Thursday, March 14, 2013

So many new kids, I lost count

I have a lot of great news. We have started construction on the new building. Now that it has started, the first phase should be done in 8-9 months. Usually with building projects here, they give a monetary initiative to actually finish the contract in a certain time period. Hopefully this means, we will be in the new building by next Fall!
Last blog I told you about the new kids, well now we have more. I can’t even keep track of how many new ones are joining. I actually don’t have pictures of all of them, but I am working on it. 



Josue David

        Axel is 4 years old. He is Genesis’ younger brother. He is very quiet and very shy, but a sweet kid. He usually observes the other kids playing, especially when they are playing rough. He doesn’t participate much, but has warmed up to me. Today he pops around the corner and says, “Jenny!” It surpised me, because he never talks, only occasionally smiles at me.
      Jamie is a 2 year old girl. Genesis and Axel’s cousin. She is being raised by her father. It is common to see single mothers in this country and especially this community, but to see a single father is unheard of. She is very strong willed, but has a sweet side. She is very small and malnourished, and usually in my arms. Her dad said that he has seen a big difference in her behavior since she entered our program 3-4 weeks ago.
Ian is also 2 years old. Although they are not related, Bessy considers him her nephew. They live very close together and Bessy is best friends with his mom Keren. He has very light features, so they joke that he could be my kid.
      Jeferson is  2 ½ years old. From what I have heard, he had a special needs brother that recently passed away. To put it nicely, Jeferson is a fighter. No one has taught him how to play or be around people. His arms are always swinging, and although he has a 2 year old temper, sometimes he is just playing. I have been working on seeing who he can play well with, so that he can learn to play with others.  I try to pick him up and love on him a little at a time, and he is starting to open up and smile, without trying to swing at me.
      Gabriel and Josue David are brothers, 2 ½ and 4 years old. They could not be any more different. Gabriel, the younger one, is lively and loves to eat. He always wants me to hold him. Today he walks up and says, “I love you.” (which to me was sweet because even the kids I know that love me can’t verbalize it). He is my shadow. David is the same size as Gabriel, does not like to eat anything, and is very quiet and reserved. He speaks when spoken to, but is not loud and energetic like his little brother. Usually Gabriel (the younger one) takes the food off his plate. The first week Gabriel would not enter the building, gradually we got him inside to eat, then the next day to sleep, and now he is completely adapted.
      Kacy and Daniel have been in the program before, but were not regulars. Kacy is Debbie’s daughter. If you remember, Debbie is usually the lady that comes to substitute. She will be part time in the mornings teaching the kindergarten classes. Which has allowed me more time with English and the little kids.
        Abel is 5 years old. He is the cousin of Heydi and Oliver. The first week, he was great and so excited about being with us. After the first week the tears came. He is a sweet kid, but around 11am starts crying for his mom.  He is a great kid and outgoing.
        Fauricio is 5 years old and today was his first day. He is Debbie’s nephew. I don’t know much about him or his personality, but he seems like a sweet boy.
I’m not sure if I have forgotten anyone, like I mentioned there is a new one everyday, so I have lost track of how many new kids there are. I will save the new ones for the next blog. 

Friday, February 8, 2013

New Year, New Kids, Life Changes, and Too Many Pictures!!

Our kids are back from the holiday and we have 3 new kids so far, and word of 3 more coming next week. They are three very different kids, who I am excited to learn about and get to know better. I don’t know any of their stories, but as I have found recently, their stories will unfold over the years. We haven’t had all of our old kids return yet, so we aren’t sure how many kids we will have this year.
In introducing the new kids, I will start youngest to oldest. Jonathan will be 2 in March, a sweet shaved head (here the parents shave the heads of baby boys and girls to make their hair grow in thicker). Jonathan is like any other kid his age that probably has never been away from his mother for very long, we have spent most of our days holding him and keeping him away from the door. It doesn’t matter who is leaving, he knows what the gate means and starts wailing. One surprising difference in Jonathan is that someone has already taught him to say thank you.  A lot of kids we work with have never been taught to say thank you or be grateful, so it surprised us when he said it.
Another little guy is two year old Josue. On a side note, all three new kids have the name David, but since we already have two other David’s we are using middle names. Josue might be a few months older than Jonathan, but a lot smaller. The only reason I would guess he is older is by what he says. He is going to be a very smart kid. Within 2 hours of meeting him, he knew my name; and on the first day could tell you every teacher’s name. A few days ago we gave him popsicle sticks to play with and he started counting them. It surprised all of us, because even some of our 5 year olds can’t count to 20. Yesterday, he was playing with the blocks and I thought I would see if he could recognize the numbers (something very hard for all of our kids). Our jaws dropped when he could recognize numbers 1-10. He is very verbal, but he is two so he doesn’t know words yet. He just looks at you and starts talking. I don’t know his story, but as you will see in his picture he has some kind of allergy or bug bites from his house. The bites/ or irritation is all over his body and they itch, so he has scabs from itching. He is adapting very well only after a few days.
Our third new boy is Moises. He is three year olds and reminds us a lot of a little boy named Manuel that left our program (and the city) 6 months ago. He is sweet and shy and does not like to have attention focused on him. There are a lot of boys around his age, so everyone wants to play with him.

