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Chapter 11 – My Week in Nueva Suyapa

October 5th, 2017

I was a little nervous about going to Nueva Suyapa. I had just had an amazing week at Los Pinos. In Los Pinos I had English speakers to help me out and I knew some of the children and the facilitators from being there the previous year. The facilitators at Nueva Suyapa only spoke Spanish and I had no idea what to expect.

Preparing the Food and Eating it Too

I arrived at 8 am and met the cooks who helped out every day. I was immediately handed a knife to help prepare the food for lunch. We had to peel all the potatoes, carrots, and every other type of vegetable using the knife. I felt like a spoiled little American because peeling potatoes with a knife and not a potato peeler was really hard. The cooks were going so quickly. They would peel 3 potatoes in the time it took me to peel one. By the end of the week I knew that they appreciated my help and were thankful that I was trying, but the first day I really felt like they were disappointed with my speed and ability. After peeling all the veggies we had to cut them. I’ve never been in a professional kitchen so I don’t really have anything to compare the cooks to but watching them cut the veggies so fast and so small, I felt like I was working with chefs from a TV show or something. I was very impressed that they still had all 10 fingers because I almost cut one off and I was chopping slowly. I was surprised how long it takes to make the food. We started cooking at 8am and served lunch around noon. From 8 until noon we were working hard cooking. The kitchen was very hot because of the oven uses wood set on fire to heat the pot. I was pretty sweaty and I knew I smelt like fire everyday when I went home. 2 of the days I had to go to Spanish at night so I would take a real quick shower because I didn’t want to smell bad. I realized though how blessed I am to have these luxuries of being able to take a shower. These women cook everyday and have the fire smell on them but they can’t take showers every day to wash it off but yet they find joy in carrying the smell around with them because they helped feed children.

Every morning Keren would make us all breakfast. She would always give me more than the other two cooks. I felt bad because she gave me so much food and I couldn’t eat it all. I would try to stuff it down but if I had to continue working and standing up, there was no way I could get it all in. On top of that, I know that she does not have much food, so the fact that she would give me so much was such a kind gesture that I couldn’t just not eat it… but it was so much!! By the time I would finally finish eating my breakfast, it was time to serve lunch and Keren would ask if she could prepare a plate for me. I was grateful that she asked so I could say “no thank you.” Because I did not eat lunch, Keren would take me to a near by restaurant every day after finishing all the work at the care point and buy me a meal. I would take it home and share it with Karen and her family because I was still full from breakfast. Besides filling my stomach with food (and it was good food, just a lot of food) I learned to drink black coffee. I am normally the type of girl who drinks “coffee with my cream” instead of “taking cream in my coffee” but she made me black coffee every morning with no cream and a little bit of sugar. The gesture was nice but it was a different experience. By the end of the week however, I actually really enjoyed it.

We would eat breakfast while we cooked and prepared food but one I got chicken seasoning powder in my coffee cup. I figured that you could see the seasoning floating around so I didn’t need to finish it. But before heading over to the care point, Keren handed it to me so I could finish it. I pretended to take my coffee outside to drink because it was so hot in the kitchen and dumped it in the trees. I really hope no one saw but I could not bring my self to drink chicken flavored coffee.

A Long Journey for a Plate of Food

One day Keren took me around to a few of the children’s houses so I could see where they lived. Thankfully that day she had Google translator on her phone so communication was a little easier. Unfortunately that was the only day we used it. We would go to the house and she would type out some of the information about the family, I would ask some questions and get to know the family and then we would pray for them. I was thankful for Google translator but holding a conversation was still pretty hard. After visiting 3 houses we walked back to her house to help finish preparing lunch. The walk was long and hard, up and down dirt hills, trying to avoid mud piles or poop piles from dogs, cows, or horses, and walking up steep hills. I was out of breath. The reality shock that this is the type of walk some of the children make everyday just to get a plate of food astounds me. Despite being out of breath and feeling very out of shape, I felt like it was worth it to get to go pray for the families. I got to learn about what life was like, the struggles they dealt with and what an amazing difference Children’s Cup was making in their lives.

The Children

One of the differences between Nueva Suyapa and Los Pinos was that the kitchen in Los Pinos was in the same facility as the care point. Because of this there were children at the care point all day in Los Pinos and children could even help cook or serve if they wanted to. They were playing games and hanging out while 4 or 5 mothers help Ely prepare breakfast and lunch. In Nueva Suyapa, the care point does not have a kitchen yet, so they have to make all of the food at Keren’s house (the facilitator of Nueva Suyapa). There are only 2 mothers who help Keren prepare the food. Around noon, they have to carry the heavy and hot pots of food across the street to the care point and after feeding the children, they have to bring everything back to the house. Because the cooking is done at the house, children are not hanging out all day. The children come to eat and then they go to school. It was hard getting to know the children the same way I did in Los Pinos but I had to remember how different the situation was. Nueva Suyapa is a new care point and thanks to Seacoast church they will soon have a kitchen and bigger facility so that children can spend the entire day there.

When the children came to the care point for food, I made an attempt to learn their names. While they waited in line for us to start serving food I would walk down the line and try to memorize names. It was hard to memorize their names because first, many of them had Honduran names that I have not heard before and couldn’t pronounce correctly. Second, the kids were there for such a short period of time that I didn’t really get to play with them and engage with them unless I was handing them food or sitting with them while they were eating. And finally, there was very little light in the care point, only sunlight from a few open windows. I was trying to put names with faces but it was so dark that by the next day, when they were wearing different clothes or they were not sitting in the same place, I wasn’t sure if I was mixing up faces.

Once all the food was set to serve, we would pray, hand out the plates of food, and the children would take their food to a seat. Some of the children would eat in 5 minutes and leave right away and others took their time eating their food, talking with friends, or helping their younger siblings eat. Some children would eat and hang out longer to play around and help Keren bring everything back to her house and lock up. On my last day, Keren brought a jump rope for the kids to play with after they finished eating. Many of the kids stayed to play even after they were done eating. I was in change of holding one side of the jump rope and swinging it around faster and slower to try to trick the children until there was only one child left to win the game. The little kids would come and stand with me because they were too young to play so I got to talk to them and know them better. I would let them help me swing the jump rope … but that made the older kids mad.

The facilitators at Los Pinos bought parasite medication for all the care points and put me in charge of administering it. I was in charge of deciding how much medication each child needed and keeping track of who received medication. I had to cut it based on their weight and make sure they actually took it. The medicine didn’t taste great so I also had to make sure they were not spitting it out.  I did a lot of research on the medication first and talked to my mom because I am definitely not a doctor and was slightly afraid that I was going to kill a child. (Thankfully I did not!) Some of the children wanted to help me cut the medicine, which was sweet, but I couldn’t let them do it. The knife was very sharp, the medicine was difficult to cut, and I needed to make sure it was being cut to the correct size. I also didn’t think it was a great idea to hand a huge sharp knife to an 8 year old child.

Se Amable

The biggest thing that I did while I was in Nueva Suyapa (in my opinion) was teach the children about how to treat animals. There were quite a few kittens around the house and care point and the children would grab them by their arms and legs and pretend they were machine guns shaking them as they shot with them or they would hold them upside down, or kick them if they were in the way. Me being an animal lover, I was totally freaked out seeing this and no longer cared if it was a cultural difference in the way we perceive animals and treat them, I couldn’t watch this any longer. I couldn’t have a huge impact with the children who just came and ate than left but I got to know Keren’s son, niece and nephew pretty well because they were around the house in the morning and helped us wash dishes at the end of the day. Because of this I could teach them and I watched as they shared my lessons with the other children as they ate. I found out how to say, “be nice” in Spanish and “se amable” became the most popular phrase out of my mouth. I showed them by example how to treat the kittens, to cuddle them and pet them. The kittens slept on my shoulder or in my lap. As I pet them, I would pick fleas off of them and flick them away. I did end up getting a few fleabites but it was worth it because by the end of the day, the children were being nice to the cats and getting angry with anyone who wasn’t being. Half way through the week, some of the children who helped us wash dishes got the idea that before we washed the dishes, we should scrape the plates and put any left over food onto one plate to give to the kittens. I was so happy and proud of them. I wish all care points would do that, give the extra food that the kids don’t eat to the dogs and cats who are starving instead of mixing it with soap before dumping it on the ground. Oh well… future project for me right?!

Teaching the children how to hold the kittens

Ending the Day and the Week

At the end of the day, after all the children had left, we would take everything back to the house to wash. 200 plates, bowls, spoons, glasses, and all of the pots, pans, mixing spoons and other cookware had to be washed so they could be used again the next day. I had to learn a new washing system because they have limited clean water, and they do not have a sink. The washing station had two side tables and a big hole in the middle with the clean water. We had to rinse all the dishes on the table and then using a bowl we would get clean water and pour it over the soapy dishes to rinse them. It was much harder than using a dishwasher or even washing dishes by hand using unlimited running water. I am not sure I described that well or if it made sense but it is hard to describe if you have not seen the set up. Once we washed everything I would take the tub of clean dishes and organize them into cups, bowls, plates, silverware, etc. And then put them away to stay safe until the next day.

Between smelling like fire, being really sweaty, having my ankles covered in red mud and dirt from the ground, picking fleas off cats, and braiding hair that was covered in lice, I was so tired by the end of the day. All I wanted to do was go home take a shower and sleep, but I never could. I either had Spanish, church, a Skype meeting, or something else going on. Despite being dirty and exhausted, I had tons of fun in Nueva Suyapa. I have so much respect for the Keren and her cooks and what they do every day. I love those children and can’t wait to see them again. I am excited to watch Nueva Suyapa develop as a care point as the facility is built, more children are sponsored, and they begin developing programs and devotionals to enrich children’s life. My experience in Nueva Suyapa was very different from my experience in Los Pinos but I loved it and had tons of fun. Despite only seeing the kids for a short period of time, I am so in love with them. I am amazed by the way God is using this care point to change lives and to spread His word and His love to the widows, the hopeless, and to all of His children.

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Chapter 10 – My Week in Los Pinos

October 3rd, 2017

I had been waiting to go back to Los Pinos and was very excited to go but also pretty nervous. I didn’t know what to expect since I had only been to care points with mission teams and with agendas. When I got to the care point, Jose Daniel and Elizabeth (or Ely) (2 of the 3 facilitators at the care point) were wearing my “Given the Spirit of Love” shirts (I had almost worn mine too which would have been funny).  I was so happy to see that they fit and they liked them. Ely joked and said they were their new uniforms.

At Los Pinos, children want to be at the care point all day. It was really touching to see how much the children wanted to be at the care point and how much they loved being around the facilitators. The care point is a place of safety for them where they are loved and can be kids and have fun. Every day the children get was breakfast, lunch, devotional, prayer, help with homework, games, and tons of love. Many of the children arrive early whether it is for breakfast, homework help, or just to hang out. Breakfast is a type of warm protein shake drink and fruit, lunch is different every day. I got to help make lunch one day. I reminded them that last year they tried to teach me how to make tortillas, I was very bad at it and eventually I was politely scooched aside after messing up so many times … but they let me help anyways. I think I did better this year… just no tortillas. Between breakfast and lunch the children get to play. The care point had a whole bunch of board games donated to them so children who didn’t need homework help would play games with each other. I got to play with them all week and quickly learned that 1. I am very bad at checkers and 2. Just because the games had instructions written in English doesn’t mean that the kids followed the English rules. I had to relearn how to play games that I already knew how to play but I had to learn the Los Pinos rules.

Playing english headbands, this was a great way to work on my Spanish and them to work on their English

Every day the children pray before each meal. Whoever leads the prayer prays and then the children repeat it. I lead prayer before breakfast and lunch. I laugh a little when I think of how the process went. I would pray a short phrase in English, Jose Daniel would translate it, the kids would repeat it, than I would have to remember what I said and what to say next (ADHD problems at their worst!). After breakfast and before lunch, when most of the kids were there, they did a devotional. Ely asked me to lead it. I was worried the first day because I hadn’t prepared anything and couldn’t think of anything to talk about but God is good and gave me a topic. The next days I was better prepared. What started out as causing a bit of anxiety ended up being the most amazing part of the day. After I finished the devotional, Sister Ely thanked me for being in Honduras and for following God’s calling. She explained that my coming to Honduras was a blessing because Honduras needs a lot of help and there are so many Hondurans trying to go to the States. I felt so humbled and honored but also knew that I did not deserve that type of praise, the children and facilitators were the true blessing and I was the blessed one because I got to witness what they were doing. I saw how they were changing the children’s lives and felt silly accepting any thanks. If that was not enough, children took turns standing up and speaking and telling me thanks. Every day after devotional, there were more children who wanted to say something to me. They shared their personal stories and told me how my being there and how the words God gave me to share were affecting them. I felt like a cartoon character with my mouth hanging open to the ground saying “WHAT?!?” “I should be going around thanking each of you for the lessons you’ve taught me, I deserve no thanks at all.” So many of the kids asked me if I would move to Honduras permanently and come to Los Pinos everyday, everything in me wanted to scream YES!! [But I know that I have to wait for God and not make decisions based on emotions (because if you know me than you know my emotions are crazy and out of control).] I had fallen so in love with the kids just by the end of the first day. I was sad every day when it was over and the children had to leave to go to school. I was so happy in Los Pinos that I didn’t want to go to any of the other care points; I was content to stay there. My last day there, the children made me a present. They made me a book and a few of them wrote me letters (sweetest things I’ve ever read). They decorated, colored, and signed it. I felt so loved.

Children listening during daily devotional

One of the pages from the book the the kids made me

Once most of the children had left for school and the care point was starting to clean up and close down, Ely, Dwight, or Jose Daniel would pull 2 or 3 kids aside and ask them to hang around. We would step into a more secluded room and they would encourage the children to tell me their story and share their testimony. Their stories touched my heart in so many ways. The sadness of hearing what they had been though, whether it was abuse, starvation, hopelessness, injury, or loneliness broke my heart but hearing about the joy that Jesus brought, the love they have for life and the changes in their daily lives since accepting the love of the facilitators and the love of Jesus Christ brought joy and thankfulness to my heart. There were so many tears, whether they were the children’s or mine. The things these children have been through are unimaginable, a child should never be subject to have to go through what they have been through. I heard stories that made me ask God “why” and “how could something like this happen,” but amidst my questioning and the pain I felt for them, I am positive and I see the proof that there was not even one second that God was not walking with them, taking their pain on to Himself, and rejoicing because He knew what their futures held. Words cannot start to describe the love I have for the children. At the end, they told me their prayer request and we all prayed together. We praised the Lord for how He had always been with them and praised Him for everything He had done and would do. The last boy who I talked to ended his story by telling me that his prayer request was for his family because they are not Christians, then he confessed that he had never accepted the Lord either. He had learned about Jesus but wasn’t ready until this moment. So we closed our eyes and he asked Jesus for forgiveness, he thanked Him for his protection, love and sacrifice, and he asked Jesus to send the Holy Spirit to live in his heart and stay with him forever. What an amazing way to end the week. I felt so blessed by everything I had been a part of. It was such a joy to be in the presence of the Lord witnessing His mighty power overcoming death once again and bringing eternal life and joy to these children’s lives.

I love these kids

The children who had school in the morning or who did not have school that day would wait outside the care point, they would hang out and talk with each other until we were done talking and cleaning up the care point. Dwight owns a little pick up truck, it is old and small but he uses it to bring glory to God’s name. Once we go outside about 20ish kids jump in the back of his pick up truck and he drives them up and down hills, on bumpy roads, and all around to take them to their houses so they don’t have to walk such a far way. They get out and run around to the front to give hugs and kisses before we going to their home.

I feel like I am leaving so much out about this week like a home visit I got to go on, or details about activities, stories about the children who I fell in love with and details about what makes each one of them special. I could write pages upon pages more if I told you about all of the detail that I wanted to share but I promised myself I would start writing better and shorter summaries. All in all I am absolutely in love with Los Pinos. Each child has a special place in my heart. I am so amazed by the children, the respect they have for the facilitators and for each other, the love they have for Jesus, and the confident hope they have in their future because of Jesus and the path He has placed them on. I have heard stories about the children’s behavior when they first began at the care point, how they were dirty, rude, and disrespectful, they did not behave and would beg without being grateful. I see the kids today and can’t even imagine it. They are so sweet and well behaved, so grateful for every small thing and so incredibly respectful. I have the highest amount of respect for Dwight, Elizabeth, and Jose Daniel because of their patience and love with the children and how hard they have worked to bring about such an amazing change. Even more, I sing my praises to the Lord because of His grace and His power. Every time I see the children I am blessed, I get to witness a miracle, how many people get the honor of saying that in one day they can look 200 miracles in the eyes and be sure that she will experience many miracles herself!

Having some good conversations!

Dance Classes

Last year when Action Church visited Los Pinos, the girls did a few choreographed dances for us. The dance teacher was there and I was so grateful that the love of dance was being spread everywhere. During my week in Los Pinos I was very sad to find out that the dance teacher from last year was no longer present and teaching. A few of the kids remembered that I was a dancer and were asking me for dance classes. Dwight told me about how dance is a form of praise to them and many of the kids are longing to engage in it but don’t know how. The girls who were involved in the program before were trying to make up little dances but could use some help.  That week at church I was watching the children dancing during worship and felt a very very strong calling that God put me there to teach dance. I suddenly started thinking of dance moves and choreography to teach them and brought up the idea to Dwight. Long Story short, I now teach dance classes in Los Pinos for 2 hours on Saturday to boys and girls of all ages.

I had it all planed out but my plans quickly fell apart. Problem one: My style of dance was different than the style of dance they were used to. I would require technique, stretching, practice and hard work. They would have to learn dance basics before I could start choreography. Problem 2: Dwight mentioned to that the kids had a pretty amazing the lack of coordination but I said, I have taught 3 year olds, no biggie…. Yes biggie. Teaching them how to spot when they turned… spot with out even turning, just moving their bodies was very hard. Teaching them to jump from bend knees, straighten their legs in the air, and than land bend again felt like I was teaching them to do a back tuck when they had never done a forward roll. I learned quickly this would be harder than I thought. Third problem: I don’t speak Spanish and many ballet terms are French so I was working trilingually… that made it even harder. The first class I did not have a translator so I did a lot of acting out what was wrong and saying “no, no, no” and than demonstrating correctly and saying, “Si, bueno!” I was very thankful for a translator for the 2nd class but found that a translator helped with explanation but did not help with coordination. Fourth problem: my foot is hurt and I am not supposed to dance on it, I wasn’t sure how that would work but by the grace of God I am teaching and demonstrating dance without pain. Walking may hurt sometimes but God is so good and I am so grateful that this is the work He has given me, it puts two of my loves together.  Final problem: I am teaching many different ages and need to give a lot of one-on-one attention. I don’t think I need to explain how that is a problem.

With all of these problems, I should just give up and call it hopeless let someone else take the task right? Well, I felt a bit like Moses reminding God that he had a speech impediment and asking Him to take it away. I have problems with language, and injuries, they have problems with coordination however, this is what God gave to me and rather than reminding Him of all the mountains that make it impossible, I will thank Him for being my strength and thank Him for the beautiful mess He has given to me. It is in the mess that His work will show the best! Of course with these problems, I have to mention that it is not bad, I really do love it because I get to be with the kids and I get to dance again. Dance class is tons of fun. It may be hot, really really hot and dirty but weirdly, I don’t mind. After class is over all the kids come over and fan me! I look forward to Saturdays with the kids and have decided even if they learn nothing… I am okay with that because it is all about God.

Teaching dance class and teaching the children how to stretch

My Time With The Lagos Family

The facilitators of the Los Pinos care point and the rest of their family have become like a second family to me. I can’t tell you what a blessing they have been during my time here in Honduras. I’m going to bullet the fun activities I have done with them that are none care point related.

  • On Wednesday, Elizabeth and Jose Daniel took me out to Denny’s for lunch. I got to hear stories about the care point and different children, the amazing work God has done there and the work He has done in the Lagos family’s life.
    • I was also very excited for some American food but the next day I woke up with the worst pain in my chest. After 2 months without fatty American food I can see how bad it is for me to eat. Most people would think, wow I am not doing that to myself again… I though well this really sucks but it was 100% worth it, my body will readjust to fatty food eventually… I truly have a fat child’s mind.
  • One day after dance class, Dwight and Elizabeth took me out for coffee. We were just going to grab coffee talk for a bit and than have a night off.  We ended up talking for 4 hours. Even after all the conversation, I wanted more time with them. I love them so much!
  • On Tuesday, Jose Daniel and I hung out. We had hamburgers and saw a movie. It is fun feeling like I have a brother.
  • Oscar (Jose Daniel’s older brother) has been such a God sent to my life. He works with Children’s Cup as a translator so he goes around with the teams rather than being at a set care point. Oscar had been trying to go to lunch with Karen and I for the longest time but we were always busy. We finally found time to go to dinner with him. Oscar is one of the funniest guys I know. I find it strange how easily he can move in and out of serious conversations and silliness. Oscar was also really helpful when my laptop broke and trying to help me fix it.
  • The Teupasenti care point had a sponsor who wanted to throw his sponsor child a birthday party. I was in charge of planning the party, working to find the lowest prices and trying to make the party great. Los Pinos has thrown birthday parties for children before so Ely offered to help me find good prices and shop with me. I was thankful because I had never planned a party for 200 children before and on a budget. During my week in Soroguara, Ely came with me to spend the day with the kids and then we went shopping. Ely does not speak Spanish so there was a small language barrier but it didn’t even matter, we had so much fun! She helped me save on the prices by offering to help make things. Ely, Jose Daniel, and the children in Los Pinos traced, cut, decorated, and tied elastic on 200 masks. They all looked amazing and saved me so much money. We found almost everything but had to run by two other stores the next day.
  • The next day we finished shopping but Ely’s oldest daughter (also named Ely) and her two children joined us. This was my first time really getting to know her and she is such a Lagos, she is so awesome! She didn’t feel confident about her English (even though I thought it was great), but she understood everything I said. She said she had so much she wanted to tell me but didn’t know how to say it. I could understand the frustration of feeling like you want to say more but not knowing how to say it. I told her that we had Jose Daniel and he could translate but she laughed and said I don’t want my little brother knowing all my stories, Hahaha.

Anyways, I love this family so much. I don’t think I would be surviving without them. They always tell me to call if I need ANYTHING, even stupid silly things. Where people normally say that and than can’t follow through or don’t answer your call or text, this family is so different. They really mean it. I miss my family so much back home but I feel like when I go back to Florida I am going to be homesick from the Lagos family.

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Chapter 8 – From Pain To Joy – A Week of Revelations and Guidance

August 21st, 2017

The past week had been one of the hardest weeks for me, not the entire week, but there were a good 5 days that were filled with emotional break downs, doubts, anger, fear, tears, discomfort, and lots and lots of cookies and chocolates to temporarily sooth my uncertainties, stubbornness, and my emotionally raging heart which was hopelessly searching for an unfound peace.

In hindsight, I can see where I went wrong and how I ended up in such a distorted, messed up place. I was very focused on myself. I was could believe that I was focused on God but really I wanted God to be focused on me. I was living the “ME-ssions” life style… The kind where you can pretend like your focused on God because you talk about Him. I was telling God, “I want to walk with you but we need to go where I want to go.” I was telling him to walk with me instead of trusting Him to light my path. I was so focused on myself that I was incapable of realizing and remembering what had happened so far, everything God did to get me here, and how He was still working. I felt as though He owed me for my obedience. My “time with Jesus” was the 15 minutes that I laid in bed after my alarm cock went off and I drifted in and out of prayer and sleep. Being in the word was looking at a verse of the day… maybe. I was surviving on the bare minimum and calling it okay because I worked at a church. I thought that my plans had to be right and accomplished which meant that I needed Spanish, so I chose to use my time studying over being with Him. I thought if I studied and understood, that would be how I would see God, because that is how I expect him to work. If I was not picking Spanish up and if I was struggling, than God was just not there, so it was okay to be angry.

When I broke down with Karen, she reminded me that if I choose to study instead of be with God, it is pointless because I was saying that I could do it alone, I was putting Spanish and my ability above God. Just because I was going to give Him credit if I could have learned it, didn’t mean that I was right. He doesn’t work that way. She reminded me that if I find peace first, and I make myself available to hear God and be molded by Him, he doesn’t need my efforts, He can bless me abundantly because He is who He says He is. I got mad and told her lies about what I had been doing and how God had left me all alone. I said I do read my bible and pray and I can’t find peace. I said God hasn’t been here for me once since I arrived…. BIG FAT LIE! I was so wrapped up in playing the victim that not only was I not walking with God, I had discredited every place where he had lead me.

I really expected God to follow me and without knowing it I slipped further and further away. The morning after breaking down with Karen, I woke up pretty embarrassed with myself. There was still a part of me that was just focused on me, I realized that I looked bad and I had lied, and with that lie I had invalidated everything I had said to Karen in the past, what was I going to do… I couldn’t tell her that I lied because I was being an emotional, attention seeking, over dramatic, temper tantrum throwing little girl, but I couldn’t let her believe that everything I said was true… because I knew it wasn’t.  I realized that it was time to repeat… not to Karen because I couldn’t embarrass myself again or like that yet, but God needed to know that I was sorry. As I stopped everything I was doing and laid in bed eyes wide away, I cried and apologized. As I did that, forgiveness, love, and realization of my wrong flooded over me. Because of it, I wanted to feel even guiltier for what I had done and where I had let myself go to, but you can’t be in guilt and in God’s presence at the same time. I prayed that I would walk in His path from now on and that I would rely on Him. I prayed that this time He would fill me with revelations and blessings. God gave me those revelations.

