Thursday, April 10, 2014

Jewelry for a US Navy mom

I would like to share with you something about a very special family member. I have a cousin, well he's the grandson of my dad's first cousin. Growing up we would call him "Edu" and I was hired, as a teenager to babysit him during the summer  when he was little. Who would of thought that the little kid who enjoyed Blues Clues would one day be a Sailor? 

My cousin Nina asked me if I could make her a charm bracelet with colors and charms representing her son. She sent me a picture of what she probably found on the internet and I went to work looking for similar charms. To make it worth the shipping, I got a little extra charms just in case someone else would like to buy one. Within minutes of me showing her the final product, she had other Navy moms asking where they could buy one. Within 24 hours I had sold a total of 3 more bracelets on my Etsy account. 

That's not all! I later got 2 more orders for a Marnie mom! It has been a very busy weekend making charm bracelets. My thumb hurts, but it has been worth it. 

I will say that the funds are for a good cause. Not only will I benefit from these sales to help me move to Guatemala, but children in third world countries will also benefit. This upcoming Easter weekend we will be going to Tecate, Mexico and a portion of the sales will go towards buying food and supplies for a nearby village we have been helping. Thank you again! For more information regarding the Etsy account look on the left of the page or on the main profile. 

Thursday, April 3, 2014

Hard workers

Mid March we took our monthly trip to Tecate, Mexico to serve at an orphanage and a village. I would like to share a little bit about the village from this past trip. 

There are about close to 30 families living next to the city dump and another 30 in the surrounding areas who come visit us when we arrive. A lot of them work at the dump to earn a living. The pay is not good, but at least it's something to contribute to their families. I don't think many of us have or will ever experience that level of poverty, but it's an eye opening and puts my complaints regarding my job to shame. 

I have this vivid memory of the first time I started helping in this community (there was a time that I stopped going due to working in Saturdays). I remember getting there and it was a warm day. We opened the windows to the shelter where we set up and there was a light breeze. It felt good to feel my skin cool down, but the smell was really bad. I started contemplating wether to close the windows and tough out the heat rather than smelling the wrotten trash coming from only feet away. Then I remembered that all the people outside waiting to pick up their bucket of food, smelled this everyday and they probably didn't notice it anymore.  It humbles me every time we go and it reminds me to continue to give back because it could have been be standing outside waiting for my bucket. 

These men left their work for a quick moment from the dump to pick up their bucket of food. 

This family were excited to find a Buble amongst the donations :) 

Friday, March 7, 2014

Good night stories.

One of my favorite memories at the Hogar was telling good night stories to the school-aged boys. It was such a special feeling that they remembered that I did that last summer am wanted it to happen again. 

I tell them Bible stories with a twist. Sometimes I changed names, add more to the story or dramatize it a lot more. I do this to catch their interest and talk about things to help them in their character. 

The first night I think I told 3 different stories because as soon as I was done with one they would say "OTRA!" They would interrupt half way to ask questions or wanting me to add a new character like a chicken! I smile just thinking of it! 

There are so many children who are in need of a good night story and I hope that I am able to be that storyteller that they have been needing. 

It breaks my heart leaving. I love my family and I know I will miss them, but these kids have no one. If I can be that additional person this home needs to give a little more love, then Amen! I have fears, but I will not allow them to get in the middle if the dreams that I know God has for my life. 

Thursday, February 27, 2014

See You Soon

Tonight is the last night here at the group home. I will say that I feel really sad that the time is coming to an end soon. Let me share something that we have been doing with them that has helped us to have a special connection with the teen girls.

