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Monday, October 20, 2014

Inner Struggle

"9 For this reason, since the day we heard about you, we have not stopped praying for you. We continually ask God to fill you with the knowledge of his will through all the wisdom and understanding that the Spirit gives,[e] 10 so that you may live a life worthy of the Lord and please him in every way: bearing fruit in every good work, growing in the knowledge of God, 11 being strengthened with all power according to his glorious might so that you may have great endurance and patience, 12 and giving joyful thanks to the Father, who has qualified you[f] to share in the inheritance of his holy people in the kingdom of light." Colossians 1:9-12 

I'm reading a book in Spanish regarding how to be a woman of excellence and this was one of the passages that was shared. At first I thought to myself that it's a lot of work to represent this scripture. I do try to think how I can apply scripture to my life. Then, I remembered that all I need to do is ask for help. It is possible though I do know that there will be times when I will fall and make mistakes. 

There was a situation that happened on Friday at the hogar and I was called higher, to step up and be stronger. There was sadness and fear in my heart. Things were resolved, but there's so much to still grow in. I will admit that I feel a little overwhelmed, but this is good for me. There are things that I struggled with prior to moving here and I feel like I need to be here to grow in my character, learn about myself and be molded into the woman God desires me to become. 

Reina's mom

Today I went to a small town past San Jose del Golfo with Reina and a few of her family members to bring flowers where my Reina's dad is buried. Life is so short and it was a good reminder to express my love to the people who mean so much to me.
Driving through the mountains and seeing God's creation was mesmerizing! I took a picture, but it didn't give it any justice to what my eyes was able to see. The hills reminded me so much of my favorite scripture in Psalms 121:1-2 which talks about looking up to the hills as the writer asks, "Where does my help come from? My help comes from The Lord; the maker of heaven and earth." God wants me to share in the inheritance of His kingdom and what I need to do is ask for His guidance because He is willing and wanting to help me. 

 


















Somewhere after San Jose del Golfo
scary road

It's Monday and I arrived at the hogar this evening. I am ready to ask for help and start the week :)

Tuesday, October 14, 2014

Bus Ride

This past weekend was filled with a lot of fun and excitement because I went to 4 different parties; 2 birthdays, a wedding and a quinceanera.  I had a great time, but I was eager to get back to see the children. I was planning on being back by Monday afternoon, but I was able to find a ride back home on Sunday :) the children and teens were excited to see me a day earlier than expected.

One very exciting thing that happened was being able to ride on a bus. It's supposedly a safer bus called transurbano. These buses started to appear in 2010. They are considered safer because they have built in GPS so it can be tracked, some have cameras and all of the walls have a panic button for emergencies which will contact the police. I was with other friends from church and when I got on there was a turning rail, sort of like the ones at Disneyland (the ones that turn to count how many people have gotten on a ride). There were no seats available so I stood holding on to a rail in the middle of the bus and my friend started laughing saying that it was obvious that it was my first time because of how tight I was holding on. I will admit that there was a moment when I got a little scared. A young man got on the bus and I got the creeps. You see, many people have told me that they have been assaulted on a bus. There has even been stories of people being killed because they would not hand over their wallet or cell phones. Obviously nothing happened and I am safe. I do not think that I am ready to get on a bus by myself, but I'm glad I was able to finally get on one. 
 

Friday, September 19, 2014

encourge one another

13 But encourage one another daily, as long as it is called “Today,” so that none of you may be hardened by sin’s deceitfulness. Hebrews 3:13

It was a busy day today that started at 4:45am. Four of the children (all siblings) had a court hearing today and we all had to be ready and out the door by 5:45 the latest. There was so much traffic that we got to the city at 8:30am (it's normally a 45 minute drive or less without traffic). The children were able to see their mom (who just got out of prison), their grandmother and an aunt. It was so special to see their interaction when they saw each other. The mother did mention that she would not be able to provide for her children the way the hogar has provided and will not be asking for them to be returned, but would like to visit them this Sunday. We went to McDonald's to give them a little treat. Lilly seems to do this when any child has a court hearing. We made it back home by 1 after making a little detour. 