Am I happy that I got to such a bad place, no. Am I happy that I could see God taking my ugly mess and teach me beauty through it, absolutely! Well, I finally did a real devotional, no Spanish studying for me that morning, I needed to be with my best friend and be filled up. I felt back on track and ready to go except for one thing, I had to repent and apologize to Karen. That meant I had humble myself and let go of my pride. When we got in the car, before I could even say something, she started apologizing, saying that she had been to harsh and not loving enough to listen to my problems. I laughed and told her, never change who you are because that is what I needed. I told her I realized I was entitled and I needed her push to get there. I needed conviction when I was wrong not encouragement and enablement.

So, I stopped focusing on myself, I thought, “so what if I don’t learn Spanish? What if instead, I talk to my teacher about Jesus! Would I rather speak fluent Spanish or have the blessing of God using me to change where one of His loved children spends eternity? Would I rather be fluent in Spanish and have to leave the children to take care of business when teams come OR since I can’t speak Spanish and talk to people, shop, or order food, would I rather have to rely on body language but be able to share the love that that God poured into me with children?” How dare I try to make my own plans when God has already written a beautiful masterpiece of my life that ends in happily ever after. I know better, God never lets you live in discomfort because He wants you to squirm, He knows what will happen and He puts road blocks in the way to get you to go the right way.

Seeing this realization made me think of the other day when a bird got into the house. The sliding glass door was open and the bird could have flown out of it to its freedom if it would have noticed it. But instead, it insisted on flying into a closed window, slamming its body against the window over and over as the bird hit it, fell, and than tried again. This bird would kill himself at this rate. But he didn’t know where he was, all he could see was where he wanted to be. All he could do was focus and hope that if he kept trying, the window would break or disappear so he could get to where he wanted to be. The bird was not going to stop trying. He was not going to leave the window and a search for his answers elsewhere. He had outside in his sight and if he left, he may not be able to find it again. Leaving the window would be accepting death to him. However, by trying to avoid his death, he was causing it. First I tried to talk gently to the bird and explain it to him that there was an open door I could lead him to if he would just listen to me. But that bird didn’t know my voice and that he could trust me. He was a bird who lived in Honduras so if he wasn’t studying my language, he would not recognize it. I refused to let him die so I had to take more drastic matters. If he wouldn’t hear my calming guiding voice, I would have to wait for him to become so weak that I could stop him from hitting the glass and scare him out of the house. I would have to stop him from flying the wrong way by blocking him. That poor bird was in such distress but he finally flew outside and was free.

I now realize that I was the bird. I saw what I wanted and I would kill myself to get it. If I took my eyes of the prize I was sure I would die. I wasn’t studying God’s word so I couldn’t hear his voice. I was living in the world and needed to study His language. God let me grow weak so that He could reveal to me that there was an easier way. He was smarter and He could see the entire path. He would lead me to freedom if I would surrender to the unknown and follow Him. He lead me to my freedom and although, unlike the bird, I am not where I wanted to go, I am happy and content and trusting that God will not let me fly up a stair case or into a corner, he will direct my path until I am fully outside and once I am there, he will show me where to go so I don’t end up inside another house, throwing myself against unbreakable glass. I will not try to break the glass anymore because why would I cause myself destruction when there is an open door waiting for me. (That was a good analogy right! … Thank you Jesus for taking care of your bird!)

God guided me and gave me many types of encouragements. From Pastor Daniels post on Facebook,

to a new audio book I started listening to which was filled with inspiration just for me, to going over to Karen friend Sandy’s house and hearing her testimony about being called to move from the States to Honduras and being reminded of the miracles He has done for me. The inspiration wouldn’t stop coming. I was back on track and feeling strong and I would not allow myself to fall so easily again. In my weakness, God showed me how strong He was.  I am going to tell you more about the inspiration I got from Sandy and from Kisses from Katie (my audio book) but first I want to share the revelations that God placed on my heart in hopes that the hope that was given to me can help someone else too.

1st, God does not call us to do things that we are already capable of doing. If that were the case, how would He ever receive the glory and why would we ever need to look to Him for peace, help and guidance. If we could already accomplish our calling, our success would be based on us. But when the impossible is placed before you and it is apparent that you cannot, it forces you to cry out to God and rather than be dragged down by the “cannots,” you are lifted up by the “praise-Jesus-es” and the “look-at-what-He-has-done-s.”

2nd, God explains there will be suffering and pain as we walk the Christian life. Many times we look at this concept like a mannequin. The pain is an idea and it is and easy solution so we can almost idolize pain and think that it should be easy to get over. We think a 5-minute glance at a verse of the day or a quick prayer is going to give us something to make it go away. Just because the bible does not always include the disciples and prophets wallowing in self-pity or anger at not understanding what or why, does not mean that it never happened. They were humans too with real human emotions. They felt the pain but were able to be so drenched in His love that they could over come. We cannot drench ourselves in love with a 5-minute glance. A 5-minute glance is better than nothing, but it is comparable to trying to survive by only eating a peanut every day. It is filled with protein and healthy fats but will not sustain you for long before hunger and the pains of it overcome you. You can forget about how thankful you were for the peanut or how good it tasted because you are being overcome by starvation. Being in the word is much the same way; it is something that requires time. In a world of scrolling through news feed and seeing an inspirational quote to make you smile, we forget what it means to have to search for inspiration that lasts. Taking time to be in The Word and meditate on it lasts and it changes the day. Taking time makes a difference. Returning to that meditation and prayer is what keeps you focused and gives you joy. Here lied m first problem, I was expecting a half awake, 15 minute prayer in the morning to sustain me and give me peace and energy for the rest of the day. I was expecting a verse of the day to feed and inspire me. But that is just not how it works. The same way I can’t study Spanish when I am half awake and look and one new word and suddenly understand it, I cannot except to understand God and hear His voice when I neglect studying His Word and live in a world of contradicting influences. Christianity is like all relationships; you must make time with it. If you want to hang out with a friend, you don’t have them come over while you are sleeping or getting other things done, of course once you have that closeness with them you want them to be with you no matter what because their presence is just enjoyable. But you meet up for lunch or see a movie, or get together to just hang out. Imagine only talking to a friend when you need something, they probably will not be your friend for long. So my second and third realization is that I can expect to struggle because entitlement is of the world but working hard is from heaven, enduring the pain like a good solder is what we are called to do. And when I do feel overcome by the world, I must remember to not live like the world expecting fast satisfaction but instead plan time to set aside and give my undivided attention to being completely filled.

As I made it through and overcame this hard week, I started understanding that when I decided what my calling was and what it was supposed to look like, I had set myself up for failure, faithfulness, frustrations, and boredom. When I started thinking I had it all worked out and knew what I was doing, I began expecting things to happen and to work out the way I said they should. So, I thought, “God, I came here in obedience and you will work a miracle and I will be speaking Spanish fluently in the first month because you are so good.” You see, in the past, God has always used my words as my ministry; one of my top spiritual gifts is exhortation so encouraging people is how I can see God use me. I have always said, “I am terrible with words so when God speaks through me I see Him do great things.” I was expecting Him to continue using me the way He always had… I thought He had been preparing me for what He had prepared for me. But when I planned out what God would do, how He would do it, gave Him a time line, and expected to be ministering and connecting in the way I expected to be, I felt hopeless and alone. I was so confident that I would be able to pull up this spiritual gift and use it that I wasn’t really asking God to give me words or having faith in our loving and sovereign father. I was having faith that He would follow my plan. I was relying on my ability to do what I knew how to do and my knowledge. I found myself in a hole of “but whys” and “how could yous.” The thing is, you don’t need God to do what you plan to do. You need Him to light each step and when you can’t see where your foot will go next; when you know that you need light to get by in a dark and changing world. The map is always changing and I found that my planned route was unknowingly leading me to walk off a cliff. But with the light I could see the edge, and now that I am following the light, I will not even go near the edge. I am now trying to live in faith day by day asking Him to show me what to do next and thanking him for each step. I am not worried about the future because I cannot see it, but He can and He is good.

I found 2 quotes in an old bible study and have stuck with me and came back to my memory. “You cannot have wonders without wounds,” and “God never fails to put conflict, injury, insult or opposition to use.” As I struggled in multiple ways, I ended up felling kind of silly. I was expecting to see wonders with out having to bare any hardship. But now I realize that if everything were perfect, I would not recognize the wonders as wonders because they would just blend in with my life. You are amazed by wonders because they seemed impossible before. I was reminded of how many times I had been strengthened because of a struggle, how many times I had been encouraged from having to fall on my knees in tears and cry out and surrender to God because I could not do it. I recalled how God has used my circumstances to strengthen others. If my dance studio had not caused me so much pain, my forgiveness and acceptance of Ms. GayMarie would have had no impact, God’s love would not have been shown if I had been her favorite and her words had not cut into my soul. I never would have looked for the underdog or the child who needs encouragement when teaching dance because I would not have know what it felt like to be the ignored and hated student. If I was not given so many intellectual struggles and learning disabilities, receiving good grades and graduating would have been based on my own knowledge and abilities but instead all the glory is given to God because on my own I would not have even graduated. And now, as I struggle here, feeling lonely, unable to speak the language, feeling useless and selfish, and being so consumed by fear that I cannot focus on anything else… all I can say is this, “take this Father and do with it what You will, bless the work of my hands so they may bring glory to Your Name, teach me how to walk in Your will and minister how it is needed, not how I want.” Nothing has changed in the physical sense but I feel peace and comfort and my best friend has got my back. He will give me the strength and the energy to survive and He will grow me in ways I could not have imagined. When I think I need to be able to speak the language to be helpful, useful, or happy… He reminds me that I do not… I need to be obedient and I need to endure the suffering and fight a good fight just as I was called to! Through the wounds, I will see wonders and through the pain and conflict, God’s name will be glorified because He will not let it go unused. I will experience joy and blessings, I will witness what I never thought possible and what I could not have imagine in the first place. Bringing glory to His name, isn’t that the mission? I am not here to end world poverty, I am not here to end gang violence, I am not here because I am so wise that I can teach all the people something new and important, I am not even here to love because I am human and my love is so flawed, I can not change the state that Honduras is in, but God can change things, if God gives me His love, if God gives me His words, if God gives me His plans, if God choses to use me and I am a willing servant, glory will be brought to His name!

I realized that I was trying to be strong and if my demands where met, I would be strong. But the bible tells me that in my weakness, He is strong. I would much rather have His strength than my own. I was reminded at church that when God called Moses, God did not take away his weakness. Moses pleaded with God that He would be a better speaker but God kept him weak so that He would be the one who provided the strength. God does not just fix problems because we are in obedience to His will, rather He shows us how great He is by providing us with strength that shows the world how powerful He is. He will not let harm come to me because of my weakness but He will redirect me. He gave me spiritual gifts and I believe He will give me more and strengthen them as well. When I am living in His gifting and walking in His step, He shows me that His strength is more powerful and best seen when I am weak. If I can submit to Him with my weakness, He can show the world His strength. If I am determined to be strong, I can take credit for His work and I can miss how great our God is. Once I realized this, my mind flooded with verses that I had written and hung on my mirror or put in a notebook back home. Philippians 4:13 – “I can do all things through Christ who gives me strength,” Isaiah 40:29 – “He gives strength to the weary and increases the power of the weak,” Psalms 119:28- “My soul is weary with sorrow, strengthen me according to your word,” Ephesians 6:10 – “be strong in the Lord and in His power,” Isaiah 40:31 – “but those who hope in the Lord will renew their strength, they will soar on wings like eagles, they will run and will not grow weary, they will walk and will not faint,” 2 Corinthians 12:9 – “my grace is sufficient for you, my power is made perfect in weakness… For Christ’s sake I delight in weakness, in insult, in hardship, in persecutions, in difficulties, for when I am weak, then I am strong,” Psalms 28:7 – “the Lord is my strength and my shield, my heart trusts Him and He helps me,” Psalms 118:14 – “the Lord is my strength and my defense, He has become my salvation.” I now ask that I may stay in His weakness so that I will never take credit for His strength, so I may live a life of revelation as I watch in awe how God provides for me and gives me strength. I can trust and rest in His holy goodness and promise of strength. How great is our God!

Just because I was being strengthened, didn’t mean that I could not longer feel weak, it didn’t mean that the enemy could not attack me, it just meant that I could see it and shake it much easier. Like I said earlier, I started listening to a new audio book called ‘Kisses from Katie.’ This has become one of my favorite books ever and I highly highly recommend it to anyone who wants a good read. The book was written by a girl named Katie who was a missionary in Uganda and wrote blogs. She went there at 19 thinking she would be there for 1 year and fell in love with the country. Quick summary is that she started a non-profit, lives there, and at age 23 had legally adopted 24 children. I am continually amazed and encouraged as she shares her experience and convictions. I can only hope to live my life more like her. I am not looking to live in a 3rd world country forever, and I am certainly not looking to adopt children, but hearing her experience and the way she abided in God, the way she found encouragement from Him, was so encouraging to me. Her convictions convicted me. I was so thankful for this girl and how God was using her. I was so thankful someone encouraged and helped her put her story together to share with everyone.

It was amazing to hear some of my own thoughts and feelings that I was unable to describe put into words as she experienced many of the same things that I had. She talked about the contrast of seeing the material poverty and the spiritual richness. She talked about how odd it was that the smells of dirty children had become something dear to her heart. As Katie described kissing children with diseases, I thought of the children who I couldn’t help but love that were covered in lice, or scabs, or coughed directly in my face. I too am no longer bothered by children who have fresh or dried snot running from their noses and all over the side of the face, I’ll cover them in kisses anyways. I can’t help but love the children because of the love that God put in me.

She talked about how difficult it was knowing there were people back home who would easily spend $100 for a pair of shoes but would say they were unable to sponsor or donate to a child. She talked about how it was a struggle not because she thought they were horrible people but because she had to accept that unfortunately, that is the way of life. It was not her place to hold them responsible. The amount of times I thought of people who consider themselves “poor” but pay for a Disney or universal annual pass blows my mind. Even more when I think of the people who don’t even go enough to make it worth their money. I think about how much money people spend on make-up and brushes and it makes me sick. The price of Mac foundation is the equivalent to the price of sending a child to school for a year and giving them a uniform, new shoes, and school supplies. It is the price of giving a child hope that they can have success and make a respectable living instead of having to turn to gangs or prostitution for survival. (All this is going through my head as I applying Mac foundation to my face with a nice brush by the way.) Some people will never realize that they can give up their vanity and give a child a future, some people will but will chose not to. However, I was reminded that I cannot place judgment, it is not my place. I am just as selfish and care just as much about small things, they may be different but I am the worst of these things. I must first take the log out of my own eye so that I can understand and have compassion for all people whether they are living in material or spiritual poverty.

I felt convicted as she spoke about what I was witnessing as everyday life. People who are sick and dying, people who are starving but they do not worry. They do not rely on themselves or on others to provide but fully rely on God and His ability to heal and provide. I say this as I look at my bucket of medicine that I brought so I would have medication “just incase.” Every time I encounter something that I consider “not as it should be,” my first reaction is what can I do to help, what can I give up so I can give, who can I contact so I can help. I need to remember to trust God. Before going to myself, before going to people, I need to go to God, listen to what he is telling me and act on His word, not on my thoughts. I need to remember that I cannot solve the problems of this country but God can and He will do it in His timing.

This all made me think about people in the States who are unhappy because of something materialistic. These people are friends who I love dearly. We would get together and complain about bills, being tired because we worked 3 jobs, wanting an apartment with a big kitchen or a walk in closet. We could complain about these things because regardless of what we thought or how we felt, we are so rich in material possessions. Yet I think of our conversations and realize the spiritual richness missing from them. I go to houses here and see chickens walking through their one room house made out of strips of wood and bark because they don’t have a door to keep them out.

As good as this book was for me, with every good thing, the enemy can distort it. I began comparing my life style to hers. In both good ways and bad. Yes, we both loved in supernatural ways that we ourselves were not capable of without God, yes we both dealt with living in odd parallels, sure we both missed home and had some hard days, and yes we both felt convicted by the Lord but were also in awe of how great He is. But comparing is not good. Katie talked about how she would hand write notes by candlelight at night and discussed the difficulties of dealing with no electricity. She talked about making her own meals and having to prepare them for 6 hours because they did not go to the grocery store so everything was prepared from scratch. She gave her self sponge baths because there was no running water. She did not have alone time because people were always coming to her house to ask her for things. She was with the children every single day, they called her auntie or mommy and she really poured in their lives. I listened to her talk about this as I had just turned off Netflix from my laptop charging in the electrical outlet and was preparing to take a shower with warm water but first was cooling off with my fan plugged into an electrical socket and I would soon be getting ready to go to the office to write reports on what other people were doing for the children. I started feeling like I was not good enough; I wasn’t roughing it out well like it is expected of missionaries. I was still watching movies and enjoying the luxuries of life like getting to be a picky eater, having meals prepared for me, having electricity and running water. I was still stuck on the luxuries, would I be able to get everything out of my time here like Katie got out of hers? I could not be overcome by God’s goodness because I wasn’t cutting out my materialistic things. I started feeling bad for complaining about no space to work out, no AC, having to go downstairs to get fresh water to take medicine, having a slow internet, finding cockroaches in my room and ants on all my counters or flies buzzing around while I was eating. Because look at how Katie was living and she was joyful… was I missing everything God had for me? I saw her blogs and how filled they were with scripture and stories of how great God is and started thinking I need to change how I write my blogs because hers are inspiring and mine are crap… blows my mind why people would want to read them in the first place.

I couldn’t stay in the comparison trap for long though because as I started to blame and hate myself, I heard a still soft voice speaking and I wanted to listen to that instead of the criticism running ramped in my head. God reminded me that I am not Katie. First, these are not her blogs, this is a story written based on her blogs and written with a professional writer and editor. I do not need to change the way I blog because I am not Katie. I need to be okay being me. Who cares if people read my blog or if they don’t. Instead of being someone else, and trying to have their experiences, I need to pray before I write and than have confidence that God will speak regardless of what I say.

I don’t need to wish for her life style but instead be thankful that God still gave me small blessings. He prepared Katie for the environment He put her in and He prepared me for the environment He placed me in. I would be miserable living in her circumstances, many people would be miserable living in mine. Instead of comparing, let me be thankful for family, friends, electricity, running and purified water, a grocery store, ability to buy chocolate, and for internet so that I can connect with people back home. My time will come when I will have far less and will rely on only God for friendship and comfort, when these things are not as easily accessible to me but I will praise God for what He has given me.

Finally, I felt like I was useless, I was in the office every day letting other people love the children. How was I helping? I was not doing what I had originally wanted to come her for. I had only seen the children and really been with the children when groups came. I could not make an impact with 2 days every-so-often. Do you see the “me”-“me”-“me” “I”-“I”-“I” in my thought process again? God reminded me of the prayer I said before coming. I didn’t know what the plan was or what Pastor Daniel would have me do. I knew I would have to be flexible and comfortable with change and living one day at a time, so I prayed that God would use me where I was needed most, that I would not try to make my own plans but that I would submit to the work He gave me, that He would use me in what ever area I was in to bring glory to His name. Suddenly I realized that Karen needed my help, without the work that we were doing, children would not have sponsorships, children would not be fed everyday, and children would not be able to go to school. While I may not be interacting with the children on a daily basis, I was working for them, I was working for God. He needed me to be where I was at that time. However, I couldn’t shake the feeling that the children were why I came. I wanted to know them and advocate for those without sponsors. God did put this uncontainable supernatural love in me for them so I longed to be with them.

How good is God? He is good! I had been busy with office work but now that annual registrations were done and I had translated many documents into English, I was sitting at the office with nothing to do, reminding myself God is using me where I will be used best for Him. Pastor Daniel came into the office and since I wasn’t doing anything, we went into his office and talked. We talked about a new assignment he had for me. It was something he had been doing but honestly did not have the time for. I told him I could help. It felt good to be useful again. He than asked how I was doing. I told him I was struggling because I wanted to be with the kids but I wanted God to put me where I was needed. At that Pastor Daniel said okay, lets send you out. We looked at the calendar and I will be in Los Pinos starting on Monday 3 days of the week, I will have 2 office days and I will have a day off. The following week will be the same with Nueva Suyapa, the following week I will be with Soroguara. After that I will go to Teupasenti and stay there for two weeks (this will be my time to experience the real missions life, not grocery stores, no internet, and really being in the field… careful what you wish for right!). When I come back, my family will visit and then we will have a little over a month with a team every week. Once that is over I will do one day at the 3 nearby points each week for 2 weeks and then Action Church will come and take me home. Thinking of my time here like that makes me realize how quickly it is all going by. It makes me sad that it will be over so fast. I am so thankful that God took care of me. He saw my hearts desire and as soon as I surrendered what I wanted to His will He blessed me!

Talking to Pastor Daniel was very encouraging but also convicting. We talked about culture shock and how my adrenaline had finally worn off and I was starting to really be hit with the reality of it. He told me that I needed to be careful because many missionaries did not like the discomfort of culture shock and found other North American missionaries to be with all the time. Because of that, they never fully immerse into the culture and understand it. I could see his point. We talked about how I always want to fix things. How I see a problem and do whatever I can to find a solution but I have to stop. He said “there are to many problems and if you help one there are at least 1000 identical case… you have to accept it, you are not God therefore you are not capable of fixing it or finding a solution.” That part was hard for me because that really is my personality. I do not think I am God but when I see someone struggling, I can’t just watch and say well that’s how it is. In my opinion, that takes away my loving heart. I don’t look at the whole picture, I look at the pieces, how can I help one? If I can handle it, how can I help another? Maybe I can’t do anything… WRONG… I can pray! I know thousands more children have the same problem and I can’t help them all but why would I see a problem and say its too much so I wont help anyone why would I rationalize laziness that way? Why would God bring me something that touches my heart in a painful, aching way, if He wanted me to ignore it? I’m not trying to solve Honduras, but if I can help 1 child, isn’t that something? I don’t know. I really need to submit to Pastor’s authority and at least try to see the way He does, I don’t want to allow my fund raise, solution planning mind keep me from being in the moment or keep me from understanding the country but when God lays something on my heart it physically hurts. I pray but if I can do something I will, I will submit my work to the Lord and trust He will guide it but I cannot stand by and watch injustice and be okay.

As we talked about culture shock, I told him that although I was not in a good place last week and needed to handle it better, some very real issues did arise. One very large issue was that I was not being filled up at church. I wanted to pour out to others but I was not being filled. Church has 3 components. These three are what make church a necessity. These are the reasons we cannot stay home and say I’m okay because I read my bible, it’s about a relationship not about legalism of attendance. Church is not legalism, 1. It is a place of worship. You can worship by your self but being a part of the body and lifting up his name, as one voice is different. “Where two or three gather in my name, there I am”(Matthew 18:20). 2. Hearing a message from a pastor who has studied and has been called by God to receive insights and share them with the church is going to fill you in a different way. Nothing can replace the bible, nothing is better than the bible, but I truly believe that as a Christian you must allow yourself to be fed by different sources and be encouraged by a word or an insight the Lord gave to one that He called to be a pastor. God appointed pastors, preachers and apostles and gave them insight before new Christians had a bible. Although we have the Word now, I believe God has still anointed people to reveal to the body what He has revealed to them. 3. Community. To be in the body of Christ, you must be with the body of Christ. Would you expect your body to work and function the same way if you took one of your lungs out and put it some where else and said don’t worry, its still a part of my body but it is strengthening itself over there, its still strong, its still working as best as it can because it belongs to me, but its doing it alone. NO! You must be in the body to function correctly and to achieve everything God has for you. God calls us for relationships despite the fact that they wound us. We are all broken so we must come together and strengthen each other. With these 3 components, the Lord fills you with strength, knowing that He will hold you up, the awe of how great He is as you feel his presence and lift up His name reflecting on all that He has done, how powerful He is and all that He will do, it is amazing. He fills you with the nourishment you need from His Word to go out and have the energy, encouragement, and conviction to follow in His step and abide in him. But there is just something so amazing about studying with your spiritual family. (Sorry, I know I’m rambling about my opinions, they have just become very strong now that I feel I am with out MY church).

My problem was this, 1. We worshiped in Spanish. I did not know what praise we were giving and found myself trying to translate and study Spanish during worship. My happiness came from understanding the Spanish words, not from what they meant. I could not follow along with the Spanish service. Although I had the world’s best translator, my brain would listen to her and to Pastor Daniel, get exhausted and drift off. I wouldn’t realize it but I hadn’t listened to the service and while others were receiving prayer and feeling renewed and refreshed for the week, I could tell you what Pastor Daniel talked about. 3. I had a community of probably 4 people. I spent most of my time alone before and after service as I watched everyone else connecting and hugging each other. I had the Los Pinos children to give me hugs but after the short exchange of Spanish words that I knew happened, the awkward starring could only last so long. Those who did speak English were in someway obligated to come talk with me because I looked lost standing alone. I told pastor Daniel I was feeling this way and I wanted to be filled. I was worried he would take it personally or think that I was saying his sermons were not enough for me. I told him I wanted to attend CCI, a church of missionaries from North America that was preached in English every Sunday at 4pm. This way I could still attend service on Sunday morning and Wednesday night but I could also attend a 3rd service that would feed me in other ways.

Pastor Daniel returned to the points he had made on culture shock and not allowing yourself to mesh with the culture and people because you run to your comfort. He talked about ways to fix my problems, giving me his notes in English or putting English subtitles on his Facebook live message so I could go home and watch the sermon again. He said he would be more intentional about having the English speakers in the church talk with me but did not want to segregate the English speaker by having an English bible study or anything like that. I appreciated everything he said he would do and was feeling a little more hopeful but I also felt like it would be difficult to bond with the English speakers when I knew Pastor Daniel was pushing them to me, it also sounded like it would require a lot of extra work. He said he didn’t want me to go to CCI because it would be likely that I would be so comfortable there that I would start seeing his church service as something “had to get through” so I could go to CCI. I would become a part of their community and not need to make the effort to become a part of the community at Family House of Prayer. I know myself, he was right. He didn’t have a good solution to my difficulties with worship so he suggested I go to CCI on Sunday and than we would talk, may I should attend once a month so that I can receive the worship aspect but not become a part of the church. I said I would go on Sunday and pray about it.

