Thursday, November 10, 2011

October/ November Updates

9 people live in this house and 1 of the kids almost drowned in the flood waters. Ana and baby Raquel (very underweight for her age)
this family's house sunk into the ground
the adobe houses, 7 people live in this one room.
Marta helped us out all day
lots of babies

Thank you all so much for your contributions to the flood relief in the south. I’m glad we had the opportunity and resources to help the community of Los Mangles. We were hoping to do some cleanup to help the families, but they had been in their houses for 8 days, and there is a very limited water supply. Besides the floods, this community has not had water in 2 months. We saw the Red Cross trucks bringing water as the community filled up buckets. We could see where the waterline rose on the houses, 3-5 feet, and all the mud it left behind. It was sad to see the destruction of their cemetery. Some of the main roads heading down to the south had just fallen off the mountain. It was great to be able to help this community. Here are a few pictures, I will put more on Facebook.

I have many things going through my mind to update you on, the ins and outs of the ministry. Its true a picture says a thousand words, but the picture in my mind is without words. I’ll try to describe two of those moments in the updates.

First, we had a parents seminar on Sunday. All of the parents came and we had a doctor on our board of directors talk about how to deal with your child’s emotions. I wish I could have stayed inside for all of it; however, most of the parents brought their children. It was a fun morning of singing Sunday school songs out in the burning sun. At the beginning of the meeting, we were asked to explain a moment that stands out for us, that made us proud of out kid. Of course, I don’t have kids, so they asked the teachers about our kids at the ministry. Here is my weak portrayal of the picture I have in my head. Usually we sing kids songs every morning, followed by a Bible story. However, in the kitchen, we always have worship music on (the culture always has music on). This week, Zulema decided to sing worship songs with the kids. I tried to take a video, but it distracted the kids and didn’t turn out very well. All the kids were in a circle with their eyes closed, holding hands, and singing the slow worship songs. It was beautiful to see their faces, understanding reverence for God. I wish I could describe it better or capture it.

The second moment I wanted to capture was the next night. We had the opportunity to skype into a benefit dinner in Chicago. The kids were just going to say “hola” and let the people see their faces. In preparation, because we all live on ‘Latin time’ we told the parents to come an hour early. I had to be there to set up skype, so I was going to be there as they trickled in. By 6:05 most of the kids and parents were there, what were we going to do for an hour? Two of the other teachers couldn’t come, and the pastor could not come, so I was waiting for the one teacher that could come. Of course we figured everyone would be late, so she got there around 6:45. Things I have gotten used to, that don’t phase my attention, are the kids climbing up in my lap whenever it’s free. If I don’t have a child in my lap, I’m probably standing. So here we are, 14 kids (plus siblings) huddled around my computer, doing the test call an hour before the actual event. The parents are sitting in chairs behind us talking. So I was talking on Skype, with the parents, and having the children enjoy being on camera. After the initial call, we had an hour with children running everywhere. So any natural teacher would try to think of what to do, quick. I saw how much they loved the computer, so I decided to show they my “casa de luz” picture folder. I have over 1,200 pictures, if I went slow, that could kill some time. The reaction, to me, was hard to describe. It was quiet, that NEVER happens with 2-5 year olds, but more touching, was that the mothers also stood up to huddle around. For 15 minutes it was quiet and still while I went through most of the pictures with everyone close. It’s a very close, touchy culture, so being in the middle of the group was heartwarming. I wish I could take a picture of that moment. I got an email later in the evening, that skype went well with the dinner, but they didn’t see half of the scene!

After this moment, later in the week, I started to brainstorm what I could do for Christmas gifts for the kids and their mothers. Of course baking to me is the easiest thing for groups, but then I realized I could get more people from the States involved with this other idea. Most of these mothers don’t have cameras, so they don’t have many pictures of their kids. I was thinking, depending on the response by those who read this, would you be willing to adopt a kid for Christmas for $15? I could develop 10 pictures of each kid and buy the mom a scented lotion, as well as bake them bread or cookies. I don’t have the resources in my budget to do this without your help. Plus, it would give you a chance to give to a specific event. We have 14 kids right now, and 12 mothers. Please email me if you are interested in being part of our Christmas celebration.

Lastly, I have a praise report! I have tail lights, installed and working! Also, I have my residency papers turned in, so I do not have to leave the country anymore! It should take about 2 months to get the residency carnet, but once the papers are turned in, I can get extensions on my visa without having to leave. This will save a lot of money in travel fees. Thank you again for all your prayers and support. These past few weeks have been good for building relationships with the ladies I work with and the mothers. I have had many conversations, getting to learn more about the ladies I am in contact with every day.