Since Monday we have been having Bible discussions with them. On the first evening we did it on the story of Joseph. These girls have been though so much hardship, more that I think many people would ever experience in a lifetime. These girls come from abuse; rape, molestation, physical abuse, mental abuse and abandonment. The story of Joseph starts with him being sold into slavery by his brothers. Later he was falsely accused and was imprisoned. After many years of being forgotten he was able to use that gift of interpreting dreams to help a nation. Later, he was able to see his siblings and forgive them. The one part that we focused on that evening was in Genesis 45

"4 Then Joseph said to his brothers, “Come close to me.” When they had done so, he said, “I am your brother Joseph, the one you sold into Egypt! And now, do not be distressed and do not be angry with yourselves for selling me here, because it was to save lives that God sent me ahead of you. For two years now there has been famine in the land, and for the next five years there will be no plowing and reaping. But God sent me ahead of you to preserve for you a remnant on earth and to save your lives by a great deliverance.[a]
“So then, it was not you who sent me here, but God".

I told them that God had sent them to this home to share in this moment with us. We shared many other things and opened it up to anyone who would like to talk one on one. One of the girls asked to talk to me once we were done with the discussion and we went to my room for more privacy. She shared with me her story of rape and how her daughter is the product of that rape. The rapist was her father. My heart sank, it hurt for her so deeply. I got close to her and we hugged for several minutes without saying anything.

Later two of the girls who are always together later said that they wanted to talk to us. First they wanted to know more about us and once they got a little more comfortable they shared about their abuse and abandonment.

There are no words to explain how I felt hearing it from them. Today we heard another story regarding two of the little girls that are here and my eyes filled up with tears. My heart breaks for them and It helps me understand a little more as to why they behave the way they do. All I can do is pray with them, for them and continue the show the love of Christ even when they drive me crazy because of their disobedience.

My little guy Lester Got a fever today. His little eyes were glossy and red. He got his pajamas on and I laid next to him on his bed and told him a night story. When I finished I told him to close his eyes and I caressed his hair and he fell asleep. I cried and said a prayer for him. I'm going to miss him running in the room at 6am to wake us up. He misbehaves a lot, but I have come to the conclusion that he just needs to be loved, hugged and given a lot of kisses.

I can't wait to come back and be part of this family of 30 kids. This is not goodbye, it's more of "see you soon"

Tuesday, February 25, 2014

Guatemala, Love and frienship

It's 6:30 in the morning and I woke up to the beautiful voices of the children here at the orphanage. I must say that my heart is full and I keep having to remind myself to be in the moment and not think that in just a few days I will be going home.

The journey started on Thursday morning as we arrived at the Aurora airport in the city of Guatemala. I must say that though we were exhausted from the overnight flight, but we were ready to meet up with the rest of the volunteers who would also be serving at the brigade. That evening we had a short meeting to prepare our thoughts and hearts to serve.

Friday we went to the church building and as we started to set up the children from the Colegio Hope (Hope school) started to arrive. It was so special to see so many of the children whom we have serviced year after year. One of the girls her name is Andrea right away said, "sing me the song" I knew exactly what she was talking about so I started to sing, "Ana Ana bonana fee fi fofana Ana" she kept giggling and saying "Again" I think I sang the song 5 times.

That night I was asked to accompany my friend Gelion to a dinner where some of the members of the church were hosting a dinner of day of friendship and love. After the brigade we rushed back to the hotel and got ready for the special occasion. As I arrived there were about 50 people there waiting to encourage one another. The main person heading up the event said that the guys would be taking the ladies to a location where the event would be initiating, but the ladies had to close their eyes as they walked. So I closed my eyes and Gelion led me to a location withing the same restaurant. After walking past a doorway he let go of my hand and then I felt someones hands on my shoulders leading me to a chair. The light turned on and I heard a voice that said to open my eyes. It was my best friend Estuardo Rodriguez. He was dressed in a suit looking good and the small room was decorated with balloons, rose pedals on the floor shaped in a heart with candles, a table between our chairs with a beautiful display of his fruit art that he carved into a flower. He was holding a bouquet of flowers in his arms. He said "hello" I felt like I was going to melt because I knew exactly why I was there. He gave me the flowers and started to say how much he appreciated my friendship. He probably talked for 5 minutes. It could have been less or more, but I was so engulfed in the moment that time did not exists. Then he asked a very important question, "Will you be my girlfriend?" I said yes and we hugged and giggled. When we opened the door holding hands and everyone was by the door cheering and taking pictures. My heart was full. I would have never had imagined that two and a half years after accidentally meeting him that he would be someone so special in my life. He compliments me in so many ways and has a lot of strengths that I lack and we have a lot of things in common. I have been praying for so long to have a boyfriend like him; someone who loves God with all that he has and serves others.

