Wednesday, February 27, 2013

The Library

Our kids love the library! On this day we went because there was going to be a "Chinese New Year Party"...  
As it turns out the word Party is used loosely. And my kids were the only actual Asian kids there... Oh well...  There was a book read that I guess could be considered to be about Chinese New Year... and they figured out what 'year' they were born and drew a picture of their animal. Both of my kids were born in the year of the rooster (but they already knew this). 
 So they enjoyed the craft project
 and quickly requested
 to go find new books.
 Maylin couldn't be happier! She loves books! There is a great big section with plenty of books for each of their reading levels. Maylin's favorite books are about princesses, Scooby-Doo or barbie. She seeks out books easy enough for her to read on her own.
 Of course they also both enjoy a little computer time.  Pierson has figured out how to search and find books he is interested in.
Pierson's favorite books are the Hardy Boys or other 'comic type' books. The most recent favorite is about World War II and Guadalcanal.  (Not sure if he loves the story or the pictures the best?)  Pierson doesn't really care if he can read them by himself or not but he wants to know who the good guys and bad guys are! Sometimes I make him get at least two books he can read by himself. When I do he sighs and says, "OK mom." I guess that is the difference between girls and boys?! lol

Saturday, February 16, 2013

Honduras 2012: Saying Goodbye

It was that time. The end of the last day.We knew it was coming yet somehow no one talked about it. There was too much we wanted to do. The medical team needed to pack up the clinic. There were final nails to drive into the now-stable bunk beds and finish burning their trash...Or maybe that was the easy way out. Don't think about it and it won't hurt. Right? Like ripping off a band-aide. Stay busy and then just slip away unnoticed... 
That certainly would have been easier for the heart. Fortunately that wasn't how it ended. In reality there were too many hugs to give. Too many last chance memories to make... My husband, the entertainer, pulled out his guitar and began singing silly camp songs even as the medical team finished packing up the clinic and a some of us drove in the last few nails. We all joined him as we finished our final tasks and began to partake in the festivities. 

We sang a few songs in Spanish and we sang some camp songs from CCC. It was kind of our "end of the week party".  It was a great way to go out. Singing songs and celebrating friendships.
All the silliness was a bit of a distraction from what was about to come... Saying goodbye
. It was quickly turning dusk and we knew we should be heading towards the House of Hope to make it before nightfall. Yet none of us could begin to head that way. 
The kids gathered together and sang "God be with you 'till we meet again". It was all in their Moskito language but the tune and the waving of their hands was undeniable. My heart wanted to stop. These beautiful children were wishing us well. They were sending us off with blessings. It was at that point I began to realize my heart was breaking. 
Darkness was setting quickly yet none of us left. We posed for more pictures, we gave more hugs and played a few more bursts of tag. By this point we knew we weren't going to make it back by dark. Our friend, Alex called his guy with the dump truck again to take us back to the House of Hope. That bought us even more time as we waited for our ride.
However, I knew our time was running out and I knew that eventually I was going to have to officially say goodbye to Faviola (our sponsored daughter). It had been such an amazing few days getting to know her better, to love on her and spoil her with Cokes and granola bars. I loved learning her sweet, shy mannerisms.  I loved seeing her grin each time I looked up from what I had been doing. She was shy but she was curious. She watched Adam and I, even the kids like she was trying to learn more about us too. I think at first she wasn't sure about us. Maybe she just wasn't sure how much we cared about her... by the end I am sure she knew she was special to us and that we cared for her and loved her deeply. 
We asked Linda to translate our goodbye for us. We told her we loved her and that we were very proud of her. We encouraged her to continue to do well in school and go to church. We assured her we would be back to see her again and that we would send pictures and little gifts throughout the year.
 As this conversation progressed I lost control of my emotions. I continued to hug her as I sobbed. How could I let this child go. How could I walk away from her. How could I ever convince her how much I truly LOVE her... My heart was/is breaking... I know adopting her isn't an option. I know I can't take her home with us. I even know she is loved well there... but I want to be the person to love her daily. I want to tuck her in at night and I want to teach her how much she is loved by our savior.
I had lost it. I tried to pull myself together fearing I was freaking her out... but then... I felt it... her tears began to fall on my arm... Oddly enough this brought a sense of peace to me. Peace that she cared for us too. Peace that I wasn't crazy for loving this little girl. This peace also hollowed out a hole in my heart that only Faviola can fill.
This very moment I can feel the weight of those tears on my arm. I can hear the gentle sniffles. If I close my eyes I can feel her leaning into me. In that moment all seems well. In that moment I don't have to face the fact that she is our little girl who lives half a world away.


 The next morning as we walked to the airport at 6:00am one by one we started seeing the kids show up to see us off. they had walked quite a ways to see us off. I was thrilled! But now we had to rip the band-aide off again! lol  Fortunately somehow this was easier to do this day. I guess we let it all out the night before. This morning was full of joy.
 Saying goodbye again Faviola and her cousin.
 Mom saying goodbye again to her sponsored son.
 Pierson saying goodbye to his "best friend" Adam. (Adam lives there with his AWESOME family! They are local missionaries who took care of us while we were there.)
Saying goodbye to Charlie. Charlie was Maylin's drawing buddy!

And just like that.. it was time to go... time to say goodbye for now.
 Until next time...

Goodbye may seem forever
Farewell is like the end 
But in our hearts a memory
And there you'll always be
-Fox and the Hound

Thursday, February 14, 2013

Honduras 2012: Where the Wind Always Blows.