Ariel, Oliver, Moises, and Calil

Cristel and Heydi
Me and Aben
Since I haven’t updated my blog since before Christmas, it is time to let you know that I will be getting married this summer. Some of you have met him, Aben works for Youth for Christ here in Honduras. I could write a lot about him and what he does, but I will try to keep it short and you will get to know him in time.  In joining with his ministry, I will start teaching English to some of his youth. When we had a team here, I realized how powerful it would be for them to share and speak without translators. Aben has started a school for kids that have never had the resources to go to school, he does evangelism outreach in the public high schools, and has a feeding program at the city trash dump. 

Friday, November 30, 2012


Here are a few pictures I took when we went to get the kids pictures taken with a cap and gown. Each diploma has a small picture of the child in cap and gown. We are still waiting on the diplomas, which are supposed to be given out the end of November. We had the graduation planned for the middle of November, but when I went to pick up the diplomas we found out the government will not give them out til the end of November because the public schools missed a lot of school due to teacher strikes. Since we have already finished the year, we are just waiting on the diplomas! It was exciting to see each kid finish his/ her book; and they are anxiously looking forward to bringing their accomplishment home. 





Wednesday, October 24, 2012

Winding Down Kinder

David Alexander


sorting and putting in groups

It’s hard to believe there are only a few weeks left of Kinder. It’s really exciting to see the kids succeed and complete the curriculum.  This home school program makes the teachers work easy at the end of the year, so all we have left to do is take pictures of the kids and put them on the diplomas. I’m hoping within the next few days we can take the 4 kinder kids and get our pictures taken at a photo shop, because we don’t have a cap and gown. At the photo shop they have one to borrow for the picture. Sometime in November we will have a lunch with the families and give out the diplomas. I’m so proud of Lizandro, Alicia, David, and Oliver!

This past month I have had my cousin here helping out at Casa de Luz. She is a great help with the kids and has been teaching English every morning. The kids love her and even after 3 weeks still try to talk to her in Spanish (yet her responses only seem to be yes, no, and thank you). Not only is it nice to have her help at the daycare, it is nice to have someone stay with me and go do day to day stuff with.

Some discouraging news that I take for granted, but realize that I haven’t shared often is the neglect and poor health of some of the kids. The health department visited Casa de Luz in the summer, weighed the kids, and told us that almost all of the kids were underweight and all but 2 were anemic. We have been working, as clever as possible, to add healthy foods (fruits, vegetables, and meat) into the diet. (On a frustratingly humorous side note- if the healthy stuff is not blended or shredded in, the kids just toss it under the table. No one at home gives them vegetables, so its hard to enforce it away from home) The doctors returned last week and gave us good news for some kids, but most of them are still underweight and anemic. The discouraging news is that when given medicine to take home, the parents are not giving it to the kids. Lice treatment we are doing at the daycare, for this reason. However, the parasite medicine needs to be given by the parents. Another little boy has had a rotten molar for a while and cried for a week. Finally, after much urging, the mom took him to the clinic to get it pulled. It’s sad because the reality is the mom works from early in the morning to late in the evening, being a nanny to another family, and has to neglect her own children.

For those of you who have been praying for Alejandro, I wanted to thank you and give you an update. I talked with his grandmother in the street and she said that right now there are not “bad cells” but he has to go one day a week for treatment. I’m not exactly sure what all that means, because I know nothing about medicine, but it sounded like a good report to me. She said sometimes he doesn’t want to eat anything, and sometime he has a huge appetite. I saw him the other day, as he was walking his brother and cousin to Casa de Luz and he told me, “I’m going to the daycare today.” And his mom said, “No honey, not today.” Then she proceeded to tell me that every morning he wants to come. Continue to pray for Alejandro, so that his immune system will be strong enough to be around other kids his age, and that the “bad cells” stay away.