All in all, my talk with pastor Daniel was very encouraging… I included more of the discouraging points than the encouraging ones, I know, but the other things we talked about are not things that I am going to share here. I cried a lot of good tears as he said exactly what I needed to hear. I was excited for the future and we prayed and I felt peace. We talked for much longer than I thought we would and opps, I was late to Spanish because of it!

I did go to CCI on Sunday and Pastor Daniel was right. I loved it! I was comfortable! I cried during worship and took 2 and a half pages of notes during the sermon. God fed me and cleansed me of insecurities. It was fellowship week at CCI so after the service was over, we all went to eat at Pizza Hut/KFC. I really bonded with a lot of the people. We talked about our callings and our struggles. It was so amazing to connect with so many people. They really wanted to know me and wanted to know my story. They got my phone number so we could stay in contact. I felt so so so filled that I thought I would burst. Yet I felt heart broken because everything pastor Daniel said had been confirmed. I wanted to join their church. I wanted to be in one of their fellowship groups so I could bond with a group on a deep level as we met once a week to discuss the bible. Family House of Prayer does not have small groups but here CCI was making connections, relationship, and having people to “do life with” so easily to attain. I wanted to teach Sunday school for them. I missed getting to do that. They talked about how with a church of missionaries understands that there will be months at a time when you can’t attend because you may have teams or be in the mountains and they would never hold it against you. But the Pastor said, “while you are here, serve, be involved, be a member of the church”. That’s I want so bad.

I made the mistake of telling everyone at dinner how I want to be involved. After I said it, I was sad because I knew I couldn’t. With these people here I was already focused on this new group of fellow believers. I was more excited about next Sunday afternoon than I was about Sunday morning or Wednesday night. But Family House of Prayer is my church and I should be excited to go and egger to know the people of the congregation more.

I think everyone wants to have a church were you can walk in and it immediately feels like home. It’s hard to find! I feel I found it. But I can’t have it. I have to pray and really seek God’s guidance. God placed me in Family House of Prayer and that is where He put my ministry. I appreciate the ease that came with CCI but I know that God put me with Family House of Prayer and under the guidance of Pastor Daniel, not pastor John. I want to be fed, I want to be in community but I want to respect Pastor Daniel’s authority and I want to respect the location where God placed me. I want to respect the culture. I want to be comfortable but I don’t want to stray away form difficulty and live in comfort. With the struggle every week will come refinement. I need to remember that. I will attend CCI next Sunday until Pastor Daniel comes back from China in 2 weeks and I can talk with me about my feelings but until than I am praying that God will align the desires of my heart with His and that He will make it clear to me where to go.

Karen and I went to CCI with Sandy who I had met on Tuesday. I would love to share Sandy’s story with you because it is amazing and is such a testimony to following God’s call, but it is not my story to tell and I would not want to mess anything up. Maybe I’ll ask her to write it down so I can share it with you guys because it is so encouraging to see how God works. What I will tell you is Sandy is from the States and moved to Honduras with about a months notice. She has now lived here for 12 years but still struggles with the language. We went to the pool in her community and talked about life and ministry. She talked about how she was struggling to find coordinators who were bilingual, could take charge of a group and tell them no when they did something that was not safe but at the same time be able to follow authority and respect Sandy’s position as their leader. Of course, since I saw her struggling, I wanted to help. I thought about how many people from the states want to study abroad. Many people are event management majors and would love the chance to help plan and coordinate a group of missionaries. Many of them are bilingual and would love the chance to get to use their skill. I started thinking through Spanish speakers that I know, people who could use a year to just save money. In the end, all I can do is pray that God provides her with His solution and that He will provide the perfect people. After the pool we went back to her house made American comfort food and baked cookies. We talked for a long time before we watched movies. I thought that we were only going to spend the morning at her house but we ended up being there all day. I was surprised how quickly time flew by… time flies when you’re having fun right. I was planning on studying when I got home but I fell asleep as soon as I touched the bed. It was fun to be around someone from the states and eat comfort food from home. I really like Sandy! She was one of those people who I just automatically trusted. Sandy has an opinion about missions that was very eye opening. She works with missionaries so she knows a lot and sees all of the behind the scenes work. Some things I agreed with her on, other things I disagreed. My eyes were opened though as she explained some things to me in ways I had never thought about before. I would love to tell you about everything we talked about and share her opinions with you but this blog is already to long so maybe another time.

Here is a summary of the rest of my week. I have started trying to talk with my driver, Pastor René, and am very thankful that he understands my broken Spanish and helps me learn. It is frustrating sometimes but it is good for me. I got to talk to Astrid again and am so filled with joy every time we reconnect. I am so thankful that God gave me a best friend who continues living life with me no matter how far apart we are. One day when I had no work to do Oscar stopped by the office and it was fun getting to catch up. I enjoy getting to learn from him and getting to hear his insight on life. One day at the office we had no electricity or internet so I thought we would be leaving early and we ended up staying really late because even though we could not do computer work, God kept bringing random people to the church to speak with Karen. Some were members of the church and some were people walking by who felt called in. She was able to speak to them and give them encouragement. It was pretty awesome to see God’s mighty hand and how we worked during a “wasted day at the office.”

On Saturday morning, there was a retreat at the church so Karen could not go to her Chinese class. I assumed Pastor René would be at the retreat so I set up a different taxi driver. My second driver was busy but he had a friend who could take me who he said was trust worthy. Karen found out that Pastor René had an obligation in the morning and would not be going to the retreat so he was free to take me to class. So she called and canceled my other driver. I was waiting at 7:30 for Pastor René and watched time go by and he was still not there. I was getting worried because I did not want to be late to class because I knew my teacher teaches another class right after so she couldn’t extend. I was trying to call Karen but she was busy getting things ready, it was noisy and she was distracted. I guess there was a misunderstanding and Pastor René was waiting for me to call and confirm and I never did. My class started at 8, it was a 30-minute drive and I was still at the house at 8:05. I was getting frustrated and wanted to scream but than I remembered to breath. I said, “God I am furious right now. If I could speak Spanish I could have made the call and none of this would have been a problem. I want to be on time and be respectful of my teacher but I can’t do that like this. I need your help and your peace because I am freaking out.” I opened my eyes and Pastor René honked the horn because he was outside waiting. I ran out and jumped in the car. I don’t now how but he made it to the center before 8:20. I thought I would be 45 minutes late. Pastor René said he had to take care of something so he wouldn’t be able to pick me up until 9:45ish even though my class ended at 9. I wished I would have known so I could have brought something to do while I waited but I said okay and ran into my class. The ladies at the front desk said there was an emergency with the Italian teacher so they had to pull my teacher to instruct the class and instead one of them (who also taught English during the week) would be doing my private with me today. She did not have another class to teach, so she said she would still give me a full hour. Actually, we went over an hour. We finished the class and I thought about buying coffee but had no time because Pastor René pulled up. God had worked everything out. The timing was perfect. Okay God, I trust you and I know you will work things out for your good and glory. You are a sovereign Father who does not change or crumble under pressure. Thank you Father, for giving me true joy and lighting my step. Thank you for pulling me out of darkness and for not allowing me to be the me that I can so easily be but instead you train me and strengthen me so that I can be the me you intend for me to be.

I am so ready for this upcoming week of being at Los Pinos. I continue praying that God will bless the work of my hands and show me how to help. I cannot wait to see all the children and get to play and love them again. Los Pinos does have bilingual facilitators so it is a great place to start. I get butterflies from excitement just thinking about it! I cannot wait to see what God shows me!

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Chapter 7 – From Joy to Pain

August 20th, 2017

Between the last blog, this blog and the next blog and I am covering 5 weeks but I am mixing them all up together. The time line of when everything happened doesn’t really matter as much as what happened, right? So I am going to jump a few weeks back to when I was still working on annual registrations. Everything was due in about a week and a half so Karen and I decided we would help the facilitators out. We were going to the 3 care points located on the outskirts of Tegucigalpa (meaning they were all near by) to help the facilitators take pictures and collect final registrations.

The first care point we went to was Nueva Suyapa. I was happy to be around the kids but found myself in a couple strange parallels. First, I had been editing pictures of all these children for the last month so I recognized many of their faces but didn’t necessarily know any of them or even their names. I just recognized them. Even if I had known their names, they didn’t know me so it would have been very creepy if I just acted like I already knew them.

The next strange parallel was figuring out how to balance my shyness with wanting to get to know the children. When we are with teams, the children know what is going on but I think many of them were confused why there was only one Gringo there. My shyness kicked in. I knew that if I didn’t have a job to do I would have been talking to the children joking, tickling, and playing with the children, I would be inside sitting with them as they ate. But I suddenly felt so shy, I felt like I had to be in work-mode so I focused my attention on the task at hand. As a result, my shyness won and I didn’t really bond with any of them. Many of the children wanted to play, help me take pictures, or followed me around. I knew that I would love getting to play with them but I couldn’t kick my shyness. I left feeling like I needed to go back because I hadn’t connected with any of the children. I didn’t feel bad or guilty because I was there to get work done and that is what I did but I felt weird because that person wasn’t me.

The next day, we went to Soroguara.  This would be my second time being at the care point but my first time meeting the children. Once again I was overcome by that feeling of being pretty creepy from recognizing the kids even though I had never met them and once again I was feeling very shy. We didn’t need a whole bunch of pictures from Soroguara, so really, it was just playing the waiting game. The kids come at different times so there was a lot of waiting and trying to figure out what to do until a child came.

Soroguara is the newest care point and only has two children that are sponsored. Karen was working with the two children who have sponsors because their sponsors had written to them. She was reading their letters to them, helping them write replies, and coloring with them. Then she was translating what they had written, so she was busy. It put in a situation where I couldn’t be shy anymore. I went and sat with the kids who were eating. This group of kids was a bit older, probably 7th or 8th grade age. Slowly, younger kids started joining the group too. I did my best to speak Spanish but ran out of the phrases I knew so we all just sat and stared at each other for a little bit. We all wanted to talk more and occasionally I would ask their name again or they would ask mine but were to that point of not being able to hold a conversation anymore. From the little bit that we talked though, I knew I loved these kids. We started playing the Cami-has-to-remember-everyone’s-name-game. I was trying to memorize probably 25-30 Honduran names (which means most of the names were new and unfamiliar to me, quite a few I couldn’t even pronounce, much less memorize). The kids got excited when one girl came over. I wasn’t sure what made her such a big deal, I though maybe she was really nice or maybe she was popular. A few of the girls ran to her and said something to her than walked her over to where I was sitting and she said in English, “Hello, they would like to know were you are from, how long you are staying, and if you have a boyfriend.” Now it made sense, they were excited because the awkward staring game was over. I was excited to. Her dad came over too and could also speak English. The family had 2 very well kept dogs that were clean, cared for and even wearing bandanas. It was nice to see dogs that were cared for compared to the stray dogs that hangout around the point with bugs crawling all over them and scabs from crawling through barbed-wire. His son loved dogs though. His name is Dixon, he needs a sponsor by the way. While most children are grossed out by the dogs and avoid them or possibly kick at them if they get to close, Dixon loved on the dogs. He didn’t care that there were bugs crawling on their bodies or that they were bleeding. He pet them and hugged them and taught them tricks. He showed me with 2 different dogs how he taught them to sit, lay, shake hands, and he would pat his chest, the dog would jump up and put his front paws on Dixon ad they would dance together. It made me so happy.

When a child came I would take their picture then go back to being with the kids. I was surprised by what an even mix of ages are at the Soroguara care point. The other care points have all ages of children but will have either more older children or younger children. I was sad when it was time for the children to leave because I enjoyed being with them. We still needed a few more pictures so I wasn’t sure what we would do since the care center was closing up. Adela had called a few mothers or sent children to go to some houses to bring children to her house for a picture. We went to her house and she made us soup while we waited.

On Fridays, not all ages go to school. Many of the children live far away so only come to the care point if they are going to school because otherwise it is a 2-5 mile walk for them to get to the care point. I was surprised because the children who lived the farthest away were the children who came to the house just to have a picture taken. The ones who lived near by said that they did not want to come. For the families that did come, Karen would walk them to the nearby pulperia (like a store ran out of someone’s house) and buy them snacks and drinks for their walk back. We got a lot more pictures and were able to drive to houses of some of the children to take their pictures. We went to one house because we needed to take Marisol’s picture. I was surprised when Pastor René brought out two girls. He told us that they were twins and thought he would bring them both just incase. They were holding hands and had the biggest smiles on their face. We took both their pictures just incase. I showed them their pictures and told them they were beautiful. We thanked them for coming and they smiled at us then skipped back to the house. Pastor René told us that when their mother gave birth to twins she didn’t want them and left them to die, she abandoned her babies. But a lady saw them and took them in to love and care for them. Even though they are orphans, they have people who love them.

From the moment I saw them coming down the hill in their nice new dresses my heart hurt. It would not have mattered if they had been wearing rags and had lice crawling all over their heads, my heart fell in love with these girls. As I learned more about them I fell deeper in love. It was that kind of love, which would have been considered creepy if I didn’t know that I was feeling a supernatural love that was a reflection of the unconditional love Jesus has for us every day. It was a painful, vulnerable love that had no conditions, the kind of love no one has to earn but that is given simply because of your existence. It was the type of love that longs. Nothing that I find out about these girls could make me love them less.

I had the girls on my mind but it was time to leave. We had gotten all the pictures we needed which was great! Karen and I were going to go to the open market so we could get fresh fruit and vegetables but the traffic was so bad that we went to Wal-Mart and then went home and rested. [Quick side note: everyone told me not to eat fruit and veggies because they would be washed with the parasitic water… I forgot and I’ve been eating them and I am fine… Glory to God!] I could not get these sweet girls off my mind. I called my mom and told her all about them. She offered to put up information about them in her office so that she could assist in finding them sponsors. I wasn’t expecting the reaction I had and was surprised by it. I actually got angry at her suggestion and felt hurt that she would even offer to help someone else sponsor them… THOSE ARE MY GIRLS! If I loved that that much, and I knew that I couldn’t afford to sponsor them, than I should have been thrilled and in constant prayer that God would provide a sponsor for them. But the thought of anyone else getting to sponsor these sweet girls made me angry because to me, they were already mine. God had put them in my heart and they were my children, my sisters. To allow someone else to care for my family was not expectable. But here is the problem, I couldn’t sponsor them. I am a missionary, a college graduate and will be returning home to unemployment and homeless… I don’t have money to spare. On top of that, I already sponsor two children. I didn’t know what I was going to do.

The next day I told Pastor Daniel that I was going back to the states and getting a rich persons job so I could sponsor them. He laughed and (half jokingly half serious) said or maybe you could take a leap of faith and trust that God will take care of you. My response was, I think I’ve taken quiet a big leap just being here. He laughed and left, but his words stayed with me.

I had been praying about it and felt that I needed to drop my World Vision child. I had no connection to her, we never wrote to each other and I found out that my money did not go to her; instead it goes to the whole community. In no way am I condoning rationalizing dropping a sponsorship, especially after seeing first hand how much it means to them to have a sponsor and a name of someone who cares and prays for them, but I really felt at peace with dropping one to pick up a child who I would see and could speak life to. I may have felt peace at first but than when it was time to actually drop her, I couldn’t, I felt too guilty. I hated myself because all I could think of was how I feel when I learn that one of these children have been dropped. How could I rationalize dropping a child I had sponsored for 6 years when I was pleading with others to sponsor and commit to their children? Now that Imelda (my World Vision sponsor child) had been sponsored she would be at the bottom of the sponsorship list, she would be older so who knows if people would want her, I may not get things from her or write to her (like I know I should) but I don’t know what my sponsorship means to her. Being pressed down with guilt there was nothing left to do but pray. The first thing I heard was, “Cami, I do not operate out of guilt, I operate out of love, encouragement, peace, and conviction.” I took a breath, “Yes God, you are right I am sorry,” I felt peace. But still the problem remained, my burning love for these two girls but my commitment to the other. Than God gave me James 1:27 – to care for orphans and widows is true and pure religion (summary). He gave me 2 orphans to care for and reminded me that he took care of finding Imelda sponsorship once, who was I to think He couldn’t do it again. If He had a different plan for my finances, who was I to think I knew what each child needed. He was putting it out there clearly what He wanted me to do and he would not take the ache in my heart away until I acted on it. While dropping Imelda was hard and I really did struggle and cried when I actually dropped her, I couldn’t stay sad for long. I am so happy to announce that my sister and I are Marisol’s and Helen Nicole’s new sponsors, or as they call us, their God mothers. I refer to them as my sisters and a part of my family. Their prayer requests were that God would give them a loving family… He did.

On Monday, we were supposed to go to Los Pinos to take pictures but some problems came up and we did not go. But the awesome facilitators took our list and got us everything we needed. I was sad though because I hadn’t been to the Los Pinos care point since moving here and I missed the kids. But it all worked out in the end because since we didn’t go I got to talk to Pastor Daniel and we went and got my phone. We had a great talk about the Holy Spirit and working in the gifts that are not as commonly seen in the States. I love learning form him because he is incredibly wise. I had my second Spanish class that day and ended up being late because of traffic. I was stressed out because it was only my second class but I was thankful for every minute I got to listen and learn.

I guess I will go back and tell you about my first Spanish class. I was very hopeful and didn’t know what to expect. Well… I did have a few expectations but over all, I didn’t know what classes would be like. I imagined there would be a curriculum or a book that we would follow and would be organized into chapters and categories and explain rules and grammar. I expected that my teacher would encourage me to speak in Spanish and would probably speak in Spanish for most of the class. I assumed she would have practice exercises for me to do so she could test my knowledge and gain a better understanding of where I was at. And finally, I assumed I would do a pretty fair amount of crying in her class. You see, I enjoy overcoming fears but one fear I have not been able to over come is my fear of the Spanish language. It sounds funny, I know, but when I hear people speaking Spanish or even worse, they speak to me, my spine hurts, I get a lump in my throat, occasionally I feel light headed or like I might vomit because the fear is there. I enjoy hearing other languages so it is not just a fear of not understanding what’s going on or feeling lost… it is specific to the Spanish language. God put me here and surrounded me with this language so while I expected it to be hard, I also expected it to come quickly. I thought if God called me here, He would help me in miraculous ways. I was ready to see them and impress everyone by how quickly and how well God allowed me to pick up Spanish.

I liked my teacher, it was a private class so I was glad to find out that she was nice and didn’t smell bad or anything like that. We went over some basics and I knew I needed o study but felt confident that what we had covered so far was manageable and I might have success this time around. I was so thankful and knew God was just going to do such amazing things. Karen was taking Chinese at the time and she has a 4 hour class. That meant I had 3 hours to spare. I asked where I could go and they told me about this little coffee shop down the street. So I walked there and decided it was time to catch up on my blogs, I hadn’t posted my blog about the week with Seacoast yet. I had lots of work to do. I knew I needed to order something if I was going to occupy a seat for 3 hours so I did my best to order in Spanish, it was my first time ordering alone. Thankfully, the barista spoke a little big of English so together we figured it out. I wanted to tell him that I’ll get better but didn’t know how to, so I took my coffee and worked on my blog. Guess what, 3 hours went by and I did not finish. How crazy is that!

Karen finished her class and we went to the office. Saturdays are busy for her because she has Chinese from 8-12, Worship rehearsal from 12:30- 2 and bible school from 2-5. So I had office time to work on registrations. She ended up finishing bible school early so we went home around 3, ate something quickly and than went to our rooms and studied for the rest of the night.

Now we are at my second Spanish class, and I am running late. Unfortunately the class was only 45 minute because she had to teach another class after so could not extend the class. But that was okay because we still went over a lot of information. The plan was Pastor Daniel was taking me and Pastor René would pick me up and take me home. The plans were still a little blurry. I couldn’t call to set up the ride home because I didn’t have a phone before and I can’t speak Spanish. I was under the impression Karen was going to set it up but I guess she thought that since she had given me Pastor René’s phone number, I would have my teacher or Pastor Daniel help me set it up. I got out of class and didn’t know how to use my new phone yet. I didn’t know how to call Karen or anyone yet and I couldn’t use my old phone because I did not have Wi-Fi.  I didn’t know where Pastor René was, if he was there or on is way, if he was planning on coming, or how to get a hold of him. I called Karen and she said he was on his way. The problem was, I didn’t know how far away “on his way” was. I waited about 15 minutes when I realized I wasn’t completely positive what pastor René looked like. The time that I had met him, I sat in the back seat so I only knew the back of his head. There was one taxi that had been there honking the horn for a while. I was pretty positive it was not Pastor René because I didn’t think he was as heavy set as the taxi driver I was looking at but then I started worrying that maybe I was wrong. So I called Karen again and told her I don’t know if this is him or not and how far away is he. It was not him. There was bad traffic so pastor René was still far away. About 45 minutes passed, I had gotten some coffee but and walked up and down the stairs multiple time. I was still unsure of how far away he was, and realized it was dark outside. I began to wonder if I should wait outside, if it was safe (where all the taxis come and I am supposed to wait). If I didn’t wait there, I wouldn’t be able to see when Pastor René pulled up. Suddenly my promise to my mom that I would never be anywhere alone flashed in my mind and all of the things people had said about Honduras being dangerous at night and getting robbed came to the forefront of my memory. I knew I was safe, it was a public place, and there was an officer keeping watch. But I was feeling uncomfortable and paranoid… all I wanted to do was cry. The idea of being alone in an unfamiliar place without being able to speak the language and being the super tall stand out gringo put me at unease.

I tried to call Karen again because I was on the verge of tears and needed to know how much longer so I could decide if I should stay outside or go back inside and up the stairs. But she wouldn’t answer. Pastor Rene called me and I answered but couldn’t talk to him because I didn’t know what he was saying nor did I know how to say what I needed to say. We hung up and I tried to call Karen but still no answer. Then I got a call from an unknown number. I wasn’t sure if I was supposed to answer, but I did. It ended up being Dwight from the Los Pinos care point. Dwight speaks English. He was calling because Pastor Rene didn’t know where to pick me up. I didn’t know what to say, was I by the main entrance or a side entrance, was this the only pick up station for taxis, I don’t know… I didn’t even know what mall I was in.

Now I felt completely lost and wondered why I thought I could do this. I had been waiting there for over an hour and by now the guard was even staring at me weird. I felt like he wanted to ask if I had actually called a cab or if I was an idiot and just thought one would show up. After many calls back and forth between Dwight, Pastor René and me, we finally figured it out and Pastor René picked me up and drove me home.

By the time we arrived I had to run up to my room as fast as I could and call my mom because I was in hysterical tears. She was trying to encourage me but in the end I told her I knew it was okay and it was a learning and growing experience but it was terrifying and not the least bit fun so I just needed to cry. I probably sat there and cried for 10-15 minutes just sobbing hysterically with my mom just listening to me sob until I was able to talk. What cheered me up is when she asked about Marisol and Helen.

I took off my make up and waited a while to leave my room because I didn’t want to be all puffy from crying but when I went down stairs, Karen and her mom both could tell I was crying. Can I please just tell you how much I love Karen’s mom, she was so sweet and concerned and told me she doesn’t want me to feel like I have to cry because she is here for me always and doesn’t want me to have to hurt. She has got to be one of the sweetest most caring people I have ever met. I wished it were just that easy but its not. Karen was a little more rough and said it was good that I went through it because it meant I was one step closer to adjusting to and integrating in with my new life. It was hard but I knew she was right. It was hard but they were tears that needed to be cried.

After having a hard night, it was very nice to have the next day off. For the first time since being here, I slept in. I slept in until 9 and then just laid in my bed and thought about things for the next 30 minutes. It was a pretty lazy day because I stayed in my room pretty much the entire day. I literally left my room once and that was only so that my family would know that I was alive. It was lucky for them; I was in such a bad mood. I was giving myself a headache from nothing… my bad mood was causing me to grit my teeth and doing nothing was making my head crazy. When I say bad mood, I mean it. It takes a lot to get annoyed by Karen’s cousin and she wasn’t even being annoying, she was trying to show me something she thought was funny on her computer and my irritated self just wasn’t having it.

Taking the day to be by myself did do some good because I got a lot done. I spent over 4 hours going through pictures from my time here, loading them on Facebook, putting them in the correct order, captioning them all, etc. I was waiting for the last 5 pictures to load and then I would publish my album and not have to worry about pictures for a while… then the internet thought it would play a joke on me and quit, erasing everything I had done! I wanted to scream and throw my laptop and break things (I was already in a bad mood). Obviously, I couldn’t actually do that because I am a grown adult and know better, also because I am not a crazy person but boy did I want to. Thanks to my brilliant idea of sleeping in, I couldn’t go to sleep so I barely got any sleep that night since I still had to wake up for work early the next morning.

Tuesday was my first day of starting my worst week since arriving in Honduras. Little did I know but this bad mood was going to stick with me and grow and distract me. This was when my joy disappeared and I started to suffer. The next day was also a wasted day. I got to the office and felt so sick that I had to call a Taxi to take me home. I was frustrated that I felt sick, I was frustrated that I had to leave, I was frustrated that the Taxi driver took so long to get there, and I was frustrated that he spoke English so I had to talk to him but felt like an idiot because I had to talk slowly and couldn’t focus on what I was saying long enough to finish my slow sentence… I would end my sentence half way through, without concluding it. I think my English taxi driver, Eric, thought it was his fault that I wasn’t making sense… he kept asking me to explain again or prompting me to finish my sentence. I just wanted to get home. When I got home I took out my contacts and barley made it to my bed before falling asleep and being out cold for the next 11 hours.

