Thursday, September 29, 2011

My God Is The God Who Provides

Leaving is going to be hard. This is a huge understatement. I knew
from the first few days in June, while working with the babies, that October 1st
was going to be a challenging. I HAVE to believe that God is the God who
provides. He will provide people to hold, feed, and love the beautiful babies who
I have fallen in love with these past four months. He will provide people to be
patient with Pedro, Eder, and Jared as they continue to enter their terrible
twos and throw fits on our walks. He will provide people to kiss Omar’s knees
because he is clumsy and falls at least three times a day. He will provide
someone to teach Chelsey how to walk, because she is SO close to walking! He
will provide someone to help David fall asleep, because he is incapable of
falling asleep on his own and needs someone to help him relax so he can sleep.
He will provide someone to hold Cindy’s hands so she can practice walking, take
her out of the Sala when she gets overwhelmed, and fix her bottles with special
milk because her stomach cannot handle real milk. He will provide someone to
hug Genesis every morning and fix her ponytail because her hair is SUCH a mess
when she wakes up! He will provide someone to keep Jose awake in the morning so
he is able to sleep in the afternoon. He will provide Fernando with someone who
can see past his charming smile to his mischievous eyes- someone who will attempt to
stay one step ahead of him and keep him out of trouble. He will provide someone
for Maria who will sing to her and rock her, because she LOVES being sung to
while being held.  

I heard a Mercy Me song for the first time a few weeks ago and
fell in love with the chorus. It is simple, but I really like it:
You're beautiful
You're beautiful
You are made for so much more than all of this
You're beautiful
You're beautiful
You are treasured, you are sacred, you are His
You're beautiful

I honestly pray that there is always someone here at Emmanuel to remind the babies that they are TREAURED, SACRED, and HIS. I guess the only way I am going to be able to tuck the babies into bed tomorrow night and say goodbye is to believe 100% that my GOD is the GOD who PROVIDES.

Wednesday, September 21, 2011

Your Light Will Shine When All Else Fades

Ephesians 2:10 “For we are God’s handiwork, created in Christ Jesus to do good works, which God prepared in advance for us to do.
Philippians 1:6 “Being confident of this, that he who began a good work in you will carry it on to completion until the day of Christ Jesus.”

These verses have been two verses that I have found myself focusing on during the last couple weeks here at Orphanage Emmanuel. It amazes me that God has prepared good works for us all to do (whether it is ministering to children, helping the elderly, taking care of the sick, ect.) , and once He begins a good work in us we can be CONFIDENT that he will carry it out until it is completed!

This week has been very different from any other of my weeks here at Emmanuel. One of the teenagers had her baby last week, and since then I have been spending all my nights at the clinic helping her and her newborn, as well as helping give medication and take temperatures of the other children who are sick in the second room. After talking with the director, we both agreed that consistency would be best for the new mom, so that is why I have been working all the nights instead of rotating through the volunteers.  It has been good to get to know her better and meet new baby Jefferson! He is so adorable and honestly a great baby! He is already sleeping multiple hours at a time throughout the night and he is only eight days old! It is also great to see the amount of love and affection she constantly gives him! I am very proud of such a young mom taking on a huge responsibility and rising to the challenge! Working in the clinic this week I have seen everything from recovering from surgery, concussions, infections, and open wounds. It has been hard to get up every couple hours (or less) throughout the night multiple nights in a row, but once I get off in the morning after I hand out the medication I have been able to go back to the house and catch up on my sleep for a little bit!

New volunteers have gotten here!! I love when the house is full of people! We have had five Danish girls arrive, one American, and one Canadian all in the past week! Having the new volunteers is wonderful.  Shifts are being filled at the Sala and the Clinic a lot easier than they were a week ago.

The babies are as cute as ever! I have been missing them in the mornings, but I know I have to get some sleep if I want to be able to be any help once I get there! One of their new phrases that they have been saying lately is “nohay?” which is two words (no hay) that the blend into one when asking if there is any more of anything.  It’s cute J This past Sunday we got to celebrate David Isac’s first Birthday! We had a vanilla cake with vanilla frosting and sang to him! Anna had dressed him in the cutest button down shirt, tie, and vest for his birthday! This morning one of the other volunteers saw David take his first steps! They are all growing up so quick!

