Straight on Through

Things in my head and now …. not

The Prayer Wives are Coming! The Prayer Wives are Coming!!!

praying wifeWow. Truly this was an event of prayers heard around the world.

It is day 3o of the the SHMILY Challenge along with the reading of The Power of a Praying Wife by Stormie O Martian.  I look back over the last 30 days and I am so excited and thankful that I was able to be a part of something so big.

My friend Amy at Dandelion Seeds, had wanted to have a group of women read this book together, a chapter a day throughout the month of June.  Amy, and her husband Mike had prayed that if she sent out the word to her email and Facebook friends, wouldn’t it be cool if 250 women around the world all did this together?

Within days of Amy putting the word out the emails were flying in…. friends told friends…. and so on… and so on…  by the time the dust cleared, Amy had 1,730 women involved in this but would guess the count to be closer to 1,800.  The dream – was God size…. so how do you handle such a large group?  Amy communicated through out the process with her blog, and Facebook Groups… she did an amazing job and if you look at the comments on her blog from women all over the world ( seriously – Bahamas, Ukraine, Philppians, France, Japan….  you will have to look at the cluster map on her site!)

SO – my little input here in Brainerd?  God sized as well.  If you know me, you know that Al and I are business owners.  We own an excavating company and this time of year is crazy busy for Al.  He is up and prepping for his day at 5:30 am each morning and usually not back in the house until between 8 and 10 pm at night.  We dont see much of each other this time of year and for me, with two grown kids and a lot of alone time – it can be quite frustrating.

To sum this up without getting too wordy (hopefully)… I read my chapter daily (almost or caught up if I missed a day) and I prayed a lot more for my husband than I probably ever have.  Along with this I took Amy’s SHMILY (see how Much I Love You) challenge as well and found little ways to show my appreciation of how hard he works.

Here is one example:  I thought it would be kind of neat to change his name in my cell phone to something more meaningful.  It took some thinking as you dont have a lot of space to use but I came up with “A GREAT MAN”.  I thought it would be cool to get calls from and make calls to A GREAT MAN.

This hit home just a couple days later.  I had forgot about the cell name change and I hadnt used it.  On a Sunday evening Al and I were getting home from an event around 8 pm and he said he had to go back to work in the office.  I was so frustrated that he had to go to work AGAIN that I verbalized that and not too kindly.  Our office is on our home property so he walked out to the office and I stormed into the house.

I thought about this a while and knew that he didn’t want to go back to the office any more than I wanted him too.  I had just put more stress and pressure on him by loudly expressing that.  He was prepping the next days work and I knew it had to be done.  I went to call him to apologize and when I picked up my cell to do that, I seen it.  A GREAT MAN.  I knew that I was in the wrong and I did apologize and offer to help him.

Over all this was an incredible learning experience and exercise for me.  Many times, the prayer I was saying for him… I knew was also for me…. patience and priorities…. kindness and peace of heart…  I took more time to listen to God through all this and made it a priority to help him more instead of feeling angry that he was so busy.  All in all this book helped up communicate better.  I would recommend this book to any married woman.

Check out Amy’s posts if you have some time.  Pick up the book I will repeat this book again soon.  I also have a copy of this book for giveaway on One Persons Journey Through a World of Books.  Stop be there and sign up.  I would love to offer this treasure.

June 30, 2009 Posted by | Devotion in motion | 3 Comments

Who am I?

Life is certainly never dull. I have always prided myself on no matter what I was dealt – I could handle it.  I was that kid in school who had been through the family tragedy and come through the other side.  I was that same kid when I went through the accident that left me in a coma for 10 days with a 10 % chance of  surviving.  I was like, to paraphrase a Harry Potter line…“the girl who lived”.  Friends and family would  comment how I held it all together and in a way that established who I was.

I suppose all people in one form or another experience depression.  In the early years I used to wonder why they couldn’t hold on to the positive – I tended to label those people who couldn’t pull themselves out of the ashes – weak.  By High school I felt people just needed to “suck it up” and move on.  Really, get over it.  Then at 29 I experienced my first real knock you flat on the ground depression.

At the time of the car accident that took my mom and step dad’s life I was a young mom and we had been walking with God if not intentionally, then at least occasionally.  The accident knocked the air out of me. I remember many of my prayers, crying out to God to bring me through.  I could visualize a darkness in my mind—almost like falling off the edge of a tread mill.  If I did not move forward, I surely was going to fall into the darkness.  I was not this weak person I was suddenly seeing in the shadows… so I battled on and through…. For about a year.

I stayed busy.  I didn’t allow down time to let me think too hard about what I had been through.  People who didn’t know me prior to the accident, had no idea what I had been through.  At the one year mark, I left my job for three months to pull  the pieces of me together that were starting to fray and pull apart.  That decision was probably one of the best things I have ever done.  This bad time wasn’t without purpose. Number one, I knew that even though I didn’t understand what was going on, I had to trust God at all times in all things. I felt like the Psalmist who saw all his enemies closing in around him. He would cry out to God and not see His hand in all of this. Nonetheless, he would end the Psalm with hope, trust, and belief that the Almighty knew what He was doing.

