Thursday, August 4, 2011

The Kiddo's Go Back To School!

Wednesday was the first day back to school for my crew. So far so good! Everyone is excited about school starting and they are happy with their new teachers. We are looking forward to a great year!

Noah is in 1st Grade

Mia is in 2nd Grade

Emmy is in 5th! :(

Cameron is in 7th Grade

Monday, August 1, 2011

My Birthday!

As I celebrate my birthday today, I am totally torn between two realities. While I am enjoying the moments of celebration with my family, my children and my friends a piece of me is wrecked inside. It is like a video of faces is playing in my mind of children in the orphanages we just left. These children don’t have birthday parties, no birthday gifts, no cake, no one to sing Happy Birthday to them. So while I am very thankful for all that I have in my life and I am happy to celebrate the day with those I love the tears fall for those I long to comfort, to play with, to hug and hold, or to sing Happy Birthday too…..

Tuesday, July 19, 2011

Happy 6th Gotcha Day Mia!!

Yesterday, we celebrated Mia's 6th Gotcha Day! I thought I would share what we wrote on her blog the day we met her 6 years ago:

"Our day began at about 4:30am in Beijing. We took a 7:55 flight to Changsha. We arrived at our hotel around 11:30 and had a couple hours to eat lunch and prepare for the baby and what was about to come. We meet as a group in the hotel lobby at 3:00 and were off to the Civil Affairs Office. We were lead to a conference room and were told that it would be about 30 minutes. So then 5 minutes later they walked in with Mia and called our name first. We did not even have our papers out. We had to fumble through our bag and let them confirm that she was ours. Mia was just standing and looking. She was so scared. I could not believe how beautiful she looked standing there looking at me. I slowly picked her up and she just looked around so sadly. A few minutes later she began to cry and this lasted awhile. Jason reached out his arms for her and she stopped crying and went to him. We stood and tried to comfort her. We blew bubbles and gave her toys. She came back to me and drank a bottle. Did I mention that this room was 100 degrees and full of screaming babies. It was undescribible! So with all that going Mia got sick and threw up. We changed her and we out the door to get on the bus and come back to the hotel. On the bus ride Mia became very attached to a small blow up ball and 2 stacking cups. She will NOT let them go. Well she will give them to her mama but if her "baba" (daddy) asks for them she hides them behind her back. Once back at the hotel I stayed with Mia and got to know her and Jason did some paperwork. "Qian Qian" played, had a bath, ate oatmeal, had a bottle and went to sleep.

This has been such an amazing day. We praise God for bringing us to our daughter. What a miracle. We thank you for all of your love and support."

Gotcha's days are great days to reflect. I cannot imagine my life without this girl of mine in it!! She is an inspiration and a huge blessing to me!! I am soooooo thankful for her!!

Saturday, July 2, 2011

Answered Prayer

Blogging is new to me. It is kind of hard for me to spill my emotions and thoughts to everyone who might read what I am writing. Today I felt like this might be important to share as it might help or encourage someone who is struggling.

I have had a very hard time since returning home from Ecuador. My mind is constantly on the children and our friends there. I look around at all we have here and just feel pretty….yuck. When I shower and dry off I think about the kids who have not even their own towel or pj’s but share with a group of kids. I am broken and some days I cannot stop my tears.

Yesterday, I was at the pool with friends and they had babies. My mind was on baby S (from Maria Campi) all day. I would think "that baby is 11 months and S is 18 months and she is not any bigger than that baby. Oh look what that baby can do…. baby S is not doing that yet." When I got home, I was a complete mess. I mean I lost it. I was truly crying for this sweet baby who I grew to love in just 2 short days.  I felt hopeless. My sweet Emmy was asking me what was wrong. I was explaining how I was feeling and telling her how I was just so far away and felt like I could not do anything to help baby S or any of the other children from where I was. Then it hit me and I told her that I need to pray for them now. That is what I did! While praying, I heard my email chime. When I was finished, I checked my email and it was from my friend Sylvia in Ecuador. The email said, “"Ill can go check on her tomorrow morning for a little bit if u want :)... blessings my friend" She was going to check on S for me. I know God doesn’t always answer prayer that quickly and at times it may seem like he is not listening but this was a great reminder to me to go to Him!! I prayed and my prayers were answered and my sweet friend is going to make sure this baby girl is okay today not because I asked her too but because God put it on her heart when I was brokenhearted and praying.