The past few months- while painting, sewing, cleaning, and working on other various house projects (and during clinic shifts at night) - I have been watching Friends Seasons 1-6 that another volunteer loaned me. I had never watched the show before this summer but have had a lot of fun catching up on what I have been missing! When I get home I will be ready to find out how all the seasons end! Any one up for a Friends Marathon? J I honestly can’t believe I will be home in less than 10 days! My four months here have gone by really fast! When I get home I have faith that God will have good works prepared for me to do in Arizona J

Monday, September 12, 2011

We Will Choose To Be A Blessing For Life

Today is my 100th day in Honduras J God has been so good. I continue to do mostly the same things here: medication for both the boys and girls, working with the babies, random jobs (such as painting and making curtains), and clinic shifts. The painting and curtains in the house are finally completed! The babies continue to grow so much!! The older ones are talking a lot more and they are beginning to understand more and more each day. Today I was folding laundry and one of the girls came up to me while I was folding her shirt and said “ropa” (cloths). I was proud of her for being able to #1 pick out which were her cloths and #2 knowing the word for cloths. This might not seem like a big deal, but trust me it is J I looked across the room today in time to see Maria just walking around all by herself! Normally it is clear that she is going from point A (crib) to point B (table, chair, me) but this time she was just walking. It was so cute! Some of the boys have hit the “terrible twos” a few months early, which has helped me better understand Proverbs 3:12 “The LORD disciplines those he loves, as a father the son he delights in.” I really do love these babies so much, but I know that because I love them they can’t go around hitting each other or biting or pushing without anyone teaching them better. It is challenging at times to know what is best to do, but I am sure everyone who has worked with two year olds feels that way at times.

Last week I spent a day in Tegucigalpa purchasing an extra month on my passport. We left Emmanuel at 6 AM and did not get back until 8 PM. Imagine the DMV sceario, but worse. Naively I thought we were making good time when we were an hour into the whole process and were only missing one signature. Five hours, two bags of chips, and two sodas later we were still missing that same signature. Lourdis, a girl who works at the orphanage, was with me and we decided it was best to walk to the Pharmacy and pick up the medication we were told to purchase while in Tegucigalpa and come back to get my passport. We spent a little over an hour getting medication, and thankfully once we got back my passport was ready to be picked up! After getting my passport we went to the bus station to get a bus back to Guaimaca. Riding the bus was an experience all of its own. At the station I noticed that every seat was going to be full but as we are driving to Guaimaca, we continue to stop and pick people up who are now standing in the isle of the bus between the already full seats. There was literally no extra room on this bus! Once we got to Guaimaca, Lourdis and I got off the bus and went to get a Taxi. Once we start asking around, someone tells us that Taxis stopped running an hour ago. I begin to get nervous. Even though it is only 7:30 PM in Honduras, which translates to about 2 AM in the States, it is late to be out in the town. I called one of the Staff here to ask what we should do, and he was there within five minutes to pick us up.  I was so thankful to be back at Emmanuel!

AMY AND JM GOT HERE!!! They came in last Wednesday and left Emmanuel this morning! It was so great getting to spend time with them! Wednesday night Marie and Larz (an awesome Danish couple here) invited us over to play games and hang out! It was a lot of fun. Thursday we walking into town and grocery shopped. Amy and Jm were a huge help with the babies and in the clinic! Amy also brought some of the cutest baby cloths ever that were bought for the babies here! They looked so adorable in the bright new cloths! While working in the clinic, I am sure Amy and JM caught up on watching the classic Disney VHS tapes while they were here. It was fun getting to cook and eat meals with them while they were here! We also played a lot of Rummikub and Banagrams in the evenings! It was so so great to see familiar faces from home J They also brought some awesome snacks that my family sent me! Trail Mix, Brownies, and Cliff Bars never tasted so good! I now know that if I want to appreciate a food, I just won’t eat it for three months! On another note I just finished reading one of the best action books I have ever read. It is called The Hunger Games and I highly recommend it! I could not put it down at times!

Throughout the past 100 days God has really reminded me how faithful He is! He has proven so many of his promises to be true! He has given me rest when I needed it (Matthew 6), made my life better because of His goodness (James 1:17), and held my hand the whole time I have been here in Honduras (Isaiah 41:13). God continues to bless me more than I ever could ask for. 