He was very gracious to carry me through that period. God also taught me how to have sympathy and compassion on those who’re going through similar things.  I started to see in a new light how we all have things in us—be they amazing tragedies, or incredible heart breaks.  We don’t all wear them on our sleeves.  We do not know what each person—even in a room like this, carries with them every day.

It’s in these times that the Christian must especially hold fast to that which they know to be true from Scripture.  That God is good all the time. That everything which happens in our life is furthering the purpose of God (which is a good purpose). That God is with us through even our sorrows. That his purpose is more important than our temporal comfort. Though I have not experienced again what I did 13 years ago (an almost paralyzing depression), I have had my moments where I can feel it creeping in. Sometimes I have a sorrow looming over me for a few hours.  Sometimes, a few days.  And yet, because of the faith God has graciously given me, I cling to His promises. He has brought me too it—He will surely bring me through it.

For God alone, O my soul, wait in silence,
for my hope is from him.
He only is my rock and my salvation,
my fortress; I shall not be shaken.
On God rests my salvation and my glory;
my mighty rock, my refuge is God.

-Psalm 62:5-7

(I bring this devotion today because the beginning of June is always hard for me.  I hit the anniversary of the accident on the 6th and it rips me apart.  Thank you Key for walking with me this year.  On the 7th is, or would be, my sisters birthday.  This year she would be 35.  She died in the fire at age 5.  Not a year goes by that I don’t wonder what it would be like to be an Aunt to her children, to see what type of woman she would have been…. And definitely how great it would have been to have her all these years with mom and dad gone so I would have someone to talk to who is at that same level of pain.

And now today , in June – I go to the funeral of a dear friend who died of a heart attack last week.

I again lean against God to hold me, even carry me, through these times.

June 9, 2009 Posted by | Devotion in motion | 4 Comments

S.H.M.I.L.Y. – 30 Days of Prayer

My friend Amy (Dandelion Seeds) introduced me to S.H.M.I.L.Y. (See How Much I Love You).   Currently, I am in a 30 Day S.H.M.I.L.Y.  Event.  In fact, there are over 1,000 women dong this during the month of June.  How exciting is that?

S.H.M.I.L.Y. is a great idea and it is a reason to put on the thinking cap and find ways to show your husband how much you love him.  On Amy’s blog she gives some great ideas to get started with.  For me – the task is a challenge as this time of year there are days that I almost don’t see Al at all.  He gets up at 5 a.m. and is gone until 9 or 10 at night.  Sometimes this is 6 days a week. Well, I have always thought I had a great imagination so I feel I am up to the challenge.

Proverbs 31:10-12 (New Century Version)
10 It is hard to find a good wife,
because she is worth more than rubies.
11 Her husband trusts her completely.
With her, he has everything he needs.
12 She does him good and not harm
for as long as she lives.

We are also praying for our husbands each day and using the book by Stormie O Martian “Power of a Praying Wife” as a guide.  Honestly, sometimes it is hard in my life to want to pray for my husband.  I know that sounds awful.  I know that it is.  In our life, I can sometimes be bitter about how hard he works and how often he is unavailable due to the business, how it is hard to socialize with friends because the business makes it impossible to make plans…..

Yet – I am praying for him because I love him and I know he works hard to provide for us.  I know if it were not for the business I would still be working retail.  I know that because of his sacrifices, I am able to volunteer and be a part of so many wonderful ministries because of the business.  When I really look at it this way – he has sacrificed so much for us.  He never complains about how much time I spend volunteering or working at the church and I know it takes me away from ways I could be helping him.  My life would be so very different if not for him and what he does.

So today I happily began the S.H.M.I.L.Y 30 Days of Prayer.  I started the morning reading the first chapter of the book and praying for Al:  for rest, for support, for peace, for knowing he is loved… and I spent time thinking of how I can make things easier for him.

Tomorrow his lunch will have in it his favorite sandwich and a banana with S.H.M.I.L.Y. on it.

June 1, 2009 Posted by | Devotion in motion | 2 Comments

I am a Christian

I don’t care what church you go to (I am thrilled if you have found a Church that fits for you)christian

I believe that Jesus Christ died on that Cross for me

I believe Jesus is still with all of us today and yes, I believe that He speaks to us,and I pray that I for one, am listening for His Words

I believe it doesn’t matter what you wear to Church – its not about that.  Occasionally I will dress up, but that is a personal choice for me.  Seriously – come as you are.

I believe we are here to serve others and use the gifts that God has gave us.  I know we are not saved by deeds.

I believe that prayer is a conversation between you and God.  There is no right or wrong way to pray and there is no memorization…. just talk to Him.

I believe God speaks to us through the Bible as well as through this world.  I know I don’t read the Bible as often as I should.

I believe we are meant to do life together.  Build relationships.  Build each other up.

I believe we are not to judge.  This is not our role.  I try hard to live by that.

I believe it is about a relationship – not religion.

