Wednesday, April 11, 2012

Hey everyone. I know it's been a good almost 3 years since I last posted, but I wanted to inform you all of a way you can help my favorite Guatemalan orphanage, Fundación Salvación. Over Christmas break, the woman who ran the orphanage, Sandra, was killed in a car accident... now as if this wasn't bad enough, now the orphanage is struggling to stay open due to lack of funding.

I'm writing you today to ask you to visit this website:
and learn about the organization that has been founded to help the children at the orphanage. You can sign up to sponsor a child for $30 per month or if you can't afford the $30, pass it along to your friends so they can help. Also, just be praying for these orphanages in Guatemala. There are lots of children who need emotional support that the workers in these orphanages can provide. Pray that God brings christ-centered people to work with these kids.

These little babies need support, and I'm not meaning this to be a solicitor call saying "YOU MUST GIVE MONEY!!!" I'm just letting people know that this organization exists so that these kids can have a chance for sponsorships.

Thanks in advance for your support.

Friday, August 7, 2009

We'll remember all the times we spent together.

Alright, here it is. Tonight is our last night in Guatemala. A mere 19 hours from now I will be arriving in Amarillo, TX. I'm sure it will be quite the culture shock, but I don't really have a choice. This month has been absolutely incredible and it is SO hard to believe that it's over. Today we spent the morning traveling through Guate City touring different attractions (including a very large cemetery which I thought to be a little weird) and then ate lunch and headed over to the hotel we're staying in tonight. We got to just hang out for the afternoon here and then went out tonight for dinner at Los Cebollines, one of our favorite restaurants here.

I would like to thank you all again so much for your prayers and support. Yesterday we got to go to a community center in the morning and do a SHOE DROP!!! Oh my goodness, it was so incredible. Every single child we put shoes on was so so grateful and their parents even more so. I wish for each of you to be able to experience something like that. Giving something as simple as new socks and shoes to a child with little to nothing. In the afternoon we got to go back to San Gabriel and hang out with our youth boys again. It's funny how very simple relays can keep boys entertained for hours. Thursday our relay was running down and eating a watermelon one bite at a time and yesterday we had them run, do some push-ups, run, eat 2 saltine crackers, run back, do some jumping jacks which NONE of them knew how to do, and then tag the next person. The second time we ran the relay we had the boys dance for 10 seconds instead of jumping jacks because none of them knew how to do them. The dancing was WAY more entertaining. Oh my goodness. After that, a simple game of futbol kept them satisfied until it was time for us to go. Last night to end things off, we got to go play soccer with the transitional boys homes. Be proud, I was on the court (it was a concrete court) the entire game and kicked the ball 3 times. Yep. Against a bunch of Guatemalan teenage boys that's pretty good.

Well it's late and I need to sleep so I'm not delirious telling everyone bye tomorrow.
Please pray for safe traveling tomorrow and I will hopefully see you all in person soon.

Wednesday, August 5, 2009

Coming to an end...

To start things off, I would like to wish my sister a VERY happy birthday! HAPPY BIRTHDAY, I LOVE YOU!

So... life in the city. Sunday afternoon we went to the baby home and had a WONDERFUL time hanging out with the babies and doing different VBS activities. That night, we just hung out at the office together with our interpreter Francisco. He's become our close friend, especially since we only have one boy intern.

Monday morning we got to tour the different Buckner facilities in town, which ended up only being 4 because the girls' transitional home leaders were in a meeting. So first we went and saw 2 boys' transitional homes which were such a sign of hope for these boys. They all seemed so focused and seemed to really care about their futures. After the 2 boys' homes, we attempted to go see the girls' homes, but no one was there, so we went to the mommies and babies home. After receiving the full tour of the facilities, including one very large boxer who thought he was very small, we went out back to the day care and spent some time hanging out with the babies that lived there. There were only 5 of them, but they were all full of SO much energy it felt like there were WAY more. After staying there for a while, we headed back to the office for a break before heading out again. By heading out, I mean we went back to the baby home. The kids were SO hilarious this time, partly because they'd finally gotten to know us, so we spent the whole afternoon over there working with them and doing 2 sessions of VBS to make up for our flexibility that has caused us to reorganize and redefine what we would be doing these next couple of days. Our afternoon there ended in a party of sorts with cookie faces and yogurt and superhero outfits. We brought cookies and icing (and yogurt to keep things on the healthy side) and they provided us with entertainment. The boys there all have taken on second personalities of different superheroes. Juan Pablo is Spiderman, Jose is Superman, Estuardo is Batman (the best), and Daniel is Buzz Lightyear. They definitely took the show and were CRAZY going everywhere showing us what they could do.

