Monday, December 19, 2011

Time to Play Catch-Up

(Pastor Arnaldo, me, Bessy, Maria, and Debbie)... Zulema had to travel, so she was not in the picture :(

(Genesis and her brother Axel)

After a couple of very busy weeks, the day care will be closed for afew weeks. Most of the families go out to the villages over the holidays, and public school for the older kids does not start until February. A lot of extended family lives out in the villages, so it takes a day of travel on bus to get to most destinations.

I will be taking this break to catch up on communication! Since I am not certain on the funding for the year, I will be staying in Honduras for the holidays, with my family here. It’s not exactly the same, but my mom sent Christmas candles and some of my favorite holiday recipes. This week we have plans to celebrate Christmas at Aben’s ministry in Los Pinos (another poor community), celebrate a few kids graduating from his school, our Bible study Christmas party, and then on Christmas Eve and Christmas Day we will be with Aben’s family.

I also plan to catch up on emails, blogs, and Facebook. I will now be posting most of my pictures to the Foundation Casa de Luz page on Facebook. I will try to post them on my page as well, but I was asked to keep this page updated, so it will be my first priority for pictures. Here is the link Foundation Casa de Luz Facebook Page Or you can go to my Facebook page and click on my information. I will also try to make another slideshow for the blog with more pictures.

(Christmas artwork)

Now the update of three crazy days, that took weeks of preparation! In preparation, many of you donated to help buy Christmas gifts for the kids and families. Let’s just say, there is not a “one shop stop” in Honduras, so I had to visit many different places to get all the toys, gifts and materials; which also takes time because of traffic patterns and hours at the ministry. The great news is that we got to bless the families! Each kid got little toys (boys: plastic soldiers, cars, plastic animals, ect; girls: bracelet, ring, necklace, ect), candy, a big toy (boys: toy motorcycles; girls: a doll), and a stuffed animal. For the mom’s I developed about 15-20 pictures of each kid that I have taken over the year (most families don’t have pictures because they are expensive to develop and don’t have cameras), a family picture (we had family picture day), a picture frame that the kids made and decorated from popsicle sticks, lotion, body spray and banana bread. It took a lot of preparation, but they were blessed and grateful! Thank you to every one who was part of blessing these families!

Last Tuesday we had the opportunity to go to a discovery -learning center with the kids. I don’t know exactly how it was arranged, but our board of directors told us the Thursday before, that it was arranged for our kids to go for free! Once we got there, the kids loved it. Unfortunately, the driving there was terrible. On a usual day, it takes me 5-10 minutes to get to the ministry; however, this field trip day, I had to go around town because there was ahuge strike on my corner (I live in the worst location when it comes to the strikes). It took about 45 minutes to fight the traffic, choose the ‘best’ route, and get two-three blocks from my house. After getting to the ministry, we got to load up the kids and go on the field trip. Fortunately wedidn’t go through the same mess, but the traffic was a result of the mess and took a lot longer than necessary. I had the little kids in my car, so it was a fun experience. The field trip was very fun, the kids got to play, climb, and learn in many different stations/ rooms.

(lined up, ready to go in toChiminike!)

Wednesday was planned to be the last day and pizza party. We decorated ice cream cones with icing like Christmas trees and put little candies on them to decorate. Some of the kids enjoyed eating the icing more than putting it on the cone J

(Juan Jose frosting his Christmas tree)

(David decorating)

The last few hours on Wednesday we found out that Friday we needed to come and have all the children come, as well as the rest of the children from the church and the community. A national tv program was going to shoot a live program and give the kids gifts. Our space that holds about 20 kids, had about 110 kids and 40 parents all squeezed in. The piƱata didn’t work because there was not extra room to swing. It was crazy and there were a lot of crying children, BUT everyone went home happy with candy and very nice toys. We sang some songs and tried to keep the kids calm for 4 hours while they recorded for the evening show, then did a live show after. I actually had the opportunity to take pictures of the street because it was safe with so many kids and mothers on it.

(boys outside, girls inside)

(attempted pinata)
(Javier and his gift) (Heydi, Oliver and Linda were huddled in the corner of the daycare because their mom did not come with them, and little Heydi was one of the smallest in the huge crowd of kids... it was very cute to see them like this!)
(leaving CDL, news truck on the street)
(the street where I park, up on the left is CDL)

(the other direction down the same street)

In summary, Tuesday, Wednesday and Friday were great days to be a kid at Casa de Luz. They enjoyed the time and will be missed over the holiday. I’m glad these families were blessed so much. The mothers were extremely grateful and said thank you to all of your for the blessing you are in their lives.

As you know I have been working with 3 other Honduran ladies in the ministry: Zulema, Bessy and Maria. This coming year will have some changes that will take some adjustments. Maria was with us in the morning and going to school in the evening. She will not be with us after Christmas. I really enjoyed working with her, she was very good and caring with the kids. She is applying for a humanitarian job with the government as she continues her schooling. She loves the kids, but not the teaching aspect. She will be missed. Instead of replacing her, the board has decided to have Debbie (who helped over this past year) to come in during the lunch hour to help out. Debbie leads Sunday school at the church and is GREAT teaching the kids. She was a huge help on Friday with the tv program! I don’t know what we would have done without her. I’m excited to work with her on a regular basis. Lastly, Bessy will be getting married on January 14. She plans to stay in the city and continue at the ministry. We are excited for her and are looking forward to the wedding.