You would think after 11 hours of sleep I would have woken up and been ready but I did not want to get out of bed or have to think. I wasn’t feeling sick anymore, I was just feeling grumpy and (in hindsight) entitled. I had my next Spanish class and had not studied at all… so I knew I needed to study. I chose to go through some flash cards instead of working out or doing my morning bible study. I had no success and didn’t feel any better than where I had started off. We went to the office and I was hoping to finish the annual reports so we could turn them in a day early… no luck with that and the frustration added on. I went to my 3rd Spanish class and was frustrated with the amount of new vocabulary I got. I was frustrated because I knew we wouldn’t come back to or review the words and I was already behind in my studying. I could have said something but I chose to be mad instead. Then I had to get coffee because I needed change to pay the taxi driver… I was only somewhat annoyed because I really wanted the coffee but having to order it when I had no idea what I was saying or what they were asking was frustrating!

As you can see, at this point the frustration was building and building, I couldn’t focus on joy because I was so overwhelmed with anger and frustration. I was wearing an ugly, heavy scarf made of burden, entitlement, and annoyance. It was heavy and it was suffocating me but I hadn’t even realized I was wearing it. I was too busy criticizing others that I couldn’t see what I was doing myself. I couldn’t go to sleep that night; I wasn’t able to shake the things that were making me so mad. I ended up only getting 3 hours of sleep (which didn’t help my mood – but I don’t think that getting sleep would have helped anyways). Annual reports were due and I was so determined that we would have everything in and double-checked. I was here helping so it would be done and perfect!… At least that was my mindset… my plans didn’t happen. Drop box was having difficulties and wouldn’t except some of our files. We had a Children’s Cup meeting that I had to go to so there was not enough time to check everything and see which documents did and didn’t load.  I knew we were missing a lot. I had to be okay with finishing it all the next day and technically being late. I felt like the Children’s Cup people in the states would see Honduras was missing so much and just shake their heads… I felt like it was my fault because now Honduras was the irresponsible country. I was so done with registrations, after working so hard, I just didn’t care if I saw the project to completion… I was just done!

Well, I had been hoping to finish registrations the next day and in a way I did but also I did not. I went through and checked to see which files were missing. As I was doing that, I found that some of the registration forms had not been fixed and had the incorrect last name written. That meant I had to find the form amidst all of the thousands of forms, correct them, rescan them and switch out the files. I also found a few kids who were not uploaded I couldn’t just add their file because there was a possibility that they had not been registered yet. That meant their files had to be placed somewhere else. Anyways, long story short, I needed Karen to check and tell me who to add and who not to add. She had a long day so by the time she was done with her 4 hours of Chinese, 1.5 hours of worship rehearsal and 3.5 hours of bible school, all she wanted to do was go home and rest. I felt like I had fire bursting from the top of my head because we should have had these done yesterday, she wasn’t going to check or answer my questions before leaving and we don’t do office work on Sundays. I wanted to have the registrations turned in 2 or 3 days early and now we would be turning them in 3 days late… if Karen wasn’t too busy on Monday that is.  There was nothing I could do though. I knew my anger came from an irrational place so I just told myself, “suck it up and you can cry when you get home.”

To make matters worse, I had just had my 5th Spanish class and was feeling beyond hopeless. After dropping a few tears in the car and than crying in the office when I was alone, I was positive that I had no reason being here and it was ridiculous that I thought I could do this. I wanted a new Spanish teacher. It was my 5th class and I probably had 250-300 new vocab words. Half of the words my teacher had never heard me pronounce, some of them she hadn’t pronounced, she had only told me the English translation. I wasn’t sure if I could even use the words because we never practiced them. I felt like I was so far behind and couldn’t catch up. I didn’t know anything.

[Imagine this rant in Lilo’s voice when she is yelling about how her sister suggested she feed the fish a tuna sandwich – with just utter disbelief over something that no one else finds important.] My teacher told me if she “sees it, hears it, and says it” then she knows it. Therefore, that was her teaching method for the most part. She made class easy for me because I never had to speak Spanish or try to understand it because she taught everything in English and didn’t even make me repeat or read or anything. If I did have to speak and couldn’t automatically remember the word, she would whisper it to me. If I knew I miss pronounced something, (for example I pronounced the silent H and knew I needed to correct myself), she would just say, “muy bien,” it took everything in me to not scream at her, “NO, IT IS NOT MUY BIEN AT ALL! Jeez even I know that, I am paying you a lot of money to teach and correct me not to pretend like I’m doing something well that I am not.” At this point I felt it didn’t matter if I studied because I didn’t have a good enough understanding to study correctly and I knew she would never test me so I would have to deal with the embarrassment of her knowing I was a bad student. I was frustrated and ready to give up for good. I thought that I would make a better Spanish teacher and I didn’t even teach Spanish! I wanted a different Spanish teacher but I was going to talk to my teacher first (after all, as far as she knew I was picking everything up just fine).

After Spanish and work at church, I got home and hid in my room just sulking about everything and was angry at who knows what for no reason at all. I looked around my room and I was angry because I didn’t want to open my window but I was hot… so I punished myself by living in my sweat. I was mad because my bed scoots away from the wall if I sit up and lean against the wall while working on my laptop (even though I have a desk to work at and don’t have to work in my bed). I was mad because if I laid halfway down the bed, my feet hung off (which is ridiculous – who puts their head in the middle of the mattress). I was mad because I had to get up to change out of my jeans, go to the bathroom, or take out my contacts. These are all normal things that can be expected and all my problems had easy solutions but I may as well have been mad because my walls were white. I was just mad and frustrated. I didn’t like it but I didn’t feel like changing it.

As Sunday came along, I had to decide if I was going to hid my frustration that had gotten so out of control, if I was going to release it, or if I was going to get over it. I chose to let it loose. Whoops. During church I was so consumed by annoyance that I didn’t even listen to the sermon. Karen was translating for me and instead of taking it as a blessing, I just felt like if I couldn’t get my sermon in English, I didn’t want one at all. I was feeling mad that Karen was on worship team so I had to sit alone and have no one to talk to (ridiculous because I had the Los Pinos kids hugging me the whole time until they went to Sunday School). But I was mad at the children from Los Pinos because even though they were sitting with me so I didn’t have to feel alone, I couldn’t talk to them! Then I was mad because I couldn’t worship. I love to worship and I miss getting lost in worship or being brought to tears by the awe and wonder of who God is and being consumed in the presence of the Holy Sprit as the congregation praises Him in unison. But I couldn’t do that because worship had become a study session for me as I read the words on the screen and try to translate them to make sense and know what people were singing. Then came service. I felt my ADHD kicking in, got frustrated when I didn’t understand and just felt like I was always missed something.

Almost everyone went up for prayer at the end of service. People were in tears and were falling to their knees but I was being stubborn because “I was not about to join in because everyone was doing it” and I was going to make a point and play the “woe is me” girl by being the only person not going up to join hands. As if people who were completely lost in what God was doing in their lives were going to stop and look back at me and feel bad for me because I was all alone – yeah right! At the end of the service everyone was saying how great the service was and how they really felt transformed. I was a brat and would give that smile-the one were people can tell its fake-and just say, “I missed half of it, I’m sure it was good but I cant pay attention when it is in Spanish.” I probably blamed pastor Daniel in there somewhere too because it was becoming very easy for me to cast blame on others and feel as though I was owed kind of understanding and pity.

All I wanted to do was go to my room and have a good cry and then decide if I should try to catch up on my Spanish or book a flight back home. Life was getting too hard and I couldn’t fall behind on my studying any more. But Karen had a friend over for lunch. That meant that I had to be social, no Sunday nap, not Spanish, no crying in my room, just a pretend smile. After we ate lunch, Karen’s friend wanted to talk in my room (that way she would be close to the room her child was naping in). She did speak English so that helped. Karen left because she got a call from Ryan (from Seacoast Church) and went down stairs to talk with him. While she was gone we discussed my Spanish. I told her my frustrations with my teacher and she encouraged me and tried to give me advice. She told me to try to start talking to people and told me how forgiving people are. (Everyone keeps telling me Hondurans are so forgiving of people who can’t speak Spanish. But my experience has been that only children at the care points are forgiving, everyone else is annoyed or finds a translator before I can even try). I told her I don’t like that idea because it scares me and so far I have not had luck with people being patient and forgiving. I started crying and felt like an idiot. After drying my tears and apologizing for the crazy outburst, she said lets have a practice conversation with words you know, lets pretend like we are meeting for the first time. She said hello and asked me my name. Instead of answering, I started bawling, even worse than before. I told her that I couldn’t do it, I could barley even speak, the fear was too much! I really just wanted to shout at her to leave me alone and get out because I couldn’t do this! Thankfully her little girl woke up to she had to leave so I quickly ran out of the room and escaped down stairs. Karen was still talking to Ryan and handed me the phone so I could catch up with him. It was good and kept me busy but I had to divert all the questions he asked me because if I had to talk about myself, I would have been done, I would have been a crying hot mess again. I handed him back over to Karen.

I got a call on my Honduran phone from Dwight. He had a medical question which required me to call my mom. Thankfully, that meant I could go to my room and cry with my mom. She answered my question and told me that if I was struggling I needed to seek refuge in God. She told me she couldn’t help me but He could. That wasn’t what I wanted to hear. I should have gone back down stairs to at least say good-bye or to say hello because Israel (Karen’s best friend) had come over too. Instead I laid in my room, not seeking God because I was mad. I felt like He should help me since He called me and I didn’t feel like talking to Him at the moment. (I was playing the middle school silent treatment game waiting for Him to come and apologize). Instead of going down stairs or spending time in the word, I took a nap and woke up with a headache. I had bought some cookies and had some chocolate in my room. I ate all of it and then hated myself for doing that. I watched Netflix and didn’t study any Spanish. I then went back to bed upset because I accomplished nothing.

On Monday, Karen and I went into the office. Thankfully we finished the annual reports and made the final touches on them. My next assignment was going to be to talk to Children’s Cup in the States about getting children on the website. I couldn’t do that yet because now that we had finished registrations their busy month began. I needed to wait until I could have their full attention. I was feeling very useless, like I had no work to do… I should have just stayed home. So I went into the hallway and studied Spanish.

I needed to call Pastor René to pick me up and take me to and from Spanish later. I told Karen but she did not make a move to help me and call him for me. I reminded her that I needed her help and she said yes but still did not reach for her phone or ask for mine. Instead she wrote something down and handed it to me and told me, “this is what you need to say.” I felt like I was drowning as I looked at the words. “My eyes filled with tears, my heart wasn’t beating right, my spine stiffened as if it were made of concrete, the lump in my throat was so big it threatened to explode and destroy all chances of ever speaking again, I thought I might pass out. The thought of having to say these words was beyond terrifying, I felt like I was being tortured by an enemy of war or something. My body physically hurt out of the fear. I grabbed my phone and dialed his number and heard this strange voice. I thought maybe it was a voice mail but Karen said I was out of minutes and had to buy more before I could use my phone. I was so mad because I didn’t know what that meant. She tried to explain it to me but I didn’t get it. I just wanted her to explain BETTER – I didn’t want to try to understand, I just wanted to understand. She told me it was no big deal and I could just buy more minutes tonight. I was under the impression that she expected me to buy more minutes after my Spanish class. She took out her phone, called Pastor René, and handed me the phone. I said what she told me to and it was set up. I immediately ran to the bathroom and laid on the dirty floor because I thought I was dying. As tears streamed down my face I told myself to pull it together. I went back in and Karen told me I did well… THAT WAS IT… the violent anger had been held in long enough, I was tired of just cry, I needed to yell.  Poor Karen would be the one on the opposite end getting all of the built up anger. I broke down and told her how God left me here all alone and He didn’t care about me. I over exaggerated everything X50 just to get my point across. I wanted her pity but she wouldn’t give it to me. She listened but would not put up with my attitude. That made me mad for the moment but in hindsight I am very glad that she didn’t give in and took God’s side in it all. I yelled at her and told her she didn’t understand that it wasn’t just uncomfortable, I was living my worst fear being surrounded by Spanish day in and day out! And now she was giving me words I didn’t know on a piece of paper and expecting me to go to class alone, buy minutes alone and call pastor René from that phone to pick me up! AAHHH!! I didn’t even know where to go to get minutes, what to do, or what to say. We don’t do this in the States! I was so mad that she would not consider me and how hard my life was. Right when I was about to reach a new level, she put her hand on my knee and said, “Cami I would never expect you to do that by yourself. I will teach you now and be with you the next few times, I will teach you what to say and how to do it. I don’t expect you to know and try new things alone, I just expect you to be open to watching and learning. We are stopping at the store on the way home to get you more minutes.” Then guilt settled in, I had jumped to this conclusion that Karen was heartless when really she cares way more about me than she needs to. I had also just acted like a 3 year old and majorly embarrassed myself for nothing. We went to the store and bought more minutes, more chocolate and more cookies. The chocolate made me feel better so I could go to class. But I was still not feeling great.

I had to talk to my teacher about changing her teaching style, while she may not be perfect, she is understanding and does her best to work with me on my level. The good thing is that she is trying to change and I am trying to learn, so I will keep her as my teacher. I realized that I would not have been satisfied with any teacher who does not teach though osmosis, so I think Monica will work out. I am hopeful at least. After class, I went home and cried with my family again. My mom offered the same advice but I took the same route and fell asleep in anger without repentance or surrender. I had gotten to a bad place and the worst thing was I could pretend like I was doing everything I could and like God had been the one to let me down. I knew neither of those things were true but I used it as an excuse to practice my Spanish skills. My great missionary experience and insight was nonexistent. So I went to bed and slept.

The good news is that God does not leave us and He did not leave me. I don’t know if he smacked me upside the head as I slept but when I woke up, things changed, it was time to repent and follow Jesus!

“]

This is Marisol (Left) and Helen (Right)! Brynne and my amazing beautiful new sponsor children! I can't help but smile when I look at them!!! [Click on the picture to see the whole thing

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Chapter 6 – Life in Honduras – Time to Speak Spanish

August 7th, 2017

Its funny when I think back to this week, when it was happening I thought this would be a short post. This month we have not teams so it is just a bunch of office days. I am assuming that no one cares about every little detail I work on day in and day out of the office so I wouldn’t have too much to write about but as I type out daily bullet points I realize how much happened.

A typical office day means I go in between 8-9 and do computer work. I have been spending most of my time working on annual registrations. We have 4 care points and each one has to turn in a registration form for each, a full body picture, and a headshot. I kinda took over staying on top of them so Karen could work on other things. For registration forms, I had to check them to make sure everything was filled in, translate anything written in Spanish to English, and check and/or correct the spelling of the names and the correct registration number if needed. Then I would scan them and rename them on the computer. For pictures, I had to edit and crop them. I had to make sure they were labeled with the correct ID. Editing them was hard because not all of the pictures were taken on a high quality camera and the lighting was not always the greatest. I also had to look at each picture to make sure the child was looking at the camera, didn’t have food on their face, and wasn’t making a face for the picture. If I found pictures like that, I would have to ask the facilitator to take a new one, which was hard because I knew they weren’t excited about it. The hardest part was keeping track of all of the pictures, which pictures and documents we had and which we were missing. Sometimes we would have extra pictures or 2 registration forms. It was also difficult because there were a few children who have not been registered yet so we still needed everything from them but their names were not on the master list so I had to keep those documents somewhere else so we could turn them in at the correct time. If the child was registered in 2017, we already had a registration form for them so I had to search to find which children have already been registered and make sure we don’t turn in a second registrations form for them. There were a few kids who had been “lost” while being registered (papers sent to US but the child never got registered), so I had to keep track of that too. It was all do-able, but what made it hard was the fact I had 4 different care point, each with around 200 kids (give or take a few) and than I had to focus on which kids needed to be in which folder and continually check to make sure that the documents were in the correct place.  I don’t know if that confusing, or just sounds like busy work to you but I thought it would be pretty easy. Oh my goodness!! NO!! It was seriously so much work! Thankfully we met the deadline and got everything turned in but it was so much work!! I am glad it is over and I can start work on other things but I am still just thinking there has got to be a better way to do this. The facilitators have to take the picture when they can while still running daily operations which means that the child may not have washed their hair in a while and while they are normally a very cute kid, they may just happen to look a hot mess that day. But that picture will serve as their identification for a whole year. So many of the pictures that I saw, I knew the child and knew the picture was not a good representation of them but I couldn’t ask the facilitator to re-take it because there was nothing else wrong with it. Also lighting isn’t the best at all hours of the day and when you are in a rush to take a picture quickly, the picture doesn’t always turn out with the best quality. These are the pictures that get send to the sponsor, most sponsors never meet their child so I feel like it is very important that they know how adorable their child is… but I even went to help with pictures and it is very very hard to focus on everything going on and take the picture. There has to be a solution t this problem to get better pictures, be more organized and be easier on the facilitator right?! Well I am working on a solution. I am not going to share my idea yet but I am planning on coming back to Honduras next year for a short period of time to try out an idea that I had. Once this plan is fully developed and approved, I will definitely share more information with you. I am very excited and hopeful that it will be a good experience, produce good pictures, and help the facilitators. If it works well than hopefully it will stick and annual registrations will no longer be such a headache.

I love living with Karen’s family and have gotten to know her niece, Dihala, better. Even though there is a language barrier she loves showing me her games on her iPad or clips of movies on the laptop that she thinks are funny. It’s great because she is normally watching a Disney movie so I know exactly why she thinks it is funny. She knows I don’t speak Spanish but sometimes I am not sure if she knows that I don’t understand Spanish either. Karen and her mom keep telling her to practice her English and encourage me to speak English to her… but she doesn’t like that very much. I try but I also want to practice Spanish with her… I feel like children are more forgiving than adults!

Dihala loves turtles, like A LOT! I asked my mom to send me a video of the turtles that come out of the lake in our back yard every morning when she feeds the ducks. I showed the video to Dihala and she watched it probably 7 times. I had to send it to Karen’s mom so that Dihala could watch it more. She asked if my mom could bring her two turtles, one boy and one girl. Karen told her no and she started crying. Karen explained that it would be mean to take them away from their family and Dihala cried harder and said Karen stop your hurting my heart, that’s so mean.” It was sad of course because she was sad but it was also funny because her tears and love for turtles were so sincere. I play with her a lot because she is the only child there so I try to play with her so that she has a friend and is not always on her iPad or watching movies. I’m fine with the turtles and the dinosaurs that she plays with BUT she also loves snakes! NO! When she wants to play with snakes, I draw the line and walk away.

I found videos of Franklin (the PBS Kids show) on YouTube in Spanish. They were very poor quality but Dihala loved it! She came and laid in my bed with me and we watched them for 2 hours. The only reason we stopped was because I needed to talk to my sister (we ended up talking for 4 hours… I don’t even know what we talked about). One of these days I am going to watch all of my Disney movies in Spanish with her. (I know I said she shouldn’t be watching movies all the time but… come on … its Disney.) It is perfect because I know them all word for word so I can play them in Spanish and understand them perfectly. The voice of Chip in Beauty and the Beast in Spanish sounds so much like her though! Dihala is an only child so she loves having someone to play with and if a neighbor isn’t over then she says she is lonely. She told Karen that she wanted her to have a baby so that she would have someone to play with. Karen and I were going to take her to the park one day but we were both so exhausted that we ended up sleeping. So we haven’t taken her to the park or the pool or anywhere but I am hoping we will soon. I think she is okay though, Karen says that she is like an old grandma, she likes being at home and when she goes out she gets tired quickly and just wants to go home and rest. I said that’s fine because I can be very much the same way.

Originally, Karen told me that she did not like watching movies. That made me super sad because I love movies. I know that they play movies in English at the mall so I was going to suggest we see movies occasionally when we have free time. I really want to see Despicable Me 3 and the new Spider Man but figured I would just have to make movie-seeing-friends. BUT I came to find out that she does like movies! Yay! She just doesn’t like cartoons or super hero movies (which votes out my 2 movies) but she loves Christian movies, comedies, and romances… works for me because I am a fan of all those genres. Since finding this out, we have watched a lot of Nicholas Sparks movies. Karen’s favorite movie is Pride and Prejudice so my mom is going to bring the 5 hour Pride and Prejudice with her when she comes in September because Karen has never seen it and it is so much better! I have also watched some movies with the whole family. Karen and I watch them with in English with Spanish subtitles but when I watch movies with her family, we play them in Spanish with English subtitles. Both are really good for me and helps me with my language. Karen’s mom put a TV in my room because she said she wanted me to have entertainment, so now I play Spanish TV while I’m getting ready in the morning so I can become more familiar with the sound. I can’t find the soap opera channel so I play Disney Junior since they use small words and the shows are mostly educational.

Luckily for me, I did find a friend who likes movies and we hung out on one of my days off. We went to the mall to see a movie and hang out. We met at 3 because we thought the English movies were playing around 3 or 4 but found out that they were not playing until 7. We saw the newest Transformers movie because DM3 wasn’t playing in English and Alejandra had already seen Spider Man 3 times. She said it was good but would prefer to not see it again… I totally understand. Since the movie wasn’t until 7 we walked around and talked for 4 hours. It was really fun just talking and getting to know her better. I am not really even sure what we talked about but I know that we were talking the whole time and when it was time for the movie I almost said, “nah lets just get dinner and hang out.” But I am glad we saw the movie because it was good. I was slightly confused because I haven’t seen the last few Transformer movies. At least we saw it in English… I would have been very very lost if it was in Spanish and I hadn’t seen the last few.

When we bought the movie tickets, they gave us 2 free small popcorns. Alejandra said that that never happens so I guess we got really lucky! After the movie, we needed to call the taxi to come pick us up. At that time, I still did not have a Honduran phone and since I canceled my US phone, I couldn’t have called if I wanted to. Alejandra was going to call but we ran into some difficulty. I still am a bit confused on how the phones work but I guess you buy time to talk to someone with a different plan and our taxi driver had a different plan than her. She needed to buy more time so she could call Tigo or Claro or which ever plan she didn’t have, but all the shops were closed. Basically, I really needed a phone! We ended up working it out because she called her parents and they called him for us but for a minute I thought I was going to be sleeping in the mall!

I do finally have a phone now. I got it on Monday, so a little over a month into being here. I had to wait for so long because the first week I was with my missions group, then I had a few days to settle but they were busy, next seacoast church came. While Seacoast was here Pastor Daniel had is 25th anniversary so as soon as Seacoast left, he was gone for a week on an anniversary trip, and after that, our schedules just haven’t lined up. I had to wait for Pastor Daniel because he said he would put me on his plan so it would be cheaper for me. But I finally have a phone. However, they don’t really use apple products in Honduras. So, I have a Samsung phone and have no idea how to use it. I also still don’t know my phone number so I am not giving it out. That means no one calls me so I haven’t even used it for real yet. I’ll figure it all out soon! It is a pretty nice phone, way better than I thought I would get and it was pretty cheap so I am happy about it. I needed to get a nicer one because of things I will have to be able to do while out in the field with the teams. I had originally planed on getting a rinky-dink phone that would be no big deal if it was stolen or I ruined it. After being here and seeing what my job entails, I definitely needed one that had more functions and abilities. I am happy with my phone and am figuring it out slowly.

For the most part, when I have time off I catch up on my sleep, study Spanish, or talk to people in the States. I wake up at 5am every morning so I have time to do bible study, work out, practice Spanish and get ready before leaving and I go to bed between 10 and 11. So really it is pretty similar to my sleep time back home since Florida is 2 hours ahead of Honduras, its just 2 hours early. After Seacoast left, I was exhausted, Sunday after church, Karen and I had plans but we agreed to cancel them and take a short nap. Karen ended up sleeping for 8 hours, waking up and going back to bed in 2 hours. I could have slept that long… I wanted to sleep that long but I didn’t want her to judge me for sleeping all the time. Hahaha.

One of the main things I have been doing with my time off is trying to catch up on these blogs. It takes a lot more time than I thought it would to remember everything that has happened, write it all out, edit it, find pictures, and it takes an unruly amount of time to upload it on to the website. I have to resave and resize all the pictures and than they take forever to upload. Sometimes, the Internet decides it needs a break so it just stops and erases everything I’ve done. Tuesdays are my days off and I normally spend the majority of the day in my room working on my blog and really studying Spanish and trying to call everyone I can! I just hope that Karen’s family doesn’t think I am avoiding them and hiding in my room. Being in my room all day on my days off is what I do back home too, if I have a day off, I wake up, roll over and start working on my computer or writing stuff out. When I am focused I really don’t need to eat so there is no reason to go down stairs unless Karen comes up and asks if I am alive or tells me that her mom made me food.

I love getting to talk with my family! It is always the highlight of my day. I don’t get to talk to them every day because we are all busy and the time difference complicates things but I definitely miss them. If we have a team, I don’t get to talk to them at all for the week. Sometimes Brynne and I will call each other but she will be doing work and I have some stuff that I need to get done too so we will video call and just do work together, not even talking. But just being there with her makes the work so much better and makes my heart so much happier.

I have also started Skyping with Nate and Mandy once a week to check in, catch up, debrief, etc. They are working as my connection with Action Church and I am kinda being a guinea pig for their mentorship program for their non-profit HIS Missions (which supports missionaries). We are going to start reading a book together (once I figure out how to get it) and talk about it. I enjoy getting to talk with them and I love the passion they have for missions. I got to Skype into the last meeting with my Action Church missions team. We had one last meeting to talk about everything that we had seen and get all of our thoughts out. Karen and I were supposed to have left the church in time for me to Skype from home but we had so much work to do that I had to call from the church. Karen finished work before the call was done. She waited for a while but it was getting pretty late because the meeting was very long and she really wanted to go home. I had to leave before the debrief was over but I think that was okay because I really didn’t need to debrief because I am still in it all. I was grateful that I was still considered a part of the team though, even if I wasn’t in the same country. It was great seeing everyone and knowing they are still on fire for Honduras.