Yesterday was my favorite day, well maybe a tie. Yesterday we got the opportunity to go back to Manchen, the girls' home that we got cut short on a few weeks ago. As we walked in it was SO good to see all of them again and redevelop some of the friendships that were effected by the first week's festivities. As I was standing and waiting for all of the girls to come out, one little girl came up to me that I didn't remember. She said, hey, I know you. As I looked at her I didn't really recognize her, but I was more than willing to hear her out as to how we knew each other. She said, “I am new here. I just moved here Saturday and before that I was in Xela.” If you remember, we were in Xela last week. I said, did we come to your house in Xela and she very EXCITEDLY said YES! with a HUGE smile on her face. I'm pretty positive I spent zero time with this girl in Xela, but somehow she remembered me and immediately attached to me at the hip. Maribel. She was quite a joy, really. Constantly asking to sing the songs we had taught or just sit and talk. She’s 4 months pregnant, going to be 5 on Monday. She just turned 14 last week. Monday maybe. Anyway, we spent the entire afternoon together drawing, playing pickup sticks, making bracelets, and dancing a little. After we finished moving through the different groups, we were very quickly encouraged to head out so that no one was just standing around chatting. I desperately looked around for Maribel because she had run off to talk to one of the directors for a second. I finally found her and she ran over to me and I told her we had to leave and that I loved her a lot. She asked me over and over to stay there with her. She said that she needed me. She told me she loved me more than I would ever know. Yep. I cried. I had to leave this poor little 14 year old girl here alone in Guatemala where she was yet to make friends at this violent orphanage and she will soon be raising a CHILD there. Oh dear. If only there was some way I could stay here longer or some how help her understand how much I wish I could be here with her. Nonetheless, we had to leave. I quickly got myself outside so I wouldn’t have to convince her anymore. One key element I forgot to mention is that we got to go back to Manchen because a family group from Park Cities came back through to do another trip here. We went to Porta Antigua to eat lunch with the group before we were going to head on to Elisa Martinez. A few of the guys from PCBC decided to come with us because we are a group of 10 girls and 2 boys (including interpreters) about to encounter 75 special needs (mostly) boys about 8 and over. Yeah.

Ok, so yesterday afternoon we went to Elisa Martinez and I spent the afternoon making airplanes, wooden and paper. The first group we made wooden airplanes, and then we found out we didn’t have enough, so the second group had to make paper airplanes and we had a distance contest after they finished. That afternoon was most likely the most difficult we’ve experienced, in my opinion at least. It was really fun hanging out with those boys, but it was so much effort because they constantly wanted to kiss us or hug us or whatever they deemed necessary. With 70-80% of the boys being special needs it was constant effort to keep their attention occupied on something productive. It really was a great experience nonetheless.

Today turned into the other favorite day. Not expected at all. This morning we got to go to a completely special needs orphanage and tour it first. This orphanage was SO COOL! First they have a school for neighborhood children, who before the school started didn’t go to school at all because the next nearest school is so far away. The school is completely free for the students and goes to 6th grade which is so much more than they would have learned at home. They are looking to be funded to get a high school there too, but for now they only have kindergarten through 6th grade and the director knows English and has begun teaching them English, too. After touring the school they took us over to the clinic area. In the clinic they had a psychiatrist, a social worker, water therapy, physical therapy, speech/language pathology, and special needs workers. This was the exact situation that I would LOVE to work in some day. Oh my goodness. I’m pretty sure my jaw was dropped for a majority of the time we were walking through there, and again, it’s free to anyone who comes. The last part of the tour was seeing the kids in their rooms. All of the children there are special needs, some much more than others, but all of them nonetheless. This home was so incredible because the teachers and directors there had made such and effort to make it a happy place, not a place where you “had” to stay. All of the walls outside were covered in murals of encouraging sayings and bright colorful pictures and the rooms inside were each decorated for the children that lived there. It really was such a blessing to get to see a place like this. After our tour finished we spent the rest of the morning with a group of girls we had seen when we came in. We colored and danced and played with playdough with them. Our original plan was to head back this afternoon and see them again, but we didn’t have any activities that we could have done with them, so we asked if there was anywhere else we were needed.