The rest of the day was filled with a lot of teaching, correcting and disbursing of donated clothe. The teens were encouraged to be a lot more respectful towards the workers and to be cleaner. A few days ago after talking to some of the teens and them wanting a devotional I thought of something to do with them. "Encourage" kept coming to mind. 



This evening we read a few scriptures on love (John 13:34-35) and encouragement (Hebrews 3:13). Their names were placed on pieces of paper and they were asked to pick a paper. They made a card for the person they got. They shared something that they liked or appreciated of that person. It was so nice to see them interact and laugh at some of the funny things they were saying. I asked what they thought about what the director said regarding respecting each other. Lidia responded that if one wants to be respected then they should show respect. This girl is super mature for her age. 

They all went to bed a little more refreshed. They make my stay here so refreshing. I honestly can say that I love them very much.

Thursday, August 28, 2014

special guest: Baeley Hathaway


Angel Mateo and Baeley
My name is Baeley Elaine Hathaway. I am 17 years old and I go to North Idaho College. I am studying psychology and Spanish and plan to get my doctorate of psychology and practice bilingual therapy. Right now I coach gymnastics and nanny. On August 31 my sister married a man who has been a family friend for years. His mother adopted twin girls from Guatemala about 7 years ago and upon returning home, has started a non profit organization to help fund orphanages in Guatemala. She is currently sponsoring Esperanza y Futuro.

I have been to Guatemala twice now and I think I decided to go for a month this summer because of how wonderful my first trip was. Guatemala has always been on my heart since I was a little girl and when I met my brother in law's mother and found out she has an orphanage in Guatemala I knew it was God's work. I chose a month because that is how long my break was for school, but if I had it my way, I'd never leave!


During my month in Guatemala so many beautiful and memorable things took place. It would be impossible to chose a favorite or a most valuable. But one story I feel is worth sharing is about a little boy I met outside of the orphanage. I was asked to babysit the children of the woman of Santo Tomas while they listened to a guest speaker talk about personal hygiene. I arrived and was given a box of things to do to entertain them. Most of the children colored pictures and waited for me to make them a bracelet made of beads the colors of Jesus' life and death. But one boy sat in front of me and stared. He was probably 2 years old. I asked him if he wanted to color and he said nothing. I asked if he wanted to help me make a bracelet and he said nothing. He just studied my features and I wondered if it was his first time seeing someone with light hair and skin. After quite a while he finally agreed that I could tie a bracelet around his wrist. I told him the colors meant that God loves him very much. He held out his little hand and he watched me tie a knot. Right as I pulled it tight, I said "que guapo!" Or "how handsome!" And his little chin raised up and he grinned the biggest grin at me and jumped into my arms. He hugged me tight for minutes and with no words, I felt his innocence and his willingness to love. His little head against my chest, he was healing me from the outside in.


I learned so many things about myself while in Guatemala because allowing yourself to experience a different culture also allows you to discover what makes you, you. I came to Guatemala with hurts and wounds I had no idea how to heal on my own. I came feeling insecure, worthless, and drowning in an attempt to stay afloat. I barely had faith in God and had no faith in myself. By being accepted as a friend by these girls and getting to share laughter and tears with them, I learned that i will have worth no matter what people say, no matter the mistakes I make, because I was made by something worth everything. I learned that I cannot love other people if I don't love myself because if I am going to claim that everyone has beauty, I cannot discount myself. I learned that boys and girls, children and adults, rich and poor, are all alike. We are alike in that we all feel alone sometimes. We all need to discover ourselves and the only thing that's different is how we do that. Because I tried so hard to show the children at the orphanage how beautiful they are, and to believe that they are treasured and loved beyond measure, I must believe that also about myself. The peace I feel in my heart when I am in Guatemala taught me that I am not here by mistake. The last thing I learned is that my worth doesn't only exist in a different country. I am not only called to serve Guatemala; Guatemala just reminded me that everyone I come across from every walk of life can be loved, and that I have enough to love them.