I was so excited because this last week I FINALLY got to talk to Astrid and Anna. I seriously love my friends. I called Anna before leaving the church on Friday and than called her when I got home and talked to her for 2 more hours. Karen asked if I wanted dinner when I finally went downstairs at 11 and I told her I wasn’t even hungry because I was so filled with happiness there was no room left for food in my body (don’t worry I did eat something). I love getting to talk with them and picking up where we left off. I am so blessed that I can leave my friends for 6 months, (they are super busy and we rarely have time to talk) and I can know that we will still be friends when I go back home.

Tons of things have happened in these last couple weeks, both of my parents have had birthdays. For my dad’s birthday I made him a slide show/power point of lots of different pictures and set it to Butterfly Kisses (I know, it is so clique) but I haven’t given it to him yet because have to upload it through Drop Box and it says it will take a whole day to upload… I’m never connected to Internet long enough for it to finish the upload.

For my moms birthday I sent her a video of me giving her sponsor child, Kenia, the gifts that my mom bought her. I had no idea but Kenia’s birthday was the day before my mom’s birthday. In the video, Kenia was really shy and didn’t know how to react but as soon as the camera tuned off, she started saying how happy she was, how much she loved the gifts, and she couldn’t stop smiling. I told my mom so she knew how much Kenia loved her gifts since the video didn’t show it. The kids here are either camera shy or love the camera too much. There is really no happy medium.

Kenia is from the Los Pinos care point, which is the only care point that I have not been to since moving to Honduras. I have worked a lot with the facilitators but haven’t needed to go to the point because they bring everything to us. I got to go last year and fell in love with the kids. Thankfully the children from the care point come to the church on Sunday. I haven’t seen all the kids that I remember but I get to see a lot of them and that makes me very happy. It is incredible because during worship, they all run up to the front and dance and worship. They look like they are having a party because they are singing, dancing, and laughing. It looks like a scene from a movie. I will try to record it some time so that I can share a video with you.

We had one Sunday that literally was a party. People from the Teupasenti care point and the 4 surrounding white fields came down. It was a very full service. The facilitator from the La Canada white field dedicated his baby to the church. It was fun seeing everyone but I had thought that I would see a lot more of the children from the Teupasenti care point but unfortunately many of them couldn’t come, whether it was because of lack of room or just their inability to come. It was still lots of fun though and the church was very full. Some of them stayed until Wednesday night service. The Friday previous to that Sunday, we had a Children’s Cup meeting. We have one every other Friday. The facilitators from each point come for a meeting where we discuss upcoming projects, deadlines, answer questions etc. Iris, who runs the Teupasenti care point, takes a bus 2.5 hours to make it to the meeting, spends the night at Karen’s house and the next morning takes a bus 2.5 hours back. That week, she came down, made it back to Teupasenti probably around 10:30/11, got her work done and than the next day, got back on a bus at 7am and rode back to the church, sat through service, had lunch and then went all the way back… I felt so bad for her because that is a lot of time riding on a very very bumpy rode. But it didn’t seem to bother her. Iris is one of the most content people and hardest workers I think I have ever met. She is awesome! (Side note: Iris runs the Teupasenti care point by herself, unlike other care points who have 2-4 regular facilitators who split the responsibilities, she runs it all by her self, and has A LOT of kids to care for and keep track of. She has a sister who helps out when she needs it and works with the mothers at the church. She also helps out with the white field a lot. Her mother past away and her father cannot find work. She has 2 younger brothers and 3 younger sisters who are in the program. Her brothers are sponsored but her sisters are not. They are such a sweet family that work hard, are very smart, never complain, and love Jesus. So if anyone would like to sponsor a child, and wants to help out this family which could really use the help, please let me know.)

The Monday after Seacoast left and Pastor Daniel was on his vacation, Karen and I walked into the office to work and were shocked to find puddles of water. I still don’t know what exactly happened but the office had flooded. The room where we keep all the donations and the meds for Dr. Sabback was really bad. We had to take everything out of the boxes and suitcases and set it out to dry. Thankfully the things that couldn’t get wet were on the top… God really took care of us in that situation because wet medicine could have been very bad. Because everything was out anyways, I started going through all of the donations that Action Church left… 10 full suitcases of donations. I had to let everything dry, go through and organize and document it, and than repack it… my dream. The only thing that I did not like, really didn’t like, was that the water attracted ants so as I was taking things out of the suitcases, there were tons of little ants crawling around. It was really gross. I did eventually get everything organized, packed and labeled with avoiding the ants as much as possible. I thought I would be able to go through it all very quickly, I knew what all we had, I just had to write it down, let it dry and repack it. It ended up taking me 2 full days. I had to go through all the clothing and sizes and document the different kinds of clothing (short sleeved shirt, T-shirt, camisole, long sleeves etc.) in each size. Craziness! But now that it is done and the annual reports are turned in, Karen and I are going to find a day to drive to Teupasenti and  deliver all of the bags. We will probably stay there for a night so I am excited to see everyone again. We haven’t set a date yet but it will be sometime this month.

Karen and I have a hard time scheduling things and finding time to take trips like that. I am excited though because on Tuesday (our day off) we are going to the pool with Karen’s friend Sandy. Sandy is Karen’s best friend. She is also her X-boss. Sandy is from the States so she speaks English and she runs an organization that has mission’s teams in every week. So Sandy is very busy. I am excited to meet her though. She is in her 50s. Most of Karen’s friends are around that age with a few exceptions like her friend Israel, who is her age. I have to remind my self that she is 33 so the age gap isn’t as big. I am hoping that I can be mature enough to hang out with them though. Sandy is the reason that Karen judges me for my PB&J addiction. I will make PB&J for lunch two days in a row, or even 2 times in a week and Karen will always say, “peanut butter and jelly again Cami? You don’t want turkey or I can make you something else.” I always say, “Karen, if I wanted turkey I would make turkey.” When she worked with Sandy she had PB&J every day because it was what Sandy served her missionaries for lunch. So Karen would eat 2 sandwiches every day for months. Because of that, her mind thinks “why would you chose to have PB&J when you could have something else.” Hahaha! But Karen loves tuna so now when she makes fun of me for my love of peanut butter, I can come back and compare it to her tuna obsession.

We were also able to make plans with her friend Israel. We went to a dog benefit that was happening at a Wendy’s. (By the way, Wendy’s sells apple pie, pineapple pie and cheese pie… only in Honduras.) It was a dog benefit specifically for pit bulls … seriously, the only kind of dog I don’t like. We didn’t know that until we got there though. I was expecting for it to be some type of benefit like Judy’s Pet Rescue where there would be dogs that needed home or raising money for an organization that takes care of stray dogs, I don’t know, that is just what I was guessing. We got there and it was also an event for motorcycles and cars that raised money for the pit bull lovers club. So cars motorcycles and put bulls. The motorcycles where showing off by burning the rubber on their tires so it made that screechy sound, smelt bad, and was smoky. What I thought was right up my ally, ended up just not being my cup of tea. I was glad that I brought the pepper spray that my dad bought me and made me promise to carry around. I didn’t have to use it but just that type of environment… I wasn’t really sure why we were there. I knew that Karen wouldn’t take me somewhere dangerous but it was still pretty sketchy. We went inside and ate for most of the time. We were supposed to go to a second benefit with Isreal the next day which was like a 5K dog walk (no cars or motorcycles allowed) but Karen and I were tired and decided to take naps instead, it worked out well because they canceled the walk. We have pending plans with some other people but have to make time for them. Now that annual reports are done, we should be able to make more time for friendly get together.

I have come to find that Sundays are really the best days for naps. I now get home from church, eat lunch, go to my room to study Spanish for about 30 minutes, take a 2ish hour nap and than continue studying until dinner… it’s a great routine. However, this last Sunday, I left church with Alejandra and her family. Her mom dropped us off at the mall and picked us up a few hours later. It was the 4 Chavez’s and me. We had lunch at Pizza Hut and than walked around and talked. We bought friendship bracelets for all the girls which are super cute. I am so glad that I have made friends here. I am excited to go see more movies with Alejandra and meet some of her friends that she was telling me about.

I had tired so many different ways of studying Spanish. I was continuing Duo Lingo (but stopped because they added this health bar and I would end up dying before finishing a lesson and so I wasn’t learning anything), I labeled everything in the room, I had flash cards, I tried focusing on a word a day, and I tried writing everything down to study. Nothing was working. I brought my old Spanish text book with me so I decided I would start going through it and focus on two pages a morning. I would do YouTube videos to practice. So far, that was working the best but I wasn’t confident in using anything I was learning. I had been asking around to see if anyone knew a Spanish teacher who could teach and explain things to me, help me with pronunciation and do practice exercises with me.  (Practice exercises were the biggest thing I needed! Just someone to encourage me to speak because Spanish is one of my 4 biggest fears so I am not really excited and just wanting to practicing speaking it, I need encouragement… I almost need someone to force me to.) We couldn’t find one though. When I fist got to Honduras, Pastor Daniel told me he was going to send me to stay in Teupasenti for a month. I learned it was because Karen was planning on visiting her family in California for a month to celebrate her sister’s birthday. She hasn’t seen them in 5 years, so it is important that she goes, especially since she has someone who can hold down the fort while she is gone. Her sister booked her plan ticket for her and they cannot change the dates. She is leaving on the 26th of September. That is all okay until I learned that while she is gone, we have 4 mission teams coming in and I will be taking Karen’s place. That means I need to be able to order coffee, order food, ask about prices, and hold a basic conversations with people in Spanish. Oscar will be coming too so I will not have all the weight on my shoulders but I still need to be able to do a lot more than I can right now. Karen was talking to Josue (who helps with missions trips and helps in Teupasenti occasionally) and he was saying that I really need to get my Spanish down. He told Karen about a language school that was in the mall down the street. He said it is kind of expensive but it is intense so I would learn quickly. I was really excited about it so we went to check it out as soon as we had a day off. The classes are a little expensive but it I am going to pay extra for anything, this would be it. I am taking privates, which is good because it is one on one and I am taking it for 1 hour a day, 3 times a week for a total of 30 hours. It is perfect this way because when there are teams, I can just let my teacher know I will not be there and that way I won’t lose any hours, they will just roll over. I considered buying the 60-hour pack and doing more than just an hour a day but I know that that would be overload for my head. I think this is perfect.  So, as I am writing this I just finished my 4th class. I will tell you more about the classes and how they are going in the next blog because it is hard to tell in the beginning because I am learning the basics first. The hope is that I will be able to hold a basic conversation by the end of September when my family comes to visit me. The classes do keep me busy though and have pretty much packed my schedule. Between taking classes, studying, and practicing, it is hard to find extra time to relax. I feel like I have to chose between studying and talking with family, hanging out with friends, sleeping, blogging, doing other things that I would like to do in my free time, etc. But hopefully it will be worth it. I am also focusing on learning everything that Karen does at the office. She does a lot. Learning the documents and where she keeps them, deadlines, updates, emails, people I need to talk to… it’s a lot. But I’ll get it!

I take Spanish on Mondays, Thursdays and Saturdays. On Saturday, Karen takes Mandarin. She has class only once a week but it is for 4 hours. Seeing her study makes me want to cry for her! It seems crazy hard but she said that it is actually going to be easy once she learns the symbols, writing, and sounds because they have no grammar, no present, past, or future tenses, no conjugations… you just have to learn how to say the words and then you are good to go.  Still seems hard to me but I wish Spanish had no grammar. We drive together on Saturday mornings. So, I take my first hour and than I have 3 hours to work on my blog. You would think with 3 hours I would be able to get it done and just make Saturday my posting day, right… wrong! I am a hot mess.

Here is a run down of a basic week for me right now:

Sundays:

  • Go to church – 8:30 (Karen is on worship team)
  • Pray or work on blog in office
  • Church service – 3 hours
  • Finish up any work in the office
  • Go home and eat lunch (normally Mac & Cheese)
  • Study Spanish – 30 minutes
  • Nap
  • Study Spanish more
  • Eat dinner
  • Talk to my family or hang out with Karen and hers
  • Bed

Mondays:

  • Office – 8am and work all day
  • Spanish 5:30-6:30
  • Skype with Nate and Mandy @ 7
  • Dinner
  • Bed

Tuesdays:

  • DAY OFF mostly work on blogs but have freedom to do what ever, normally the day to go shopping

Wednesdays:

  • Prayer 8-12
  • Lunch
  • Office work
  • Church 6-8
  • Dinner
  • Study Spanish
  • Bed

Thursdays:

  • Office by 8
  • Spanish class 5:30-6:30
  • Home and eat dinner
  • Call my family
  • Bed

Fridays:

  • Office by 8 and work all day
  • Children’s Cup meeting 6:30-8 every other week
  • Home and eat dinner
  • Study Spanish
  • Bed
  • If we don’t have a meeting we try to go to the open market if the traffic isn’t terrible

Saturdays:

  • Spanish 8-9
  • Blog 9-12
  • Office till 5:30
  • Free night à either hang out with friends, shop, watch movies, or relax
  • Study Spanish for at least 1 hour or up to 5 hours
  • Bed

So, my week is pretty booked but there is tons of wiggle room so I continue having adventures. I need lots of prayer when it comes to learning Spanish because I am still really struggling but I am hopeful. I love Honduras and I am so excited to share everything that is going on with you! I skipped a head a lot in this blog to bring you up to date but in the next blog I will go back and fill in all the missing spaces!

Here are the 3 girls I was talking about:

All 3 girls are related to Iris, the facilitator at Teupasenti. They live with their father, 2 brothers, and all 5 girls. The family works hard and loves Jesus but live in poverty. If you are interested in helping this family out or sponsoring any of these girls, please let me know and I will give you more information. Think about everything that you spend money on, all of the little treats that you don’t even value any more. Consider if you could give anything up to help these amazing people who have very very little. Remember these verses:

2 Corinthians 9:6-8

Remember this: Whoever sows sparingly will also reap sparingly, and whoever sows generously will also reap generously. Each of you should give what you have decided in your heart to give, not reluctantly or under compulsion, for God loves a cheerful giver. And God is able to bless you abundantly, so that in all things at all times, having all that you need, you will abound in every good work.

Luke 6:38

Give, and it will be given to you. A good measure, pressed down, shaken together and running over, will be poured into your lap. For with the measure you use, it will be measured to you.”

This is Briny. She is 10 years old (birthday on 8/12). Her favorite subject is writing and she loves to swim. She wants to be an engineer when she grows up. She is shy but also very smart. She is very mature for her age. Briny helps out at the care point as much as she can but has to remember to still be a child. Her prayer is protection for her family.

This is Yorjely. She is 6 years old (birthday 7/22). She is not in school yet but will be starting soon. She loves playing with dolls and wants to be a teacher when she grows up. She is very smart and happy. Her prayer is for blessings of every kind.

This is Juliethe. She is 4 and turning 5 in November (birthday 11/16). She is too young to start school yet but will be starting soon. She will need a sponsor to be able to afford it. She helps out in her house by sweeping and likes playing dolls with her sisters. She also wants to be a teacher when she grows up because she is very smart.

Please pray and let me know if you want to sponsor one of these girls. I will try to post more children and stories soon so that you can fall in love with all of the children as well. Sponsoring the children is great because you can write them notes and they will write back to you. Your letters, love and support means so much to them!

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Chapter 5 – Seacoast Church – I Can’t Doubt Myself Anymore

August 2nd, 2017

Even though I had barley settled in, it was time for me to assist in hosting a new team from Seacoast Church in South Carolina. It would be the first team where I was a part of Pastor Daniel’s team instead of the mission’s team. I was excited but I was also worried that I wouldn’t be able to help since there was a lot I didn’t know. I didn’t have much prep going into it and I still couldn’t speak any Spanish.

The Seacoast team came for medical missions. I had heard a lot about them from Pastor Daniel and Karen. The team was lead by Dr. Sabback, a surgeon who has a heart for missions. He brings a team every year so many of the people who were coming had been to Honduras before. Here is what I knew before they arrived: Dr. Sabback is very organized and punctual, he works non-stop and runs a “missions heavy” week. The team would be staying in Honduras for 2 weeks but we would only be with them for 1 week. The second week they would travel into the mountains of Troez to preform surgery and run a VBS. So it would be quiet a week!

The team was not coming through Children’s Cup but they would doing medical clinics in two of the care points and prayer ministry at one other point. The would also be doing medical clinics in 2 prisons, prayer ministry at an orphanage, speaking and praying over a school (twice), visiting a safe house, doing a lot of work with the LAMB institute and visiting an anti-gang organization called the Alonzo project. That is a lot to do in just 1 week in case you didn’t know.

The group came Friday afternoon and there were 16 of them. The ages ranged from 11 in to the 70s. There were a lot of names to remember so I had to keep quizzing myself in my head whenever I could. I got them down for the most part by the end of the first day. I surprised myself by how much I had learned about Honduras in just one week and how many questions I could answer. After picking them up and getting lunch we stopped for coffee (of course), dropped their suitcases off at the hotel, and then went to the church and sorted meds for a few hours. We pre-wrote cards giving instructions for what the med was, how to take it, and why they were be prescribed the meds. We also separated, counted, and pre-bagged meds, so the church had a strange mixture of medication and vitamin smells. It was tedious and time-consuming work but it was very helpful when it came time for the clinics.

When we served with medical clinics, I helped in the pharmacy section. It was cool how the clinics were set up. The patients would come in and give their medical history and current complaints at the first table, triage, and 2 people from the team and translators would write it down. Then the patient would take their card and see the doctors who would hear their concerns, take any tests or measurements necessary and write the prescription. The patients would bring pharmacy their prescription where we would bag their meds and tell them how to take it. Next the patient would get eyeglasses if needed and tooth brush and paste. Finally, they would go to prayer where the Great Physician would bring healing. Each patient left with a goodie bag with hygiene supplies and other treats. The clinics always seemed to last a long time and were pretty stressful (between lines backing up, trying to find certain meds, running out of other meds, not being able to read the doctors hand writing, and everyone needing Averie (the medical professional – who knew the meds, what to substitute if we ran out and instructions on how to take them) to help us needing Gianna to translate or tell us how to write something). In the end, it was really cool seeing how many people were helped, not only physically but many people were healed spiritually due to an amazing prayer team. We saw some very serious cases so getting to help them made the stress worth it.

Jerry helping care for children

We did 4 medical clinics during the week. First we went to Danli, a men’s prison. I didn’t know what to expect but it was pretty cool. All the prisoners were obedient, patient, thankful, and respectful. The church sends a ministry team to the prisons weekly and it is an incredibly successful ministry. Many of the prisoners give their lives to God while in prison and when they get out, they do not return to their old ways because they have been reborn. It was the first clinic so I had no idea what I was doing and felt like I was more of a mess than a help. I couldn’t remember instruction for certain meds we used a lot, I couldn’t remember what to say or how to write it and I didn’t know what any of the meds were. I felt like the whole time I was taking prescriptions and giving them to some one else to fill and hand out… mean while they were trying to take care of their own patient. I thought maybe with my mom being a doctor and always talking about meds I would be better at this… I wasn’t. At the end of the clinic, while we were cleaning up, Gianna told me that Pastor Pablo told her that one of the prison guards told him to “put me on hold,” (as if he was shopping at the mall), so he could marry me! Yet, he never even said hi to me…. between the height difference (I’m sure), the language barrier, and the fact that he didn’t talk to me… marriage isn’t looking so great.

The Danli prison was on the way to Teupasenti so from prison we drove another hour to get to the Children’s Cup care point located there. The next day we did another clinic at the care point. This clinic was different though because I did Children’s Cup stuff instead of assisting with the clinic. I needed to take pictures of some kids and fill out registration forms with Iris, the facilitator. While I was waiting for certain kids that I needed pictures of to come, I got to play with the rest of the children. I missed those kids so much and it was great getting to see them again. It was really fun seeing how many of the kids remembered me from a week ago. I got to see Katia again who wanted to be right next to me the whole time. That was fun since the last time she was shy and distant until the last day. However, she got mad for a little bit because I was playing with other kids too and not focusing all my attention and favoring her. She was pouting and was mad at the other kids and me. I felt bad at first, but than I realized, if I was at home and dealing with a kid acting like that who spoke my language, I would have told the kid to suck it up because I am there for all the kids not just one! She can either pull it together and have fun or throw a temper tantrum and be alone… I don’t enable bad behavior or entitlement no matter where you’re from.

Katia and Genesis. Nates sponsor child and mine.

I had tons of fun! I was excited to see little monkey Karlita again and Luis’s little girl Nahomi. Both of those girls need extra love because they don’t necessarily receive a whole bunch so I was glad to play and see them smile.

Carmen, Nahomi, and Nayeli being my best friends while I was waiting for children to arrive.

Karla came in her princess dress

Iris told Karen and I that Jhoannas, Ms. Cathy’s sponsor child, was a whole new kid since Ms. Cathy had talked with him. Iris said he had been very obedient, was helping with the younger kids and was trying to be a good leader so that Ms. Cathy would be proud of him. He really was being a leader; he was trying to help me with my Spanish and trying to learn English. He helped me with the pictures by telling kids to stay in place and telling other kids to get out of the picture. He is a good boy. Ms. Cathy is very lucky to be sponsoring such an incredible boy, and he is very lucky that Ms. Cathy is sponsoring him because I know that she will continue pouring into his life and loving him.

Jhonnas, Ms. Cathy’s sponsor child.


The kids were crazy, in a good way. They climbed up a tree and picked green mangos for everyone. They taught me how to eat it. I didn’t really want to eat it in the first and would have prefer that it was washed and peeled it instead of just biting a dirty mango, almost breaking my teeth, and having to spit out the outside but… oh well… when in Honduras right!?! I became the tree soon after. For the majority of the time the kids would just climb up my body. I would not pick them up, they would just scale my body until they got to a good resting point so I would have 3 or 4 kids on me at all times. I was continuously trying to pull up my shirt and take kids off me. It was exhausting and hot but so much fun!

Teupasenti kids hanging out

I really need to learn Spanish because I would be taking pictures and, kids are kids, so they would photo bomb or make funny faces. I wanted tell them to get out of the picture, go stand over there, smile, stop, etc. but I had no idea what to say. I had to rely on putting my hands on my hips and giving them my “mean Cami face” or say no in a harsh tone. For the most part, it worked, YAY! And for that, I have to thank all the misbehaving children in Sunday School and dance classes who gave me practice and helped me prefect it!

While we were in Teupasenti we attended a church service. When Action Church attended service, both last year and this year, we had a few people who spoke to the congregation during the service. I thought it was very cool because Seacoast designated 2 people to speak to the congregation, and 2 people to take the kids upstairs for a Sunday school lesson on the armor of God. They were prepared with props and prizes. To be honest, as soon as they pulled out the prizes and said that you have to answer a question correctly to get a prize, I thought it would be a disaster! I was ready for fights, crying, and disappointed children because I knew that half the kids in that room wouldn’t get prizes either because they are too shy to speak up or because they were not listening. I was impressed by the lack of fighting and crying thought! The kids were trying to answer the questions and some of them were very smart and great listeners, but as predicted many of them couldn’t answer. So at the end they let everyone line up and get little prizes. They handed out some kazoos but we couldn’t figure out how to use them and thought they were broken. After exchanging some of them, we finally remembered that you have to hum to make a kazoo work, not blow! Trying to tell that to kids to hum whether or not you speak Spanish is hard… so I was trying to act it out and looking a-fool!

The children listening to the Sunday School lesson so they can get a prize

While we were getting back in the van we were saying good-bye to everyone, the mother from my first home visit (the one with the sleeping baby who helps out at the care point) saw me and yelled my name and gave me a hug. Her son was sleeping again but I did my best to communicate that I remembered him. I thought it was so sweet that she remembered my name and my face… I wish I could remember her name… uh oh!

The 3rd Clinic we did was at the church at the Soroguara care point. I had not been to that care point yet, it is the newest one, it just recently became a care point, like beginning of this year. I helped out in the pharmacy again. My job for the most part was pre-bagging and pre-separating or cutting medicine. Half of the patients were kids so a lot of the meds had to be split so they could be child-sized doses. By this day everyone was feeling pretty tired and a little stressed because it was the middle of the week. I felt bad as everyone was trying to look for meds and talk to people and I had the easy job because I didn’t have to write anything hard, search for anything, or talk to anyone, I just had to count pills and zip bags. I was feeling so bad that I was being so useless and doing the “easy stuff” when everyone was so done.  At the end, we had to count all the meds so we knew if we had to buy more so I sat with Averie and Dr. Sabback and we went through everything. I was still feeling very useless but thought, “I know how to count med cases and then put them in boxes!” I thought helping out was the least I could do since everyone else had been doing all the real work. I was feeling almost embarrassed by the end of the clinic because I was so inept (unable to remember what to write in Spanish or how to say certain phrases in Spanish) that I was reduced to the easy job that was almost made up to get me out of the way. Later that night, the team debriefed while Karen, Gabriel, and I got dinner ready. I wanted to cry happy, surprised, thankful tears because Averie called me out and basically said how thankful she was for me because I was such a big help with the medicine and keeping things organized and ready to go. I was taken aback because I thought I was such a pain and doing easy things so I didn’t get in the way, meanwhile Averie thought I was an incredibly helpful person, so much so that she would call me out to thank me specifically (she said, “good job pharmacy team but especially thank you to Cami blah blah blah”). I am continuously amazed because I keep doubting myself and wondering if I am any help to this team, I keep putting judgment on myself but than God opens my eyes and reminds me that He called me here and as long as I am willing and obedient, He will use me where I am needed the most. Even when I feel useless and wonder if I am doing any good, God always has a sneaky little plan that he is working on behind the curtain. He brought me here how He did, no Spanish and all, He gave me the skills He gave me and He will use me how He sees best fit not how I think it should be.