Tuesday, June 28, 2011

Our visit to Jesus Divino Presno

About Jesus Divino Presno:
This is a home for children whose parents are prisoners. The children here get to visit their parents or family members on weekends. Sometimes this can cause issues because their parents may get them to steal and bring items to them. The children here are between the ages of 4-16. Jesus Devino is located on beautiful land and the kids have responsibilities like hand washing their own clothes, helping with the animals, gardening, etc. The foundation also promotes freedom, which is a little challenging when you have older children who might start to form relationships. The children here were beautiful, precious and some were guarded…..I think God showed us a way to get through to them all if even in a tiny way for some.

Day 1:
·      *We toured the grounds and saw our homes where we would spend the night. We spent the night in the actual home of some of the children. It was very good for all us to experience how these kids live.

·     * We did crafts with the kids. We did a craft called “He knows my name” where they got to write their name (or we did) and decorate their paper with glitter and markers. Who know they would LOVE glue and glitter so much!! This craft kept going and going! I think we used all the construction paper for our other crafts but the kids were soooo happy!!

·      *The boys played soccer and the girls did face and nail painting. It was a good opportunity to split up the older boys and girls.

·     * Who knew that we would be able to connect to these girls through Justin Beiber. Yes, even they know JB!!  So we sang and we danced!!

·      *We saw some bullying going on here.

·     * Jason had an opportunity to speak with Jimmy. He was definitely the leader of the older kids here. We pray that he listened and his words sank in.  We believe that God could use the life of this child in a mighty way if he chooses the right path!!

·      *We climbed a very steep mountain with all the kids and gathered wood for a bonfire. It was a crazy experience but fun! We had a large bonfire at night. Jason danced for the kids. His break dancing skills were put to good use.  We sang. La Montana was definitely the kid kids favorite song.

·     * I got to make homemade bread from scratch. It was gooooooood!!

·      *That night we decided we had to have a strategic plan for the next day. Ministry here was different. It was not about helping with construction projects, etc. We knew we needed to teach the children and workers about Jesus. We knew that they needed know how much God loved them and that they could call on him in their difficult times. They did not have to make the same decisions in life that their parent made.  They could choose a different path.

Day 2:

·      *After breakfast and devotions, we began our day working in the garden and looking for minor things that needed repairing that we could easily complete that day.

·      *It started raining and that lead us under the porch where we began to talk with Frankie about life and then about Jesus. It was Frankie’s birthday. Frankie became a Christian on his birthday!! It was an amazing time. Later, in the day we got cake and ice cream to celebrate Frankie’s birthday!!  I will post his picture so you can see his huge smile!

·      *Crazy things started happening at Jesus Devino. Many kids wanted to know about Jesus so for a couple of hours we sat in little groups all over the property telling children about Jesus. It was an amazing day!!

·      *We played soccer again in the rain.

·      *The kids at Jesus Devino preformed a traditional dance for us. It was so fun to watch them. They all looked beautiful in their costumes. They really did a great job!!

·      *We decided to end our time with a simple planned out service with the kids to recap the day. We sang songs in Spanish and Jason and Dave spoke. Many kids accepted Christ. I have never experienced anything like this before. It was a very real and powerful time……truly life changing.

·      *It was hard to say goodbye especially to sweet Diana, a girl I had spent a good amount of time with during the day. I pray that she knows how special she is and that she turns to God for comfort during her times of feeling lonely. She has had to endure more than any child should.

·      *As we drove away, the girls all shouted “bye Justin Bieber” over and over to Cameron!! It gave us all a good laugh during a sad time! J

Sunday, June 26, 2011

Day 3 at Maria Campi

While we made our way to Jesus Devino a few our our team members went back to Maria to finish up the laundry room and help out with the electrical problems. The day was a huge success!!! Yay!! They have lights and a laundry room that will help free up some of the workers time so that they will have more time for the kids.

Maria Campi Day 2

I know this is a little late but I just did not get around to blogging while on the trip. Our nights were late and internet connection was limited at times.... so, I will do my best to recap now. :)

Day 2 at Maria started off great. The team broke into groups and we worked around the orphanage. Some team members planted flowers, some played with the kiddos, others worked in the kitchen, while others worked on transforming the storage room into a laundry room (which was completed)!! Later in the day, when all the kids arrived, we spent much of the time playing with the kids. They loved doing crafts, playing with balls and bubbles, doing parachute activities and singing. I also got to feed "my baby" Sofia two meals which I loved. Actually, many team members got to help feed the babies and get them ready for bed and they all really bonded with these children.

