Hola a Todos! I pray you all are doing well and staying strong in the work of the Lord!
I am sitting here now, attempting to pre-type a post while some of the children (Christa’s smallest kiddos are napping) and the rest are up the hill having a vacation Bible school time with a couple that’s visiting for a week from Costa Rica. Christa and Nohemi are in Tegucigalpa until Friday, and I am here in the clinic with 2 helpers attempting to hold down the fort with 36 children! I must say, we haven’t quite been captured, but the fort is on the move and growing crazier with each passing day J. It’s not looking too hopeful that I will be able to post this tomorrow and go into town when I’m really the only “every day” helper in the clinic that’s left until Christa and Nohemi return; but I may try to go depending on if I can get some help or take multiple girls with me!
I truly am at a loss of words of how to explain or summarize the past several weeks’ happenings. PURE CHAOS is an understatement! I moved in 4 of the youngest girls from up the hill, and just DAYS afterwards, 2 groups came through back to back. One was a medical mission team of nearly 40 doctors/translators/event organizers and the other was a native group from Santa Rosa of about 30 teenagers/young adults. This was my first real experience of tasting what it’s like on the other side of the fence when large groups come through! When the medical mission group came through, they set up a clinic of sorts in the large building that serves as a cafeteria for special events. I did my best to catch what happened with each girl at their respective tables with their respective doctors… but this was nearly impossible! I wasn’t surprised by what I did hear the girls saying, as the most frequent symptoms are headaches, stomach aches, and leg pain. However, the newest complaint is now ringworm… it’s spreading quite rapidly among us (myself included) as it’s nearly impossible to restrain young children from touching/bumping/hugging/playing with one another! I was comforted (even more) that Cristian (the 13 year old boy that cut off his finger pad) was able to be seen by a medical professional and just be guaranteed that infection hadn’t set in! AMEN! He faithfully comes to the clinic every morning, afternoon, and night… to have his dressing/bandage changed (we are on once a day now) and I have him on parasite medicine as well! While the group was most surely a blessing, it was quite difficult for myself and Christa… I don’t even know how to put it into words really… but I’m going to try to explain the hardest part. When groups come through, one can imagine that emotions SOAR in the children… pure excitement of being pampered and showered upon, which is GREAT! However, with this excitement also comes this awful attitude and some personality changes of looking for attention and also becoming quite greedy and forgetting ALL rules that we’ve worked so hard to instill in them! I literally watched in horror with some of the children’s behavior, and I’ll just leave it at that! Then, after that ONE day, we basically repeated the same thing over again when a group came through the VERY NEXT DAY! Christa and I were a little less than 100% those 2 days, quite sleep deprived, and played catch up for DAYS as we sorted through their mountains of gifts/candy/clothing/toys/etc (which IS indeed a huge blessing, but just very time consuming)!
After 2 days of pure chaos, we had Friday to settle back in to our “routine” of sorts in the clinic. Saturdays are usually more relaxed for my girls and I, too, as we usually visit someone in Esperanza! This week, we spent some time with the man who is helping us tremendously with our garden (Hermano Francis) and his family. The girls enjoyed about 3 hours of cake, pepsi, story time, and games. It was another nice downtime with the girls, and we enjoyed our walk back to the clinic, snapping some photos and goofing around. Some of the girls carried their respective purses in to Esperanza so that they could carry their water bottles with them, filled with clean/purified water! Thanks so much to KidsKonserve, and their water bottle donation… my girls are using their water bottles every day and school hasn’t even started yet! At first, some of the girls would complain about the taste of the purified water, as apparently it doesn’t taste as good as the dirty water… but now with these bottles, they are excited about drinking the filtered water and don’t give me as much trouble! THANKS SO MUCH for making it possible for us to carry clean water with us, when we visit families deeper in town that don’t have clean water! During the week of chaos with 2 groups moving through and much to accomplish, it was a blessing to have a couple visiting as well from Salva Grande that Christa knows well (Luis, a co-pastor and his wife Claudia – they are family to Rebeca). Claudia helped us tremendously with watching the children, and Luis would even help us at night to wash our tower of 40 dirty plate settings! It was so very refreshing to hear Luis’s preachings, as he has a real heart for youth… he would tell stories that the children could relate to and truly had their attention the entire week! 1 of my young girls, Dari, made the decision to accept Jesus as her Savior, and after his message about the power of a good testimony, I had the opportunity to talk with 2 of my girls more seriously (Gladys and Mildre) and 1 visitor (Johana) about their salvation. Johana is a 12 year old from Esperanza, who already knows more about street life than any young child should. She had been asking me for about a week if she could stay with my girls and I on Sunday between services… which actually turned into an overnight and all Monday stay as well. Sometimes I really struggle with the balance of showing the love of Christ and the giving heart of Christ, but also sharing the instruction and correction of Christ. I gave Johana nearly everything she asked for during her stay with us, but at one point I did talk with her about the need to be humble (when it came to asking for material things) and the need to obey my wishes when she’s a visitor in my “home” when all my other 13 girls are being taught to obey me and our rules!