This is the most precious thing I am taking back with me: the knowledge that sometimes I need help, and just alike, sometimes I need to give help. I am taking back all the precious kisses I received from the children and I will use them to remind me to keep fighting when I feel defeated. I am taking back my gratitude for the mere fact that I am alive and breathing, for my family and friends, for all of the blessings I have. I am not alone, I am not forgotten, I have a family in two countries and I am taking back all of the love I felt from them.

Tuesday, August 26, 2014

first bible talk



Week 2:
8-25-14
Fear is one thing that can disable us from accomplishing our dreams, goals, visions, etc. I remember when I was making the decision to move out here my friend Glenda told me that what determines a successful person and one that is not, it all depends on the gut check. When it’s time to jump some do not take that risk because fear creeps in. 




“Have I not commanded you? Be strong and courageous. Do not be afraid; do not be discouraged, for the Lord your God will be with you wherever you go.” Joshua 1:9

I shared with them that I had many fears in coming to Guatemala; leaving my family, my job of 10 years, my belongings, etc., but that I knew that God had a plan and that He would be with me.

Earlier tonight as I helped with two of the little girls to bed I had a small moment of awe and fear. Seeing them there not wanting to lay in their new toddler beds and somehow convincing them to lay down in order to have a good night story be told, I realized something that I have thought of before, but this time it had a different meaning. These children are so vulnerable and just what the minister said this past Sunday, teaching them to love and trust in God starts as soon as they are born by praying with them.  What a big responsibility God has entrusted me with by having me here. There’s so much to do and so much that needs to be given, but I keep asking God to use me as His tool to minister and love the children here.

Sunday, August 17, 2014

When 2 worlds collide

Today is the last day of the brigade and let me just say that it has been a great experience once again. It has been really neat to be able to see all of the hard work that has been done behind the scenes.


I would like to share a story of what happened on Friday and how special it is to witness two worlds collide. 
2 of the teens from the home where I will be moving to as well as 2 children came to see the doctor on Friday. It was so nice to be able to see and hug my sweet friend Lilly, the director. She brought one of the teens with her who is pregnant and is only 15 years old. A weeks ago she found out that she is having a baby boy and the home threw her a baby shower. 

(Left to right) Cynthia, Meagan and Emma
A few months ago a young girl from Champagne, Illinois was gathering baby clothes and diapers to bring to the brigade not even knowing for sure if she was coming. Emma, is probably getting close to being a teenager herself. 

On Friday Cynthia, Emma's mom, told me about what Emma had been doing so when the opportunity came I was able to introduce Emma and the teen. Emma shared how she had clothes for her baby. It was a special moment. I don't know exactly what was going on in their minds as they exchanged a mini conversation, but I could see something special happening. This is something that can change a life. For the teen it could be an opportunity to give back knowing that so much has been given to her. For Emma it's an experience that she would be able to remember of how special it is to give, even to a complete stranger. 

I remember being little staying with my family in Mexico on vacation and seeing how people in the community would bring things from the states to give to others. My aunt grabbed 2 colorful shirts and I kept them until high school. Seeing it at  such a young age how special it was to get something as little as a couple of shirts, has turned into something much more meaningful in my life. 

Not only are people receiving medical attention, they are being shown compassion and who knows what it will produce in them. 
Emma givimg me the donationn



Tuesday, August 12, 2014

Guatemala Day 1

I spent all of Sunday with my family and it was so encouraging to see them all for the last time. My parents, brother and sister took me to the airport. I can't even express how special it was to have them all there. I'm going to miss them so much!