The only other home we were offered to go to was San Gabriel which is the juvenile detention home of sorts. Kids are brought there by the government when they do something bad, but not bad enough to go to jail. I was really nervous about this place, but it was SO INCREDIBLE. The director and the man I’m assuming was the co-director are these 2 VERY large men who could take these kids out at any moment necessary. It seemed that they were a little rough on these kids, but I imagine that for the most part they deserved it. One boy named Miguel came up to Kaitlyn and just started telling her his life story. The minute he started talking, tears began flowing down his face. He was with his friends and they were in some trouble and they ended up killing 2 people, but Miguel kept saying “I didn’t do anything. I didn’t do anything.” Since he was with them though and had a gun (yes, that’s right, this 12 year-old had a gun) he was ordered by the court to come to San Gabriel. The court ordered him to stay there until he was 18. He didn’t think his parents or family members or friends or anyone knew where he was, but we had a feeling that the court didn’t just take someone’s child without telling them where he was. They may have not known exactly, but they knew he had been taken. Tears just kept streaming down this adorable little boy’s face because he very well knew that the consequences of his decision were to stay in this rough, rough home until he was 18. There were so many stories like this little boy’s in that home, and sadly we didn’t get enough time to hear them all, but Berta, our Guatemalan leader, told us today that we can go back tomorrow afternoon, which we weren’t expecting, but are MORE than willing to do. The boys living there have it rough, but they are in such a great facility and have more than they need. Hopefully tomorrow will bring us more excitement and fun memories.

So there’s a little catch up as to what’s been going on here. The days are getting shorter and shorter for our time left. One intern left this morning. She had to be back for a meeting, but I think it’s hitting all of us that we don’t have a ton of time left here. We continue to not take these days for granted because there are so few left, but please continue to pray for our energy and excitement for our last day with kids. I guess I should have mentioned that. Tomorrow’s our last day with kids and then Friday we’re going sight-seeing. Wow. That’s weird to think that we have so few days left.

Thank you all so much for your prayers and support over the last month. It really has been such an incredible experience and I have plenty of other stories if you would like to know more.

Talk to you soon!

Sunday, August 2, 2009

Back in town

So the interns are back in town. Sorry for the lack of posts last week, but there was no internet in our room that was good enough to get access. So we spent our weekend at Lake Atitlan. Thursday was our last day with any kids and then Friday morning we drove to the lake and had breakfast at an incredible hotel.

Yes. It was beautiful. The lake is surrounded by 3 active volcanoes. To the left were San Pedro and Santiago and to the right was San Miguel. So we spent our morning eating breakfast with the group before they headed back to the city to end their trip. We, the interns, then headed out on the lake to the other side to Santiago Atitlan to do some shopping. Once across we met this very nice little boy named Miguel who deemed himself our tour guide. We were concerned that he would be a beggar who only wanted our money, but he really just wanted to hang out with us. So we walked around town to different shops and just took in the city. Our little guide also decided to teach us some of his native language, Tzutujil. The first phrase he taught us was "No, thank you" which is mitiox chaba. ALWAYS helpful in situations like the one we were in where we didn't really want or need anything we saw. So we spent our morning there and then took the boat back to Panajachel. In Panajachel we got to spend the afternoon relaxing. The group mostly took a walk down this main road that was completely filled with shops. I chose to relax and take a nap instead of the long walk that others took. That night we relaxed and ate dinner at the hotel and went to bed in a nice strong thunderstorm. We got to sleep in the next morning and walk around some more before heading out and driving back to Guate City.

So now we're in Guatemala City and we got to just hang out and grocery shop yesterday and then this morning we went to Fraternidad Cristiana de Guatemala for church and it was HUMONGOUS! It was really a great worship service and we all enjoyed being there. After lunch we came back and got to hang out for the afternoon until about 3 when we went to the baby orphanage for a couple of hours and did our own VBS activities. These were the kids that we spent our first day here with, so it was fun seeing them all again. This week is going to be a little crazier than normal because we're going to be traveling around so much in town working with different places, but it should be fun!

I'll keep you updated!

Wednesday, July 29, 2009


I think we've all hit it. Exhaustion. It's week 3 and we have basically done the same basic active schedule every day for the past 2 1/2 weeks. I'm not at all telling you that i wish things were different. Goodness no. I couldn't ask for anywhere better to be.

This week we are spending in Quetzaltenango with Woodlands Baptist Church from San Antonio and boy has it been fun. The first day we went first to a private girls orphanage that is fairly new. They only have about 6 girls right now, but are hoping in the next year to have about 60. Anyway, so the first day we planted an entire garden! Here's proof:

Complete with the GORGEOUS background of mountains and co

So we dug and plowed and tilled the entire area and then dug trenches for irrigation and then planted all of our seeds. We planted celery and spinach and squash and green beans and cilantro and radishes and potatoes and some other vegetables I can't remember. There were 10 in all. Let me tell you I got some interesting sunburns that day. I put sunscreen on my face but not my forehead, so I obviously got sunburned there. Also my elbow pits (that's not a technical name, I think it gets the point across thought) burned because I was watering so much with that part of my arm facing upward. And lastly I have a lovely burn on my lower back from being bent over for so long (I didn't even realize I was bent over long enough for this) and let me tell you that no matter what pants you wear with that, they rub and rub and it is awful. So that was day 1.

