in or hoped for. Be grateful for the securities, blessings, luxuries, and peace of mind that come with simply having good health care. 

Gabriela 14 years old.... has had cancer all her life. Yet she smiles brighter than most healthy people I know! 
Jose Miguel 3 months old.... has been in the hospital since birth with problems with his respiratory system. 
Gracie 1 month old... bad case of pneumonia. 
No Name... 19 days old. The momma hadn't named the baby yet but she was a little girl. She was fighting for life harder than I would ever have expected her little body was capable of. 

I can't remember the name of this little one. She was born with a form of cancer in her stomach. She has a twin sister who also has cancer and is being treated at that same hospital. Her momma worked hard to be there for them both. 

Friday, September 5, 2008

My Dad

Yesterday was my dad's birthday..... I won't share his age (although I DO know it) but lets just say he is another year older. You've all heard me rant and rave about both of my parents and this blog won't be much different. 

As I grew up there was no doubt in anyone's mind that I was (and still am) a Daddy's girl. My dad was blessed with 2 daughters and no sons. The poor man has had to put up with a house full of women for years! However, as most of you know I am not and have never been the girly type. I was a tom boy through and through. I enjoyed digging up worms and going fishing with dad. I have always loved sports... playing them, watching them, talking about them, ANYTHING sports! 

I can remember getting up really early on a Saturday morning to go with my dad to "call" for turkeys. We would get in whatever truck he had at the time and head to the gas station for coffee, (for dad) milk for me, and donuts for us both. We then would drive out to a place that someone had told dad was a hot spot for turkeys that year and we would sit and listen for turkeys. I have to tell you ... at the time I probably couldn't have cared less about those turkeys. I would have been just as content with my day if we hadn't heard a single turkey simply because it meant I got to start my day out with donuts (which mom NEVER let us have at the house) and alone time with daddy. 

I can remember many fishing trips with dad. I remember rolling over railroad ties, digging in dirt and even horse poop, or flipping over something else that was lying around as I hunted for worms. Once we had a good amount we would head for the pond where we spent HOURS of my childhood. I can remember dad teaching me to cast my line out into the water, he taught me to watch my bobber (which I still prefer to use today!) for any signs of movement, he taught me how to set my hook so that a fish didn't swallow it, he taught me to "thread a worm on my hook"....... Let's just say the two biggest thing he taught me : to be careful as I whipped my pole around and that we had to be quiet (always a challenge for me) so we didn't scare the fish away. 

I remember how dad played vet, funeral director, or watch man for any sick animal I happened to find and bring to him. (believe me there were plenty) I was the animal lover among us.... the soft hearted one for sure when it came to hurt things. It didn't matter if it was a sick pet or something I found out in the wild... the animal ALWAYS got brought to dad who was then expected to do anything and everything to make the animal well again. Bless his heart I can't remember a single time when he EVER looked at me and told me he was too tired, too busy, or that he wasn't wasting time on an animal that was surely going to die. We ended up with raccon babies whose momma had been hit on the road, a baby bunny that was mangled on one side from getting nicked by a car, (his momma died on the road too!) kitten's whose momma abandoned them, and on and on. 

There was once a pet rabbit that someone let loose in the middle of town. I was in grade school at the time and watched as Jr. High kids threw rocks at it and tortured it.... that of course meant I went home that night and begged dad to help me catch it. (I don't think he actually thought we would) We had told someone else we were looking for the rabbit and a couple of days later they showed up to give me "my" rabbit. That stinkin thing lived until just a year or two ago. 

Then there was the cat that knocked a fishing pole over and got the hook stuck in his side... we had to take him to the vet to get it removed. I'm pretty sure dad was on midnight shift so was sleeping when I went screaming into his room after finding the cat! There was the cat that my sisters horse stepped on.... shattering his hip bone and sending us to the vet for surgery. If that wasn't bad enough the cat came home with a pin sticking out of his hip and couldn't be outside to my father's delight he lived inside for the months of healing. 

Dad nursed who knows how many baby animals that had no momma. We had a little animal baby bottle so we could feed them. Dad taught me to put a hot water bottle under a blanket for them to lie on so they stayed warm. He taught me if I put a watch in the basket with them they would think it was the sound of their momma's heart beat and it would calm them. He stayed up nursing animals back to health on numerous occasions and when there was nothing else he could do he helped me find a box to put the animal in and then he dug a hole to bury the box. 

