Friday, January 2, 2009

Jumping into the New Year

So it's been a while since I've been able to post, the internet hasn't been working or has been really slow. This will probably be the last one I post before coming back to the states, so here you go...

Christmas here was so great. We had a big lunch with all the kids and they were all dressed up. After lunch we all went to the church and all of us volunteers helped to pass out the presents to the kids. Some of them had such big stacks of gifts, taller than they were. The kids here are really blessed and they get their gifts mostly from their sponsors. So the next day, which is our Christmas in the states, we had a special service in the morning where a group of the kids performed their Christmas play. In the evening we had a cookout with all of the volunteers to celebrate Christmas.

Last Sunday I went into town with some of the guys and one of the guys from the NC team started talking to these two boys in the street outside of the supermarket. One of them was in a wheelchair because one of his legs was shorter than the other and he couldn't walk. He went off to the side of the road and started praying with him that God would heal his leg. The rest of us went and stood with them and prayed for him too after we were done at the store. Its little moments like that that I really enjoy.

This past week has been so much fun. We got together on Sunday and planned games to do with each of the houses for the week. They're basically a lot of field day games.. races, drip drip drop, & balloon games. There were also a couple of inflatable pools we were able to get out for the kids to just go play in at the end and they absolutely love that.

Tuesday night a couple of the middle girls asked me to come spend the night with them at their house with Kristin. After dinner I went over and we watched Camp Rock and just went to bed. Even though I didn't really talk with them a lot before we went to bed I had a great time spending more time with the girls in their house. It is humbling to constantly be reminded that they're all orphans and don't have their families to take care of them. They're so blessed to have Emmanuel though. They have all they need and are daily given the Word of God.

For New Years in the evening all the staff and volunteers met at the team house to have dinner. We had some fireworks and sparklers afterward which most of the staff's kids played with. After dinner we had most of the volunteers over to our house to stay up and bring in the new year, which we did with everyone up on the couches and chairs and jumping off at 12 'into' the new year. Yesterday we had a special service in the morning and a praise and worship service in the evening... and played more water games and stuff with one of the boys' houses in the afternoon. The praise and worship service last night was so great. I loved seeing the boys and girls singing to God and praying at the altar. It was freeing for me as well to worship and not be concerned with the people near me. I've not let my guard down for a while and that has affected how I've worshipped God. I keep trying to protect myself from various things going on in my life and control them myself but obviously that doesn't work. I'm still learning every day to let go and let God.

I'm excited and sad about coming home next week. I've loved my time here and definitely want to return as soon as I can.. so if anyone wants to join me let me know! I'm thinking maybe sometime this summer if it works out. I've missed all of you and have so many pictures to share and stories that I'm sure I've forgotten to post on here. I hope you all have a great rest of the week and continue to pray for all of use here and for Neil and I as we travel back this coming Wednesday.

Have a wonderful day in the Lord!

Tuesday, December 23, 2008

Feliz Navidad!

I hope you all are having a Merry Christmas Eve Eve.. however tomorrow is Christmas here at Emmanuel.

The past two nights the volunteers here and some staff went Christmas Caroling to the boys and girls houses and gave them cookies. I really enjoyed it even though some of the kids kept trying to get more than one from us, resulting in some of the girls getting graham crackers instead. I still can't completely convince myself that Christmas is tomorrow... especially since I've been in a t-shirt, capris, & my rainbows since I got here. I do miss Boone weather believe it or not! I would love to have some snow. I guess I can't complain about the weather here though, its so beautiful.

The kids have been working on a Christmas play and I've been able to go to their practices the past couple of days. They were actually having a good day yesterday and practice went pretty well. They got their costumes on today and had a practice in the morning and afternoon. The one in the morning went okay from what I heard but in the afternoon it was not so great. One of the girls wouldn't quit laughing so practice ended 2 hours earlier than usual. Hopefully it will come together in the end though.

I love all of you and pray that your time with family and friends this Christmas will be truly blessed. I definitely miss not being at home with my family, Jake, & all of you in Mtn. View and in Boone... but I know God is pouring out His love and blessings on everyone here at Emmanuel and there is no place else I would rather be than here. Please keep myself, the other volunteers, the children, and the staff in your prayers. I really appreciate the prayers I know many of you are lifting up for us every day. I feel them & I have found so much peace and rest in God since I've been here.

Have a Merry Merry Christmas!!

Thursday, December 18, 2008

Caballos y Tortillas

So on Tuesday I went over to the farm twice. First with a group of the middle girls and then with the toddlers in the afternoon. We took them to ride the horses and they loved it. I made some new friends in the group of girls while they were waiting to ride. When we first got up there some of the boys were working. Neil was with them and showed one of the girls and I the pigs. We got to see them feeding the pigs also... it was awful smelling in there. The toddlers absolutely loved the horses and each one got to ride them a couple times at least. I got some great pictures of them and some video too, but I won't be able to post them until I get back to the states.