I believe we are put in certain places and in certain circumstances intentionally.  I am often in awe of how things play out in circumstances I would not have chosen for myself.

I don’t believe in falseness, or wearing masks, or acting the part.  I am what I am.  I thank God that I have so many people in my life that I can turn to and be real – always.

I am not perfect – not even close.  I screw up daily.  I don’t always work as hard as I should.  I don’t always help to the level I could.  I tend to like my alone time.  I don’t visit as often as I should.  When overloaded I just shut down and do nothing.

I am a Christian.

“For God so loved the world that He gave His only begotten Son, that whoever believes in Him should not perish but have everlasting life.” (John 3:16).

“For all have sinned and fall short of the glory of God.” (Romans 3:23).

“But God demonstrates His own love toward us, in that while we were still sinners, Christ died for us.” (Romans 5:8).

“But as many as received Him, to them He gave the right to become children of God, to those who believe in His name” (John 1:12).

“I am the way, the truth, and the life. No one comes to the Father except through Me.” (John 14:6).

April 20, 2009 Posted by | Devotion in motion | Comments Off on I am a Christian

a Honduras Perspective

I love conversing back and forth with my friend Adrienne Cahoon.  She and her husband Dick own Whitely Creek Bed and Breakfast out by the Brainerd Airport.  Dick and Adrienne run a whitely-creek1great business where they go above and beyond with treating their guests to an incredible experience.  They have a fantastic atmosphere, incredible home cooked breakfasts and the guests return again and again.

Adrienne recently sent me an email she had received from a guest she had at the Bed and Breakfast who had recently returned from Honduras.  Adrienne had Annie’s permission for me to share this with all of you and I am glad to do it.

I have to admit that I am a bit behind in my correspondence.  I did return home safe and sound this past Saturday evening (late!) …yikes, it has already been a week? …trust me, I was barely cognizant of my surroundings.
Additionally, my heart has been as weary as my body and I have this heaviness that won’t escape me.  I miss my new friends I left behind.  My thoughts seem to fixate on the whereabouts of my amigas/amigos.  I can’t help but wonder if the spigots are now installed in the village (we were so close!!!!) …I can’t help but wonder what this now means?  How life will change in the village….
My heart is also hurting as I recall the absence of the children’s laughter on the morning we said our good-byes…a village once vibrant with giggles and laughter, was eerily subdued.  Even the men and women of the village did their best to stifle their tears, but I could hear the sadness spread as hugs were passed out and “ya me despido” (I’ve got to say good bye) were whispered.
Please let me take this moment to thank you all.  I am so grateful for your prayers and words of encouragement.
I am still processing, but do have notes I’m willing to share with anyone who is interested…just email me and let me know what you have questions about.
I’ll close with this… just a few thoughts/words I jotted down the other day:
Is God enough for me?
The most favorite part of my day, must be awarded to the breakfast hour.  I love the quiet, still morning air that is only interrupted by the melodic chirping of the robin’s visiting our yard.
Today, I found myself fumbling to make a simple slice of toast.  I needed to provide some nourishment for these weak and weary bones. In doing so, I swore I felt Martina’s warm, gentle hands over mine, making sure I spread to each edge of the slice, the hot apple sauce… her touch was direct, thoughtful, …loving…just as I remembered.
As I slowly navigated to the dining room table, I found a chair and nestled into position.  What usually was a comfortable place for me to ponder the day, returned me to an oddly familiar sit…the wobbly wooden chair barely large enough to hold my weight.  I could smell the dirt from the floor which I slept; dust floating about and under my nose (I can’t breathe!)
…the dusky wooden planked table could be felt under my fingertips.  Lupe’s home.  My mind returned to revisit the breakfast break…reflection, giggles, conversation, FOOD!  “…oh, what will today bring?”
Las Chilcas remains on my skin. I am unable to shake from my thoughts how simple life can be lived.
Though the living conditions are harsh and it’s residence clearly surrounded by nothing, I sit here mentally inventorying the villager’s possessions: an undeniable warmth marked every embrace, seemingly endless joy had no alternative but to escape from their voice, unconditional love and compassion towards each other…and guests.  Impressive.  Peace and contentment was evident with every step taken, with each conversation shared.
Relentlessly grateful to God and generous in their praises and outreach towards one another. I can’t remember a time feeling more humbled or privileged….
(sigh) …sitting here in the comfort of my own home, I am left to ponder the thought: Is God enough for me?

I read Annies thoughts and she takes me back to Honduras… the sights the smells, the feelings of new friendships.  The relationships we build there are bound tightly to me.  Jorge, Marta, Juan Carlos, Jeremy, Antonio, Rita, Maricela, Maribel, Eva, Bryon… the list goes on and on – they are like family.  I can pull them back into my memory by a site or a sound and I miss them when I am away.
Thank you Annie for sharing your thoughts.dsc094622

April 8, 2009 Posted by | Devotion in motion | Comments Off on a Honduras Perspective

What a Week with IHN!

Two weeks ago we had our IHN week.  IHN is Interfaith Hospitality Network and is an incredible program  that assists those who are homeless in getting back on their feet and providing assistance in job location and skills, as well as finding a home.  The success rate of this program is amazing.