Niece and nephews (left to right)
Jacob, Layla and Luke
(left to right) Cindy, me, dad, mom and Juan



I have been in Guatemala for 24 hours and let me just say that it has been great so far. The experience at the ticket counter in LAX was a little challenging. When the clerk saw my one way ticket he asked where was my return ticket. I told him that I would be leaving the country of Guatemala and buying my ticket once I was there. Well he said he could not check me in until I had proof that I would not stay in Guatemala since I was not a Guatemalan. I was forced to buy a one-way ticket to El Salvador and let me just say that it cost me as much as the one-way ticket to Guatemala from Los Angeles. I was trying not to stress so much especially since I was able to get the ticket for it to be refundable.

I hugged my family really tight, said goodbye and walked up the stairs for the inspection area. Man, that was tougher than I thought.


I was a little nervous once I got in the plane and kept thinking of one of the scriptures that I read a few weeks prior that talks about how we were predestined in according to His will for His glory (Ephesians 1:11-12). All of the sacrifices that I had made and will continue to do is all for His glory.

Estuardo <3
As soon as I arrived to Guatemala and walked out of the airport I saw two friends holding signs then I saw my boyfriend dressed very nice with flowers in his hands and a huge card that read, "Mi Amor" which means "My love" I felt so much excitement and joy to see him.
Me and Karla

Stiven and Jessie


Our second selfie as a couple
Later that evening I met up with him and we had 2 hours to ourselves of catching up. It was really pleasant. Afterwards we walked about half a block and there were some friends from church waiting for us at a restaurant. That evening there were about 20 people who showed up to share a meal with us. Though I felt exhausted from the trip, it was a great time that was spent.



This week the medical brigade starts and I'm really excited to start serving. then, next week I get to take all of my bags to my permanent home; Esperanza y Futuro. I can't wait!


Friday, August 8, 2014

Apple Tree Early Intervention Center

Today was my last day at work. I have been dreading this moment for quite sometime because I have been there for most of my adult life, 10 years, 7 months and 3 days to be exact. This past week I have been hugging the kids a little tighter and being present at every moment. There are so many things that I have learned from the parents as well as the children. I have enjoyed every moment...well, not when I was scratched in the face or slapped by an over stimulated child.

Top left was my classroom/office

For those of you who do not know I have been doing speech therapy for children with special needs. I started as an early interventionist in the cognition classroom. I would conduct group therapy for children under age 3. We would work on object permanence for the younger children, object recognition, problem solving and following directions. Soon after I was hired my boss wanted me to do in-home services. This meant I had to go to the homes of children who did not qualify for group therapy. I did this for almost 10 years. I had such a great time meeting new families and able to see how children performed in their natural environment versus a clinic. As I drive around Orange County I get flashbacks of the different children I serviced in the different neighborhoods.

Four years ago I completed my degree to be able to do speech therapy. This has been the most rewarding experience so far working at Apple Tree. I was moved to the speech room and never looked back. I have been given the opportunity to also see children over age 3 thanks to one of the parents who wanted to continue her services with Apple Tree after her son turned 3. Apple tree became a vendor through health insurances (Thank you Carola).

I would like to share a story of a child who has touched my heart and has been the perfect example that early intervention is key. Per parent approval I am able to share about her.


Our last day together
Sofia came to us when she was was about 18 months. There was a possible diagnosis of autism which later it was confirmed. Sofia started with Occupational therapy and I could hear her screaming for all of the session. Within a few weeks we received approval for Sofia to also receive speech therapy. Her screams did not stop after occupational therapy. She would scream and cry for 2 hours. One day I took out the barn and its animals. She became interested in a bobble head dog. Through her tears she would attempt to say "puppy".

Sofia is now 3 and has made incredible progress. Her parents have been such a great support in a all of her therapy needs and would hardly miss any appointments. I know that Sofia will continue to progress especially now that she will be starting preschool in a few days. I am looking forward to seeing her reach her fullest potential.

She will be deeply missed as well as the other children whom I have worked with. They will all have a special place in my heart. I have learned a lot about perseverance, love, compassion and resilience from the children and their families.