Day 2 (yesterday) we got up and went to the temporal government home for the morning and divided up into groups to do the VBS that the church group planned. I got to meet another beautiful child also named Huicho and of course, fell in love again. I guess it has something to do with the name. Luis (Huicho) was left at a dump as a baby because his mom could not afford to take care of him, and a Buckner employee found him and brought him to this home. He is VERY small for his age, but SO much fun to be around and SO full of energy. That afternoon we went back to the girls' home and planted roses and then went back to the temporal home for the end of the afternoon and helped them bring in new mattresses for all the girls. They were SO excited to get their new beds and what a blessing it was to get to help them bring those in and assemble them. All the beds were numbered and this poor little little girl could not find her number and she looked up at me with these HUGE puppy dog eyes asking me for help. I almost teared up just looking at her. I asked her what number she was and she said "17" in the saddest voice I've ever heard, so I went through each mattress with her (she was the last one, so most of them were extras) until we found number 17. Her entire face lit up when she saw that she had gotten one of the Cinderella mattresses with HER number on it. Oh, she was so proud. I helped her heave it onto her upper bunk bed and she very meticulously began to make her bed perfectly.

Now we're here, today. This morning we got to go to a different orphanage called Cercarif, maybe Zacarif, maybe I don't know, and I got to spend the morning with the babies. Oh my goodness. They were all girls and all SO happy and beautiful and I wanted to be with them forever, even though they all had lice. Yes. All of them. One little girl named Julisa attached to me and wanted to lay on me and I was SO nervous because I was just determined that I was going to get lice. I'm pretty positive I was careful enough, but I've washed and showered and kept my hair up and all of the precautions that I need to, but how could I just NOT hold those kids so I wouldn't get lice. That's right, I couldn't. I had to hold them. I haven't been itchy, so I think I'm good. We will be going back there tomorrow for the whole day.

This afternoon we went back to the temporal home and got to travel around to the different stations to do the VBS again. This time I got to be with Luis again, but they decided to do a complete little kid group, so we traveled around with the babies. I forgot to mention this, but in Cercarif/Zacarif and the temporal home we are not allowed to take pictures unless they are of groups. I took some pics before the rule was established, so I have a few. They've had problems in the past with people taking children's pictures and putting them on the internet to say they are up for adoption and it didn't turn out well, therefore we can't take their pictures. Ok, so back to my group. I was in a group with the babies who are all SO beautiful. Oh my goodness. Luis/Huicho was with us along with Isabel, the perfect looking baby, Oliver, whose mom dropped all 6 of her kids off at this orphanage, Maria, who cries constantly, Candelaria, who we found out the hard way is allergic to apple juice, and Francisco, who came to the orphanage last night and was surprisingly excited to be with us. I'm assuming he was in a bad situation before. So we got to spend the afternoon with these incredible children. I wish I could show you pictures, but alas, I don't have any.

So I think that's all for today. Continue to pray for our energy and patience since we're on the downhill slope of the trip. We're all doing great!


Sunday, July 26, 2009

Week 3

Ok, everyone. Sorry for the last few days off, but we are now in Quetzaltenango (aka Xela pronounced Shayla). Friday we did the touristy thing in Antigua. First we went to a textile mill and then on to a coffee plantation which was INCREDIBLY interesting. For instance: for those of you coffee lovers, medium roast gives you more caffeine than dark roast or espresso. Espresso actually has the least caffeine of the three. Just an interesting tidbit for ya. After that we spent the afternoon in the market and ate at the most beautiful restaurant I've been to for dinner. It overlooked Guatemala City. We told the group from Conroe goodbye and went back home to the office. Yesterday we got a day to rest and hang out at the office and then off we went again this morning! We had our first glimpse of the children at the government orphanage today and it looks like this is going to be a tiring week. We were so so blessed to have such an incredible group last week and it looks like this is going to be quite the change. I have already made a couple of friends. Another Huicho has already taken my heart. Oh how I love this country.

Anyway, I have to admit last week was awful to leave, but the Lord has called us to work in Xela this week, so here we are! Pray that we will have energy and stamina to get through this week fully showing Christ's love to the children.