I remember lazy afternoons when Mom would make soup and then we would all curl up and watch the Bengals play football. I can remember dad teaching me the rules of the game or answering my never ending list of questions. It was from him MY love for football was born. 

I remember him letting me sit on his lap and "drive" the tractor and I can remember him sitting beside me teaching me to drive a car. 

I remember plenty of punishments and arguments ....but I remember more apologies and I love you's. 

I remember swimming, playing, and goofing with dad. He was always playing a prank or doing something sneaky. If we were in water he would hold his breath (for what seemed like ever) and swim underneath me so that he could grab my legs. 

He taught me to "keep my eye on the ball," "my elbow down," and "my feet shoulder width apart." He taught me to "keep my head up while dribbling," to "follow my shot," and to "box out!" He and mom drove me all over the country when I wanted to play on a traveling volleyball team and they paid the bill for any equipment I needed. He taught me that "the only dumb question is the one you don't ask." (that came back to haunt him as I was and still am a never endless list of questions)

I remember countless weekends at horse shows where he would help (ok pretty much do it himself) me saddle my horse, lead me to the show ring, or coach me on what I did wrong so that I could do better the next time. 

I remember going to work with him in the summers after I got hired on as summer help and I remember finally appreciating how hard his job was and how hard he worked. I can remember coming home to take a nap while dad went out and did whatever work needed done at our house. He NEVER quits. 

From him I learned that "you only get one chance to make a good first impression" and what assuming will get you. 

I remember any time I got hurt, sick, or scared he was always right there. If it meant a late night trip to the emergency room he was in the car ready before I finished explaining what happened. (it didn't matter if he did have to work early the next morning) 

I remember countless events I had and his face always being in the stands no matter if it meant he had to take a vacation day or spend a weekend doing something I loved. 

I remember loads of times where he helped me build science fair projects, do homework, or finish whatever school, 4H, or club project I had left for last minute. 

I remember thousands of vacations, trips, dinners, etc. with my daddy. It seemed like we couldn't take him anywhere where he wouldn't at least know someone. It felt like he knew EVERYONE and if he didn't know someone chances were good if you gave him long enough with them he would start up a conversation. 

I have tons of happy memories with him that I will cherish forever. I am certain I got the best daddy the world has to offer. 

Aside from being a blast to be around and being my biggest fan... he was ALWAYS looking for ways to serve others. He has always been a stickler for being honest, on time, and kind. To him it is a no brainer... it is the right thing to do. It is certainly from my parents that I learned to serve and be compassionate towards other people. 

So Happy Birthday Daddy....

Thursday, September 4, 2008


This little one is set to make a liar out of me... it is as if she knew I put up a blog bragging about how good she had been. Now suddenly we are seeing some of the old Cindy ways come back out. She is stealing, lying, and throwing fits again like before. Granted she is still FAR better behaved than she ever was back then but we are slowly seeing some of the old ways resurface. Please pray that we find a way to break through with her again. Pray that we will have patience to deal with her and wisdom to know what to do. 

Stop complaining .... start praising

Have you ever had one of those moments when God all but sits you down and hands you a little piece of reality that you've been neglecting to notice on your own? I would say that God and I've had lots of those moments since He moved me here. The most recent "sit down chat" aka "reality check" came this past week. 

You all have heard, read, or been there while I had melt downs about my future. It seems like not a week goes by when I don't question, doubt, or work to figure out my future. God and I have the "where am I headed" talk at least once every couple of weeks. I am constantly wrestling with the fact that I have NO clue what life will look like for me a year from now and I openly complain about the fact that I feel like the only one of my friends who doesn't have it figured out. Dramatic much.... why yes I am! 

I mean I'm sure there are those of you out there that understand this feeling. That feeling of just wanting a little glimpse into what your future is going to look like. You long to know that the path you are on is indeed the one God would have you walking on if we were living perfectly in His will. I for one have always thought life would be so much better if God had just handed us an outline of our lives the second we came out of the womb. (nice image huh...) 

Instead we have options, choices, road blocks, detours, and just far too many roads to pick from! This would be about the time the reality check happened......