Yesterday I got to help make tortillas over at the middle girls' kitchen. Whenever Jessica and I went over they'd already made the dough but we flattened them out and put them on the fire. I had a great time with it and I want to go back again sometime to help make them from the beginning.. or at least watch. It is so much fun and I'm definitely going to make sure I have some sort of an idea of their recipe by the time I come home so I can make them from scratch.

Today I went up to the tienda with one of the girls here who is from Auburn and we had lunch there. Some of the older girls from Emmanuel work there. The food is really good and really cheap. I had some tacos which were tortillas with chicken, rolled up and fried with a red-ish spicy sauce and cabbage on top.

God is giving me so much rest here. It's really laid back compared to other missions I've been on and when I went to Venezuela. I'm able to take my time in the mornings and have a quiet time, read, eat breakfast, etc. I like hanging out with the girls in their yards and just getting to know them better. The kids are in their houses around 4 or 5 in the afternoon so I've had time to lay in my hammock and read a lot and just rest. The sunsets here are beautiful and the weather (as far as the wind goes) reminds me a lot of Boone.. from when I was in Boone this past summer, it is a lot like that except that it can get really hot in the middle of the day.

Thank you all again for continually praying for me, I really appreciate it! Please pray for the kids too.. even more so than for me. They've already taken up a special place in my heart.

I love you all!!

Buenas Noches :)

Monday, December 15, 2008

Psalm 118:24

Let me first thank everyone who wished me a happy birthday on FaceBook & for those who gave me cards to take with me to Emmanuel to open on my birthday.

My flights went well.. although the connecting flight in Miami scared me. When we were going through the gate, they scanned my ticket and said someone else was in my seat. Apparently someone changed my flight or something but either way I did still get a seat on the plane... they bumped me up to 1st class! Poor Neil was still stuck at the back of the plane with a crying baby behind him. It was a smooth flight and we were able to meet up with John who flew in from California and get a ride to Emmanuel from a man named Carlos.

The city is packed and the traffic reminds me so much of Maracaibo.. and lucky me I got to sit in the front seat of the cab. haha It was about a two hour drive to Emmanuel, but I loved seeing the country and talking some to Carlos who knew verrry little English.

There are three other girl volunteers here that I'm sharing the house with right now and I've heard more people are coming in today. Two of them are from the states (GA & CO) and one is from Denmark. I've really enjoyed getting to know them and going around with Birte a couple times when she gives medicine to some of the girls. My favorite so far I think has been the toddlers. They're so sweet.

One of the little boys I have gotten to know is Luis and he is so funny. I've been able to talk to him some in Spanish and yesterday I asked him if he could say anything in English. He said yes but wouldn't tell me what, and then he told me to give him my hand. He held his up too and said "high five!"

One of the girls I have met but not gotten to know very well yet is Nicole. Birte told me she has not been here very long at Emmanuel and when they found her she was in the jungle. She didn't speak much at all and when she did it was mostly animal noises. It was surprising to hear that but the first time I went around with Birte when she gave out medicine, Nicole came up with some of the other girls and greeted me. She's really come a long way.

Yesterday after church some of us walked into town from Emmanuel for lunch. It was me, Neil, John, Bianca, Candace & Terrez (a couple from Ohio), and the family from Denmark. The rest of the day we just relaxed at the house and later that night the four of us at the house watched a movie. Candace made a cake for me and brought it over in the evening as well. I love the people I have met here, they're so loving. Today is actually Candace's 22nd birthday as well, and we're having a party for her tonight at our house.

I can't think of much else to fill you all in on except that I absolutely love it here and God has been humbling me for sure. It was definitely hard to spend my first birthday away from family and most of my friends, but I just need to keep in mind the reason I am here. It has been hard for me to see alllll of these kids here and realize that they don't have their own mom and dad. The community of believers they have caring for them here though is so powerful and I thank God for that.

Thanks for taking the time to read all of this. I love you all and I pray your day goes well!!

Gracias a Dios para ese dia


Wednesday, December 10, 2008

A Few Days Before...

I really appreciate all of you who have told me you have been and will be praying for me for this trip! It is a huge encouragement, especially from all of you at Mount Vernon (I couldn't have asked for a better Church family in Boone!) and the Boone area in general.

I'm so excited to be spending my Christmas at Orphanage Emmanuel. A lot of you have asked how my parents/family feel about me being gone. I know they'll miss me, and I them, but there is a greater purpose in Christmas than to spend it around a big pile of presents and an over abundance of food. That is not to say that my Christmas at the orphanage will be any less enjoyable by any means. Loving on the kids there will mean so much more to me than a new pair of shoes that I don't really need.

Thank you to all who have supported me both with prayers and financially. I can't wait to see the work God is going to do in my life while I am there, and I will do my best to keep you all updated as it all unfolds!

Dios te Bendiga