Later in the evening, during bath time chaos came. We were in the process of helping with bath time of the older children when all the power went out. The children were scared, wet and naked. We helped get them dry, dressed and in bed but it was very difficult, emotional and draining. Emmy and I were comforting a little girl Angelica who was scared of the dark and did not want us to leave. She was very upset when we had to go. She did not want to let go of us but we were told to go in a hurry. It is hard to put those last few moments with the children into words but awful, sad and depressing would work at the moment. Emmy was crying and did not want to leave Angelica. I was trying to quickly tell each child I knew goodbye in the dark and hug them while we were being told we have to go now! I hated to leave these children that way.... I had fallen in love with them and wanted to them to know that. I wanted to spend more time with them. I did get to run and tell Sofia goodbye.

A few minutes later we met in the courtyard at the center of the orphanage with all the workers who had been called back in because of the power outage. We had an opportunity to huddle up with a single candle in the center us providing light and pray over these women who take care of these precious children. It was an AMAZING moment. There were no dry eyes at the end of the prayer. The chaos was gone and God's glory was there filling that place. We were still very sad to leave the children we had grown to love in such a short time but we knew that something amazing had just happened.

I long for the day that I get to walk through the gates of Maria Campi and see these kids again!!!!!!!! :)

Tuesday, June 21, 2011

Day 1 at Maria Campi De Yoder

Yesterday was our first day visiting Maria Campi Orphanage. We toured the grounds and ate lunch before really getting to play with the kids. While  touring we were also looking for other ways we could help while we were here. We noticed washing machines and dryers but they were not in use because they could not afford the plumbing to have them hooked up. It is not a coincidence that Dave knows how to do this!! So we decided that we could buy these supplies and hook these up and get them working while we are here. Currently, they are washing all clothes by hand and hanging them to dry. So this will be huge for them and should also help with the lice problem.

When the kids arrived the day was filled with playing! There is a small courtyard where we played for hours with the kids. They loved the bubbles, parachutes and balls. They were so much fun it was hard to say goodbye. We are on our way back again this morning. I am looking forward to what God has in store for us today with these precious children!

Please pray for us today as we are with these children who have touched our hearts in such a short time and pray that we get these washing machines and dryers hooked up successfully!!

Monday, June 20, 2011

Getting to Know Ecuador

We are off to the orphanage today (YAY!) and did not have great internet service last night. So I will make this quick and hopefully can write more tonight.

Our guides and translators are wonderful! They are so kind and they are really a part of our team not just translating. We are so as excited with our new friendships!

We saw so many beautiful places today. We walked around, ate dinner, and rode a boat around in a lake inside of an active volcano. We also went to the Indian market for a little shopping. 

While we were at touring, the Indian people where having a festival to worship the sun (we think). There we so many people and we had a rare opportunity to see these them doing their ritual dances, etc (and almost got tangled in one....poor Cameron) haha .We have some video we will try and post at some point. As we left walked through these people my heart felt so heavy for them. 

I am so glad that we had this day to see Ecuador and to get to know the people of Ecuador more!

Tuesday, June 14, 2011

Sorting and Packing Orphanage Donations for Ecuador

I am a little overwhelmed today as I prepare for our trip. I am starting the packing process and it is very time consuming. I am not so much worried about Jason and I but more concerned that Cameron and Emmy will have everything they need as well as everyone on the team. I am also trying to figure out exactly how to pack all of these items!! What a great problem to have! Look at all of these donations! This actually isn't even all of them. We have such a great opportunity before us to bless the children and workers in both of these orphanages! So thank you to everyone who donated items for these kiddos. You made this happen!! We cannot thank you enough!!

Monday, May 16, 2011

Do you really want a money tree?

My sweet Emmy wrote this amazing poem and drew this fabulous picture the other day at school. The school had them published. It was a really cool thing. As I reflected today, a line from her poem and something the kids say quite often came to my mind. In the poem it says that she wants a money tree. Of course, when my kids say they want a money tree we laugh. But they continue....we could do this or that if we had a money tree. Really, they are not asking for things for themselves, at times they do, of course, but they are thinking of the good this they could do with this tree. In my adult mind I know how childish this is and know that things just do not work this way. I like to tell myself that at least. But really am I any different than my child? I know I don't call it a money tree but is my mind really any different than hers? Do I let my lack of resources stop me from doing the things God has put on my heart to do? I would have to say at times, yes, I do. After thinking hard on this today and feeling very convicted, God reminded me how faithful He is and how He provides usually in ways I least expect so that I am sure to know that it is Him. So today I will choose to be thankful for all the many ways He has provided for us to do the things He puts on our hearts and I look forward to seeing what He has in store!!

Starting a blog!

I have put this off for some time now and after a little fretting I am finally getting around to it. Our upcoming trip to Ecuador gave me the little push I needed to do this!! So here I go........