Working in the pharmacy

After we finished the clinic we had lunch and than went to see the care point. I we heard the whole story about how it came to be. Pastor Daniel made the connection through prison ministry, took interest in this little project that had started in Soroguara and worked with them to develop it into a care point. Because the care point is so new, there is a lot to be desired, the point is inside a small building that would have been knocked down because it was falling apart but they made repairs and are continuing to work on future plans. Soroguara has over 150 children who attend and only 2 have sponsors. There is still a lot of work but Pastor Pablo had shown us the Teupasenti point when it began so I know that Soroguara has lot of cool things in its future. I was hoping to meet some of the kids but that encounter would have to wait for another day. We ate lunch in the care point facilitator’s house and rested there for about an hour and a half. We had been getting these pre-made subs for lunch everyday. They had all this different sauce on them and lettuce and tomatoes and different types of meat (that I normally don’t eat on subs, and I especially NEVER do sauces) but I ate them. Karen kept pressuring me and reminding me of my own words, that I would try new foods in Honduras and not complain. I did it…. I don’t want to do it again… but the point is I am acting like a big girl and sucking it up and eating what I am served! Lots of self high-fives have been given from me, to me!

The last clinic we did was at a women’s prison, which was very different than the men’s clinic. There were men/teens walking on the walls outside and looking in through the windows at the top once we went inside. They were not guards so we asked who they were. We were told that they were just boys who hung around the prisons and watched. The guards and police couldn’t/don’t do anything to make them leave so we were told to just ignore them but it was still kinda awkward being watched. We were told that they were probably part of a gang but we were not in any danger. They knew that we were there to help so they would never ever harm us. Gangs appreciate missionaries and people who help. That is why the church is allowed to enter gang territory without being afraid because the gangs welcome and protect them. However, when we are not there, it is a very dangerous area because the prison is between two gang territories so there can be many fights and killings. The women have “houses” (their cells are houses) that are completely closed in with lots of locks because they have to be able to protect themselves if gang violence breaks out. It is crazy that there are guards there yet gangs still chose to fight occasionally. I was also curious why they couldn’t do anything about the stalking teenage boys who could pose a threat to the prisoners if they got a hold of one of them but Pastora Lorena told me as long at they leave the women alone, the guards allow them to hang out and watch.  Doesn’t make sense to me but things are different in Honduras.

We set up and got started with the clinic. They had us set up the pharmacy by the kitchen (which was a stove and an oven) but that made us very nervous because there were multiple people just walking back and looking over all the medicine. We didn’t know who was a cook and who was a patient but that can’t happen with controlled medicine! We were like, “NO this is not okay!” We were busy trying to take care of patients and keeping an eye on the meds with all the women back there, they could have grabbed anything and we would have been to busy to noticed. We finally figured it out and fixed it but between bagging meds, my main job was just to keep an eye on the medication and the women. The women prisoners were different from the men because they just wanted things. It was constantly, “can I have Band-Aids,” “can I have more ____,” “I need this,” “I need that,” “give me the wet wipes,” “Tell me this,” “Do that”…. I had to keep praying that I would see them through God’s eyes and have a serving heart because I was stressed and getting irritated and I was very worried because guess what… a cat just had kittens, like literally that day, and they took the kittens away from the momma. They put the babies in a drawer under the oven because they said it would “keep them warm.” They threw them in there with some clothes or towels or something that were dirty and covered in (what I can only guess was) urine and some cat food. Okay, there is so much wrong with that! 1. Don’t take babies away from their mom. 2. They can’t eat cat food; they need to be bottle-fed every 2 hours if the mom isn’t feeding them 3. What about the momma cat, like is it depressed now that its babies are gone… cats aren’t like ducks, they don’t function on-out-of- sight-out-of-mind, they attach 4. Is it safe to keep them in a drawer that is completely closed under an oven, which is being used??? AAHHHH!!!! Every time they mewed, I felt bad because I was thinking they were hungry, and every time they weren’t making noise, I thought they are probably dead! The cooks burnt something at one point so we smelt the bad burning smell and my heart stopped, if I open the drawer that the babies were BBQ-ed I would die right there and then! Thankfully they weren’t BBQ-ed, they were still alive. There was nothing I could do so hopefully the kittens are in heaven with Jesus or escaped or something! They did assure us though that they were not going to eat the cats, so phew!! Between the food, the meds, the prisoners, the cats, and the burnt food… the smell wasn’t great… and them… they started a nail salon behind us… so you can add alcohol and all the nail salon smells to the list of smells. Can you imagine how bad that mixture was!

When it was over, Averie and I were supposed to separate all the meds into boxes to either go back to the church for next year or to go to Troez. The problem was that the directions of what stays and what went kept changing. First it was ‘meds we use go to Troez’, and then changed to ‘meds we don’t use go to Troez.’ Next, ‘expired meds go to Torez,’ ‘no expired meds get thrown away.’ ‘Nothing that has been opened goes to Troez’ ‘but even though this is open send it to Troez.’ Back and forth back and forth… so we kept packing and unpacking.  We knew that there were more meds at the church that had to be separated too. After continuing to change what we were supposed to do a thousand times and having to leave but not being close to being done sorting meds, we threw everything in a box and just took it back to the church. We got it all taken care of there and it was great!
Along with medical ministry, the Seacoast team did a lot of prayer ministry as well. They visited prisons and Children’s Cup care points but they were also very involved in a non-profit called The Lamb Institute. I am so grateful I went with them and got to learn more about the ministry. At first, I thought it was just a school because we visited the Lamb school Monday morning and went to the different classes to speak and pray, I thought, “Okay, I’ve seen Lamb.” Later I found out how much Lamb does.

So on Monday we went to the school, we had Karen, Gianna, Gabriel, and Oscar as translators and I met two new girls who worked as translators as well, Alejandra and Gabriella. I love them and am so glad that I meet them. We get along very well. Gabriella is 14 so she and Gianna were the best of friends! They two of them stayed with us for most of the week to help with translations. Alejandra and I decided we would hang out and see movies together (because she also likes super hero movies) and play with her cats and stuff, so I was excited for new friends!! We would refer to the group of all of us as the Seacoast team, the translators, and Cami. I really do hope that before I leave I can be a translator-ish, like I can be a help with the language for the groups. The problem is that my Spanish is so bad! I cannot remember words to save my life. Gabriel was helping me in the bus on the way and he would tell me a word and its meaning. I would repeat the word for about 5 minutes and then he would give me another word. I would say the new word once and he would ask me what the first word (the word I had just said a thousand times) was and I couldn’t remember it, like not even what letter it started with. He said that I have Dory’s brain when it comes to Spanish… I couldn’t even be insulted because it is so true. Later, one of the kids knew some English and I told him I knew a little bit of Spanish and held my fingers up to show a little bit. Gabriel reached over and pushed my fingers together (leaving no space) and shook his head… again, I should be insulted but it is true! Pray for me guys! Pray for me!

At the school, the Seacoast group divided into 4 teams and each team got 2 translators or a translator and Cami. Each group got 2 grades that we went and talked to. I was with Alejandra, Doris, Laurie, Larry, and Howard. Alejandra translated, the group taught, I observed… it was a little awkward but I rolled with it. We went to 8th and 9th grade and taught about the armor of God. I noticed in the 9th grade class that they did not talk about the sword and wondered why they left that piece of armor out. After we left Doris asked me if in the 8th grade class, I would teach about the sword, she said she was going to ask me in the last class but didn’t. I said sure and was happy to do something to help but I had not really prepared like they had so I was just praying that the Holy Spirit would speak through me. Once again, God used me in my insecurity. He gave me words to say that I would not have thought of without Him. I don’t want to sound cocky and say I was awesome buuuuttttt everyone else in the group said that it was great and really tied it up well. Alejandra told me she was really impressed because normally people speaking a different language can not demand the attention of the students but she said that when I spoke I had their full attention and they were very absorbed by what I was saying, the rest of the group agreed and said they were very impressed with how the kids responded. I didn’t notice but I’ll believe them because I don’t think I did any of the talking and God is pretty darn good at getting people engrossed in what He has to say. So credit to Him!

In the 8th grade class room playing games with the students to illustrate how it is harder to knock something down when there is armor guarding it

After we talked to both classes some people went to the playground and prayed. I had no idea that was happening so I just hung out in the room and got to know some of the team better. I was wondering why it was taking groups so long… it was because they were praying! I hung out with Oscar and Gabriel and got to know them better. At this point I feel like they are my Honduran brothers because they mess with me and I can mess with them and they are just totally awesome! I am totally comfortable around them. I got to see pictures of Oscar’s new baby… which is the cutest baby EVER!!!!!

After the school and lunch, we drove to San Buena. San Buena is an orphanage that is also ran by Lamb. It was a 2-hour drive on very bumpy dirt roads. I had to pee very very bad and the bumps were not helping… by the time we got there, I don’t think my bladder had ever hurt so bad! Oh My Goodness! (I know you don’t need to know that but it was very impactful so I had to share with you that I was in extreme pain!!!!) We did take a very scenic route though and got to see the countryside, which was beautiful.

The windmills on the country side. I had never seen these before

We got to San Buena and only had about 45 minutes before we had to be back on the bus. I was wondering why we came when we really didn’t have time to experience anything but that was not my call to make. I don’t know if it had always been planned to have a short time there or if we were running late but I was wishing we had more time. However, I was so glad that we did go because it was incredible seeing everything that happens there. The first thing we did was pee. The first real thing we did was go to the chapel and pray for the staff. My prayer group prayed over a couple in their 60s who had sold everything they owned in the States and moved to Honduras. We asked how long they would be there and they said, “until we die.” They lived on property and helped with the kids. But… they didn’t speak any of the language. What a relief it was to see God calling other people to Honduras with similar struggles regardless of if they can speak the language, I am not the only person with a calling and crazy situation. It was so great to talk to them and hear about their hearts and their love for the children. After we prayed for them we prayed for the English teacher. She originally moved to Honduras for 6 months but ended up staying for an extra year. She was going back to the states in December so she could get a job and be trained in engineering (which she had her degree in) so that she could move back to Honduras in a few years and use her knowledge to help. It was fun praying over three people who I could relate to in different ways. It was encouraging hearing their stories and makes me wonder what God will do with my heart and what my story will be in a few years.

After we prayed we had about 15 minutes to see the place and pray over it. I went into the house where the young kids probably 4-6 year olds (if I had to guess) lived. One little girl (whose name I couldn’t pronounce so I just didn’t say it) attached to me immediately. She wanted me to hold her and then told we where to go. She would point somewhere, I would take a few steps and say, “Aqui?”, she would shake her head no so I would say, “Donde?”, she would point and it continued until we got to the play ground.   She wanted play on the swings. As I was walking away from the group, not knowing where I was going, Luis popped in my head and shouted DON’T LEAVE THE GROUP! But I ignored imaginary Luis. I could still kinda see the group so if they were walking away I would see them and join them. Silly Luis, always popping up in my head with safety concerns. It was a safe closed in area so I would be okay. After playing at the park we went back to the house and sat on the couch and played with some of the other kids. She was so sweet, she brought me a glass of water since we had been playing… it was tap water though so I couldn’t drink it but I pretended to and appreciated the gesture!

My little friend from orphanage

Dr. Sabback is a very prompt man. He said we had to be back at the bus at 4 and he meant it. The group that was in the house with me all had a hard time leaving because we wanted to play with the kids more, we had just gotten there and really only had 10 minutes to spend with the children. To make matters harder, they didn’t want us to leave either! Well, we finally left and had to run to the bus, I was sure I was going to slip or trip and eat it with my face in the dirt and my feet in the air because it was a tricky ground. Thankfully, I didn’t embarrass myself for once in my life so that was good. We made it to the bus at exactly 4:00 but Dr. Sabback was upset because we were supposed to be on the bus leaving at 4 not at the bus getting on and situated… opps… bad missions leader Cami! But… I don’t feel bad, ssshhhh don’t tell Dr. Sabback, I think loving children who don’t have parents to love them is more important than leaving on the dot… leaving 2 minutes later isn’t a big deal in my opinion if that meant the kids knew that they were loved. But I need to work on being obedient… which I’ve always been bad at….

On the way home we were told that there was bad traffic because of a terrible accident and because of construction. Oscar announced that we would be in traffic for the next 4 hours. People came to our windows and sold us snacks from the street while we were waiting. People from the group got out to stretch and run to a restaurant on the other side of the road for bathroom breaks and Oscar went and got everyone drinks. When everyone came back someone got the idea to pray. I think it was Jerry who prayed for traffic to clear up and I’m not kidding you, within 5 minutes of Jerry saying Amen, traffic cleared up and we got home in 20 minutes… no one can tell me that prayer is pointless or that God doesn’t take care of His children! It was pretty cool. (Side note: a year ago when I was reading the Harry Potter books, I was thinking that when we accept Jesus into our heart, its kinda like we get accepted into Hogwarts. Our prayer is our magic wand and we have all the power we need to preform miracles. We study and practice but just like Harry fought evil, so do we, and just like they used magic for little things, so can we. I thought of that last year because I was running late for work and there was traffic and as soon as I prayed, traffic cleared up. I know that’s a random side note, it just made me remember the thought and smile and Jerry’s prayer reminded me of it so I thought I would share.)

Another program we did with Lamb was the Alonzo Project. We went after our day in Soroguara. Again, I was thinking that we didn’t have much time but it was definitely worth it! The Alonzo Project is an anti-gang night program for children and teenagers in gang-ridden areas. We walked in and sat with the kids and listened to a testimony from a past gang member. He shared his story (which was insane and gross and sad and it was appalling to hear everything he did and went through) and he encouraged the children to seek Christ and avoid gangs. My favorite part of his testimony was when he said he got in the car to kill someone and the man who had a gun to his head wasn’t scared because he had Jesus and knew where he was going. Because of that, he was so freaked out that he didn’t kill the man and that was when the seed was planted. It makes me think of the Hillsong song that says, “What a powerful name it is, the name of Jesus.” So true! It was cool seeing the kids listen and knowing they were there to say no to joining a gang! I love it because the less children wanting to be in a gang, the less powerful gangs will be. After we heard his amazing testimony, we prayed for the leaders and for the children. Then we played soccer with them. They chose teams and for some crazy reason I thought sure I’ll play no one will pick me … hahahaha…. Whoops, I got chosen. Teams played each other and the winning team played the next team. When it was my teams turn to play I stood flat against the wall and played don’t-get-in-the-way and don’t-get-hit-in-the-face. I got laughed at because of my over exaggerated avoidance skills but… they saved my life! I kicked the ball once and was proud of myself, so I did my part. No, I actually felt bad that the team had picked me and I was such a handicap. Alejandra was on my team and bailed half way through… jerk! In the end, the team didn’t need me. When the game was over and I was so relieved AND THEN they said my team won… WHAT?!?!  HOW?!?! NO!!! Thankfully we had to leave so I didn’t have to “play” again. I did get my second proposal that night though so my self-esteem was going up… I can now choose between a shy prison guard or an adolescent. Goodie!! I’m a lucky girl! Hahaha!!!! The Alonzo Project was one of my favorite things we did because it was so awesome seeing people saying no to gangs and knowing that it can make a change in the future if teens are encouraged not to get involved!

On Wednesday the group went going back to the school to speak again and to pray for this project that taught women and students how to make things and sell them, like a business school type of thing and then they were going to a safe house for girls that were rescued from sex trafficking. I was sad because Karen and I were supposed to be at the office that day so I was going to miss it. But as I got in the car, and checked with Karen, she said oh, everything has changed we are going with the group to day instead… I was glad I didn’t wear a dress like was originally going to.

We went back to lamb and saw their morning devotional. It was super cute because the first graders lead it. One of them was the host and he was all dressed up nice. He was yelling in the microphone and trying to get all the students pumped. The first graders sang and did a dance for us. All the students took turns practicing their bible verse in both English and Spanish, and a teacher did a short teaching. After the presentation was over and all the students went back to their class rooms, our team split up again. Some people talked to classes again, my group listened to a presentation where they explained the business program. We got to pray over them and then buy some of the stuff that they invented or learned to make. It was funny though because they had priced everything in US dollars but since I live here now, I only had lempiras. We had lunch and then ran back to the hotel to grab anything the group would need for the rest of the day.

I am not going to share too much information about the safe house because of obvious reasons. The safe house is also a segment of Lamb. It is in a secret location and changes periodically because the girls still have owners who are looking for them. What I will say is, I really enjoyed being there and meeting the girls. We introduced ourselves, Kim and Jerry shared their testimonies, and we sang “Good Good Father” in Spanish as a group. Than the females divided into small groups and talked and prayed over individual girls. The girl I was with (lets call her Jane – not her real name BTW) was so funny because she was so honest about things like, “someone gave this to me but I think its ugly and I don’t like it.” Doris and Alejandra were also with “Jane.” I was really touched by how much Doris connected with her. “Jane” was about to tell us something personal but decided not to and said instead she would just write Doris a letter. I thought it was sweet that she trusted Doris. “Jane” asked me about my friends. I laughed with her and told her how my friends are all dating each other. She asked Alejandra to translate because she had something important to tell me. “Jane” then went on to tell me that I have to pray for my future husband because God will give me a good man who will love me the right way at the right time. Doesn’t that break your heart that a girl who has been sold to men to mistreat her would remind me that I need to wait for a man who knows how to love me correctly and I need to pray for him until God sends him to me. I told her thank you and that was correct and asked her if she was praying for her future husband as well. She said she was. Then we prayed with her. Her biggest prayer request was for bravery, which really touched me. Doris said the most sincere prayer and cried with “Jane”. Then we went and bought jewelry. “Jane” showed us which things she made so I got some of her earrings. They’re beautiful! As we were leaving, “Jane” grabbed me because she wanted to give me a cross to hang on my wall. I didn’t want to take it because I know she has so little. I at least wanted to give her something but all I had was the things I just bought from her… and it felt like it would be rude or insulting to give her something that she made, I wanted her to know that I thought her jewelry was beautiful and precious. So I said thank you, hugged her and now I have a beautiful cross hanging in my bathroom so I can remember to pray for her every day.

After the safe house went to Wednesday night church. It was nice because since the team was there, Pastor Daniel preached in English and Oscar translated in Spanish. I got to have an English service again, if only for one night. At the end of the service, prayer lasted a long time, a lot of people were very moved and service went much longer than it normally does, I would guess about 45 minutes longer. I got my prayer, felt great and was good to go back to my seat after about 10 minutes which left me awkwardly standing there not knowing what to do. Do I pray some more, go back up to the front, do I interact with others who are standing there too, do I watch the people who are praying and having this amazing experience… I don’t know? First I tried just watching the worship team (they were taking turns taking breaks, pulling up chairs, etc, because they keep playing and singing until prayer is over) then I decided to look around at everyone else’s reaction. They were leaving when they were satisfied… I couldn’t leave. Two of the people in the group, Kim and Jerry, had sponsor children from Los Pinos care point (which ironically was the only care point we didn’t visit) so Karen arranged to have Sister Ely bring them to Wednesday night service. I remembered them from last year. I decided I would go and pray for the two of them. I felt such confirmation while praying for them. I felt like I got the opportunity to see them through God’s eyes for a few minutes because the love that I felt for them brought me to tears. Once I could pull myself together I talked to their mom and told her how much I loved the kids and how thankful I was that she was caring for them and raising them correctly (I want to encourage both children and parents because parents need words of affirmation to and it is always nice to hear that what you are doing makes a difference). As I watched them sitting through service I could only think how their mom should be so proud of these two little beauties, these two little gifts from God! They are so beautiful and perfectly made. Their mother and I hugged for a really long time, but it was one of those weird hugs where you never know when to stop hugging and then when you do the other person doesn’t but the other person is short and you’re bending at a weird angle, so even though you love the hug your back is starting to hurt, so you just want to reposition but you know if you let go, you cant go back in for a hug or it will be awkward… you know that kind of hug… is it just me… well that’s what it was… a good meaningful yet awkward and uncomfortable hug. But the good kind of awkward and uncomfortable. Anyways, I left service feeling so happy that I get to be around these children for the next few months and I am going to miss them so much when I go back to the States.

Seacoast church has been a huge help to the care point in Nueva Suyapa. They saw it last year and paid to have construction so a church/kitchen could be built. They are doing this through Seacoast, not through Children’s Cup, so it is very cool that God would move their hearts to help. They did not do a clinic; instead, they just went to visit, feed, and play with the children. When we first got there we met the facilitators, exchanged words, and prayed for them. They had decorated the center and written “Welcome Seacoast Church” on the wall for them. When the children came, a few of the girls did a short presentation for us where they showed us some of the dances they had learned (Nueva Suyapa just started a dance program for the boys and girl, but only the girls preformed for us) and sang some songs.

The girls at Nueva Suyapa singing for Seacoast

Then we talked to the children for a bit before helping serve them lunch. It was a special day because they were celebrating and had cake that we got to help serve as well. We cut the cake into small pieces and I ended up getting icing all over my hands and had green stained hands for the rest of the day. It was fun because I had not been there before. I was thankful that Seacoast Church was funding the rebuilding because there was a lot that needed to be done. However, they told us that it had come a long way since it first started as a care point. They explained to us that before Seacoast started helping, it was hard to get to the point if it rained. They called it the red sea because the red clay mud on the ground would turn into a steam that ran through the church and down the path used to get there. I have now been to all 4 care points and can’t wait to go back again and really get to know the children. I can’t wait to share stories about some of these children with you so that you can fall in love with them too and possibly even pick them up as their sponsor.

This sweet girl from Nueva Suyapa. She wanted to be in every picture that was being taken so I did a selfie photo shoot with her so the team could take pictures of the construction and the group with out a photobomber

The last two days were sort of odd, because half the team was staying for 2 weeks, the other half was only there for the first week, and more people were coming in for the second week in Troez. On Thursday, we had our final dinner as the original team at the amazing steak place I told you about in a previous blog.

The team at our steak dinner

The next day we said hello to the incoming group, had lunch as one big giant team and than said our good byes to the team that was heading for Troez. There were a few that were not going to Troez, and would be getting on a plane to go home the next day, so we took them to Valley of the Angels, shopped, drank coffee, and had good conversations.

I loved getting to know everyone from this team! I had some really good talks with Doris and loved getting to be on her team at all the outreaches. She has such an awesome and passionate heart for God! I really enjoyed spending time with Averie too. I felt like we could relate on a lot of different things and just got along really well. Oh boy, did I learn a lot from Dr. Sabback, he is such an inspiration. He does not rest until the will of God has been done and wonders have been seen. What a man of faith (and astonishing organization)! I was very inspired by Jerry’s prayer life and her passion for people. I learned a lot of random facts from Howard. He knows interesting facts about everything. I thought they were cool but honestly had no idea how to responded other than “wow” and “cool” but that’s because they were wow and cool kinds of facts! I loved talking to Martha and her grand daughter Martha… who I kept accidentally calling Marsha. I really enjoyed hearing about Martha C’s time in Haiti and other Martha shared her love story with me. It was like a story out of a romance book. I got to meet the romantic hero who stole Martha’s heart before they left for Troez. I had tons on fun on the nightly trips to Wal-Mart with Karen and Ryan and I will never forget the story of him yelling, “But Señor, Its Wal-Mart” when they told him that they did not carry thermometers. Karen’s constant reenactment of it made it funnier every time. I got to talk with Laurrie more at Valley of the Angels and here about his amazing evangelist stories. And I loved the bus rides where I got to know Pam better and heard about her trips to Indian and Sri Lanka and how they compared to Honduras. I was incredibly impressed by Kim and Roz, how well they organized the trip and how well they had prepared and planned. Larry was The King of the Kids. If you couldn’t find Larry it was because he was surrounded by the youths of the trip who were huddled around to hear his stories. Gianna would come stand next to me and just start laughing and be like, “look at Larry”… I didn’t get why she was laughing at first but I figured it out, it was just because Larry is awesome! I was very inspired by the grandchildren/children who came. I was impressed by how mature Rivers was and how funny he was for being 16. I enjoyed getting to know Bethel who was only 11 and see her serving and out going heart at such a young age. I got to talk to Roman a lot; we compared stories of his gymnastic training and injuries to my experience in dance. It was such a good first team for me to be with. They were so supportive and friendly! I liked seeing how they did things differently than the Action Church team did. There were things that they did that I liked better than how Action did them and vice versa. It was cool getting to see all the different ministries and how many organizations are working to help Honduras.

The whole team together

I felt blessed because every time I doubted myself or my use with the team, God would send me some inspiration. Like I would start wondering if the team just saw me as Karen’s shadow and wondered what my purpose was or if I was doing anything for them. Then Pam would tell Bethel to go ask me a question because, “Oh Cami would know” and it made me feel like, ‘if they think I know the answer or can help them, than I can’t be a compete joke.’ Or I would think I was doing nothing but than someone would thank me for everything at the end of the day or after dinner they would tell me to rest because I had been serving them all day… I wanted to laugh and tell them I was doing nothing… bringing them dinner was the only thing I could do, but knowing that they saw me as a help felt really good. It was nice receiving affirmation that I was helping others and serving well. I think one of the biggest biggest things was when, a few nights, after the team was safe in their rooms and Wal-Mart trips had been taken, Karen and I would get in the car to drive home. She would sit and stare out the front window, take a long deep breath and sigh. She would put her hand on my leg or reach over and kiss my cheek and tell me how grateful she was that I was there. I felt like I was always being annoying saying, “Karen how can I help,” “Just tell me what to do,” “Karen this,” “Karen that,” and basically always being up her butt because I didn’t know what else to do. BUT she didn’t see it that way. She keeps telling me (or I overhear her telling others on the phone) that she thinks that I am an angel who God sent to help her right now when she needs help the most. I always laugh and say I’m definitely not an angel and I am happy to help but I don’t really know what in the world I am doing to make things easier on her… but than she has those reactions, just a sigh of relief and gratitude, a quick thanks, and than we move on but it literally means the world to me. It means a lot because when she says it, it is not out of obligation or for show, she doesn’t say it immediately after I’ve done something as if it is just a response, She says it at random times and very sincere and personal, it doesn’t get better than that! She squashes all of my fears that I am not good enough or that I am so young that she will be annoyed being around me. It makes me soo happy, I can’t even tell you! I think she is the angel, watching what she does and how she loves people, saying the things she says… yeah she is way more of an angel than I am!

