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:
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.