Wednesday, August 24, 2011

Better is ONE Day in Your Courts Than THOUSANDS Elsewhere

Tonight I am spending the night at the clinic with a funny little boy named Tony. About ten days ago Tony was playing on the trampoline with his friends and somehow managed to be stepped on at the bottom of a pile of rough boys. At the exact moment he was trapped, another child tried to help him up. This resulted in the near loss of his ear! He was rushed to the doctor’s office and received stitches on the inside and outside of his ear. Now that his pain is being managed with medication, as most five year olds do, he has more energy than he knows what to do with. When I got to the clinic tonight I asked him if he wanted to watch a movie. He told me he did and when I asked him what type, he responded “a funny one.” We looked at the movies and he instantly started chanting Winnie La Pooh. I am not sure when Winnie the Pooh became a comedy, but I decided not to question his movie preferences.

During nap time today in the baby room I realized that there are five solid truths that apply basically to any time I am working with the toddlers.

1.      1. Saying “No” to a toddler will always be traumatic- both for the toddler and also for the adult who is about to have to listen to the fit that will be thrown.
2.      2. Clipping finger nails and toe nails of the toddlers will always make me nervous. So far all babies still have ten fingers and ten toes, but I still have 6 weeks here J
3.     3.  Strollers built to hold two babies are actually capable of holding five.
4.     4.  Second to Sundays, nap times are sacred. Thou shalt not forsake thy naptime.
5.      5. If you think you are tired, drink a second cup of coffee.

(With only some slight altering- some of these truths can also apply to the teenage girls J Just kidding..kinda)

I still am really enjoying the time I get to spend with the babies! While here, I have gotten the privilege of working in the baby room with Brandy, Anna, and Marie. Yesterday was Marie’s little girls Birthday! We had so much fun celebrating it with the kids! They brought a Clifford PiƱata, party hats, balloons, candy, and a cake! The babies loved the cake so much! They all try so hard to be independent, and ended up with frosting all over their faces (and hands, arms, and legs) J After the party we decided it would just be easier to bath them than to try to use hand wipes to get all the cake off!

Unfortunately about half of the babies have been sick within the past two weeks. Five of them have been running fevers. L It makes me feel so helpless when they are in between doses of medication, still running a fever, and angry because we are giving them cold baths. Please pray that their fevers will break completely!

I am still giving out medication. It has been great getting to know the kids who receive medication more and more each day. One of the special needs teenagers named Kika handed me a note about a week back. Trying not to look too eager to see what the note said, I put it in my pocket and told him I would read it when I got home. Once I got home, I opened it and instantly realized that it was written in a girl’s handwriting and contained the daily drama that any teenage girl would inform her friend about in passing. I think Kika had “mistakenly” come across this note, and then decided I was the right person to receive it.

I have decided it is time for me to retire my dark green TOMS. I have had them for close to two years (which makes them about 100 years old in TOMS shoes years). They were my first pair of TOMS to get, so I have been reluctant to retire them- although they have a hole in the top of one shoe and the back of the other is fraying. There have been two instances that (1) made me laugh and (2) made this decision to retire them final. Two weeks ago one of the staff members invited me over to her house. We were talking and giving each other a hard time when she looked at my shoes and started laughing. She then says, “Daysha do you need new shoes? I can get you a pair if you need them…” We both laughed, and I told her I was fine. Tonight while walking to church I was talking with one of the teen girls. Her flip flop had just broken, and I asked her if she had another pair of flip flops. She told me she didn’t (but I am pretty sure she actually does) and without looking begins to say, “That is why tomorrow you should give me…” and then glances down at my TOMS and stops mid sentence. I just started laughing again and said, “Jokes on you! You don’t want my shoes!” After this second instance though I now know my TOMS will not be returning to Arizona with me, which is sad- but apparently long over due J