Now that the team had left I knew I would miss them and I would miss being in the field but I was excited to really get settled in, to have some time to focus on practicing Spanish and to get office work done so we could meet the deadlines. Really, I am excited to get some very much needed sleep! I can’t wait till I know what a normal day or a normal week looks like. I am excited to hang out with Alejandra and hopefully have a ladies day with the Dyer girls and I am excited to get to know Pastor Daniel more. I am excited to finally get a phone so that I can communicate in Honduras. Everything will come together. I know that these next few weeks that we don’t have teams will be really good for me since Ill get to settle in and make a life for myself here in Honduras. Hopefully I can catch up on all my blogs and stay on top of them from now on… we will see… like I said earlier, I’ve never been good at being on time… punctuality is way too boring… life is more fun with little adventures that keep you a little later and it keeps you on your toes!

That’s all I have for this chapter! So until next week, I love you and I miss you to everyone back home! Time will fly and I will see you soon!

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Chapter 4 – My New Life – 1st Week On My Own

July 23rd, 2017

We had just dropped of the Action Church missions group at the airport. I hadn’t been to what would be my new house for the next 6 months, and we were on the way to the church so I could start working. I think that in any other situation I would have wanted to have a day of resting after an emotional missions trip but I was so excited to get started that I would have been upset if I had just gone home and unpacked. The day at work was pretty uneventful apart from learning more about Children’s Cup and how much work goes on behind the scenes. After being out of the office for a week and because Karen had to explain things to me instead of working herself, we stayed at work later than we normally would on a Monday. We left around 6:30/7ish, threw my bags in her car and left for her house.

Karen’s car was born before I was. It may be old but I love Karen’s out look on it, she said she could get a nicer car but this car still works and as long as it takes her to where she needs to go and allows her to help drive people around who don’t have a car, she is happy for the gift. She doesn’t care about her “nice” her car is. (Bonus: her car is too old for someone to want to break in!) I wish more people valued what they have instead of wanting the bigger better thing. It is something that I am learning for sure.

Once we got to her house, I quickly met her family, took my bags up to my room and than we left to go to the store to buy anything I needed to get. We got most of the things I needed but we decided we would go out on Thursday on our day off. We went to 2 stores, grabbed dinner and then went home. I noticed that a lot of people look at me when I am walking around. When I was with Action I assumed its because we are a whole bunch of gringos walking around but Karen looks more Asian than Honduras and has lighter skin than mine. I asked her, “how come people look at me but don’t look at you because you don’t necessarily look Honduran.” She laughed (Karen is 4’11 by the way and very skinny)… I guess no one cares if I am a gringo…. I am just really really tall by Honduras standards and standing next to Karen makes us look like David and Goliath.

Like I said, I am very tall by Honduras standards! I have to duck to get in a lot of places and I have to hunch when I sit at tables because they are so low. In Karen’s house I have to hunch under the shower because my head hits the top of the shower. It is pretty funny.

By the time we got back to the house I had my first dose of homesickness. I was still sure I was supposed to be here but I really missed the dogs. How pathetic is that, I missed the dogs before I missed the family! I went up to my room and tried to unpack but instead I called my sister and we video chatted. She let me see the dogs and it made me cry because I missed them so much!! I knew I needed to finish unpacking but it had been a long week and an emotional night and I just fell asleep.

On Tuesday I started translating Spanish documents into English (Google translate is my best friends right now). When Karen first asked me to help translate I thought she was joking. We went out for lunch and we had Chinese food. I had said that I would eat new things in Honduras, so that is what I did. The whole time we were eating, I just kept thinking how proud my mom would be. Speaking of my mom though, Tuesday night was really hard because it had finally settled in that this was my life and my family was a very long ways away. I was feeling very homesick! I called my parents as soon as I got home but could only talk to them for about 30 minutes because Karen’s mom was going to help me unpack. I couldn’t even talk to them because every time I opened my mouth I would cry. I just missed them so much.

Karen’s mom helped me unpack and we got it done so quickly. She is seriously the best. I feel so blessed to have her here because she is like a second mom. The only problem is she doesn’t speak English. We agreed that I would help her with English and she would help me with Spanish. Karen has such a nice house and she moved out of her room so I could have it and have my own bathroom. Isn’t that sweet! I live with Karen, her mom Reina, her 6-year-old niece Dihala, her sister and brother-in-law (only on the weekends), and her adorable dog Chuchi.

Chuchi is so sweet. He waits at the gate for us every day when we get home and cries until we come in. He has doggy dry eye syndrome so his eyes has green stuff in them. Its funny because he is a Spanish dog so he doesn’t react when I speak English to him, only when I say the few words that I know how to say in Spanish.

I was still sick and had a pretty bad cough so Karen made me some tea and we went up on the sunroof to talk. Karen and I talked on the roof for a while and especially after feeling so emotional talking to my family, I felt so blessed to have Karen. She has such great insight on life and is so caring and encouraging. I love her relationship with the Holy Spirit and feel so refreshed every time I talk to her.

Karen and her mom wake up at 3 or 4am to come to the sunroof and pray. There are a few times that I have woken up to music playing. I want to go up and pray with them soon but first I need to get a full night of sleep. The view from the roof is amazing though, you can see the Jesus Statue and at night you can see all the lights… it looks like Christmas! The roof is amazing though because you walk up and you can just feel the presence of the Holy Spirit.

By Wednesday I started wondering if Karen had gotten tired of my yet. We work together (currently in the same office), live together, shop together, eat together, drive together, etc. Her schedule is my schedule. I am pretty sure that I will never get tired of being around Karen, she is the most uplifting, happiest person I have met and I could talk to her for hours on end but she is 9 years older than me and I know I can be annoying, (I annoy myself quiet often… there are many days that I am tired of being around me) so I am desperately hoping that she is not annoyed by me. I was initially trying to give her time with her family by going to my room to talk to my family when we get home from work because I did not want to invade her time with family. But at the same time, I am so grateful for her family and I want to get to know them all better so then I feel rude going straight to my room until I go to bed. So I am working on finding a happy medium in that.

Wednesdays are long days at church because the morning starts off at 8am with 4 hours of prayer. And ends with church from 6- 8. So even though it is a long day, there aren’t too many working hours. If someone had asked me about my prayer life before coming on this trip, I would tell them it is pretty good, it could be better (because I think you should always be striving to have a better prayer life no matter how good or bad it is), I mean, obviously I was communicating with God or I wouldn’t be here. I prayed every morning on my hour and a half drive to work. I’ve been in the Word, doing a devotional, or doing a bible study almost every day. I hear the voice of God, feel His comforting presence often, and love the time alone when I can talk to Him and cry with Him. Like, I thought it was safe to say my prayer life and relationship to God was good. However, if you thought your prayer life was strong, come to Casa de Oración de Familia Wednesday mornings from 8am-12pm. After running through my list of prayer requests and thanking God for His blessings, I opened my eyes and realized it had only been 30 minutes. What was I supposed to do with the rest of the time? As I (kinda creepily) watched the brothers and sisters of this church pray and pour out their hearts, I realized I had a new prayer request, that God would develop my prayer life to be deeper. The passion behind the prayers of these people and the whole heartedness in which they prayed with was eye opening to something that may be missing from my life. They fully rely on God’s help, surrendering it all to Him! I realized I had rushed through everything rather than meditating on each request and each thanks, I was not allowing time for God to speak to the situation. I was almost just asking Him for help so we could team up on my issues instead of fully laying my burdens at His feet. I’m praying that God helps me use this time to teach me how to pray more intensely and shows me how to give it up completely. I honestly thought I had a pretty strong prayer life but I am amazed how God is developing me. I am so grateful for His love and can’t wait to continue this walk with him.

By the time we got home on Wednesday it was too late to call anyone because it was 11:00 or 11:30 back home so I texted Brynne and we fell asleep texting. Thursday was our day off so I was hoping to sleep in but since I had fallen asleep so early the night before, I still woke up around 8/8:30. I love my room because I wake up to the light coming in through the window and the sound of birds chirping and I feel like a Disney princess. I got some personal work done before breakfast and than got ready to go shopping with Karen. Although it was my day off… It really wasn’t a day off. I was wondering if this was just the way that Karen lived her life. I knew she was like wonder women but come on! She had been working as much as I had and by the time I went down stairs for breakfast she had already prayed at 4am, ran a few errands, picked someone up and dropped another person off. I was proud of myself for waking up early but then I realized that I had nothing on Karen. We had a medical mission’s team coming in the next day so we had to go pick up some medicine for them and we ran around multiple pharmacies trying to find it. We went to the bank so I could exchange my US dollars for lempiras. The bank in Honduras is a lot different here… it reminds me of being at the court house waiting 30 minutes for your number to be called so you can go to the window. We also went to 3 different banks so we could exchange my money, take care of the account for ministry and take care of Karen’s personal account and work account. It is also different because all the banks except 1 were in the mall. In each mall there are probably 5 or 6 banks and probably 7or 8 Espresso Americanos (which is the coffee shop). You can see at least two coffee shops from where ever you are standing. The Wal-Mart is also in the mall, which is funny. The malls in Honduras are pretty nice though. They remind me a lot of home. They are 3 stories and have a huge selection. I guess if I had really wanted to shop, that would have been the time because every store was having a huge sale. Karen tried to explain to me that it is this thing in Honduras where people get paid more so stores try to sell more… I don’t know… I didn’t get it. We got Cinnabun at the mall once we had finished our bank excursions and found all the meds. Its crazy shopping with Karen because everywhere we go there is someone she knows who wants to stop and catch up with her. They are always so happy to see her. I felt like I was back home again shopping with Astrid and Robbie!

After the mall we went grocery shopping. First, we went to a store called PriceMart that was exactly like Costco from the way it looked, to what they sell, even to buying food for lunch… the menu was exactly the same. It made me think about my dad. Ever since Tuesday I hadn’t felt home sick again, which is good, I think I just needed a good cry. This time thinking about my dad and after church lunches at Costco only made me smile. After PriceMart we ran to a regular grocery store and than headed home but it was pretty late, the sun was setting.

When we got home, Karen’s mom had done my laundry for me. She said it was going to rain outside so she just finished it up for me. It was so sweet because those were my clothes from the first week that were filled with sweat and smelt bad and she washed and hung all my underwear… that is love! I was so grateful not only because she did my laundry but because she treats me as if I am her daughter, even though there is a language barrier she already loves me!

I finally got to talk to my parents for real, tell them all about the week and hear about their cruise. It felt so good to talk with them and catch up. My mom and sister are coming to visit me in September and I cannot wait! There is so much that I want to do with them and show them that I don’t now how I will fit it into 3 days!

On Friday we went to the church in the morning to finish up some final work. The clock on my computer is two hours fast because I have to keep my computer set like it is in the US, otherwise everything, including Word, is in Spanish. It keeps confusing me and I think it is later than it really is. We got to the office, I opened my computer and I was like, “oh my gosh Karen, we need to leave for the airport now.” She was so confused. But we finished our work and then headed to the airport and I was ready for another amazing week in the field.

I love being in Honduras but there are a lot of things that are very different here, a lot of new things I have to get used to. I have to get used to the crazy traffic and driving (although Karen is a much better driver than most – she actually uses her blinker and checks before she switches lanes). Not stopping at stop signs and being terrified at intersections is now my reality. It really freaks me out especially after being in a car accident right before coming…. I have had to take a lot of deep breaths! Another thing I am working on remembering is that I can’t flush toilet paper. I know it is gross but I can’t tell you the amount of times I have dropped it started flushing and than had to stick my hand in the toilet before the paper goes down the drain. Other little things like trying new foods, having my foods touching each other or putting everything in tortillas. Also there is no such thing as 1% milk here, they also buy it unrefrigerated and do not refrigerate the milk until it is open. Eggs also are not refrigerated. They are bought and left out in room temperature.

I am also getting used to breakfast and dinner foods being the same, eggs can go with any meal, as can beans and tortillas. I am getting used to not having air conditioning but instead opening a window and not worry about if bugs come into the house. When there are ants on the counter or flies at the dinner table it is not a huge deal… you just shu them away. I am getting used to hanging laundry out to dry. Unlike many other houses, our house is covered/closed in where we hang the laundry so thankfully my undies are not on display for the neighborhood. One of the funniest things that I have to get used to is the fact that since I can’t speak Spanish I have to rely on emotions and gestures. In the states, I laugh silently and quietly nod my head while listening. Without even noticing or trying I have found that I laugh out loud in Honduras and when people talk my face makes expression as if I was on a stage making sure the back row of an auditorium could read my facial expressions. It is funny but I am coming to love it all.

Another thing I am getting used to is not referring to the United States as America. It is either the US or North America. Karen brought up a good point that the US is not all of America and by calling it that we end up taking away our identity. We refer to people as Central Americans, South Americans and by not referring to ourselves as North Americans we are taking away who we are… we are meshing ourselves with everyone. So I have to stop before I talk about things like in America we… and change what I am say.

I am sure there will be more things that catch me off guard but I am so happy to be here! One thing I really love about Honduras is how easy time is. In the US, we have strict times for certain things to start and end. We have to be considerate of everyone’s time and stick to these schedules. But in Honduras things do not always start on time, it is very flexible. Church service doesn’t have a specific length that it has to be so that people can get on with their days. They live in the moment and if they don’t get something done today, they can do it tomorrow. They highly discourage workaholics yet there are so many stories of people who just never stop working to do God’s work. The difference is that they are in their 80s still waking up at 4am because they want to help someone not because they have to. They do it stress free and with a smile on their face. It is a weird balance. But I love it so much! I have always hated being on time. While I am very much a workaholic and want to take work home if I don’t finish what I wanted to in the office, I am working on it!

I am excited for after I finish these first few blogs and can just do my 1 blog a week. I am also excited because I wont have to explain as much so they wont be as long… I am sure anyone who reads these is excited about that too! Which by the way… anyone who has made it to the end of all of my blogs… you must really love me or be very bored because I get tired of reading them and I am the one who writes them! I love you and miss you all!!

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Chapter 3: The Time Has Come – My Week With Action Church – Part 2

July 23rd, 2017

On Friday we were going to visit a second white field called La Canada. This time however, we did not have to ride in the back of trucks to get there. I had slept better but was still waking up multiple times due to congestion. Before we left, Karen and Gianna left to go back to Tegucigalpa, we would see them again but the next day and a half we would be with out them.  Before heading to the white field we went to a coffee farm where we learned how they made coffee and were able to buy some fresh authentic coffee. I tried a new frit called guanabana, which was… interesting. I probably would not have tried it but I had made the decision that while in Honduras, I would be trying new foods so I figured it was as good of time as any to start. (Side note: I will return to being a picky eater as soon as I move back to the States). [Me trying guanoabana]

After everyone bought their coffee, we had lunch and than headed out to La Canada.   [Emptying the coffee after roasting it. It was so hot and this man did it with bare hands]

Our plan in La Canyda was to watch the children’s devotion, feed them, give them gifts, and than play with them for 2 hours. We arrived and the center was very small. It was a kitchen and a small room so the eating and learning area was outside under an awning. The children we very well behaved and very obedient during their devotional. They were given books and the children who knew how to read took turns reading the devotional out load. They were very good readers! There was one little girl who made a mistake and said fish  instead of blessings (or something like that … the two words only differed by one letter) and everyone laughed. I had a small moment of PTSD from when I confused the words angel and angle in elementary school and got laughed at. I felt so bad for the little girl even though I don’t think it bothered her. [At La Canada doing a devotional]

There were only about 40 children at this white field so it was easy to feed them and keep track of who needed food. They used plastic forks with missing/broken prongs. It made me think about all the perfectly good plastic forks I had thrown away. We gave every child a bouncy ball and a coloring book and gave the facilitator a gift bag with a soccer ball, some Frisbees, some chalk, a few jump ropes and other toys in it. [Two of the children enjoying their gifts]

We were going to play soccer with the boys and little games with the girls but the white field’s care point was on top of a hill. The ball would have been kicked off and never found again so the kids took us to a park that wasn’t too far away. I was holding kid’s hands and running with them which made me smile but also made me gasp for air because my lungs still hurt, I was very congested and I have asthma… but anything for the kids… right! We got to the park and started playing jump rope with the girls. We ended up playing tons of different games with the girls like red light green light, duck duck goose, and a few Spanish games that I had no idea what they were. The boys (and Leanne) played soccer. It was a very eventful day as Nate took a dramatic cartoon-like fall in the air and onto his back and Enrique injured his manhood… ouch! The kids in Honduras know how to play soccer and they do not take it easy on the gringos from the States. It was a very intense game! [PlayingDuck Duck Goose with the girls [Boys playing soccer and scoring a goal! [Poor Enrique...]

Most of people on the team thought that it was the best day because we really got to spend time with the kids and get to know them. I loved the day too but I was distracted the whole time so I didn’t bond with the kids as much as everyone else. I was distracted because there was a little black puppy at the park. My goodness… I am going to start crying just writing about it. The poor baby was so weak. It came up to me when we first got there and I immediately bonded with it. I gave it some water in one of the Frisbees and it drank it like it had not had water in days. It was too weak to drink all the water at once though. She fell down in the shade from my body and tried to follow me to stay in the shade when I went to play with the kids. Because she followed me into the crowd of children she got stepped on so I went over to the side so she would stay away from the children and not get hurt. That is why I didn’t get to bond with the children as much as everyone else. But some other, older girls came and sat with the puppy so I was able play with the children half of the time. I knew I was not supposed to touch stray dogs… especially sick ones but I couldn’t help it. I only pet her a little but honestly, that is my BIGGEST regret so far. I wish I had picked the puppy up and really pet her and loved her. She is God’s creature too and she so badly wanted to be loved. She was on her last whim and I wish I would have shown her extra love (the same way you love on your dog the day before it gets put to sleep at the vet). I still think back to the puppy and pray that it has either found nourishment or that it is now in heaven being loved by Jesus!

[The sweet puppy who I fell in love with - also the spots on it were from the sun, not disease]

We came back from La Canyda and had lunch than went out to do one more home visit. When we walked into the house, Leanne connected with one of the women on such a deep level…it was incredible! They had not met before and Leanne does not speak Spanish so she did not whisper any words into this lady’s ear, but immediately joy filled her face as she saw Leanne. She headed straight for Leanne and wanted to stand next to her. At the end of the home visit she gave everyone hugs but when she got to Leanne, they both started crying and embraced each other for a few minutes. It was so beautiful to watch the Holy Spirit speak through their hearts, where no words were even necessary but a relationship deeper than words was made. I asked Leanne how she knew her or how they had become so close. She told me she had no idea, she walked in and immediately felt connected with this woman. That moment was the highlight of my day. I would be cheating everyone if I didn’t take a moment to share with you all how great Leanne was this week. This was her first mission’s trip and she embraced it whole-heartedly. On the first day when we were given salad and everyone was afraid to eat it. Leanne ate everyone’s so that the cooks would not be offended. She didn’t even like what was in the salad but ate it anyways. Every singe day Leanne embraced what was given to her. She was so excited about everything and her energy and joy was contagious not only to the group but to the children and families that we met as well. She was such a blessing to have on this trip, just watching Leanne made my week better! It was also fun seeing her bond with the children. It was so easy for her to run up to a kid and tickle them or start a game of soccer as we walked to the church. The kids absolutely loved her and it was so great to see how much she loved the kids. Leanne fit in so perfectly in Honduras that I think that if she did not have a son at home, who she loves more than anything, she would have found a way to stay in Honduras!

[Leanne completely in it with the boys! She never stopped living every second to the fullest!]

Back on track… after the home visit, we got to play with the children for a little. It was very funny because one of the little girls started crying when she saw Pastor Pablo. We were asking what was wrong and she said she was scared of Pastor Pablo because the last time she saw him she had to get a shot. I guess children are the same no matter where they live.

When we got back to the hotel we debriefed and planned for the next day. We would have 4 hours to spend playing with the children at the Teupasenti care point. We wanted to plan games and activities so we would not be clueless on what to do. I had suggested playing hand games (since that is one of my go to games with them) but the group said it was not a good idea because of how aggressive the children were. They compared them to the children at La Canyada who sat quietly and kept their hands to them selves. I had the craziest reaction inside my head and just shut down. I am telling you guys, I think I might be insane!! My defense mood went up and I got real irrational inside my head. I had bonded with the kids last year and suddenly I felt like they were all my own children. I saw them as spunky and silly and just really good at behaving like children and enjoying life. I felt like everyone else who had agreement that they could be pretty intense were basically saying the kids were wild beasts who couldn’t be tamed or trusted. I wanted to scream and run to my room and cry because my feelings were hurt that anyone would say anything against any one of the children. I wanted to yell, “Well you guys are stupid!” “Kids who are well behaved are boring!” “You guys just prefer the La Canada kids because they’re easy and you’re afraid of a challenge.” So needless to say… I got pretty irrational inside my head! But we made plans and I kept to my self. (Disclaimer: The team in no way was implying any of that and had a very good point because the kids at this care point do get in a lot of fights. The kids were also making it a game on the first day to see how hard they could slap the gringos’ hand. The team absolutely adores the kids and was just making a wise call based on what they had seen the other day. They were very justified in their statement and in no way meant that they didn’t love the kids… I just took it the wrong way. Maybe I was tired!)

[Playing hand games with some of sweet girls. It caught on quickly to the rest of the kids around.]

Saturday was out last day in Teupasenti. It was my favorite day of the entire trip. The morning didn’t start out great because I tried to clear my plate and eat my plantains since no one else would eat them for me. My breakfast ended up in the toilet bowl after I tried my hardest to keep it inside. And now plantains have been added to the list of things I will not eat while in Honduras.

After breakfast we went to the Teupasenti care point and had 4 hours to just play with the kids. We had tons of games planned but it was raining pretty hard and most of our games were planned for outside. We went into the church and the children put on a little show for us where they sang some songs. It was so sweet and made me so happy!

[The kids singing, dancing, and preforming some o their favorite songs for us]

The boys and girls split up and even though it was still raining the boys went outside to play soccer again. The boys are serious about their soccer. Leanne decided to stay with the girls this time. The girls stayed inside and colored and painted nails.

[Painting nails!] [Working hard on coloring pictures]

Oh my goodness, the day was so fun! I could have played with those kids forever! I could go on and on about every single little girl that I interacted with and how amazing she was but I am aware that this blog is already way longer than it should be so I’ll just highlight a few!

We met one girl who wants to be a translator when she grows up and is already taking English classes… she was awesome! Stephanie is going to sponsor her. She could hold a basic conversation with us and said that she had a very strict English teacher. She was so funny! The day before she was joking around with Nate because he was wearing a salmon shirt and she kept telling him that his favorite color was pink. [Shierl, our little translator with Stephanie her new sponsor.] I also got to hang out with Katia (my sponsor child). When I saw her the first day she was sort of standoffish and didn’t really seem like she wanted to be around me. But this day, she was attached to my hip and I was so grateful.

[Katia and I]

I had a few girls who hung out with me and I absolutely adored them! It turns out that my sponsor child and Luis’s sponsor child are best friends. After nails we played some other games and than everyone had to go outside unless their sponsor had a present to give them. I had Katia, Mike had Lourdes, and Luis had Nahomi. I felt bad that the rest of the kids had to go outside but I loved having one on one time with Katia. [Me hanging out with some of the girls]

I was touched that everyone in our group picked up a sponsor child or 2. Along with picking up a sponsor child (if they did not already have one) a few people made such tight bonds with a few of the children. Stephanie bonded with this little girl Karla, who already had a sponsor, but she would crawl all over Stephanie and squeeze her so tight that Stephanie couldn’t breath. I think she squeezed so tight that she chipped off a piece of Stephanie’s heart and Stephanie willingly gave it to her to as a token of love.

[Stephanie and Karla giving us the thumbs up!]

Then there was Taylor who was playing with Karla’s little 2-year-old brother. He had not been bathed in days and smelt so bad but Taylor’s heart was so open to loving him. Pastor Pablo said that that was the most love that he had received in his entire life. Taylor was throwing him in the air, kissing him and tickling him. They were both so happy that my heart hurt. (Has that ever happened to you? Your heart is just so full that it literally hurts?)

[After playing with this boy for 30-45 minutes, he finally fell asleep on her.]

Ingrid picked up her sponsor child Brenda during a home visit but she did not just love on her little girl, she spoke life and love into the entire family. Seeing Ingrid with Brenda and her sister was like seeing an Ingrid who forgot about time and schedules. She looked as if she could have lived in each second with those girls forever. They clung to her as well. They hung onto every word she said to them. It was such a beautiful thing to see.

[Ingrid and her Honduras family.]

Luis saw his sponsor child, Nahomi. She had a sad story that we found out about upon arriving but seeing the way Luis got on her level, looked in her eyes, and told her that he loved her was like nothing you have ever seen before. Nahomi has probably never had a safe man who cared about her the way Luis does. She has probably never seen the love in a father’s eye the way Luis looks at her. He treats her and cares for her as if she is actually one of his children.