I was pleasantly surprised as well last week, when Rebeca Diaz returned for a very brief visit! I had talked with her on the phone when her cousin Claudia first came, but truly wasn’t expecting her to decide to come for a visit! It was so very refreshing to see her again and I took the opportunity to seek her counsel on some of my girls and various situations! She was a great help and very encouraging! Most of all, she approached me about whether or not I was in need of help for a while here in the clinic with the girls! I told her about my need to return to the states for at least a month, and we conversed over the possibility of the Lord using her here again for a short while. We are both in prayer over it, and the awesome thing is that Rebeca is available right now and has a willing heart! Please join me in prayer over Rebeca’s help, as truly, there is no one else I would trust more with my girls than Rebeca! She lived with them and provided for them the best they had ever seen up the hill for 6 months… she holds very high standards which comes with some strong discipline, but balances well their strong need for love and affection!
Then came Monday of this week when Claudia, Luis, Rebeca, Christa, and Nohemi ALL left for Tegucigalpa together! Christa is still working on her papers… and it is decided now that the lawyer in Teguc is very dishonest and is playing games with the both of us! While I’ve only talked to Christa on the phone, she said she is receiving a LOT of counsel about changing lawyers! We are completely ignorant of what that entails, but she will be endeavoring to begin that process and when she returns (Friday, Lord willing) she will be sharing her counsel with me as well! Please pray for us! Christa successfully applied for both of our 1-month extensions… but is a little discouraged by all that is happening with the lawyer and her papers for her residency! The Bible says that money is the root of all evil, and when this lawyer changed his mind nearly every phone call about what we had left to accomplish and demanding more installments of payment… I too believe it’s about time to change lawyers… the biggest question is WHO and HOW?! Please also pray for our wisdom and discernment in this endeavor… as I’ve already paid and SHOULD have my residency but don’t know if I will have to start all over again with a new lawyer or not!
I’m finishing this post early this morning because I was able to set up a babysitter for some of my girls! Mrs. Joanne, Brother Ronnie’s wife is staying back from going into town this week, so she was willing to watch SOME of my girls while I’m gone. I’m going to take 2 of my younger girls (Dari and Merci) into town with me, leave about 3 or 4 older girls in the clinic to help with cooking/cleaning/changing diapers/bathing/the works, and then walk the rest of them up the hill to enjoy a movie and probably some peanut butter sandwiches with Mrs. Joanna J
I’m extremely grateful this week, for being able to see the fruit growing in some of my girls lives! The girls are improving, and while we still have MANY very hard moments throughout the course of a day or week’s time, I truly praise the Lord for seeing changed hearts and experiencing the joy of having their love expressed to me! I have taken 3 girls to visit Pastor Chungo over the course of about 2 weeks, when I just didn’t know what else to do in the situations I had with them each individually. I praise the Lord for his heart as well, and his wife’s, as they have counseled me through some of the situations that I never could have imagined I would deal with! Some fights are very small here, but take hours to resolve… while other problems can be quite large and take a whole day to resolve with just one child! Last week, I did have to laugh a bit, when I came across 5 VERY DRY washcloths after 5 of my oldest girls “Supposedly” showered! With 13 girls, and 1 bathroom, and church starting in 1 hour after I discovered the washcloths… I didn’t have time to have them all bathe again before church! But we were up until about 11:30 that night as I accompanied each girl in the bathroom (curtain drawn) explaining step by step to my 13 year old (down to my 10 year old) how to shampoo/soap/rinse well! I do appreciate the Lord’s sense of humor, in that I can always find something to laugh at throughout my day!
I pray you, too, are able to find joy through your trials and difficulties but also see the fruit of being refined in the fire! Oh to be more like Jesus! Please continue to pray for me, as truly the Lord is not finished with me yet, and I have such a long, eternal way to go in my faith! But I ache to have that child like faith that returns to Him even closer than before after a short while of hard discipline or difficulty in trials! Press on, dear reader… press on for Him!
|Here we are on our way back from esperanza! 12 in total because one was a little moody about having photos taken. Sorry!|