Yesterday the power was off for the second half of the day, and today the water was off throughout the whole orphanage. Hopefully both these quarks will be worked out tomorrow- but if not, we will all be ok J I finished reading Redeeming Love this week. I read this book a few years ago and loved it, so I was happy to see it on the community shelf here! It is a great story and I recommend reading it. I also still enjoy getting to read my notes each week J The notes are always encouraging and exactly what I am needing to hear. Thank you again to everyone who sent one for me to read this summer! As of today, I am the only volunteer here. It has been sad watching new roommates and friends leave this summer, but I know God has amazing plans for them back home! I am counting down the days until Amy and JM get here! If there is anyone else who has extra time, loves hanging out with awesome children, doesn’t like sleeping, drinks way too much coffee, and wants a life changing experience- come to Orphanage Emmanuel! I am sure you will love it J

Sunday, August 14, 2011

Love Came To Show Us The Way

So there I was, delivering medication riding down a hill to get to my second house of the day when I realized that I was not 100% sure if I should use the right handle break or the left handle break. Perfect… I had been the proud owner of a bike for less than 24 hours and I was not about to crash in front of the high school boys house. One of my only scars from childhood came from a bike accident at a young age when I used the front wheel break instead of the back wheel break and flipped over the bike. I decided against trying to guess the correct break, and decided to do what seemed like the only option that I had left which was to begin yelling “Permisso” (excuse me) as loud as I could and hope that innocent bystanders moved out of my way quick enough and that the bike would eventually slow down in speed. Thankfully there were no casualties in my first experience riding my bike in Honduras. Now two weeks later, I am a lot more confident in my bike riding (and breaking) abilities and it has been a blessing to be able to use while distributing medication. I really enjoying distributing medication, and love getting to see a lot of the kids multiple times a day.

The babies, as always, are really cute. It always shocks me how much personality can be in such little people! Tonight I watched Baby Einstein with the infants and it was one of the most entertaining half hours of my summer. I had seen Baby Einstein before, but this time instead of watching the movie, I watched the kids. The babies were hilarious! They all knew when the different puppets were coming up, danced with the little songs, mimicked the animal noises, and clapped at the end of the short sections. It was so cute! I don’t know why short clips of toys, puppets, and music transfix babies, but I am really glad it does J
One project that has been consuming 80% of my past three days has been a HUGE painting project! The end goal is for the entire Volunteer House to be repainted. As of tonight, we have completely finished three of the five bedrooms. Our work for us is still cut out for us with painting the remaining bedrooms, bathroom, kitchen, living room, and laundry room- but hopefully we will be able to make more progress this week! I am really proud of how the three bedrooms have turned out and am ready to finish up the painting and retire my new found skill J

It has been a while since I posted last, but last week I finished reading a great book titled Safely Home by Randy Alcorn. It is a fictional story about the factual topic of Christian persecution in China. It was loaned to me by a staff member here and it has been one of my favorite books I have read this summer. My favorite quote from this book comes from the end of the book when the author is describing a hypothetical conversation that the main character of this story is having with God.  It states, “When you longed for a great house in this world,” the King said, “you were longing for my house. You just didn’t know it. My children there never dream too big, you know. They dream too small, they set their sights too low. They choose to play in the mud on a cold rainy day when I offer them open green meadows in the sun, clear flowing streams, majestic mountains, and endless beaches and blue skies that stretch to the stars themselves, stars that are gateways to innumerable worlds beyond. The sons of Adam try so hard to be satisfied with so little- which keeps them from ever being satisfied at all.” When I read this paragraph in the book the first time I had to stop and reread it again. It made me wonder how many times I have been content “sitting in the mud on a cold rainy day” when God has always been offering much more that I can ever imagine! God is so good and I am so thankful for the time I have been able to spend here.

Friday, July 29, 2011

Losing Control Of My Destiny

It has been a great two months! Although there never seems to be enough hours in the day, the days are always great. This week I have been shadowing Carol while she is giving out the medication to the boys. Monday will be the first day that I will be giving medication to both the boys and girls at Orphanage Emmanuel and as always, prayers are appreciated J There is talk about me getting to borrow a bike for the medication rounds (twice a day) and not only would this be fun but it would also save time!! Hopefully it all works out, and you know I will be posting pictures of my new wheels if it does J  I have also started spending some time in the Office during the afternoon helping pass out presents that the children receive from their sponsors and helping translating letters from English to Spanish or vice versa. Honestly I was hesitant when I was asked to begin helping in the office, but this opportunity has really given me the chance to spend some time with a few of the kids one on one which is always nice. The babies are as cute as always! They learn so fast! One of my favorite things they have been doing lately is to come up to me and say “sientente” (sit down)  and hop on my lap or squeeze on the chair with me. It is so cute! Two nights this week Madison, Ashlea, and I had a pajama party with the teens and watched A Walk to Remember. It is such a sweet movie, and instantly reminded me of the countless times I watched it in Junior High! It was fun to hang out with the teens in their houses where we could just laugh and relax some at the end of the day!