[Luis and his baby girl!]

Solina and Enrique picked up sponsor children as well. It was pretty cool because Enrique had bonded with this one child while playing soccer and Solina was inside talking to the mother. They both wanted to sponsor the child and when they got together and found out it was the same boy! Seeing the two of them and they way they interested with all of the kids can’t help but make you happy. There is no doubt that they are amazing parents. Solina was so caring for each one and took lead when necessary but spoke life with every word she said. The girls listen to Solina and she has this cool way of engaging all the children when she talks. [Solina leading games in La Canada, making the girls laugh and smile.]

[Solina teaching the girls as they colored. After this, she went around to each child and spoke love and success into their lies.]

Enrique is a quiet man but when he is with the kids, he is so fun! He cares about each child and can be fun and gentle. When the boys were playing soccer he saw the little ones who couldn’t keep up so he took them to the side to play games with them. Seeing him with the children just made me pray that those boys will not forget their time with Enrique, that they will grow up and desire to be a man like him, they will care for their wives the way Enrique cares for Solina and they will remember the way Enrique made them feel and share that kindness with others. [Enrique engaging the smaller boys in a game since they couldn't keep up with the big boys.]

Ms. Cathy picked up a sponsor child as well. She had a talk with him before leaving and told him to behave, to be obedient, and to be a leader. I’ll come back to that story in a later blog but a small preview is that what she said stuck and he really changed so he could make her proud. [Ms. Cathy and her sponsor child]

Nate picked up a sponsor child and they bonded quickly as well. He said from the moment he saw her, he knew she was the one he was supposed to sponsor. She had a sponsor last year but the sponsor could not continue paying for her so they dropped her. She was so happy to have a sponsor again. [Nate with his sponsor child Genesis and her little sister Angie. Nate is also modeling his favorite color pink shirt.]

Mike already had a sponsor child named Lourdes. His story is probably my favorite. He was so excited to meet her. Before we even went on the trip he was asking to see pictures of her from last year. She was very shy this year but every once in a while, she would look up at him with adoring eyes. I wish I could have gotten a picture of it. He gave her his present and personalized it for her. While the rest of us who were giving our children presents loved our time with our children but did it quickly because we knew we had to leave, Mike soaked in every second he had with Lourdes. It was so clear how much he loved that child. He wanted to sponsor the rest of the children in her family (but unfortunately they already had sponsors). He wants to come back and spend more time with her. Maybe I am crazy or just very hopeful but I have this gut feeling that Mike and Mia are going to play a huge part in Lourdes and her family’s lives and they are going to make a change!

[Mike and Lourdes after giving her presents.]

The time had come to say goodbye and everyone in the group was crying (except me). I knew I would be going back so I didn’t need to cry but there was still a feeling of sorrow because I loved the kids so much and wanted more time with them. These kids are so sweet! I would be more than happy to tell you their stories if you are interested in sponsoring one of them, please let me know. We said good-bye to the children, ate lunch at the hotel and than drove back to Tegucigalpa. Taylor had a very hard time leaving. My heart hurt watching her as she accepted the heartbreak of leaving Teupasenti and saying goodbye. Once we got back tour rooms we cleaned up and got ready for dinner. We went Tacontento that we dad not go to last year. It was cool but the best part was that they had these watermelon drinks which are probably the best thing I’ve ever had to drink! It tastes like you are drinking a watermelon. The funniest part about them is that their Spanish name sound very similar to sangria and Ms. Cathy thought that Karen was offering Sangria. She said nnoooo… well if everyone else is doing it! Hahaha!!! [Watermelon drink!]

Sunday was our last actual day in Honduras as a team. We went to pastor Daniel’s church in the morning for a 3 hour service (although it didn’t feel very long at all). The children from the Los Pinos care point (which we visited last year) come to the service so we got to see all of them. It was so nice having a small reunion with so many of the children I loved and remembered. My favorite thing though was to see Kenia. I met Kenia last year when she first started going to the Los Pinos care point and was filled with sadness and hopelessness. She couldn’t talk without crying and was ashamed of her past and believed she had no future. She had not accepted Jesus into her heart. It was so hard being around her because you could see how much emotional weight she was carrying. She didn’t smile. She thought that she was unworthy of love and no one would want to sponsor her. I went back to the states and had her hard on my heart. After my mom got a bonus at work, she talked to me because she knew how much I cared about this girl and she said the money from the bonus was God’s money, so she picked Kenia up as a sponsor. A year later, I did not even recognize Kenia at church! She came running to me shouting my name with the biggest smile on her face. She dances uncontrollably and raises her hands during worship; she is always smiling and truly does have the most beautiful smile ever! She is in school and is dreaming again. She is so filled with hope and love and she is so filled with Jesus. Seeing Kenia was such a highlight of my day! I am so thankful that I was blessed enough to witness what a change Jesus can make in 1 girls life.

After church we went to a restaurant and ate pupusas, a popular Honduran food, and than went to a place called Valley of the Angles. It is a shopping center where you can buy hand made souvenirs. It was raining when we got there so we got coffee first and took our time. After everyone had gotten their souvenirs and presents for friends and family, we went to a nice restaurant (which is really a house) and had a steak dinner. I am telling you, this is the best steak I have ever had! It is the perfect way to end a mission’s trip.

[Some of the Art work that was being sold at Valley of the Angels]

The time had come to send the group home. One last morning devotion and we drove to the airport. I said good-bye to the team and watched them walk through security. There was no fear or sadness as I watched them leave, instead, I felt like I was the lucky one, I was the one who got to stay. And as the last person walked through security, I was no longer a part of the Action Church mission’s team… I belonged to the Casa de Oración Familiar (Family House of Prayer) Church. I was ready for my adventure of a lifetime to begin.

[The streets of Tegucigalpa]

[Two of the girls walking me back to the hotel]

[Karen andGianna, my two new sisters!]

[Taylor and I playing jump rope with the girls in La Canada]

[Hanging out with some of the girls at La Canada.]

[Solina, my mentor and my little big sister.]

[Mike killing it with the kids on a home visit.]

[Hanging out with this little sweet pea!]

[Serving the children at the Teupasenti care point.]

[In Teupasenti]

[At La Canada - Luis doing magic and capturing a life style in a picture of a shoe.]

[Me with some of the girls at the Cevadilla white field.]

[This little cutie pie... this picture cracks me up!]

[Pastor Pablo - this amazing man took us through the week! He does so much for the children!]

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Chapter 3: The Time Has Come – My Week With Action Church – Part 1

July 22nd, 2017

So prepare your minds for action and exercise self-control. Put all your hope in the gracious salvation that will come to you when Jesus Christ is revealed to the world. – 1 Peter 1: 13

Tuesday morning we met at the Action Church Offices at 3:30am. I was exhausted after not sleeping the night before and emotional after saying goodbye to my sister. But I was still excited so we hopped in Greg’s van and he drove us to the airport very quickly. Everyone joked about how scary Greg’s driving was because it was so fast… I laughed because I knew that Greg’s driving held nothing on the driving in Honduras… he was just preparing us for what was to come! Once we got to the airport, we checked our bags and went through security. We had breakfast at BK and Starbucks then got on the plane. I was surprised because I thought our group would be sitting together, or if not all together, I thought I would at least be sitting next to someone from my group. However, we were scattered through out the plane. I figured that was fine because I wanted to sleep anyways. While one hour and than another 3 hours isn’t necessarily a lot of time to sleep, I would take what I could get.

The lady who sat next to me started talking to me like she wanted to have a conversation but I was not having it. I felt bad but said, “wow that’s great I am really tired because I haven’t slept.” She clearly wanted to talk because she asked me why I was tired and where I was heading. Then, I acted like a little brat and said, “It’s a long story, goodnight,” put my head against the window, and closed my eyes. …It’s not the best way to start a long-term missions trip were my purpose is to love… but the beauty of God is that He can use me in spite of myself and my rude, greedy tendencies.

We had almost no lay over so we had to rush to our make our next flight. It was weird because a few of us were not assigned seats on the flight. Thankfully they were able to find us seat but we were the last to board. We had the option of watching movies on this flight since it was 3 hours. Naturally, I put on the live action Beauty and The Beast but I fell asleep before “Bonjour” had even finished. I knew I was doing that gross kind of sleeping where my head was back, my moth was open, I maybe drooled a little, and I kept jolting awake whenever I realized I was sleeping but thankfully Solina was sitting next to me and I knew she wouldn’t judge me for it. I slept for about 2 hours on the plane but that was really all I needed because I was pumped and ready to go! We were all worried for Taylor because she had never been on a plane before and would have her first experience landing in Tegucigalpa (which is one of the scariest places to land because the run way is very short… it was described to me as being close to a crash landing but that’s a lie because it has been incredibly smooth both times for me). Taylor was great, she said she was watching everyone else’s reaction and if they didn’t act scared than she held it together.

Just being in the airport made me excited, the pictures on the walls, the mountains out the window… after all the time I had spent wanting and planning to go back, WE WERE IN HONDURAS!!! We waited forever to get through customs and than found Karen, Oscar, and Pastor Daniel. It was so great to see them again. We went out to lunch and then checked into a hotel for one night. We would be driving two hours to Teupasenti the next day but it was too late to make the drive that night. Since we were in Tegucigalpa, Karen and Oscar took us to see the Christ statue that looks over Tegucigalpa. My favorite part about the statue was that Jesus is pointing His toes. It was fun to see, but to be honest, I was too antsy to enjoy it because I was ready to see the kids and get started. We went to the mall for dinner and than got a very needed good night of sleep!

The Jesus Statue pointing His toe

Wednesday morning we woke up, had breakfast and went to devotional with Pastor Daniel.  We were going to be driving to Teupasenti and serving there for the majority of our stay. Pastor Daniel drove separately so he could some things done but he left us in the hands of Karen, Josue, and Gabriel. I knew Josue and Karen from last year but Gabriel was new to the team. He was working as a translator. He taught himself English by watching YouTube videos… I’m not going to lie, it makes me a little jealous that I have taken two semesters of Spanish plus tried multiple programs and still only know how to say, “Hi my name is Cami, I don’t speak Spanish,” and this kids is over here teaching him self fantastic English on YouTube! Anyways, we drove a very bumpy 2 hours up the mountains with our ears popping the whole way and a few people getting motion sickness but luckily we got to stop and have a coffee and potty break to make everyone happy. Honduras coffee is better than any coffee you can find in the States by the way.

Everyone got acquainted with the Honduran driving style. Here is what I have learned about driving in Honduras: it is very different than driving is in the U.S. Stop signs are suggestions that are normally passed over, stop lights are almost non existent, staying in your lane/1 car per lane isn’t a thing, driving on the edge of a mountain is common, and playing chicken with people, animals and other cars is a fun game to play. They don’t use blinkers or check their blind spots and they drive so close to other cars or to people that if you opened your window and stuck a finger out, you could touch whatever was next to you.

Once we got to Teupasenti, we checked into our hotel and Ms. Cathy and I got one of the lucky 2 rooms with warm water. We had a few minutes to toss our stuff in our room and than it was lunchtime. Pastor Daniel and Gianna (his daughter) got there in time to join the group for lunch. After lunch we got to work. We headed over to the care point and got to feed the children lunch. (I was amazed to find out later that the facilitators have to keep track of how many registered children were fed and how many non-registered children were fed. I could barley keep track of which children had already gotten food because there were children who were coming and going and moving around or asking for seconds the whole time. I thought it was a big deal just to not miss a kid much less to keep track of how many and know the children well enough to know if they have been officially registered yet.)

The kids loved the spaghetti

Serving and feeding the children at Teupasenti

We got to watch them do their devotion and play with them for a little bit. It was fun getting to see kids that I remembered from last year and getting to meet new ones too. Katia, my sponsor child, was there but she did not really want to hang out with me. I remembered that she was shy and figured, oh well, I am here for all the kids not just one. I still love her but she may not remember me and might need some time to warm up.

We did not get to stay for long because we were going to attend a round table meeting. It was the first time that they had had a meeting like this. There were representatives from many different organizations that were working to solve a myriad of issues suffocating Teupasenti as well as representatives from the government. Everyone introduced themselves and told us what they do and then began discussing tons issues and I think it got pretty crazy. I can’t really tell you what it was about because everyone was so passionate about their cause that there wasn’t really any time for translation so it was all lost to me. The take away that I got was how cool it was to see how many people are passionate about the children and families in Teupasenti and how they are working to make a difference.

After the round table we went to do a home visit. A home visit is when we go to one of the houses of a family at the care point. We meet them and they show us their house. They tell us about how they live, what is going on and any prayer requests they have. We always bring a bag of food to give to them to make a meal and than we pray for them. My group got to visit the home of an amazing woman. She volunteers at the care point and helps make the food every day. She takes care of her children, her grandchildren and also takes in the children whose parents have abandon them. Before we left Solina told her that I was staying for 6 months so she told me to take a picture of her 2 year old that was sleeping so that I could see him in all his glory when he was awake. (Skipping ahead 2 weeks, when I was back in Teupasenti, I saw her at church and she remembered my name and gave me a hug but her baby was sleeping again.) She was an incredible woman with such a heart for God!

Sleeping baby at our first home visit

We went back to the hotel and had dinner than returned to the church (which is a part of the care point) and attended a short prayer service. By the end of the day, I was very happy to be back but I was also feeling very uneasy about my Spanish. Half of the people in the group were bilingual so I was feeling w very unprepared and useless. Watching everyone else engage in amazing conversations and follow everything that was happening brought a huge cloud of insecurity over me. I started wondering why I thought I could do this. But than I grabbed my bible because I knew that I could be pushed down by lies or I cold be lifted up in truth. I started remembering all the things I was thankful for like non-verbal communication, being in Honduras, and having a great group. I was so thankful for Solina who was with me the whole time, always translating in my ear or making herself available to me if I wanted to talk to a child. I told my group during debrief how uneasy I was feeling and cried… my dry eye spell was over! Unfortunately, all my crying had a weird effect on my body and I could not sleep for most of the night because I got very congested and kept waking up. The time that I did sleep, I kept having a reoccurring nightmare (which was actually pretty funny) that one of the little girls from the care point had stolen my laptop and was burying it and ruining it. The funny part was that I didn’t even have my laptop with me in real life for her to steal. But I kept waking up wanting to go grab Karen or Pastor Daniel so they could help me go get it.

Selina, Enrique, Ingrid and I matching during debrief

I may not have slept well but I was still ready for the next day to start… sick and all. We did our morning devotion with breakfast and were told that we would be visiting a white field in the mountains that day. A white field is a place that is being developed to become a care point. Children at white fields get fed twice a week (and for many that is the only times during the week that they eat) and go to the care point to play and receive spiritual guidance. Children’s Cup provides manna packs for the children and works with the white fields so they can become true care points in the future. Children’s Cup helps develop and construct the care point location and establishes certain activities that are necessary if it will be a care point. Feed My Starving Children Organization donates the Manna Packs to Children’s Cup that are fed to the children. This organization created a meal that was very high in nutrients but could also be easily made in 3rd world countries that lack many of the cooking necessities we have in the States. The meal also had to be able to be easily stored for long periods of time, and easily transported. We were told how even being fed twice a week had improved the children’s nourishment, weight, and energy ten fold. Children’s Cup always begins by meeting basic needs like food so that children’s brains and bodies can function and are nourished enough so they can attend school, comprehend lessons and most importantly Children’s Cup feeds their physical need so they children’s spiritual hunger can be satisfied as well.

We drove to a white field called Cebadilla, which means the onion in Spanish. It was way up in the mountains. We went on dirt roads that were very bumpy and dusty. Because of the rough terrain, we had to take trucks which meant that 8 of us would have to sit in the back of the truck. I went in the back with Solina, Taylor, and Leanne. They had tied some benches in the back for us to sit on. The ride there and back was very fun but also a bit scary because the benches would tip every time we hit a bump… which was often. We said hello to everyone we drove by and had some really really great girl bonding time.

Getting ready to go for a ride into the mountains

We got to the care point and lunch was still being made so we did a home visit. My group went to the care point’s cook’s home. She makes the food from her house and than carries the big pot over to the care point because the program location is has not been able to build a kitchen at the point yet.  She told us about her life and how much change there has been since the program began. She said that it was a miracle because so many of the children were sick and starving but now, thanks to the program, they are being provided with food. With the two meals a week, the children are more active, gaining weight, participating in school, and playing with each other. It was really cool to hear about how much it had changed their lives and it wasn’t even a fully functioning care point yet. We gave her the food, prayed for her and her house and headed back to help serve the children.

Kitchen used for cooking

The children had to bring their own bowls if they wanted to eat so the ones who had dishes got served first and then would share bowls with others. Taylor and Stephanie served the food and the rest of us handed it out. The kids got about 2 tables spoons of the rice and soy manna pack food and the smallest bit of broth. I know Taylor’s heart was breaking as she looked at the small amount of food she was allowed to serve. The meals were maybe 3 or 4 bites per child. Many of the children wanted seconds which was heartbreaking because we had to say no so we could feed the all the children. But, our team witnessed a miracle. We were watching the pot empty quickly but saw the faces of many hungry children still waiting to be served. There was no way that we would be able to feed every child. Finally, Taylor scooped the very last serving, scraping the bottom of the pot and looked up and said, that’s it, there is no more left, and sadness settled over everyone. Nate took the bowl and announced that was the last child who hadn’t been fed. God continued multiplying the food until the very last child was served. The miracle left us in awe of God’s sovereignty and love as we watched the children clear their plates.

Taylor and Stephanie preparing the food for the children

Boys eating their food

We brought presents to give the children and handed them out after they finished eating. We gave every child a brush, a bouncy ball, a coloring book and some crayons, and we gave the girls necklaces. The gift giving got a little crazy because the children were supposed to leave after they got their gifts but we ended up giving away 150 brushes to 80-some kids. That was stressful! But seeing how happy the kids were with their gifts made it worth it. We also left a bag with the facilitator with other toys like chalk, a soccer ball, Frisbees, and a few other things. We played with the kids for about 10 minutes before we headed out to do one more home visit before leaving. I was amazed to see how much the children loved something as simple as a bouncy ball. It was as if it was the best thing they had seen in their lives!

Playing with bouncy balls with the kids

Handing out presents to the children

The home we went to was very different than the 2 previous homes we had been to which were filled with God’s presence and hope. This home was filled with despair and shame. It was clear that the owner of the house was under a lot of oppression. She told us she did not go to church and was very hesitant about having us enter her house… but we did. After we presented her with the present of food and soap, we asked her if we could pray for her. She acted hesitant and said she did not know what she wanted prayer for. She could barley speak; all she could do was nod her head as Karen made suggestions about prayer requests. Karen took the lead in prayer and as she spoke the healing words of Jesus Christ’s sacrifice and love for this specific person, we witnessed the weight lifted from her shoulders. By the end of the prayer she was in tears and hugged us but the hug was so much more than just a hug. I don’t know if I can put it in words, but it was amazing to see the change before and after Jesus’ name was spoken in her life.

Home visit

After the home visit, we drove back to the hotel in the back of the truck again and had lunch. We had a few hours to rest after lunch and my chest had started hurting pretty bad. I found out it was because I got dust in my lungs but between that and being super sick, I wasn’t feeling great. So I used those two hours of break time to take a nap. I was sad though because a few people from the team went upstairs and started a small worship time. I woke up to the music but that was their last song! They had an awesome time of worship and praise that I would have loved to be a part of but Jesus knew I needed to sleep.

Our last big activity for the day was going to the Teupasenti radio station. Stephanie had prepared a message and was surprised when after sharing her message, she had 20 minutes of answering questions about our church, its missions, and future plans. She did amazing and I was impressed that she knew all the answers and held conversation with such ease!

After dinner, Pastor Pablo (who owns the hotel and is very involved in the ministry of helping children) showed us a slide show he had made. The slide show showed us the 4 white fields in the area (that he discovered and brought up to Pastor Daniel) and gave us information about each. It also showed us the Teupasenti care point and how far it had come since it opened as a care point until now.  He shared his future dreams for the point with us and finished it up with pictures from missionary groups that had come and helped out. The Action team from last year was in it a few times which was fun to see!  It seemed like a long day between being sick and not sleeping well the night before so I went to bed immediately after.

A view from the top of a mountain looking over the city of Tegucigalpa

Scenes from the home visit

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Chapter 2: The Clock Is Ticking Down

July 20th, 2017

I know I am so far behind on blogs so I have 6 to post and I will be trying to post one every day this next week and than I’ll do my best to stay on top of it! Sorry!

June 27th was coming quickly, but I had planned everything out in advance so it should have been simple to pack everything up, hang out with everyone one last time, and get a lot of rest the night before leaving. But if you have ever heard the saying, “you make plans and God laughs,” that was the testimony of my final week in Florida.

I had my last day working at Disney Swan and Dolphin about a week and a half before leaving so that I would have some time to get things done and hang out with people. I am so grateful for everything that I learned there, I made great friends and learned a lot about hospitality. I will miss everyone (including the baby ducks)! I also had one more day at universal right before I left. It was not my last day, just my last day for 6 months. I will be able to keep my seasonal status as long as I work, or have a brush up, as soon as I get back. I am so incredibly thankful for that. Our show director came to watch one of the shows and told me that it was the best show I had done yet. He had so many nice things to say. I was so appreciative but also kinda bummed that I had finally nailed it and now I would be leaving and have to come back and build up my skills again. But I guess if I never had anything to work on, my job would be pretty boring. Brynne came to my final show so she could finally see me and than we had some sister time playing at the park and I finally got to see the new parts of parade! I am seriously so happy for all of the old candy girls who got trained in and are now starlets! They are rocking it and could couldn’t be prouder! Brynne and I also got to have one final sister day at Disney. It had been a long time since we had gone. We took the morning to get things done and than spent the afternoon playing at the park. It was so much fun!

I have the best friends in the world, they made it so easy for me to leave because they were so supportive, but they also made it so hard because they are so amazing. I have never had a group of friends that have been so good for me! They encourage me, call me out when I’m acting a mess, and help me grow! I loved the time I got to spend with them before I left. They threw me a surprise party one night. I thought I was going for bible study but instead, I walked in and we celebrated every holiday that I would be gone for. I was surprised by the party but even more surprised how much I meant to them and how much they meant to me after such a short time knowing them. They are my angels that God sent to me! I could go on and on about how awesome they are but then I would just be bragging!

The hardest thing about leaving was saying good bye to my family! My parents had booked an Alaska cruise long before I knew I would be going to Honduras. The timing did not work out well because they left 6 days before me. That meant I had to take them to the airport and say bye to them there. So I had to send them off instead of them sending me off and because they were in the ocean, talking was difficult. It was hard trying to figure out the little last details before leaving without them and then it was hard not having them there to hug one last time. However, because they were gone, Brynne (my sister) and her dog Lilly came and stayed with me until I left. We had a lot of good sister time. We ate at all of our traditional sisterplaces and watched movies. Those last few days with my sister still bring tears to my eyes because they were so special. I don’t know how I am so lucky to be blessed with amazing friends, amazing parents, amazing dogs, and such an amazing sister… Jesus loves me!

I am so thankful that God brought Valari and John into my life. They are watching Bella for me and are such an answer to my prayers. I always say I think I have the best dog in the world but I understand if no one else agrees. While Bella can be a sweet heart, she can also be a horror. She just has a lot of little idiosyncrasies, she is very high maintenance, and she gets greedy sometimes. But… she is my baby. She has been through everything with me and loves me in spite of it all. So leaving her with strangers wasn’t easy. Thankfully, Valari and John came along and got to know Bella. We did trial runs and acclaimated her to staying with them. And than something amazing happened, they came to love her as much as I do. Valari told me, “Cami, we’ve seen Bella’s bad side by now, but we still love her, we can’t wait for the day every week she comes over.” Her words made me feel so good!!! It was exactly what I needed to hear. Even better, Bella loves them too. While all of this is comforting, she is my baby and I miss her so much. Dropping her off was so hard. I thought I would be able to do it quickly but boy was I wrong.

I had been on top of my game with lists I had made and meetings scheduled… but then… all of this stuff came up last minute that I hadn’t planned for. I was getting 2-3 hours of sleep every night of the week before leaving. All I wanted to do those final 2 days was hang out with Brynne and sleep. It had finally started kicking in that our sister time was running out and it made it so hard to get anything done. But if you have ever packed your bags a month early (and packed them for 6 months), than you know you have to re-pack and re-check everything because things have been taken out and other things can’t be packed yet. Then there is the problem of fitting things into a suitcase and keeping it with in the correct weight. On top of that, my suitcase broke 2 days before leaving so I had to get a new. It was 30 minutes until Brynne was supposed to drop me off at the church and I was going on no sleep and still packing. When we left, there was a lot that I hadn’t done that I had wanted to do but thankfully I got everything done that I needed to get done.

I stuck the last thing in my suitcase while Brynne had started putting my bags in her car. It was time to go so Brynne drove me to the church. Even though she had to go to work in a few hours, she had stayed up all night with me so we could have every single last minute together. We said good-bye and for the first time in probably a month, I cried. (Something had been going on where I just could cry anymore… it’s a long weird story) The finality in saying goodbye to Brynne and knowing that our sister dates were put on hold, popped the cork and I couldn’t stop the tears from building in my eyes and slowly dropping down my face as I quickly tried to wipe them away. We said good-bye, she left, the team prayed, we loaded up the bus and were on our way.

My Last Day at Swan and Dolphin

The Action Team Ready to Leaving at 3:30am

Bella at Valari and John's

Last Night With the Puppies

One Last Sister Day at Disney

My friends prepared an entire Thanksgiving meal.

Happy Birthday! They know me so well! A princess birthday party!

Happy 4th of July!

The Best Friends A Girl Could Ask For!

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