It's now time to move on and be ready for the journey before me in Guatemala.

Friday, August 1, 2014

Utah, Tecate and more

In a little over a week I will be in Guatemala. I was able to go to Utah with my sweet friend Priscilla and we visited Zion and Bryce. I had such a great time and I'm supper happy that I was able to share this experience with her. Priscilla has joined the medical brigades in Guatemala for a few times and has stayed at the hogar with me in February. She has also been my carpool buddy to the Tecate trips.



Utah was more than what I have expected. As soon as we got to Zion we went straight to The Narrows. It was breathtaking as well as a tough journey walking against the current and not being able to see where we were walking since the water was brown. There was a moment when I looked at Priscilla and said "This is so cool!" I had a walking stick which made it a little easier to maintain some balance. We had been walking what felt like a few hours and decided to turn back...well, let's just say that it took us a little over 10 minutes to walk back. Keep in mind that walking back meant being pushed along with the stream. It was quite funny after we realized that we didn't go out that far.




Bryce was breathtaking for sure!! it reminded me of a smaller version or the Grand Canyon. We got to one end of the park and hiked a few miles along the rim then Priscilla convinced me to walk down the canyon. It was easy walking down, but the walk up the canyon we had to make many stops so I could catch my breath. I will say that this was the most challenging park of the trip, but it was worth it.


Can you see me on the top picture??
Navajo Loop, Wallstreet



This past weekend a few of us went to tecate with Glenda, Dominic and a few others. We did our normal visit at the village and then took the 45 minute drive to La Rumurosa to visit the elderly hospice. I will say that this was a little emotional for me because this was my last trip in a while. It was such a pleasure to have had the opportunity to serve in Tecate the past 10 years with such giving people. I have learned a lot myself and about God's love for those who have been abandoned and in need. This has truly been a stepping stone to where I am now; about to leave to Guatemala.




The first couple of days I will be staying at a friends house in the city. On Thursday evening we have a meeting for the medical mission and Friday morning we start seeing clients. The following Monday I will going to the Hogar. I can't wait to see the children and give them all super tight hugs.
 

Wednesday, July 9, 2014

Special Guest: Courtney Fink


From time to time I run into some special people in my life. I would like to introduce to you Courtney Fink. She had the opportunity to travel to Guatemala and Nicaragua. Courtney stayed at the hogar where I will be moving to. This was my interview with her:



1. Tell me a little about yourself

When people in Guatemala found out I was only twenty years old and I had traveled alone to Guatemala, they were amazed.  When they found out I had not only been to Guatemala, but also Italy, France, South Africa, Mexico, and Haiti, they were even more amazed. In these moments, I felt filled with humility and  gratitude. Why me? Why did I, out of all the other people in the world get so blessed with a life full of adventurous travels? I have not just been traveling,  but traveling for FREE.  At this point you want to know my secret of free and plentiful travel life, so let me explain myself.

I was born and raised in the south suburbs of Chicago. My parents have been in leadership in the church in Chicago since 2004. In 2007, I made Jesus Lord of my life and was baptized into Christ at the age of 13. I was able to attend an amazing college prep high school which led me to being able to go to the university of my dreams, Clemson University in South Carolina. It is a big school in a small town, known for engineering and farming. However, I know nothing about engineering and farming. I am a rising junior majoring in history and education and minoring in Spanish.  So Clemson definitely wasn't my dream school for the academic expertise I could gain, although it is a good school in every area. And it definitely wasn't the location that had the allure; I mainly consider myself a city girl. Clemson is as southern and rural as it gets. Amongst the many "y'all's" my thick Chicago accent has never fit in. Clemson University was my dream school because of the small church there. The church was planted in Clemson in 2009 and I wanted to go there and continue to help the church and campus ministry grow.  Another huge pull to Clemson university was something called the EETG- "education enrichment travel grant" that the honors college offered. As a senior in high school, Clemson Honors College presented me with the opportunity to use $3000 each summer to travel anywhere to enhance my educational or life goals. That alone pretty much sold me to the idea of going to Clemson.
2. What expectations did you have before going to Guatemala?