Zulema pulled Genesis 2 front teeth

Wednesday, September 12, 2012

Back Home

Cristal, 2 years old 

Kalil, 3 years old

Children's Day

The team painted designs at Casa de Luz

Aben and David painting with the team at Zulema's house

Painting at Bessy's house

I have been putting off writing a blog for a few weeks now because I have been lacking the energy. Today I have just enough energy and realized all the details keep adding up to make for a very long update.
My time in the States went well, I made new contacts and caught up with old ones. It was a great time of fellowship and sharing. Thank you to everyone who hosted me and allowed me to share the ministry with you or your church. I traveled all over and had the opportunity to see my immediate family and lot of my extended family as well. I never get to see everyone, but with each trip I see different people.
Two days after returning to Honduras I had a team from Canada come, stay in my apartment and share in the ministry at Casa de Luz and with Aben’s ministry at the Dump and the school. The girls were a blessing to so many people here and I think their lives were impacted, as well. While they were here, they got to spend time with the kids at Casa de Luz, painted Bessy and Zulema’s houses, did a feeding program at the trash dump, and played with the kids at Aben’s school. The girls had lots of energy and made instant friendships with the kids; they still ask about the girls.  It was a long week so the girls had an opportunity to serve in a variety of different ways!
While I was in the States we had a new girl join the program. Nazareth is 2 years old and very passive. She is not like most of our 2 year olds that loves to be picked up and nurtured when she cries, we are still trying to get to know her, but she is sweet and has a squeaky two year old voice that comes out every once in a while when she is comfortable enough to talk. 
This past week, we had 2 new siblings enter the ministry as well. Kalil is 3 years old and his younger sister Cristal is 2 years old. They are brand new so I don’t know their story yet, but they also have a younger sister that looks to be around 10 months old that their grandmother watches while the mother works. 
Monday was Child’s Day in Honduras. Similar to Mothers Day and Fathers Day, Honduras celebrates the children. It is like Christmas; no matter how little the family has, they save all their money to buy an outfit for Children’s Day or something special. Many of the kids came in the new clothes that the team brought for them and the birthday shoes many of you helped us give. I had not seen one little boy wear them yet, and when he wore them yesterday, he told me they were for church. That being said, the new gifts that are given are treasured for very special occasions like church, Children’s Day, and Christmas. We had the opportunity to go to a bank country club and play in a secure grassy playground area. It was so fun for the kids to be outdoors and run freely in the grass. However, as an adult putting the shoes on for the hundredths time got a little old… I say that jokingly because these kids live on dirt streets and rocks are all around, there is no grass to take your shoes off and run. Even if it did bother me to put shoes on multiple times, it was worth every sweaty foot!
Lastly, continue to pray for Vanessa and her family. There are a lot of details involved but Gabriel and Javier are now living in a children’s home and Racsel is still living with Vanessa. It will be hard not to see them every day and have them in the ministry, but I still have contact with Vanessa and we will be able to visit them at the home. Continue to pray for the boys and the family.

Vanessa at Christmas with Gabriel, Racsel, and Javier
Nazareth in her new clothes for childrens day (she usually wears the same 3 outfits)

Saturday, June 2, 2012

Pray for Alejandro

I sent this out on Facebook last week, and then the week got very busy with no time for emails, blogs and communication. Last week Alejandro, 2 years old, went in to get tests run because he wasn’t feeling well. According to his brother, who I interviewed for a video, he thinks his brother is in the hospital for fainting. So I assume he must have fainted and then they started with the testing. A week ago Monday (almost 2 weeks ago) he came at the end of the day with his mom to pick up his brother and cousin, they showed me the bottom lids of his eyes and said the
doctors said he had very bad anemia and were going to run more tests. The next day we found out he had been admitted into the hospital and were running tests for Leukemia. Last weekend we were waiting for the results, and Monday we found out he does have Leukemia, although it doesn’t look like it’s the bad kind, but only time will tell. This past Tuesday we had the chance to go and visit Alejandro and Marcela (his mom) in the public hospital. From what I understand the public hospital is completely free, which is a huge blessing for a family from this community. We had to put on (I’m drawing a blank on the word in English)… smocks/aprons, and we could only stand at his bed for a few minutes because of our germs. Zulema wasn’t able to go in because she had a cold. We prayed for Alejandro and Marcela and got to give Alejandro his birthday present, since he was going to miss our big birthday celebration for all the kids. We went during visiting hours, but it wasn’t a good time for Alejandro. They were giving him more treatment and he was in a lot of pain. His mom said that a group of visitors came with stuffed animals and since Alejandro was in a bad mood, he said he didn’t want one. Then a little while later, he sat up and told them, “I’m going to be in a good mood, I want a stuffed animal now please.” She told me he was also telling his nurses about Miss Jenny and counting for them. I talked to his grandmother yesterday and she said they had to move the IV from his foot to his hand because his foot had swollen up so bad from everything they were putting in him. I will keep you posted, but pray for Alejandro and his family. He turns 3 years old this Wednesday.

