Saturday, November 30, 2013

Motherly Love

A child has been born! This week one of the teenagers at the group home in Guatemala have birth to a healthy baby girl. This is the second child of a thirteen year old. Yes, you read correctly, 13 years old! 

Let me share with you something that was on the Latin news this week. A young girl in Guatemala was abused by her step father and got her pregnant. After giving birth, this young girl killed her baby. My heart sank after hearing the news. This young girl took out her rage against her step father on this angel. What desperation, what sadness, what anger, what confusion. Who is the victim? 

Now here we are with a 13 year old girl who has given birth to a child, and guess what? The father is her step father. What's the difference? This teenager is safe, has a home, a new family. I am so grateful for the work that Lilly is doing with these girls at the group home. She is showing them love, compassion, and a new way of thinking. The new born child will have a future because the teen has been given love throughout we pregnancy in a new home. 

How I pray that I can be there already. I want to hold this baby and rock her in my arms. I want to share all that I have learned about development in my career and share the knowledge with them. 

I bought my ticket to Guatemala this week. I will be there for only 10 days in February. How I wish it was a one way ticket, but for now I will be thankful to have the opportunity to serve at the medical mission and stay a short week at the group home and love these kids. Eeeekkkkkkk I can't wait!!!!! 

(Me and Lilly)

Tuesday, November 26, 2013

Apple Tree has moved.

Thanksgiving is right around the corner and there's so much to be thankful for.

We are in the middle of moving where I work (for more info of Apple Tree click here). This is such an answered prayer because we were in desperate need of a space that we can call home. You see, we were sharing space with other people and it was torture trying to move everything at the end of the workweek, then have to set everything up Tuesday mornings. For the past year I have not had to help out since we hired someone to help. We are hoping to be able to open Mondays which means that children will be able to receive additional hours of therapy. I will also be able to treat more children for individual speech therapy. My boss has been working since last week getting the place ready and we started this week moving things into our rooms and organizing. I will say that moving is not the funnest part of my week. However, I was given toys and book as a donation to the village that we will be going to this upcoming Saturday (Click here for more info to the Tecate trips).  My room is coming out very nice. I ended up with the theme of forest/wilderness/backyard. I have giant leaves on each corner of the room and I think my boss has this big tree decal for my wall. We shall see how long that will last.  

The new Apple Tree 

I will be honest, not a lot of money has been made this season for jewelry sales. I was feeling super bummed because I have had to invest money to be part of the events and sometimes I don't even make back what I have invested. I was feeling super sorry for myself that I wanted to cry (I'm a big cry baby), but I can hear His voice, telling me that it's not what I will do, it's what He will do. All of this is for Him. I am thankful for that voice because it brings me back to the things that are truly important (jewelry posts: Here. Here, Here).

Thursday, November 14, 2013

Teddy Bear for keeps

A while back I heard that the teddy bear was named after Theodore Roosevelt. I guess he went hunting and when he saw some cubs he made sure they were not killed. 

We all can think back in our childhood and remember having a teddy bear or a stuffed animal that represented comfort or security. 

I want to share a special story of a little guy at the group home in Guatemala. Lester is your typical trouble maker. He's about 6 years old and his teacher was going crazy having him in class. One day he was picking up the pears that had fallen on the floor in the backyard (there were about 3-4 pear trees in the back). I found out that it was his punishment because at school he hit a classmate and took his treat. Everyday you can hear the nannies yelling out Lester's name whether it was because he was doing something wrong or participating in something he shouldn't be. He would do things on purpose to get the attention. It was like he loved having his name being called or even chased after. 

I don't know much about him other than he has 3 other siblings in the group home and his parents could no longer keep them because of the poverty they were living in. 

During dinner one day I asked Lester if he could help me by putting some dishes in the sink. That's when I saw how his eyes lit up as he put away the dishes. He felt special that he was considered. 

The next morning I mentioned it to the nannies and suggested how by changing the tone and letting him know how special he was it would change his attitude. The psychologist also had mentioned about changing their technique on how to talk to him. This kid did a full 180 after a day of giving him a different type of attention that included a discipline with love and affection. 

The rest of the time there I made sure to give him a little extra attention and it was so special to see his change. What a little  love can do to a little kids heart.

In the middle of my stay he came into my room and handed me his teddy bear. He said that it was so I would not sleep alone. Here's this kid whose parents have abandoned him and he was thinking of me. I hugged that teddy bear close to my heart every night. 

My last day at the group home he went upstairs to my room to watch me pack. We talked, laughed, and listened to music as he looked through the pictures I had taken. When I finished packing, I handed him the teddy bear and thanked him for letting me borrow it. The look on his face was priceless!!! He looked so insulted and said that he had given it to me. I got a knot in my throat. The little that he had, he was giving it to me

This teddy bear brings me so much comfort at night when I am missing the kids in Guatemala. 

I pray to God everyday asking to already take me there, to help me in my sales. I keep Him telling me to be patient, that He is in front of me leading the way. He will take me there, I just need to be still and know that He is The almighty God. 

Tuesday, November 5, 2013

Green snot!

+Lorena Ventura is someone whom I've known for a few years through church, but hardly on a personal level. We got better acquainted when she joined me on the journey to Guatemala. I had such a great time getting to know her and it was obvious that many people were drawn by her sweetness. When she was in College at UCLA there was a community service that was started to help children. Her classmates and her started going to an orphanage neat Tijuana, Mexico. After she graduated, she continued her trips and this time she included church members. This past weekend I joined her on a trip and let me just say that I had a BLAST!!!

The day started at 5am...yes, I will wake up that early for the sake of orphans! We got ready and waited for people to arrive at a local COSTCO. Once everyone was there ad all of the cars were packed up with the donations, he headed towards the boarder. We made a quick stop on the last exit before entering Mexico for last minute items and food. Tijuana is not for the first time drivers. It's crazy trying to switch lanes and make turns. People have no considerations for the stops or lights. Let's just say that my sensory system got a little workout! The town is called La Gloria.

When we arrived to the orphanage the children were upstairs with another group from Tijuana. The children were learning about Jesus in a fun way...with puppets. They were super attentive and participating. After they were done we all went outside to play with the kids. I had so much fun! One of the little guys I spent quality time with was little Guero. He is about 2 years old and I played a little bit of soccer with him. He let me hold him and we walked around the building kicking the ball. While I was playing with him little Diego (click here for another story of Diego) came to mind. I got a knot in my throat, but I tried to focus on Guerito.

We did arts and craft and later that visit one of the girls brought out the piƱata. The little kids lined up and took their turns hitting it. Once all the kids got their candy, we said our goodbyes and headed to the other home. This orphanage has 2 homes. One of the homes is for the little kids and older girls and the other home is for the older boys.

As soon as we drove in I could hear them say, "It's Lorena!" The guys played soccer and showed each other their moves they also played Frisbee. That's when I was introduced to Alex.


Alex is 17 years old and he was dropped off about 2 years ago by his aunt who lives not too far from the orphanage. The director indicated that Alex's aunt has not once gone back to visit. Alex has such a sweet soul. He does not talk, has poor sight and possibly poor hearing. When he got up he grabbed me supper tight and wrapped his legs around me. I thought it was super funny because here's this kid who is as tall as me wanting to be held. Once the director helped Alex to get down, I walked him to the couch. He managed to move his body on my lap. All he wanted was to be cradles like a baby. I let him and I slowly rocked him back and forth and sang him a song. It was such a special moment with Alex.

There were a few kid that were a little sick...I didn't hold back with the hugs and kisses so I am now at home, sick. IT WAS WORTH IT!!!!!