The program works by utilizing 13 churches in the area.  The people in the program stay for one week at each of these churches until they are placed in a home.  The churches provide volunteers for meal providing as well as evening hosts and overnight hosts.  During the day, those in the program go to the Day Center where they are given an opportunity to shower, do laundry, apply for jobs, and learn skills.

Tom and Julie Orr are the main Coordinators for The Journey North, and recently Tom had the idea to have Small Groups get involved with the meal making.  The result was overwhelming!  Many people who had never had the opportunity to participate in the program were suddenly able to!  And once you serve in this manner, my guess is, you are hooked.  Not only are you there as a blessing to those who are struggling, but spending time with these amazing people and their children blesses you over and over.

Our next serving dates are May 17 – 24.  If you are interested in helping with meal prep, hosting, staying overnight, providing a dessert or an evening activity – please post here or call the church at 824-5617.

***  IHN is having a benefit Banquet at Lakewood Church on April 5th from 6 – 8 p.m.  Cost is $20 per person and will include dinner and presentation.  If interested in being a part of this great event please contact Bruce at 330-1124 for tickets.

March 16, 2009 Posted by | Devotion in motion | Comments Off on What a Week with IHN!

February Honduras Trip 2009

What do a Sales Representative, Retired Business Owner, Psychologist, Mechanic Shop Owner, Office Manager, Waiter, and High School Student have in common?

They are the group that made up our Honduras Missions Team that returned back to the States on Saturday February 28th after ten days.

So here I go, in my typical “note taking, journaling” way…. I give you the Honduras 8:

Tim Lake, Al and Julie Steiff, Steve Lanham, Justin DeChantal, Kacee Kruse, Laura Shipman (who stayed at the main Mission House helping out) and myself.

We left Wednesday February 18th and stayed over night in Houston Texas.  From Texas, we caught our flight the morning of the 19th to Tegucigalpa Honduras.

We were picked up at the airport by the Manuelito Project bus and went directly out to the Mission which is about 2 hours from the airport in Talanga.  I was able to catch some great pics on the bus of Justin talking to Antonio, an incredible man we had met before who was catching a ride with us.

Once at Manuelito the kids surrounded us.  The younger boys, Carlo (10), Christian (9) had pictures of Justin and Kacee from last year.  We had time to reacquaint with the kids before dinner.

Dinner was a hamburger, bean dish with tortilla chips, water melon and musk melon.  It was kind of like a thick chili.

Friday February (Febrero) 20th…

Up at 5:45 a.m.  Had a good nights sleep thanks to Ambien.  It is Friday so it is time to take our Malaria pill (“Malaria Friday!”)  Breakfast is scrambled eggs, cereal, musk melon and watermelon.

At 7:30 a.m. we are on the job.  We are working on an administrative building for the project.  Our job today is shoveling dirt, and lots of it.  The dirt is hard and rocky.  The temperature is about 80 degrees.

Lunch was a chicken tortilla hotdish that was SO GOOD!  Also an incredible salad made out of lettuce, peas, hard boiled eggs and a good dressing (I may have to duplicate that one here!), water melon and brownies (good brownies…. really good brownies…)

Then back to the job site where we continues to shovel until 4:30 pm.

Supper was:  meat, salsa, refried beans, musk melon, fried plantains, and oatmeal cookies.

After supper we discussed as a team the possibility of painting the interior of the main building that we stayed in.  The walls were a lighter color and the paint was wearing away and from all the kids and teams the lower parts were dirty and worn.  Jeremy (our Interpreter and Team Coordinator) told us the supplies to do all the rooms would run about $300 in US dollars.  We agreed.

We discussed paying for two of Natividad’s grand kids to go to school.  Natividad is the “Jefe” (pronounced hefey) boss of the work team jobs and a Pastor of a small church.  He is 70 years old.  His grandsons work on the projects too and the ones we were referring to we had worked with in past years.  School for the two boys would cost $200 US dollars.  We agreed to do this as well.

We needed rakes for the project and as a team we decided to purchase two.

Our Friday night devotion was on Matthew 5:14 – 16.

14 “You are the light of the world—like a city on a hilltop that cannot be hidden. 15 No one lights a lamp and then puts it under a basket. Instead, a lamp is placed on a stand, where it gives light to everyone in the house. 16 In the same way, let your good deeds shine out for all to see, so that everyone will praise your heavenly Father.

Jeremy read this in Spanish.  We talked about being the light and how we are to run into the darkness of the world.  Be the Light.

Saturday February (Febrero) 21…

5:00 a.m. … The geese must die.  (They start their honking at about 5 a.m. directly outside our window.

Up at 6:20 a.m.  Eat at 7:00 a.m.  Breakfast:  Scrambled eggs with bacon in it, sausage, watermelon, Cafe (coffee).

7:30 a.m. back to the work site, day two of shoveling. The weather is cooler today and a bit drizzly on again and off again.  The guys now on cement love the coolness… I miss the heat.  This is unusual weather for us when we come here it is usually HOT HOT HOT.