Please pray that we would be fully here.
That's all for today!


Wednesday, July 22, 2009

Checking in...

I was informed that I am the queen of run-on sentences, so I will do my best to not have as many in this post. There's really not much to report here from Huehue, except for the fact that I DREAD tomorrow. Tomorrow is the horrid day that I have been hoping wouldn't come. No, I'm not coming back to the United States, but we do have to leave Huehue and head back to Guatemala City. We have all gotten the opportunity to attach so closely to these kids since we get to come to the orphanage at 830 every morning and not leave until 6ish. I know, for most of you that sounds like the normal workday, but not when you're falling in love with faces like these.

Every face that I see I want to take home with me.

So let me tell you about today. This morning we were told that Tom, the music minister from FBC Conroe that's with us here, was going to be baptizing 6 girls when we got to the orphanage today. Oh my goodness. I can't explain to you how excited I was to witness something like this. So we got to the orphanage and Julianne and I installed 2 washers BY OURSELVES and repaired a broken dryer and attached the other only working dryer to the wall. Yes. You're really reading that. We consider ourselves professional plumbers/electricians after the past few days. Here we are with our completed laundry room. Mike, the expert electrician here with us, gave us the steps and we got it done. He then brought in Hermana Christina to see the new washers and she immediately broke into tears. This turns out to be quite the emotional day.

So after our successful morning we ate lunch and headed over to where the baptisms would be happening where we found out that TWELVE kids were going to be baptized this afternoon! Evidently a group of seminary students from the Guatemalan seminary (I don't know the technical name) have been coming and talking to the kids often and 12 of them decided that they wanted to be baptized. My heart broke as one of the mothers of the boys walked over to the baptismal area with tears forming in her eyes. This was the moment she had been waiting for since she first brought her children to the orphanage. She prayed aloud with tears flowing down her face as Tom was praying over the children. There is so much need here for the Lord and it was heartbreaking to see this mother so passionate about a relationship with God. It made me even more excited to be here now working with all of these people.

After the baptisms we started our normal routine of Vacation Bible School for the kids and today I was overwhelmed by their presence. I don't know what got me, but I was so impacted by every child who came to me. The craziest of crazies became my best friends for the afternoon and I was just overcome with love for all of them. If only I could somehow pick this whole orphanage up and bring it back with me, I would do it in a heartbeat.

Alright, so we finished up our last complete day with the kids and began our trek through town to see Huehue in all its glory. It began on public transportation (don't worry mom, it was completely safe since all 30 something of us were riding together) and we drove downtown to take our 20 minute tour of the main town area. Haha, let me just use the word entertaining here to describe our adventure. So we walked through downtown a couple of blocks and began walking through the market there which was possibly one of the weirdest places I've ever been. The outside walls of the market were mostly meat/butcher shops and the inside shops were vegetables and clothes and all sorts of assorted things that some crazy American would come in and want to buy. Haha, it was a quick tour needless to say.

We finally finished our tour of downtown and headed back to the hotel for some quick rest time, only to zip back to Mama Sandra's (the director of the orphanage's) house for dinner. (Sorry for grammatical error in that sentence, I wasn't too positive where to put the 's) She was so grateful to have our entire group over into her very nice house and we all got to sit and talk and ask questions about the orphanage and just hang out. It was a really great time.

I had had some concerns about a large portion of the children in the orphanage because I really couldn't understand why so few of them were being adopted. Mama Sandra explained that the only children who can be adopted are those who have truly become orphans. If the children have any family at all they are not put on the adoption list. This cuts SO many children off of the possibility of adoption list because so many of them are only in the orphanage because the parents that they do have cannot afford to take care of them. I just wish all of you could get an opportunity like this to come and spend this much time with such needy children. I feel like my heart's going to literally break by the time this trip is over.

So after a fantastic dinner we are back at the hotel soon to go to bed and prepare for our last day at the orphanage. Please be in prayer for us as we have to leave these dear dear children, but also know that the adults who are here taking care of them are some of, if not THE, most incredible people I've ever come in contact with. They are all caring and affectionate and everything that these children need. Ok, really I think that's all for tonight's post. It looks like all of our stomachs finally like us, so thank you for your prayers in that aspect and thanks be to God for helping us get through it. Keep praying for health and safety as we travel back to Guatemala City tomorrow and on to Xela soon. I would tell you the day, but I can't really remember right now. If you were lucky enough to receive a copy of my schedule here please disregard any information on it as our plans literally change daily.

Thank you again so much for your thoughts and prayers.
Con mucho amor.