Tuesday, March 31, 2009

Another team, another house

I had a team arrive Saturday. There are just 4 guys in this team. There leader, Levern, led me on a mission trip to Mexico 6 months before I moved here. I've recently reconnected with him and am loving getting to share this ministry with him and the rest of the team. 

Yesterday we were able to build a house for a family in a village on El Hatillo. They are a family of 4 who are currently living in another house with their extended family. The new house gives them a chance to spread out and have a place of their own. 

As much as I love the house building days I have to admit I almost always end up playing with kids more than I actually build. I guess I always feel like there are plenty of people on site who have never had the opportunity to build a house. Plus lets be honest....I just adore children and find joy in spending time with them. Today I found a special connection with a little girl named Wendy. It was another one of those moments where you have no idea how it happened....you just know that for whatever reason a special bond was instantly formed between your hearts. 

Monday, March 30, 2009

My Izzy

I have the privilege of having Izzy here with me this week. The people that usually care for her had to go to Nicaragua to the doctor. It just happened to work out that I have a team here so am able to care for her so ...she is stuck with me! :) 

She has been doing better. She will never be completely healed but at this point in life we are much more concerned with quality of living and not quantity. 

Although her seizures are much more controlled than they once were she still has them daily. That coupled with the lung disease she has makes comfortable living very difficult for her. 

She had a pretty rough night Sunday night. She started to cough and run a low grade fever. By evening time on Monday she sounded terribly raspy and wouldn't stop crying. Feeding her or getting medicine in her was next to impossible and listening to her squall nearly broke my heart. Then suddenly she started seizing and wouldn't stop. It was like my worst fears playing out before me again. My eyes started to fill with tears and my prayers couldn't come fast enough as I begged God to restore peace to her little body. Within minutes of the seizure starting Sam, my mom, David, and one of the guys on the team had crowded around her and were saying their own teary eyed prayers. After 15 minutes of constant seizing I got my phone out to call the doctor. 

Let me just start by saying she has seen this doctor just twice....in the same week and that happened nearly 9 months ago. I didn't expect him to remember me but I knew from our brief encounter that I not only trusted him explicitly but also that he was just about my only hope. 

One of the guys on the team placed the call for me. He simply said he was "with Ashley and the baby was sick." That was all it took for the doctor to tell us he would meed us at the hospital in 30 minutes. Moving quickly we headed straight for the hospital. With David driving and Jen in the backseat offering all the encouragement she could I began to feel a little better. I knew that whatever happened we would walk it out together. 

We spent about 2 hours at the hospital. True to his word the doctor arrived almost the exact same minute that we did. After seeing her he sent us down for x-rays. He diagnosed her with pneumonia and gave us all kinds of medicines to help with the seizing, high fevers, cough, and more. He walked Dr. David through the procedure and dosage for each medicine. 

The whole trip...x rays, doctor visit, (late night) and medicines that he injected into her right there all cost around $50.  It was a reminder of how different things are here. If you had called a your normal doctor at 9:30 at night to say your child was sick he would tell you to go to the ER and come into his office in the morning. He a doctor that you've seen just twice needs no further information than "my child is sick" and he assures you he will meet you at the hospital as quickly as either of you can make it. We didn't even go to the ER we went straight to his office we he dedicated the next 2 hours to making sure Izzy was well cared for. He never once rushed us or acted like he would have been anywhere other than right there caring for my child. Then as if that isn't enough we got away with the whole thing on just $50!!!! You couldn't even get the sample medicines in the states for $50. Let alone what being seen by a doctor late at night would cost you. The X-Ray cost us 290 Lemps ($15) It would have cost well over $290 in the states! The doctor did his best to discount the total price for us. His kindness seemed to have no end. So even though I've stated it verbally probably 100 times tonight I want it to go into writing...I LIKE THIS DOCTOR! 

We go tomorrow to get some blood work ran and then go back to the hospital to see the doctor on Wednesday. Please please please pray she gets over this junk quickly. When she gets pneumonia (which happens frequently) she runs a fever, and when she runs a fever she has more seizures, and when she has more seizures her little body gets weak and can't fight of sickness. It really is a nasty cycle. So tonight I BEG for your prayers. 