You see, before my junior year of high school, I read the books "Crazy Love" and "Radical".  These books encourage you to live outside the norms for American Christianity and look around the world, seeing the billions of spiritual and physical needs that are going unmet.  It became my conviction that being a disciple of Christ included leaving the comforts of America and helping people throughout the world. In 2012 I had my first out of country experience in an orphanage in Haiti. After that experience, I fell in love with traveling. I knew the rest of my life would be filled with travel and helping others, whatever sacrifices it would take.


So flash forward to this summer, here I am in Guatemala and Nicaragua for seven weeks. Out of all the countries in the world, why spend a month in Guatemala? After traveling around some in the last couple years, I realized I wanted to learn another language so I had the capability to help more nations and more people. My sophomore year of college I added a minor in Spanish and I knew I wanted to travel somewhere where I could put that to use. And by the glory of God and his amazing design of his kingdom, through a long strain of people I was put in contact with your very own Ana Cuevas. She told me about the home "Esperanza y Futuro" and it sounded like the perfect fit for how I wanted to spend my time this summer.  Through the spring semester, I arranged all the details of the trip and on May 11th at 3 AM, I found myself at the Chicago airport ready to leave for my 7 week adventure.
3.  Tell us about your first day at the Hogar



After a few flights, I finally arrived at the airport in Guatemala and quickly found Lilly, the director, and two of the young girls, Raquel and Karla who picked me up.  They greeted me with big hugs and kisses and I felt so welcomed.  I mainly talked English with Lilly on the journey to the orphanage, but I decided to try out my Spanish on the girls.  What came out of my mouth was met by some giggles and shifting eyes.  I realized very quickly that speaking Spanish here was going to be very different than my experiences with Spanish in the classroom.  I knew I had a very thick American accent.  But, nonetheless, I was ready to interact and be with the kids, knowing that love doesn’t need a translator; even if my Spanish was horrid, I could still love the kids by serving in my actions.

When we arrived at the home on the Sunday afternoon, I felt like a spoiled girl on vacation!  The view from the house was breathtaking.  The home is in the mountains of Guatemala and surrounded by three gorgeous volcanoes.  The home itself was gorgeous- it reminded me of vacation homes I had stayed in Italy.   I came downstairs and got to meet all the kids and workers at the home.  This is when things got a little overwhelming.  I could only understand about ten percent of everything that was going on around me and I thought learning all their names would be close to impossible.  However, this was only day 1 of 30 so I knew it could only get better from there.  That evening, after the kids got ready for bed we sat and watched TV together.  With some children sitting on my lap, I was filled with joy.  I knew the month would be hard, but so rewarding because I was already falling in love with these children.  
The next week was one of the hardest weeks of my life.  I ate some grapes my first day there without washing them, and I got very sick the next day.  I subsequently spent the next day in between my bedroom, sleeping, and the bathroom.  That evening when I went downstairs, I fainted.  However, I woke up surrounded by 15 kids and to the taste of Gatorade.  To some this may sound overwhelming, but for me I felt so loved by seeing the concern and care on each one of the faces around me.  Some of the girls helped me back up to my bed and later brought me food.  I felt so cared for; however, it was difficult going through all this not really being able to communicate with them and not being able to talk to anyone back in the States.  Luckily I quickly recovered and was ready to interact with the kids the next day.  The first week was also very difficult because everything was so new.  I didn’t know the kids or what my role should be or how to be useful.  But slowly and surely, day by day, I got to know the teens and the kids and figure out how the home ran.  By my second week there, living in the hogar had become a joy.  Sure I felt lonely at times and missed people in America, but the joy of getting to serve at the hogar outweighed all of that.