Lunch is a great spaghetti, watermelon, and cake.

Back to shoveling (need to work off all that pasta!)  We stop working early today because it is Saturday.  We had free time to play with the kids and get cleaned up.  We had time to use the internet in the new computer building, and then late afternoon we went hiking up a near by hill to take pictures.  Many of the kids came with us as well as Maria from Denmark who is a t Manuelito for 6 months as a helper.  She is really nice and has been at Manuelito Project for 3 1/2 weeks.

In the evening we discussed how the kids are so used to teams coming in and out of their lives.  When a team comes back again and again the kids feel loved.

Our devotion this evening was on Ephesians and we discussed how it is important to settle differences, be at peace withe veryone, and always do your best.

This evening Julie Steiff joined our group (she flew in later due to a work commitment).  Now we are a full team!  By 9:18 I was shot and in bed.  I am working on reading our book club read for March, Firefly Lane.  This is the third book since we left Brainerd.

Sunday February (Febrero) 22…

6:38 a.m….. after the “Goose Musical” at 5 a.m., I fell back asleep.  It is Sunday and we are having Eva’s 15th birthday celebration today.  In Honduras turning 15 is a big deal, a point of growing up from being a child, to a young woman.  There will be a big party this evening and because of this we will not go into town for Church as we are helping with preparations.

The kitchen is busy with additional help today.  They will be grilling tonight and there are large tubs of meat that they are seasoning with garlic and large limes.

This morning I study in Matthew 25… (one of my favorites)

34 “Then the King will say to those on his right, ‘Come, you who are blessed by my Father, inherit the Kingdom prepared for you from the creation of the world. 35 For I was hungry, and you fed me. I was thirsty, and you gave me a drink. I was a stranger, and you invited me into your home. 36 I was naked, and you gave me clothing. I was sick, and you cared for me. I was in prison, and you visited me.’

37 “Then these righteous ones will reply, ‘Lord, when did we ever see you hungry and feed you? Or thirsty and give you something to drink? 38 Or a stranger and show you hospitality? Or naked and give you clothing? 39 When did we ever see you sick or in prison and visit you?’

40 “And the King will say, ‘I tell you the truth, when you did it to one of the least of these my brothers and sisters,[f] you were doing it to me!’

The least of these…. this really gets me when we are here.   I love living out this scripture by serving in Honduras.  This led me then to Isaiah 58:7:

7 Share your food with the hungry,
and give shelter to the homeless.
Give clothes to those who need them,
and do not hide from relatives who need your help.

Since we did not have church, the team gathered by the tree (my favorite tree!0 and did a little devotion together on letting your yes be yes, and your no be no. We talked about the importance of telling the truth when we speak.

We spent the rest of the morning cleaning the building that was going to be “party central” later.  We picked up garbage, swept, mopped, mowed, and helped with prep.

Late afternoon we had time to get cleaned up and relax a bit.

Eva’s ceremony was incredible.  She had a beautiful dress and close to 80 people attended this event.  Wow!  Different people would get up and speak and each one would give her something.  A necklace, a tiarra, exchanging her shoes from slippers to high heels, and Tim was the one asked to represent her father and give her a ring.

Afterwards it was a celebration with music and food and cake.  We were able to get great pictures of this event.  This went on until late.

This evening we sat in the yard with Wonka and talked about his invisible (ha ha) girlfriend, the one we hear about but never see… Wonka shares a few stories about Manuelito and how he has been involved in one way or another from the start from playing basketball at the Transition house to painting the very first building on the property.

Monday February (Febrero) 23…

Up at 5:00 a.m. but not due to geese but the guys (Jeremy, Wonka, and Steve) who ambushed the kids and forced them into the showers as a prank this morning.

Time for Cafe!!!!  Woo hoo!!!

I do a devotion on Matthew 5:38-42… (this is part of a Honduras Mission book we each receive)

38 “You have heard the law that says the punishment must match the injury: ‘An eye for an eye, and a tooth for a tooth.’[a] 39 But I say, do not resist an evil person! If someone slaps you on the right cheek, offer the other cheek also. 40 If you are sued in court and your shirt is taken from you, give your coat, too. 41 If a soldier demands that you carry his gear for a mile,[b] carry it two miles. 42 Give to those who ask, and don’t turn away from those who want to borrow.

I really try to live this way.  I try not to be negative, to fuel rumors, or respond negatively to someone elses negetive attitude.  I work at staying positive and for the most part, I believe I succeed.

Breakfast at 7:00 a.m.  Omelets with refried beans and cheese, watermelon.

Julie and I start the day by painting the bathrooms in the main house with oil base white paint.  It really brightened things up.  We chose a color for the rest of the walls, terracotta.  It looks pretty good, a rich, warm color.

We paint until lunch time while the rest of the team is on cement and dirt work.  Lunch was:  meat, vegies, fruit and green salad.

At this point in the mission, Tim, Al, and Julie are all not feeling well.  All three had felt a bit under the weather before they arrived in Honduras and it just hasn’t let go.