Yesterday we celebrated the Birthday’s of all the kids in the ministry. I measured their feet and bought everyone a brand new pair of shoes and a toy, then we loaded up my car and in two trips we went to Popeye’s Chicken. It’s hard to describe or understand that Popeye’s is a huge treat for these kids. We think McDonalds of fast food is just an option when we don’t want to cook. These kids never go to eat fast food because they cannot afford it; they all dressed in their nicest clothes for the trip. The kids loved playing in the play area, eating fried chicken and biscuits. It was funny, the ladies I work with didn’t know what a biscuit was, even as they were eating it. When we got back to the daycare, ready for naptime, we cut a birthday cake and opened presents. It was very hectic, but the kids enjoyed celebrating their birthdays! Thank you to everyone who helped make this possible. If you would still like to donate specifically for the birthday party, please let me know. 12 out of 20 kids were sponsored for this party ($25 per kid), so the rest came out of my monthly budget. God has always provided, so I was not concerned about sacrificing for this special day, but pray about if you would like to give to this specific event. I was planning on sending out this blog earlier in the week, but with looking for shoes and toys in over 10 different stores, and 3 migraines this week, the blog was not written until Saturday night.
David (Alejandro's brother) 
Heydi and Oliver enjoying the food

The first part of Juan's present (shoes!)

Seun (mom) holding Eliana, showing her new shoes

Oliver and Genesis pausing for a picture

the gifts before they were wrapped

Please continue to pray for my health. I’m finally back to eating normal from the stomach sickness, but the headaches the past two weeks have been very frequent. Also pray for my preparation and travels for furlough. I will be connecting with supporters and traveling all over the States. Thanks for your prayers, encouragement, and support!!

Wednesday, May 16, 2012

Happy Birthday!

I was sad to realize that when I leave for furlough in June, it will be the last time I get to see Genesis every day. On July 25 Genesis will turn 7 and age out of our program (at least until we have the new building and more ages). It will be the last time she will come in and talk with me like a grown up little kid. I will pass her on the street and find out about her life, but it will not be the daily interaction like normal. Genesis is a very gentle, quiet girl that has been in the program as long as I have been involved. She was the first girl I got to know and fall in love with. I would come in the afternoon to teach English classes when I was still working at the bilingual school. She would be the only kid left at that time of day and would play with my hair and talk. I vividly remember her puzzled face and questions about the color of my hair. From what I knew, she lived in a rented room with her mom, grandmother, and 2 year old brother. I don’t know if her grandfather lives with them, but a few weeks ago he came in to ask for something and when he left she matter of factly says, “he hits my mom.” According to the other ladies I work with he is known in the area for drinking too much. Genesis has never mentioned anything about herself being harmed, but her timid, submissive personality and eagerness to clean up makes me see that life has not been easy for her.

For this reason, I am hoping to have a Birthday party for all the kids on one day. I’m still working out the plans, but I am hoping to take them all on a field trip to McDonald’s or Pizza Hut to play in the play area for a morning, then each kid will receive a wrapped gift of new shoes and a toy. Young kids do not remember their birth dates as easily and parents in this community to not have the means to put much emphasis on the special day. It will be a way to make every kid feel special and bless the families by providing shoes for the kids. I know it is last minute to raise all the funds before going on furlough the beginning of June, but I had forgotten about when Genesis’ birthday was and that she would not be able to participate if we waited until August. With $25 per kid, we can provide a birthday party for 20 kids! Please let me know if you would like to donate for the birthday party, so that I can begin planning!
It has been a difficult start to May because I have had intestinal infections and bacteria. It has given me time to think, but until today, I haven’t had the strength to put it into writing. This past week I watched the last video from a Beth Moore study on David and I remember the specific emphasis she put on the 23rd Psalm because I had never heard it like that before. Verse 2 says, “He MAKES ME LIE DOWN in green pastures…” Sometimes God MAKES us take a break, to teach and restore us. I have had time to think about ideas for the ministry, questions to ask, how to involve more people. Sometimes the stress of living in another country is really draining and the best ministry is pouring to the kids and loving them with the love and grace of God. But, I have realized, that sometimes God makes you lie down and rest to restore and reaffirm the impact you are making.
We have 2 new workers at Casa de Luz! Today, Olinda is starting as the new supervisor. Her specific role will be more interaction with the parents and paperwork. It takes a lot of behind the scenes work to run a childcare facility and she will be helping in that area. I have not met her yet, but she is an older lady that has lots of experience. I look forward to getting to know her. We also have a psychologist that has volunteered to come once a week and start meeting with Gabriel, Javier, and Racsel. I have told you countless stories of the hardships of this family. It’s a huge blessing to have this new psychologist as a resource.
We have been talking about constructing a building for a while now, and found out that the Board of Directors has hired a contractor, after a very long process, and will begin work in July on the new building! If this continues as planned we will need teams to come and help put the finishing touches on the first phase of the building next Spring and Summer.
I’m looking forward to the new season of change in the ministry with new workers, construction starting, and a few people coming to volunteer in the fall! Please continue to pray for my strength and healing, the kids and their families, the new season we are entering in the ministry, and my furlough time in the States. And let me know if you are interested in donating for the birthday party!