4. What has been the most memorable moment and what are you taking from this trip?


What was so cool about the month I spent in Guatemala is that although I was often surrounded by many teens and kids with a lot of energy, never in my life have I had more time to be still in God’s presence.  Times where I helped do the dishes or fold the laundry often turned into times of prayer since I could not always talk to the girls very well.  I valued my time reading the Bible more than ever because it was the only contact I had with English!  It was difficult, but refreshing, not having internet on my phone or computer for the month.  With my lack of Spanish and my lack of internet, God truly became my best friend.  It was so amazing too because God constantly was showing me himself through the interactions I had with the kids. In the Bible he makes it clear that we need the same humility and attitude that children have, and I felt spoiled to get to observe and imitate so many adorable children that I knew God holds so dear!

There was not one day or moment that stood out amongst the rest while I was there; the whole month was filled with small, precious moments.  When I think of the times I will always treasure, I think of the little curls cuddling up to me and falling asleep with their head on my chest.  I think of the girls and I staying up late to do Zumba together.  I think of the time the taught me how to make tamales from scratch, or the times I spun them around and we danced together in the middle of washing all the dishes.  Many nights the kids and I went out and jumped on the trampoline together underneath the beautiful night sky of Guatemala.  Each day was filled with so many moments of love and laughter.  What was so amazing about this to me is that these girls and kids had lives completely filled with hardship.  They had been abandoned or abused or betrayed and yet they were still so capable of loving me and sharing these precious moments with me.  Many of them worked hard day in and day out, washing clothes, cleaning the house, helping in the kitchen- frankly, things that North American adolescents never have to do for themselves.  Yet these girls and kids had so much fun together.  They did not mope around, constantly complain, or act lazy.  The loved each other and cared for one another.  The thirty kids were knit into one big, happy family despite all the broken homes they had come from.  I learned so much about being a hard worker and being grateful from the girls and workers at Esperanza and Futuro.  I also learned how to enjoy the small moments the company of those who are directly around you.  You don’t need television or internet or any outside source to bring you joy and entertainment.  The people right in front of you are the ones who matter and you can make incredible memories by just living life together. 


Thank you Courtney for your love and your service for these kids. I am more than confident that you have left a special mark in their hearts. I hope you will be able to visit the Hogar.

Sunday, July 6, 2014

Happy Birthday

       

As I sit here waiting for family to come over to celebrate my birthday in this beautiful summer day,  it's hard not to think of the things I am super grateful for. In exactly 5 weeks I will be saying my goodbyes to my family and friends. I have been getting a lot of Facebook birthday wishes, texts and voice messages. I'm feeling the love. 

I have been having a lot of fun getting together with old friends and making plans to visit and do things that I have not done such as going to Utah to visit their national parks and possibly learning how to shoot a gun...I know it's a little weird, but I come from a family of men who would go hunting. Obviously as a girl, I never was able to go. I am super excited to make some new memories. 

I can't wait to be in Guatemala to serve at the medical mission then to see the kids the following week. Eeeekkkkkk

Would you like to give a gift? You are more than welcome to click on the Go Fund Me site and make an offering. The money will be mostly going back to the orphanage to celebrate their birthdays. The children are so amazing and they deserve to be shown how special they are. They history is horrific for they have escaped malnutrition, abuse, neglect and many other things. I want to show them love, compassion and express how much more God lives them. 

Thanks again for your love and support an for your continual prayers...they are needed. 





Wednesday, June 18, 2014

Moving on soon

I'm less than 2 months away from moving and I will say that the excitement is increasing by the day. I have so much on my mind and on my to-do list, but I have just been trying to enjoy every moment.