Thank you everyone for your prayers and support this year. May God bless you and your family as you share Christmas together.

Merry Christmas,


Saturday, December 3, 2011


(Vanessa and her kids on Family picture day last Friday)

Ephesians 5:1-2 Be imitators (copycats) of God, therefore, as dearly loved children and LIVE A LIFE OF LOVE, just as Christ loved us and gave himself up for us as a fragrant offering and sacrifice to God.

Living a life of love is a fragrant offering and sacrifice to God. Usually my blog updates consist of updates in the ministry, but this is the deeper issue of everything I do and the constant struggle.

Living a life of love is not the struggle, that comes easily, but understanding what is the right way to show love, is the struggle. The follow-up verse to this is Philippians 2:9-11. “And this is my prayer: that your LOVE may about more and more in KNOWLEDGE AND DEPTH OF INSIGHT, SO THAT YOU MAY BE ABLE TO DISCERN WHAT IS BEST, and may be pure and blameless until the day of Christ, filled with the fruit of righteousness that comes through Jesus Christ- to the glory and praise of God.”

There is one family in the ministry that we struggle with constantly: Vanessa and her three kids, Gabriel, Javier, and Racsel. I mention them often because they are in the most need. As you know Javier has not been at the daycare since July because of his violent behavior towards the other children and teachers. It was not safe for the other kids and we recommended a few psychologists for Vanessa to bring him to see. However, within the past few weeks, we have noticed Javier (4 years old) unattended in the streets, very dirty, with older boys and talking about and doing bad things. We planned to have him come back in January, but given the lack of supervision by his mother, we are hoping to have him back next week. Last week he had a scab on his nose and yesterday he had a cut on his head. On the weekends he and his 5-year-old brother (Gabriel) are out on the streets late into the night. They came to one of the teacher’s houses banging on the door asking for food; she said they were filthy. In the daycare, Gabriel has started hitting the kids (with us watching) for no reason at all. He does not have violent outbursts like his brother, but its’ not safe for the other kids to be around him. The space is not big enough to keep him separated from the other kids, but punishment and revoking privileges does not change his behavior. Both Racsel and Gabriel try to steal the toys in their pockets and then lie constantly. We discuss this on a daily basis with Vanessa, but things seem to get worse.


This is where I am struggling with discerning what is best. I am here to love the kids and Vanessa, but what is healthy. At this point, what I WANT to do is try to find a better situation for the kids, somehow. But that is not the right kind of love for Vanessa. I don’t want to enable her not to take responsibility for her children, but at the same time I don’t want her kids to continue to be in this situation. How do you teach someone to care about her children? I discussed with a friend about finding a psychologist, but that requires time and commitment, which she has chosen not to have for her children. So it’s a continual prayer for discernment in the situation. This is a condensed version of the situation, so pray for every individual in this family and situation.

One encouraging moment that came out of this situation yesterday was the opportunity I had with one of the other children. Because of Gabriel’s behavior, Mari, the new 6 year old, was crying and wanted to go home. We called her mom, but she could not come pick her up. Instead of naptime, I let her sit in the office with me and color. After coloring a while she walked to the bookshelf and picked up the Children’s Bible. I had an hour to talk with her and read Bible stories. She said she goes to church, but the kids sit in the front rows, the adults behind them, and there are not Bible stories (at least in the eyes of a 6 year old). I asked if she had a Bible at home, and she said no. So I started to read to her because she had never heard the stories. When I finished 5-6 stories from Genesis, she said, “Keep reading, I want to color while you keep reading.” She was very patient and looked up for all the pictures. I’m glad I had that time with her; it was a sweet moment.

My last update was on the face of a girl we saw last night. There is a song in Spanish that sums up what we saw; it was a humbling moment. We had some left over food from Thanksgiving that was about to go bad. I had the rolls in my car all day looking for some kids to give it to, but I hadn’t past any and it was getting late. At about 10pm another friend came over and said, well we have this cake too, lets go find someone to give it to. So I told them the intersection where I usually see kids in the street and we went there. When I see these little kids in the streets, I always think of Javier (my little 4 year old, Vanessa’s son). We saw a mom and little baby when we got to the intersection, but when we got turned around to get to them, it was only a 6 or 7 year old boy, helping park cars. We gave him the bread and he showed it to the mom and baby who were across the main road. She came running to the car, and then we realized she only looked 13 or 14 years old and the baby (under a year) had a runny nose and they were all really dirty. We got to give her the bread and cake and she was so happy and thankful. It was a quiet ride home; we were all silenced by the situation. Many times when you give out food here people do not show their thankfulness like this girl did. It automatically made me think of the Spanish song by Jesus Adrian Romero, “Yesterday I saw you.” One of the verses says:

Yesterday I saw you. It was clearer than the moon. Without a doubt it was a clear vision that made my heart jump when I saw you.I saw you in a street kid, without a place to sleep, with her hands extended asking for bread to live, with pleading eyes, and in her hesitant smile. Yesterday I saw you.