Day at the Beach

This past Saturday I got to spend the day at the beach. However, it wasn't your normal beach vacation. Our church rented two buses and then sold seats on the bus. For just $5 you could get a ride to one of the beaches on the south part of Honduras. So all the Casa kids, the 5 brothers and their parents, my mom, Mike, David, Carlos, Saul, Eduardo, and a friend of the boys all woke up at 3:30 and were loaded on the bus by 5:30 ready to make the 3 hour trip to the beach. In true Honduran form we left 30 minutes later than we had planned and things were absolutely chaotic. We sat on a hot bus for far longer than any of us cared to be on there and broke every bus capacity limit ever set. 

We dealt with bus sickness, boredom, jelly fish stings, monstrous waves, fatigue, cranky pants, sibling fights, and so much more. Yet simply watching the kids enjoy the day made it all worth it. They laughed and played all day. I loved watching them chase waves or conquer their fear of the water. 

Katty was fearless. It didn't matter how many times she got knocked down or sucked under water she always came up giggling and ready for more. She loved to have me carry her out into deeper water so that we could get walloped by big waves together. Every time I'd see a wave coming I'd tell her to put her head down. She'd take a big breath, close her eyes, and tuck her head in just in time for the wave to come crashing in around us. She thought it was the best. 

Maryuri conquered her fear of the waves and even seemed to enjoy herself. Granted it took a huge wave that knocked her and my mom over before she decided it wasn't half bad. 

Throughout the day I found myself reminiscing about beach trips I've had with my parents. I can remember my dad playing with me in the waves. I can remember him reaching down to pull me out of the water countless times after a wave knocked me down. I LOVED (still do) the beach. It was fun being on the flip side. This time I was the parent....ripping kids out of the water when they got knocked down. I found out that dragging your kids to the beach isn't all fun it games...it is HARD! :) 

And of course our trip wasn't without calamity. On the way home we had problems with the police AND blew a tire. We had to stop for half an hour or so to get the tire fixed. Needless to say with all the added problems it took us much longer to get home. 

Friday, March 27, 2009

Spoiled by Grandma

My mom flew in this past Tuesday! yay! It has meant time to be spoiled for sure. Not only have I been getting spoiled but everyone else has too! Today the kiddos got to enjoy being spoiled rotten by Grandma. In true Grandmother form she came armed with candy, toys, and all kinds of other fun things. Today they got to hunt for candy filled easter eggs. Afterwards they each enjoyed a chocolate bunny and then played for hours with egg shaped sidewalk chalk. I think we had as much fun as they did. 

Miss Maryuri

                      Mayuri and me playing in a tube at visitation today. :) 

Monday, March 23, 2009


There is a special needs school in the city called Teleton. We have recently been working to get some of our kids tested and placed in classes there. Finally, after quite a few meetings Doris, Monica, Fernando, Sisi, and Maryuri will all be going there. Some have to go weekly while others won't go as often. It is a HUGE blessing to be able to get them intensive training on the areas that they are lacking. 

Maryuri tested at a 2 1/2 year olds level. Interestingly enough we've had her here at Casa for 2 1/2 years. 

Doris and Monica were both "emergency cases" and Sisi and Fernando both just need to go to get a little extra help. 

However, while going through this process the people at Teleton told us we need to start calling Monica ...Reina. It is technically the name on her birth certificate so they want us to go by that. They said if something were to ever happen to her they would look at her file for her info. She wouldn't know to respond to Reina....therefore she is now officially Reina. 

Saturday, March 21, 2009

My family

I was able to spend all day last Thursday in Nuevo Oriental with Jorge and his family. I will never grow tired of hearing their voices shout my name as I get close to their house. They NEVER forget my name and always seem to be equally excited to see me no matter when I visited last. 

Santos...It was his birthday that day 
Jorge and Hati 
The whole family minus their dad. Their mom is sitting in the chair beside me and their oldest sister Isabel is standing on the right. 

Wednesday, March 11, 2009


Mike is back in the country AND Colby came to visit for the week. I am one spoiled girl! They are two of my closest friends in this world and to have us all here together was truly a gift. Plus I love watching the kiddos interact with "Papi Mike" and Tia Colby. The kids love having them around almost as much as I do! 

Saturday, March 7, 2009


Today Sandra (one of our workers) had the kiddos lined up outside on the sidewalk. They were getting ready to come in for lunch and she was having them pray. Just as I was coming outside I heard her tell them they were to hold hands with the person across from them. They then went down the line and each kid prayed for the kid across from them. It almost brought tears to my eyes as I listened to them pray that the other kid would feel better, listen better, act better, etc. They were very genuine in what they asked the Lord to do on the behalf of one of the other kids. It was one of those sweet moments when I'm reminded of what child like faith looks like. 