I would like to share with you a little something that happened today at work. We have been desperately looking for someone to replace me. We are looking for someone who speaks Spanish, has experience and loves kids. We had someone interviewed today and I felt...weird. This is real. I have been working for Apple Tree for over 10 years. This is all I know and I have learned so much from my co-workers and the children here have taught me so much about life and love. Today we had a new child attend our program and he had a difficult time. It was so amazing to see the other parents encourage the mom as she began to get overwhelmed. I'm going to miss being at work and playing with the kids. Today one of the boys verbally said "more". He has been signing it and he finally attempted to say it. I got a little teary eyed. The mom was so excited to hear her son say a word. The kids here are so exceptional as well as the parents. They are fighters and I honestly cannot imagine what they are going through, but their victories are so vibrant.

When the children turn 3 they graduate our program and the school district takes over (this does not apply to our clients whom we see individually through health insurance). It's sad when they leave, but I know that they will continue to blossom in their development. 





 


Saturday, June 14, 2014

Balloons


In the group I'm apart of at church there's three of us girls. It's actually a small group compared to the rest of the groups. We have this beautiful bond that comes with having a group that size. 

There are things that we are all going through at the moment from fears, insecurities, mourning, and negativity. After briefly texting with one of them I knew that we needed to do something special so I prayed for guidance and I got an idea.

We met on Friday and I brought 4 balloons. We talked and shared about our struggles and cried a little. We all got some paper and I gave them the instruction to write it all down, all of the fears unsecurities, etc. we attached our notes to the balloons, prayed then we walked outside to release the balloons. It was quite liberating because it was as if I was letting all those things go. I have made a decision to allow myself to trust and be secure that it will all workout. I hope that my friends allow themselves to feel the same. 

I trulluly appreciate building memories like these. I keep thinking about how many more memories I will continue to build in Guatemala from holding babies, special times with the teen girls, dates with my boyfriend and quality time with my friends. In getting super excited!!!!

Saturday, June 7, 2014

Bye bye car

One thing that has been super difficult for me is the idea of selling my car. I have worked so hard to keep it. I had to come to grips with the idea of selling it because that was going to be the only way I will be able to finish paying off my school loans and leave by my goal date, August. 



The car was put on Craigslist 2 weeks ago and right away I got emails of people wanting more information. At first I told them that the car would not be available till August and one potential buyer was still wanting to see the car. We met and she liked what she saw, but needed to think about it. That day another woman came and looked at the car. By the looks of her car it was obvious that her car only had a few more miles before it would break apart. She loved my car, but wanted less than my asking price. 

I didn't lose hope. I kept praying and pleading with God to help me out a little. He kept telling me, "be patient". There was a point this week where I was starting to doubt a little and after praying I would still hear the same words. 

On Thursday I received several emails once again of potential buyers. I lined then up to come on Friday and the very first gal who showed up was Griselda. Super sweet lady. She didn't even test drive the car. She asked me how much and I told her. She said she liked it and wanted it. At that moment I was so excited and within seconds I realized that I would no longer have a car. My idependence would be gone...well sort of. 

We went to the bank, and that was it...the car was no longer mine. We came back to the house and she let me drive the car one last time. We took a picture and then she took the keys and got in the car. As I saw her drive away and turned the corner I have this urge to cry. Was this really happening???? Instead of instead of crying I decided to just gather my things taken out of the car and start to organize the things I am going to sell next weekend at the yard sale. Several times that evening I would think about going to my car and then realized I didn't have one anymore. This is something that I have been praying for and God came through because it was such an easy transaction and I was able to sell at the price I have been praying for.



 Every so often I just kept saying "thank you". Development did eventually shed some tears but it was tears of joy and sadness. Now that the car is paid off the remainder of the money went straight to pay a good chunk of my school loans. I definitely did not want the temptation of having that much money in my account. So here IM with now over $2000 left to pay off my school loans and getting ready to have a yard sale to downsize even more. 

I know that it's not easy for my family to come to the realization that I am moving out of the country, a country that is not my native country where I have no physical family. I definitely thank God for allowing me to have such great friends in Guatemala and I have complete faith and trust that I will be well taken care of. 

There's still a lot to get done and pay off and save up as well as fund raise but I have faith that everything will continue to fall into place just as it has been thus far.