Today I am dreaming of a simpler life.
Today I want to give Faviola a hug.
Today I want the sole purpose of my life to be living out Christ's Great commission. 
 Today my heart is missing the peace of this second story balcony. 
After each day at Mama Tara's our team came back to The House of Hope for dinner and lodging. Each night after dinner and showers we gathered together on our balcony for singing, sharing and devotions. We had some wonderful discussions.  Don't underestimate the beauty of those moments and conversations. They were life altering. These moments are as important as the work we were doing. Without those moments it would be difficult to process what you have seen and done. Without those moments it would be too easy to silence one's heartbreak and compartmentalize the realities of the children we have come to love. It would be easy to lock those emotions away. Easier to go on through life without letting your heart accept the change that is forming within.

I long to be back on this balcony again. Puerto Lempira is hot and humid and there aren't many times during the day when one isn't wiping the sweat from their brow, inside our bedrooms the air is a bit stuffy and stagnant but somehow... on that balcony... life... is perfect.
At all times of the day there is a constant gentle breeze bringing refreshment to weary souls and bodies.   My heart yearns to be there... to sit in the stillness of the night, engulfed by the freshness of that life giving air. The air which seems to carry the Holy Spirit with it.  The air which brings a peace of blessed assurance. The air that gives one the strength and rejuvenation to carry on for another day.

If I close my eyes I can feel the breeze coming over my shoulders and across my cheeks.
In that moment time stands still.
In that moment all is well with my soul.

Wednesday, February 13, 2013

Honduras 2012: Ditches and Lights

Mama Tara's is in great need of a security wall around their facility. They have been fundraising for this massive project for several years now. The local government donated 15 acres to Mama Tara's years ago and the plan is to put a wall around that land to secure it. Squatting is common there. If there is nothing there to mark the land it will likely 'shrink' over time. Most importantly though is that theft is prevalent there. They need the wall for the safety of the children!  When we arrived in Puerto Lempira they still needed $16,000 dollars to complete the (interior) wall.  It is going to take at least twice that to enclose the entire property but for now they are going ahead with enclosing just a few acres so that they can ensure the children's safety. 
 When we arrived we were excited to see that part of the wall had been worked on. I guess that is where the funds ran out. They were going to need to begin fundraising again. In my mind $16,000 seemed like an unreachable goal.
  Digging trenches for the footing of the wall however is free. We were excited to begin that process. So we dug, and we dug,
 and we dug some more...
 and a bit more...
even the kids happily pitched in and dug. We made a nice dent in the earth surrounding Mama Tara's and we were extremely pleased by that. But we left a bit sad because we knew it would be a long time before cinder block was laid in those trenches. 

Little did we know that a spark was ignited in Andy Barnes one of our team members. Andy was not satisfied that the wall was going to have to wait. When he got home he began to talk to his employers and within a week or two he had $16,000 pledged and sent to complete this wall! Please tell me... How good is our God!?  
I am excited to go back next year and see the kids playing safely inside their wall!

  Something we discovered on our first trip was that we thought it to be ridiculous for these children to not have electricity. The power line from town ended a mere 200ish yds away.. yet they had no electricity. Grr... When we left December 31st of 2011 we set out to make sure these kids had light. At 5:30 pm it gets terribly dark in PL... Actually it gets scary dark.
 It was hard for me to swallow knowing that the kids were in the dark when I was home with more lights than one really needs. Within a few months our church had committed to pay for the installation of the electricity line as well as pay for at least a year of electricity!

This year on our trip we had the advantage of taking along an electrician. Scott was priceless to the cause of getting the wiring up-to-snuff within the facility. He worked hard everyday keeping things rolling. He even rolled right through the medical clinic! lol (above: Dr. Cline and Wendy hold the ladder for Scott as he finishes wiring the school room/make shift clinic)
 After Scott finished the wiring Alex brought over a generator so we could see what it would look like once the lights were turned on for good!
 All the kids and Mama Tara gathered in the main room for the 'reveal'!  Alex gave a little speech and then it happened Scott turned the lights on! It was a great moment for us even though we new it was temporary because the power line had not made it's way from town yet.
However we have word that this should be happening soon! And definitely by the next time we return the lights will officially be on! Praise God for donors and all those who love the children at Mama Tara's!

I saw the light. I saw the light.
 No more darkness, no more night, 
Now I'm so happy no sorrow in sight.
 Praise the Lord. I was the light!

Sunday, February 3, 2013

Honduras 2012: Chicken Coops

As the days went on the chicken coup progressed. The guys who spent A LOT of time and energy rebuilding this chicken coop worked extremely hard. Had one, Andy Barnes, not recently built his wife a chicken coup at home all their efforts would probably been in vain. Not because they couldn't have built an equally sturdy chicken coop... they definitely could/would have. However Andy knew one very important necessity that makes a chicken coup a place for hens to lay eggs... Nests. They had rebuilt three sides of this coop but it would have done no good for the chickens had Andy's 'light bulb' not gone off. On our walk back one day we all began collecting straw
What we were able to pick up along our walk back from lunch wasn't going to be nearly enough. 
So the girls, who were on break from school, started helping rake the grass we had recently hacked down.
Before long we had lots of great 'nests' inside.
Of course someone had to show the chickens what to do! lol

At least one chicken took notice! 
I am pleased that we can rest assured that the chickens are nesting safely in this much improved chicken coup. Good job guys. Good job!
These children and chickens are much obliged.