Thursday, March 17, 2011

March Madness

March seems to be the beginning of the “team season.” It seems that from this point on, there will be various mission’s teams visiting the country doing a wide range of ministries. I had my first group here last week, from Tuesday to Tuesday. It was busy and full of activities and ministries to do. Of course whenever anyone comes down, the schedule fills up and it feels like a roller coaster week. Thankfully, everything went smoothly with no problems! Gracias a Dios J

With the couple from South Carolina, we had the opportunity to take the kids to the zoo and Picacho (a huge statue of Jesus overlooking Tegucigalpa). The kids loved it. Although we were all hot and thoroughly exhausted at the end, everything went smoothly, even avoiding the teacher strike blocking one of the roads on the way out. Thankfully the pastor is also a taxi driver, so we changed routes before the strike took the intersection completely! The kids loved the zoo and all the animals!

The other days with the kids, we got to love on them and play with them. We sang songs for the visitors and enjoyed the sidewalk chalk they brought us (as well as many other needs!) On Sunday we had a parents seminar for all the parents in the program. We did coloring crafts and played with balloons, while the parents attended a seminar. I had a chance to talk again with one of the mothers. She had pain in her back and had a very worn out look in her eyes. She is the mother of 7 and works outside all day, every day selling things. Her husband, or the father of the youngest 3 children is in jail. Usually she is positive and smiling, but this Sunday she looked worn out from life, and I got to talk to her a little bit and listen to her problems. Its moments like these that remind me why God wants me here. To listen, invest in their lives and offer hope when their lives are so difficult.

Please continue to pray for the families and opportunities to share with them. We have another team coming next week and I think we will have the opportunity to help in the houses of some of our families, as well as, paint the walls of the day care.

On another note, my car is for sell. It has been more trouble than use. Please pray that is sells quickly, before another thing breaks. Aben and I have been sharing it for both ministries, and has been a blessing on many occasions. Now it is time to pray that it sells quickly and I will be able to raise $3,000 more to have a reliable car. Not only is in not reliable, we have noticed that everywhere we go the cab and a half is full of people (with the flip down seats in the back) as well as 3-4 people in the bed of the truck (sometimes more). This is a big need that I will need prayer and finances for, please pray about this and pass it along to anyone who may be able to help in this area.

This week looks like a normal week in my life, except for today there was a teacher strike blocking the 2 main roads I would take to the daycare. Its safe for me, but it’s very close to my apartment, so I am staying inside. The public school teachers, taxis, and busses have been striking a lot, so it has made for some big traffic jams or parking lots. Next week will be busy again. Pray for all the teams coming and going this month. I will have 2, but there will be others here visiting the ministry and area.

Here are some pictures and a video from this week!

Wednesday, March 2, 2011

Toothbrushes and Fingernail Clippers

Yesterday I, once again, realized everything we take for granted. First I noticed this with my kids, then I noticed it again in the conversations I had last night. This past weekend, one of my friends gave me kids toothbrushes, so we can start brushing the kids teeth while they are at the daycare. Cool, I thought! Then yesterday, I had the opportunity to do it with them. After spending sometime with my nieces, I figured this could be a very difficult process getting the kids to cooperate and actually brush their teeth. Since the day I brought the toothbrushes in (Monday), till we first used they yesterday, the kids pestered me about when we are going to brush our teeth. So yesterday, after they were labeled, I took them outside one at a time to brush their teeth. To each one, I would say, “I’m going to do it first, then you are going to do it,” because I want them to reach all the teeth and learn to do it themselves. As I did it, I would ask them what color their toothbrush was and if they had one of these at their house. To my surprise, its not wonder they were so excited and obedient, 13 out of 15 have never had a toothbrush or brushed their teeth before. Obviously looking at their rotten teeth, you can see they haven’t, but hearing it from them and seeing their excitement was eye opening to me.

We also took the time yesterday to cut fingernails and toenails. It was sad to see how long the toenails were, some of them growing into the skin. Then I got to wash their feet. It was a fun processfor each of them to let me wash their feet. I would cut their nails, then carry them outside, wash their feet and carry them back in. They loved it. Another thing we take for granted from when we are born. Our parents usually take care of us, teach us to brush out teeth, wash our hands, and cut our nails for us. Its engrained in us.

Another addition to the routine of teeth brushing and hand washing is taking vitamins. We have had them, but they weren’t being used. I know hygiene is not a high priority of some of these mothers, working to feed their families. It’s a neat experience to be able to provide this for them.

The other conversation we had was with a friend, on the way home from Casa de Luz was about what the United States is like. The conversation started with why so many North Americans come down to Honduras. When we explained, that the reality is that very few come down, he asked why? This is when we started describing the luxuries of everyday America. The first is hot water. There are 2 temperatures with every faucet. Every shower has hot water, with few exceptions. His response was “Like a ducha?” I am posting the picture of a ducha. It plugs into the wall and heats water as you take a shower. The people I work with, this kid included, only have cold water faucets. I fortunately have a ducha, but it’s not the same as having hot water from pipes.If the water pressure is too strong, the water does not have time to warm up. If the water pressure is too weak, it will burn you. Something we take for granted in the States. This is something indescribable to a large percentage of people here. The other luxury is that we throw our toilet paper in the toilet. Here, if you did that, you would clog your toilet. We talked about other things to, and with every new topic Iwas more aware of what we take for granted living in the States.

After all this, Aben and I were discussing the churches in the poor communities. They have church almost every night of the week. Why? Because they do not have the money to go out and do other things. Why would you not spend all your time in the presence of God at church? We take this for granted to. Church can only last a certain amount of time because we have other things to do. If we took the love of money out of the picture, what better thing would we have to do than be at church, in community? Since we have money, we arrange time to spend it. If we don’t have it, we don’t have to waste our times arranging how to spend it. It made me think of the verse in Matthew, “Blessed are the poor in Spirit, for theirs is the kingdom of heaven.” Their lives reflect dependence on God, so of course they are going to grow closer to Him.

Tonight we had a time to Skype with a group of kids from a church in Miami. We sang songs for them, and they sang some for us. Then some of the kids talked. I wish I could describe the atmosphere. Knowing both cultures, it was funny blending the two together. I could picture the group in Miami, sitting and waiting and being in their seats most of the time. On our end, pure chaos from a North American’s perspective; kids running in the streets, trying to round them up to come inside, babies screaming, one kid with a stick poking people. An experience you can’t witness from Skype. But it was fun for me to see the kids outside of the day care. I’m glad I had the opportunity to go because many time I don’t have the opportunity to spend time with the mothers or talk with them. Tonight gave me the opportunity to talk to a few of them more and play with the kids while the mothers were around. I loved the opportunity.

Things are getting busy this week and teams start coming! The spring break season thru summer brings lots of different teams, not all for me, but with all the connections, there is always bound to be a team here. Pray for protection and safety as teams come and go. Also pray for the relationships I am trying to build with the mothers.