Friday, March 6, 2009


This is Doris. She came to live at Casa in May of this past summer. She is mentally retarded and has been quite the handful since she got here. She had never been shown love or affection. She certainly hadn't been taught how to act around other people or how to do the most basic things. So we've all spent time teaching her how to use toilet paper when using the restroom, how to put deodorant on, how to bathe and dress herself, how to just do the normal day to day things. However, I'd say the thing that has taken the most time to teach her would be simply how to interact with others. When she first got here she was SO rough. She would hit us to get a hug or attention. She is getting better about being gentle and just hugging and kissing us but there are still moments when she can really clobber us! She forgets she is nearly as big as us as she flings herself at us. :) She is making up for years worth of hugs, kisses, and love that she missed out on. We like to tease that she is a St. Bernard who thinks he is a lap dog. 

Thursday, March 5, 2009


As most of you know we took in Rosita this past summer. She has been deaf since she was very little. A couple of weeks ago she started school in the city at a school for the deaf called Feliz Manos. (Happy Hands) For the first two weeks they had an adaption period for the kids to get used to what was going on. This week marked her first week of full days. She gets up at 5:15 to get ready and leave for school. She doesn't return home until 3:15 or so. It means long days without a nap so she has been pretty tired at the end of the night. Today Terri (who has been picking her up) said Rosita even slept on the way home. It has been good for her to have interaction with people who actually know sign language! She comes home doing all kinds of signs. Generally we have NO idea what she is saying but it is sure fun to watch her. :) She is going to be 10 this year and is really behind in school so lets hope they can get her up to speed. 

Wednesday, March 4, 2009

The brothers

God is SOO good. The boy's dad got out of rehab this past Saturday. On Friday when Jen opened the newspaper she found a little house for rent. It was the first day the house had been run in the paper. The house is 2 minutes (walking) from the boys current bilingual school and about 2 miles from Jen's house. It is 2 bedrooms/2 bathrooms. The price, locations, and everything was perfect for what we needed! The family was able to move in Monday so the boys and their parents are all living together now. I talked to them yesterday morning and they said all went well. So far their dad has been nice and hasn't been drinking. He seems different so lets pray that continues. This really is his last chance. If he starts drinking/beating them again we will report them to IHNFA and they will be sent to another orphanage. SO yes....thank you SO much for your prayers. Please continue to petition the throne on their behalf. This battle is far from over. 

Tuesday, March 3, 2009

Surprise Visit

Almost exactly a year ago Colby (my best friend in the entire world) showed up at Casa unbeknown to me. She had contacted Jen and Karen to make sure someone could pick her up at the airport and then she booked her ticket. She was able to spend her spring break here with me. It was an amazing week. 

About a week ago Colbs and I were discussing her plans for this years spring break. She said that although she had her classes off she still had to go to her internship because she is required to be there for so many hours. We reminisced about last year and I even asked her if I could be expecting any surprise visits. She told me that no matter how much she wanted to be here it just wasn't possible this year. She couldn't afford to be away right now. We talked about her spending time here this summer and that was enough to appease me. 

Yesterday I spent the day in the city running errands and helping Jen, David, and Sam. We had a to do list that was a mile long and the day started bright and early. We all headed off in opposite directions to divide and conquer. The plan was that we would meet back up around 1 for lunch across from the airport. The morning ran smoothly and we were productive but by lunch time we found ourselves caught in more "this is Honduras" moments than we had anticipated so we finally met up with everyone else around 2:15. 

As soon as I walked in we talked about the next plan of action. How much time we had to eat, who needed to go where next, how we would get everything accomplished, etc. Jen asked me if I would go order everyones food while she went to the restroom. I had no sooner turned around when a set of arms wrapped around me. Confused I looked down at the arms first. Recognizing the Cardigan sweater to be the one Colby and I bought together I could barely contain myself as I turned around. 

Let's just say I made quite the scene in Church's Chicken as I squealed and jumped around. Colby had done it yet again. She had managed to keep her trip quiet and made it here to surprise me! :) So for the next week I'll be relishing in the mere proximity we have now found ourselves in. I love having her so close.