I have spent the last few weeks on my knees before my Saviour begging for some kind of an idea as to where my life is headed. As I sit back and watch all my college friends get married, have kids, get apartments, get hired into full times jobs, etc.... I don't seem to have life any more figured out now than I did as an 18 year old high school grad. 

I don't know what exactly finally made it click for me but recently I've begun to look around me. I started to truly see faces of Hondurans who are stuck in the lives they lead. They will likely never rise above what they were born into and yet they are content. When they look into their futures they don't have to wonder what it will look like or where they will be.... they just know that more than likely 2 years from now will still look much the same as today does. Chances are great they will marry, have kids, work their butts off, and remain living near/with their parents or other family. They don't wonder if they should go to college, they don't debate which college is best for them and then work to figure out how to pay it off once they've graduated from that "perfect" college, they don't fill out job applications and list all their credentials on one page hoping to get the job of their dreams, they don't plan expensive vacations that will allow them to see the world, they don't think about moving to another country to work or live among the people there, they just don't live lives like we do because quite frankly they don't have the opportunity to do so.

I suppose reality finally set in for me... I'm BLESSED to be one of those people who has choices. I'm BLESSED to be one of the people crying out to God about my future and getting frustrated when the answer seems less than clear. I'm BLESSED to have the choice of going to college or not. I'm BLESSED to be able to pick any college I want and know that although it may take years I CAN eventually pay it off. I am BLESSED to get to spend each day here in this country loving on some of the sweetest people I've ever met.  I am .... as simply and humbly as I know how to say it... BLESSED. It is like I finally realized that my complaints about not knowing what I'm GOING to do should be praises for what I GET to do

Wednesday, September 3, 2008


For those of you who have heard me talk about Steve .... he and a new group flew in on Monday. i had the privilege of helping them build a house yesterday for one of our Casa workers. (Sandra) We spent the day hanging out with her and her family as we built a house for Sandra's aunt. It was a great day. 

Tuesday, September 2, 2008

Shine on....

I'm sure most of you have heard the ever popular children's song "This Little Light of Mine."

This little light of mine, I'm going to let it shine.
This little light of mine, I'm going to let it shine.
This little light of mine, I'm going to let it shine,
let it shine, let it shine, let it shine.

Won't let Satan blow it out, I'm going to let it shine.
Won't let Satan blow it out, I'm going to let it shine.
Won't let Satan blow it out, I'm going to let it shine,
let it shine, let it shine, let it shine.

Hide it under a bushel, No! I'm going to let it shine.
Hide it under a bushel, No! I'm going to let it shine.
Hide it under a bushel, No! I'm going to let it shine,
let it shine, let it shine, let it shine.

This is yet another song our kiddos sing each morning at devotional. A few months ago Karen decided to teach them the words and we were pleasantly surprised when they knew the song in Spanish. It has become a very frequently sung song in our house. (in both languages) We've even added verses like "All around the school, I'm going to let it shine." or "All around Santa Ana (our village) I'm going to let it shine." We are trying to teach them through song that it is important to ALWAYS be a light for Christ no matter where we are.

Just recently I connected with a young lady (Aimee) who flew into Honduras yesterday and will be staying for the next 4 months or so. She isn't working with Casa or Torch but instead with an organization in Choluteca. However, a mutual friend connected us in hopes that we could be an encouragement to one another while in this country. During our e mailing back and forth Aimee finished off one of her e mails by saying that she felt blessed to be able to come here and be a light to the people here.

Her simple words humbled this heart in huge ways. By now you all know my heart... you know that I LOVE being here... love these people, love this country, and definitely love these kiddos. But how long has it been since I thought of it as a privilege or a blessing to get to shine for Christ to the people of this country?

I've been continuing to dive into the gospels and right below the Matthew 5 verses I spoke of before came this verse.....

"You are the light of the world. A city on a hill cannot be hidden. Neither do people light a lamp and put it under a bowl. Instead they put it on a stand, and it gives light to everyone in the house. In the same way, let your light shine before men, that they may see your good deeds and praise your Father in heaven." -- Matthew 5:14-16

Seems like everything in my life from the kids to random new friends to where God is leading me in the bible are all trying to remind me of the same message. I AM called to be a light for Christ and no matter if I'm walking around Santa Ana, interacting with the people of this country, or simply sitting at home hanging out with friends I am supposed to shine for Him. It is my privilege and a blessing.