The weather is cool again today and a bit windy.  Great to be working outside in and to dry paint.  After lunch, Al comes in to help Julie with the paint and I go outside to help with shoveling.  We continue through the afternoon.

Supper is a spaghetti hot dish that is so good.  We really do eat well here and most of us work up a pretty good appetite.  I have two helpings.  I probably shouldn’t have but it was so good!  We also had fruit and cake.

We discussed as a team going to Natividad’s church on Tuesday evening.  Natividad wanted us to do the service instead of him.  Julie thought we should theme our talk around grace and each of us could speak a couple minutes on God’s grace in our life.

In the evening we played with the kids and Al handed out Spanish Bibles that he brought to the kids.

Tuesday February (Febrero) 24…

6:00 a.m. – Up!

This is Eva’s actual birthday today and tradition is that if it is your birthday you go into the pilla (where the kids wash their clothes).

The washer has been broke all week so many of us have been wearing the same clothes.  I try the pilla today for washing my clothes too…

Breakfast at 7:00 a.m. – burrito wrap with egg, refried bean, fruit.

Last of the shoveling dirt is completed today throughout the morning and afternoon.  The painting is also completed today in the main area and our bedroom.

Lunch is corn on the cob, watermelon, lots of vegies, baked chicken and chocolate cake.

The team is pretty shot today.  The work has started to take its toll and we are all tired and a bit sore.  After lunch it was hard to get us moving again!

I went out and took a picture of Gexon and Christians mom’s memorial marker.  She died of aids at the age of 23 three years ago.  She lived behind the Manuelito project with the kids in a small wood and cardboard shack for lack of a better word.  As she became really sick she gave the kids up to Manuelito Project to raise.  Julie and I had a chance to pray with her that year that she gave the kids up.  Our team was actually at Manuelito when all this took place.

Tuesday evening we went to Natividad’s church and I seen Freddy, a little boy that I had met 4 years ago.  Every year I have looked for him and this was the first time that I had seen him since that first time!

We all spoke at church about Grace in our lives.  When we arrived back at the Project I was shot (not literally) and went to bed.

Wednesday February (Febrero) 25…

5:58 a.m. – Up….

Breakfast is french toast with honey instead of syrup, scrambled eggs, watermelon and sausage.

40 Days of prayer is starting at church back at The Journey North so Al leads us in the devotion book for this.  Today we are praying for:

  • God and His people
  • Our Country
  • Teenagers to make decisions for Christ

We are traveling to Tegucigalpa today.  We leave at 7:30 a.m. and our first stop is at AFE to see this mission and how it is doing.  This is where the November 2009 Team is going to work.

We are all amazed at how much the project (AFE) has changed since last year!  They have a man Rey, and his wife that have started working with this project last April and what a difference this help has made!  There is 2 more building up than last year, they are putting on a kitchen area and dining room, they have plans to put in housing for mission teams and for the older kids to stay in once they need to move on to further their schooling…. it is INCREDIBLE!  They have 15 people on staff now compared to last years 3 or 4….  I am really excited to work there this November!  (People interested give the church office a call 824-5617).

We go into the mall in Tegucigalpa to pick up a new washing machine for Manuelito.  As a team we decided to purchase one with the money we brought with us from the mission account.  This is a good purchase as the mission needs it to wash bedding and the large amounts of laundry they have between teams coming in and all the kids.  We get a chance here to stop at a coffee shop where we get a Honduras favorite for me, Kacee, and Justin – the cafe granida (I think thats what it is).  Kind of an iced mocha flavored coffee… takes almost like a milk shake.  It is so good!!!

Next stop – Transition House above Jorge’s church.  This is where the kids go when they are brought off the streets.  This is where they stay for usually 6 months or more, learning, getting off the drugs (in most cases glue), and prepping to go to Manuelito.    Currently there are 11 kids in the Transition House – 8 kids, 3 babies (5 years old or less).  22 kids are at Manuelito.

We eat lunch at the Transition House and hang out with the kids a bit before we move on to Jeremy’s house.  Lunch is Fresca, Diet Coke, fried plantain, ham, vegies, refried beans, and rice.  So good!

At Jeremy’s we are picking up the fish and plants for the aquaponics at the Manuelito.  We have to empty the talapia out of the 50 gallon tubs and put them into another 50 gallon tub that we will take on the bus with us to Manuelito.  It is a pretty cool system…. the fish waste is what fertilizes the plants and you are able to grow vegies or whatever.  I don’t know a lot about this so I am probably getting the details all wrong…

We get a chance after this to stop at yes, yet another coffee shop – Coffee Americana and we load up again on caffeine – ha ha!  Another cafe granida for me please!

Back at Manuelito supper is ready when we return.  Tortillas fried with cheese and refried beans, watermelon and brownies.

After dinner we put together the fish pond thingy… then we did our devotion in the yard where we talked about going the extra mile (more Matthew 5…)

If someone slaps you on the right cheek, offer the other cheek also. 40 If you are sued in court and your shirt is taken from you, give your coat, too. 41 If a soldier demands that you carry his gear for a mile,[q] carry it two miles. 42Give to those who ask, and don’t turn away from those who want to borrow.