Earlier this week another volunteer and I took six babies to the park. We do this about five times a week and the kids always seem to have fun! When we got to the park we ate snack and played on the swings. Two of the little boys, Pedro and Eder, decided to wonder towards the monkey bars a little ways away. One of the boys, Pedro, began climbing the ladder so I helped them get to the top of the monkey bars. I held onto him to make sure he didn’t fall and we began to try to complete the monkey bars. He got to one bar and held on so tight that he refused to let go to move onto the next bar. After a while I told him, “Baby you have to let go” to prompt him in moving forward. And then it hit me. ..  I can be so stubborn. In the same way that Pedro refused to move forward on the monkey bars, I can choose to hold onto past regrets,  anxiety, or mistakes and not move forward when the whole time God is right there holding me saying, “Baby you have to let go.” Not only is God the One who cares enough to hold me during these time, but He is the one who MADE the monkey bars and can see the next bar that is just in front of me if I would let go and TRUST Him. God is so good and He has a plan for my life: to give me a HOPE and a FUTURE (Jeremiah 29:11). And His ways are HIGHER than my ways ever will be (Isaiah 55:9). There is also a time for everything (Ecclesiastes 3) and I am looking forward to the new times of my life. I really am blessed. 

Wednesday, July 20, 2011

Lord Empty Me Of Me So I Can Be Filled With You

The days seem to be going by quicker each week!  I still LOVE working with the babies! They have all grown so much in the past  seven weeks!! One of the little girls took her first steps yesterday! I was so proud! Others are talking more and more each day! The teens, some days, can be challenging but are also so fun to work with! I see changes in them as well. One of the girls who started off having an attitude with me, beat me to the kitchen this afternoon so that she could fill up all the water glasses before I got there.  It is always great to see these changes within the teens! I have started a new job at the Orphanage I have begun distributing medication to the girls twice a day. It has been great to go to the other houses and get to meet the younger girls who live there.
One wall in the volunteer house is now claimed as “The Encouraging Wall of Hondo” J One night during devotional the volunteers were talking about being encouragers, and the idea came up to make envelopes with our names on them to put on a wall so we can send each other little encouraging notes throughout the day. It really is crazy how a simple note of appreciation can make daily chores so much easier to complete!  It really has been a blessing to get to meet these awesome people that I am volunteering with!
Last Sunday a man from the team shared a story of an event that had happened on a previous visit to Orphanage Emmanuel. He said that one day he was working in the Warehouse, and a poor Honduran man drove up in an old beaten down truck. As the man got out of the car Poppie explained that they were going to fill up this man’s truck with as much rice and beans as would fit. The man telling the story explained that while he was loading the truck he began to become annoyed that they were giving so much food away, because he sends items to the Orphanage and helps pack the containers that his church sends.  He said that once the truck was as full as it could possibly get, the Honduran man thanked Poppie and went on his way. Poppie then turned to the man helping give out the food and asked him if he wanted to know the secret to always having a full Warehouse at Orphanage Emmanuel. The man stated that he did, and Poppie told him the secret to having a full Warehouse was to always give everything away.
As I thought about this story later during the week I realized in a way Poppie could have also been asking the question “Do you want to know the secret to having a full life?” I feel like the answer to this question would be along the same lines as the "Warehouse Theory". Give. Give all you have: your time, energy, money, words of encouragement,  and anything else you are able to and let  God be faithful to fill you up! 1 Peter 4:10 states “Each of you should use whatever gift you have received to serve others, as faithful stewards of God’s grace in its various forms.  If anyone speaks, they should do so as one who speaks the very words of God. If anyone serves, they should do so with the strength God provides, so that in all things God may be praised through Jesus Christ. To him be the glory and the power forever and ever.”