The following days were so amazing serving at the medical mission. I have so many stoaries to tell and so many special moments that just filled my heart. I met a little old lady without teeth. Her name is Simona. She was so cute and she kept hugging me and telling me how thankful she was to have us there. I met her on Saturday and on Sunday she returned with her husband who has Parkinson's. She gave me a thank you card and a necklace. This little old lady thought of encouraging not just me, but the other volunteers who helped her along the day. It was so cute she even asked the doctor who treated her to give her her number because she wanted to call her. I thought it was so cute!

Monday we took all who where still at the hotel to the orphanages. We first visited the orphanage in San Lucas (Amor de Patricia), then to the orphanage where I will be living. I can't even explain how I felt coming here and having the children run to me and screaming "Tia Ana!" When the school aged children arrived from school they were so excited to see us. The children hugged us and jumped into our arms. It felt so good to hold them. At one point I had 3 in my arms screaming with excitement. They all changed their clothes and got ready to eat lunch. Lester (Chick HERE to read more about Lester) does not let go of me, he even asked me last night if I could sleep in his room with him. This morning at 6am he came into our room and with excitement said "Buenos dias" I really love this kid!

There is no doubt that I am meant to be here. I love being able to love these kids. I thank God for this opportunity and I am charged to go back home and continue to work hard and finish paying off my school loans so I can call Guatemala my home and have many children to call my own.

Thursday, February 20, 2014

Airplane mode

So we finally left LAX a few hours back and I'm in the plane watching the sunrise. There's just nothing better than to see the beginning of a new day. I did not sleep at all. We should be arriving in half an hour in Guatemala and my excitement needs to get out of this seat! 

Preparing my heart for this trip was something special. There are so many things that need to be done and experienced. I was given the privilege of teaching on Friday to teachers of the Hope school. There are about 200 students who live in a very poor neighborhood. I was told that the police don't even like going there. 
A friend whom I met two years ago at a previous medical mission asked me if I wanted to join her in doing a workshop on the different learning styles. I am looking forward to it :) this will be done on Friday during the medical mission. On the agenda for today is breakfast and sleep. 

Tuesday, February 11, 2014

Love your neighbor

37 Jesus replied: “‘Love the Lord your God with all your heart and with all your soul and with all your mind.’[a] 38 This is the first and greatest commandment. 39 And the second is like it: ‘Love your neighbor as yourself.’[b] 40 All the Law and the Prophets hang on these two commandments.” Matthew 22:37-40

"Love" As we get closer to valentine's day there are so many gift ideas, craft ideas and even treats that are common during this time. When I think of love I think of something different...I think of the verb; to love. Who doesn't like to "feel" love? Butterflies in the stomach, the heart racing, etc. I honestly do not think that God intended it to just be that, a feeling. There are so many examples that refers to love such as when one sacrifices. I even think about the scripture in 1 Corinthians 13 that describes what love is. All the things that are listed are referring to more verbs.  

On that note, Guatemala is right around the corner. I am super excited because not only am I getting closer to paying off my school loans, I am going to spend a week there. I hope that I can be "Love". I keep thinking of what I should take with me to encourage the girls at the group home. What can I take to brighten their day? My mind races as I imagine myself already being there. 

The medical mission will be held on the 21st-23rd of February and we are collecting the vitamins. Would you like to love your Guatemalan neighbors? Last year we actually ran out of vitamins on the last day. This was really sad because I know that a little sugary pill can make a huge difference in a child's life when they are not receiving the nutrition that they need. Let me know if you would like to contribute. 

Here is more information regarding the medical mission. 
Click Here