We discussed how we go the extra mile in our lives and we gave examples of what we were currently doing on the project like seeing the need for painting, or a washing machine – we are not asked to do these things but we see the need … we discussed how we do it at home…. staying late on the job to finish, not only giving someone a ride when needed but fixing their car…

It started to rain so we finished our devotion inside.  We had a great discussion on friendships.  During our talk we lost power which is not unusual for this area.  We grabbed flashlights and our head lamps and talked on.

Thursday February (Febrero) 26…

5:00 a.m.   hear the kids

6:00 a.m.   Alarm

A cooler foggy morning… I actually wear a sweatshirt this morning.  Breakfast is pancakes w/ honey, scrambled eggs w/ bacon, musk melon.

40 Days of prayer this morning asks us to pray on:

  • Solid marriages
  • Christ calls many to Himself
  • Intercept our runaway Faith

This morning Tim, Al, Wonka, and I go to Nathanial’s church to talk with him.  I am the writer so I go to document the discussion.  Nathanial is a Pastor of a church in Talanga who we have partnered with and send financial help to through The Journey North.

Nathanial tells us that he has seen growth recently in his church.  He currently has 150 members but has seen a large growth spurt over the past month.  He wants us to pray that by the end of this year he will have 500 members.

They are preparing for a big event where they are inviting the community.  They will feed them, baptize those who wish, and offer membership.  He then took us to a home near by that has 7 kids that our support from TJN has allowed him to feed once a week, buy them school supplies and pay for their schooling.  Our financial help this past year has helped them do this for 20 kids.  This year he hopes to help 30.

On the may back to Manuelito Tim is pulled over by the police for making a u turn.  (Had to mention that…)

With the washing machine, Julie and I start working on the laundry.  We get the teams clothes all cleaned up and then help with the kids.  We do this until 11:30 when we lose power due to lines being hit by construction workers in town.  Time for lunch anyway….

Lunch is lasagna, salad with peas and hard boiled eggs, water melon.

After lunch a few of us (Julie, Justin, Kacee, me, and Wonka) walk into Talanga to grab a few things from the shops.  I like to buy hot sauce in Honduras and we were picking up soap for Karol, Kacee’s mom.  Hot sauce there is 10 Limperas each (about 55 cents) and we purchased pop for the team (bottles are also 10 Limperas each).

It was actually hot and sunny out by later afternoon!  The guys finished up with the cement work by 2:30 and part of the team worked on clothes until late afternoon.

We had a little internet time before supper so we were able to send emails out and catch up with friends and family back home.

Supper was:  Chicken, melon, sweet rolls (so good – I ate two), toast

We had short showers tonight as the water was just back on and we were told the water would be low.

Tonight was the good bye program the kids put on on teams last night.  The kids sing and dance and this year for some reason it hit me a bit harder than past years.  At the end the kids sang a song about friendship and I lost it.  Jeremy ended the program with saying something really important.  He said that it is easy to come to Manuelito and see things that need to be worked on or point out flaws (as in anything)… but we need to look at these kids.  Kids that were once homeless, on the streets.  You see them now and you see Eva – who just had an incredible celebration for her birthday…. you know God’s hand is on this project.  God is working here.

This was our night for good byes.  The younger kids had school early in the morning so this was our last chance to hang out with them and it was an emotional one.

Friday February (Febrero) 27…

Up at 5:57 a.m.

It is “Malaria Friday!”  (Time to take our medicine….)

We clean up our room, start the sheets in the washer, pack up… Wonka, Julie, Tim, and Al take extra supplies we brought to Nathanial’s church in town.

We had breakfast, packed up the bus, and were off to the valley of the Angels at 8:30 a.m.  We had an opportunity to shop for an hour, grabbed coffee, and then drove into Tegucigalpa for lunch at Popeye’s.

We then went to the Mission House, set up our rooms for the night and relaxed for the afternoon.  I went with Laura and ladies from the mission house to the outdoor market for fruits and vegies.  We walked the streets of teguc… that was cool.

We left for supper at 5:00 p.m. to a nice restaurant where the portions are HUGE.  All leftovers went with us to our next stop – the streets.

We went out on the streets to give food and juice to the street kids.  We were able to go with all the older kids of Manuelito which is just amazing when you think that they were once street kids and now they are helping other street kids – in some cases, their friends.  This years group was… calmer.  It was a different feeling as it really is every year.  It is always so sad to see these kids strung out on glue.  We are told time and again that it is too late for these kids – we are here to see where the kids we just spent the week with came from.

We drove to another part and were able to see Heydi who was at Manuelito up through last year and is now with her mom.  It was good to see her.  Tim had a chance to talk to her with an interpreter.

A verse comes to mind…. “You will know we are Christians by our love…

Over all thoughts…  It was another different year.  It felt different and it of course, was.  I had moments where I would sit back and just observe what was happening.  The kids running… wrestling… laughing…. and then there are moments like with Christian who sits next to me on the grass and as I rub his back this tough little kid just melts into me… and I see a glimpse of the child under the strong front… the child who lost his mom to aids, who had an abusive father… and for a moment I am allowed to see that child before he runs and plays again with his new family of Manuelito.  I thank God for the opportunity to be a part of this amazing mission and I will be here as long as He says “Go.”

March 3, 2009 Posted by | Devotion in motion, Just me, Life thoughts | 9 Comments

A Year ago Today

A year ago today I woke up in a shady hotel in Choletecha Honduras…

I spent the day with a team of great people in 120 degree weather…

I received a birthday card with 2 Lempiras in it (18.3 Lempiras = $1 American) so basically I was given 8 cents)  NICE.

The people we were working with in Choletecha made me a chocolate cake

I assisted in baking (yes baking in 120 degree weather) over 300 cookies for a VBS event in a poverty area

We rode around in a bus with no air conditioning for hours to different areas to see the worst case scenarios

Our last stop was in a small village where kids came to get donuts and cookies hardly wearing anything at all as they had nothing.

I witnesses the Feed The Children bags that we bagged in Brainerd, Minnesota with the hearts and hands of our community being placed in the hands of these children.

How great is our God?

Best Birthday ever…

February 8, 2009 Posted by | Devotion in motion | 2 Comments

The Review of The Spiritual Boot Camp

Oops!  I jus realized I never put in the final thoughts of this commitment….  so here goes…

To refresh everyone – the commitment was to spend more time in the Bible, in prayer, and in taking care of me.  I had set time commitments, and have blogged each week and how it went:

SBC Week #1

SBC Week #2

SBC Week #3

And now this is the final results.  Yes, I did more of all three.  The Bible time was easy as the studies I am in at this time made it a must anyway and I dove in to prep for the commitments I had made.  I wish I would have studied more in one area, and had originally meant too, yet that never really fully developed and I think I may have over committed myself doing the three studies that assisted in making the original plan difficult.

The prayer area also was a lot the way I usually do prayer – in my car, getting ready in the morning, while working out…  while I did have some deeper moments of prayer time – longer and more in depth, it was not as much as I had planned, even though I made the time I committed to without a problem.

The Body part was something I had been working on anyway and the Boot Camp just caused me to step it up a notch which I did and am happy with the results.  I upped my classes at the YMCA and put myself with others who help me to commit.  I have reached my goal wait during this SBC and now need to maintain…. hopefully, for life.

And really… looking at that last part, “maintaining, hopefully for life“…. I guess that is really what I hope for with all three areas of this SBC.  I worked the program, I seen and recorded results, and now I need to maintain for life.

*Anyone who joined me on this adventure, I would love to hear how it went.

February 2, 2009 Posted by | Devotion in motion | 1 Comment

Pieces of Me…

I am not really sure why I feel a desire to put this to words… but I do.  So I will.puzzle_pieces_id150248_size500o

January 27th is in most cases, most years, a hard day for me.  It is for one my mom’s birthday and if you know me well, you know that I am my mother’s daughter…. I am her sarcastic, fun loving, joker of a daughter, one hundred percent.  You would also know – that I miss her very much and if I have anything that works like kryptonite on me… it is my undying, devoted love for my family.

Many of you also know that January 27th is also the day that in 1980… my life changed forever when our family home caught on fire and that catastrophe took with it the lives of my 5 year old sister Tara, and my 39 year old father, Gary.  This left me, and my mom who at that time was 32.  I was 12.

This is one of those events in life that I would think with all the years… with the young age that I was, I wouldn’t have such clarity of the events of that day.  But I do.  I can recall the time, how it happened, what was said, my dad’s last words… my last glimpse of him… holding Tara.

And yes… my heart breaks over, and over, again.

Faith in God brings me to the place where I am today.  I am strong in that faith… and I know I will get to see them all again someday.  Yet… to be completely honest… I still do, and probably always will… carry an ache inside of me of opportunities on this earth lost… knowing them better, growing up with my sister, being an aunt…. conversations and life lessons….

The final piece of this is that mom died in 1996 along with my step dad when a car crossed into their lane and hit them head on.  The last member of my immediate family… in a blink of an eye… vanished from me.

Over the last few weeks I have found myself drawn to my mother’s jewelery.  She loved unusual pieces and she has an antique dentist cabinet full of them.  This is something that now 13 years later… I still have not cleared out.  I don’t think I ever will.  It is hers…  I love opening one of the many tiny drawers and peeking inside…  the jewelery that once I found to be uniquely her, I now am drawn too… and wearing some of it recently, knowing that she was the last one to put them on…. is a little breath of her.

I feel the day coming…. almost like a weight.  I don’t know why this year it seems to pull at me stronger than in the past few…. but it is… and I don’t mind because I like to think of them…. and each of them somehow intertwine in this date of January 27th.  They are the pieces of me that I am missing.

Sometimes I am amazed at how much.

January 26, 2009 Posted by | Devotion in motion | 3 Comments